Former Scientologist says local community should be worried about arrival of controversial church

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With The Church of Scientology planning to launch a European headquarters in Firhouse a former Scientologist says the local community should be worried.

The Journal.ie reported on Saturday that The Church of Scientology now lists it’s address as Firhouse, and they have paid for equipment to be sent to The Victory Centre.

The property was sold by NAMA last year to an undisclosed buyer for €6m, a third of its original price.

The birth of Scientology began with the publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard in 1950.

In the book, Hubbard developed a system of psychotherapy that defined aspects of the human mind, interwoven with Eastern philosophy.

The best-selling book was well received by readers, but scientists and medical professionals dismissed the claims as pseudoscience due to lack of empirical evidence and baseless departures from well-established psychology literature.

Through a method of regressive therapy known as auditing, practitioners aim to “clear” themselves of traumatic memories known as “engrams”, which are carried over from past lives and cause insecurities, irrational fears and psychosomatic illnesses.

Critics of Scientology see it as a money-making scam that exploits the vulnerable with cult-like practices.

Now a former Scientologist wants to warn the local community about the controversial church.

John McGhee (pictured yesterday protesting outside the Victory Centre) was a member of The Church of Scientology from 2005 to 2011 and he thinks locals should be wary of getting involved.

“I have seen members “Safepointing” in Tallaght already.

“They are trying to align themselves with community groups and people of influence such as politicians and councillors.

“They also recently had your local then mayor, Guss O’Connell, at an event held by their other front-group, “Youth for Human Rights” at the Clarion Hotel in Liffey Valley.

“They operate disguised as anti drug campaigners, but the leaflets they distribute have helpline phone numbers from America which are of no use to Irish people, proving that there is no substance behind what they say or promise.

“Scientology claims to be a religion but that was something that I didn’t accept as there’s nothing warm or spiritual about it as every step of the way first has to be paved with a financial transaction.

“I witnessed people hand over every penny they had and go without; even remortgage their home in order to stay in good standing with the “church”.

“Scientology teaches that every misfortune in your life is your own fault, and they use the term, you have “pulled it in”, due to crimes you have committed in previous lifetimes (yes, they believe in reincarnation) it is their interpretation of what many would call Karma.

“They use amateur psychotherapy techniques on members, techniques which have been discarded by the medical and psychiatric professions because of the damage they can do.

“To see what kind of influence they could have in Tallaght or Firhouse check out how they have behaved in Clearwater in Florida or East Grinstead in England.”

A number of documentaries in the last few years have covered the story of  the church’s behaviour in Clearwater.

A 1977 raid on Scientology headquarters by the FBI discovered secret plans for the church to take over the city.

The plan was called Project Normandy, and the stated purpose was to “obtain enough data on the Clearwater area to be able to determine what groups and individuals [we] will need to penetrate and handle in order to establish area control.”

Among other activities discovered by the FBI, the church also plotted to take control of local media and smear critics of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology has met resistance from residents of Clearwater over the past 30 years but has managed to prevail.

Fort Harrison Hotel in the city is referred to by Scientologists as the “Flag Land Base” and is used by practitioners studying at higher levels of Scientology than new members.

Since 1980, three Scientologists have died in the building due to dehydration, blood clots brought on by excessive bedrest and a suspicious drowning in a bathtub.

Former Scientologists have since spoken out against the institution’s prison-like conditions and human rights violations and the Church has also been sued by former members alleging enslavement at the Clearwater branch.

John McGhee said it was the Church’s treatment of a fellow Scientologist that eventually opened his eyes to the reality of the organisation.

“I was carrying out a technique in Scientology known as”objective auditing” on another guy and he started having a meltdown.

“I am not a mental health professional, but it looked like he was having a breakdown so I summoned the supervisor who consulted the auditor.

“They decided he would have to go to East Grinstead in England, to receive repair auditing.

“Before he could receive that however he had to pay €6,000 upfront.

“They wouldn’t do the repair audit until the paid.

“That was it for me, I was done with Scientology in my own head and disappointed beyond belief in the people I trusted more than anybody at the time, in allowing a man to succumb to that state and make him pay to be released from it.

“As far as I know, he never received the repair and no longer speaks to me because I spoke out against Scientology publicly.”

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