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Scientology attacked in debate

Title: Scientology attacked in debate
Date: Thursday, 9 March 1967
Publisher: East Grinstead Observer
Main source: link (83 KiB)

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Mr. Robinson said he had no evidence that scientology was strictly and exclusively responsible for mental breakdown or physical deterioration. Nevertheless, he intended to continue to watch the position.

Mr. Peter Hordern (M.P. for Horsham) had called for an inquiry into the organisation which he accused of 'exacting money from the weak and mentally ill.' He said there was no doubt that the organisation was 'totally valueless,' and he referred to its 'evil nature.'

Mr. Hordern said: 'A constituent, a Miss Henslow, who had suffered from depression, was released from hospital in July 1962, after which she continued to receive treatment as an out-patient.'

He said that she met a Mr. Murray Yudell, a student of scientology. He persuaded her to take a to take a job at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, and there she eventually became a fee-paying student.

In one letter she wrote to her mother she said she was 'being destroyed' and she did not want to be associated with her mother again. Another letter said this was not true.

Last July, continued Mr. Hordern, Mr. Yudell and another student arrived at Miss Henslow's home with Miss Henslow and left her there in a nightdress.

Miss Henslow 'flew out of the house.' She arrived at a police station and remained 'hysterical' until 3 a.m. when was given a sedative.

[?]erious view was taken of her condition,' added Mr. Hordern. 'She has since made some progress, but is still far from being well.'

He went on: 'Scientology is evil. Its techniques are evil and its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally and socially.'

Urging a full inquiry into the matter, Mr. Hordern said: 'The public will not have the protection of the Press once this debate is over because they are likely to be sued for libel if they publish anything about scientology.'

After Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith (M.P. for East Grinstead) had said he would be 'failing his duty to his constituents' if he did not welcome this debate, Mr. Robinson said: 'Mr. Hordern's story graphically underlines the implications of scientology.

'To attempt a definition of scientology is a sterile exercise. Scientology appears to mean nothing more than Mr. Ron Hubbard, its founder, chooses to say it means.

'At no time has he chosen to give it any meaningful definition.'

Mr. Robinson said the harm which scientology might cause to health gave rise in the early 1960s to 'growing uneasiness' in the state of Victoria, Australia.

'That was why the Victoria Anderson Inquiry into scientology' said it 'claimed to be the world's largest mental health organisation, yet what it really is the world's largest organisation of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masqueraded as mental therapy.'

Mr. Robinson said he had been told that Mr. Hubbard !threatened with libel anyone who quoted from the Anderson report.

The Minister said of the movement, 'They attract those who are weak, unbalanced, immature, rootless, mentally or emotionally unstable and claimed that they would be re-moulded into mature personalities.'

He continued, 'One of the leaders had taken the title of "Bishop" and at least two of the staff had been known as "chaplains."

'Scientology is not merely ludicrous, which would not matter, but is potentially harmful to its adherents.'

Mr. Robinson said that he and the Home Secretary (Mr. Roy Jenkins) had considered very carefully the proposal that a public inquiry should be set up, and an alternative proposal that action should be taken to terminate the 'activities of scientology here.'

He concluded, 'On the question of the inquiry, my view remains that a further inquiry is unnecessary to establish that the activities of t his organisation are potentially harmful.

'There remains the question of whether the practice should be prohibited. My present view is that this would not be the right course to take.'