The following article appeared in the August 2009, editon of the Swedish newpaper GT (Göteborgs-Tidningen). He had his fill of Scientology at St. Hill, a manor in East Grinstead that serves as the cult’s headquarters in the UK.
Life in the Cult Pure Torture
Scientology is considered one of the world’s most dangerous cults. 19-year-old Patrik Andersson of Gothenburg has grown up with the Scientologists. – This is what I regret most in my life. I will never go back.
Patrik is sitting in the kitchen of his mother’s apartment in Gothenburg. On the table there is coffee, biscuits and cigarettes.
– It’s luxury that there is food in the fridge and to get a whole night’s sleep. I am not used to that.
Six months ago, life looked very different. Patrick stood and washed dishes in the basement of the Scientologists’ Saint Hill College in England from eight in the morning to eleven at night.
– I was to be punished and the people who were my friends walked past me without talking to me. Their eyes were completely empty. It was like I was dead.
His mother, Kristina lights a cigarette.
– It is pure torture. I am extremely pleased that you managed to get away from the cult, she says indignantly.
“I was driven to madness”
Last autumn, Patrick escaped from the Scientologists. He packed a small bag, passed cameras and security guards and ran through a forest to get to a train station.
– I had to end it. I was driven ever closer to madness.
Patrick came to England when he was 16 years. Patrick’s father, who is a Scientologist, wanted him to work and study the most advanced technology.
– I have always looked up to dad and he was very disappointed when I ran away. That was why I went back again, before I broke with them for good.
Patrick was only eight years when he began at Studema in Stockholm, a private school where L. Ron Hubbard’s texts are frequently studied. Nevertheless, he describes his childhood as fairly common.
Lived very isolated
– But in England it was very extreme. We lived in isolation and met with almost no “wogs”, ie other people.
Patrick takes a paper and draws and explains. The members in England are strictly segregatad according to the hierarchy and are forced to work very hard to sell materials and recruit people. The salary was around 100 kronor (about €10 or $12) per week and sometimes they had to stay awake for several days. They were almost never off duty.
– We also got very little to eat and the food was awful. Breakfast could be toast, but no butter and cornflakes without milk.
The criticism is rejected by the Scientologists in England.
– We have a five star restaurant with a chef who has an international reputation. It is an excellent place to eat, says Graeme Wilson, press officer.
“Difficult to address criticism”
He also says that it is difficult to respond to criticism from one individual.
– All who come and study at the Church of Scientology Saint Hill is required to sleep and eat right. There are guidelines in “Students Guide to Acceptable Behavior”, says Graeme Wilson.
The rest of the criticism they choose to not comment on. Patrik says that students are forced to take a lot of courses, undergo testing, answering detailed questions about their lives and reveal their most private thoughts.
– It is a very effective way to brainwash people.
Patrick was good at selling materials and rose quickly in rank. He recruited a total of 14 new members.
– It’s very tragic. Some of them are still in.
Scientologists were very reluctant to let Patrick leave and says now that he owes 60,000 kronor (about €6000 or $6500) for the courses he completed.
– I have calculated that I worked 9650 hours for them at one and a half years. I do not owe them anything.
Broken completely with the father
He has now broken completely with his father and acquired an unlisted telephone number. But the emails continue to roll in from the Scientologists.
Are you not afraid to tell about this?
– No, I’m not afraid of them. I hope I can help someone by telling. Now I look forward to start school and recover things I missed.
This was found on the Why We Protest board: http://forums.whyweprotest.net/threads/18-year-old-swedish-ex-scio-tells-his-story-to-newspaper.45677/