John’s experience began by walking in off the street and asking “Give me all you have”, something the Dublin would duly oblige. Some €10,500 later he began to see things were clearly wrong. He regularly lent cash to senior members for food and was once accompanied to an ATM to prove he didn’t have more. People around him were running up debts, losing their temper and falling ill – the opposite of what he was promised. But he couldn’t get anyone to see it that way, and eventually stopped questioning it.
He says “They honestly believe they’re on to a good thing and it’s more important than their children or mothers and fathers. They think they can clear the planet of ‘reactive minds’, but they can’t even do it in the mission. There are lads there 20 years without a penny to their name who glorify Scientology. And I think, what did it actually do for you?”
The following extract is from the Irish Times article “Scientology: Inside and Out”, published in March 2011:
Three years in Scientology
John McGhee says the stigma surrounding Scientology piqued his interest. If it delivered the self-betterment it promised, he reasoned, it seemed like a sound investment. “I walked in off the street and said, ‘Give me all you have.’ ”
Hunched over a table in a quiet pub, his eyebrows framing an intense gaze, the 33-year-old embalmer spends 90 minutes detailing every course, price and promise of his time in Scientology. He barely contains his frustration at what he sees as pay-as-you-go revelations that lead nowhere. “They say if it’s not working it’s something you’re doing, and they put you in auditing for that at your expense.”
McGhee admits there was an addictive quality to working up the “Bridge to Total Freedom”, the movement’s series of steps to enlightenment (see panel), so much so that he was prepared to ignore things he didn’t agree with. “At events or course completions they’d stand up and applaud Hubbard’s picture. I could never do it. Even as I went deeper into Scientology I never thought that was okay.”
Part of the processing, McGhee says, included confessing “overts and withholds” – sins and secrets – which are kept on file, while using an electropsychometer. “The e-meter works like a crude lie detector. They can tell if you’re holding anything in, and they can get it out of you.”
He recalls TRs, or training regimes, where he had to stare into someone’s eyes for four hours. “I went out of my head,” he says.
Then there was an auditing session at which, he claims, a supervisor chastised McGhee’s friend for analysing traumatic childhood events in the presence of children. “Firstly, there shouldn’t have been kids there. But the disruption drove him into catatonia. From that night on he changed. We went into a session the next day and the next day, but he wasn’t coming out of it. They predicted he’d need four or five grand’s worth [of life repair]. That was an eye-opener. They wouldn’t fix that man. They left him in such a state because they wanted money first. He couldn’t afford it. He’s still in that state to this day.”
McGhee lost interest at that point. By mid 2009 he had spent €10,500 and was researching Scientology every night in dismay. Recently he visited a friend who allegedly paid €50,000 for his bridge after just a day as a Scientologist, but there was nobody home. The neighbour said he’d packed up. McGhee looked up to the box room and saw the same Hubbard lectures that he had bought for €1,800 sitting on the shelf, and drew his own conclusion.
Although he spent four nights and a day at the mission every week, he couldn’t relate to the dedication required to spend money he didn’t have. McGhee claims he regularly lent cash to senior members for food and was once accompanied to an ATM to prove he didn’t have more. He says the people around him were running up debts, losing their temper and falling ill – the opposite of what he was promised. But he couldn’t get anyone to see it that way, he says, and eventually stopped questioning it.
“They honestly believe they’re on to a good thing and it’s more important than their children or mothers and fathers. They think they can clear the planet of ‘reactive minds’, but they can’t even do it in the mission. There are lads there 20 years without a penny to their name who glorify Scientology. And I think, What did it actually do for you?”
The controversy surrounding the subject of Scientology, attracted me to satisfy my curiosity and therefore explore the path. So I entered my local mission in Dublin and asked them to both stress and personality test me. Following this I bought a copy of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and promptly asked to be signed up on course, without any encouragement from the registrar. Then once I heard the success stories and claims of increased affluence by other members, I was sold on the subject, thus immersing myself in it, despite my gut feelings. I figured that if Scientology could enable me to have a good quality earthly existence, then I was willing to sacrifice my soul, so to speak.
I was an active member for 3 years, however my local mission may have thought of me as a member for approximately 5, because after I became disillusioned with Scientology I continued to keep in touch with them and go to events, merely to spy on them and to see it from a real-world vantage point.
I knew deep down, even during my most active period there, that there was something not quite right, something that just wouldn’t sit comfortably with me. It’s claim to be a religion was something that I could not accept, fair enough it claiming to be a tool for life or a self help organisation, but definitely NOT a religion, as there is NOTHING warm, spiritual or ecclesiastical about the subject. Every step of the way first had to be paved with a financial transaction. Another outpoint for me was the fact that despite Scientology’s claim that they don’t follow a deity, it was evident within a short time, that Scientology was synonymous with Hubbard worship. Their deity is a deceased human to whom they attribute any success they have in life, successes which are obtainable with or without Scientology. This was sickening and cringeworthy to witness and the applauding by members, to pictures of Hubbard, was so subservient and was something in which I could never partake. Another disturbing revelation was by the ethics officer at the time, she told me that Scientology was more important than her daughter and that the choice between the two, was a no-brainer. I had since heard many other similar claims by staffers regarding Scientology and their family members.
There were a multitude of points akin to the ones I have mentioned which were accumulating, thus leaving many holes in the “tech” which was considered flawless by the Scientology zealots with whom I fraternised. However, the final blow struck when I was co-auditing my course twin on objectives, during one of our many walks “over to that wall” his mood suddenly changes after I’d asked him “what’s happening”. I am no mental health professional, but it was as if he was having a breakdown in front of my very eyes, this was an unexpected occurence so I summoned the supervisor who in turn consulted the auditor. They returned with the verdict, which was that my twin had to go to Saint hill in England, to receive repair auditing, before he could go any further. This repair auditing was quoted at roughly €4,000 and its purpose was to bring my twin out of the mental state which came over him. However, he could not receive the auditing until he paid for it upfront, not to mention his airfare to England, all this expected from a man who barely eeks out a living each week. So that was it for me, I was through 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.
I voiced the concerns I’d had every step along the way, they were met with dead-agenting and claims that the “tech” is flawless. It was everybody else who were at fault.
It was easy enough to leave because they hadn’t realised I had left until they’d opened a newspaper to find an article in which I was speaking out against them. At that stage I didn’t think that a call from the mission to get me back on course, was really on the cards.
I protest now to alert those who who have never been involved, as to the dangers of the cult. To prevent their parasitic growth whilst trying to awaken the members still stuck inside.
It is amazing how it appeals to certain celebrities, because those people above all, because of their wealth, should be able to detect a scam designed to separate them from their money. It is worrying insofar as the fact that lay people are heavily influenced by celebrities’ movements, be it fashion, diet etc, so, when they see celebs endorsing scientology, it is lending the cult credibility therefore giving it a green light
Scientology’s activities in Ireland are virtually non-existent, they are simply a doorbell and a downstat entrance to a stairway which leads up to some rooms above a hair salon. They contribute nothing to Irish society, they merely insult society with labels such as “wog” and “degraded beings”. They falsely claim that they are experiencing unprecedented growth, I have been hearing that for years, even when I was the only person sitting in the courseroom. Their numbers are at their lowest in the 7 years I have been associated with them. Upon recent observation, it looks as though their staff also double as their public. At recent events, as little as 9 attendees have been recorded. I wonder if it has come to the stage where the staff/public are contributing towards the premises’ rent out of their wages from their day jobs.
JM June 2012