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 shop lifting and trying to have sex with my gay best friend. Actually, being busted for shop lifting 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 edicts.

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 were very kind. Sleep overs at their house included cups of tea and granita biscuits in bed every morning. In Scientology, drugs are bad, family is good. I began to straighten my life out and 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 mean-as-hell mother.

I’m talking calculating mean. Planning mean.

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 things they were really doing – to me, my brother and other less fortunate ones.

Here’s the irony: the first born psychic daughter of a multi generational cult family joined a cult.

Only I never knew I was l already in a cult. When you’re born into something, even really weird stuff is normal, because there’s no other experience to compare it to.

By the time full recall of my family’s dark habits surfaced, I was long gone from Scientology’s clutches, and long gone from my family.

Scientology may have sorted out a messy teenage life, teaching me to stand up for myself, but as far as retrieving any buried traumatic memory, it was useless. I could have bought a house, or had a nice holiday in a fancy private loony bin rich women go to for the money I spent on Scientology.

My family didn’t know what a good job they’d done. Memories of their gory rituals in clouds smoky stuff were so buried in my head even the Great Pumpkin, Ron Hubbard couldn’t get them. I remained oblivious, trying to get my ashtray to fly.

I stayed in Scientology for 14 odd years till one day I got sick of the hypocrisy 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 9pm 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 knights. My family of choice.

They 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?

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