Finding your way

This is a true look at what it feels like to try and make your way in the world after being raised in scientology and then having the courage to leave everything you have known. Her thoughts could be my own, yet she brings it together in a way I haven’t been able to. Hat’s off to Christi Gordon for putting her thoughts together so wonderfully. I am so, so glad to see generational ex scientologists speaking out more now.

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Speaking out about scientology

I started this blog back in 2011 and it’s undergone a few revisions and evolutions and looks a little bare at the moment. I will change that. There have been times when I seriously questioned being so vulnerable on the internet and then I remembered my purpose in doing so. And that is to let others know they are not alone, and expose the abuses.

The unspeakable cruelty that scientology (I will never capitalise it in text other than the start of a sentence or call it a ‘church’) silently inflicts on so many and especially the children and families who unknowingly get caught in it’s web, needs to be known about.

Back in 2006 I took my first hesitant step away from being “under the radar” for decades and posted anonymously on Scientology – Through the Door. There are 326 interviews there, I can’t remember which number is mine. I was terrified I would be identified and yet those first words printed on a screen gave me a sense of liberation that is hard to describe. Then I spent a decade posting on the Ex Scientologists Message Board  gradually making sense of my tangled thoughts, leaving behind the fear and confusion we start with when leaving the bubble. It’s been a hell of a journey.

It is a truly a very scary thing to stand up to and speak about scientology. You know that you will lose any family and friends who are still under it’s influence and if you are deemed important enough there is a big possibility of ‘fair game’ as well. Scientology is now well known for putting up smear sites, articles and videos on anyone who appears on the wonderful series Leah Remini:Scientology and the Aftermath as well as others they deem a threat to their “PR”.

Yet the worst thing they do is continue the disgusting practice of ‘disconnection’ on anyone who speaks out, while denying it exists. Families are destroyed, sometimes for generations, parents weep at the loss of their children and grandchildren, children weep at the loss of parents and friends. It is shadow boxing with lies and manipulation in a truly horrifying way, and knowing and experiencing this is what keeps me speaking out. My heart aches with the pain families experience.

Scientology denies everything that is an expose of the real mindset and actions and this very denial is what will eventually bring about it’s demise. Truth does shine through, courage speaks to the heart and I salute every person who has reached out with that courage to make the truth known. There are so many now, it’s a wonderful thing to see.

And for those who cannot yet speak – just know you are not alone, it just feels that way until you take that first step.

Silent Disconnection

If you are in any way critical of scientology (beyond your own thoughts) there is a fair chance you will experience disconnection. A scientologist is not allowed to question, no matter that they feel they are the best people on the planet at communicating. So if a friend or family member speaks out about their experiences in a negative way, they must be shunned, there is no choice. Scientology says that if you leave you will “lose your eternal salvation” and die lonely and in the dark.Approaching storm

Cutting contact with another because they have a different point of view is a form of attempted control and there are many thousands of people who have heard those words “You attacked my religion!” as a reason for another turning their back on you. OK fair enough, if your religion decrees that you must not question or look beyond it’s boundaries of thought, then that is a choice you make. I personally have no problem with people making their choices, following their journey’s path – as long as they don’t harm others in the process.

The trouble is that scientology doesn’t let it go at that. It is certainly not a true religion, it is a corporation in disguise for tax purposes, and it does harm people.

I had my ‘visible’ disconnection in early 2008 not long after I started telling my story on the Ex Scientologists Message Board after many years of being “under the radar”. I was told to stop posting. Well that doesn’t sit well with me and I was not about to be controlled in what I talked about and how, especially as the telling of my story was so life changing and healing. That is a long time ago, and in that time there has been no contact except very briefly on two occasions, one being included in a family text about a death and another a greeting at a wedding, when the person concerned had to pretend “all was well” to maintain the pretence that “we just had an argument”. Yes, that is the ‘public’ excuse for almost a decade of no contact, no answers to letters, emails or gifts.

As much as it broke my heart to lose them, I could live with the choices my family member made, in the hope that one day they would begin to question some of the silent and unacknowledged desperation they live with deep inside. I understand the invisible pressure they suffer, I was once in their shoes. And I would be/am here for them if and when that day happens.

However the next stage began a few years ago, the deliberate plan to make sure that as many as possible of my close and extended family would also disconnect or distance themselves from me, including my children. I have no idea what set this off other than as a possible distraction, the old scapegoat thing. This was my ‘silent’ disconnection.

It was made easier by the fact that I have never really had the chance to get to know my siblings and their families, we lived in different countries or states in Australia. Scientology believes that I am a “suppressive person” because I became a critic and therefore am responsible for anything bad that happens to them (yes!) and that I am a secret wicked criminal. It would be funny if it wasn’t so heartbreaking in reality.

It is easy to spread lies, manipulate emotions and wage a campaign against someone who doesn’t even know it is happening and is never asked about anything or given a chance to speak, if you sincerely believe that you are doing it for “the greatest good”. Normal morality and truth doesn’t even get a look in, it’s like a shutter comes down to form a tunnel vision of the desired outcome. Which is to make someone an outcast and therefore punish them for the crime of speaking, and cover up any wrongs they themselves have done. No lie is too big, no nasty manipulation too great, money is spent maintaining the appearance of being a ‘loving and successful family member’ who must be believed. That is scientology indoctrination.

The period of my life a few years ago when this happened was dreadful and I still find it hard to come to terms with. During this time my ex husband and both my parents died and I had two major surgeries. I had support from only a few brave family members (and many wonderful friends), the rest have not contacted me since then and even blocked me on Facebook without warning or cause. (I don’t care about Facebook, it was  the only visible and unnecessary event.) I have since learned the scope of some of the lies that were told and I can only shake my head. Surely someone would at least question or wonder?

It is what it is. Three generations of my four generation scientology family were children brought up within the disabling thought patterns of scientology and I understand that it’s sometimes easier to just keep your head down and go along with the crowd. If the core of a family is shattered by not allowing contact, then it is destroyed. No matter the outward appearance of normality, when you have to be careful of what you say then that internal dissonance has long term effects on an individual, which makes me sad.

My father brought scientology into our lives and in the years before he passed he often told me how proud he was at my courage in speaking out. Dad knew the score and he Culburra sunset1couldn’t rock the boat, he was still in circumstances where scientology had control. He resisted attempts to get him to disconnect and maintained constant contact anyway, which was also brave of him. Mum was the same. I know my parent’s greatest wish was for the family to be reunited, however faint a hope that seems. However I believe that love is stronger than evil.

 

Five Years Later

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It’s five years since I last posted. I am refreshing the site and have my story in chronological order now as a separate page link at the top for easy reference.

There have been many on-going events in my life and as usual scientology casts it’s shadow. Coming to terms with such complete indoctrination and finding ways to relate to normal society is something that I expect will continue for a long time. I have stories to tell of triumph and heartbreak and it’s time to start talking again.

Stay tuned.

“The Most Ethical Group on the Planet”

This article written by Jeff Hawkins is one of the best I have read about how scientologists explain “the greatest good”.

Here is a small excerpt:

And one has to penalize downstats, right? So how do you do that? Well, throw them overboard or into a lake, have them run laps around a building, put them on “beans and rice,” have them work through the night. Assign them to the RPF. That’s the “greatest good,” right?

Donating money to Scientology strengthens the Church, therefore that’s “in-ethics.” Refusing to donate your money to the Church does not benefit the Church. So it’s “out ethics.” Buying up real estate with parishioner money is “good for the Church.”

And if someone tries to expose the abuse? Well, they are creating “bad PR” for the Church. That’s not the “greatest good.” So those people are SP. And how are you supposed to handle an SP? By any means necessary. After all, didn’t LRH say “One treats a real Suppressive Person pretty rough” (HCO PL 5 April 65 Handling the Suppressive Person) – a quote Miscavige loves to repeat.

So of course, ganging up on someone and screaming at them is for the “greater good.” Disconnecting people from their families is for the “greater good.” Making their pc folders public is for the “greater good.”

And when all this “goodness” gets exposed, how do you handle the Church’s resulting “bad PR”? Well, of course, you lie. You lie to protect the Church. You tell “acceptable truths.” There’s no violence. There’s no disconnection. There’s no abuse. That’s also for the “greatest good”.

Read the whole article here:  Leaving Scientology

Why I oppose Scientology

This brilliant essay is written by my friend Paul Schofield.

To read more of Paul’s story go here – CIFS

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Why do I oppose Scientology?

It’s something I spent the better part of 30 years supporting in every way that I felt I could. I did 80 courses on the subject and received a lot of Scientology counselling in that time as well.

I was a staff member for over twenty years and later worked for Narconon (Scientology’s drug rehab organization) intermittently from 2002 to 2008. I did some work with Applied Scholastics (the Scientology organization dedicated to getting Scientology’s Study Technology into the schools systems) and was on the Board for the local Applied Scholastics school for roughly a year.

I trained at the self-professed “Mecca” of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida for over a year and trained twice at the International Training Organization of Scientology in Los Angeles. My expenses were paid for during my time there. I was twice flown to LA in my time at Narconon for briefings and training. I was an ordained Scientology minister who was recognized by the state of NSW in Australia as a religious marriage celebrant and performed quite a number of weddings for Scientologists in that capacity. I was one of a very people awarded the certificate of Professor of Scientology – I gained mine in 1989 after completing many courses.

So – why do I oppose Scientology?

Is it because in the vast majority of time I worked for the “Church” or any of its “social betterment” organizations that the pay was a pittance? Never enough to feed me, let alone raise a family or buy a house? Even when I worked for a wage at one Narconon, the pay was minimal. At the other Narconons I have worked for, the pay was dependant on how much money was gotten in for that week – at one time, I went for five weeks and received no pay at all because little or no money had come in in those weeks. I have been longer periods than that working for the “Church” for no money at all. Most of the time, a pay of more than $50 was a “good” week.

But I knew what the pay was before I started and agreed to these conditions even though I thought the pay would increase rapidly (and had been told this.) The decision to suffer these conditions was mine and mine alone – I could’ve left any time I felt like it. Although I was convinced I would have to pay back many thousands of dollars for training and counselling received while on a staff contract. But this also was something I’d agreed with when I started (even tho’ it’s not legally binding on me, as I recently found out.)

So – why do I oppose Scientology?

Is it because the focus of all the activities of this “Church” now seem to me to be totally aimed at collecting money?

No – while I feel like a fool for having supported such an organization, the world is full of such organizations and they’re not necessarily something to be attacked. Even if the current leader of the “Church” spends millions on houses, cars, motorbikes, holidays etc. for himself while many of those doing 80 or 90 hour weeks for the self-same “Church” earn $5 or $10 dollars allowance plus basic food and clothing each week. They do it voluntarily for the most part. Just like I did. I feel for them, but it is their choice to stay there.

So – why do I oppose Scientology?

Is it because of the cover-up of the Founder’s past, turning his life into a total myth of enormous scope?

No. I was rather upset when I found that this man who I’d been led to believe had been a dynamo achiever of huge goals was actually neurotic and unstable. His war history bore no resemblance to facts. He manufactured so much of his history he must’ve known he would eventually be found out. Either that or he was delusional. Yet I enjoyed my time studying his writings and listening to his recorded lectures and found much that I felt was useful in them. If a man wants to invent his past that is his business, not mine. It is only what the man achieves that I am interested in, and I felt then that he achieved much. Even if his achievements didn’t result in the universally workable technology he claimed. And I now know that much of his major “breakthroughs” were actually the work of others.

So – is it because his “technology” is flawed and doesn’t do what he said it would? That his many claims for his mental therapy is little more than blatant lying and every simple independent test conducted on this proves this so? That no-one out of all his adherents have ever achieved even a small part of the claimed benefits of the promised superhuman?

No. There are some benefits to be had, even if they aren’t the overall goal of a new improved human being as stated often in Scientology literature. In fact, I think it largely depends on the person. I know several people who have spent a lot of time and money receiving Scientology services and they are still the crooks or fools or connivers or bullies that they’ve always been. Maybe now a bit better at it. And the nice people are still nice, if now broke. And I believe the benefits could be gotten a lot easier (and a lot cheaper) in other practices available to the average person. But it wasn’t all bad and I did learn some valuable life lessons from my time as a Scientologist

So – why do I oppose Scientology?

Is it the widespread (but constantly officially denied) practice of disconnection? Where an adult with children will be told by a fourteen year old staff member to leave their spouse or be unable to continue with their Scientology services? Told that if they stay with someone who is critical of Scientology in any way they risk their own immortal future? And that of everybody else because it may impact on the whole scheme of things?

No, although I have lost several friends to this very practice recently. One is a staff member who believes that he is trained in the basic secrets of human behaviour and instructs others in how to counsel people with Scientology. He works his forty hours plus for the “Church’ and also works another job just to get by. He informed me that he could not communicate with me until I “handled” my “problems” with the “Church” that he had read about on the staff noticeboard. This was a communication I never received from the “Church” so I know not what it is that I need to handle, nor do I think the “Church” will tell me any time soon. But, to my friend, the fact of an official announcement on a noticeboard on my apparent wrongdoing is enough to abandon our friendship. Without once consulting me for my side of the tale. Because he believes sincerely I have “gone over to the Dark Side.”

Another is a friend who knows of my disagreements and has disconnected also because of the few I have voiced to him. He is a man who is risking bankruptcy yet continues to donate money he hasn’t made to the “Church” because he sincerely believes it is the best thing for him to do – the greatest good for the greatest number. His children have mostly signed billion year contracts and do the expected 80 to 90 hour week of the Sea Org (the paramilitary arm of Scientology that perform all of the upper management functions.) He urges his fellow Scientologists to follow his example and give freely of both time and money. He owns neither car nor house. He has nothing set aside for his retirement yet he has earned probably millions and given it to the “Church” over the years.

When I spoke frankly to him of what I saw were the dishonesties of this “Church” he told me he would get someone to get me the true data on this and turned the whole matter over to the “Church” for official handling and has not communicated to me since, nor do I expect him to. For once a person in Scientology is officially labelled as some sort of enemy in any way, none who wish to “remain in good standing” with the “Church” may communicate with the now-enemy.

Even when I mentioned I had doubts about Scientology to my wife, her reply was that I needed to “handle” this or I would never see her nor our children again. She then rang the “Church” for advice on what to do to “help” me.

I have no problem with any of the above people’s actions as it’s what I would have done in the same position as a dedicated Scientologist. It certainly isn’t totally the fault of the people who are doing what they thought was best for me as well as them. And there are other religious and non-religious groups that practice disconnection, although probably not to the same lengths as Scientology goes in its “official” pronouncements to its members.

So – why do I oppose Scientology

Is it because of the reported human rights abuses? The reported unjust imprisonments and coerced abortions?

I have a friend who was in the Sea Org and got pregnant with what would be her second child. There had been an edict put out by the Executive Director International of the Church in the mid eighties that forbade Sea Org members having children as children had become too much of a drain on resources. Should anyone become pregnant they would be sent away from their home in the Sea Org to a “small struggling” Church and raise the child then return to the Sea Org once the child themselves were of the age to join up as well. Her first child was born before this edict came into force.

My friend was seen by a number of senior executives who tried to get her to abort the child, as both her and her husband were highly trained counsellors and their services brought in a lot of money for their “church.” She refused, citing the Founder’s first book on the subject of the mind where he stated flatly that only an insane person would want to abort a child for any other reason than the possible death of the mother should the pregnancy continue. Her husband divorced her to remain in the Sea Org and she was sent to another “Church” where she basically had to fend for herself, with her two children. The pay at that “Church” was abysmal and she had to clothe, feed and house herself and her family by working another job as well as working at her new “Church” for at least forty hours a week.

To be fair to her husband, he first joined “Church” staff at the age of fifteen. A couple of years later, he joined the Sea Org with his mother (a single parent) and she was expelled from the “Church” soon after. He was soon assigned to the “Rehabilitation Project Force” where he was made to spend months running around a track in southern California as part of his program. He told me he wore out five pairs of running shoes doing this “therapy’” running from morning until after dark every day for that entire time. He was still a teenager, with no contact allowed with either of his parents, nor indeed with anyone outside of the project. He could not speak to anyone unless they spoke to him first. He needed to be cleansed of his “evil purposes” so that he would be a fit and proper sea Org Member in the future.

When he graduated, he became a counsellor for the Sea Org and was renowned for his dedication to his work. He won several annual awards for the most hours done over the year period, averaging well over forty hours every week, seven days a week, year in and year out. His seniors even publicly joked that they didn’t allow him out for meals any more, just pushed the food under his door and let him out after ten every night when he had finished for the day.

I know of many other horror stories, including several personal tragedies. But for each and every one of these cases, there has always been the complicity of the victim themselves who has agreed to this – most could have walked away if they so wished.

So – why do I oppose Scientology?

A fundamental belief of Scientology is that everybody is an immortal spiritual being who has been around for eternity and has been kicking around this universe for trillions of years. And once we all were gods, with powers of creating and destroying universes all by ourselves just by thinking about doing it. But now here we are, stuck on a minor planet at the rear end of this universe and we can’t even cure headaches properly. Why?

Because we’ve all sinned against each other and so limited our powers down and down to the point where now we are so close to total extinction that only a miracle will save us. And that miracle is Scientology.

Scientology is the product of its Founder and he alone (per the official Scientology biography) came up with all of the Scientology miracles. And the greatest sin any Scientologist can do is alter the sacred technology of Scientology that the Founder left his faithful.

And it is a broad collection of technology.

From how to save a marraige to how to look after cut flowers. From communication to espionage. From counselling to creating artistic masterpieces. From running an expanding, prosperous business to how to drive a car.

Every Scientologist is constantly exhorted to emulate the Founder and “Do what Ron would do.” Live life by the exact dictates that Hubbard laid down as that is the only way out of The Trap that is this universe. The only way to reverse the Dwindling Spiral we all are apparently on that, if not “handled,” will result in the ultimate degradation of all that is good and true. The only way out is to be like Source, the Founder, Mankind’s Greatest Friend.

In effect, to become a copy of the Founder and do what he would do throughout all areas of your life.

Those who train to be counsellors listen to tape recordings of his counselling sessions and work hard to emulate him. Those who work on staff are told to ask themselves “What would Ron do?” if they are in a situation they can’t solve. Those who study Scientology are told that their disagreements are a result of them not fully understanding what Source is saying. Source is infallible. Scientology works if applied exactly. If it fails it is in the application of it, not the original technology.

So the road back to Total Freedom as an individual is through totally prostrating oneself before the identity of the Founder and seeking to become Him as only He ever did anything that resolved this Downward Spiral. All one’s efforts in all those endless past lives just added to the degradation of themselves so the individual has no idea of what it takes to be free, only the Founder knows. And only by following his Closely Taped Path will anyone ever be free. All other religions, all other practices (especially the evil ones of Psychiatry and Psychology) lead to further degradation of one as a spiritual being. The world outside of Scientology is a scary place, full of evil people who wish to destroy Scientology, The Only Hope For Mankind. Because, if Scientology ever succeeded, these evil people would have their sins exposed.

And those who aren’t inherently evil are poor duped fools living miserable lives who badly need Scientology brought home to them. They don’t rush for Scientology because they can’t see the freedom it offers because they are so trapped in this universe. They have to be shown what a terrible state they are in and slowly brought to the realization that their only salvation is Scientology.

So the Road to Total Freedom requires becoming a clone of the Founder, as He is the only person to have ever worked out how to be free. All everyone else ever did was create less freedom.

A Scientology world would never allow a Gandhi, a Beethoven, a Buddha, an Edison. a Michelangelo, a Mandela, a Tolstoy, a Dickens – it would be a world where everybody is devoted to the goal of Scientology in which everything else had no place. Time and time again I heard people told that their goals were nothing compared to the goal of Scientology and to follow their own goals was “out-Ethics” – the Scientology equivalent of sinful. Many was the time this happened to me – I abandoned pursuing my own goals until Scientology was achieving its own. Which of course never happened. And will never happen, because it offers no real freedom but just a dull hypnotic state where one thinks one has become cause again but actually is having a harder time coping than the average person.

Scientology promises immortal and invincible individuality: instead, it swallows the individual whole and regurgitates them as the perfect soldier who will follow any orders because their Founder has all the answers and His teachings are the only thing worthwhile in this (or any other) universe because they are supposedly the way back to the state of Immortal and Invincible Individuality.

That’s why I oppose Scientology.

Paul “Scooter” Schofield

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Freedom of choice to ‘disconnect’ in scientology

The following article describes the “freedom of choice” a scientologist faces when disconnection from family members is on the table. Very well stated!

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Yes, it IS a personal choice.

Just as it would be a personal choice if a man were standing with a gun against your child’s head, and said, “give me all of your money or I will pull the trigger”. Of course, you will hand over the money to save your child’s life, and while it IS A CHOICE, it is a pretty “heavily enforced” choice and has little “wiggle room”.

The same is true in Scientology. The choice is based on THIS outcome. Either disconnect from this person or YOU will also be 1) summarily declared and then 2) forcibly disconnected from all YOUR friends and relatives. Also, once you are declared you will 3) LOSE your “chance at eternal freedom”.

One must accept the absurd notion that Scientology can and does provide this “eternal freedom”, but we ARE dealing with True Believers here. The normal card-carrying Scientologist BELIEVES that the Church of Scientology holds the ONLY valid path to this freedom, and thus a THREAT of taking this away causes them REAL PAIN and SUFFERING (granted this is largely in their imagination).

So, the notion that it is a “free choice” is absurd. The card-carrying Scientologist is FORCED into disconnection OR ELSE. Or else what?

1. Be declared yourself and then be disconnected from all your friends and family.

2. Lose your chance at “eternal freedom” (a thing most members consider VERY VALUABLE).

The “easy simple choice” is an illusion, in that it is not at all of the same degree of insignificance such as on deciding whether or not to go to a movie tonight. This “choice” of “disconnecting” or not involves SEVERE repercussions, just like the guy holding the gun against your child’s head and demanding your money.

Scientology will try to “spin” the act of disconnection as a “personal choice” that it does not “force on members”, but the sad and sorry outcome is guaranteed if you “refuse” to make the “proper choice”. This is just more of Scientology doing what it does so commonly – Scientology redefines and misrepresents things in an attempt to trick people into agreeing with it.

Just as it really isn’t much of a “choice” whether to hand over your money to a thief holding a gun against your child’s head, it also is not much of a “choice” when one “decides” to “willingly disconnect” from some person to avoid the always resultant 1) declare, 2) disconnection, and 3) lose “of the Bridge” for YOU if and when you choose otherwise.

Free choice, free personal decision? My ass.

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By Gadfly on Ex scientologists Message Board