Sharone’s Scientology Story
This is part of the time after I came out of the Sea Org, even now part of me doesn’t want to press send, makes me feel vulnerable. But on the other hand I think people should know how Scientology and disconnection messes with a child’s head.
I’ll never forget the first night in the assessment centre. Lying in bed, in a dorm full of strange children quietly crying myself to sleep. Thinking how I was a criminal and my big crime was wanting to be loved. Surely at 12 years old you are entitled to being loved and cared for, but apparently not.
The centre was a secure unit, no bars on the windows but none of the outside doors could be opened, none of the windows opened more than a couple of inches. The man in charge reminded me of the MAA minus the Sea Org uniform. He made it plain from the start, “Don’t mess with us and we will get along just fine”. “You cannot get out of here, so don’t even try, you will be punished if you attempt to escape.” I felt like I had swapped one prison for another one. Whilst what Hubbard was doing had to be illegal, this one was within the law. I was trapped.
There was constant probing into my back ground, questions about my family, where had I been abroad? I was constantly on the alert, it took some doing giving only the most basic of answers, because I’m sure they were trying to catch me out. Always give a shore story, that’s what Hubbard had said, and although I hated Hubbard, he was a cruel, nasty man, it seemed I had to comply to survive. I constantly wondered what had happened to my Dad. Even these people couldn’t tell me, it’s like he had disappeared off of the face of the earth.
Just like the people on the ship, there in the day and then gone in the night. Where had they gone, it was strange because they had seemed like nice people and yet according to Hubbard they had done terrible things. In contradiction I saw that Hubbard ordered terrible things done to his crew. So who was lying? It had to be Hubbard. I had wondered if my Dad had been murdered, I wasn’t sure if that was possible, could Hubbard be that cruel? I felt sure he could.
It was hard to adjust to my new surroundings, a motley group of kids from all walks of life and backgrounds. At least they spoke in a language I understood, it was a given that you did not probe into why they were there, every one of us with our own secrets and sad tales to keep. I realized you did not have to have come from a Scientology background to have shit thrown at you as a child. It was common place, this neglect of children’s lives. What I failed to understand was why we were being punished, for the failings of adults. I would never trust an adult for as long as I lived.
I was assigned a social worker, more questions. When would these people realize I would tell them nothing. They sure as hell wouldn’t understand even if I did. And they would not believe me even if I did tell them.
Who in their right mind would believe what went on in the Sea Org? It was so far removed from the world these people lived in and if I told them, would I then be locked up in a room by myself, no windows, just a bed. Just me, a bed and a lifetime of nothingness. I was non existent. A Suppressive person. I knew Hubbard was a fraud, but what if he was right about me. I did after all have terrible thoughts about him and you were not supposed to have these thoughts. It was a crime. Treason. Was my Dad locked up somewhere too? He was in Treason. Trust no one.
There was a school room on the [social services] premises and we followed the national curriculum during the week. It was at least some respite from my worries and fears. The teacher was quite nice as far as adults go. Weekends we were allowed out to the local shops on a Saturday morning, supervised one adult to two children, to make sure we didn’t escape. My first trip out I scoured the surrounding area as best I could with a view to escaping at the first available opportunity. Some of the kids had done so before but had always eventually been found and brought back. When I escaped I was never going to be taken back.
Then came the visit from the psychiatrist, according to Hubbard the most Suppressive people on earth. You would think that I would have realized by now that Hubbard was wrong about psychiatrists, but it was ingrained in me and my Dad had said the same. I had believed my Dad. I was convinced the psychiatrist thought I was mad, he was waiting for me to slip up and when I did, that would be it. They would put me in a mental institution and throw away the key. That’s what psychiatrists did, wasn’t it? They would mess with my mind and because my mind was already in a very fragile condition it wouldn’t take much to tip it over the edge.
I had laughed with another girl in the SO about how in the real world we would be locked up in the nut house if we were to tell any body about the SO. I had laughed because I was so scared that it was true, and here I was faced with this dilemma. I would tell the Psychiatrist nothing, he was no going to catch me out. Tell an acceptable truth, I was not going into a mental institution if I could help it.
As I write this I am deeply saddened and angered that my thought processes were so dysfunctional at the age of 12. Whilst I had to take responsibility for sorting through this ingrained indoctrination of Hubbard’s philosophy, it was Hubbard that was at fault, not me, but sometimes I thought it was me. After all I was the one that was locked up, whilst Hubbard was free on the sea.
When you first go to a new place it is hard to make friends. I learned the hard way that being shunned by your peers was the norm until you proved yourself worthy. No one spoke to me for weeks, the other children [at social services], that is.
There was a top girl, who was something of a bully and until she decided you were worth talking to, nobody else dared. Like all bullies, she had a big hard coating on the outside and yet under the surface there were cracks. I found her in the dorm one day crying, her mother was meant to visit and had cancelled. I was the one who dared to approach her and offer some sympathy, she decided I was ok after all, and from then on everyone else talked to me too.
The day my step mother turned up was horrible, I think it was at the insistence of the staff there. She came rushing in, said she only had five minutes as she had to get to St. Hill. Told me “I had pulled it in” and “it was up to me to ‘handle it'” and then promptly left. I’ll never forget the look on the care worker’s face, she could not believe how my step mother had behaved.
I never did try and escape from [social services]. I wasn’t what you would call happy, but I did settle into a routine of sorts. I made some great friends because we were all in the same boat and it was a case of making the best of a bad situation.
Towards the end of my stay we went on a two week barge holiday and we were given the most freedom we had had in a long while. It was good fun.
Also towards the end of my stay there I went and spent a weekend with my stepmum. I didn’t particularly want to go, I didn’t want anything more to do with Scientology or her. But the staff had thought it would be a good idea. I had wondered what they would have thought if they had known about Scientology and what had happened in the Sea Org. They seemed to be clueless and could not understand my reluctance to go and visit.
It was an awful weekend. I did some baking and played with my sister, that was good,but after that it was Scientologists talking about you’ve guessed it -Scientology. I was by then sick to death of Scientology, What it had done to my Father and myself. And still nobody knew where my Dad was and if they did they were not saying.
I remember sitting there thinking “Why am i here?” and looking around , they all seemed to have the same face. What i thought of as a Scientologists face,I’m trying to think of words to describe it and all i can come up with is ‘a glazed smile’. I thought i won’t be coming back here again. I t was like i wasn’t there to them any way.
I surprised myself by crying when i left the center, i didn’t want to be there but it was all i had and it was at least familiar. I was moving on to a kids home.
I really hated the kids home. It was very strict, a couple of the staff were quite nice but the owners at times treated us with contempt. In many ways it was worse than being under lock and key. We were allowed out by ourselves and went to a public school, but it was obvious where you came from and people, not just children either tended to treat you like there was something wrong with you. It felt like a reflection of me personally, like it was my fault i didn’t have a family.
I did run away from there, another girl and myself decided we’d had enough. I still had it in my head i would find my Dad, how naive i was, i hadn’t a clue where to even start. We started walking headed towards London, we walked the best part of a day. No money, no food, tired aching legs, it was starting to get dark. We walked past a police station and after a short discussion decided to turn ourselves in.The police were very nice about it and we got a lift back to the home, knowing they would not be so kind. We were grounded for a month and had to do extra duties on top of all the duties we already had. Polishing everyones shoes every night became a pet hate of mine.
My social worker visited every month and took me out to lunch, i was horrible to him and pleaded with him every time to get me out of there.He kept telling me it wasn’t that simple, it always ended in an arguement. How i hated adults.From time to time he would still probe about my time away with my Dad in the SO. I suppose it was obvious i knew more than i was letting on but i was steadfast in refusing to say anything.
One day i got a letter, it was from my Dad, i cried and cried and cried when i opened it. He wasn’t dead after all. He said he couldn’t see me and there was no address to write to him, so i cried some more. There was no mention of his where abouts, what had happened to him or anything. I asked the staff if they knew where he was. They said they knew nothing. I cherished that letter, it was the most valuable thing i owned, i read it over and over again. Crying until i could cry no more. I became very depressed and withdrawn again and felt like i wanted to die.
At about this time i started to dream vivid dreams of being back on the ship, i would wake up in a cold sweat. I was always searching for my Dad, searching, searching everywhere but he was no where to be found.