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Bristol man to sue cult for over UKP10,000

Front page article from The Bristol Journal (free local paper), 29th April 1994

"BRAINWASHED"

Bristol man to sue cult for over UKP10,000

By Emily Compston


A BRISTOL man is suing an organisation which he claims taught him to lie
and reject his family, whilst charging him over UKP7,001 for the pleasure.

          Jobn 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 UKP2,000, you would say'more than UKP500'. They taught us to
say that they were acceptable truths."
 
      Warning

          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 UKP10,000 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 UKP90 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 UKP400 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.

     Persuaded

          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 UKP50,000
alread and I could cost them millions if I persuade any others to leave."
          He is now suing the church for over UKP10,200 -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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