Nathan Coley is showing visitors around the Scientology Volunteer Minister exhibition.
“Scientology means knowing how to know.
“Volunteer ministers know how to help people,” he says, pointing to a large display depicting the World Trade Centre terrorist outrages.
“On September 11, they helped people in shock through spiritual healing.”
Mr Coley, aged 29, became involved in Scientology two years ago after reading a book on the subject. When pressed for more information, he points me in the direction of a book by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.
“You should really read this,” he says, handing me a copy of Hubbard’s Dianetics. “You can buy it here today.”
Hubbard’s book is also an influential force behind Jed Yeardsley’s involvement with the Church of Scientology.
Public relations officer for the exhibition, Mr Yeardsley has been in the Church for five years.
“I was looking for some answers to life and I read Dianetics,” he said.
“It explained a lot about mankind. People can study Scientology alongside their own religion.
People often find Scientology is more relevant for modern living.
“We do a lot of voluntary work. We also work to tackle crime and drugs, which are the two big ruins of society. We also help people cope with their emotional problems.”
Mr Yeardsley outlined some of Scientology’s techniques.
“We use Assist Technology, to help people communicate with their body after an injury.
“For example, if someone burned their hand on an oven we recommend that, once cool, the individual should place the injured hand back in the same place the injury occurred. This will reduce bruising and increase the natural healing process.”
Mr Yeardsley has great faith in the benefits of Assist Technology. “It can have miraculous results, I have personally seen feeling return in a person’s hand and back pain from injury disappear.”
Another technique is known as Group Processing for the Masses.
“Group Processing is a special form of personal counselling unique to Scientology,” he explained.
“We take people who are suffering from trauma and point out things in their environment to take their mind off what has happened to them. It can also work to sober individuals that are drunk.”
Mr Yeardsley also demonstrated Scientology’s method of diagnosing the causes of emotional trauma.
“This is an E-meter, a very specialised machine. A small current is passed through the batons. When an individual holds these, we ask questions about their life. The dial will indicate emotional trauma.”
The E-meter looks like a voltmeter connected to two metal batons. Mr Yeardsley claims traumatic events have a higher “energy weight” and the E-meter will record this.
He invited me to be tested and then pinched me on the left arm – the bruise was still there several hours later.
He then asked me six or seven times to “remember the pinch”, and monitored the dial.
“Very good. By continuously making you remember I have pinched you, the trauma decreases. This is one of the techniques Scientology uses,” Mr Yeardsley said.
The aim of the Scientology’s yellow tent is to bring these “healing processes” to the public, said Marie Hardiman-Wrapson, public affairs director for the Church of Scientology in Birmingham.
However, medical experts were sceptical of Scientology’s methods.
Phillip Hodson, fellow and chief spokesman of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said: “This field of work is called Trauma Debriefing.
” Even when done by professionals, there is poor evidence that it is particularly helpful.
“However, there is absolutely no evidence to support these extraordinary claims made by the Church of Scientology.
“They can believe what they wish. But of the studies considered by the highest body in this field, the Cochrane Panel, none would validate their position.
“Counselling is a profession. It takes five years to become a registered and accredited practitioner with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Counselling isn’t happening just because someone claims they are listening or ‘have got a theory’.”
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