Author Topic: Karen Pressley and panel discussion. Georgia 10/29/2010  (Read 5703 times)

Offline SocialTransparency

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On 10/29/2010 Local activists were invited to participate in a segment of the Georgia Sociologist Associations annual meeting held in Decatur Georgia.

The overall topic of this multi day affair was called

Healthy, Just, and Sustainable

2010 Annual Meeting of the Georgia
Sociological Association

The segment of the meeting in which we activists had the honor of participating in was

Panel: Rehabilitation or Religious Reeducation? The Intersections of Therapeutic
Communities, Synanon, and Narconon.

Since the 1960s, the drug rehabilitation industry proliferated as the punitive focus on drug users
Increased. Deceptive therapeutic community models and rehab centers emerged. From Synanon,
which closed its doors when tax exempt status was revoked, to Scientology’s Narconon today,
Controversy regarding their methods continues. With a focus on Narconon, our panel of experts
discusses the use of these programs to recruit drug users into cultic groups that exploit addicts for
their own profit and manipulate the hopes of unsuspecting relatives.

This segment was kicked off by a presentation by KAREN PRESSLEY.

Karen Pressley. Not In My Back Yard: Cults, Communities, and Concerns
Karen spoke on the following topic.

Why would a community consider its health or safety threatened if a cult moves into town? Who
should bear the burden for religious tolerance and freedom of religion? This paper examines the
NIMBY syndrome (“not in my backyard”) relevant to cultic groups. Drawing from my 16 years
of experience as a former member and staff at the Church of Scientology senior management
level, and subsequent expert consultant on Scientology, I examine my work with community
members on how to address Scientology’s infiltration into their communities. This study looks at
data from consultations across the southeastern U.S., particularly across Georgia, between 2002 -
2010. I combine Noelle-Neumann’s communication theory, the Spiral of Silence, with Ludwig
Feurbach’s anthropological principle and Durkheim’s views about religion to examine the
concept of a safe community within the context of religious diversity in a contemporary social
environment. Findings suggest that supp ort for religious freedom is contradicted by opposition
to cultic groups as risk-generating influences. A growing fear of cults equated with terrorism,
mass suicides, brainwashing, and exploitation of followers is expressed through a rising form of
anti-social activism in communities against groups perceived as cults.

After Ms Pressley's presentation a panel discussion followed, which involved several of our local Georgia activists, the GSA moderator and Karen Pressley. The panel shared with the audience their collective knowledge on cultic behavior and more specifically Narconon. The audience asked many questions and the panel shared their wealth of knowledge with them. It was to say the least a very informative afternoon and evening.

A little background history here that took myself and Karen by surprise. Karen was in the SO @ Gold base in Hemet California @ the time I was working there as 'outside contract labor'. Karen worked in the same department 'Cine' that I was working with @ the time. Karen filled in many historical blanks I have had about that moment in time we experienced. I asked what became of several of the Cine crew I was working with. I was both happy and floored by what Karen shared with me. Marcus S whom is a talented camera man and @ one time DM'S camera assistant was one of the people I asked her about. Well, Marcus S. BLEW, he climbed over the fence @ Gold , got on a bus and never looked back. I was so happy to hear this.

Then I asked Karen about another young SO member whom I was working with. This young women was always nice and cordial to me. Karen sadly informed me this individual whom WAS MARRIED became pregnant while in the SO. To make a long story short, DM sent this young woman's husband out of the country and then the young SO member was pressued into having an abortion. This not only saddened me, but verified what many EX-SO members have been saying all along.

Another moment in time Karen and I shared was an incident @ an IAS event at the Ft Harrison hotel. During this event I was running a motion picture projector during DM'S stage presentation. During the presentation above DM a stage light caught fire and the burning material fell within 4 to 6 feet of him. Needless to saw, the poor SO member supposedly in charge of that light was sent to the RPF. DM apparently came to the conclusion an attempt to harm him on purpose was behind this simple equipment malfunction.

Small world isn't it folks. Never in my life would I have ever thought past paths would be crossed again.

Anyway, I feel honored that many of our local activists stepped up in a public forum and shared factual information. I am so proud of you individuals. You all make this whole thing worthwhile! I am also honored you guys included me in this informative affair. The after event dinner was enjoyable and relaxing to say the least.

We are all looking forward to working with Karen in the very near future. On another note, The entire event which we all were involved in was videotaped in HD. As this was a very open forum with audience involvement it will take some time to edit it into a cohesive piece. If I feel it does not tell the story of the event, we plan on doing a less formal sit down video shoot with Karen Pressley and some of our local activists.

Stay tuned!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2010, 20:22 by SocialTransparency »

Offline mefree

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Re: Georgia activism 10/29/2010
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2010, 12:52 »
Well said, ST. Thanks for being there.

I have been wanting to hear Karen speak for some time and truly enjoyed her presentation.

During Karen's presentation and the panel discussion, members of the audience were informed about Narconon's ties to Scientology, the potential dangers of the program and legal actions against the organization on several fronts.

Our eyes were opened to some sociological concerns about issues like NIMBY syndrome and labeling.

For me, it was an evening of firsts. I have never spoken to an ex-member in person and it was wonderful to have an opportunity to ask questions and to hear her perspective.

Also, this was the first time for Karen to speak to activist protesters who were not former members of scientology. She was curious about our initial motivation to act and the after conference dinner discussion was lively.

I look forward to reading Karen's paper and attending future presentations. Her website is found at:

Many thanks to Miriam Boeri, Karen Pressley, and GSA for inviting us to participate in the panel discussion.
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama

Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Georgia activism 10/29/2010
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2010, 18:26 »
 Here are a few quick video frame grabs from the event.

Karen Pressley

« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 19:11 by SocialTransparency »

Offline Stutroup

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Re: Karen Pressley and panel discussion. Georgia 10/29/2010
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2010, 19:41 »
It was great hearing some of what she had to say at the panel!  She's had a world of experiences, and I'm glad she's in a position to spread her knowledge so well and so far.

As with Mefree, it was an evening full of firsts for me, too.  I'm exceeding glad I attended.