Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive

Poison-pen campaign alleged

East Grinstead Courier, 23 February 1984

A £1,000 reward is being offered by the East Grinstead-based Church of Scientology for information leading to the prosecution of "those responsible for theft of materials from the church and a poison pen campaign of forged letters which have been sent to local members".

In a Press statement issued from its Saint Hill headquarters, the sect said it guaranteed protection for anyone providing information. It also urged people to turn over any information of criminal activities to the police.

The statement claimed that items stolen from the church recently included mailing lists of members and confidential written materials. There had also been forged letters purporting to come from senior church executives, and others on letterhead stolen from a local school attended by children of members.

The sect's public affairs officer, Mr Mike Garside, said that the offer was at the request of local members who had demanded action to prevent further upset and annoyance being caused by the letters. "Last year we had to expel a few people from the church because they persistently violated our basic policy of maintaining friendly relations," he said.

The church would not condone activities which seemed designed to disrupt people's lives: "We have put the information we already have in the hands of the police," said Mr Garside.


The church statement is the latest development in the row over the sect's "disconnection" policy which has led to many resignations and the formation of two breakaway groups.

One of the groups, whioh calls itself AFFINITIES, said this week that Scientology's application of of "obnoxious disconnection policies" was not in accord with the basic teachings of its founder, Ron Hubbard. Those who dared criticise church management were being denied their inalienable rights.

"Democracy within the Church of Scientology is a thing of the past. Recently many thousands of members have discovered this factor, often at the cost of their own family being torn asunder by becoming forced to disconnect from one another", said an editorial in the group's newsletter.

Management's "despotic policy" demanded that all who opposed its dominance be expelled from the church, vilified and disconnected."

The core of Affinities complaint concerned the present management's attempts to redefine the policy and technology of Scientology "in order to further entrench its own dogmatic position, now that the founder is no longer in control of the church".

Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive