“May be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed.”

The fallout from the BBC’s John Sweeney’s confrontation with Scientology rumbles on with the suggestion that it will move to the latter’s preferred battleground.. the courts. Thanks to Will Crawley, we can review the different approach taken by the World in Action team in 1967.. when it was more important for Scientology to be considered a science rather than a religion.. [Not that taxation wasn’t on their minds even then – Ed] The WiA team also had the advantage of talking directly to the source.. L Ron Hubbard himself.

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  • Sam Spud

    Wow. Now that’s a documentary. A thousand times better than Sweeney’s nonsense. How anyone can watch this and then continue to believe in scientology leaves me speechless.

  • heck

    I watched a CNN report on sweeney’s investigation of scientology. I am the last person to have any sympathy for these nutters but from what I saw sweeney was worse. He seems to be an example of a pompous arrogant English man.

    I saw, on TV, him running after a scientology person screaming that he was not an American citizen; he was a British subject and had freedom of speech!! (I assume he has never worked in Nor Iron!!)

    He looked like a complete wally.

    what else has he worked on for the BBC?

  • Mick Fealty


    Check out the original documentary too. There are important questions to be raised about the journalistic approach, but the treatment he received has to be witnessed to be believed.

  • Pete Baker

    A key point to note, as suggested in the original post, is that in 1967 the World in Action team had access within the organisation that they would not be permitted now.. never mind be allowed to film.

    Then there’s the interview with Hubbard..

  • Comrade Stalin


    when it was more important for Scientology to be considered a science rather than a religion..

    That was not quite my understanding. Hubbard originally started out claiming to have developed a new science of mental health, which he called Dianetics. The psychology profession protested loudly at it being described as a mental health discipline, so to escape the criticism (and possible legal action) he founded Scientology as a religion and encapsulated Dianetics within it.

    I think this is a lot to do with why he designated psychiatrists and psychologists as the great Satan in Scientology. They are the people with the professional expertise to show his claims to be false.

    I remember seeing that documentary a long time ago. Even then the man was clearly off his rocker. Can you imagine people who are crazy enough to listen to that long, boring, droning voice waffling bullshit on tape ?

  • Pete Baker


    I don’t disagree with the sequence, or evolution, of Scientology as you describe it.. but it’s clear from the documentary that Hubbard had, at that time, difficulty in accepting a faith-based analysis of his cherished money-making scheme.

    That difficulty has long since disappeared for his followers.

  • Cultwatch

    Don’t fall in to the trap of discussing whether John Sweeney got annoyed and shouted, it is a non-issue.

    The real issues that need to be investigated are all possible breaches of the law by the self-styled “Church of Scientology”.

    Warning: To anybody who has not come across Scientology before, enter the following search terms into your favourite search engine: “Fair Game” and “Scientology”

    Finally, don’t ever buy a book on Dianetics(TM), walk away.

  • Gréagóir O’ Fráinclín

    I’m always amused by cults and how people get so involved that they are willing to lay their life on the line for them. Scientology preys on the vunerable. Buy a personality in return for your bank account number!
    Hubberd was a science fiction writer and and bit of an old codger. That says enough!

  • Ginfizz

    I can fully understand why Sweeny cracked in the way he did. The PR from the “church” of Scientology was utterly unrelenting and he and his team where subjected to constant harrassment. I think Jeremy Vine summed it up best once the piece was over – “John Sweeney pursuing the Church of Scientology, or was it the other way around?”

    These ppl should never be afforded state recognition.

  • Ginfizz

    PR Representative

  • JokerN

    Can you imagine if the Catholic church used the same legal recourse as a first solution that the Scientologists do?
    Scientology and their beliefs (whether you think them daft or not – I do) need to be dragged into the sunlight.