[After Dr. Kent learned that the Canadian national paper, The Globe and Mail, had distributed copies of the Freedom journal libel against him, he discovered that a local paper, The Edmonton Examiner, had distributed approximately 3100 copies as well. Dr. Kent wrote a letter of protest to The Edmonton Examiner, and the newspaper quickly realized its mistake and apologized. In essence, it had not checked the content of the insert before distributing it, and as a result of this incident The Edmonton Examiner has changed its policy about accepting inserts. The following statement appeared in the section of the newspaper that had received the insert, along with many additional houses.]

The Edmonton Examiner
July 10, 1998

Examiner issues apology to university professor

In early June of 1998, the Edmonton Examiner inadvertently distributed copies of the Freedom Journal to some Edmonton homes. The Freedom Journal is published by the Church of Scientology International and made certain allegations concerning University of Alberta Professor Stephen A. Kent (PhD).

The Edmonton Examiner is not aware of any basis for the printed allegations and was wrong to distribute material which represented Professor Kent in a derogatory manner.

Further, the Edmonton Examiner apologizes to Professor Stephen A. Kent for any embarrassment caused and sincerely regrets its role in the distribution of this material.

[In addition to this letter, The Edmonton Examiner included the following insert into the newspapers that had contained the Freedom journal insert a few weeks before.]


July 8, 1998

In early June, The Church of Scientology International distributed a Freedom journal insert in this paper that contained defamatory and libelous statements about me and my research on new and alternative religions. The insert was especially critical of, but vague about, my presentations in Germany last summer about Scientology itself. From reading the libelous article, no one could know that I was speaking about human rights issues to German government officials and others who were investigating Scientology. I am thankful to the Edmonton Examiner for the opportunity to set the record straight.

My statements about Scientology are well documented, and are based upon interviews and extensive citations of the organization's own material. The fact that the Freedom article [was] written against me suggests the accuracy of my scholarship. Were I to make mistakes, however, then Scientology could hold me accountable. In contrast, no individual took responsibility for being author of the piece against me, nor did the publication identify any individual publisher or editor. I only can surmise that no one associated with the publication has the integrity to stand behind its contents.

For readers who are bewildered about the debate between Scientology and me, I suggest that they do their own research. Logging on to "Operation Clambake" on the World Wide Web at is the fastest way to access what usually is thoughtful and insightful information. Brace yourself, because you will not believe what you read. I urge you to pay particular attention to analyses of Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) program, about which I have written and spoken extensively in Germany and elsewhere. Also read carefully about the tragic death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, which has even been the subject of a television news program on CBS's Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel earlier this year. Later in the Summer or early in the Fall, both ABC's Turning Point and Arts and Entertainment will present shows on the Scientology organization. As this media coverage indicates, increasing numbers of people are realizing that Scientology deserves close and careful examination.

This debate saddens me, since I know that many ordinary members believe that Scientology has helped them and does good community work. These people, however, do not have access to the important information about the actions of the group's upper level management, which trace back to the founder himself. I only wish that these members would realize that I, as an outside scholar, can see and discuss issues that would have enormous implications for their own lives. Some of them should read or listen to what I am trying to say.

Stephen A. Kent (PhD)
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta