Scientology in the United Kingdom
Scientology in the United Kingdom is practised mainly within the Church of Scientology and its related groups which go under names including "Hubbard Academy of Personal Independence" and "Dianetics and Scientology Life Improvement Centre". The national headquarters, and former global headquarters, is Saint Hill Manor at East Grinstead, which for seven years was the home of L. Ron Hubbard, the pulp fiction author who created Scientology. Church-connected groups promoting aspects of L. Ron Hubbard's teaching, including Narconon and CCHR, have also been active in the UK, in some cases with charitable status. There have also been groups practising Scientology independently of the Church.
Scientology has received critical judgements from British courts, calling it "pernicious nonsense," "dangerous material" and "immoral and socially obnoxious". It has been described in Parliament as a socially harmful enterprise which indoctrinates children and other vulnerable people by "ignorantly practising quasi-psychological techniques". The UK Government's 1971 official report into Scientology was highly critical, as was another report prepared secretly several years later. Since then, the Church has been recognised as a religion by some authorities, but is not itself a registered charity.
- 1 Status
- 2 Beginnings
- 3 East Grinstead
- 4 Foreign entry ban and legal challenges
- 5 Official inquiry
- 6 The Latey judgement
- 7 Relations with authorities
- 8 Relations with academics, authors and the media
- 9 Related groups
- 10 Independent Scientologists
- 11 Opposition
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Number of adherents
The Church claims a membership of 118,000 members in the United Kingdom, including 15,000 regular participants, and in the past has claimed as many as 200,000 British members. However, the 2001 census of England and Wales, which included an optional question about religion, gave a figure of 1,781 Scientologists.
The UK government has not classified the Church of Scientology as a religious institution. The Church's application for charity status in England and Wales was rejected in 1999, on the grounds that there is no "public benefit arising out of the practice of Scientology". and the Church has not exercised its right of appeal. In 2000, however, the Church of Scientology scored an important victory when it was exempted from UK value added tax on the basis that it is a not-for-profit body. As a result of the decision, Revenue and Customs reportedly had to return several million pounds' worth of past VAT payments to the institution. And in a December 2013 decision, the UK Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a London Church of Scientology chapel was a "place of meeting for religious worship" and should be registered as a place for marriage; a government minister expressed concern that the decision might affect the future legal status of Scientology in the UK.
While the Church of Scientology itself does not have charitable status, several of its related organisations do, including Greenfields School and Narconon. The governing organisation of Scientology in the UK, Church of Scientology Religious Education College, Inc (COSRECI), is a corporation registered in South Australia. While a court judgement there recognising Scientology as a religion, COSRECI itself is not registered as a charity.
In 1999 CoS provided documents to the Charity Commission including a letter purported to originate from the Ministry of Defence that confirmed that Scientology is "an officially recognised religion in the Royal Navy". However, the 2012 Royal Navy Personnel Management Manual (in Chapter 31 - Religion and Faiths) makes no reference to Scientology. The Prison Service in England and Wales does not recognize Scientology as a religion, but prisoners who are registered as Scientologists may practice their religion and are given access to a representative of the Church of Scientology if they wish to receive its ministry. Under Scots law, Scientology ministers had been authorised to perform marriages in Scotland even prior to the December 2013 Supreme Court decision.
From 1948 to 1952, a craze for Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard's theory of the mind, swept through the UK as it did the United States. Amateur dianetic groups set up in locations including Bristol and London. The Dianetic Foundation of Great Britain was established in 1952. In the next few years, the dianetic groups affiliated themselves to the Hubbard Association of Scientology. From 1957 to 1959, Hubbard lived and wrote at Fitzroy House in the West End of London. The house was sold off in 1968 but later bought back by the Church of Scientology and is now a museum in honour of Hubbard.
The global headquarters of the Scientology movement from 1959 to 1966 was Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, Sussex, a manor house dating from 1733. This is the most famous of the Church's "Advanced Organisations," delivering Operating Thetan training up to level 5. The estate contains a castle built by Scientologists in a medieval style, which opened in 1989. Hubbard developed security checking during this era and ordered that all check sheets should be forwarded to Saint Hill. In 1968, the Scientologists tried unsuccessfully to have their East Grinstead "chapel" officially recognised as a place of religious worship. Rejected by the Registrar General, they took the case to the Court of Appeal and lost in the case known as R v Registrar General ex parte Segerdal.
Scientologists own several shops in East Grinstead high street and are active in the Chamber of Commerce. They run an annual medieval fayre at the manor. When Religion, Inc., Stewart Lamont's unfavourable book about Scientology, was released in 1986, all the copies available in East Grinstead were bought up by one man.
Scientologists own a number of other properties around the town. One of its communal houses burnt down in 1991 and since then the Church has been prosecuted by the local council over fire safety. The Independent newspaper acquired documents in 1993 suggesting that the Scientologists had deceived council inspectors, pretending one dormitory housed 50 people when in fact there were 130 permanent residents.
During the 1970s, the Church's intelligence operations were directed from Saint Hill by the "Guardian World Wide", Jane Kember, and her deputy Mo Budlong. These included Operation Snow White (a campaign of burglary, infiltration and wiretapping of US Government offices and the Internal Revenue Service) and various "dirty tricks" against opponents. Kember and Budlong were extradited to the United States, where in November 1980 they were sentenced to two to six years in prison.
Foreign entry ban and legal challenges
In a House of Commons of the United Kingdom speech on 25 July 1968, Minister for Health Kenneth Robinson said Scientology's practices were "a potential menace to the personality and well-being of those so deluded as to become its followers". He described Scientology as "so objectionable that it would be right to take all steps (...) to curb its growth," and so introduced a ban on the immigration of foreign Scientologists. Until then, the Hubbard College of Scientology had, as a recognised educational institution, been allowed to receive foreign students. Foreign Scientologists already in the country were not allowed to stay. According to an internal document from 1976, some of the Church's intelligence staff got around the ban by giving false information to immigration officials. Hubbard left the UK permanently in 1969, moving Scientology's world headquarters to a fleet of ships. The Home Office told him not to return.
Scientologists denounced Kenneth Robinson's remarks as "insane". In retaliation against him, Scientology publications titled "Freedom Scientology", "Freedom and Scientology" and "Freedom" conducted a libel campaign, beginning in 1968. According to these newsletters, he was responsible for creating "death camps" to which innocent people were being kidnapped to be killed or maimed at will. Robinson successfully sued for libel, prompting a total retraction and substantial damages.
The government inquiry in 1971 recommended lifting the ban, by which time 145 individuals had been refused entry to the country. However, the ban was not immediately lifted. The Church took out multiple writs of libel against the Department of Health and Social Security, who in 1977 prepared a confidential report (released to the public 30 years later) to assess their position. According to this report, young people were being alienated from their families by the Disconnection policy and some Scientologists were being trained to carry out Fair Game actions against Church opponents. It also alleged that the Church was taking on young people with mental illness problems, charging them hundreds of pounds, then putting them out on the street after breakdowns. It warned that if the Government lost the libel cases, it could give "some seal of respectability to an organisation which is essentially evil." On its release, a Church spokesman attacked the document as "based on no evidence".
It was not until July 1980 that the Home Secretary reversed the ban, saying in Parliament, "My Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State of Social Services is not satisfied that there is clear and sufficient evidence for continuing the existing policy with regard to Scientologists on medical grounds alone." Once the ban was lifted, applications by foreign Scientologists to come to the UK were assessed individually. However, all the applications were refused because of Scientology's non-religious status. This was changed in 1996 when the Home Office labeled Scientology a "bona fide religion" for immigration purposes.
In 1984, Hubbard contested his exclusion from the United Kingdom, but his ban was reaffirmed by the Home Office when he refused to discuss his conviction in France for fraud.
An official inquiry into Scientology in the UK was carried out by Sir John G. Foster and published in 1971. The report made its case with L. Ron Hubbard's own words and reprinted a number of internal Ethics Orders. It concluded that it would be unfair to ban Scientology outright, but asked for legislation to ensure that psychotherapy in the United Kingdom is delivered in an ethical manner. He regarded the Scientology version of "ethics" as inappropriate.
Documents seized by the FBI in raids on the Church's US headquarters in July 1977 revealed that an agent had been sent to investigate Sir John Foster in an attempt to link him to Paulette Cooper, author of The Scandal of Scientology and victim of Operation Freakout. The documents showed that Lord Balniel, who had requested the official inquiry, was also a target. Hubbard had written, "get a detective on that lord's past to unearth the tit-bits".
The Latey judgement
In 1984, a custody dispute between a practicing Scientologist father and an ex-Scientologist mother came to the High Court. Although the father had stated that he would not raise the ten-year-old boy and eight-year-old girl as Scientologists, Mr Justice Latey ruled that they should reside with the mother (this would not otherwise have been the case since it meant disrupting the status quo for the children) due to the prospect of Scientology's "baleful influence" on their upbringing.
The case reached conclusions about many aspects of Scientology:
- Evidence was given of how the Disconnection policy had broken up families and relationships.
- Mr Justice Latey read some of Scientology's internal documents into the record. These included Training Routine - Lying (TR-L), a "Guardian's Order" describing ways to investigate and smear "traitors", and other documents relating to the Fair Game policy. He concluded that despite the ostensible cancellation of Fair Game, "Deprival of property, injury by any means, trickery, suing, lying or destruction have been pursued throughout and to this day with the fullest possible vigour."
- Evidence had been given "of instances of mental breakdown" during auditing courses.
- The case produced evidence that a Rehabilitation Project Force (an internal punishment system involving physical labour) was in operation in Saint Hill.
- Latey ordered Scientology to stop harassing the mother and her partner.
Mr Justice Latey revealed his conclusions in a public hearing because of their significance.
"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious. (...) In my judgement it is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its real objective money and power for Mr Hubbard his wife and those close to him at the top. It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestioningly and to those outside who criticise or oppose it. It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others."
A Church spokesman described the judgement as "a travesty of British justice," and alleged that there had been no opportunity for Scientology itself to submit evidence. Mr Justice Latey had observed that Scientology's lawyers had been in contact with the father and had had an opportunity to answer the allegations made in the case. The judgement was taken to the Court of Appeal the next year, where it was upheld.
The Henslow case
In 1966, newspapers highlighted the case of Karen Henslow, a 30-year-old woman who had a history of psychiatric problems but had been recovering, who appeared to suffer ill-effects after going to Saint Hill and taking part in Scientology practices. The case was taken up by the newspapers, which published a Disconnection letter from Karen to her mother, and by local MP Peter Hordern.
Geoffrey Johnson-Smith MP
In 1970 the Church attempted to sue Geoffrey Johnson-Smith, MP for East Grinstead, over claims he had made on BBC television that families were being alienated by the Disconnection policy. In court, he produced evidence of specific cases which were not disputed by the Scientologists. One of the witnesses against Johnson-Smith was William Hamling MP, who had taken a course at Saint Hill in order to find out more about Scientology, and described the course as "First rate". The jury decided that Johnson-Smith's comments were substantially true and made in good faith.
Mental health professionals
According to a memo of 6 May 1971, Hubbard blamed the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) and World Federation for Mental Health for attacks on Scientology and named Mary Appleby, Secretary of the NAMH, as the ultimate source. Starting in 1969, the NAMH was the target of a mass infiltration campaign by Scientologists who tried to take over key offices and change the organisation's policy on psychiatry. The large numbers of new membership applications just before a deadline raised the suspicion of the existing members and led to a mass expulsion. The Church of Scientology sued unsuccessfully in an attempt to get their members reinstated.
In 1988, Scientology-connected group the Citizens Commission on Human Rights conducted a defamation campaign against Professor Sir Martin Roth, a Cambridge University professor of psychiatry. Material provided by the CCHR falsely alleged that experiments run by Professor Roth had damaged patients' brains with huge doses of LSD, led to more than 20 deaths in an Australian hospital, and maimed human subjects in Canada. The Newcastle Times, which had published an article based on the CCHR material, admitted the falsity of the allegations and paid substantial libel damages in 1990.
Operation Snow White was an intelligence operation launched by the Church to neutralise unfavourable information in government files internationally. Project Witch, the UK branch of Snow White, was directed at the UK branch of Interpol, the Royal Navy and various government ministries. Among the documents seized in the 1977 FBI raids that exposed Snow White was a memo from Jane Kember, the Church's worldwide head of intelligence. Kember announced that Scientology agents had obtained a Metropolitan Police report on the Church and asked for related documents so that a lawsuit against the police could be "mocked up".
On 22 October 2006, a new Church of Scientology centre opened on Queen Victoria Street in the City of London. David Miscavige, chairman of Scientology's Religious Technology Centre, came to the UK for the ceremony. Local dignitaries also attended the opening, including Chief Superintendent Keith Hurley, the City of London Police lead officer for faith issues. Hurley's speech thanked the Scientologists for their efforts after the 7 July attacks and described Scientology as "a force for good". This prompted anti-cult group Family Action Information Resource to openly criticise Hurley.
The next month, Freedom of Information requests by The Guardian and the Daily Mail revealed that more than twenty City officers had accepted dinners, free entry to Mission: Impossible III film premieres or other hospitality from the Church, including meetings with Tom Cruise. Nearly two years later, the City of London Police issued a court summons to a teenage protestor for refusing to take down a placard calling Scientology a "dangerous cult". They later dropped the case on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service.
In January 2007, it emerged that the Association for Better Living and Education, a Scientology-connected charity which promotes Narconon and Criminon, had paid for stalls at the Labour and Conservative party conferences. Labour's decision to accept the money was taken by its National Executive Committee, and a spokesman described it as purely a "business transaction".
Television adverts for the Church of Scientology were aired in the early 1990s on Superchannel, but in February 1993 were banned by the Independent Television Commission after complaints. The ban was lifted in April 1996. Later that year, the Church produced an advert in which people of many different nationalities speak the word "trust". It aired initially on the cable channels UK Gold and UK Living and moved to Sky News and other channels, this being the UK's first ever national advertising campaign for a religion. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, came to the UK to launch the campaign.
The Advertising Standards Authority censured the Church for a poster campaign stating that they had cured "Over 250,000" drug addicts. The figure was a count of everyone who had completed the Scientologists' detoxification program, including people whose "drug" exposure was infrequent use of alcoholic drinks or prescription drugs.
As Mr Justice Latey observed, L. Ron Hubbard created written policies that enemies are to be harassed using legal and extra-legal means, including frivolous lawsuits. At one point, the Church had 36 libel writs against British newspapers. An internal document from 1971 said that the Church's UK legal department "seldom, if ever, assesses its chances of winning before commencing action. (...) Legal UK has been in courts more often in the past three years than the rest of the Scientology world combined. (...) Do not worry about whether you will win or lose, but direct all effort and concentration on the legal technicalities required to achieve legal confrontation."
- Cyril Vosper, a Scientologist for fourteen years, became disillusioned and wrote a critical book called The Mind Benders. In 1972, the Church sued to prevent publication, claiming that as a condition of taking the Special Briefing Course at Saint Hill he had agreed not to divulge its content to anyone who wasn't "Clear". Lord Denning dismissed the case, arguing that the material was sufficiently dangerous for the public interest to override the confidentiality agreement.
- Roy Wallis, a sociologist of religion, investigated Scientology in the 1970s and wrote The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology, tracing its evolution from a cult to an authoritarian religious sect. Before publication, he made 100 edits in negotiation with the Church, although this was not made clear in the book itself. On its publication, the Church denounced the book as biased and selective, but would later describe it as fair and reasonable. After the book's publication, a Scientology agent visited Stirling University where Wallis was teaching and tried to get him to implicate himself in the drug scene. Subsequently, forged letters apparently from Wallis were sent to his colleagues implicating him in scandalous activities including a homosexual love affair.
- Journalist Russell Miller wrote a biography of L. Ron Hubbard entitled Bare-faced Messiah, which was published in 1987. He was spied on while researching the book in the USA, and his friends and business associates received visits from Scientologists and private detectives. Attempts were made to frame him for the murder of a London private detective, the murder of singer Dean Reed in East Berlin and a fire in an aircraft factory. Senior executives at publishers Michael Joseph, and at The Sunday Times, which serialised the book, received threatening phone calls and also a visit from private investigator Eugene Ingram, who worked for the Church. Another private investigator, Jarl Grieve Einar Cynewulf, told Sunday Times journalists that he had been offered "large sums of money" to find a link between Miller and the CIA. The Church unsuccessfully tried for an injunction against Miller and Penguin Books to stop the book being published; a move that the judge described as "both mischievous and misconceived".
- Another British journalist, Stewart Lamont, wrote Religion Inc. which was published in 1986. Its preparation was begun with the Church's co-operation, but Lamont refused to let their representatives review it before publication. Lamont and his publisher then reported a campaign of phone calls and letters from Scientologists, including legal threats. A private detective attempted to get damaging information about Lamont from his ex-wife, and other people posing as bank representatives contacted his neighbours. A Scientology spokesman accused Lamont and his publishers of exaggerating the response to generate publicity.
- Paul Bracchi was a journalist at the Evening Argus in East Grinstead, and later at the national Daily Mail. He revealed in 2007 that after his series of investigative articles on Scientology for the Evening Argus in the 1990s, he was subjected to what he calls a "vicious smear campaign" including defamatory leaflets, threatening letters and faxes and an attempt to find his ex-directory telephone number.
- Jon Atack, an ex-Scientologist who left in 1983, wrote the book A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed. He provided help to other members in leaving the organisation, as well as acting as an expert witness in various cases concerning Scientology. In response, Atack's home was repeatedly picketed by placard-carrying Scientologists over the course of six days. Eugene Ingram, a private investigator employed by the Church, made visits to Atack, his elderly mother and other family and friends, spreading rumours that Atack would be going to prison. Scientologists also distributed leaflets entitled "The Truth about Jon Atack", implying that he was a drug dealer who only criticised Scientology for money. Atack eventually went bankrupt due to the cost of defending himself against legal action from the Church.
- In January 1997, Richard Ingrams, co-founder of Private Eye, made negative comments about L. Ron Hubbard in a column for The Observer. A Scientology internal fax from the United States, leaked to Observer journalist William Shaw, called for an operation to discredit Ingrams and to write a response. It listed details of his personal life and told the recipient to, "Find, investigate and document scandals Ingrams is for sure part of."
- British journalist Andrew Morton wrote Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography, published in early 2008. It alleged that Scientology had almost taken over the actor's life and that he was in effect the number two person in the Church. The Church denied this, and the book was not published in the UK for legal reasons. Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields, gave interviews in which he denounced the book as "poorly researched" and a "rehash of tired old lies".
- The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology, an Irish book by ex-Scientologist John Duignan, was removed from Amazon.co.uk and other UK bookstores in late 2008, after complaints that it is defamatory, which the publisher denied. UK readers could still order the book through Amazon US.
Twenty Twenty Television
Twenty Twenty Television made two documentaries which were shown in the Big Story series on ITV. For "Inside the Cult", which was broadcast on 13 July 1995, an undercover reporter joined staff in Poole and East Grinstead and was invited to join the Sea Organization. The Church said the programme "took everything out of context". In "The S Files", broadcast on 28 November 1996, former staff at Poole confessed to financial malpractice. The family of a young ex-Scientologist blamed Church harassment for contributing to his suicide; a charge countered by spokesman Mike Rinder.
In advance of the first broadcast, the Church of Scientology took out a private prosecution against the reporter, producer and production company, which was eventually thrown out as abusive. They also applied for a ban on the programme, but were refused by the Attorney General. At around the same time, cars belonging to the team had their windows smashed in, and the reporter's mobile phone was cloned and used to run up huge bills. The staff said these events were part of a harassment campaign in response to their documentary, although no connection with Scientology was ever proven and the allegations were denied by the Church.
Secret Lives: L. Ron Hubbard was a biographical television documentary shown on 19 November 1997 on Channel 4, interviewing several members of Hubbard's inner circle. Scientologist John Travolta appealed directly to the channel's controller Mike Jackson in a failed attempt to prevent its broadcast.
The programme makers reported various forms of harassment. Private detective Eugene Ingram visited friends and associates of members of the team, spreading rumours that they were involved in crimes including money-laundering. A Scientologist agent phoned friends of the director and producer, posing as a member of a survey organisation and thereby tricking the phone contacts into revealing their addresses. Those who did were visited by private detectives. It is not known how the agent obtained the numbers that the programme makers had dialled from their private phones. During the making of the programme, the crew said that they were trailed by private detectives in the United States and Canada as well as in England. A film crew calling itself "Freedom TV" made unannounced visits to the homes of the programme makers to film them. The Church said it was investigating whether the programme was part of a campaign to extort money from them.
John Sweeney and BBC Panorama
Journalist John Sweeney filmed a documentary, "Scientology and Me" which was shown on 14 May 2007 as part of the BBC's Panorama series. In advance of the broadcast, the Church of Scientology released a 40-second video clip of Sweeney losing his temper and screaming in the face of their spokesman Tommy Davis at a Psychiatry: An Industry of Death exhibition. Sweeney was reprimanded by the BBC for his outburst. As he had with Secret Lives, John Travolta personally appealed to the channel's executives to cancel the broadcast. The Church of Scientology also responded by distributing its own documentary on DVD.
When the Panorama team were filming in the USA, Scientology representatives followed them and repeatedly harangued them. Unknown men also trailed the team, one even appearing at John Sweeney's wedding. Sweeney later complained of being "chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers [...] In LA, the moment our hire car left the airport we realised we were being followed by two cars. In our hotel a weird stranger spent every breakfast listening to us." When the crew returned to London, Church executive Mike Rinder was sent from the United States to lobby the BBC, even camping out at their offices.
Private Eye magazine has on a number of occasions criticized Scientology's successful attempts at gaining the cooperation of official organisations with anti-drug campaigns run by its Narconon unit. These have included the City of London police, and schools in London and Cornwall. In 2008, Private Eye also criticized the City of London police for arresting a teenager who was holding a placard protesting against Scientology.
A private school near East Grinstead uses the Study Technology devised by L. Ron Hubbard, which it licenses from Church-related group Applied Scholastics. Its connection to the Church was examined in 1984 by Mr. Justice Latey, who commented:
"Scientology as such is not taught as a subject. But all the ambience is of Scientology, and it is plain that the Church exercises a strong influence if not indeed control. (...) The School pays money annually to Scientology."
It emerged that most of the staff and governors were Scientologists, and that its Chairman of Trustees had been forced both to step down and remove his son from the school as punishment for speaking to Suppressive Persons. At the time, staff were working at charitable rates: an average of 40 pounds per week. In 1994, local paper the Evening Argus reported that the school was hiding all mention of Scientology from its publicity materials. Greenfields is recognised as a charity by the Charity Commission.
An "anti drug" body, Narconon administers a "Detoxification" procedure called the Purification Rundown, which they advertise as a cure for drug addiction. Narconon has been denied approval by the Home Office and has been refused funding by the Prison service. However, it is a recognised charity with a center in Tunbridge Wells. Narconon officially denies a connection to the Church of Scientology, though the Church describes it as "a Scientology organisation" and the UK address of its parent body, the Association for Better Living and Education, is in Saint Hill Manor.
In 1994, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets funded an alcoholic to go to Narconon for detoxification, but the council withdrew funding when the Church of Scientology connection was revealed. The woman stayed on, funded by Narconon's trustees.
It emerged in early 2008 that police around the country had attended briefings on the Church's "Say No to Drugs" campaign as part of a programme of meetings with "community leaders". Some police forces have distributed Narconon leaflets to schools. The leaflets described illegal drugs, prescription drugs and alcohol as "poison" and praised the Purification Rundown and Narconon as the best way to deal with drug abuse. Scotland Yard said working with the church should not be seen as an endorsement.
Citizen's Commission on Human Rights
The CCHR, a Scientologist anti-psychiatry group, has campaigned in Scotland to prevent the compulsory treatment of patients in ordinary psychiatric facilities and the high-security State Hospital.
A group of 100 Volunteer Ministers joined the relief operation in the aftermath of the 7 July attacks in London. They distributed How To Improve Conditions In Life booklets, asking for a suggested donation of three pounds. They also provided cups of tea to the emergency services. Some of them later told a BBC reporter that they had kept psychiatric counsellors away from the bombing victims, because of the Scientology belief that psychiatry is evil.
A schism in the early 1980s led to a number of Scientologists leaving the Church while still holding to the beliefs of Scientology. These Independent scientologists are called "squirrels" by the Church.
Advanced Ability Centre
In the early 1980s, one group of former staff members set up a centre at Candacraig House in Strathdon, Scotland to deliver the upper level materials of Scientology more cheaply than they were being delivered in the Church. It was founded by Robin Scott, who had been declared a "Suppressive Person" by the church after making complaints within the organisation. They lacked some of the Operating Thetan documents, but came up with a way to obtain them by theft. Two of Scott's colleagues, Ron Lawley and Morag Bellmaine, dressed in Sea Organization uniforms and went into the Advanced Organisation in Copenhagen, presenting themselves as officers of the Religious Technology Center. They were allowed into a private room to inspect the base's New Era Dianetics for OTs, which they put into Bellmaine's handbag and left. A Church agent tricked Scott into visiting Denmark the next year, where he was apprehended by Danish police and served a one month jail sentence, with three further months suspended. The Church offered a reward of £120,000 for the return of the documents.
The group eventually became disillusioned with Scientology entirely and decided to publicly "expose" the Church as "an evil organisation". They showed a journalist the secret document, which tells of the galactic dictator Xenu, and fought a decade-long court battle to keep hold of the Denmark documents.
One independent group, based in East Grinstead, called itself the "Association for Freely Incorporated Non Intimidatable, Trained and Independent Scientologists" (AFINITIES). It formed in the early 1980s in response to the re-introduction of the Disconnection policy and other complaints against Church management. Their interpretation was that the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, "encourage the unity of the family" and therefore that the Disconnection policy was "a misrepresentation or misapplication". Their goal was to buy out Saint Hill Manor and create a "university" where members could study Scientology without the objectionable policies.
In 1995, a campaigning group was formed, calling itself Families Under Scientology Stress (FUSS), to bring together ex-members and concerned families. Two members of FUSS, Richard and Judy Price of Tonbridge in Kent, were amongst those who received threats of legal action from the Church's solicitor, accusing them of planning, "unlawful and tortuous acts" against the Church. The Prices told a local newspaper that they were suffering, "harassment and intimidation" including unsolicited visitors to their house late at night. The Church of Scientology spread a rumour to the press that Richard Price was an alcoholic, which he denied.
An American who moved to Britain, Bonnie Woods had been a member of the Sea Organization but left Scientology in 1982. Since 1992, she and her husband Richard have run a telephone helpline for families affected by Scientology. Scientologists declared her a "Suppressive Person", picketing her house and putting her family under surveillance. Woods told a local paper, "The biggest concern I have is for my children. Obviously I worry about their safety. I can never let them answer the phone or the door." Private investigator Eugene Ingram persuaded a creditor of Richard Woods' failed building firm to accept free help from Scientologists to pursue her money. As a result, the family were bankrupted.
The Church spread leaflets calling her a "hate campaigner" around her East Grinstead neighbourhood and on the High Street. Woods sued for libel, and in response the Church took out three libel suits against her. After six years of litigation, eventually reaching the High Court, the Church of Scientology admitted that the claims were lies and paid £155,000 in damages and costs. She told journalists that during the case she had been subjected to a, "level of harassment that most people would find intolerable".
INFORM, a Government-sponsored service which answers queries on new religious movements, has said that it receives more calls about Scientology than about any other sect. A spokesman said, "We're aware of several cases in which people have spent a lot more than they intended to on Scientology courses."
Ian Howarth, General Secretary of the Cult Information Centre described Scientology in a 1996 interview as, "a group about which we are deeply concerned, and always have been." The Church of Scientology retaliated with a dossier about the CIC in 1997. This exposed Howarth's personal financial details and attempted to link him to a convicted criminal.
The Internet group Anonymous has arranged demonstrations around the UK from February 2008 onwards as part of Project Chanology, its worldwide campaign to expose the Church of Scientology's "illegal and immoral behaviour". They wear Guy Fawkes masks inspired by the film V for Vendetta. The protests have involved live "Rick Rolling" and the distribution of cake and biscuits to passers-by. Scientology spokespeople have denounced the group as "terrorists".
- Hudson 2005, p. 881
- Edge 2006, p. 10
- Marshall 1990, pp. 178–179
- "UK officials feared church 'evil'". BBC News (BBC). June 1, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- Richardson, James T. (2009). "Scientology in Court: a Look at some Major Cases from Various Nations". In James R. Lewis. Scientology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 290–291. ISBN 978-0-19-533149-3.
- Wallis, Roy (1988). "Paradoxes of Freedom and Regulation: The Case of New Religious Movements in Britain and America". Sociological Analysis (Oxford University Press) 48 (4): 355–371. doi:10.2307/3710873. JSTOR 3710873.
- Doward, Jamie (May 16, 2004). "Lure of the celebrity sect". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Burrell, Ian (July 11, 1999). "Cult to launch TV ad blitz on UK". Independent on Sunday.
- Barnes, John (October 28, 1984). "Sinking the Master Mariner". The Sunday Times.
- Barrett, David V. (December 1, 2006). "How many members do they really have?". Church Times (Hymns Ancient & Modern).
- U.S. Department of State – 2007 Report on International Religious Freedom: United Kingdom
- Wallop, Harry (August 11, 2006). "Scientology tax victory could cost Revenue millions". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "Decision of the Charity Commissoners for England and Wales" (PDF). Charity Commission. November 11, 1999. Archived from the original on 2006-06-23. Retrieved 2006-07-06. (PDF)
- Williams 2007, p. 125
- Williams 2007, p. 127
- Seymour, B (20210): Scientology tax, TodayTonight, Channel 7
- Wilkinson, Paul (June 5, 1996). "Pagan prisoner finds his faith behind bars". The Times (Times Newspapers).
- Knott, Kim (1988). "New Religious Movements". In Terence Thomas. The British: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices 1800-1986. Routledge. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-415-01300-0.
- Copping, Jasper (November 29, 2009). "How English Heritage snubbed the Scientologist founder L Ron Hubbard". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- Neusner 2003, p. 233
- Thompson, Damian (May 20, 1991). "They've got a brand new castle, so are they happy or theetie weetie?". Daily Telegraph.
- Atack 1990, pp. 148–151
- Edge 2006, pp. 126–127
- Castle, Stephen (September 21, 1986). "Sect members mount campaign against author". The Times.
- Kelsey, Tim; Mike Ricks (December 9, 1993). "Cult prosecuted over safety of commune: Scientologists deny misleading council on 'overcrowding'". The Independent (Independent News and Media).
- Beresford, David (February 9, 1980). "Sect framed journalist over 'bomb threats'". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media).
- Beresford, David (February 7, 1980). "Snow White's dirty tricks". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media).
- Beresford, David (February 8, 1980). "Scientology's bizarre manual of dirty tricks". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media).
- "Two Scientologists Are Convicted Of Aiding in U.S. Office Break-ins". The Washington Post. November 27, 1980.
- "2 Scientologists Sentenced to Prison". The Washington Post. December 20, 1980.
- Warren, Robert (May 4, 1969). "Bid to Muzzle Us Fails". News of the World. p. 1.
- Griffith 1977, p. 96
- Judgement of Mr Justice Latey, Re: B & G (Minors) (Custody) Delivered in the High Court (Family Division), London, 23 July 1984, Family Law reports
- Griffith 1977, pp. 96–97
- "Mind cult hits back". Scottish Daily Express. July 27, 1968.
- "Church of Scientology to pay libel damages to former Minister". The Times (London). June 6, 1973.
- Combe, Victoria (December 28, 1996). "Scientology Wins Home Office Status As Religion". Daily Telegraph.
- "Roving Brief - Government U-turn Backs Scientology". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). December 29, 1996. p. 4.
- Dobbie, Peter (July 29, 1984). "Scientology leader is ordered: Stay away". Mail on Sunday (Associated Newspapers). p. 6.
- Foster, Sir John Galway (1971). Enquiry into the practice and effects of scientology. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 978-0-10-205272-5. OCLC 301564428.
- Lamont 1986, p. 64
- Atack 1990, pp. 195–196
- Boseley, Sarah (September 21, 1994). "Behind The Babble; Church or cult?". The Guardian (Guardian Newspapers). p. T12.
- "Judge brands Scientology 'sinister' as mother is given custody of children". The Times. July 24, 1984. p. 3.
- Atack 1990, pp. 335–343
- Atack 1990, p. 2
- Kent, Stephen A. (2001). "Brainwashing Programs in the Family/Children of God and Scientology". In Benjamin David Zablocki, Thomas Robbins. Misunderstanding cults: searching for objectivity in a controversial field. University of Toronto Press. pp. 349–378. ISBN 978-0-8020-8188-9.
- Bracchi, Paul (June 10, 1994). "The Missing Word". The Evening Argus (Brighton).
- "Minister is asked to investigate... The case of the processed woman". Daily Mail. August 22, 1966.
- Atack 1990, p. 169
- "News and Notes: Scientology Libel Action". British Medical Journal 1 (5742): 297–298. January 30, 1971. ISSN 0007-1447.
- Atack 1990, p. 194; "Obituary: MR WILLIAM HAMLING Commons aide to Mr Wilson", The Times, 21 March 1975.
- "Scientologists lose libel action against Tory MP and decide against an appeal". The Times. December 22, 1970.
- Rolph, C. H. (1973). Believe What You Like: What happened between the Scientologists and the National Association for Mental Health. Andre Deutsch. ISBN 0-233-96375-8.
- "Prof's Libel Victory Over LSD Claims". Northern Echo. June 22, 1990.
- Laville, Sandra (October 23, 2006). "Let it rain: Scientology glitterati join followers to launch £24m centre in heart of the City". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Cohen, David (October 23, 2006). "Tom's aliens target City's 'planetary rulers'". Evening Standard (London: ES London).
- Kirby, Terry (October 23, 2006). "Devotees mix with doubters at Scientology ceremony". The Independent (Independent News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- Laville, Sandra (October 24, 2006). "Police criticised over Scientology". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Laville, Sandra (November 22, 2006). "Gala dinners, jive bands and Tom Cruise: how the Scientologists woo City police". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Williams, Chris (May 20, 2008). "Teen battles City of London cops over anti-Scientology placard". The Register (Situation Publishing). Retrieved 2009-07-11.[dead link]
- Lefley, Jack; Justin Davenport (May 21, 2008). "Will pocket money cover it? Boy faces charge for Scientology slur". Evening Standard (London). Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- Dawar, Anil (May 23, 2008). "Schoolboy avoids prosecution for branding Scientology a 'cult'". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Daily Mail reporter (May 23, 2008). "Case dropped against boy, 15, who held up sign branding Scientology 'a cult'". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "How the Church of Scientology found its way into British politics". Evening Standard (ES London). January 12, 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Labour given thousands by Scientology charity". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). January 12, 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- Wilkins, Emma (May 1, 1996). "Scientology television ban lifted". The Times (Times Newspapers).
- Bunting, Madeleine (September 18, 1996). "Charity Bid 'Cult' in TV Campaign". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). p. 7.
- "Scientology Ads for TV". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). September 16, 1996. p. 4.
- Combe, Victoria (September 18, 1996). "Scientologists preach message on TV". Daily Telegraph. p. 4.
- "Cult of Ron beams in from the heavens". Sunday Times. September 15, 1996.
- Fleming, Nic; Tobyn Andreae (September 18, 1996). "Can we ever truly trust Scientology?". Daily Express. pp. 26–27.
- Petre, Jonathan (March 27, 2003). "Scientologist drug claim on poster is censured". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- Bates, Stephen (March 27, 2003). "Cult church censured on drug ads". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- Urban, Hugh B. (June 2006). "Fair Game: Secrecy, Security, and the Church of Scientology in Cold War America". Journal of the American Academy of Religion 74 (2): 356–389. doi:10.1093/jaarel/lfj084. ISSN 0002-7189.
- Jenkins 1997, pp. 125–126
- Arweck, Elisabeth (2002). "The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of New Religious Movements". In Elisabeth Arweck, Martin D. Stringer. Theorizing faith: the insider/outsider problem in the study of ritual. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 978-1-902459-33-2.
- Marshall 1990, pp. 176–178
- Lamont 1986, p. 87
- Wallis, Roy (1977). "The Moral Career of the Research Project". In Colin Bell, Howard Newby. Doing Sociological Research. London: Allen and Unwin. ISBN 0-02-902350-5.
- Welkos, Robert W. (November–December 1991). "Shudder into silence: The Church of Scientology doesn't take kindly to negative coverage". The Quill (Society of Professional Journalists).
- Miller, Russell (February 19, 1988). "See you in court". Punch. p. 46.
- Palmer, Richard (November 1, 1987). "Cult threatens to sue on book". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers).
- Driscoll, Margarette; Steven Haynes (January 1, 1997). "Hounded by the church of stars and hype". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers). p. 10.
- "Scientologists In Dirty Campaign To Stop Book". Sunday Times. October 18, 1987. p. 7.
- Palmer, Richard (November 8, 1987). "Cult's private detective fires at journalists". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers).
- Penycate, John (April 30, 1987). "The 'extended sting operation' of Scientology". The Listener (BBC Enterprises) 117 (3009): 14, 16. ISSN 0024-4392.
- Bracchi, Paul (May 19, 2007). "Tom Cruise's Church of hate tried to destroy me". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 2008-05-16.
- Palmer, Richard (April 3, 1994). "Cult Accused of Intimidation". Sunday Times (Times Newspapers).
- "Victims Who Are Fair Game". Evening Argus. April 12, 1994. pp. 4–5.
- Thompson, David (March 3, 1994). "Scientologists picket house". East Grinstead Courier.
- "Writer is quizzed by creditors". Nottingham Evening Post. April 27, 1996.
- Hibbert, Tom (January 26, 1997). "Sect's appeal". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). p. Review 20.
- Langton, David (January 7, 2008). "Cruise is second most powerful Scientologist, Morton book claims". The Independent (Independent News and Media). Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Cruise not our No 2, say Scientologists". The Times (Times Newspapers). January 7, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Metz, Cade (November 11, 2008). "Amazon UK pulls Scientology exposé for 'legal reasons'". The Register (Situation Publishing). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Leonard, Tom (January 6, 2008). "Tom Cruise 'Scientology second-in-command'". The Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group).
- Nichols, Michelle (Jan 7, 2008). "Tom Cruise's lawyer calls book "sick stuff"". Reuters UK (Thomson Reuters). Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Gallagher, Victoria (November 19, 2008). "Merlin denies Scientology charge". TheBookseller.com. Nielsen Business Media. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- "Vandals target Scientology film team". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). July 16, 1995.
- Bunting, Madeleine (November 28, 1996). "Madeleine Bunting Talks to Former Scientologists". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). p. 7.
- Methven, Nicola (September 25, 1995). "Scientologist's Court Case Thrown Out By Magistrates". UK Press Gazette.
City of London magistrates dismissed private prosecutions for theft brought by the Scientologists against Braund, producer Claudia Milne and Twenty Twenty Television as an abuse of process.
- Harrison, David (July 16, 1995). "Scientology film team targeted by vandals". East Grinstead Observer.
- Blackhurst, Chris (November 9, 1997). "Travolta begs Channel 4 not to attack Scientology". Independent on Sunday. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Uttley, Tom (November 20, 1997). "Detective on trail of TV pair". Daily Telegraph. p. 14.
- Blackhurst, Chris (November 9, 1997). "Why Channel 4 is haunted by Scientology". Independent on Sunday. p. 20. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- "Scientology and Me". Panorama. 2007-05-14.
- Smith, David (May 13, 2007). "The BBC man, the Scientologist - and the YouTube rant". The Observer (Guardian News and Media).
- Yaqoob, Tahira (May 15, 2007). "Travolta spearheads Scientologists' attack on BBC". Daily Mail (Associated Newspapers).
- Swinford, Steven (March 13, 2007). "Scientologists to BBC: what planet are you on?". The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers). Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- BBC 1 (TV) The Heaven and Earth Show with Gloria Hunniford May 13, 2007
- Sweeney, John (May 14, 2007). "Row over Scientology video". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- Tobin, Thomas C.; Joe Childs (June 23, 2009). "Leaving the Church of Scientology: a huge step". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
- Schoolboy avoids prosecution for branding Scientology a 'cult', The Guardian, 23 May 2008
- Williams 2007, p. 129
- Williams 2007, p. 130
- Bracchi, Paul (June 13, 1994). "Secret of a drugs 'cure'". The Evening Argus (Brighton). pp. 5–6.
- Oxford, Esther (May 31, 1994). "Storm over cult's alcoholic patient". The Independent (Independent News and Media). Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- Mikhailova, Anna (January 20, 2008). "Scientologists enlist police to push antidrugs drive in school". The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Scott, Marion (June 19, 1994). "Cult Targets Mentally Ill". Sunday Mail (Scotland).
- Doward, Jamie; Anushka Asthana; Antony Barnett; Mark Townsend; Jason Burke; Gaby Hinsliff; David Smith; Amelia Hill; Tariq Bihi; David Rose (July 10, 2005). "The horror (part two)". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Hanna, Laurie (July 22, 2005). "Weird Science". The Mirror (MGN). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "Mind Games - Scientology versus Psychiatry". The Julian Worricker show, BBC Radio 5 Live. July 2, 2006. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/shows/rpms/fivelive/flreport_scientologynew.ram. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Lamont 1986, pp. 47–50
- "Ex-Scientologists To 'Expose' Cult". East Grinstead Courier. March 4, 1994.
- "£120,000 Reward Offered by Sect". East Grinstead Courier. April 5, 1984. p. 1.
- "Buy-out bid for sect HQ: Factions announce plans to fight 'disconnections'". East Grinstead Courier. February 16, 1984. p. 1.
- "Poison-pen campaign alleged". East Grinstead Courier. February 23, 1984.
- "Sect row over policy: Members Quit in 'Disconnection' Protest". East Grinstead Courier. February 9, 1984.
- "Making a FUSS over Scientology". Evening Echo (Bournemouth). July 13, 1995.
- Buss, Cathy (July 14, 1995). "New pressure group under fire from cult". East Grinstead Courier. p. 4.
- Gow, Sheila (July 14, 1995). "We Live In Fear: Cult threatens legal action over defamation". Tonbridge Courier (Tonbridge, Kent). p. 1.
- Davison, John (June 9, 1999). "Woman accused of hate campaign wins damages from Scientologists". The Independent (Independent News and Media). p. 14.
- Nicolova, Rossitsa (6 March 1998). "Scientology's Campaign Of Hate, By "Cult Busters"". The American. p. 5.
- "Escape route from Scientology has never been busier". East Grinstead Courier. April 15, 1994.
- Edwards, David (May 12, 2000). "Inside The Scientologists". The Argus (Brighton).
- Steiner, Susie (June 9, 1999). "Scientologists pay £155,000 for 'hate' claim". The Times. p. 6.
- Dyer, Clare (June 9, 1999). "Scientologists pay for libel". The Guardian. p. 11. Retrieved 2008-05-03.
- "Cult pays £155,000 over hate campaign". Daily Mail. June 9, 1999. p. 32.
- Palmer, Richard (June 9, 1999). "My victory joy after six year battle with cult". The Express (Northern and Shell Media Publications). p. 19.
- Midgley, Carol; Ruth Gledhill (September 13, 1996). "Anti-cult group accuses watchdog of naivety". The Times.
- Muir, Hugh (April 18, 1994). "Peer urges cult speakers to quit". Daily Telegraph. p. 6.
- Michaels, Sean (March 19, 2008). "Taking the Rick". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- Leyden, John (October 6, 2008). "Anonymous plans zombie Scientology protest". The Register (Situation Publishing). Retrieved 2009-06-20.
- Leyden, John (March 17, 2008). "Scientologists fight back against Anonymous". The Register (Situation Publishing). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Doward, Jamie (April 13, 2008). "Scientologists' HQ under siege". The Observer (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2009-07-12.
- Whipple, Tom (June 20, 2008). "Scientology: the Anonymous protestors". The Times (Times Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- Oliphant, Will (March 17, 2008). "Masked protest at "Cruise church"". Birmingham Mail (Trinity Mirror Midlands).
- Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard exposed. New York: Carol Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8184-0499-X.
- Edge, Peter W. (2006). Religion and law: an introduction. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-3048-7.
- Edge, Peter W. (2002). Legal Responses to Religious Difference. Martinus Nijhoff. ISBN 978-90-411-1678-9.
- Griffith, J. A. G. (1977). The Politics of the Judicary. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-0702-6. OCLC 264097334.
- Hudson, Alastair (2005). Equity & trusts (4th ed.). Routledge Cavendish. ISBN 978-1-85941-977-9.
- Jenkins, Peter (1997). Counselling, Psychotherapy and the Law. SAGE. ISBN 978-0-8039-7987-1.
- Lamont, Stewart (1986). Religion Inc.: The Church of Scientology. London: Harrap. ISBN 0-245-54334-1.
- Marshall, Gordon (1990). In praise of sociology. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-04-445687-2.
- Neusner, Jacob (2003). World Religions in America (3rd ed.). Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-22475-2.
- Williams, Ian (2007). The Alms Trade: Charities, Past, Present and Future. Cosimo. ISBN 1-60206-753-8.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Scientology in the United Kingdom.|
|Wikinews has news on this topic:|
- Church of Scientology United Kingdom
- Churches of Scientology in the UK
- BBC Panorama, "Scientology and Me" viewable online (requires RealPlayer or Windows Media Player), first broadcast May 14, 2007
- BBC Radio Five Live "Mind Games: Psychiatry versus Scientology" streaming audio (requires RealPlayer), first broadcast 2 July 2006
- Scientology in the UK: the 1950s: original research, dated 9 October 2001
- Scientology in the UK: a status report: summary of Companies House records as of February 2002