By Philip  |  03-18-2018   News
Photo credit: Tony Ortega.com

I have been informed that Arnaldo Lerma passed away. Arnaldo was a writer and activist well known for his tireless dedication to exposing the Church of Scientology. Mr. Lerma was also involved with Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby a publication that featured Dr. Ron Paul long before he was a household name. I didn't know Arnie Lerma very well personally, but I had been an avid fan and follower of his work since the mid to late 1990's. I took up correspondence with him with fanboyish glee and for months we had been planning a series of chats through Skype to be recorded and shared at The Goldwater.

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Back in November, I remember him telling me he was dealing with serious stenosis. "I'd prefer to think I had too much nerve," he quipped. He admitted that he'd spent a lot of time "hibernating" and needed to time conversations to when he felt up for it which he admitted hadn't been very often as of late.

Mr. Lerma was first involved in Scientology briefly as a member. His mother was a Scientologist and had convinced him to join at the age of 16. As a Sea Org member, he even worked alongside Hubbard's daughter Suzette. After escaping ("blowing" to use the cult's own internal jargon) he became one of the first activists against the group.

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<quote>"I place my personal honor and integrity above any real or imagined threats to my body or its possessions." — Arnaldo Lerma</quote>

Lermanet was my introduction to Mr. Lerma's work. Lermanet grew out of the work he'd been doing for years since the early days of BBS and newsgroups. He referred to the internet as <a href="http://www.lermanet.com/cos/libertyI.html">"The Liberty Tree of the 90's" at that time</a>. Arnie was fearless. Scientology had his house raided by Federal Marshalls when he revealed upper level church doctrine involving the bizarre beliefs involving "thetans" being brainwashed in a volcano millions of years ago and the alien space overlord Xenu. This all came out in the Fishman Affidavit. Steven Fishman was involved in embezzling and fraud in order to pay for advanced Scientology courses so he could "clear the planet." His lawyers were planning an insanity plea defense and, as a result, much of his knowledge related to Scientology became public. When Arnie published the court documents Scientology goons had his house raided related to copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation.

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This case literally made history and set important precedents and also blew the lid off of some of the top "secrets" of the pyramid scheme cult. In addition to making the outlandish beliefs regarding aliens available without spending hundreds of thousands on "auditing" it resulted in exposing the truth of the "Fair Game" policy in which cult founder, L. Ron Hubbard, lays out how "Suppressive Persons" who threaten the church by their existence can be harassed, lied about, blackmailed or even killed. This is the second death I've had to deal with this week. My best friend since high school died Thursday, March 15. According to the tragic details related to Scientology watchdog Tony Ortega at his site by his wife Gina, this was the same day that he shot her and then turned the gun on himself. I only knew Mr. Lerma tangentially via his works and through correspondence, but I pray that his son and widow are able to find peace despite the horrors of the end and pray that his legacy and life's work will continue to live on.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BREAKING: Noted Scientology critic Arnie Lerma shoots and injures wife, then kills himself <a href="https://t.co/GoVmi4OCGM">https://t.co/GoVmi4OCGM</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Scientology?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Scientology</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ScientologyTheAftermath?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ScientologyTheAftermath</a> <a href="https://t.co/5Vfhe2IVIE">pic.twitter.com/5Vfhe2IVIE</a></p>&mdash; Tony Ortega (@TonyOrtega94) <a href="https://twitter.com/TonyOrtega94/status/975474965674905600?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 18, 2018</a></blockquote>

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"Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop, don't stop…"

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R.I.P. Arnaldo Lerma, November 18, 1950 - March 15, 2018

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