Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism > UK Media Archive

[Preview of For the Love of ... Faith]

Observer, Thursday 29 October

From chriso@lutefisk.demon.co.uk Mon Oct 26 16:46:22 GMT 199

[Just spotted this in the Observer's "Life" magazine and TV listings, for Thursday 29 October; just to make it absolutely clear, the programme is actually on Friday morning:]

"L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, has written 60 million words about the human condition. The participants on For the Love of ... Faith (Channel 4, 12.25 am) have taken a fair few of them literally. This is the first episode of a series exploring pre- millenial religion. It is hosted by the journalist Jon Ronson on a Channel 4 set that looks like a leftover from the heady nights of After Hours. The format is similar too: Ronson sits curled up in a cracked leather armchair, wearing a sceptic's unironed shirt and invites his half-dozen converts to ramble, in engagingly zealous terms, about their faith.

The Scientologists seem happy to oblige. They bang on about 'assists', which help non-believers to see the light, and about 'clears', the state of uncomplicated consciousness to which they all aspire (you can tell, it seems, a 'clear' Scientologist by his or her fixed grin). They describe encounters with the scientology stars (John Travolta is the favourite) and meetings with 'Mr Hubbard' himself: 'I could tell he was a special man,' we are informed at one point; 'He had this small dog called Trixie, who had to be fed Polo mints.'

Ronson occasionally nudges the conversation along with admirably straight-faced questions: 'I don't shop in an ideological manner; do you?' Most of the time, though, his guests do his work for him. One woman speaks cheerily of her near miss with temptation: 'Without Scientology, I'd probably have been a hooker'; an older man - a rather alarming GP who does not believe in surgery - claims to have been brought back from the afterlife after a heart attack with some scientology tricks performed by his wife."

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