Parents of children 'lost' to Scientology to put up giant billboard over Church HQ
Phil and Willie Jones have raise $12,500 to pay for the billboard which they hope will encourage their children - and others in a similar situation - to get in touch
Married former Scientologists who claim they have “lost” their children to the organisation have crowdfunded a giant billboard near the Scientologist headquarters in Los Angeles to try and win them back, in a move which will infuriate followers of the controversial faith.
Phil and Willie Jones have raised $12,500 (£8,750) to pay for the sign which reads: “To my loved one in scientology … Call me. StopScientologyDisconnection.com.”
“My wife and I are in our 60s,” said Mr Jones. “We have two kids and we’ve been cut off from them for almost two years. We’ve been trying to contact them.”
His daughter Emily is reported to be a member of the devout Sea Org group of Scientologists, and work for Author Services Inc., Scientology’s literary agency for the founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The New York Post also said she has worked for Scientology leader David Miscavige and senior church member Tom Cruise.
Mr Jones said he heard that she got married “and we weren’t even told. I don’t even know when they got married”.
Mr and Mrs Jones posted missing posters of their son Mike around the Hollywood Celebrity Centre, where he works – which inspired their idea for the billboard.
“We are going to put up a billboard on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles to make people more aware of Scientology Disconnection, as well as hopefully entice those in Scientology to take that step of calling their loved ones, family, friends or whoever they have disconnected from due to pressure from the Church of Scientology,” he wrote on their gofundme page.
He said they were members of the church for over 40 years, but left “because there were a lot of demands for money and we could not get ahead. And some of the things we’ve seen over the years — the way people were handled and screamed at,” he said.
“I had tears of joy when I saw how much support we’re getting on the billboard. We’ll make some noise. Maybe they’ll hear us.”
Mr Jones said they hope to unveil the billboard on March 22, but that he feared the Scientologists would take legal action to stop it.
“They did stick one of their representatives on the billboard company trying to shut us down,” he said. “The church has a lot of resources. They’re capable of an awful lot of things.”