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Oregon Dentist Ordered to Pay $348,000 After Pressuring an Employee to Attend Scientology Symposium: The FULL Order!

A Bend, Oregon dentist, Andrew Engel (pictured), has been ordered to pay a former employee $348,000 after he pressured her to attend a 3-day Scientology symposium, and she quit her job rather than comply.

We contacted Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, and they sent over the 69-page order in the case, which is chock-full of fascinating detail about what dental hygienist Susan Muhleman went through when she objected in 2009 to being pushed by Engel to attend a Silkin Management Group symposium that October which would have instructed attendees in Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s “Tone Scale” and other Scientology concepts.

As the documents below show, Muhleman had the presence of mind to do Internet research on Silkin, Hubbard’s tone scale, and Scientology’s incompatibility with her own faith, Christianity, before telling Engel that she refused to attend the symposium. The state agency agreed with her that she had every right to refuse, and its award is one of the highest it has ever ordered.

Engel, a Scientologist himself, contracted with Silkin’s predecessor, Hollander Management Group in 2005. In 2008, Hollander changed its name to Silkin.

Silkin is affiliated with Scientology’s business management front group, the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE, which tends to target dentists, chiropractors, and ophthalmologists for recruitment.

Muhleman took a job as a dental assistant at Engel’s office in early 2008, and was “involved in assisting Dr. Engel in ‘chair side procedures’,” the order states.

In July 2009, Engel attended a Scientology conference, and afterwards he urged his staff to make use of Scientology books in the office. Engel’s wife told the staff that they “didn’t use the Scientology as a religion; they were only using it for knowledge reasons, so that these books would help us to be able to market ourself or the business better.”

Muhleman “had previously been unaware that Engel’s business practices were related in any way to Scientology,” the order states.

The next month, in August, Engel asked his staff if they could attend a three-day symposium scheduled for October 8 through 10. Muhleman said she was free. He then handed out an outline of what the symposium was about. (Engel had paid $3,500 for his staff to attend, no matter how many went with him.)

Curious about the “tone scale” mentioned in the outline, Muhleman started to do Internet research, and learned more about Hubbard, Scientology, and WISE. (Hubbard theorized that all human emotion could be charted on his “tone scale,” and it’s an integral part of Scientology itself.)

Scientology often tells beginning members that it is compatible with Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths. But in fact, upper-level members learn that Hubbard believed all modern religions were merely “mental implants” created by an alien galactic overlord 75 million years ago. In a well known taped lecture, you can hear Hubbard say, “There was no Christ.

Muhleman “asked Dr. Engel if the conference was mandatory. He told her it was because he had already paid for it.”

She objected, and told him that she would not attend because of the symposium’s ties to Scientology.

The next day, Engel put up two posters about Hubbard and key Scientology concepts (the tone scale, conditions) at the office.

A couple of days later, Muhleman was asked to meet with Engel and his wife as they explained to her why it was so important for her to attend. Muhleman was asked how she had learned about Scientology. She explained that she’d done Internet research.

Muhleman “told Dr. Engel that she felt she was being pressured and harassed to attend the symposium and she would not attend. When [she] got up to leave, Dr. Engel told her that if she left the building he would consider that to be her resignation.”

She complained that later he tried to get her to talk to a Silkin consultant, telling her “he could listen to ‘Saddam Hussein and no harm could come of it’.”

She refused, and then quit her job.

The order documents how upset Muhleman was, how she sought medical attention because of her stress over the situation, how much it cost her to move to Texas to look for work, and that she has never been able to make as much as she did in Oregon.

The labor bureau took all that into account, but also awarded her $325,000 for her emotional suffering, reasoning that she had been unlawfully harassed because of her religious convictions.

The documents also suggest that Engel fought this case vigorously, which helps explain why it took so long to reach a conclusion.

He argued that the Hubbard materials his office was using were purely “secular” and had nothing to do with the Scientology religion.

As for Muhleman’s concerns that recruitment into Scientology was part of the aim of the symposium, we talked to Denise Brennan, who tells us she had very good reasons to suspect that.

“I was under the very first mission to incorporate WISE, working with Hubbard by telexes. That was in Lichtenstein in the late 1970s,” Brennan says. (Back then he was Larry Brennan, and he was intimately involved in Scientology’s complex corporate restructuring that happened in the early 1980s.)

“Hubbard was trying to put controls in on Scientology businesses,” Brennan says. “I was there at the very beginning when Hubbard was dreaming up ideas for WISE. I was over it on the Watchdog Committee. And even when I left staff, I was involved in WISE on the business side.”

Brennan says that, like Scientology’s other front groups in education and drug rehab, WISE is first and foremost a tool for getting in new people and their money.

“WISE was never out of control of Hubbard and then the Sea Org,” she says.

We asked Brennan if Muhleman’s concern about a WISE company’s symposium being a front for church recruitment was realistic and she said, “It absolutely is. That’s one of the primary purposes for WISE.”

And she laughed when we asked about assertions that Hubbard materials used in WISE businesses are “strictly secular.”

“They’ll say it’s non-religious when it’s convenient,” she says. “But per Scientology policy, ‘scripture’ is considered any of the written and recorded words of L. Ron Hubbard. It’s all Scientology scriptures.”

She says it’s the same with Scientology’s other front groups, such as the publishing arm that puts out Hubbard’s fiction.

“What they don’t tell schools — and it’s the same with WISE or study tech — the entire purpose of marketing those books is to get people over to the religious material and get them in the church.”

Below, we’ve posted the entire 69-page order from the Oregon labor bureau. We look forward to your observations about it in the comments.

Dr Andrew Engel #38-11

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