Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive

Cult's TV message

'Brainwashing' sect launches recruitment ad

Daily Mail, 18 September 1996

by Andrew Hogg

The Church of Scientology, once branded 'corrupt, sinister and dangerous' by a High Court judge, was under fire again yesterday after unveiling a UKP70,000 TV recruitment campaign.

A 60-second advert extolling the cult's virtues will be shown tonight on the UK Living cable channel after a ban by the Independent Television Commission was lifted.

Anti-cult campaigner Ian Howarth said: "the ITC say the rules don't allow them to ban this group, so maybe the rules should be looked at.

'In 1984 Mr Justice Latey described the Church of Scientology as corrupt, sinister and dangerous. The concerns that existed then are the same as the concerns now.'

Scientology, founded nearly 50 years ago by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, counts John Travolta and Tom Cruise among its adherents.

In 1968, the Home Office banned a number of the church's senior members from Britain and it has been an object of concern ever since, amid claims that new members are manipulated and enticed into spending thousands of pounds on Scientology courses.

Two years ago the Californian Court of Appeal accepted that the techniques of Scientology constituted 'brainwashing' and 'though reform'.

Mr Howarth, general secretary of the Cult Information Office, said: 'We still receive complaints from people saying their loved one have changed for the worse of have been parting with large sums of money.'

Tonights's advert claims: 'The Church of Scientology provides practical wisdom which it believes can help you live a happier and more fulfilled life.'

Home Office Minister Tom Sackville yesterday branded the majority of religious cults 'cynical and evil'. He warned: 'Once involved, young people find themselves unable to get out. Cult organisers then wreak havoc with their minds, often causing appalling distress to families.'

Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive