Walking away from the scientology organisation in Russell Street, Melbourne is a day I will never forget. The relief was so massive and I felt excited at the immediate future; being a proper mother at last, despite the exhaustion I felt at the time. I was going to be there for my family and not have children as a second priority to whatever disaster scientology was trying to overcome at the time. This was such a huge decision and required a courage born of desperation.
I can’t remember if we moved out of the shared (scientology staff) house before or after I left, I think it was just before. I can’t even remember what happened to my husband regarding being married to a ‘blown staff member’, somehow we just sank out of sight and out of mind, which is quite unusual. 1982 was the year when management was busily rearranging the Mission Network and goodness knows what else, and was a period where many thousands of people left scientology, so I guess I was just one of the many.
I did get a Freeloader Bill, although I successfully argued that many of the “courses” I was being charged for were not for personal spiritual advancement but rather work related. I’m not sure how I managed that! It ended up only being a few hundred dollars which was paid off over a period of time and thus I once again became a ‘scientologist in good standing’ although an inactive one regarding taking any courses or auditing, I had no intentions of that!
Slowly I felt myself become whole again and not a nervous wreck. Having rest, food and time heals many ills and I had a healthy baby in 1982 and another in 1984, all three babies were wonderful (medically supervised) homebirths. I didn’t really know how to be part of normal society and didn’t understand that there were many organisations and people who were there to help new mothers. The insular attitude of scientologists was still my own…and although I enjoyed motherhood it was also a solitary activity for me. The downside of that was having virtually no support at all, my husband worked very long hours and was almost never there to help with child raising and I didn’t have any real friends until my children went to school. And as he worked night shifts, a lot of these early years were a nightmare of keeping the babies quiet during the day while he slept, an almost impossible task with a lot of ramifications to this day.
After my elder child began school and the other two followed over the next three years, I discovered a whole new world. I became friends with other mothers and instead of finding their conversation trivial and uninteresting as the still ingrained scientologist in me expected (they weren’t trying to save the world were they?) I found wonderful support and unconditional friendship. There was no-one there who was going to report me for disloyal thoughts, or tell me to “get your stats up” or expect impossible physical marathons; they were fellow women who worked through the same mothering issues and understood.
I had a wonderful conversation with two of my kids last night on the subject of education and social morals; they are now successful and capable adults yet it wasn’t always so and I feel that my own internal conflicts about resolving scientology doctrine about children with what I felt was right caused it’s own problems for them too.
Scientology considers children to be “thetans in small bodies”, in other words adults who need to “regain their (past life) abilities”. There is a whole book written on this called Child Dianetics and another on ‘The Second Dynamic’. This never sat well with me and I had many internal conflicts on what was the best thing to do in various situations. To me children were just that, children, and deserved to have a happy and carefree childhood. Yet my own indoctrination was the opposite in many ways, and dictated that children be treated as having innate adult understanding! My husband had a scientology upbringing from a very young age, so when I stepped away from acceptable scientology “handlings” I did so alone.
I negotiated this minefield of conflicting information for many, many years and the most decisive step came in 1988 when I was approached to help start a scientology school.
More stories on children raised in scientiology can be found at Ex Scientology Kids.