|Nicole Kidman and Tom
Cruise, who belong to the Scientologists, are divorcing. Reports have suggested that the
break-up of their marriage may have occurred because of the growing religious chasm
between them; that they disagreed over the extent to which Scientology should govern their
Scientology was refused the
status of a religion in Britain by the Charity Commissioners, which decided that it did
not benefit the public.
In July 1984, Judge Latey, giving
judgment in open court after a private hearing, described the cult in the High Court as
"corrupt" and "both immoral and socially obnoxious". Judge Latey
ordered a Scientologist father to hand over his ten-year-old son and eight-year-old
daughter to their mother, who had fought for almost six years to be reunited with them
after she broke away from the cult.
The following week he saw the same
group of people three times. As a mother you get a gut feeling.
I knew this was not quite right. I
thought his new friends sounded odd. Ours is a close-knit family, so when Andrew's
personality changed I was alert to it immediately. He became bad-tempered, which was not
like him. He began to question our middle-class values. I talked over my fears with my
husband, but he told me not to worry. He suggested that I was being over-protective and
said it was good that Andrew had found a group of people to whom he could relate.
When Andrew told me that "they" had invited him to their headquarters at East
Grinstead, West Sussex, I became more suspicious. "Who are they? What do you talk
about?" I asked him. He would not answer. I found a book in his room by L. Ron
Hubbard that was total mumbojumbo. That is when it suddenly hit me: Andrew was seeing
people from the Scientologists. Apparently he was late arriving at East Grinstead and
"they" phoned us eight times to check he was going. I did something I'm not
happy to admit, but it confirmed our worst fears. Andrew was planning to go to New Zealand
for four months and had saved £1,500. I went through his papers and discovered receipts
from the Scientologists for £1,200.
I am a counsellor working for a children's charity, so I enlisted its help. The people
there advised us to keep calm, to tell Andrew we loved him and trusted him, but that he
owed it to us to tell us more about the people he was seeing.
When Andrew came home he looked strange and was aggressive. He told us he was leaving his
job as a trainee pharmacist and was going to live with the Scientologists. He seemed to be
slipping in and out of the cult personality he had adopted. I felt we were losing him. We
went through our rehearsed speech and he listened, but when I admitted knowing that he had
given them money he again became belligerent.
We were prepared to do anything to keep him away from those people and eventually tracked
down a counsellor who had been a Scientologist for 12 years before leaving the cult. He
agreed to talk to Andrew and they sat in a restaurant together for four hours while my
husband and I worried and wandered about.
It worked. Andrew was convinced that he had been foolish. The Scientologists bombarded him
with phone calls and letters for ten days. The pressure was a nightmare, but it was
wonderful to hear Andrew tell them to "get out of my life".
If, as reports claim, Kidman has split from Cruise because she cannot accept the way
Scientologists say children must be raised, then I think she has reached the only
conclusion a mother could.
All names have been changed to protect Andrew's identity. Anti-cult helpline - Escape: