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Sect members mount campaign against author

Title: Sect members mount campaign against author
Date: Sunday, 21 September 1986
Publisher: The Sunday Times (UK)
Author: Stephen Castle
Main source: link (213 KiB)

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SUPPORTERS of the Church of Scientology have unleashed a campaign of harassment and intimidation against the author and publishers of a book which is highly critical of the cult.

The author, Stewart Lamont, has been inundated with threatening letters and telephone calls from members of the sect, both before and since the publication of his book "Religion Inc" this summer.

On one occasion Mr Lamont's neighbours were questioned about his private life by callers posing as future employers. Although it was never proved that the Church of Scientology was behind the incident, Mr Lamont now regards it as "too coincidental to be true."

Last week the South African distributors of his book were contacted by a man claiming to be a legal representative of the cult who told them they were in breach of a worldwide legal action by handling it [?]


Speaking from his home in Glasgow, Mr Lamont said last night: "As a journalist I have written a number of fairly controversial articles, but I have never been subjected to anything like this. I really cannot see what this type of nonsense will achieve."

Mr Lamont began the project with the co-operation of the Scientologists who granted him access to some of their most senior and powerful figures.

The relationship was soured when Mr Lamont refused to hand over a copy of the manuscript to the Scientologists before publication. Lawyers acting for the Scientologists claim Mr Lamont agreed to submit the book for review by Church representatives before going to press — a charge which the author strenuously denies.

In the months leading up to publication, Mr Lamont received numerous telephone calls from Scientologists, many appealing to him to hand over [?]

[?] sonal visit from the Church's international vice-president.

The publishers, Harrap, have also received numerous letters and telephone calls, many threatening legal action. Mr Eric Dobby, their managing director, who personally received around 15 telephone calls, said: "The whole thing has been an attempt to intimidate, with the intention of frightening us from publishing the book."

When it appeared in June the book contained many extremely unfavourable judgments on Scientology, which it describes as a religion "without morality," and "self-seeking, paranoid and vindictive."

Within hours of the book appearing in East Grinstead, the British base of the Church of Scientology, all copies had been bought by one man. This was interpreted by the publishers as another crude attempt to prevent the public reading the work.

Church of Scientology spokesman, Mr Peter Mansell said [?]

[?] publication when it became apparent that Mr Lamont was going to break his agreement with us. But they were purely legal steps, taken through our solicitors."

Mr Mansell added: "Lamont's book has been a flop in its first two months of publication and contains no new data.

"The suggestion that we have gone to any unusual lengths to prevent its publication is just an attempt by Lamont to use Fleet Street to peddle free advertising for a failing business venture."