It’s a religion that’s shrouded in secrecy and one that claims an intergalactic overlord killed humans with hydrogen bombs.
But a Scientologist has finally lifted the lid on what life is like within the secretive religion – and claims it has changed his life.
Ian Clarkson, frontman of swing band the Jive Aces, turned to Scientology in 1991 after his life fell apart and he fell into alcohol and drug abuse.
The 53-year-old said: ‘My parents had split, my mother had passed away and I had split with my then-girlfriend. I started drinking a lot and getting on drugs and going downhill.
‘I was searching for something. I was looking at everything from astrology to Buddhism. I met my wife at a gig and she got me into it.’
Ian, who has been married to wife Grazia for 25 years, said: ‘We were walking through London past the Scientology centre and there was a sign saying ‘Free Personality Test’ and I did one and was given a copy of Dianetics.
‘I started reading it and thought it was for me. It’s very practical like a self-help book.’
Dianetics, which contains Scientology’s core principles, was written in 1950 by L Ron Hubbard – a science fiction writer and the founder of the Church of Scientology.
The book refers to Xenu, a genocidal overlord who brought humans to Earth millions of years ago before killing them.
Ian said: ‘It showed me who I am in myself – not who I thought I was or was brought up to be. I was more able to be myself.
‘I seriously don’t think I’d be like this if it were not for Scientology. I’d still be a womanising drunk. It’s not part of the Church as such. I know some people believe in it and some don’t.
‘We basically address people as life sources who have a body and a life source that is governed. So it doesn’t really matter where you come from.
‘As far as I know there aren’t even that many aliens.’
Scientologists pay for courses to improve their understanding of Dianetics – and Ian once spent £1,000 on a two year course.
Ian said: ‘The only difference is you pay a one-off fee and take as long as you like to complete it.’
But Ian said: ‘Unlike many other things it literally changed my life.’
The Clarksons moved around a lot when Ian was young due to his father’s job in an insurance company, which included six years on the Wirral.
He said: ‘When I’m in Liverpool I feel like I’m from there. We used to live next to Paul McCartney’s brother. The Scouse sense of humour stays with me. I remember it wasn’t like anywhere else.’
Ian maintains Scientology has actually kept The Jive Aces, who reached the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent in in 2012, together.
The Jive Aces are currently touring across Europe.