Bogotá - The Church of Scientology, which has as a number of Hollywood stars as its spokespersons and members, is seeking to expand in the Colombian cities of Bogota, Cali and Medellin.
According to the daily "El Tiempo," in Medellin the sect has been operating for four years out of the home of Jairo Alonso Ramirez, an electrical engineer who quit his job to become the leader of the temple.
The newspaper reported Ramirez hopes to expand the Scientology temple in Medellin to other parts of the city.
"The key is self-determination, that one decides himself about his life," Ramirez said of Scientology, revealing that courses on childrearing, relationships, marriage and stress are offered at his "temple." He says that some 300 people meet daily to discuss different issues at a cost of $60 per person.
Scientology is portrayed as "an exact science of thought that invariably always works, unlike faith healings or traditional therapies" which they consider to be inconsistent. The group also claims that it is the "only route of Health for humanity."
Members are recruited by free courses and tests. During sessions called "auditions," they are offered the opportunity to overcome their spiritual failings and their sufferings. Most of the members end up psychologically dependent on the group and financially committed.
The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 by followers of the American Ronald L. Hubbard, a former Marine and a science fiction writer.