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.
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 couldn’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.
Children tend to share the belief systems of their parents until they reach an age where they have enough exposure to the world and experience to compare it to other belief systems and that is what happened to me. By the time I escaped the enclosed environment (story to come) I had been drawn into the mindset that does not allow you to look outside that one belief system, even if you are not ‘active’ in it.
Scientology, as other cults do, appeals to good hearted people on the whole, the ones who want to make a difference to the world. (There will also be a minority who can sense the possibility of personal power in an environment where people do as they are told.) However a person gets interested, be it via a book or a “personality test” or word of mouth, what they are seeing is only the outer layer. The smiles, the “wins” that are shared when a person completes a service (mandatory) is seductive and also appeals to anyone with a quest for personal spiritual freedom. There are many layers to the subject that are not apparent at first and by the time you begin to see them you are well trained either look the other way or be very cautious in pointing out things that don’t seem right.
Scientology gained it’s foothold before the internet and social media made it possible for stories to be told freely. It is also notorious for keeping secrets and not allowing anything negative to be known about it and for attacking critics or anyone who spoke out about the abuses they witnessed. There has been a vast amount written about this, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here, check the links on the right.
Paul Haggis in The New Yorker recently,
I once asked Haggis about the future of his relationship with Scientology. “These people have long memories,” he told me. “My bet is that, within two years, you’re going to read something about me in a scandal that looks like it has nothing to do with the church.” He thought for a moment, then said, “I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.”
“Good Roads Fair Weather” is the mechanism used to stop real communication. It means only talking about or changing the conversation to subjects that are light and non controversial. As a scientologist is only allowed to talk about their own emotional issues and challenges within the scientology system – auditing or ethics – it becomes second nature to disguise real feelings and to pretend on the surface that all is well while ignoring any elephants who happen to be in the room. Most of my adult life was spent behind a Good Roads front and that in itself can take a terrible toll on a person.
Scientologists are also not allowed to talk to or associate anyone who has been declared a “Suppressive Person” (SP). Follow the link to find an explanation of this. This is the ultimate penalty for perceived crimes, such as posting on a ‘critic’ Message Board or speaking to media and an “SP” can be subjected to “Fair Game”.
The reason I bring this up is that I have apparently been “declared” an “SP” for speaking out, some time in the last year or so. Of course I have never been directly told this or shown a copy of my “Declare” for fear I would publish it on the net and expose it’s idiotic libel so I have only been informed on a via. Therefore any of my family who are still active in scientology and wish to do their next service have to “disconnect” from me – and have done so.
Why would they do that? Simply because they truly believe their very eternal salvation is at risk if they do not. Scientology makes you quite selfish in that regard, the concept is disguised as ‘saving the planet’ and when you are immersed within it you totally believe it is the only way. Any threat to have that ‘only way’ denied to you is the worst thing imaginable; so family and friends who disagree sadly stand little hope against the ‘certainty’ of future lifetimes of living on this ‘prison planet’ without the “Bridge to Total Freedom”.
Disconnection is one of the very worst crimes of scientology. I have experienced it from both sides, so I am qualified to talk of it. When you disconnect you can justify it to yourself as “I have a right not to talk to that person” which is actually true. However that truth is a twisted one and the bottom line is that it’s “him/her or me”, and ‘me’ usually wins. Even heartfelt personal connections don’t stand a chance when you feel your personal scientology salvation is threatened and thousands and thousands of familes have been ripped apart by this action.
Disconnection can be silent, you quietly drift away and deliberately lose contact, and this is what I did when I was a full blown scientologist. I apologise to the people I did that to, I can only say I really didn’t understand normal personal connections beyond the scientology definitions of them. It can also be something like “I won’t talk to you or have any contact because you are attacking my religion.” There is no true discussion, any conversations on the subject before the final curtain consist of demands that any criticism is stopped immediately, retractions of any critical comments are made and that you basically beg forgiveness and return to the fold to do whatever is demanded of you. This is called “handling”.
Once you become aware of the enormity of the crimes and abuses and experience the relief of being able to talk and think freely, there is no going back. At the same time it can also take a long time to become aware of the intense and subtle indoctrination that affects many aspects of our lives and this is where internet discussion can help a lot.
This subject brings up a lot of emotions for me – I HATE DISCONNECTION.
Click here for some disconnection stories.