I ran into a brick wall on the telling of my story. That is because the next period covers 20 years of marriage to a scientologist and the raising of my children within scientology doctrine. As circumstances are at the moment, with some family members still in and one very ill, I don’t wish to leave them open to any reprisals because of my words. And sadly that is a very real possibility.
I can talk about my own point of view though, and how I finally emerged from the “Truman Show”.
After finally finding proper medical treatment and rehabilitation, and putting my children back into the normal public school system, I had quite a few years of what seemed to be a ‘normal’ life. Well, except for my husband having a serious affair in what he told me later was “an attempt to find a replacement as I thought you were going to die.” Or words to that effect, but I won’t go there.
I didn’t have a lot of contact with the organisation other than occasional obligatory attendance at “events” and giving in to the odd attempt to find “why I had fallen off the Bridge”. Saying we had no money (true) usually did the trick and we were left alone for a while. I felt totally trapped within the system, (mostly because of my family and the threat of disconnection) even though I wasn’t a real part of it and I think there are many thousands of people out there who feel the same way. The last time I was ever in an org was around 1998 (though I am hazy with dates) when I flew to Sydney Advanced Organisation in some latest “free clean-up”. I still had a teeny tiny thought that perhaps IF the ‘right item” could be found, it would all fall back into place and my doubts would disappear. They didn’t.
By 2000 I had left my husband and was divorced. I had discovered the internet but was still too afraid to read anything critical of scientology. This is one of the hardest pieces of indoctrination to break, the reading of “entheta”. (It’s easier to ignore criticism than examine the opposite point of view.) Instead I studied astrology, which gave me a new viewpoint on the cycles of life and I began the very slow process of examining the concepts that I had been brought up with. I was still getting many phone calls trying to get me back in and even the odd visit, despite me saying I was into “other practices”! The more I came to understand how limited my critical thinking had been, the more confidence I began to find in myself. Around 2002 I read “What is Expected of You as a Life Long Scientologist” and then I started some serious self de-programming.
The last ever visit I had was probably around 2003 when two Sea Org guys came unannounced one afternoon. I was in a good mood that day, so I let them in. We did have a fascinating conversation and I told them exactly what my experience had been and what I thought now. One of them said “you do know stuff don’t you?” and I have never forgotten that comment or the look on his face. I was pretty sure he was close to blowing and I hope he did. In fact he even asked me to run his astrology chart, (the other SO gal was very unimpressed) and I wondered how that would be explained on his next “sec check“.
I started reading critical articles online, starting with Jon Atack’s “A Piece of Blue Sky” as I had known Jon at Saint Hill and his words resonated with my own experiences. Then I read Operation Clambake’s many stories and articles and the more I read, the more I wanted to know. I spent many, many, many hours online, reading everything I could find. Finally in 2006 I found “Scientology -Through the Door” and found the courage for the first time to put my own critical thoughts in the public arena. It was a huge breakthrough for me, and although I did it anonymously I was still scared that somehow it would be traced back to me.
Having started to talk, even in a small way I found it very difficult to really explain my life to people who had no understanding of the subject. A friend finally said “you need to find some ex scientologists to talk to!” – so I Googled “Ex scientologist” and discovered the Ex Scientologist Message Board.
When I first started posting I used to shake, stomach churning and spilling tears all over the place as piece after piece of my life began to fall into new contexts. It was distressing, exhilarating and totally obsessive! At last I had the freedom to speak, to debate, to think and my life totally changed. My first attempt at telling my story was full of jargon, as I hadn’t learnt to totally speak normally yet, and I think I cried on and off for weeks doing that. It felt like so much pain and emotion was finally finding a way out, to be seen and let go of.
The freedom to speak, to be, to think and to disagree…..I became Free To Shine.
A friend once said that what released her from the bonds of scientology was doing a ‘correction list’ on the item “Opinions you can’t say”. She realised “What am I doing in a group that promises me freedom and I’m not allowed to state my opinion?”.
For those who are ‘keeping quiet’ or don’t know what to do, there is a way to release the bonds and that is simply to allow yourself the freedom to really look. Not the kind of “freedom” scientology promises, but real freedom without “must and must not”.
And it changes your life.
(ps – To the old friend who sent me a cryptic message via a search, please do contact me. It’s really, really ok and I will respect your anonimity.)