Scientology and the Aftermath

Since leaving the Sea Org, I’ve read and watched everything I could get my hands on about Scientology.

I’ve followed all the stories about abuse of those in Scientology, particularly those in the Sea Organization.

And I’ve stayed silent. But as you’ve been reading, I can’t do that anymore.

It’s unfair to those who are putting their stories out there, not to share my own.

It really started to hit me when I watched Leah Remini’s series, Scientology & the Aftermath. While I’d seen many shows on Scientology abuses in the last few years, and read many books and blog posts, this was the first time I’d had such a strong reaction. I’d call it low-grade panic attacks: fluttering in my chest and throat, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. And the nightmares started to come back.

When I watched the stories from my friends on this show — Jeff Hawkins, Marc and Claire Headley, Tom DeVocht, Mike Rinder, Ron and Becky Miscavige, Amy Scobee — it made me feel a lot of things: Anger. Frustration. Guilt. Lots of guilt. They were all so brave, and here I was sitting on the sidelines watching them do all the work.

Those who love me would probably say, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I’m not. I’m just being realistic.

I was there. I saw it all. I know that what they say is true. I was right next to Jeff Hawkins when he was attacked by David Miscavige. I, too, sat back and watched and did nothing at the time. I worked every single day with these people, and when I left, those who had already left were my lifeline. I can no longer sit back and take no responsibility for what I know.

I used to tell myself all the time, “I have no story to tell. Why would anyone be interested in what I have to say?” On and on.

But two pivotal conversations in the past year changed that for me.

The first was about a year ago, with Jeff Hawkins, when we reconnected in person after more than 15 years. I told him that I felt like I didn’t have much to say, that what I would write has probably already been written.

He told me that I should definitely write, because I don’t know who my story may reach. He made me realize that every story is important, and every story makes the reality of Scientology more vivid and brings the abuses to light.

So I started writing my story. But I still kept it to myself.

Then I had the second pivotal conversation. It was with Ted Capshaw, a business coach and motivational speaker whom I met at an AWAI (copywriting) Bootcamp I attended in May. He was speaking about authenticity, and about sharing your unique story with the world. He talked about defining moments in your life and how they shape who you are today.

I tracked him down after the day’s seminars and asked him about the concept of “defining moments”. Was there such a thing as a bad defining moment? I wanted to know if I should be doing something with my “defining moment’ or just forget about it and move on.

He asked me what I thought my most defining moment would be. I told him it was when I escaped from a cult. His eyes got wide and he stepped back a bit. “I’d say that was a pretty defining moment, wouldn’t you?” he said. “Have you shared this with people?”

Not too many, I told him. He challenged me to look at this and determine if it was healthy for me to keep this all inside, or if it would be better for me to share the story freely. He, just like Jeff, said that I’d never know who I may help by sharing that story.

So now, here we are.

Thanks to everyone who was patient and kind with me while I’ve been going through this process. None of my ex-Sea Org friends has ever made me feel bad for not sharing my story yet. I guess that’s because they’ve been there, too, and they know that we all have to come to our own realizations in our own time.

As you may imagine, I’ve only scratched the surface. There’s a lot to come — two decades of it, to be exact. Stay tuned.

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