The philosopher Schoepenhouer said: "All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally it is accepted as self-evident." This also applies to any new idea that doesn't follow the mainstream. The Mormon religion is a good example of this: When the religion first began in the 1820's it was ridiculed, but soon that changed to outright attack. The attacks consisted not just of nasty articles in newspapers but of physical violence and murder. The situation got so bad that church leaders decided to leave the east coast of America and make a dangerous journey across the heartland of America to Utah. (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) The attacks continued for many years but the religion survived and eventually became accepted to such a degree that we now have a Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon.
L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, called this phenomenon "Cultural Lag": the time it takes a culture to accept a new idea. He said, "an example is Dr. Semmelweis's discovery of the cause and cure of childbed fever. For over a half a century after that women still died in agony after childbearing."
It is unfortunate that cultural lag exists, but it is a reality and we have to bear with it. In the United States, Scientology was first ridiculed and then attacked and now it is generally accepted as a bone fide religion. However, other countries have a longer cultural lag, so it is not surprising that recently in the United Kingdom a rather nasty attack occurred. The interesting thing about the attack is that if follows right on the heels of the biggest expansion the church has ever had in the UK: The grand opening of the new Church of Scientology of London and the purchase of large new buildings for the Church of Scientology of Manchester and the Church of Scientology of Sunderland.
The attack was all the more egregious because it came through a channel that many people around the world trust and respect, the BBC. But the BBC is very large and I don't suppose it is easy for them to keep an eye on everything that goes on. The BBC TV program, Panorama, decided to do a hatchet job on Scientology, so they got their best hatchet man, John Sweeney, handed him a hatchet, opened his cage door and yelled "sic 'em!"
The results were predictable. But what neither the producers of Panorama nor John Sweeney expected was that the Church didn't just crawl into a corner and weep, instead they produced a documentary exposé about the BBC, Panorama and John Sweeney. It makes very interesting viewing: see John Sweeney screaming at the people he is supposed to be interviewing, see John Sweeney interviewing a convicted sex offender as an "authority" (and swapping criminal records as they talk), see the tactics used by Sweeney to make his victims seem uncooperative, see what happens when a church camera crew attempts to get an interview with the Director General of the BBC.
The entire video: