Scientologists set to convert church – The Sunday Times

Religious movement preparing to bring in 100 staff to operate Victory Centre in south Dublin as training camp for new recruits

The Church of Scientology says it is recruiting 100 staff to help to run a new Irish training centre in a former Christian church in Firhouse, south Dublin, that it has bought for €6m.

The movement, considered a cult in some countries, has set up a Facebook page with pictures of the staff it claims to have recruited for its Ideal Ireland Org.

The pictures purport to show new recruits from around the world receiving their Scientology accreditation after completing various levels of training at one of the group’s bases.

There are also photographs of the recruits arriving at Dublin airport and entering staff apartments, said to be a temporary measure until “we move into the new building” when “they will move into the beautiful staff housing”.

Photos were also posted of a recent event at Scientology’s British headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex, southern England, where green cupcakes were distributed to encourage members to sign up as recruits for the new Irish centre.

The pictures and posts were removed on Friday after The Sunday Times asked the church about its plans for Dublin.

Among the few Irish people in the photos was Michael O’Donnell, a long-time member of the church in Ireland. The caption said O’Donnell was the senior “C/S Dublin” and had completed his new era dianetics auditor course and “Class IV internship”. Dianetics is a pseudo science of ordering one’s mind invented by the science fiction author L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

Brian Lawlor, a Fine Gael councillor, has this month obtained an invoice showing the Church of Scientology was paying for the renovation of the Victory Centre, the former Christian church in Firhouse, with a 1,300-seater auditorium and other facilities. An invoice for light fitting gave a shipment address as the Church of Scientology Ireland Community Centre.

The Victory Centre was put on sale by Bank of Scotland Ireland after its previous owners, the Victory Christian Fellowship, ran up debts of €18.5m. Goldman Sachs is reported to have bought the centre before selling it to the Scientologists.

The Church of Scientology has declined to explain its plans for Firhouse. Staff in Dublin and London insist questions must be emailed, but no response has been received since July 5.

Lawlor said his multiple attempts to engage with the church had been ignored. The sect has celebrity members such as the actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss.

Nwoga Chukwuebuka Paschal, an African recruit for the Dublin centre who spoke to The Sunday Times via Facebook, said he had signed a five-year contract. He had no idea what he would be doing in Ireland, as this would be determined by how well he performed in his training in America. “I am the first Nigerian to be signed by the Dublin mission but will never be the last,” he posted. “I will probably spend more time abroad within these five years, but will surely have time to bring every good news or package to Nigeria or Africa.”

Lawlor said the Victory church had let a creche for more than 60 children operate in the building, while a youth club had also used the facility. He said he would not encourage anyone to use the centre because the Scientologists were refusing to engage with the community.

“I have been contacted by people whose family members have had bad experiences after getting in with Scientology,” said Lawlor. “It’s a real shame this facility has been lost to the community as it would have made a great school. My contacts tell me this is to be a training facility for [the Scientologists] . . . They have shown no community spirit — by refusing to engage with local representatives — so it’s not a good start.”

Last week security on the site tried to stop a Sunday Times photographer taking pictures of the Victory Centre.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scientologists-set-to-convert-church-sdsr9mpgb

‘After I got out it was very, very difficult…’: Irish ex-Scientology members tell their stories – The Irish Mirror

The Church of Scientology opened a new National Affairs Office on Dublin’s Merrion Square a year ago.

The group founded by sci-fi writer L Ron Hubbard – which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta as members – said it aims to tackle homelessness and drugs.

Last week supporters of its teachings were out in force at The Square shopping centre in Tallaght handing out leaflets.

And the organisation has reportedly just bought a 1,200-seat former church in nearby Firhouse.

Some consider it a cult to the stars, others a harmless self-help group.

Here former members living in Ireland tell their stories.

Sitting in a sauna for up to four hours and taking 300mg of Niacin in one go during the month-long purification process didn’t deter John McGhee.

Even when he “started glowing bright red” and was told it was the “radiation leaving his body” he stuck with it.

It was only when he moved on to the survival programme to “clear his thoughts” and witnessed a fellow recruit have a mental breakdown he decided he’d had enough.

John, now working as an embalmer and living in Clara, Co Offaly, told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “He was my course twin and we had to keep telling each other to walk across the room and touch the wall. I saw him have a complete meltdown. He physically changed in front of me. He went grey, was sweating.

“He said, ‘Help me please, I feel terrible’. His face dropped but I didn’t know what to do.” John panicked and called the supervisor from the next room who in turn called for the “lead auditor” to assess the situation.

He recalled: “They said he would have to have repair auditing at their Saint Hill centre in England and that it would cost €6,000 but he had to come up with the money before they would fix him. That was it for me.

“I checked out in 2008. To this day that poor guy hasn’t received that fix as far as I know but he’s still with them and won’t talk to me. For me it was like an onion. There are mild layers on the outside but when you get to the centre it’s more
sinister and it will sting you.”

Pete Griffiths lost his home and had to start from scratch after he spent years working for the organisation – on zero wages.

He insisted his experience taught him there was no more to Scientology than recruiting followers and persuading them to buy books and enrol on expensive courses.

Pete, who lives in Mayo, said: “Whatever money you made a percentage went to your ‘upline’.

“And whatever you sold in terms of books you had to replace.

“If you do everything available to you in terms of courses and material it can end up costing you anything from €350,000 to €500,000.

“I was involved for seven years but the mental damage went on for a lot longer. There’s a lot of love-bombing at the start. It’s very subtle the way it happens but it is a form of mind control.

“Certain emotions are discouraged, including sympathy – that’s why Scientologists seem so cold-hearted.

“My brother was in the Sea Org, which is hardcore, for 24 years.

“He left five years ago and still won’t talk to me about his experience.

“It’s like he’s still in the mindset and needs something to wake him up. I still don’t know how he got out.

“I had to escape without telling them because even if you say you want to leave there are a number of steps you have to go through aimed at persuading you to stay and it can take years.”

John Duignan, who documented his experience in a book called The Complex, left in 2006 but admitted it took him a decade to readjust to “outside” life.

He spent 22 years in the Sea Org – Scientology’s most dedicated group whose members once wore naval uniform and lived on ships in international waters.

He told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “I didn’t see the light of day for 20 years. The system is a pressure cooker because you’re with these people 24 hours a day.

“They got me when I was very depressed. Three pretty girls asked me to fill in a questionnaire and from there I was roped in. You live in a bubble. There’s no radio, TV, newspapers, and the internet is banned.

“Then I began to unravel the whole thing and could no longer accept the teachings – that non-Scientologists are called WOGs and considered not quite up to standard, and if you’re disabled you’re called a degraded being.”

John left “on the sly” with a bag of belongings before going home to Cork.

He said: “After I got out it was very, very, very difficult. I had fallen to pieces. I was in a dangerous suicidal depression.

“But I finally realised Scientology does not work in the real world – and that I’d wasted more than 20 years of my life.”

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/after-out-very-very-difficult-10854119

New Scientology HQ in Firhouse, Dublin

It appears that David Miscavige has plans for Ireland.

First we were surprised last year when the National Affairs Office of Ireland was opened in Merrion Square around the corner from the Parliament buildings and just two doors down from Oscar Wilde’s former home. This is operated by the Office of Special Affairs and they have a specific role to perform within Scientology — “safepointing” is the term used to describe making an area “safe to expand into” and this involves all the front groups that we know so well. From Narconon and Criminon, through CCHR, The Truth About Drugs, The Way To Happiness, Youth for Human Rights and the Volunteer Ministers, they work tirelessly to get people to think or believe that Scientology are the good guys in society, bringing benefits to all, rather than a racket fleecing individuals and destroying families and bringing nothing but misery.

In addition to the visible work done by OSA, here we also have their dirty tricks department. This nefarious outfit needs no introduction to regular readers of this blog. Spying on critics, compiling files and dossiers on public servants and representatives, gathering information that can be used to “shudder” critics into silence. All the usual L. Ron Hubbard policy letters brought to life by a zealous group of deluded adherents convinced that clearing the planet will bring salvation to all. Bad news guys, you are mocking up your reactive minds!

And then just when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier. Scientologists in Ireland want to go Ideal! They’ve bought up a “prosperity gospel” property that had been seized by the Bank of Scotland at a third the original value — six million euros, down from 18 million.

What do they plan to do with such a property? It comes complete with 1,300-seat hall and was used as a community centre in Firhouse, Dublin 24 until the closure, seizure, and now purchase. The community needs a school but that’s not going to happen now. It’s yet another “ideal” property to add to Miscavige’s ever-increasing portfolio.

The facility is in a bad location regards foot traffic (remember that old LRH policy that demanded that orgs be located in high body traffic areas?) but they no longer appear to care about that. They can show the dwindling membership that they really are expanding despite what those SPs keep on saying.

There are no native Irish working in the National Affairs Office, but that’s OK, because if they do get any and they also want to read everything in the Irish language, then they can, because of the translation unit based in Denmark that has been working on translating all of L. Ron Hubbard’s works into Irish! The only problem here is that everyone who speaks Irish these days also speaks and reads in English and the market for these translations is zero. I know of at least one translator who is still waiting to get paid for their work. There have been a lot of foreign Scientologists entering Ireland over recent months. So much so that it has caught the attention of immigration. You see Irish people are not interested in Scientology, as evidenced by their failure to gain more than a toehold here over the past 25 years, so we’ll just ship in some staff to “safepoint” and create an Ideal Org for Dublin, to hell with the cost! If we build it, they will come? Oh no they won’t!

The call has gone out — Dublin is going Ideal!

Do you think this fellow knows what he’s getting into?

You can’t go Ideal without playful fundraisers…

But not everyone is thrilled with Scientology’s push. Local Area Rep for the Social Democrats in Firhouse, Carly Bailey, says she’s going to call a hearing about it…