When a family is aware that their child suffers from a serious mental illness most often the reaction is to seek psychiatric help. This doesn’t guarantee the sufferer will become healthy and happy, and be guaranteed that fairy tale ending everyone wants to hear. The number of violent schizophrenics is incredibly low and a rarity for people with the disorder. Having said that, a family that does nothing at all to combat a profound mental illness in a family member is a recipe for disaster. This is the story of a family whose lives ended in tragedy because their religious faith, Scientology, forbade involvement in the psychiatric community. It is a tragedy that simply didn’t have to happen.
Amherst – New York – Ellie Perkins was a happy homemaker, well-liked and living in a suburb of Buffalo. She lived with Donald Perkins and their two sons, Danny and Jeremy Perkins. Jeremy Perkins was a quiet young man who usually kept to himself. He also suffered from what used to be known as paranoid schizophrenia. The DSM-5 now doesn’t discriminate between types of schizophrenia.
On March 13, 2003, a terribly tragedy unfolded inside this idyllic household. An odd telephone call was placed to 9-1-1. It was from Donald Perkins: “I think my son may have attacked my wife.” A police officer attended the residence and called out to Ellie. 28-year-old Jeremy gave the creepy answer, “I’m in here and everything is okay.” Then, “Oh my God someone came in here and hurt my Mom bad.” Well which is it? Okay or bad? Jeremy wasn’t trying to mislead police. He truly didn’t know the difference. This is known as delusional. It also applied to the Andrea Yates case.
Jeremy stepped out of Ellie’s bedroom. He was wild-eyed, wore a scruffy black beard and long black hair. The police officer found Ellie covered in blood, motionless and lying on the bedroom floor in the fetal position. In a fit of madness Jeremy stabbed Ally 77 times in the chest. While being diagnosed by up to 10 psychiatrists Jeremy casually stated that “sometimes (Ellie) looked like she was like evil…like the devil or something.” That’s a typical delusion among schizophrenics. Yates drowned her five children while believing they were possessed by Satan.
In the early 1970s Ellie converted to the highly controversial Church of Scientology. The former Deputy Executive Director of Scientology of the Church of Buffalo, explained that Scientology considers psychiatry to be “a form of social evil.” the Director met the Perkins early after they joined the Church. Celebrities such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta Kirstie Alley, Sonny Bono, Jenna Elfman and many others are devout followers of this religion.
Jan Eastgate, International President of Scientology , believes strongly that “psychiatry commits human rights abuses every day.” On the Matt Lauer talk show, The Today Show, Tom Cruises stated that “before I joined Scientology I never believed in psychiatry and then after joining Scientology I started realizing more and more why I didn’t agree with psychiatry.”
“Scientologists believe that psychologists and psychiatrists are the rats and vermin of society and are destroying our civilization,” Lawrence Waltershime, a former member of Scientology explained. “The fear of psychiatry stopped this woman from getting help and that woman is dead.”
Jeremy explained, “my Mom, I thought she was out to get me. Like sometimes she’d be totally normal and then she’d have that face again.” The attorney who represented Jeremy in legal proceedings believed the real tragedy was that his client never got medical assistance for his mental illness. Naturally the Church stated that Ellie’s murder had nothing to do with her faith. Dawn, a friend of Ellie’s, believed that Ellie was searching for answers in her life when she joined the Church. The Church often recruits members with a personality or stress test, administered through a faux device known as an “e-metre.” Scientology itself admits “the metre is nothing.”
A main tenet in Scientology is that of Dyanetics. Dyanetics’ aim is to bring its members to The Clear. The latter aims to rid people of their negative effects that life has brought them and that “hold one back.” Scientology can make people euphoric. The belief that there is a means of ridding someone of stress and negative life experiences is a powerful incentive to join Scientology.
For a time, Jeremy was functional and he didn’t appear to display unusual symptoms. At 24, he informed Donald that he heard voices. His father’s response was to “tell the voices to be quiet.” Meanwhile, Jeremy’s behaviour grew increasingly bizarre. Court-ordered psychiatric reports about Jeremy Perkins maintained that Jeremy showed disturbing symptoms of mental illness since 2001. Jeremy’s illness continued to increase to the point where Donald noticed his strange behaviours at his work. He had to fire his own son. Jeremy was banned from taking Scientology courses by the Church which knew he was a troubled man. They decided he was sick and stated Jeremy needed to “get help before he could become active again.”
Ironically, Ellie allowed Jeremy to take a sleeping pill prescription but this antagonized his symptoms. One night, Jeremy went out walking and became aggressive toward strangers. He was arrested for assaulting a number of people. Court-ordered psychiatric evaluations confirmed that Jeremy was a schizophrenic. Ellie assured the court she would take her son to a psychiatrist, although she had no such intention. A neurologist recommended anti-psychotic medication but the Perkins refused. The permitted vitamin therapy for Jeremy’s symptoms. Naturally, this weird approach failed.
March 12, 2003, Ally Perkins had a telephone call with a friend Dawn. She was stressed because Jeremy’s vitamin therapy wasn’t working. On March 13, 2003, Donald and Ellie informed Jeremy that he would be leaving to attend Albert Brown, a self-proclaimed “natural healer.” Jeremy felt threatened. The only sense of stability and security he had ever known was slipping away from him. Later that day, Jeremy attacked his mother with a large butcher knife. He stated, “I held my right hand behind my back. I decided to do my Mom…she was screaming ‘no Jeremy don’t….I knew she was a goner.”
High-ranking Scientologists flew into Amherst and insisted that Scientologists remain quiet about the incident. Reportedly, the goal was “to distance the church as far away as they could from Jeremy Perkins.” The murder punctured the Church’s promise that certain ranking members could achieve special powers and that these members would be “protected.” Scientologists wanted the murder to be “hushed over.” Eight months after the Perkins murder, the Church through a gala opening for the opening of a new church. All was well. Keep calm and worship on.
Cruise made his denunciation of psychiatry on television. “Psychiatry is a pseud-science…You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do.” Becoming agitated and belligerent, Cruise argued, “all it does [psychotropic drugs] do is mask the problem and if you understand the history of it, it masks the problem…you’re not getting to the reason why. There is no such thing as chemical imbalance…the anti-depressants masks the problem…drugs aren’t the answer…Matt you’re glib. You don’t even know what Ritalin is….you should be a little more responsible in knowing what it is. because you c-communicate to people.”
Cruise’s face was one of rage; wide-eyed, brows drawn together and open-mouthed, he appeared ready to jump out of his seat and attack Lauer. Ironic, considering Scientology believes that when an argument is in progress, the higher road is to talk the other person up into one’s belief system in order to avoid conflict. In March 2006, an advertisement in LA Weekly blamed Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology for Perkins’ violent death. The ad stated: “Thanks, Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology, for your expert advice on mental health.”
Jeremy Perkins and the murder of Ellie Perkins are strong evidence to the aforementioned claim.