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Finding your way after leaving the cult of Scientology

Graduating from Scientology

Willing to Confront Anything? This post was originally published earlier and is bumped to the top for the benefit of newly escaped Scientology members who are struggling to understand what happened to them and why it happened.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-eyesee-image137056If you have been observant these past few years, you may have noticed a broad spectrum of attitudes among ex-Scientologists. This has been especially noticeable in high profile people who have blogs but this can also be observed in the comments on some forums like the Ex Scientologist Message Board.

I have written about these attitudes before but the phenomenon merits further discussion. When someone wakes up and decides that the church is a suppressive environment, they withdraw physically in several stages. First they are “too busy” to attend events and the “press of business” makes it impossible to be on course or to get auditing.

Eventually, they become adamant that they deserve time for personal business and for taking care of their family obligations and they hunker down and cut their ties with the more Gung Ho Scientologists they know. Even so, they resent any attempt to portray L Ron Hubbard in anything but a favorable light and they concentrate their anger at the current management.

The bitterness they feel about the invalidation they have received finds no outlet and they eventually encounter some of the many independent sites on the Internet. Initially, they may feel disloyal as they discover unpleasant facts about the church, but in time the disloyalty is replaced by a burning anger at how they were taken advantage of.

Years can pass and these ex church members are still angry at the church even when they have returned to their original religious practices. They have not come to grips with the fact that they have been skillfully indoctrinated in cult behavior and are still expressing the attitudes and thought stoppers that come with cult life.

They form “independent” groups which still revere L Ron Hubbard and feature his pictures and sayings and try to “recreate” Scientology as they imagine it should be. They battle with the church and its policies while trying to deliver the technology that the church has altered over time. They still think of themselves as “real” Scientologists who are keeping the grand traditions alive.

Those who are actually delivering services in the field find themselves asking questions about long held beliefs and rigid practices and eventually find that there are improvements that can and should be made in the spiritual technology that has been frozen since 1965. Some of these people go back to the very early writings of L Ron Hubbard and find strong support for everything they are attempting to do. They see no reason for adherence to policies that are clearly suppressive and which are no longer followed by the current management of the church.

Some of these people are integrating basic principles of early Scientology with advanced spiritual philosophies which have stood the test of time and have attracted millions of followers. This spiritual research is ongoing and is producing results and flourishing practices.

At any given time, an observer can see ex Scientologists at every stage of this transition from indoctrinated follower to fully independent people who have completely adapted to life on their own.

The process seems to take years and it does not come to an end until the person has faced their past and read and understood the significant analyses of the Church of Scientology that are contained in these thoroughly researched books:

“Going Clear,’ Lawrence Wright’s Book on Scientology
“Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion” by Janet Reitman
“Let’s Sell these People A Piece of Blue Sky” by Jon Atack
“Memoirs of a Scientology Warrior” by Mark Rathbun

A recent quote from Marty Rathbun’s site mentions this phenomenon:
“..the vast majority of people who devoted much time to Scientology ultimately go through the graduation process;  reconciling what they learned and gained, differentiating it from the entrapment mechanisms involved, and finding ways to integrate with society, and to evolve and transcend as a person.”

We, who have left the church, are all somewhere on this path from indoctrinated followers to free citizens who are making our way in the world again on our own determinism. If you are still letting someone tell you what you can read and think, you have not yet enjoyed the freedom that comes with finding your own path. There may be more work you can do.

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3 Comments

SamU  on August 13th, 2013

I learned an important lesson recently on how to handle the bitterness and graduate from Scientology in not years but months. I started auditing a raw public. Try it.

If you need help getting started by getting your Acts in just have a talk with David St Lawerence or any other independent auditor, although I’m preferring the name spiritual technician.

Peace

Rine  on August 14th, 2013

I would mention that also in this process some people may experience shame; shame for being stupid, naive, gullible. Its not nice but it happens and sometimes this can be more pronounced than the anger. Its quite as that Anthony Hopkins movie, where he and Alex Baldwin are trying to survive a huge grizzly bear in the woods. Hopkins says some memorable words to Baldwin about how people die from shame in the woods, not fear. Its realizing one was in a certain state where the cult could manipulate and make one do things. This has to be faced, fully One cannot go free otherwise… Im sure of it.

OldAuditor  on August 14th, 2013

Rine, that is an important point which I did not emphasize enough. People do not realize that indoctrination can happen to any one of us if the group doing this is sufficiently skilled to push our buttons. Almost every large group practices some form of indoctrination to get everyone moving in the same direction and believing the same things.

The indoctrination also includes self-reinforcing commands that create a feeling of being in an elite group even if you are being treated like slaves. Thus, any effort to distance yourself from the group will intensify the cognitive dissonance and leave you feeling embarrassed and ashamed for having allowed yourself to be indoctrinated in the first place. Many ex Scientologists will still not acknowledge that they were supporting and defending a cult.

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