Please Note: I link to a number of sites, including Wikipedia. I do not consider them as ultimate definitive sources, but as jumping-off points to do your own research, or for definitions, in case you’re unfamiliar with the information.
My 20th and 21st years on this planet were very difficult. I knew that I had a particularly difficult life prior to that in certain aspects. That led me to believe that if negative feelings so very strong, whether it be anger, sadness, or guilt, then there had to be something else out there that might make life more bearable and worthwhile to offset these negative feelings. If not, then what was the point of even living? I wasn’t suicidal, I just thought it was pointless to live in this world this way. I was basically asking the question, “Why are we here?” So, I began my research.
I am the type of person who researches everything. I want to know all about it, the pros and cons, experiences of others… Everything. Sometimes to my detriment in decision making. I want to understand why something might exist or not, what’s good, bad, and indifferent. In my quest to figure out what the point of life was, I started researching religions. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I was looking for something. Maybe I was looking for some kind of path. I looked at Taoism, Buddhism, Wicca, witchcraft, Christianity in all its forms, Lutheran, Baptists, Protestants, Methodists, Latter Day Saints, Catholicism. Everything I could think of and more – all faith type structures I could find. Some were more mindsets, and some were formal religions.
Where I ended on my quest doesn’t matter in this story.
One the things I researched was scientology. My research into scientology was just like the other searches. I had the internet. The internet was kind of in its more infantile stages. We’re talking about 1995-1997 – not sure which year, but in there. I was experimenting with new browsers and such at a tech job, and so I was a part of that early wave of general public users. I also read books etc. I just followed the rabbit hole.
I understand how I ended up not joining Scientology versus why someone else might. My research. Others wouldn’t necessarily have done that, it’s just the way I’m built. I didn’t take a personality test, or read Dianetics, or walk into an org. I never got that far because of what I learned. But most people didn’t go that route. And why would they. It’s a “church.” They shelter you from outside news about Scientology such as in the newspaper or on the internet. It protects their image.
They do not talk about the negatives with their parishioners. They are not allowed to research, because they might stumble across negative information about scientology. They teach that’s not within their guidelines. It’s “entheta.” A good scientologist wouldn’t want to do that.
I stumbled across xenu.net/Operation Clambake which furthered the rabbit hole. I learned about what their higher teachings are on earth origins, what spiritually is effecting the earth. I learned about Disconnection, Paulette Cooper, and Lisa McPherson. I viewed her autopsy photos. Those photos might have been the kicker for me, because even with my untrained medical eye, I could see she had longer term damage. Their higher spiritual stories didn’t resonate with me I probably wouldn’t have joined anyway – but those things really turned me away.
I do not believe that they are a church. I don’t believe any spiritual path should hold the ideas of the path or your ascension on that path hostage to money. While most churches take donations and tithes, they do not withhold your path from you because you haven’t paid money. I can walk into any library and check out the Bible, Torah, Koran, or books on Paganism, Wicca, Buddhism, Taoism, etc., and get real, in-depth learning, and not spend a dime. But not in the “church” of Scientology. Walk into a church and ask for a Bible – they’ll hand it over in joy.
Their stance on psychiatry and psychology is crazy to me – pun intended. At the time I was researching, I didn’t have children. But now, I have a kid who needs medication for his mental health issues. It was a long thought out process regarding the risk/benefits of such an action. Our conclusion, he needed it. I firmly believe that without the mental health help we got and continue to get for him, he’d be dead. Scientologists are out there who don’t get the mental help they need because that would make them bad scientologists. Or have committed suicide because they didn’t/couldn’t get the help they needed. That’s a terrible, tragic reality.
I ticked it off my list of potential spiritual avenues, moved onto other things, other paths. Ever since that research, I’ve been so leery when I’ve seen commercials on TV, or celebrities espousing their strong belief. Nothing I could do about it. I’m just a chick living her life. It wasn’t like I had any direct experience where I could go to someone and say this is wrong. It was all an outsider’s opinion and an outsider’s perspective based upon my research. I’m not an investigative journalist, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t concerned about their existence.
And so I want to publicly commend Leah Remini, Mike Rinder, and A&E for their series, “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.” To you, I say Thank You. Thank you for having the courage, balls, and guts to give voice to the issues. They know the effects this action would have on their personal life and their public life. Scientology is about destruction of their naysayers. Others have certainly buckled under the pressure. Can you imagine A&E’s lawyer bills right about now?
So, I commend them. These people’s stories matter. They deserve to be heard, helped, and validated.