From: The Rockingham News, July 31, 1998.
Local man helps many leave Scientology
Church[sic] says he distorts truth,
by Lara Bricker, Staff Writer
Sandown - Just who is 51 year-old Robert Minton, and why has he spent almost $2 million dollars helping people he feels have been victimized by the Church[sic] of Scientology?
If you ask him, the Boston resident who owns a summer home on Fremont road in Sandown will tell you it's because he doesn't believe in Xenu, an evil galactic overlord who controlled nine planets in this section of the galaxy 75 million years ago and then decided to do a little population control by wiping out 7 billion people.
It is something Minton contends Scientologists are taught. And it's an expensive lesson, he says, costing as much as $360,000 to get to the top levels of the church[sic].
According to Minton, Scientologists are taught that Xenu injected all the "bad" people with glycerol and alcohol, froze them and then sent them in rocket ships to Teegeak (the Scientologists' name for Earth) where they were deposited in volcanoes on the Canary Islands and Hawaii.
Minton feels the methods used by the church[sic] brainwash people and, after extended exposure to these techniques, the critical thinking capabilities of their brains are shut down.
"By the time they learn about Xenu, it wouldn't matter if the story was a thousand times more bizarre." Minton says. "You're not able to think, to make critical decisions. It's really chilling what these people do."
After learning of what he calls an illegal attempt by the church[sic] to remove a Web site containing information taken allegedly from their sacred scriptures, he began to study the church[sic].
"What could be said about somebody that's so bad that they try to stop free speech," Minton said was his initial thought.
Kevin Hall, human rights officer for the church[sic]'s Boston location, said the reason the church[sic] was upset about the information on the Web site was it had been altered and was untrue.
After the untimely death of church[sic] member Lisa McPherson in 1996, Minton said he became more concerned about what was going on in the church[sic]. He said McPherson was locked up for 17 days in a Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., when she was in need of medical aid.
"I thought this was pretty appalling," Minton says. "We got together and said we're not going to let this get swept under the carpet."
Minton felt moved to pay the attorney fees in a wrongful death suit McPherson's parents filed against the church[sic]. Since then, he has assisted others he feels have been victims of the church[sic].
He bought a house for Stacy Young and her husband who ran a shelter for cats, which was shut down, Minton said they feel, as retribution for their leaving the church[sic].
Minton is currently preparing to assist another church[sic] deserter who, Minton said, plans to come forward with information about what goes on within the confines of Scientology. One of those former church[sic] members who doesn't want his identity or whereabouts revealed, has information that apparently upset the church[sic], Minton said.
When contacted by phone, the former church[sic] member described Minton as an angel come to help him.
Hall said Wednesday, Scientologists question the methods used by psychiatrists, especially the involuntarily commitment of individuals to institutions.
"When they do it involuntarily, it's pretty un-American and un-constitutional," Hall said. "Drugging is merely masking problems and leads to addiction. Mental instability is usually something physical." Hall added, "that's what we're fighting."
A retired investment banker, Minton has returned to Sandown for the past eight summers and, until last weekend, church[sic] protesters have not targeted his rural home, although they have picketed his Boston residence.
The Church[sic] of Scientology is skeptical of Minton's motives, and a spokesperson said he wants to know why the Sandown summer resident is on a crusade to reform the church[sic] and why he is "spreading lies." "He's trying to destroy the church[sic]," said Hall.
Minton says the mind-control techniques the church[sic] uses could account for why people haven't come forward until now. He says the church[sic] instill fear in members.
"you can become outside your body, can control matter, energy and space," he said church[sic] members are told. "If I don't like you, I can with my eyes kill you."
Hall says Minton fails to recognize the good work the church[sic] has done.
"When he spreads things, he certainly doesn't talk about literacy programs, criminal rehabilitation programs in inner cities around the country," Hall says. "He's not a nice guy."
Although the estimated number of Scientologists in New Hampshire doesn't even make a dent in the estimated 8 million members worldwide, Hall says they are around. He says there is a small mission in Concord and estimates about 500 members live in New Hampshire. Due to the size of the New Hampshire mission, Scientologists have had to leave the state to reach the highest levels of the church[sic], he said.
Two of the protesters who picketed outside Minton's Sandown home last weekend live in Newfields.
Part of the allure of Scientology, Minton said, is the fact that several well-known actors who have joined the church[sic]: Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Lisa Marie Presley, to name a few. He said the celebrity names make people think if people like that are involved it must be legitimate.
Hall says the philosophy of the church[sic] centers on helping people and improving their ability to deal with and live their lives. As for the skeptics, he says, they should not listen to Minton's claims.
"The church[sic] has a long track record of improving life. Millions of people attest to it," Hall said. "What people should do is look at the material on Scientology and think for yourself; learn to understand life, think for yourself."