“Scientology is like crack”, ex-member warns

Pitmaston House. Photo by Brianboru100 under a Creative Commons licence

Days ahead of the opening of a major Church of Scientology centre in Birmingham, a former member warned: “stay away — it’s like crack.”

Former member John Duignan, who spent more than 20 years in Scientology, warned the curious not to dabble in the movement’s courses.

Speaking over the phone from his native Ireland, the 53-year-old warned:

“You can take a shot of crack and become addicted — Scientology is a little bit like that, because there is a system to drag you in.”

‘They will not give up’

While the first sessions were often free, or very cheap, Scientologists were trained to keep you coming back for more and in the end they would get you paying out more and more for books and for materials:

“It is difficult to get away from them, they will not give up because their mission is to save you.”

Former Scientologist John Duignan (right)

Ex-member John Duignan (on the right) has attended several protests against Scientology

‘The final straw’

Duignan, now 53, spent his final years in Scientology working in one of the Church’s Birmingham offices.

He said it was his experience with the city’s voluntary groups that finally convinced him to leave.

He got active with a lot of voluntary associations because he was looking at the possibility of getting government funds for Scientology groups.

“I would never mention I was a Scientologist and went in there to build up my profile as a social activist.

“I saw the wonderful work that Barnado’s was doing, the youth groups helping disadvantaged kids get through school to university.

“I’m seeing this astounding stuff around me, and I’m looking at the Scientology stuff I’m pushing and it actually did nothing.

“Really, that was the final straw for me. I saw that Scientology doesn’t actually work. It doesn’t do anything.”

Duignan spent most of his time in Scientology working for the Sea Organisation, an elite cadre of Scientology’s most dedicated members.

Sea Org members sign a billion-year contract promising to serve the Church in this and future lives.

Scientology will hold a grand opening for its centre in Moseley on Saturday — 10 years after buying the Grade 2 listed building, Pitmaston House.

Ex-members and other campaigners expect church leader David Miscavige to turn up at the Birmingham ceremony and are organising a protest.

Birmingham Eastside has contacted the Church of Scientology for a response.

Birmingham-based journalist Jonny Jacobsen has been researching and writing about Scientology for more than 20 years.

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