- (Photo: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)
Martin Padfield is the latest former Scientologist to come forward, stating that the religion is a cult.
Padfield spoke recently in East Grinstead, England, the same town as Scientology's UK headquarters, at a conference called "The Cult in Your Backyard." The 50 year-old man claims to have been an avid devotee of Scientology for over 31 years.
But after suffering a fall out with the church, Padfield has offered to come forward to offer testimony against what he now calls a "dangerous, corrupt and sinister cult."
Padfield joined the church when he was only 19, according to Radar Online. He states that he quickly became devoted and joined the SeaOrg, a unit for loyal believers. The commitment required Padfield to move to Hot Springs, California where he then experienced a major "culture shock."
"I didn't know where I was. I had no contacts in the U.S. outside of Scientology. I had no passports, no money and no possessions. Where I was going to go?" he said in an interview with the London Evening Standard.
During his time in California, Padfield describes an experience where he fell asleep while working the night shift. As a punishment, he claims he was moved to the "Rehabilitation Project Force."
The force according to Padfield, was required to wear boiler suits and do grueling hard labor.
"In practice it is little more than a punishment regime, and some have been on it for years, even decades," he told the paper. "The schedule is even more gruelling, the targets even more insane, and the punishments for slacking or missing targets could be brutal."
Padfield says that he left the church in 2009, losing any friends that he had made over the years, all of whom now refuse to talk to him.
"I've sent countless texts and voicemails pleading with them but they don't reply to anything," Padfield said, adding that he is now left with over $160,000 worth of debt that was spent on required courses in order to be a member. The church however, has dismissed all claims.
"Mr Padfield is a member of a small group of apostates who are anti-Scientologists that seek to spread false information. We know Mr Padfield was removed from Church staff in the early 1990s and has no knowledge of the Church today whatsoever," the organization said in a statement to the Standard.