Scientology in Switzerland – Desperately Seeking Followers

SCIENTOLOGY in Switzerland2012 | Scientology in Switzerland – Desperately Seeking Followers | Broadcaster: Radio télévision suisse (RTS) |  Programme: Mise au point | Journalist: François Roulet View Online | Download as .mp4

In 2012 RTS made this Short programme, subtitled, “Is Scientology Going Downhill?” Their investigation makes it clear that they expected Scientology in Switzerland to fold soon, under the weight of negative PR and public hostility.

The fact that Google has no up-to-date entries about Orgs in Switzerland seems to suggest that has happened. The only addresses I can find for Scientology orgs in Switzerland are on  official Church of Scientology sites. One of these lists five which are supposedly active in Switzerland. However, if you look at the google maps provided in streetview, they all seem to be Christian churches, not Scientology Orgs at all.

The programme opens with footage of a Scientology ‘Sunday Service’ attended by 19 individuals and interviews with their spokeswoman who desperately but unconvincingly tries to put a good face in the situation. Then it takes a tour of the large empty building which is supposed to become the  Basel Ideal Org. This building was reported to be empty and untouched on the 30th of June 2013.

If anyone has any up-to-date information on the present state of Scientology in Switzerland, please comment, or use the feedback page.

View the programme in a video window after the break

Interviews with Swiss ex-Scientologists suggest that membership in 2012 was bumping along the bottom, and recruitment non-existent. The programme concludes that the ideal Org, the exploitation of celebrity members, and the churches other PR efforts are doomed attempts to conceal their decline.

The programme is particularly good when it describes  how the Church attempts to overcome their dire reputation by recruiting through front groups. A film crew examine outdoor  ‘anti-drugs’  stall, which regularly  which distributes Narconon booklets and carefully conceal their connection with Scientology. It also points out that Scientology practice  is essentially unchanged since the 1950s, and cannot compete in today’s thriving ‘self-help’ market.

It closes with an interview with the journalist who made it. He neatly illustrates the distaste that the Swiss people seem to have for the Church of Scientology.

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