Former Scientologist warns that the controversial religion is creeping into Cork

Former Scientologist warns that the controversial religion is creeping into Cork
Pete Griffiths

A FORMER Scientologist has warned that the controversial religion is creeping into Cork, following the announcement of a workshop which promises to give people “relief from a recent loss” and “increased happiness”.

The workshop, run by the Scientology Community Centre, is to take place in Cork next month.

It refers to a Hubbard Dianetics Seminar which focuses on a “hidden part of the mind” which Scientologists believe stores all painful experiences. Dianetics has been widely dismissed by the medical profession.

Former Scientologist Peter Griffiths voiced fears that the religion is spreading to Cork.

“The Church of Scientology has been in Ireland for 30 years but it is poorly represented in Ireland, with only around 89 members. However, it is getting bigger and bolder, and it appears that Cork is next on its list,” he said.

Mr Griffiths listed his main concerns for Cork people considering adopting the religion.

“What they are doing is hiding in plain sight, something that Scientologists are very good at. People are often taken in by the high sounding language. However, in reality, these people don’t actually know what they’re talking about.”

“My advice would be to avoid Scientology at all costs. If you feel you need help then confide in a professional. These people are not qualified.”

The Mayo man described his experiences with the church: “At the beginning, I had just thought I was entering into a self-help group.

“You are encouraged to reveal everything. Catholic confession is nothing in comparison to Scientology. They write everything down and it gets filed away. What is said in confidentiality can then be used as a means to shut you up.”

He said that those involved with the church seemed very friendly, to begin with.

“On the surface, it may seem very innocuous but it sucks people in.”

He said that, in his own case, the warning signs were not immediately obvious.

“The people were so nice and friendly that I was asking myself ‘how bad can this really be?’

“It’s not like you are being pushed along with a knife. However, even though your mind is saying ‘get out’ you still can’t leave because it seems so believable.”

Scientologists say it is a religion, but defectors have accused it of being a dangerous cult.

They allege physical and emotional abuse, brainwashing and unethical fundraising, which the church has always strongly denied.

The Scientology meeting is scheduled to take place on August 17 and 18 in the Maldron Hotel, Shandon. It is €135 to attend.

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