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Hundreds Sign Up for Cult Church

The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Evening News of Edinburgh, March 6, 1998, Friday

From nobody@REPLAY.COM Tue Mar 24 16:01:42 GMT 199]

By Brendan Mcginty

A religious group once branded "corrupt, sinister and dangerous" is taking
on 15 new workers in the city - to cope with a soaring Scottish membership.

The Church of Scientology claims it now has between 600 and 700 members in
Edinburgh, with more than 7000 across Scotland.

And leaders say there are 21,000 Scots now on the mailing list of the
Church, whose high-profile members include movie stars John Travolta, Tom
Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

The Church, founded in 1954 by former sci-fi writer L Ron Hubbard, wants to
hire voluntary counsellors and administrative assistants to work at their
Scottish headquarters in South Bridge, Edinburgh.

The Scientologists were dubbed "corrupt, sinister and dangerous" in 1984 by
Mr Justice Latey in a custody case in England.

And the Cult Information Centre today renewed warnings about the Church,
claiming members often show personality changes, become alienated from
family and friends and pour money into the search for their inner being.


But the Scientologists deny they are a cult and say they preach a simple
message of independent thought and self-improvement.

Edinburgh-based member Ken Littlewood, a 47-year-old father-of-three, said:
"I like the fact that the church is non-materialistic and teaches people
how to cope with real life, relationships and dealing with people.

"Most criticisms are based on ignorance or a lack of information."

Executive Director of the Hubbard Academy in South Bridge, Brian Wardie,
said the Church wants to employ more counsellors to deal with depressed
people who have turned to Scientology.

He said: "We have just launched a new advertising project which has
attracted interest.

"We want around 15 new voluntary staff with different skills.

"More and more people are looking for something to turn to especially
recently - maybe they have problems with their kids, they might be
run-down. But it's fair to say that a demand for more staff has been
created by the numbers coming to us recently."

New members are commonly introduced to the Church of Scientology with
personality tests and are shown films about the church.

They study the teachings of Hubbard, who became a multi-millionaire from
his books and invented a psychotherapy technique called Dianetics.


An investigator into fringe religions, who asked not to be named, said the
upsurge in membership marked a worrying trend.

He said: "There seems to be a trend and I have noticed that there has been
more advertising for Scientology."

Father Tom Connelly of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said: "This
shows that we are living in a pick 'n' mix society where people feel
something is missing from their lives - but people have lost their Gospel

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