The Church of Fear 207

I attended a launch last night for John Sweeney’s exposure of Scientology – “The Church of Fear”. Get down your bookshop and order a copy now. Carter Ruck and intense legal pressure was only the most “legitimate” form of the threats directed at John to stop this book, including a determined effort to have him sacked from the BBC. Every major UK publisher turned down the book and in the end John’s agent effectively self-published.

I met several escaped (that is the right word) Scientologists at the reception and I have to admit I had not previously realised just how vicious and dangerous this cult is.

I know that some regular commenters here are baffled at my friendship with John Sweeney, particularly after the mocking tone of some of “The Ambassador’s Last Stand”, his BBC documentary of my 2005 campaign against Jack Straw in Blackburn. On that one, no other tone would have got it on screen but after half an hour of fun at my expense, it socked you absolutely between the eyes with the harrowing truth of Jack Straw’s complicity in torture. You may recall that it was shifted at the last moment from 8pm to late night – there was a reason.

I disagree with John about quite a lot – most sharply about Julian Assange. But he is a big-hearted, passionate and honest man, which is what really matters. I have never confined my friends to those who share my political opinions – or I might not have any!

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207 thoughts on “The Church of Fear

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  • Tony Gosling

    Cults have been growing fast here in Britain alongside lack of job security & the obsession of driving the poor further below the poverty line.
    This mis-governed nation is turning the cult, be it freemasonry, Jehovah’s Witnesses, covens, Scientology & working for psychopathic big business into a survival strategy.
    This will get worse until we redistribute land or get Atlee, Wilson honest, compassionate politics back in Britain.

  • lwtc247

    He also prostrates himself at the feet of Herr mudjesty, preferring himself to be referenced as a British subject rather than a British citizen.

  • jjb

    He dislikes JA ,and Medialens as well. Anything that questions the independence of the media he works for really. Which shows that he may be big hearted, but that on matter media, the pocket trumps the reason

  • Vronsky

    Apparently religiosity correlates with insecurity – I read it somewhere. Studies on some island showed than the fishermen on the calm coast were quite secular, those on the stormy coast more devout. So maybe we’re headed in the same direction as the USA, where chronic social insecurity leads to all that holiness.

  • Michael Stephenson

    Ah Scientology, a pyramid scheme that preys exclusively on wealthy westerners to part them from their savings, the absolute epitome of a first world problem.

    The only reason anti-Scientology is a such a cause célèbre is precisely because it effects such a tiny percentage of the population that basically effects no-one. It’s easy to all band together and collectively have a go at something that almost nobody has any real world experience or emotional attachment to.

    It mirrors terrorism in that it attracts a massively disproportionate amount of attention for the size of the threat it actually poses. There are far more serious real world issues to worry about than a few wealthy and gullible westerners getting duped out of their savings.

    I’m sure Mr Sweeney will make a buck preaching to the converted though, good for him.

  • Moniker

    Whether this particular cult matters or not, in my world, allowing people access to books does matter and murky influences on what gets published matters right to the top of the tree.

    I suggest anyone who reckons this particular book matters should go and order it from their local library. I do this whenever I suspect a useful book is being deliberately side-lined. Most libraries have a small charge – usually under £1 – for doing search-and-deliver on a book they don’t directly own. I’m thinking of ‘Cypherpunks’ here, too. I think a lot of the readers of this blog would be willing to throw in £1 to the cause of spreading that particular title.

    It goes like this: you order the book, fill out a little card and pay your £1 or whatever. They notify you when they find a copy and you borrow it. Sometimes, With small press, self-published or other non-mainstream books, you might get a benighted part timer at the desk who will tell you the book doesn’t exist because they can’t see it on their country stock so make sure you go in armed with the ISBN number and publisher so that you can demonstrate its existence. If they try a bit harder, they’ll find it.

    They have the options of buying a copy for their own stock, ordering it from another library, or applying for use of a British Library deposit copy. They may baulk at this, saying they’d have to pay a fee to the British Library. At this point, be ready to tell them why the book is important, that lots of people you know want to read it and, most importantly, that if they buy their own copy they’ll never again have to pay a British Library fee when people ask for it.

    There are several reasons why this is an excellent thing to do. However they go about getting the book, once your order pulls it into the system, it will come to the attention of a variety of library staff on its way to you. There are still a few members of the library staff who are actually librarians and even some of the ones who aren’t are still interested in the power of books. Seeing a new and interesting book, they tend to consider buying it for the shelves of whichever part of the system they are in charge of. My record so far (that I know of) is a county library buying eight copies of book I ordered, because they then found they’d had (and ignored) requests for it from that many branches.

    As well as being a good helping hand with profile raising, your action will increase the author’s chance of getting a PLR payment. It’s only pennies per loan but, if the book isn’t in many libraries, it’s unlikely to reach the point where the library service bothers to make any payment to the author.

    So – go order books. If you’re not a member of a public library – go sign up now, then order books. It’s free to join, and it doesn’t hurt at all!

    (blasted captcha – that was a HARD sum!)

  • Moniker

    Sorry – that should have said ‘county stock’ (can’t type, as well as can’t do hard sums.)

  • John Goss

    I used to take them on in the street, Scientologists, but they were so indoctrinated none of them would listen to any viewpoint but the one they already held. When I told them that their founder L Ron Hubbard was a Satanist and friend of Aleister Crowley they ignored me and tried to talk to other passers by.

    I think they take short leases empty premises to recruit. There was one in Moseley some years back. It’s gone now I’m glad to say. I went in one day for a laugh and did this pseudo test (I think they called it the Oxford test) which was the furthest removed from a test in any seat of academia. The questions were psychologically designed to see how susceptible candidates were to indoctrination, like psychometric tests used in job interviews to ensure they get ‘yes’ people. My score was very low, I was told I would need a considerable amount of help with my progress. I explained how thankful I was to hear it. I would have been very worried if my score had been high. However, you can understand how the weak-minded get sucked in because they then get that pat on the back and congratulations which bring out the ego in everybody.

    Yes these people are dangerous. They take your money. Anybody who exposes them is a prophet of democracy.

  • Michael Stephenson

    What exactly is the solution supposed to be? Have the State ban Scientology?
    What about all the other lunatic and pernicious religions with severe real world consequences like the Catholic church.

    What about State worship which is so widespread as to be near universal, that causes people to collectively suppress the truth and believe fanciful fairy tales about the benevolence and heroism of their own particular state.

    Cognitive dissonance and a willingness to disregard reality if far more widespread among the population and dangerous, than the apex of stupidity being attracted to Scientology.

    How do you cure a moron?

  • Moniker

    The cure is talking, posting information and writing books. The better informed people are, the less likely they are to be fooled. There’s a great expression – “beware the man who’s only read one book.” All these silly organisations can look impressive when they’re the first one someone has come across or paid attention to. Put them side by side, and it’s immediately clear that at least some of them are nonsense.

  • Mary

    John Had you heard this? Wee Duggie is colluding too. Shame on him, Hague and the rest of them.

    Hague: ‘Options open’ on military support for Syrian rebels

    William Hague said the UK had a “moral obligation” to help save lives in Syria

    The UK has not excluded providing military assistance to the Syrian opposition, should the conflict worsen, William Hague has said.

    He told MPs the UK would look to amend the EU arms embargo so “additional assistance” was “not closed off”.

    He also pledged an additional £2m of “non-lethal” support to the Syrian opposition and civil society.

    Labour welcomed the government’s efforts to support political transition in Syria.


  • John Goss

    Frightening Mary but predictable. They all sing from the same hymn book but they are not singing hymns. They are chanting satanic verses.

    I guess if it comes to WWIII people like me will be considered subversives and killed in drone attacks by the cowards who sit behind computers killing pacifists. If their actions end in victory for the cowards they will be portrayed in Hollywood movies as Audie Murphy type heroes. In a society that paints black white what can we expect. Divine intervention? The consolation I retain in my heart is that Germany was the most powerful nation at the start of WWII.

  • Jon

    John Goss, last I heard – only a few months back – the local Scientology group is due to run its events from the Pitmaston Building in Moseley. This news surfaced in 2010 but as far as I know they have not yet started using it for this purpose – I wonder if they have not received planning permission for a change of use?

  • Jon

    Addendum – they still have offices off the shopping area of New Street in the centre of Birmingham. They’ve had a presence in the centre for many years – I remember volunteering for a personality test about twenty years ago, and I discovered that my low score could be fixed with an expensive set of courses. I’d vaguely heard it was a cult even then, but the two women who interviewed me scoffed openly at the suggestion.

  • MJ

    “There are far more serious real world issues to worry about”

    Have to agree. An exposé of the relationship between politicians, global banking, the oil industry and the corporate media for instance. Now there’s a dangerous cult if ever there was one.

  • John Goss

    Jon, yes I remember them on New Street in the City Centre. I thought people had got wise to them. Didn’t know they were still trying to get a base in Moseley. Not everybody in B13 is rich! So glad you got a low score in their personality test. I should think most people on this blog would get a low score, perhaps even some of the trolls. That wasn’t an invite trolls to defend yourselves?

  • Michael Stephenson


    I’ve had a search about it’s nowhere to be seen.
    Perhaps someone has a recording of it?
    Or perhaps John Sweeney can be convinced to upload the documentary to

  • Frazer least they don’t knock on your door at 8am on a Sunday asking you if you want to be a Mormon, or is that Moron ??
    Think I will pop off now and hang a cross upside down..

  • Kempe

    There was a time when scientologists were banned from entering the country but the cult got a toe hold over here anyway.

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