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Roger Tuffin was Stopped on the Street and Bought the Book

The Guardian, 28 November 1996, Page 7

ROGER Tuffin got involved with the Church of Scientology when they stopped him on the street and gave him a personality analysis. He bought a book on dianetics, the system of thought behind Scientology, and promptly paid £600 at the Bournemouth mission in Poole for 35 hours of counselling and a course.

"I was very unsure of my sexual orientation. I didn't want to be a homosexual and I felt very confused. The book said homosexuality was a perversion and it could be sorted out." Roger, now 25, has come to terms with his homosexuality and lives with a partner.

Roger took a week's holiday to be "audited" and to study. They wouldn't tackle his homosexuality, so he gave up his job as a bank clerk to become a full-time volunteer to prove his commitment to the church.

He moved into a house with other members; all were on paltry wages from the church - as little as £5 a week - and ran up big bills for gas, rent and electricity.

"My family were horrified about my involvement, and the mission trained me to handle it. I was told not to listen to anything my mother said."

Roger paid £3,100 for more auditing and courses on credit cards and took out a building society loan for £500. When Roger complained that the auditing was still not tackling his homosexuality, they suggested he undertake "life repair" - intensive auditing - for £1,300. That did some good.

Because of Roger's experience as a bank clerk, he was given a job in accounts department Bournemouth. By 1993, the difficulties were getting on top of him, and the only way out seemed to be to join the Scientologists' elite corps, the Sea Org, where he undertook the "billion year contract" whereby he committed himself to Scientology for several reincarnations.

He was sent to the Caribbean where he became director of communications for the International Association of Scientologists. He worked from 8.30am to 11.15pm with a day off every two weeks.

"I got married out there to the woman who had recruited me. We got on well but the sex was a bit of a problem and we couldn't do it for six months. In 1994 I came to England on my own for a while and started having homosexual thoughts and masturbating."

Roger was made to confess to his "overts" or sins. He was told it was probably better he leave. When it came out that he had stolen £100 to buy his wife a Christmas present, the procedures for his departure were speeded up. He had to sign forms undertaking never to speak to the press.

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