Helping Other People
The Transformation of Heribert Nonnen
Before he studied Scientology, Heribert Nonnen would never have predicted he would be helping other people—it was far too difficult to even help himself. His profile is one of 200 “Meet a Scientologist” videos available on the Scientology website at www.scientology.org.
When Heribert Nonnen completed his education with a graduate degree in engineering, it would have been hard to find a more introverted, isolated or lonely man. Or so he says.
Could the self-confident man in the business suit who appears in a video at www.scientology.org really be the person he describes in such bleak terms?
“I had one or two friends at most. I kept to myself,” says Nonnen. “I would go from my job in the German civil service to my apartment and sit in front of the TV.”
In 1976, Nonnen took an honest if brutal look at himself and decided he had to change. He enrolled on the Scientology Communication Course in Frankfurt. The result was dramatic.
“I was much more able to approach people, just walk up and say ‘Hello, here I am,’” says Nonnen. “And as I became aware of my environment I suddenly realized, ‘Hey that guy over there needs some help.’ Before, I wouldn’t have even seen him, let alone felt compassion and responsibility for his welfare.”
Continuing with his Scientology studies and auditing—Scientology spiritual counseling, from the Latin word audire, “to hear or listen”—his life took a turn for the better.
To his surprise, he found he had a natural aptitude for sales and with a newly awakened interest in the environment he segued from a quiet desk job to the marketing of environmentally friendly products. His latest venture has him brokering the inventions of engineers to socially conscious investors.
Married since 1988, Nonnen, 59, and his wife Monika, have raised five children.
“We take a lot of responsibility for them and for each other, and we still feel like newlyweds,” he says.
In 2001, after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, the couple trained as Scientology Volunteer Ministers. A few years later when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck, Monika spent five weeks in Sri Lanka as part of the Volunteer Ministers Disaster Relief Team, with Heribert taking care of her commitments at home in Germany.
Then, less than a year later, their roles reversed when Nonnen donned the bright yellow Volunteer Ministers T-shirt to provide relief for a month to victims of the October 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
“We helped hundreds of people in Pakistan overcome trauma including those who were trapped in the rubble when their houses collapsed with them inside,” he says. “In addition to serious injuries many of them had sustained shock, which sometimes took an even greater toll.”
Before Scientology, his attention was riveted on himself. Nonnen finds it ironic that the more he focuses on helping others, the happier he is.
“When I look at my life now and how I feel, I can say I am strong yet completely relaxed. And I care. Before Scientology I was a loser. Now I win.”
Watch the Heribert Nonnen video at Scientology.org
The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total 200 broadcast-quality documentary videos featuring Scientologists from diverse locations and walks of life. The personal stories are told by Scientologists who are educators, teenagers, skydivers, a golf instructor, a hip-hop dancer, IT manager, stunt pilot, mothers, fathers, dentists, photographers, actors, musicians, fashion designers, engineers, students, business owners and more.
A digital pioneer and leader in the online religious community, in April 2008 the Church of Scientology became the first major religion to launch its own official YouTube Video Channel, which has now been viewed by millions of visitors.