Lily’s Scientology Story
Reposted from here.
1. How did you first become acquainted with the Church of Scientology?
I was born and raised within Scientology.
2. What initially appealed to you about scientology?
In my case, since I was born and raised within this cult it was never a matter of what appealed to me. I was socialized to regard it as the only way to be and I was told again and again how chaotic and dangerous the outside world was. I wanted to help people and I was told this was the only thing that could help.
3. Were there problems in your life that you thought scientology would address?
Since I was so young at the time there were no personal problems that I had to address.
4. Did you see, experience, or hear about things that didn’t seem right while you were in the Church of Scientology? What were they, and what convinced you to set aside your feelings?
I noticed so many things that “were not quite right” that I could write a book. I will list a few of them here, but believe me each one that is listed I could write a chapter about.
My parents spent thousands of dollars and many evening/ weekends on Scientology, all the while neglecting their children’s needs to some degree or another.
There were at least three times that I know of that my mom spent large sums of money on Scientology without my dad’s consent, this was advocated by the church as the “greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics”
I was recruited at age 15 to join the Sea Org. My teenage years were stolen from me and I was not able to finish my high school degree.
The three years that I was in the Sea Org I endured low living standards and little to no pay. I lived with 5-8 other girls at all times in a one room studio. I was told that my living expenses and needs would be taken care of but when it came to getting a dresser, there were none to be found, when it came to getting uniform parts I mainly got used and raggedy pieces issued to me and when it came to get paid the $50 a week as was promised I usually only saw between $10-20 which is not even enough to buy tampons and shampoo. One time there was a huge push from management to sell a lecture series and staff were expected to give up the few dollars they made a week to buy these LRH lectures. Through peer pressure many people did.
Each time I wanted to leave the Sea Org I was called names, threatened and humiliated on a daily basis. I was not allowed to tell my parents that I was thinking of leaving and get some parental advice. The one time that I did I was told I violated a policy called “Leaving and Leaves” and that I was going to be declared a suppressive person. Actually, I wasn’t just “told” I was going to be declared. I was backed up against the wall while someone was screaming at the top of his lungs that he was “going to fucking declare me.” The consequence of being labeled a suppressive person within the church are huge, I would no longer be able to have any contact with any Scientologist. Being born and raised within Scientology this would create a huge problem for me and my family.
When I finally left I was strapped with a $10,000 bill at age 18 from services I did while in the Sea Org. My bill was considered low by other ex- Sea Org members I knew who had to pay anywhere from $30,000 to $80,000!
At age 15 I was flown to a class V church (a non-Sea Org church) to be an “executive.” As I was to be an “executive” I was not allowed to befriend anyone at the church and get help. The Sea Org and the church I was working for did not pay for my basic expenses such a room and board. I was 15 and not allowed to tell my parents I was broke and living off of eggs and bread. No one looked out for my interests as a minor.
My parents got divorced because the church convinced my mom to sign a staff contract and leave my dad.
The church has sent my mom to get “training” for months on end, never once did she come home completed with her training. At one time she was in LA for this training for 6 months, when I talked to her through out this time she told me that all she was doing was waiting for materials to arrive and they wouldn’t let her go home before she was done. She used her credit card at this time to pay for her room and board, something the church says it will pay for. She is now over $30,000 in credit card debt because of Scientology.
Scientology broke my family apart. First with my parents and now my mom and I. We can no longer have a conversation because all she can talk about is Scientology.
5. Why did you choose to stay in the Church of Scientology?
In so many ways I didn’t have choice. It was all I knew, my parents and all my friends were Scientologist. I thought I would be lost with out it and that even though there were many things I disagreed with it was the ONLY way to improve my life. Since I was raised in Scientology it was pounded in to me at an early age that Scientology has all the answers and I cannot question the validity of them because they were already “proved” to me. I was assured that anything I did not agree with was because of my misunderstood words or low case level.
6. Were you staff or public? If staff, was it at a mission or an org? Were you ever in the Sea Org or OSA? Which unit? If not on staff, did you ever volunteer to ‘help out’?
I was public and then staff. I don’t wish to disclose where.
7. Why did you leave the Church of Scientology? Was there a “final straw”?
I can’t say there was a final straw. Slowly truth was uncovered to me and I saw that I was lied to, that it wasn’t just me having these problems with the church, but that there were people just like me all around the world. I have to say that it helped to have a wonderful friend who loved me and made me feel special just because I was who I was, not because I was a statistic or a production machine.
8. Do you think the Church of Scientology needs to change some of its practices? If so, what should be changed? How did those practices affect your life?
I don’t think it should change anything, I hope it continues its sick practices of exploitation, deception and coercion until people get outraged enough to shut it down for good.
9. If the items you listed in the previous question were changed, would you consider rejoining or staying in the Church of Scientology? If so, why?
I will never join the Church of Scientology again. It is heartbreaking to know that there are so many good people within the church that truly and honestly want to help people, but I still don’t think the church could be changed enough to be resemble a constructive group.
10. Any additional comments you would like to make?
I want to applaud any Scientologist or ex-Scientologist who is researching Scientology on the Internet. I know we have been trained not to do this, but thank you for thinking for yourself and doing it anyway