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Cult targets MPs in expansion drive

East Grinstead Courier, 1 March 1990, front page

The controversial 'church' of Scientology is poised to launch a series of campaigns to rally politicians and influential people to its cause. The cult has set up a special group to expand Scientology influence in politics, arts, business and the media, through a series ofsocial campaigns aimed at improving its image.

Its main aim is to "help expand Scientology through rallying opinion leaders in political, media, arts, business and social spheres."

The Safe Point UK group, based at the cult's headquarters at Saint Hill, is aiming to "gain friends for Scientology" among decision makers and leaders of opinion both in the town and the country as a whole. The cult wants to rally 150 MP's to its cause through a series of campaigns on social issues.

The project is designed to "reach" into the field of arts and business and "develop and secure friends for Scientology".

The first of these campaigns is expected to promote the cult's opposition to drug taking. It will be aimed at showing that Scientology is concerned at drug abuse, crime and violence.

The cult, once described as being "corrupt, sinister and dangerous" by a High Court judge, wants to heighten awareness in politics, media, the arts, business, and "broad public."

The campaigns are being coordinated by a group of senior Scientologists including a leading local property developer, an accountant and two financiers.

Scientology members are currently being recruited to mount a sustained campaign by writing and phoning MP's and by arranging weekly meetings at the House of Commons. Others will be asked to orchestrate campaigns and to "handle" the media.

This is the latest in a series of attempts by the church to expand. Two years ago they launched a campaign to make East Grinstead Britain's first Scientology town, but attempts to recruit young people in the High Street caused a storm of opposition.

Since it was founded by science fiction writer Ron Hubbard in 1954, the church has been behind a number of campaigns which were masterminded originally by its Social Coordination Bureau, and since last year by the Association for Better Living and Education.

These have included Narconon, an organisation which aims to get people off drugs through the use of Scientology auditing and a strict 'Purification Run Down' involving rigorous exercise and large doses of vitamins.

The cult is also actively involved in the Citizens Commission for Human Rights, a group set up to expose what it sees as the excesses of the psychiatric profession. It is strongly opposed to many current psychiatric practices and of the use of drugs and electro convulsive therapy to control mental illness.

In January the cult completed work on Saint Hill Castle, at their headquarters. The project, which started in 1965, is reputed to have cost many millions of pounds and the "church" plans to use as a conference centre.

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