Well, it’s been roughly two years now that I’ve been fully out of Scientology. I started speaking out and making videos just over a year ago, with my first series covering What Is Wrong with Scientology (here). I explained why it is in its very DNA to destroy itself. Everything I said in those videos is turning out to be more true than even I realized at the time, but there were many other things I also didn’t realize when I was making those videos. Because of the articles I’ve done since then, I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching not just Scientology but cults in general. I’ve gradually been recovering from what was a lifetime of indoctrination and abuse in what I’ve come to realize is a tiny, insignificant cult that has less and less relevance with each passing day.
The official Church of Scientology may or may not last for years to come. It really depends on how long its current leader, David Miscavige, can continue to re-package and re-market L. Ron Hubbard’s nonsense to a purposefully ignorant audience who seem all to willing to overlook the obvious and blatant human rights violations, abuses and authoritarianism that are Scientology’s core practices. The members of Scientology can’t be blamed fully though, because they are victims of a masterfully crafted deceit machine that L. Ron Hubbard built and David Miscavige has only added to.
I said that Scientology is tiny and insignificant not because I am trying to devalue the damage that Scientology does, but instead to put it into its proper perspective. L. Ron Hubbard, whether he meant to or not, created a mind controlling, authoritarian system of belief which damages people psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. And just for the record, I happen to think that he knew exactly what he was doing.
I’ve said from the beginning that it is not the beliefs themselves that are the problem and I still say that. People in the cult right now, even celebrities such as John Travolta, are avoiding the real issues with Scientology by saying that anyone critical of their religion is just bashing their freedom to believe what they want. Well let me say again that you can believe in thetans and Xenu and the rest of Scientology’s teachings all you want. The critics of Scientology may ridicule or make light of those beliefs, but they have never been the real issue. It is what people do with those beliefs and how they use them to control and undermine a person’s self-esteem and personal freedom. That has always been the problem with Scientology and with every other destructive cult out there.
Escaping from a destructive mass movement like Scientology and moving on with one’s life is challenging, to say the least. I can’t speak for everyone since I think the experience is unique for each person, but I’ve found that there are all kinds of psychological, emotional and spiritual barriers which have to be overcome before someone can say they have broken free of the constraints of any enforced belief system.
I’ve been told that I seem to have broken free of a lot of these constraints fairly quickly compared to some other people. I don’t think I’m anyone special, but I do think that I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced and learned some things which have helped me quite a bit and I thought it might be a good idea to share some of that.
I’m no psychologist or professional counselor and I’m not making this video pretending to be one. These are simply some things which helped me through the whole process from the initial betrayal and anger I felt when I learned what a pathological liar L. Ron Hubbard was to where I’m at now where I really don’t care about the subject much at all.
So if you find yourself coming out of Scientology or some other cult, maybe these points can help you too.
(1) Find a soft place to land, a place where you can be away from Scientology and get the support, help and love that you need to get on with your life.
If you are still in touch with Scientologists who are trying to handle you to get back in the cult, I don’t think your recovery is going to go very smoothly. I’m not advocating some kind of reverse disconnection where you have to get all Scientologists out of your life entirely. I’m just saying that they aren’t going to be much help in recovering from the cult.
(2) Take the time to learn about the lies and deceptions that were foisted off on you as a Scientologist by L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige and the Scientology staff.
There are many resources for this, whole indexes of information compiled by people who have been interested and caring enough to try to piece together what the actual facts of Scientology are, as opposed to the historical revisionism which L. Ron Hubbard was famous for throughout his entire life. Read as much as you want to get the facts on your experience with Scientology.
For example, just google Scientology on the internet. Look at everything. It’s not all necessarily true as there are some pretty crazy conspiracy theories out there about Scientology and whatnot, but I think you’ll be able to differentiate the fact from the fiction pretty easily and by far, most of the information you’ll find is dead-on accurate.
All of the confidential upper level materials are available out there for free. Let me assure you that despite what Hubbard claimed, the OT III materials are not dangerous and no one I know has ever died or even gotten a little bit sick reading it.
There are also some great books out there written by people who were involved in Scientology for decades. They know what they are talking about.
The analogy that the Church is making right now is that you shouldn’t go to the Nazi’s to learn about the Jews. Fair enough, but that’s not an accurate comparison when you are reading the accounts of ex-Scientologists. It’s more like this: if you were a Jew and you had a problem with the Nazis, perhaps an ex-Nazi might shed some light on what they’re up to and what they are really all about. That is what you get when you read books from ex-members – the inside data about what really goes on behind the curtain of Scientology’s inner circle.
A very important thing to realize when you are doing this is that you are likely going to run into information that is going to conflict with what you think you know about L. Ron Hubbard or Scientology itself. There is a thing called cognitive dissonance, which basically means the discomfort a person experiences when he tries to resolve two conflicting pieces of information.
Contrary to popular belief, the truth is not always “somewhere in the middle”. Sometimes, especially with Scientology, you’ve just been told lies and you believed them. Some of them can take a while to let go of. L. Ron Hubbard was a pathological liar and built an organization on a house of cards. Once you start removing some of the key cards, the whole thing will come tumbling down.
(3) Purposefully go out of your way to not talk the language.
Remove the significance of the vocabulary and find regular English terms to describe ideas, concepts or reactions that previously you were using only Scientology terms for. It’s common for cults to develop their own special language so they can feel unique and different from the rest of the world. By removing this from your thinking, it can really help get the cult influence out of your daily life.
(4) Learn about critical thinking, science and reason.
This really helped me to strip off a lot of what Hubbard presented as “scientific evidence” which was in fact pseudo-science and nonsense not backed by any real research or proper scientific review. I mean, think about it. The entire time you were in Scientology, did you ever see any research notes, experimentation or any independent review done of Hubbard’s work? Of course not, because there wasn’t any.
Learning about these things also helped me focus my attention and purpose on something positive because I was determined to not go from one cult to another. By learning about critical thinking, it allowed me to objectively look at anything new with a critical eye and not buy into any supposed “facts” or assertions people were making without being able to review it for myself.
Famous astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson recently said “Science literacy is not just what you know but how your brain is wired for thought. If you can achieve that, you never have to ask if the moon landings are real again.” In other words, you won’t fall for any more baloney.
(5) Take the time to clean house in your head.
Re-evaluate everything you think or believe in light of whether it is really your own thought or something that was enforced on you. For example, as a Scientologist you probably ran into lots of things that didn’t make sense when you were studying but you were told that the reason for it is because you had “misunderstood words” and you had to spend hours looking them up in dictionaries because of your disagreements.
Now I’m all for understanding what you are reading, but this is also used in Scientology to shut people up and convince them that their questions or disagreements are wrong and that Hubbard is always right. Well, I didn’t find that to be true once I started reviewing some of Hubbard’s assertions, such as when he said that everything having to do with psychology or psychiatry is automatically evil and must be destroyed. Yeah, not so much.
(6) Learn to re-experience emotion.
Take the suppressors off about “no case on post” and “not being misemotional”. This is a really tough one and it took me months out of Scientology before I even realized that I had some emotional issues.
Once it became obvious that it was kind of hard for me to experience things like anger and grief, I had to discover for myself what shields and barriers I had put up to wall myself off from feeling. That helped open up the floodgates and I started experiencing all kinds of things that I had previously been unable to. I’m not saying that running around being angry or upset is something wonderful and I’m not actually an angry person. It’s just that anyone should have the freedom to experience any emotion they need to that is appropriate for the situation.
As a former Sea Org member, I had been punished for that and so I had learned to wall all those so-called negative emotions off. I don’t think that’s healthy and I don’t think it’s right that Scientologists do that.
(7) Learn about other destructive cults and mass movements and how they are similar to Scientology.
This is really important because one thing that is drummed into you hard in Scientology is how unique and special it is and how there is nothing else in the whole universe like it. When I found out that every other cult uses the same methods and same control techniques and psychological manipulations, it dawned on me how un-special and how commonplace Scientology actually is. Hubbard used different words and pretty severe forms of pyschological and physical discipline to enforce his beliefs on others, but in the end, his techniques are almost exactly the same as Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, David Koresh or Charles Manson. I think when you see that for yourself, it helps a lot to get closure on your whole Scientology experience.
There are some excellent books and lectures given by Steve Hassan, Margaret Singer and Robert Lifton which I highly recommend on this topic.
(8) Communicate with others who can and will understand the experiences you’ve had and won’t judge or be condescending.
Maybe that is family, friends or a professional counselor. Maybe that communication also consists of writing or making videos to express things and share your experiences. I’ve found that to be one of the most cathartic and effective things I’ve done out of all of this.
(9) And most importantly, go out and live life to the fullest.
Rejoin family and friends who you might have disconnected from or haven’t seen in a long time. Get out in the real world and mingle with all kinds of people to find out what they are really like.
Some are great and some are not so great, you don’t have to like everybody or agree with everyone but one thing you’ll find for sure is that the big wide world is out there to be experienced and enjoyed as are the people in it. There is so much to learn from other people. There have been brilliant thinkers, scholars, scientists and humanitarians who have all done far more to really improve the lot of Man than L. Ron Hubbard could have ever dreamed of accomplishing. Learning about them and meeting new people is not just fun but is extremely rehabilitating.
I’m not under any illusion that I’m “fully recovered” or have achieved some brilliant new state of being. Personally, I think this recovery process is something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life and that’s fine with me. I’m not down on myself anymore for what I have done or what I experienced in Scientology. It was an extremely unfortunate experience but it’s one that I’ve moved on from and I’m getting on with the rest of my life with a lot more hope and happiness than I thought was possible when I was in Scientology.
Everything I’ve said here is what I’ve done but these things might not be everything you need. There are lots of resources out there that you can go to. There’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking professional counselling if you feel you need it. In fact, I’m sure in many cases it would be the only thing that might help achieve a real recovery.
I’ve listed some resources in the notes section of this video but don’t think this is a complete list by any means.
I hope this is of help. Thank you for watching.