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Astra Woodcraft : My Scientology nightmare

My Scientology nightmare

Daily Mail (England), Nov. 25, 2001
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astra woodcraft, hate groups, church of scientology, religion news report provides news of interest to those who work in Christian apologetics and countercult ministries.  It includes information about religious cults, sects, new religious movements, and related issues, such as religious freedom, religious tolerance, and cult crimes.

Nicole Kidman is said to be disillusioned with Scientology, the religious order in which Tom Cruise is so active. Here former follower Astra Woodcraft continues her description of her bizarre experiences as a member.

Members dedicate their whole life - and the next billion yearsOff-site Link, because they believe in reincarnation - to Scientology. Their mission is to convert the world.

'I hated it. Mum and Dad did not get home until 10pm, and we had to do chores after school, under the supervision of a Scientology nanny,' says Astra.

'We had to clean the kitchen and mop the floors. After dinner we'd do homework and be given a bedtime drink called "calmagÓ.'

This drink, others verify, is calcium, magnesium, vinegar and boiling water, which acts as a mild sedative on children.

After two years, Lesley was promoted and the family moved to Los Angeles. For a year, Astra was in the cadets, a group for children of Sea Organisation members.

'My school teacher was not a trained, certified teacher but a Scientology 'supervisor'. We had no lessons but worked straight out of books and instruction sheets,' she says.

Lawrence explains: 'Hubbard believed we had all lived before and attended school, so he didn't put too much emphasis on formal education.'

Astra's life became even more gruelling. After lessons, she had to do several hours' filing before falling asleep on a campbed, finally being collected by her parents at around 2am.

A year of this regime proved enough and she refused to return to the cadets, whereupon her father enrolled her in another Scientology school, which, she says, was no better.

Around this time, her parents' marriage buckled under the strain of long working hours and Lawrence's increasing disaffection with Scientology.

Despite her experiences - or perhaps because she knew no other life - Astra began attending a Scientology course at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood.

There, she was invited into the Sea Organisation, aged 14. 'I knew it would make Mum and Gran happy and I thought I was going to earn good money.'

Astra says she was told she would be working for a publishing offshoot and would earn £200 a week. In fact, she found herself working long hours as a secretary for nominal pay (£10 a week plus board and lodgings). During this time she says she attended school for only six hours a week.

One of my tasks was to persuade people who wanted to leave the Sea Organisation that they should stay. If they refused I had to order them to do hard labour and make them sign "confession-alsÓ saying it was all their fault they were leaving.'

'I couldn't tell anyone how I was feeling, not even my husband, because he would be obliged to report me and I'd be ostracised. You are taught to think there is something wrong with you if you are not happy in the organisation.'

Scientology teaches its adherents to file reports on members who are acting against the church. Such people are deemed to have brought shame on their families and are sent to 'ethics' sessions, where they are questioned for hours about their thoughts and forced to make 'amends,' which can include manual labour.

Finally, Astra extricated herself from the movement in 1998, but not before she confessed to a list of petty crimes to avoid being declared a Suppressive Person.

Other Scientologists are ordered not to speak to such outcasts, who are declared enemies, and Astra didn't want to lose contact with her family.

Her crimes included 'stealing' leftover food and a pair of tights, forgetting to return a borrowed shirt and trying marijuana at 13.

'I signed the confession because I didn't want to lose contact with Mum, Gran, my sister and brother,' she says. [...more...]

The Church of Scientology is a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion, and that increasingly acts like a hate group. Scientology has a long history of hate and harassment activities, which are condoned in the cult's own ''scriptures.'' (See, for example, its ''dead agenting'' and ''fair game'' policies). This is why Apologetics Index classifies the organization as a hate group.

Religion News Report (RNR) is a newsletter that alerts Christian apologists and counter-cult professionals to news regarding religious cults, sects, movements, world religions, organizations, personalities, and related issues.

Note: our newsletter currently operates under the name Religion News Blog

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