Saturday, February 5, 2011

East Grinstead, West Sussex: a town obsessed with sects

Highly concentrated moonbat sector spotted!

From The Sunday Times
March 27, 2005
Eye Opener

East Grinstead, West Sussex: a town obsessed with sects

To the uninitiated, East Grinstead is an unremarkable, blue-rinse commuter town halfway between London and Brighton. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and you find a place that is HQ to a wealth of "alternative religions" (the preferred appellation of Inform, the Home Office-funded outfit that monitors new and established faiths). With celebrity devotees such as Tom Cruise, the Scientologists are East Grinstead's highest-profile alternative religion. Scientologists believe that humans are animated by immortal spirits, thetans, and at Saint Hill, a sprawling manor house, they scan recruits for emotional trauma, then prescribe a path to personal enlightenment — through fee-paying courses.

To the north of the town, the comparatively mainstream Mormons have their London Temple, with its distinctive pointed turret. The Anthrosophical Society, which believes humans can contact spiritual worlds, has a base to the southeast, as does the mystic order of the Rosicrucians, which occupies an Elizabethan mansion. The controversial Catholic organisation Opus Dei has a retreat, Wickenden Manor, to the south, while to the west is the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion. What attracts so many offbeat religions to East Grinstead? Was the town founded on a cosmic ley line? Perhaps, as Inform's Amanda van Eck says, the real reason is more prosaic: "It's close to London, has lots of large, unusual properties and a tolerant, genteel population."

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