Former member lifts lid on powerful faction’s sinister tactics
From the Scottish Sun
TOM CRUISE’S wife Katie Holmes faces an EPIC battle to escape the clutches of the controversial Church of Scientology, according to one ex-member.
Scot John Duigan knows better than anyone… he staged a dramatic escape after 22 years being brainwashed by the powerful sect.
This week’s revelations that Katie and six-year-old daughter Suri have been stalked by strange men in cars outside her New York apartment made John’s blood run cold.
He vividly recalls how his own family were intimidated and threatened by cult members after he fled.
He said: “When I escaped, they sent guys to park outside my foster parents’ house and they were there for two weeks solid.
“They had guys going around to my family, my brothers, and my brother’s ex-wife asking, ‘Where’s John?’”
“The purpose of this exercise was to intimidate. What they wanted to do was to get me to sign papers, non-disclosure bonds and various other things that would legally indemnify them and block me from speaking out about it.
“There’s a whole strategy involved in that and that’s what they’re trying to do to Katie.
“A bunch of guys are obviously outside her house.
“They’re huge, possibly ex-army guys. Katie Holmes is scared and so she should be. It’s intimidating. It doesn’t matter who you are, even if you are not physically attacked, it’s still intimidating.”
John served as a powerful figure in the church’s ‘elite’ Sea Org branch and a leading figure in the UK branch, based in Birmingham.
But he finally realised he had to get out when he found himself able to justify MURDER in the name of Scientology.
John, 48, from Bannockburn, Stirlingshire, said: “I was vulnerable when they pounced. In just three days they turned me into a fanatic.
“I saw myself as a soldier for Scientology. I believed it was the only route out of oblivion for mankind. The doctrine teaches a human’s body doesn’t matter because it is the thetan, or soul, which survives.
“If I’d been told someone had to be eliminated because they were a threat to Scientology I could have justified the killing.
“Now every single day I have this incredible sense of liberty and freedom.
“When I look at Scientology I realise I am out and it hits me in a very powerful and emotional way.”
The 48-year-old Scot, who rose to the “elite” in the controversial cult, specialised in recruiting new members and was even in charge of young kids in Sea Org.
And he insists young Suri was headed for the same fate.
The rule book states children have to be over 16 to join but according to the Scots author, he trained children as young as eight in Sea Org at Gold Base, Scientology’s HQ at Gilman Hot Springs, California.
He said: “Scientology will say anything.
“They say you can’t join until you are 16 but I worked with kids in the Sea Org who were nine, ten and 12.
“I would not be surprised if Suri was very close to joining before Katie announced the divorce. Is it any wonder she wanted out?”
Last week, we revealed how Katie, 33, fled the couple’s Beverly Hills mansion before filing for divorce from Cruise, 50, in New York on Thursday.
The Dawson’s Creek star is now seeking sole custody of daughter Suri to “save” her from Scientology — founded by science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard in 1952.
Sea Org has been described as a “slave labour” camp by critics of the church.
John, who regularly bumped into A-list members Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley at HQ, added: “They have to give the appearance that they go to school but the reality is very different.
“They will be up and ready to work at 8am and will have no contact with their parents whatsoever. It is completely subverted.
“We’d start work at 8am, both adults and children, and would run a highly disciplined day often until 3am or 4am.”
Even senior members like John were only paid between £5 and £15 per week for 16-hour days.
He added: “We would all do jobs like painting, cleaning and cooking and rolls would be called several times a day. The work we did was called “stats” and if you didn’t keep up with the stats you would be severely punished — children included.
“One of my jobs was to make sure that children kept up with their stats.
“Suri would certainly have to do this kind of work if she enrolled.” At the camp, John and senior members of staff were forced to wear military uniforms and were weapons-trained.
And according to John, the PoW-like punishment for having low stats could range from starvation to severe sleep deprivation.
He said: “It was a scary, cold prison. If your stats are down, you are severely penalised.
“You get a meal break for 45 minutes but that would be reduced to 15 minutes if you were not up on your work.
“Food allowance would be downgraded to beans and rice and often bedding might be taken from you and you’d have to sleep in the garage.
“Sleep deprivation was one of their favourite techniques.
“I remember going seven days without sleep because I had not finished all of my work.”
The sect — led by Cruise’s buddy David Miscavige — is ultra-strict on time off and family time.
Members are only given one morning off each week to do laundry.
John added: “You don’t get holidays or time off.
“You live under constant stress and fear, you are scrutinised constantly. I worked there for 20 years and during that time I only got three weeks’ leave.”
But by 2006 John realised he had been caught up in a dangerous cult for the majority of his life. When Cruise was paraded as the “most dedicated follower” at a prestigious ceremony in California, John decided to leave.
He fled HQ saying he had to visit a sick relative in Ireland.
He went into hiding for a week in Birmingham before escaping to start a new life in Dublin.
Scientologists were stationed outside his foster parents’ house in Cork for over two weeks before finally backing down.
And now John believes the same thing is happening to Katie.
He said: “It completely tracks along with my own experience on the receiving end as well as the giving end.
“Katie’s a millionaire and her dad’s a top lawyer, she can pay for protection but it still doesn’t mean that she’s not scared.
“She still has a child to protect and I believe she could be kidnapped by Scientologists.”
John, who still lives in Ireland, wrote a book — The Complex — about his experiences.
Now a full-time author and publisher, he plans to visit Scotland soon to do research for an upcoming book and to try to lay the ghosts of his past to rest.
He said: “I’m writing a book about my mother who is buried in St Ninian’s cemetery in Bannockburn and I’ve been trying to go back to my roots.”
He adds: “I am just thankful I escaped from Scientology when I did.”
John’s book, The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology, is available on eBay for £9.99.