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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 19-03-2011 19:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Much more at link.

Quote:
Scientology: inside and out
Sat, Mar 19, 2011

A recent campaign in Dublin advertised courses run by the Scientology movement. Members past and present tell CIAN TRAYNOR about their experiences of the organisation. Does it bring the promised prosperity, intelligence and freedom, or simply exploit the vulnerable?


‘WHEN JOB SECURITY turns into insecurity,” ran a recent ad on the Dart, in Dublin, “attend a course in Scientology.” The accompanying photographs feature men and women looking stressed or dejected. The course advertised was in “personal efficiency”, cost €45 and promised to “increase ability, competence and lasting security at work”.

When the posters appeared, complaints and defamatory graffiti materialised swiftly. The back-and-forth arguments about Scientology are constant: one side claims they are exposing the truth; the other dismisses the detractors as liars engaging in discriminatory behaviour.

Since forming, in 1953, Scientology has presented itself as an applied religious philosophy that can bring prosperity, enhanced intelligence and spiritual freedom. The church’s founder, the late science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, taught that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature.

Through a method of regressive therapy known as auditing, practitioners aim to “clear” themselves of traumatic memories known as “engrams”, which are carried over from past lives and cause insecurities, irrational fears and psychosomatic illnesses.

Scientology’s critics, however, see it as a money-making enterprise that exploits the vulnerable with cult-like practices.

This weekend Scientology’s UK headquarters celebrates the centenary of Hubbard’s birth with a gala event where celebrity members such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta are expected – a measure of the religion’s progress as the world’s fastest-growing religion. Its opponents, meanwhile, will gather at Scientology missions around the world, buoyed by their belief the religion is struggling to survive in the face of mounting criticism from former members.

Yet despite the fissure between celebrity endorsements and controversial allegations, Scientology still holds an appeal for people. We spoke to past and present practitioners to discover why they joined and why, in most cases, they left.

John Duignan

Commanding officer, Scientology Missions International UK

John Duignan’s 22 years as a Scientologist were bookended by mental breakdown. After emigrating from Cork he was stopped in Stuttgart one day in 1985 and persuaded to take a free personality test. The results indicated he desperately needed help, which he says was true. He had felt vulnerable since his parents killed themselves, when he was 10. Scientology seemed to offer a solution.

“I’ve realised I had quite a messed-up childhood, which set me up for needing something like that,” Duignan says. “They were promising me fantastic things: to make you permanently happy and healthy. For a depressed person that can be quite appealing.”

Duignan says he was encouraged to take out bank loans to pay for Scientology courses and disconnect from anyone critical of the religion. Then something in him snapped.

“I was suicidal. I haven’t been able to document this, but I feel it was induced in some way. I came out of this breakdown as a fanatical Scientologist, and that’s a fact. A mental filter had been broken. My ethos and culture was based around my Irish Catholic upbringing, but that was completely undermined. I now believed Scientology was the only way to save the world.”

He began working at the Stuttgart mission in exchange for course work and was later recruited to the Sea Organisation, Scientology’s fraternal religious order. Its 6,000 members, some of whom are children, sign billion-year commitment forms.

“It’s a difficult organisation to leave,” says Duignan. “Everybody watches everybody. All the bases have a perimeter of some form, and they are locked, wired and under surveillance. If you wake up one night and think, My God, what am I doing? you cannot walk out of the building.”

Working 16-hour days, 365 days a year, on Scientology operations in the US, the UK, Africa, Canada and Australia, Duignan ascended the ranks. “I had become a real honorary bastard.” The greater Duignan’s responsibilities, the more trust he earned in his free time. He’d sneak away whenever possible, doing independent voluntary work in deprived areas to see how Scientology translated to the outside world. It didn’t stand up, he believed.

Duignan began to develop doubts, believing the Scientology community was insular and rife with double standards.

The church discourages independent inquiry on the grounds that it hampers progress along the Bridge to Total Freedom, the religion’s ladder to enlightenment. Revelations are made progressively through courses, the cost of which can add up to more than €300,000.

Many former Scientologists cite their first delinquent internet search as a jarring experience. Duignan began reading “earth-shattering” accounts of former members who had reached the top only to grow disillusioned, finding troubling discrepancies between Hubbard’s church biography and his medical and military records.

At 42, Duignan felt he should have been married with children and a career. Instead he was “a ghost” with no money, no qualifications or transferrable skills, no state entitlements and no way of relating to “wogs” – non-Scientologists. He says he couldn’t simply walk away, or “blow”, in Scientology terminology. He had been on security operations to forcibly bring back defectors and knew what to expect. “I was on the run,” he says gently. “I realised that psychologically I was not going to be able to keep this up.”

Although Scientologists were staked outside his family home, in Cork, Duignan managed to trick them into thinking he was in Birmingham and made it clear that any attempts to bring him back would be futile. Four years on he says intensive counselling and the ability to attend college as a mature student have helped him rebuild his life.

“That was so crucial,” he says. “I was quite ignorant after 22 years; the whole world outside of Scientology was scary. Even if I don’t get a job after this I’ve still got a good education and a sense of hope.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2011/0319/1224292581794.html
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 08:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my God, Church of Scientology dug up dirt on Matt Stone and Trey Parker
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Church of Scientology isn't prepared to sit back and let influential Hollywood types use the medium of satire to poke fun at it.

Just ask Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park. According to a newly leaked email, their private lives have been forensically examined by investigators working for the Church's PR department.

They appear to have ended up in the line of fire in 2006, not long after the broadcast of "Trapped in the Closet", a highly controversial episode of the adult cartoon, which attempted to mock the Church's science fiction-based theology. According to an internal memorandum, Scientology's Office of Special Affairs mounted an investigation into Parker and Stone's circle of close friends, seeking "viable strings that can be pulled" to either discredit the duo, or to persuade them to refrain from satirising the Church in future.

"To find a direct line into Stone and Parker, some of their friends have been identified," reads the email. They included Matthew Prager, a Hollywood screenwriter, actors John Stamos and Rebecca Romjin, and Dave Goodman, a writer who was at college with the pair.
The memo says each of these individuals is being "PRC'd" – a term used by private detectives which refers to the practice of checking every public record available about a particular target, in search of a potential vulnerability.

"There are some strings that will be pulled on the PRC on Stone. Otherwise the special collections [a term apparently referring to data gathered using covert surveillance techniques] will be debugged in order to get some viable strings that can be pulled."

The memo, written on 16 April 2006, was published at the weekend by Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking Scientology executive who defected five years ago and has since been running a blog critical of the Church. He claims it is part of a large "trove" of hitherto-secret documents detailing the Church's efforts to discredit the South Park creators, which recently found its way into his possession. He has promised to release others.

In interviews yesterday, Mr Rathbun alleged it is common practice for Scientologists to gather sensitive information about their critics. In addition to scouring public records, he claimed Church investigators occasionally examine the rubbish bins of targets.
Stone and Parker have for years used South Park to satirise almost every organised religion, sometimes with awkward consequences. The "Trapped in the Closet" episode, which featured an unflattering portrayal of Tom Cruise, was a case in point: it wasn't broadcast in the UK for several years, because of the strict libel laws. Controversy about the plot – in which Church elders decide South Park character Stan is the re-incarnation of L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology – resulted in it becoming one of the most-watched episodes in the show's history.

The Church of Scientology, which didn't return messages seeking comment yesterday, seems well acquainted with Stone and Parker's oeuvre. "They consider what they do is satire and they attack anyone or any group without any regard for who they are or what they are," notes the memo (accurately). "They love it when they get some reaction."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/oh-my-god-church-of-scientology-dug-up-dirt-on-matt-stone-and-trey-parker-2375517.html
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 25-10-2011 17:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was only a controversial episode if you're a Scientologist, everyone else (who saw it) found it quite amusing. If this cult can attempt to infiltrate government (which they did at one stage) then it's no surprise that they get all underhand, shady and paranoid with private citizens as well.

Just wait till Paul Thomas Anderson's sinister moneymaking sci-fi based cult movie is released. Watch your bins, Paul!
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PostPosted: 11-11-2011 19:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Scientology wedding rite powers queried
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1111/1224307372497.html
JIMMY WALSH

Fri, Nov 11, 2011

SEANAD REPORT: SEANAD DEPUTY leader Ivana Bacik (Lab) said she thought it was almost certain that the Church of Scientology would qualify under existing legislation as a body whose members could perform marriage ceremonies in this country. She would have to check if it had sought registration for solemnising purposes.

Ms Bacik was moving a Labour Bill to enable members of the Humanist Association of Ireland to perform civil wedding ceremonies, having received ministerial designation to do so.

The Labour-sponsored Bill passed the second stage unopposed. Ms Bacik said it was a proud week for humanism in Ireland. She understood that for the first time an element would be included in the presidential inauguration today. Humanism was an ethical philosophy of life based on concern for humanity which combined reason with compassion. She understood that the association had 500 members. It had become the voice for the non-religious in Ireland who, according to Central Statistics Office figures, comprised the largest group in the country after Roman Catholics.

Responding to concerns voiced by Paschal Mooney (FF), who wondered if too wide a power was being given to any ministerial incumbent in terms of designating bodies, Ms Bacik acknowledged that this would have to be teased out in the committee stage debate.

David Norris (Ind) said the Church of Scientology was a church or a group about which serious concerns had been raised in European legal forums concerning whether or not it was a religious body. “I wonder is it accepted that it is a body about which many people have reservations, not because of any wish to discriminate on the basis of religious belief, but because of their belief that this is, in fact, a cult.” Cait Keane (FG) said that while it was important that we had an inclusive, pluralist society, it was essential that the powers of designation be spelt out clearly before the proposed change to existing legislation was made.
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Black River FallsOffline
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PostPosted: 26-11-2011 22:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why did this actually surprise me?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v233/BlackRiverFalls/Stupid%20Stuff/scientism.jpg

Maybe I thought they had a bad enough rep that Youtube would have more sense.
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PostPosted: 03-02-2012 13:47    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Court upholds Scientology fraud ruling in France
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/0203/1224311175786.html
RUADHÁN MAC CORMAIC in Paris

Fri, Feb 03, 2012

A FRENCH appeals court has upheld fraud charges and a €600,000 fine against the Church of Scientology for cajoling followers into paying large sums for bogus personality tests and cures.

Rejecting the church’s appeal against a 2009 ruling, the court said two French branches of the US-based organisation were guilty of “organised fraud” and gave four of its leaders suspended jail sentences of up to two years.

A French parliamentary committee described Scientology in 1995 as a “dangerous cult”, not a religion, and individual Scientologists had been prosecuted before, but this case marked the first time the organisation as a whole was convicted.

There had been expectations the French courts might ban the group, but legislation passed just before the original trial in May 2009 ruled that out.

The latest ruling found Scientology’s “celebrity centre” and its bookshop in Paris had taken advantage of vulnerable individuals in the 1990s. A personality test offered to followers had “no scientific value” and expensive treatments recommended on foot of negative results were purely a source of revenue.

The five plaintiffs in the case had accused the group of persuading them to spend tens of thousands of euro on the personality tests, vitamin cures, sauna sessions and “purification packs”.

“This is very good news for those who fight against cults and it is a serious defeat for the Church of Scientology,” said Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Mr Morice said that while Scientology could still operate in France, the court’s ruling went to the heart of its activities and opened the door to a ban or dissolution as a possible outcome in other pending lawsuits.

Prosecutors had originally hoped the 2009 trial would lead to a ban in France. However, a change in French law that was approved shortly before a verdict briefly made it impossible to ban or dissolve a group convicted of fraud.

The law has since been changed back, but a ban on the group or its dissolution cannot be enforced retroactively.

Commenting yesterday, the church called the ruling “illegal” and said it would seek to have it overturned through a final appeal to the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest court, which can assess whether the law was applied correctly but not re-examine evidence.

“The church wishes that the fairness of justice, such as protected by our constitution, becomes a reality once again for all the citizens of our country, scientologists included,” a statement said.

The accused and their lawyers were not in court for yesterday’s verdict, but a few dozen scientologists protested outside the court with signs that read “I have the right to my religion”. In 1997 and 1999, French courts convicted Scientology members of fraud, while a court fined the church for violating privacy laws in 2002.

Founded in 1954 by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, the church bases its beliefs on the study of his 1950 book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
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PostPosted: 03-07-2012 00:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Scientology church tries to destroy families, say ex-members
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0702/1224319184307.html
CIAN TRAYNOR

Mon, Jul 02, 2012
A FORMER Church of Scientology member has warned actress Katie Holmes what to expect if she speaks out against the religion following her separation from Tom Cruise.

Speaking at Dublin Offlines, a conference held by ex-Scientologists on Saturday, Samantha Domingo claimed that attempting to leave the church could provoke a very strong reaction from the organisation.

Ms Domingo spent 20 years in the organisation before leaving in 2009, following the breakdown of her marriage to musician and fellow Scientologist Plácido Domingo jnr.

When she spoke publicly of her experiences, Ms Domingo says the church pressured her ex-husband to disconnect from her and to only communicate with their three daughters through an attorney.

The threat of having details from their church-based marriage counselling exposed exacerbated the couple’s difficulties, she added, until the musician also defected.

“I hope Tom and Katie haven’t had marriage counselling because if they have, OSA will have those files,” said Ms Domingo, who still practises Scientology independently of the church.

Her presentation focused on aspects of the organisation which she believes ruins lives.

“Forced disconnection is the destruction of families, it’s the destruction of years of friendship, the loss of children and the loss of parents.”

Almost half of those attending the event, the first of its kind in Ireland, disguised themselves with a colourful mix of balaclavas, bandanas, veils and the Guy Fawkes masks favoured by “hacktivist” protester collective Anonymous, whose members had travelled from France, Germany and the UK to attend and support the event.

Many guests filing into the conference were filmed by two people outside the venue, the Teachers’ Club in Dublin’s Parnell Square.

Former Scientologist Pete Griffiths, the event’s chief organiser, believed it was a surveillance tactic by Scientology intelligence operatives and that similar conferences had been scuppered in the past through the church’s interference.

Jamie DeWolf, a great-grandson of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard, was one of several guest speakers who spoke of the church’s alleged intimidation techniques.

Animatedly outlining his family’s difficulties with the religious organisation through several generations, he described Mr Hubbard as a “hustler” whose theology created “a pyramid scam that sells secrets”.

It was a sentiment echoed by academic critics and other former Scientologists who spoke. They included Gerry Armstrong, once Mr Hubbard’s personal archivist, who left the organisation after finding troubling discrepancies between Mr Hubbard’s claims and his official records.

Another was David Edgar Love, who gave an emotional account of abuses he claims to have witnessed at a Canadian branch of Narconon, a Scientology-related drug-treatment programme, which was shut down by Québec health officials in April.

Of the 15 speakers present, several maintained that the religion is struggling to survive in the face of high-profile defections and praised those gathered for having the courage to share their experiences. The Church of Scientology routinely refutes such claims and maintains that protesters are perpetrating religious bigotry.

“That’s the power of conferences like these,” said Mr DeWolf. “Once you pull the curtain back, they have no more power.”

© 2012 The Irish Times
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PostPosted: 03-07-2012 09:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is troubling how these people can see enough sense to leave the organisation, but then go on to still practice it. Human beings eh? Mad
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PostPosted: 03-07-2012 11:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

drbastard wrote:
It is troubling how these people can see enough sense to leave the organisation, but then go on to still practice it. Human beings eh? Mad


They think the central tenets are ok, the problem is with the dictatorial leadership. When you've given 20 - 30 years of your life to something its hard to ditch it completely.
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PostPosted: 08-07-2012 10:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

An article on Scientology with the usual rigorous scrutiny you'd expect from the Mail. I remember having to dodge the Scientologists inviting me into their Tottenham Court Road branch on a daily basis, however a girl I worked with popped in one lunchtime and didn't get out until a few hours later with the new belief her life was completely crap.

Comments say the pics in this article are computer-generated.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170232/Scientology-Pinching-purification-finding-The-Bridge-Total-Freedom-My-sinister-induction-Scientology-HQ--just-days-ago-July-4.html

On a side note, I wonder if Cruise and Travolta are becoming a liability for the organisation.
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PostPosted: 08-07-2012 15:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Other Half got caught by them one day, and didn't escape for a few hours. They had no effect on him whatsoever, but then, good luck trying to change his mind Wink
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PostPosted: 08-07-2012 20:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

jimv1 wrote:
On a side note, I wonder if Cruise and Travolta are becoming a liability for the organisation.


The Travolta legal cases certainly won't play down the accusations that the Scientologists supply "beards" for male celebrities anxious about their public profiles.
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PostPosted: 14-09-2012 17:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Full story:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19596150

Quote:
Scientologists in Hollywood tried to derail a movie inspired by the religion's founder, its studio claims.

Unnamed Scientologists applied "lots of pressure" to stop The Master being made and have it changed once filming began, studio head Harvey Weinstein said.

The film's director Paul Thomas Anderson has stated that The Master was partly based on L Ron Hubbard, who founded Scientology in the 1950s.

The Church of Scientology has denied trying to block the film.

Weinstein told BBC News: "We've had pressure and we've resisted pressure. Originally people said to me 'don't make it'. Lots of pressure.

"And then, as we were making it, we had pressure to change it. Paul's not doing that and I didn't think he chose me [to work with] because I was going to acquiesce either."

The movie tells the story of a cult leader known as The Master, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a troubled World War II veteran, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who is drawn into his world.

It won awards for acting and directing after its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and is seen as an early contender for The Oscars.

Asked about the reaction from Scientologists in Hollywood, Weinstein said: "I'm not going to get into names, but they feel strongly that they think it's a religion and as such they think the subject matter shouldn't be explored.

"Paul Thomas Anderson admitted in Venice that it was about L Ron Hubbard and the early days of his teaching and the creation of Scientology. But that's not all there is in the movie."

The film is also about the impact of fighting in World War II on the armed forces, he said.

"That's what attracted me to this script - my dad saw combat in World War II and he never got over it. It's about the journey that Joaquin Phoenix's character goes through, trying all sorts of things.

"I'm not sure how Scientologists will react. So far, without seeing it, it's negative - so I just urge people to go see it and then they can react..."


Same old story, someone says the Scientologists are intimidating them, then the Scientologists deny all knowledge. From what I've read the film is only partly inspired by L. Ron Hatstand, but even that's enough to set them off. Be very interesting to see its Oscar chances.
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PostPosted: 02-10-2012 12:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/article4564815.ece
Quote:

L Ron Hubbard was king conman...Scientology is just a pyramid scam
Says Jamie DeWolf, great grandson of founder

Published: 01st October 2012

WHEN Tom Cruise heard one of his Hollywood friends was making a movie inspired by his idol and spiritual leader – the man who started Scientology – he hit the roof.

The actor was furious the film would show mysterious cult founder L Ron Hubbard in a bad light.

Scientologists have already called for new movie The Master to be scrapped — and there are fears that followers will stage protests when it is released later this year.

But one man who says he will definitely go to see it is Hubbard’s great grandson, Jamie DeWolf.

The Sun tracked down the religious leader’s descendant to his home in Oakland, California.


Speaking publicly for the first time, Jamie said: “My great grandfather, L Ron Hubbard, was the king of the conmen, who created a giant pyramid scam.”

And he added: “He had the gift of the gab and was charismatic enough to pull it off. Basically, he was a grifter and a hustler who engineered a massive scam.”

Jamie says most of Hubbard’s family have now quit the church and live in hiding, terrified his followers might find them and reap revenge for abandoning his dream.

But Jamie, 35, adds that he is determined to speak out and tell the truth about his famous ancestor.
Jamie DeWolf

The dad-of-one thinks Scientology is on the wane and believes Cruise’s opposition to The Master will only hasten its demise.

He said: “Tom was always the golden child, the poster boy for Scientology. As soon as he started to become more vocal about Scientology it started to backfire. With him opposing The Master film, I think it can only add to its success.”

Jamie added: “My mother said Scientology had destroyed so many lives in the family, including L Ron Hubbard’s. He created a monster that became even larger than him.

“The fear still runs through my family. Most of them, even my own brother, just will not talk about it.

“And there is a stigma there. It’s like having a family member who is a notorious murderer — you would prefer other people didn’t know.”

The Church of Scientology is one of the most talked about cults — and continues to attract thousands of followers around the world.

But few people know how it started. L Ron Hubbard was born in the American Midwest and served in the US Navy during the Second World War.

“He later moved to California and tried his hand as a science fiction writer. His meagre earnings meant life was hard.

By 1948 he was so exasperated, he was quoted as saying: “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous.

“If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”

Hubbard’s fortunes changed when his book Dianetics: The Modern Science Of Mental Health became a worldwide best-seller in 1950. What started as a self-help guide quickly turned into a religion when Hubbard amassed scores of followers.

He later claimed he had discovered humans are immortal aliens trapped on earth and his teachings could unlock the universe’s secrets.

By the Sixties he was a multimillionaire with an army of besotted fans — creating the church that would eventually count Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its members. In 2000 Travolta starred in sci-fi flop Battlefield Earth, a movie based on a Hubbard novel, after using his influence to get it made.

Hubbard became an international pariah, with critics claiming he was brainwashing vulnerable people and turning them into slaves.

One of the first to quit the cult was his eldest son Ron Jr — Jamie’s late grandfather. Jamie said: “Ron Jr told me 99 per cent of anything his father ever wrote or said about himself was fiction. L Ron turned himself into a folk hero, a fictional character. Everything he said was made up or exaggerated.”

Jamie is convinced Hubbard, rather than believing himself to be a true prophet, started Scientology as a cynical exercise to amass power for himself. He said: “At first he called it science — but it is too easy to question science. So he called it a religion and hid behind that.

“You cannot question people’s religious beliefs, so he managed to say and do what he wanted.

“I don’t think he did it all for the money — he did it to feed his ego.”

The Master, which stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, is understood to be inspired by Hubbard’s early days.

Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a philosophical movement known as The Cause.

The film has proven so controversial that its director, Paul Thomas Anderson — who previously directed Cruise in Magnolia — now plays down its links to the cult and only calmed the movie heart-throb down after he arranged a private screening for him to see it.

But Jamie says parallels with his great grandfather, who died in 1986 aged 74, are unmistakable.

For his family, the film is a painful reminder of the legacy that still haunts them to this day. Ron Jr changed his name to DeWolf in the hope it would stop the Scientologists from finding him. It didn’t.

But, according to Jamie, the harassment has continued and has only got worse since David Miscavige — Cruise’s best friend — took over the church.

He went on: “Do I feel peculiar about having L Ron as my great grandfather? Well, there are other outlaws I would have preferred to be related to. But you can’t pick your family.

“My great grandfather was incredibly intelligent. He could have used the power he had to do things a lot differently.”

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/4564815/L-Ron-Hubbard-was-king-conmanScientology-is-just-a-pyramid-scam.html#ixzz288scmbTl
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PostPosted: 02-10-2012 17:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Master is already out in the US to great reviews and pretty good business considering it's not a blockbuster. Dunno when it reaches the UK.
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