I recently heard about someone who signed up on the MeetUp website for a conversational English course in Auckland, and when they arrived they found out that the course was being run by Scientologists. This type of bait and switch sneakiness is about what we’d expect from Scientology, so I decided to search google and find the course in question.
I used Scientology’s Auckland address in quotes as my search term – “136 Grafton Road” – and added “site:meetup.com” to restrict my results to just the MeetUp website.
I was not prepared for the sheer number of meetings I was shown:
Success through Communication
Grammar and Communication
How to get RID of STRESS!
What are the key factors for being successful?
How to Keep Yourself and Others Well Workshop
One MeetUp group appears to have been re-used for meetings on totally unrelated topics, possibly through laziness, and had the following meetings:
Communication for Business
English Study Group
Rubik’s Cube Master Class
Predict – Human – Behavior – Seminar
FREE movie night Auckland
Open House for Coffee 🙂
If this was another group I wouldn’t be so suspicious, but as we skeptics know Scientology has a long and sordid history of trying to lure people in under false pretences, and then selling them overpriced books and courses under extreme pressure. There’s a big drive in Scientology to get people through the door, called “body routing”, and I’ve been to the showing of an internal Scientology video where exaggerated numbers were used, boasting of increases in course completion, conversions, body routing, and many other metrics Scientology like to measure, inflate and promote. I’m betting that Auckland’s Scientologists have had pressure applied to improve their stats ever since they spent millions of dollars opening their new “Ideal Org” building. These meetings are likely a way to boost the numbers of people coming through the door, so that head office can be told of how much better they’re doing now they are doing things the “Hubbard” way.
So, if you hear of anyone you know in Auckland who is looking for a new social group to join, please make sure they steer clear of groups who operate from 136 Grafton Road.
Secretary, NZ Skeptics