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Scientologists hear Hubbard

Title: Scientologists hear Hubbard
Date: Monday, 19 August 1968
Publisher: The Times (UK)
Author: Tim Jones
Main source:

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The stage at the international scientology congress was bare but for flowers and a bust of Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder, which stood like some Roman God in the corner. His jowled features were spotlit and from hidden amplifiers his tape-recorded voice addressed the people who packed the hall.

Yesterday was the second day of the congress which was held at Croydon, Surrey. As the founder of the movement spoke of truth, understanding and power, there were occasional gasps of acknowledgment from the audience.

To the uniniated, the philosophy expounded by Mr. Hubbard, liberally interspersed with scientological jargon, was difficult to follow and well-nigh impossible to interpret. It was equally difficult to discover from the students what they thought of it.

People kept referring me to the press officials and seemed unwilling to talk. An official who admitted that students had been told not to communicate with the press explained that it was, "in case they fall foul of loaded questions".

One man, when asked if he believed that scientology had benefited him, replied: "I do not have to believe what I know to be true".

A colour film which showed a pretty girl registering for a course on a ship anchored in a Spanish port and then urging others to follow her foosteps was cheered loud and long.

In spite of the Governments immigration ban on delegates to the congress, it was estimated that half of those at yesterday’s meeting were non-British.

Many had come from America, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Canada and the Scandinavian countries.

Mr. Scott Lealand, aged 31, an American at present living in Copenhagen, said: "I just walked through". He flew into Heathrow airport on Friday specially for the congress, and was staying in Britain for the weekend. He said that in America he was a teacher of English. In Copenhagen he is engaged full time in scientology.

Mr. David Gaiman, a spokesman of the cult, said the ban had considerably affected attendances at the congress.

The organizers are angry about the action taken by Mr. Robinson, Minister of Health, to exclude visitors.

An official said: "If we are harmful, which we do not accept, then we are certainly no worse than other minority groups, such as Iehovah’s Witnesses or the Plymouth Brethren, who are left to live and practise in peace.

"If the Minister says he has good reasons for banning us then he should tell us what they are and we challenge him to disclose them without using the privilege of the House. At this rate he will turn around tomorrow and without giving any reason ban Roman Catholics."

Another scientologist said he intended to bring a private summons against Mr. Robinson on the grounds that he had, by his action, practised religious discrimination.

Writs served. — Two members of East Grinstead urban council have been served with writs for alleged slander by the Church of Scientology of California. A third, Mr. Ivor Jones, has received a writ for alleged libel. Mr. Jones said today: "I shall strenuously resist the writ."

The other two councillors. Mrs. Eileen Mead, of Windmill Lane, Ashurst Wood, and Mr. Tony Old, of Gorse Cottage, North End, East Grinstead, said: "Individual writs are not unexpected after the council's recent resolution calling on the Health Minister to ban scientology from the country."