Last weekend, a new Scientology church in Birmingham opened its doors to the English public. The £4.2m Pitmatson House in the Moseley area is the cult’s new nest, with a chapel and training centre included. Here, protesters could only watch on with curiosity and worry as the exclusive members took part in the secretive ceremony. The protesters, who were mainly ex-members of the cult believe Scientology is a money-based and money-seeking “religion” that brainwashes and manipulates its “followers”.
But why do people think it is a cult and choose to protest against Scientology? After all, it is the 21st century and freedom of speech and opinion should reign supreme in the UK. Perhaps it may be helpful to define the basics of the controversial religious movement. Scientology declares itself a religion. Founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology declares itself a religion. Hubbard’s philosophy of modern mental health has snowballed, developing into a worldwide organisation that counts Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Laura Prepon amongst its members.
What they claim to do or believe in is confusing as it is hard to tell the difference between marketing propaganda of the cult itself or the truth. It supposedly tries to free the mind from the blurriness of traumas of current or past lives in order to deliver a happy and fulfilled “reality“. It also implies that everyone is an immortal being, explaining why its egomaniacal members are often accused of bizarre behaviour in the public eye. What is legitimate for sure is that a lot of money moves in and out of this cult and that it forces members to end relationships. Whether this is part of their recipe for a perfect life remains a mystery.
The people who protest invested a lot of money in religion such as Leah Remini, whose memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, discussed her time as a scientologist and her departure from the religion, are trying to warn others about it. In the end, the fact that their opening ceremony was so confidential and full of protesting ex-members outside suggests that Scientology isn’t transparent nor does it have good intentions. In fact, it just spurs on the creation of more conspiracy theories.