Meet a Scientologist—Scientology Helped Paris Morfopoulos Reverse the Downward Course of his Life
Before Scientology, Paris Morfopoulos would not have given odds on his reaching 30. Now 58, he counts himself one of the luckiest men alive.
Growing up in a rough-and-tumble mining town in Northern Canada, Paris Morfopoulos learned to rely on himself, his wits—and alcohol.
He gained the ability to talk his way out of a tough spot, defending himself only when he had to.
“Having to deal with this teaches you diplomacy, because if you constantly fight back you won't have any teeth, so you have to learn to avoid as many fights as you can without losing face,” he says.
But life in the North took its toll.
“I was an extremely heavy drinker and life revolved around making enough money to buy booze to stay plastered,” he says. “I didn’t expect to live very long.”
It was on a visit to his brother George in 1972 that Morfopoulos first learned about Scientology.
“I was in the Canadian Army. George worked for the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. While on leave, I hitchhiked down from Canada, expecting to have a week of fun on the beach with George—drinking beer and chasing girls,” he says. “It didn’t quite work out that way.”
Paris actually spent the better part of his leave in a Scientology course room and returned to his army base with a different set of priorities. Two years later, when having trouble at military college, he turned to Scientology for help. Using L. Ron Hubbard Study Technology, over one long weekend at a Scientology Church he cleared up every confusion he had in mathematics.
“My friends at the college knew I was failing before. They were amazed when I got back and I was so certain of the basics of mathematics, I could show them how you derive calculus from algebra and why calculus works,” he says.
After the army, Morfopoulos worked on oil exploration and construction projects in Northern Canada, often in isolated bush camps. His family opened a Scientology Mission in Winnipeg and he moved there in 1979, and in 1987, he relocated to Florida and became a computer networking engineer.
“It was funny how I became a network designer,” he says. “My manager said, ‘Go find out what a local area network is and if we can make any money at it.’ I found out, and taught myself how to design networks. We ended up growing the network division of our company into a 400-million-dollar-a-year business.”
Happily married since 1980, Morfopoulos and wife Linda have two daughters and several grandchildren. In 1989, they opened The One Stoppe Shoppe in Clearwater, Florida, the spiritual headquarters of the Scientology religion, and in 1996, he retired from the computer field to pursue his Scientology studies and focus on his growing business.
“If it hadn’t been for Scientology I would never have had a structured life or a steady job,” he says. “I could not have had a family, raised children or been successful.”
Morfopoulos also volunteers to help others whenever he can. He and his wife, both Scientology Volunteer Ministers, provided disaster relief during the very busy Florida hurricane season of 2005. After Hurricane Katrina, they established a Volunteer Minister base in Gulfport, Mississippi, for the distribution of emergency supplies. They also worked with the Georgia National Guard, bringing food, medical care and Volunteer Minister services to outlying areas. Morfopoulos did two tours of duty with the Scientology Disaster Response Team after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He set up and ran the satellite communications system and provided cell phone and Internet access at the Volunteer Minister base camp.
Scientologists from around the world know Morfopoulos as the calm and friendly man at the One Stoppe Shoppe in Clearwater who goes out of his way to find out and provide what people need and want at his store.
“I credit Scientology for saving my life and making it possible to have a life worth living,” says Morfopoulos. “Before Scientology, I didn't have that at all.”
To learn more about Scientologists in many different walks of life, visit the Scientology video channel at www.scientology.org.
The popular “Meet a Scientologist” profiles on the Church of Scientology International Video Channel at Scientology.org now total more than 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, with videos now viewed more than 6 millions times.