What is scandalous about Scientology
interview : "Scientology is the final phase of a dictatorship"
Why did you get out?
Scientologically speaking, I was a "clear". "Clears" supposedly can't even get a cold. But I had cancer - and knew: something is wrong.
How long did it take you to distance yourself after leaving?
In the first two years I kept asking myself whether I was not on the wrong track as a dropout. If you then do not actively take action against it, the behavioral patterns continue. I'm still not completely gone.
How do you notice that?
A classic Scientology thought pattern is purposeful, social Darwinian thinking. That fits very well into today's society, but I still want to get rid of it. When I gave lectures in the first few years after leaving, my biggest concern was: How do I get there, do I sell the thing well? My performance was focused only on the effect, less on the content. Today I'm much more concerned with the matter.
Were you followed after leaving?
Scientology has changed strategy. Now they present themselves strongly as a church, as a way of salvation. It doesn't fit to persecute apostates. The doctrine was issued: if you want to go, you can go - provided you shut up and don't want your money back. But one is declared a "suppressive person" and is not allowed to have any contact with other Scientologists. I lost contact with my sons. You live with my ex-wife in the USA, a Scientologist. When I started writing books, they defamed me as a fraud on the internet. But nothing else - until yesterday. That's when I got the first email threatening me with violence.
According to the protection of the constitution, there are only 4,000 to 5,000 Scientologists in Germany.
I suspect there are even fewer. Two dropouts from Berlin told me in 2011: In the large box in Charlottenburg, employees are not allowed to use the elevator to save electricity, the telephones are turned off. You can only be called. Of the 60 or 70 employees, many are from other countries and from the paramilitary training organization "Sea Org". The whole thing is a Potemkin village. Nevertheless, Scientology should not be underestimated. Many people come across their sites on the Internet. And they are done very professionally.
How important is Germany for Scientology?
The most important are the USA, then Germany, then Switzerland - because there is so much money to be had here. Even a small Scientology community in Brandenburg will probably raise more money than the Budapest branch, which has 500 employees. Scientology is always about the money, how much is delivered to the headquarters in the USA.
The task for the Berlin headquarters is to influence politics. How's that going?
Scientologists are not unsympathetic at first. So you visit a member of parliament in pairs. I have seen that many are not at all averse to discussing Scientology in personal conversations. With the sentence “Scientology cannot be explained, you have to experience that” one tries to invite people to the headquarters.
How independent is a branch?
It is completely dependent on orders from the USA or from Copenhagen, that's where the European headquarters are located. From there come the specifications, priorities, quotas, how many people and how much money must be acquired. The only thing that you can decide for yourself is whether to do your stress test stand at Potsdamer Platz or at the main train station.
What if quotas are not met?
Then those responsible disappear for a few weeks in Copenhagen or in the USA, where their heads are washed.
Are there penal camps?
Yes, in the USA, in Copenhagen and in England. But only members of the paramilitary "Sea Org" get in there. They then have to live on beans and rice, do a lot of physical work, endure constant interrogations and suffer from sleep deprivation.
A few days ago, Debbie Cook, who recently belonged to the top management group, attacked Scientology boss Miscavige in a circular mail. What does that mean?
Scientology is in the final stages of a dictatorship. When a hardcore Scientologist like Debbie Cook criticizes it, it is a sign that there is a lot going on.
Wilfried Handl (57) is the highest ranking European dropout so far. He fights the sect with books and lectures and advises other dropouts. The interview was conducted by Claudia Keller.
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