Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive

Sect row over policy

Members Quit in 'Disconnection' Protest

East Grinstead Courier, 9 February 1984, front page

AT LEAST 10 leading local members of the East Grinstead-based Church of Scientology have resigned from the sect over policy differences, it was disclosed this week.

It is understood that the resignations follow disquiet over the reintroduction of "disconnection" practices whereby church members are advised to completely sever relations with fellow members.

These policies were abandoned for a time in 1968.

It is alleged that these disconnection policies are now beck in force since a new policy dated September 10, 1983. following nexww management of the Church by what is known as its Religious Technology Centre.

It is claimed that these policies also apply to medical doctors and their patients who are Scientologists. There has also been concern over what the sect is charging for its courses. Only the wealthy can afford to buy these courses, it was alleged by some of the disenchanted members on Monday.

Among those who have resigned are Dr Stephen Davies and Dr Alan Stewart, partners in a clinic of natural medicine, and their wives, Dr Shoura Davies, and Mrs Maryon Stewart. They say that the sect's senior management is misrepresenting and misapplying the teachings of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

A joint statement issued by all four, says: "We have resigned from the Church of Scientology

[continued on page 8]

International for personal reasons. We endorse and are in full agreement with the philosophy of Scientology and teachings of L Ron Hubbard.

"Because we are fully aware that Mr Hubbard's writings encourage the unity of the family we cannot tolerate a misrepresentation or misapplication of them that encourages otherwise."

Dr Davies of Portland Road, East Grinstead. said the statement summed up in a nutshell the reasons for their resignation.


"We are in full agreement with the philosophy of Scientology and the fact that we have resigned in no way changes that," he emphasised.

His medical partner, Dr Stewart, who practises at Hove, said he understood there must be public concern ebout the revival of the disconnection policy. They too were concerned.

Hubbard's teachings that you did not disconnect but handled the situation was not being followed, he claimed.

Their understanding was that in the majority of cases you discussed and tried to resolve the situation. Only in exceptional circumstances, say if closely associated with a criminal or someone who had criminal intentions, did you disconnect, just as society disconnected by putting that person in prison.

Dr Shoura Davies is a medical graduate of Oxford University. Mrs Stewart is a dental hygienist.

But a sect spokesman dismissed the resignations as "a storm in a teacup". Mr Mike Garside, public affairs officer at the Scientologists' UK headquarters at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, said he thought the two doctors were taking the whole matter much too seriously.

"Local members of the church did get upset with them because they were obviously in disagreement with the church. We are sure the doctors' differences can be resolved if they contact us."

Mr Garside said: "About 2.000 Scientologists are living in and around East Grinstead and I know most of them and there are no problems, believe me.

"There have been a couple of people over here from the States to sort out any upsets hanging around. I know they have been bending over backwards to son out what might be upsetting anyone.

'This sort of thing has happened before and no doubt will happen again. There is a bit of a noise for a couple of months and then everyone gets back on with what they were doing.

"Our attitude is that the doors of Saint Hill are open for anyone. They are welcome to come down here and talk with us and have a look around."

Mr Garside said later, "We are in communication with the doctors to try to resolve this matter."

On Tuesday Dr Davies said he had been approached by member of the sect who had taken note of their grievances The spokesman had said he was distressed to hear they had experienced misapplication of church policies and was taking steps to rectify any misapplications that might have occurred.

"If the situation is resolved, we would be happy to withdraw our resignations," said Dr Davies.

Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive