First off, let me say everything you’ve ever read about Scientology is true – except maybe where Tom Cruise can fly. He can’t fly. Neither can that ashtray you yell at for three hours on the $1500 Scientology basic course.
As a confused 17-year-old, Scientology saved my skin. It could have been Jesus, Children of God or the Great Pumpkin, but in 1977, it was the dead-eyed guys in black and white that go and on about happiness.
I was perfect meat for Scientology; lost, miserable and smoking pot. I was also shoplifting and trying to have sex with my gay best friend. Actually, being busted for shoplifting and having fines to pay was how I met my first Scientologists.
The family owned a huge 300 seater pancake restaurant. They were a Scientology family running their business along Scientology principles.
Their first born was part of Ron Hubbard’s inner circle in the US. Mike was a hero, but it was his little sister who became my best friend. The family was very kind.
Sleepovers at their house included cups of tea and granita biscuits in bed every morning. In Scientology, drugs are bad, the family is good, and with that family’s kindness, I straightened my life out enough to think clearly.
When Scientology wants to hook you, they will fish with the perfect bait.
The bait is whatever is messing up your life right now. It’s called your “ruin”, and what was ruining my life, apart from not being able to bed my gay best friend, was my mother.
We just never got on.
Never did I get so much attention than when I announced the Church of Scientology had a new member. They scattered. For a family so good at neglecting, ignoring, and pretending to be normal, suddenly all eyes were on me.
My grandfather flipped, threatening to go to the newspapers, and I was banished from his presence and his cheque book. The family didn’t want any mumbo jumbo getting into my head to jolt-free the patterns of dysfunction they’d laid in.
Here’s the irony: I was already in a cult.
Only I never knew. When you’re born into a mixed up family with it’s own problems, it’s hard to get perspective.
Truth is my family wasn’t weird, just deeply concerned with their own troubles. They just couldn’t fathom this sensitive child who cried at the drop of a hat and hid in the library at school because he was so shy.
So at 17, I couldn’t wait to leap into the grip of Scientology’s rules and dogma.
Scientology may have sorted out a messy teenage life, teaching me to stand up for myself, but as far as resolving any sad childhood, it was useless. I could have bought a house, for the money I spent on Scientology.
My family disowned me and I was happy doing the exercises the Great Pumpkin, Ron Hubbard set, yelling at an ashtray to make it fly. (Yes, you really do that.)
I stayed in Scientology for 14 odd years till one day I got sick of the hypocrisy and anti-gay sentiments and left.
Leaving required assertiveness, but they taught me that. Those were analog days. Before iPhone and email. Leaving was as easy as walking out and not answering the phone or the door for a while.
Last time they came, it was 9 pm and 20 years later. My dog made it to the door first all bristle and tooth, followed by my partner who lifted one up by the throat to describe what would happen if they returned.
My family of choice.
My new little family of dog and partner protected me from a cult, while in 1977, all my birth family protected was their asses.
Ever known anyone in a cult? Before judging, ask yourself, what are they escaping from? What could possibly be going on in that person’s life to make joining a cult look like a good thing?