[Note: Typos preserved.]

Daily News (Perth), Thu 10 Dec 70, p2


A Perth Petty Sessions magistrate said today that he considered the Church of the New Faith "a religion."

Mr C. Zempilas SM made the decision when he granted exemption from National Service to Jonathon Prismall Gellie (24) of Newnham-st., Leederville.

Gellie claimed he was a minister of the Church of the New Faith, and as such was entitled to exemption from service under a section of the National Service Act which gave exemption to ministers of religion.

Said the SM: "In support of his application Gellie gave evidence and stated that he had completed a course of training with the Hubbard Association of Scientology in Perth and obtained a certificate dated May 30, 1970, from an organisation called the Church of Scientology of California, indicating that he had been trained, selected and ordained as a minister of that church."

"He later received a certificate from the Church of the New Faith Incorporated, Adelaide, dated August 18, 1969, which indicated Gellie was selected and ordained a minister of the church to practise divine counselling, to give spiritual advice, hear confessions and to officiate at marriages, funerals, baptisms and other sacriments.

"The applicant said there were no significant differences between the Church of the New Faith and the Church of Scientology."


The SM said that since last March Gellie had been a full-time minister of the Church of the New Faith and had conducted services at the church's Hay-st. premises about every fourth Sunday.

"The South Australian Statute No. 1 of 1969 headed 'An Act To Prohibit The Teaching Practice Or Application Of The System Of Study Known As Scientology' showed scientology was banned in South Australia," said the SM.

"Reference was also made to WA's Scientology Act, 1968, which prescribed activities of the body known as the Hubbard Association of Scientology International.

"Though evidence has been given that the Church of the New Faith and the Church of Scientology have as their common author the writings of Lafayette Ron Hubbard, it is not my function to determine whether in fact the Church of the New Faith is an associated body of the Hubbard Association of Scientology International and thus proscribed under the WA Scientology Act, or whether it is prohibited under the South Australian Act.

"That is a question that would require detailed investigation and consideration."

"Historically, of course, many of the great religions of today have been banned at some time of their development, not least of which the Christian religion, and I should hardly think that this could be considered grounds that it was not, whilst banned, a religion.

"Having carefully considered the evidence, collected on behalf of the applicant, which was not contradicted and which I accept, the submission made by counsel and the various authorities quoted, I came to the conclusion that in the context of the National Service Act, the Church of the New Faith is a religion.

"It has a creed which makes reference to God, its objects speak of a God and a human spirit and it believes in the immortality of the spirit.

"Its creeds and objects indicate a belief and reverence for a Divine Power.

"There may, of course, be many in the community who would regard this church as evil."

The Magistrate quoted from an Adelaide judgement in the case Jehovah's Witnesses versus the Commonwealth (1943) when Chief Justice Sir John Latham said: "What is religion to one is superstition to another."

Mr Zempilas said: "I consider Gellie has established that he is a minister of the church and, accordingly, I am satisfied that he is a minister of religion within the context of Section 29 of the National Service Act and that he is exempt from rendering service under the Act."

[head-shot of Gellie with clerical collar prominent] Jonathon Gellie