I object to your recent article about Greg Bashaw ["Death of a Scientologist," August 16]. He was a friend whom I admired for his gentleness, yet steadfastness to his principles, which included crusading against the now-defunct Cult Awareness Network's promotion of kidnap/deprogrammings as a solution to upsets and dissension among family members, for money. There was an entire stable of deprogrammers available throughout the country for a price, and Greg felt that such activity was criminal and abhorrent.
The article was a slash piece with the author slashing away at my Church and my religious beliefs as if she and her conspirators were legitimate judges of religions, which she and they are not. The Scientology religion, founded by well-known humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard, is a practical technology of the spirit which revives the spiritual nature of man and the individual, when applied exactly.
To lose a child or spouse or parent is a tragic experience, and our hearts and condolences go out to Greg's family. However, it is a further tragedy that the Reader saw fit to parade Greg's private life, letters, and thoughts out for public view and to use old articles, former CAN members, and deprogrammers as a means to do that when Greg so detested their actions and means of making money. He attempted to create some dialogue with CAN to get them to clean up their act.
In response, Jim Beebe hounded Greg, posting lies on the Internet, tracking down his employer so as to harass him there, and tried to get him fired. This is the man who is quoted extensively in your article and portraying himself as Greg's friend. Beebe was paid to work for CAN, and the deprogrammers quoted made money from kidnapping and harassing other people out of their religions.
In the end, the psychs only kept Greg in the hospital until his insurance ran out even though he told them that he was suicidal. Yet in the face of that, the Reader targets Greg's Church.
People who practice their religions support them financially, including Catholics, Lutherans, and Jews. Churches sponsor fund-raising drives for special projects, new buildings, schools, etc. Yet for some reason, your reporter finds it odd that the Church of Scientology does similar activities.
Tori Marlan got it wrong. While tragic, Greg Bashaw made his decisions and ignored offers of help from his Church. Only three days after being in the hands of psychiatrists did he make his final decision and take action. Why hasn't anyone gone after the psychiatrist?
Tori Marlan replies:
I don't know how Lynn Ward concluded from my article that Jim Beebe was "portraying himself as Greg's friend." After all, Beebe believed Greg had orchestrated the smear campaign against him. They were clearly adversaries, and Beebe never represented his relationship with Greg to me in any other way.