Melissa Miller’s Scientology Story
I was about 13 years old when my parents’ marriage seemed to be falling apart. A friend talked with them about Scientology. One day, one of my parents left home, then returned after being away for weeks. Then almost immediately after that parent’s return, the other parent left and did not return until months later. It was a very confusing time. My siblings and I did our best to maintain a normal schedule with school, homework, chores, etc. It was also unnerving not knowing where our missing parent was or what was happening.
After the second parent reappeared back at home, we were told that said parent had supposedly found what they had been looking for all of their life. We were then told that this parent would be moving away for an indefinite amount of time. We were very confused by all of this. Our family life was radically changed forever.
Before the parent left, one of my siblings asked to go along. The request was granted. I chose to stay behind as I was doing well in school and had friends I did not want to leave behind. As it turned out, the family of mine that remained behind, and I, suffered a dysfunctional existence.
It was difficult for me, at 13 years old, to try to hold down the fort for the remaining parent. I did my best but it obviously was not enough. I would help my siblings get off to school before I left for school myself. I would help them with their homework, make dinners, pack lunches, walk to the store to buy food, clean the house, and do the laundry. I would make sure they had their baths. I had assumed the role of a parent while still being a child myself.
One day when I got home after school, my sibling who had left with the absent parent was at home. The remaining parent told me that we were going to leave with that sibling the next day to go live with the absent parent (without the parent who had remained at home). I was devastated. I did not want to leave my school or friends.
The move was horrible; by this time the absent parent, whom I will now refer to as SciParent (my version of an SP), was deeply involved with Scientology. My siblings and I were taken to a house in the downtown area of a fair sized city. This house was owned by a Scientologist and was more or less sectioned off into one apartment, a bunch of rooms for boarders, a bathroom, and a kitchen.
SciParent rented the apartment but we kids had to live in one of the other rooms. We were to share the communal kitchen (which really used to be a bedroom) and the communal bathroom. This house had probably about eight other Scientologists (besides my family) living there. They were all adults with the exception of me and my siblings, and all but one were male. I must also mention that my SciParent rarely slept at the house, choosing to sleep at the homes of Scientologists of the opposite gender.
My SciParent was ALWAYS at the org, either on course or receiving auditing. We children were abandoned and left to fend for ourselves. We were not in school. We did not have food in the house. We had to find ways to earn some money so we could have some food and pay our rent. The ones of us who were old enough would babysit. After a while, one of my siblings got a full time job at the org, a good position, too – especially for someone under the age of 18.
It was very strange; this sibling was in a trusted position. I would babysit all day, for Scientologists of course. At dinnertime, I would walk across town to the org and go to work there until I was told I could go home. Some nights this was not until well after midnight. Weekends would put me at the org, too. I did everything from going out on the streets to hand out free personality test coupons to answering the org’s phones. I was required to write letters to people who had shown even a smidgeon of interest in Scientology. I had my stats to keep up, too. I think the most I got for a week’s work (nights and weekends) was around $5.00.
There were many times when I so wanted to see and speak with my SciParent. I would ask to do so at the org and I was ALWAYS refused. My parent could not be disturbed for any reason. It was horrible. I had no parental influence, love and guidance.
One evening I wanted to go see a movie. I saw my parent coming into the org. I asked to be taken to the movie (I was still about 13 years old). My parent saw a man standing nearby, pointed at him and told me to ask him to take me. The man heard the exchange between my parent and me. He offered to take me to the movie and of course, I had to pay for my ticket. After that, he would not leave me alone. He followed me home. I would come home from the org some nights and he would be sitting in my room. He pretty much stalked me. Then one night when my siblings and parent were not at the house, he raped me.
I was still a virgin at the time and did not know what was happening. All I know is that it hurt and I cried. When he was done, he slapped me and called me a whore. Being the weirdo he was, he then told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. He was somewhere around 23 years old.
The next evening, while I was working at the org, a man who I often worked with could tell that something was wrong. I told him what had happened. I knew that I could do nothing about it, as the policy of Scientology is to handle things internally. Even though I was not a full fledged, course taking Scientologist, my parent was. I could not go to the police. If I were to do anything, it would be to report it to the Ethics Officer, who would then handle things.
I must add that by this time I had read a great number of the books and learned the churches policies. Still, I was a child. I was scared and ashamed. I felt that it was my fault as the “church” claims that bad things happen because a person has done something to “pull it in”. Back to my trusted friend: He instructed me to have the rapist at my house the next night, which was not an issue because I could not get him to leave the house.
The next night came. I was at the house with my rapist and two others. I cannot recall who they were. There was a knock at the door. It was my trusted confidant from the org and he had about three or four other men with him. They came in and asked my rapist to step outside where they could talk. He did not want to go but after a few words were exchanged, he left. I never saw him again.
During my time working at the org, my siblings and I were being hounded to join the Sea Org. I was 14 years old by this time. I remember holding the Sea Org contract in my hands and thinking it was ludicrous to even propose a billion year contract, especially to a minor. I remember signing it while wondering, “What the heck am I doing?”
My siblings and I had eventually had enough of the neglect and forced labor. We saved up enough money for bus tickets and skipped out on the rent and went back home. Our lives there were not a whole lot better but we were back in school and around friends; and we did not have to pay our own rent.
Shortly after our return home, one parent filed divorced. For some reason, the SciParent decided to move back just after the filing. Shortly after the divorce was final and the assets divided, SciParent decided to move to another city to pursue Scientology in a different org.
This was another catastrophe. Again, we were put in a house with a bunch of adult Scientologists. Again, SciParent was absent most of the time. I again babysat for Scientologists during the day. I did not go work at the org. I felt I deserved more money for my time than the previous org had given me and I was not going to get into doing that again. Although I would hang out at the org, so I had someone to talk with and maybe could see my SciParent occasionally. I was uncomfortable being at the house without my SciParent, too.
One evening, I fell asleep on the couch in the communal living room of our house. In the middle of the night, one of our housemates raped me. There was an 18 or more year difference in our ages and I was still underage. I once again said nothing. I knew my SciParent would do nothing being that they were both Scientologists. The most that would happen is an Ethics Officer’s intervention and I would have to get auditing, which I did not want under any circumstances.
I then realized I was pregnant. I was devastated. I had been looking forward to being a mother some day but there was no way in hell I was going to have the child of a Scientologist rapist. The most difficult thing I have ever done was abort that pregnancy.
A few years after, I was being badgered by my SciParent and other Scientologists to “get on course” and join the Sea Org, reading the books wasn’t enough to appease them anymore So to get them off my back, I signed up for I believe it was the Communications Course. I think it was the second night of classes, when I just got up and walked out of the course room. Naturally, the Course Super followed me out. He kept telling me that I had a “misunderstood”. I told him that I understood completely well what I had been reading and it was a bunch of bullshit. He claimed that the only reason I would not agree to what I was reading was due to a “misunderstood”.
We argued briefly. I finally told him that the issue was his, as his MU (misunderstood) was clearly the fact that he could not recognize bullshit when he saw it. I honestly feel that I had just reached my fill with Scientologists and Scientology. I had seen enough of what it was REALLY doing to people. I was sitting on the sidelines being neglected and raped. There were long stretches of time when all I had to eat was peanut butter (no bread), or pancake mix, which I would have to mix with water only. I had to wash out our clothes with a bar of body soap in the bathtub. No one cared because all that mattered was “the greatest good for the greatest number” which was the success of Scientology.
I have extended family deeply embedded in the bowels of Scientology. I put up with my SciParent and their Scientology throughout the years. To this day, that parent is a believer. They may not be a full-fledged member, but a believer and an OT. All the money this parent made went to Scientology. We ate crap for food and could not go to school because we had to earn money for rent but there was a few thousand in my parent’s account at the org.
I learned about Scientology through careful observation with an intelligence they could not control or squash while under the duress of neglect, the deprival of an education, rape, and emotional abuse. I saw what they did and see what they are doing; I lived it. Nothing in their books can overshadow or have me forgive what I lived through. The written words mean nothing. The treatment I received means everything.
Decades later, I am still subjected to my family’s Scientology belief system. When moving to the Denver, Colorado area, I had hoped to be free of any direct influence from non-relatives who are Scientologists. Then I learned of the org in Englewood and the missions in Aurora and Boulder. I learned of Scientology trying to squash other’s first amendment rights along with all of their other injustices, thus I am moved to action. I am supportive of the Anonymous movement.