Front page article : The Bristol Journal - UK
29th April 1994
Bristol man to sue cult for over UKP10,000
A BRISTOL man is suing an organisation which he claims taught him to lie and reject his family, whilst charging him over UKPo7,00 for the pleasure.
John Simpson, aged 24, (not his real name) is a former member of the controversial cult of the Church of Scienlology or Dianetics, as it is otherwise known.
He finally 'escaped' last month after seven months in the group.
If you had quizzed him last year about his involvement with Scientology, he would probably have told you a few "acceptable truths".
He explained: "For example, if your parents ask you how much you have spent on Scientology courses and you don't want them to know that you've spent UKPo2,00, you would say'more than UKP500'. They taught us to say that they were acceptable truths."
John, of Headley Park, is neither stupid or naive and yet within a few months he was spending every weekend at the cult's UK headquarters in Poole, taking part in self-improvement and PR courses.
In all, he spent over UKP 10,000 on courses andis now warning other Bristolians about the cult which is currently promoting itself in the city.
The cult boasts famous pupils such as film stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
According to John, one of the reasons he was first attracted to the centre in Poole was because of the people. "The people there were intelligent, there were dentists, architects, lawyers and these are the kind of people that Scientology want. They are bright and have inquiring minds."
Within an afternoon he had signed up for a UKPo90 Success Through Communiation course and he returned the following weekend.
He says the techniques used by the centre to enrol candidates are subtle.
"I went into an office and had an interview. I really thought they had my best interests to heart. By about 2am I was tired, I had work the next day. They kept on saying 'just a few more minutes', but it was more like an hour."
By the time he had set off back to Bristol, in the early hours of that September morning, he had parted with a further UKPo400 an was enrolled in another two courses.
John was elated - he felt more confident and his life became a cycle of work in the week and intense sludy at Poole at the weekends. Soon John was learning the Scientology language. He stopped having chats with his friends, but instead was in 'com' (communicating) with them.
His parents began getting worried around December last year, but any attempts to talk to their son ended in an argument and tears - "never mine" wrote John a few months later.
In desperation they sought help from an ex-Scientologist Gary Fryer who is now committed to. 'exposing' Scintology for what he believes it really is.
John was persuaded to visit him too and slowly he came oul of his ~brainwashed' slate and began to question all he had learnt.
John left the church in March and managed to persuade five olther people to leave.
"I'm not very popular tbere, I have cost them around UKP5o0,000 alread and I could cost them millions if I persuade any others to leave." He is now suing the church for over UKP 10,200 -the amount he spent, after loan interest, on courses at Poole.
A couple of months ago, he was paid a visit by an American private investigator, employed by the church to discredit members of the anti-Scientology fraternity.
"I applied scienlology to every side of my life. I really went for it. Now I just want to get other people out of it."
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