"As a teenager, I started to find the idea of an all-encompassing God and protector alluring, and in 1984, moved to a small village in Germany. Here, I discovered Scientology. I was in a bad way one afternoon, walking the streets of Stuttgart, when a young lady approached me: 'Do you have a good memory?' she asked. I agreed to join her at the local Scientology centre, to find out.
The centre was filled with friendly, efficient people. It all seemed very official and scientific. I took tests which revealed I needed counselling, or 'auditing'. I found the 'science' aspect very seductive, and quickly became involved in the group.
After two weeks, I was taken with the teachings of [Scientology’s founder] L Ron Hubbard. He was my guru, and I started to see less of my girlfriend and friends.
...Scientology works on a strictly hierarchical basis. All through my membership, I was told there was a revelation I was being built up to, Hubbard’s theory of creation. When I became privy to the details of the story, I was shocked that this was the carrot on a stick that had kept me with the organisation for so long. His ideas seemed ludicrous, and when I stumbled upon other details of Hubbard’s biography, I was appalled.
It took five more years to gather the courage to leave."
-- John Duignan, from his book "The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology," excerpted in The Independent.