Scientology And Me

August 4, 2010

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Headquarters in Haiti

The last decade has been one of the most turbulent in our history. Opposing ideologies, violent revolutions and a frail social economic structure have subjected more than one-third of the world’s population to oppression, poverty and brutal human rights violations. Terrorism and a global economic crisis rips at the very fabric of society, propagating a mindset governed by hysteria, fear and anxiety.

However, emotional stress doesn’t halt at the borders of war-ravaged nations. Right at home the epidemics multiply—from drug abuse, delinquency and broken homes, to illiteracy, unemployment and the stress attendant to these problems. Under these conditions, civic administrators and human services personnel bear a tremendous burden.

But there are answers—real ones that work—delivered by Volunteer Ministers whenever and wherever needed with remarkable results. These answers come from the greater body of Scientology technology by L. Ron Hubbard and are intended for people of all beliefs.

Over 200,000 strong and spanning every continent of Earth, Volunteer Ministers work directly with community leaders, officials, support personnel and citizens to bring order and real help no matter the situation.

The Volunteer Ministers also reach out with traveling Cavalcades, bringing their help into major cities and communities throughout the world. Visiting a new city each month, these Cavalcades contact thousands at a time.

Inside the familiar yellow tents, anyone can get one-on-one assistance to address whatever troubles they might be facing.

While beyond their daily work in addressing societal ills, the Volunteer Ministers are among the first to arrive when disaster strikes. Trained to respond to emergency situations, they provide whatever is needed to immediately alleviate suffering and bring order quickly. And because the technology they apply is simple and effective, they quickly train others so they too can provide help.

With their organizational skills and ability to bring order, as well as their effective help to victims and emergency personnel, thousands have joined their ranks and Volunteer Ministers have emerged as one of the largest independent relief forces on Earth.

They have also become a global force delivering effective solutions in disaster zones that don’t make the headlines: in homes and schoolrooms, businesses and neighborhoods. They are on call on a 24/7 international Volunteer Minister Hotline.

Anyone, of any belief, who wants to do something to improve conditions around them may become a Volunteer Minister by learning the simple techniques offered by the free courses on this site. Equipped with these solutions, a Volunteer Minister can help build a better world by restoring order, kindness and decency wherever needed.

March 22, 2010

Local Scientology member forgoes break to assist in Haiti

Echo Brabenec, 18, a Leelanau County native has traveled to Haiti to help with the country’s recovery from a devastating earthquake on Jan. 12. She is shown comforting a young Haitian friend during the trip. Photo by Peter Dunn

SUTTONS BAY—”I was on vacation, and thought to myself, ‘Doing this is so worthless when so many need help,’” said 18-year-old Echo Brabenec, of Suttons Bay. “I felt like I could do better by doing something to help the people in Haiti.”

The mostly home-schooled teen (she studied at Suttons Bay High School for a year, and graduated a year early from Traverse City West), went to Port-au-Prince, Haiti as one of the volunteer ministers of the Church of Scientology on Feb. 14, and will be there until mid-April.

She and her fiancé, Shane Fasel, a TC West graduate from the Interlochen area, and the church group flew out of Miami on a church-chartered plane packed with donated medical supplies. They are working in tandem with other relief organizations, churches, and military units, operating under the overriding viewpoint of their church that “something can be done about it.”

Echo explained why she felt so compelled to help the people of Haiti, whose country was devastated by a massive earthquake on Jan. 12.

“I’ve been raised with the idea that you take responsibility for the things you see in your life,” she said. “And what I saw was that so many needed help.”

Her parents, Randy Gilmore and Elisa Brabenec of Suttons Bay, said, “Echo has wanted to do this type of work since she was a young child; she was one of the youngest members of the church to complete her volunteer minister training. With each opportunity presented to her, we said, ‘But Echo, you’re only 12′… we always thought she was too young to handle what she was trying to do at the time.”

NBC’s “Today” show reporter Kerry Sanders was in Port-au-Prince, and gave a report on the work of the volunteer ministers.

Sanders stated that groups from the Church of Scientology have helped at the sites of many of the world’s worst disasters, saying, “They were at 9/11, and at Katrina, and now they are here, doing the work that no one else wants to do.”

Welcome reception

Sanders’ report included interviews with members of the group, and with a doctor working in a crowded, makeshift hospital, who said, “I am totally impressed with these young adults from the Scientology Church. They have just been so effective for us.”

A young volunteer named Nicole, who wore the bright yellow T-shirt that identifies the group, said that the Scientologists are not in Haiti to spread their beliefs. “We don’t even mention religion,” she said, adding that the menial work they were doing was unlikely to make people want to join the church.

Sanders reported on the value of a particular type of gentle touch therapy called an “assist,” saying, “In 20 minutes, we watched as Nicole took a pained little girl from frowns to giggles.”

Echo spent a week in a Christian school giving assists for physical pain and emotional stress, and has helped deliver seminars to aid people in refocusing their attention from the trauma of their situation to productive plans and activities. Her group has recently been cleaning a hospital to prepare it for reopening.

“Their work with the Haitians focuses on bringing each individual with whom they work to an improved state of mind, one in which they will be able to look at their situation with hope and certainty of their own individual ability to effect the changes that are needed,” said Echo’s mother, Elisa.

On a typical day in Haiti, Echo and the team get up at 7:30 in the morning and gather for a meeting at 8. The 50 to 60 people, including medical teams, decide where they are most needed that day, and then go out to help and deliver the simple and effective assists; the technique is also easy to teach, and those who learn it can then help others. The team has gone to orphanages and refugee camps, and has also given assists to members of the military and medical teams.

“We’ve been received with open arms here,” she said. “All the people are warm and friendly, and often give us big hugs and kisses. The Haitians are the craziest drivers I’ve has ever seen! But it feels really good when little kids give a huge ‘thumbs up’ when we drive by. The kids we’ve met are smart, and very fast learners.”

Echo described her experience saying, “This is one of the greatest experiences of my life; it’s wonderful to be able to deliver an assist and see the smiles come back on people’s faces!”

In spite of the devastation that surrounds her in Haiti, Echo said, “The people of Haiti really need help to get their homes rebuilt, but people are doing what they can to get back up on their feet and clean up … I feel a sense of hopefulness.”

Echo’s parents reflect the belief of many of those who have gone to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the tragedy: “We believe in people’s inherent ability to create beauty, do good work, and solve the problems that face them. If you relieve the immediate stress and focus them on that ability, they will respond to the challenges of life with renewed vigor.”

February 19, 2010

Scientology Volunteer makes good on promise to Haiti quake survivor

19 February 2010 – New Haven Register

NEW HAVEN — Ralph-Marie Gedeon could easily have died Jan. 12 in the earthquake in Haiti when the walls of his Port-au-Prince engineering college came tumbling down on top of him.

Gedeon, 22, who on Thursday night was airlifted to Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, could easily have been left for dead had his father, Raphael Gedeon, not gone looking for him, and then spent hours frantically climbing through the rubble, calling his son’s name until he heard him cry out. It took the elder Gedeon a day and a half to dig his son out.

When he and some friends finally reached Gedeon, they found his left leg was crushed.

He might have died soon afterward, too, when he initially refused to have his mangled leg amputated because, in Haiti, those without limbs are shunned.

Instead, he met Ayal Lindeman, a licensed practical nurse, emergency medical technician and Scientology volunteer minister who was in Haiti as a volunteer emergency worker in the critical care unit of General Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Lindeman, of Spring Valley, N.Y., convinced Gedeon to have the life-saving surgery, promising him a new leg, along with the physical and occupational therapy he would need, if he would agree.

More importantly, Lindeman happens to have a high school friend and former track teammate, Dr. David Gibson, who is an orthopedic surgeon who teaches at the Yale School of Medicine and is affiliated with the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven.

Lindeman told Gedeon about his friend the orthopedic surgeon in the United States, and promised that he would get Gedeon a prosthetic leg.

Then Lindeman called Gibson, who agreed to donate his work and time for the necessary surgeries. Gibson also arranged for St. Raphael’s to cover other medical treatment and physical and occupational therapy. Finally, working through a friend who heads a pediatric health care fund affiliated with the Foundation for Greater New Haven, Gibson got a manufacturer to donate the prosthesis.

Finally, the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading /Airlink, arranged for a private jet to bring Gedeon to the U.S.

Gedeon and Lindeman were due to arrive at Tweed late Thursday night or early today after being delayed in Florida.

“We’re going to work on his leg” in advance of attaching the prosthetic leg, Gibson said earlier Thursday, while Gedeon and Lindeman still were en route to Florida.

Gibson, 53, explained that “in Haiti, having an amputation is a horrible thing because you essentially are put at the side of the road” and ignored.

Lindeman stayed with Gedeon through the amputation surgery and one other operation on his remaining stump, Gibson said. Gideon “is coming up here with some work” that still needs to be done.

Gibson estimated that the artificial leg normally would cost between $10,000 and $15,000, and the surgery Gibson will perform normally costs “several tens of thousands of dollars” in addition.

He called Dr. Peter Lindskog, chairman of the board of a pediatric health care fund that Gibson also sits on, and asked if Gedeon’s case might qualify for assistance. Lindskog called a local vendor, New England Orthotics and Prosthetics of Branford, “and they said, ‘Fine, we’ll give it to you for free,’” Gibson said.

Gedeon will be in New Haven for “as long as it takes,” Gibson said. “I would estimate it would take a couple of months to get him tuned up and ready to rock back. The challenge is going to be to get him to the point where he’s ready to go back” and able to stay healthy even in a place where he won’t be able to get good health care.

“We pretty much need to make him bulletproof” before he returns, he said.

January 12, 2010

Scientology Tax-Exempt in Spain

Madrid, Spain—The Spanish Tax Agency has recognized the Church of Scientology of Spain as a social non-profit organization, granting a certificate of recognition in Madrid on November 30, 2009.

Since the founding of the first Church of Scientology in 1954, Scientologists have been actively involved in the improvement of their communities and society and have received thousands of awards and commendations for their work in communities all over the world.  Scientologists sponsor a large, effective drug abuse public education campaign and have been conducting anti-drug activities since the early 1980s.  The Church also sponsors an international human rights awareness campaign in coordination with United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights International.  This campaign features guidebooks for children and adults, illustrating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Church’s most embracive effort to provide help to the world at large is its Volunteer Minister Program, with more than 203,000 volunteers trained internationally.  The value of these services has been recognized by politicians, police, the military, other relief agencies and civic authorities.

Church members support and contribute to the Red Cross, children’s hospitals and numerous other community groups around the world.  This support ranges from broad participation in drug-free blood drives, to citywide collection of holiday toys for needy children, to donations of food and clothing for underprivileged families.

Ivan Arjona, the Public Affairs director for the Madrid Church stated the Tax Agency recognition will assist the Church in furthering humanitarian programs throughout Spain.

December 3, 2009

Australian Scientology Volunteer Uses Dianetics to Help Samoan Hero Recover from the Ravages of Disaster

Scientology volunteers from the Church of Scientology in Sydney, Australia have stayed on to help survivors recover in post-tsunami Samoa (picture showing Dianetics co-auditing)

Scientology volunteers from the Church of Scientology in Sydney, Australia, are still in Samoa nearly two months after the devastating September 29 tsunami, extending the relief effort they launched when the tsunami hit.  With damage estimated at $130 million, 143 dead and thousands left homeless, no Samoan has been unscathed by the disaster.

The trauma goes far beyond loss of property.  It drives into the heart of personal and community loss, and that’s where the compassion and skill of the Scientologists come into play.  Once an individual’s physical well-being is assured, the emotional aspect can be addressed—the reason the Scientologists have remained on the island.

One morning at the Apia Fire Station a Scientology volunteer, Darryl, asked the receptionist a casual “How’s it going?”  As cheerful as the woman’s automatic “fine” appeared to be, her eyes said otherwise.

When Darryl gently asked her, “Where were you that day?” the woman choked up as she told her story.  The day the tsunami hit she waded into the debris with the firemen, searching for survivors and pulling them from the rubble—along with the bodies of friends and neighbors who did not survive.

Now, weeks later, this heroic woman was suffering despite her bravery under gruesome circumstances.  In fact, it was because of her bravery.  The way the human mind is rigged, the intense stress she experienced could rebound on her with grave consequences for the rest of her life, with depression, anxiety, even psychosomatic illness.

The Scientology volunteer decided her plans for the morning would simply have to wait.   She cared too much to leave without helping this woman first, especially knowing she could help ease the pain with Dianetics counseling.

Darryl wasted no time.  She gave the woman a Dianetics session, and two hours and many tears later the woman emerged smiling, saying she felt relieved for the first time since her harrowing experience.  This is just one of the many “miracles as usual” Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring to people in need.

Dianetics counseling is described in Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard.  Derived from the Greek words dia, meaning through, and nous, mind or soul, the full definition of Dianetics is what the mind (or soul) is doing to the body.

To learn more about the Scientology Volunteer Ministers visit their web site at www.volunteerministers.org.  To learn about Dianetics or attend a Dianetics seminar visit www.dianetics.org.

November 26, 2009

Scientology Today: Interview with Top Volunteer Minister

Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour Leader, Marion Whitta, a native of Australia, has become something of an institution in India.  For the past four years she has been traveling throughout the country bringing help to cities, villages and townships, and training tens of thousands in spiritual technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard.

Whitta shares her thoughts about India and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program.

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour Leader, Ms. Marion Whitta, originally from Australia, is interviewed on what the Tour has accomplished over the past four years and their plans for the future.


Scientology Newsroom:
How did you get the assignment to lead the Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour?

M.W.: I had always wanted to go to India.  I was drawn by the spiritual heritage of the country, which is the oldest religious tradition on Earth. I was also inspired by Mahatma Gandhi—the man himself, his courage and his commitment to human rights and freedom.

So in 2005 when I was given the opportunity to go to India, I was thrilled  with the opportunity to reach out to people who were already aware of their spiritual nature and bring Mr. Hubbard’s spiritual technology to more than a billion people.   And I had the perfect means to do so—the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program and its purpose to bring help everywhere and anywhere.

Scientology Newsroom: Tell us about the Goodwill Tour?

M.W.: Since arriving in September 2005 we have visited Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Pondicherry and Ahmedabad.  We’ve also visited many villages and townships, and we even spent a few weeks in neighboring Nepal.

In each city we visit, we contact government, religious and community leaders and find out what they see as the most pressing needs that we can assist with. We then tailor our work to fit the needs of the people in each region.

In every area we visit, we train as many people as possible to administer Scientology Volunteer Ministers techniques.  We deliver these courses in our big yellow tent and seminars and workshops in universities, schools, government offices, police departments, military camps, even in apartment complexes—wherever people want to learn how to help, and wherever help is needed.

Once people learn this technology virtually  everyone wants to be a Scientology Volunteer and we help them set up their own groups.  These groups in turn reach out to those in need.  For example, our Kolkata group mobilized a team of volunteers last year to assist survivors of the floods in Bihar. After the Mumbai terror attacks, Scientology Volunteers from throughout India poured in to help in our disaster response activities.

Scientology Newsroom: What is the Scientology Volunteer Ministers movement?

M.W.: I think Mr. Hubbard described it perfectly when he wrote, “…if one is going to find fault with something, it implies that he wishes to do something about it and would if he could. If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”

November 12, 2009

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Help Philippines Recover from Crushing Typhoon Season

Scientology Volunteer Ministers bring spiritual first-aid to Filipinos devastated by this year’s typhoons that left tens of thousands homeless.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers from the Church of Scientology Mission of Manila responded with help throughout this year’s devastating typhoon season.  Four deadly typhoons in a two-month period, the last hitting only last week, have caused damage to the sum of nearly 40 billion Philippine pesos (almost $900 million U.S. dollars), killed 961 and left tens of thousands stranded or living in shelters.

As soon as the first typhoon hit in late September, the staff and parishioners of the Mission of Manila donned their yellow shirts and moved out into the streets and shelters to bring spiritual first-aid in the form of Scientology Assists to those in need.  Scientology Assists are techniques developed by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard that address the emotional and spiritual factors in stress, trauma, illness and injury.

Philippines President Gloria Arroyo declared a “state of calamity.”  The need for effective, fast disaster relief was immediate and immense.  To answer these needs the Scientology Volunteer Ministers not only helped on a one-on-one basis, they also trained other volunteers and those stranded in shelters in simple techniques covered in the Scientology Handbook that enable people to overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers and get on with their lives.

“Scientology Assists are very easy to learn,” said Ms. Maria Rehyer, Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Director.  “In half an hour a person can learn enough to help family and friends recover from trauma, shock or injury.” Ms. Rehyer encourages anyone wishing to join the ranks of the 203,000 Scientology Volunteer Ministers to visit http://www.volunteerministers.org/#/courses, where they can enroll on free online courses to learn these techniques.

For more information e-mail the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Disaster Response Director at  vm@volunteerministers.org or visit the Scientology Volunteer Ministers web site at www.volunteerministers.org.

October 24, 2009

Scientology members in Society

What do Scientologists do for society?
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Since the founding of the first Church of Scientology in 1954, Scientologists have been actively involved in the improvement of their communities and society.

The Scientology Church has received thousands of awards and commendations for its work in communities all over the world. Many of these awards have come from city and county authorities; others from individuals and groups who appreciated a helping hand. Awards are always valued, but they are incidental to the intention and the deed they symbolize. Scientologists help because as they grow spiritually as individuals, it is natural to expand their responsibility and turn outward to help others.

Church members are active in anti-drug educational campaigns in countries throughout the world and have given drug abuse education lectures to more than 500,000 people. Scientologists in Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Italy and the United Kingdom also lead success popular “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life” campaigns.

Top athletes, including Philips, Italy’s most famous volleyball team, and the legendary Spanish football team Real Madrid, have given their support to this campaign by signing the “Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life” Honor Roll. Scientologists in Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain and other European countries have organized concerts, marches and other events to promote the Church’s anti-drug message and have reached hundreds of thousands.

October 20, 2009

Scientology of Baton Rouge Helps Community with Dianetics

The Church of Scientology Mission of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, uses Dianetics technology to help the people of their city.  Open seven days a week, the Mission provides Dianetics seminars, courses and one-on-one counseling.  Dianetics is a spiritual healing technology that can help alleviate unwanted sensations and emotions, irrational fears and psychosomatic illnesses (illness caused or aggravated by mental stress).

Just over four years ago the Church of Scientology Mission of Baton Rouge was headquarters of the Scientology relief effort when the major hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore through the region in one of the worst humanitarian crises in United States history.  Almost 1,000 Scientology Volunteer Ministers traveled to the area where they helped the survivors of the disaster put their lives back together.

But life’s tragedies are not always so dramatic.  And for nearly 60 years people of all walks of life, religions and backgrounds have been using Dianetics technology to overcome life’s disasters, big and small, and to gain understanding and relief.

“Life is grand! Although it wasn’t always. In the not so distant past, it was murky and jaded and there wasn’t much hope for a great future,” said a woman whose Dianetics counseling resulted in her “feeling content and energetic.”

“Today I was audited on the emotions surrounding my grandmother’s death,” said a woman after her first Dianetics session.  “She passed away nine years ago and I had no idea all of those emotions were still lurking just beneath the surface. It really put things into perspective for me. … It was as though the layers of an onion were being pulled apart and I could get to the root of everything that troubled me about her death, as well as the things that gave me peace.”

Dianetics uncovers the source of unwanted sensations and emotions, accidents, injuries and psychosomatic illnesses, and provides effective handlings for these conditions.   “Back in 1985 I was hit by a vehicle while directing traffic during an evacuation of an approaching hurricane,” said a man who had Dianetics counseling at the Baton Rouge Mission.  “While assisting a crew who were securing a live downed power line, I was struck by a vehicle and ended up on the hood and then the roof, eventually falling off the vehicle and hitting the ground. I suffered a serious injury to my left leg and right shoulder, which both required surgery to repair.  I’ve experienced pain in my left knee and right shoulder ever since 1985.”

After Dianetics counseling it was quite a different scene.  “As the session progressed, the pain in both my knee and shoulder began to ease.  By the end of the session my pain was gone.  It’s been four days since the session and as of this writing my knee has been pain free!!!”

Self-doubt and unwanted behaviors surrender to Dianetics too.  “I used to smoke weed every day,” said a woman who addressed this in her Dianetics sessions.  “Yesterday I was put into a situation where, before, I would have given in.  But I honestly had no urge to, and it was put right in my face.  I am extremely surprised and very excited to see that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to take that ‘one hit.’  Because I know I won’t.”

“I feel like I’ve visited some past occurrences that have caused me much unhappiness throughout my life, and have influenced my behavior in negative ways,” said a man who came to the Mission for the Dianetics Seminar.   He found that the Dianetics counseling he received is allowing him “to face these negatives and see them in a different way, with love and truth. I feel this process is altering me for the better, giving me sanity and serenity where I didn’t have it before.”

For more information about Dianetics or to find where you can attend a Dianetics Seminar or receive counseling visit the Dianetics site at www.dianetics.org.  For more information about the Church of Scientology Mission of Baton Rouge visit their web site at www.scientologybatonrouge.org.

July 21, 2009

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Training Assists Maharashtra Civil Defense Department

Scientology Volunteer Ministers train Maaharashtra Civil Defense Trainers.

Scientology volunteers, who helped in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack, trained those who train the state’s Civil Defense force and Home Guard

The Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour is working with the Maharashtra State Civil Defense and Home Guard to equip them with skills they need cope with disaster.

Mumbai is the capital of the State of Maharashtra.  With an estimated 13,500,000 people living there, it is the largest city in India by population and the 6th largest in the world.

Last November’s Mumbai terrorist attacks, with coordinated shooting and bombings throughout the city, brought to light the urgent need for increased disaster preparedness.

Among the first groups that rushed to the disaster site were members of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour. They worked directly with the victims at Sir JJ Hospital.  They used Scientology Assists, procedures developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard that greatly increase the speed of healing by addressing the emotional and spiritual factors in illness and injuries.

Helping a child injured in the terrorist attack

The Scientology volunteers trained the families of the victims and nursing staff and once most of those who had been admitted to the hospital were discharged they reached out with their training to local colleges and Mumbai University to help people become more effective when a crisis occurs.

The Maharashtra State Civil Defense Training College heard what the Scientology volunteers were doing, and the effectiveness of their Disaster Relief Training and they were immediately interested. This is the facility that trains the Home Guard—civilians who serve as auxiliary to the police and help maintain internal security. By improving the skill of the Civil Defense Trainers, who train 15,000 civilians a year on civil defense techniques, they would be able to greatly increase the level of security for the state.  They arranged for the Scientology Volunteer Ministers to put all the Civil Defense Trainers through a rigorous training program.
The training was carried out by the director of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers Tour
The program was carried out by the Director of the Goodwill Tour and included training in the technology of study, communication, bringing order to confused situations and assist technology. At their graduation ceremony, many of the students stepped up to the podium to share their views of the program, and gave glowing reports about what they had gained from it.   These trainers are now using what they learned to raise the standard of training and skill of the Home Guard so they can better serve the people of Maharashtra.

For more information on the Goodwill Tours, visit the Scientology Volunteer Ministers web site or the Scientology site.

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