Because of various problems with Blogger, I've copied everything as of November 26, 2012 over to WordPress. The new location is Ask the Scientologist. I am not deleting this blog and will still accept comments and answer questions here too, but any new articles will appear at the WordPress location. I apologize if this causes any problems.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What It Means to Become a Scientologist

To anyone who thinks they might look into Scientology, you might want to know a bit more about what you can expect.

I'm not talking about what services you might take or what you might learn, I'm talking about how your life will change when you step onto their "Bridge to Total Freedom".

When you become a Scientologist, you will be inundated with "communication" from the church.

This is the very first result of contacting the Church of Scientology. Once they have your name, your address, your phone number and your email address, you will never again be at peace.

Actually, you don't have to be a Scientologist at this point. This happens immediately, once they have your contact information.

They will hound you for money. They will pester you to come in "for service". They will badger you to buy the latest book set, lecture set or whatever. They will remind you of the next big Miscavige Event™ and "confirm you" -- at least a dozen times. If they believe you have enough money (or enough borrowing power), they will show up at your doorstep, unannounced, and won't leave without a check.

You will get their junk mail and their email spam as well. They will call you late at night, especially Wednesday night (because their week ends on Thursday and they must get their "stats" up).

You should know that getting them to stop all this is virtually impossible. You can ask, but it won't do you much good. People have changed their phone numbers and even moved to a different city, and the Church of Scientology has tracked them down and continued their deluge.

When you become a Scientologist, you will lose all your privacy.

And I do mean all.

The Church of Scientology will insist that you tell them everything: Who do you talk to? What do they say about L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige and Scientology? What do you read? Where do you go on the Internet? What do you say and think about Hubbard, Miscavige and Scientology.

The church will demand to know all about your finances. Do you have any credit cards? How much do you owe? What is your credit limit? Do you own your own home, and how much equity do you have? Exactly what do you spend your money on, and why? Do you have savings? Do you have investments? Do you have any rich relatives?

They will want to know about your job or business. They will want to know how you spend your free time.

When you get auditing (counselling/confessional), they will work very hard to uncover every "bad" thing you've ever done: Every time you hurt someone, every time you did something you'd rather never mention again, everything you wish no one would ever find out about. They keep careful notes. Often they video your sessions using carefully hidden cameras. This information about you will be kept permanently.

They will insist on knowing everything about you.

When you become a Scientologist, you will become isolated.

You should know that Scientologists are not allowed to read certain things, look at certain things, talk to certain people, and that this list of restricted items can be quite extensive.

You will learn, as a Scientologist, that the only safe people to be connected with are other Scientologists. You will learn that the only safe source for information is the Church of Scientology. You will, eventually, accept these connections as your only connections -- because they are safe and allowed.

Undoubtedly, like most Scientologists, you will eventually avoid newspapers, radio and TV news and the Internet.

Most of your non-Scientology family and friends will learn to keep quiet about what they know about Scientology. They will learn that you, as a Scientologist, get very upset when certain facts are discussed. They will learn to avoid the subject and be very polite when deflecting your attempts to get them into the church.

When you become a Scientologist, you will give up control of your life.

You will be expected to buy everything they offer for sale -- every book, every lecture set, every course, every step up The Bridge. Even after you have bought everything, you're not done. The books, lectures and courses are regularly being altered by Miscavige and, when that happens, you will be expected to buy everything all over again. The pressure to do this will be intense. There are reports of gangs of Scientologists being sent to the houses of any Scientologists who haven't bought the latest -- to ensure they do so.

You will be expected to use up all your available credit -- max out your credit cards, take out a second/third mortgage, cut all other spending -- so that you can adequately donate to the Church of Scientology's many, many "campaigns". There's the Ideal Org Campaign, the Library Donation Campaign, the various IAS (International Association of Scientologists) campaigns, the SuperPower building, CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights), the Way to Happiness Campaign and who knows how many others.

You will be expected to be on course, in session or volunteering for the church at every available free moment. Goodbye hobbies. Goodbye vacations. Goodbye holidays, "hanging with friends" and quiet evenings at home. If you aren't busy every available free moment with Scientology-related activities expect intense pressure from the church until you are.

Worse, if the Church of Scientology finds out that any of your friends or family have said anything at all negative about Scientology, Hubbard or Miscavige, even if absolutely true, you will be required to disconnect from them. Yes, you will be required to disconnect from any of them, including your own children, your parents, your wife or husband! Whether you want to or not. Even if you don't find their comments upsetting at all.

The church says such disconnections are "voluntary". Well, if you don't do exactly what they demand, you will be declared an enemy of the church. There will be punishments. "Disconnection is voluntary," yeah, sure. If a "choice" comes with draconian penalties for the wrong choice, that isn't voluntary.

Anyone thinking of looking into Scientology needs to know what they are getting into. If you start believing in Scientology, your life, as you know and enjoy it today, will be gone.


  1. This is all true. I have personally experienced it for the last 34 years.

  2. Very true, I've experienced some of this directly or indirectly. I'm one of the lucky ones, they somehow lost me at my last move and I managed to get them to stop emailing me.

    You know what also happens when you become a Scientologist? You lose your will, become a bit of a pushover and lose all capability to "confront." My father has the will enough to stop answering the phone after a certain point (though it's more like apathy), but he doesn't have the strength of will to pick up the phone and ask them to stop calling just for that evening. Luckily for his finances he's stubborn and wishy-washy enough that they can't make many sales.

    In the end, this pushing to buy things he doesn't need, it means they're just a bunch of money hungry bullies selling a product. This is a religion? In a pig's eye.

    Anyway, very good post. These are some very important things for people to know who have any interest in trying out Scientology. The first section alone could be enough. The mail and spam and calls might seem minor in comparison to what can happen (debt, disconnection and death), but these things are so annoying and so unreasonable and the fact that they will happen to you can be a very good deterrent for the curious. I might post a link to this.

  3. @Both Anonymous,

    Thanks for the validation of what I'm saying. It is all true, and completely unacceptable. If people knew what they were getting into at the beginning, it is very doubtful anyone would have anything to do with the Church of Scientology.

    Yes, please link -- I like it.

  4. This does all happen I was in Scientology for 10 years and was given a checklist of church goers who hadnt bought any of the new books. I thought it wrong to try and force people to buy them and I ended up being sec-checked all week. I wish more people luck on escaping Scientology

  5. As a crusty old ex-scientologist and ex-SO member I can attest this is all true. I have either experienced it as a "public person" in the '70s or participated in it while in the Sea Org. It will never end until CO$ as we know it comes to an end. These creepy abuses are hard-wired into their DNA. Totally and utterly. I thank God that I managed to get the hell out.

    Thanks for the excellent post, Bill.

  6. What a great post! Unfortunately, it's all true. May I turn it into a flyer?

    I just talked to a friend whose sister has been a scientologist since the 1970s. They are disconnected now because my friend refused to loan her sister thousands of dollars for more training.

  7. @Psych Out

    I would be delighted if it was turned into a flyer. Great idea!

  8. Hey I just found your blog this week and I think it's fantastic. I'm a cult survivor myself, and $cientology is one of the topics I write on but it's great to have places I can refer my readers to for accounts from ex-members.

    This post was featured on this week's Angie the Anti-Theist Sunday School. It's my weekly list of recommend reading. Keep up the good fight :)

  9. @Angie Jackson

    Thanks. Great blog yourself.

  10. I am an ex Public $cientologist. Everything you mentioned here is true. I found out that they are a scam seeking money only. I hope US government raid them in San Jacintho, Hemet, California. David Miscavige has millions of dollars and is a sociopath. This fake "Church" needs to be investigate, tax-exempt removed, and closed, because it is a business dressed as religion to be tax exempt.

  11. I think *all* religions should have tax-exemption reversed. It's the only business that sells a product it can't prove exists. They should pay taxes - they use public services (like parks for church picnics, police for directing Sunday morning traffic, etc.)

    THAT might help the economy and budget deficit a tiny bit (seeing as how they rake in billions, collectively).

  12. @Angie Jackson

    I understand what you're saying, but I'm not sure I agree.

    If they use a park, so what? Other groups use the park for picnics. That doesn't count against them.

    If they require police to direct traffic, I understand that they must pay for that service, it isn't free.

    I do think it is quite unreasonable for any group to get rich, while being exempt from taxes. That doesn't make any sense.

    But what about the small churches? The ones that are definitely not rich, nor likely to ever get there? Especially the ones that do a lot for the community, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, women's shelters, clothing drives and so on. Why shouldn't the community give them some assistance in the form of tax breaks?

    Really, in that case, it isn't about religion, it's about helping beneficial non-profit organizations.

    Could we just weed out the money-grubbing, rich but tax-exempt groups and revoke their exemptions? I'd be in favor of that.

  13. @ Bill - I guess that's the distinction - whether or not a church is actually a non-profit organization. I've done a lot of work with 501(c)3 orgs (including a cult!) and your typical youth-oriented or nature-oriented or even professional association non-profit is, well, actually NOT making huge profits. Actually, they tend to be pretty broke spending money on things that matter (which made them terrible clients). So, maybe the way you or I or any for-profit corporation can get a tax write-off for giving to charity, so could religious institutions. If money goes towards charity - food for poor, good for the community, etc. - then it gets a tax-exemption. If it gets spent for anything else - rent, sound system, preacher's salary, proselyting, etc. - then it's taxable income. It just puts churches on an even footing with everyone else, and keeps me Susie Taxpayer from covering the salaries of every church secretary, pastor, and televangelist in the country. If anyone deserves a free ride it's someone ELSE.

  14. @Angie Jackson

    I'd vote for that.

  15. Re: Messing with Scientologists

    I do not like or recommend "messing with Scientologists". It isn't their fault, they have been trapped in the cult by a rather sophisticated technology. You may upset them greatly, but they are already victims. They are already suffering under the vicious abuses, lies, crimes and fraud of the church.

    Why attack them? They think they are doing good. They are trying to do good. When you attack them you drive them further into cult-think and make it harder for them to get out.

    When you attack the regular Scientologists, you are helping the cult.

    I'd rather you didn't.

    If you really want to mess with a Scientologist, be very nice. That is the opposite of what the cult tells them you'll do.

  16. OK. I won't torture them.

  17. I know this is an older post, but I found Angies idea a pretty good one.

    I belong to a Christian church, but don't agree that a church should pay no taxes at all. At the very least (and the Universalist church already does this voluntarily,not my church but found it refreshing) they should pay property taxes.

    Property taxes pay for Fire, Police, and roads. All things every church uses and needs... We have Freedom of religion in this country, but part of that (even in my Christian mind, and this is the part that doesnt always make me popular in our church social circles) is allowing other people to have other belief systems and not have to support with their tax dollars, my church...

    If this was in place, just think, it might have stopped the whole "ideal" org idea before it started... Bigger buildings, more taxes...

    One thing Angie wasnt quite right on, is that a secretary making a salary from the church, IS taxed on her income, so if the church had to pay taxes first, and then she had to pay again, that would be double dipping in my opinion... But property? Oh yeah, thats fair... WYTHERIN

  18. @wytherin

    Certainly good points. I don't think just being "a religion" should automatically qualify a group for tax breaks. Obviously, a "religion" like Scientology does not deserve any tax breaks -- it operates as a money-making business masquerading as a church.

    However, I do believe that a non-profit group that demonstrably provides significant benefit to the community deserves some form of tax assistance. Encouraging such groups seems like a good idea to me.

    If there was a test like that, I believe a number of churches would not qualify for tax breaks -- especially the Church of Scientology. And it should apply to all taxes, property and income.

    Re: Double-dipping

    It really wouldn't be. Regular companies pay income tax and their employees pay income tax. The trick is that companies deduct expenses (like wages) before tax is calculated, so no double-dip.

  19. Ahh, very true, I should know that, since in my own business I take out my expenses before I decide on my profits.

    I can't speak to other churches, but all the churches I have belonged to have open books. I,as a parishoner, know how much money they took in, what they spend on everything and how and where mission money (my churches percentage is close to 70 percent going to missional type work, about 30 percent going global, and 40 percent being spent locally)... I always thought that under the IRS rules that all churches had to have open books, but obviously not if COS gets away with it...

    forgive me for going anon, it seems OPen Id can no longer find my identity... wytherin

  20. Everything you said here is true.
    What's REALLY weird is seeing an Ex-Scnist return to the Church and fall for all of this, again!
    He left in the 80s, when m
    ost intelligent, more professional people left. But they know how to flatter and butter people's egos, put them on a pedestal, and next thing you know they're selling their home to become a "meritorious member"...OMG, one couple has "donated" 20 million dollars! And that's NOT for services!
    He's now dumped his relationship because she won't leave her "mental healthcare profession". Now I'm afraid he'll do the same to his children, who want nothing to do with Scn.
    Please help me out here. I know intervention is impossible, but what recourse is out there to help people get through to these blinded Scnists that are tearing their families and finances apart for the Church.
    signed: Incredulous

  21. @Incredulous

    I am so sorry about your friend going back into the trap. I actually can understand it, the church can be very persuasive if that's all you look at.

    I wish there was a simple, universal way to get through to cult members, but the problem is that the cult-mentality is self-imposed. The person is not willing to look -- and so they don't.

    If you try to talk to them about the lies, crimes, abuse and fraud, they will automatically cut you out.

    If he has ended his relationship with a non-Scientologist, he is pretty far gone.

    If you are good friends, your best recourse is just to stay in touch -- but don't mention Scientology's abuses. Just be a non-Scientology friend who is always willing to listen. Then, when the illusion starts to fall apart, you can be there to help.

  22. Thanks Bill, that helps. I do believe you're right. Sad though.

  23. It comes down to validation and invalidation. Attaching value to certain ideas... The Term
    "Cult Literature" for instance... Is a form of invalidation... What I like to call... "Taking someone's inventory" Finding Fault. Like saying to someone... "You have been weighed and measured and found lacking"... Any time someone takes someone's inventory... They are wrong.

    First of all Scientology is not a religion. I remember when the Center of Scientology was on 46 St in NYC... Now 40 years later... It's called The Church of Scientology... I understand.. Tax Purposes... I also understand... some people need religion. I was brought up Catholic... and that Religion is no more and no less valid as... German Mythology... Odin, Thor, ... If I told someone I believed that Odin sat in Mt Olympus and I prayed to his son Thor... you might think I was some kind of nut job...

    I like stable data... I can make up my own... But it's not the data... It's the concept that is important... So... The Tone Scale... The Dynamics... Self, Then Family, Then Friends and Neighbors... Then the planet... are all just ... Respect for... and Value Attached to... If you get my point. ..... ARC Affinity, Reality, and Communication... do add to higher tone and the lack of Affinity, Reality, and Communication do lead toward lower tone...

    Abberated behavior is just FOCUS AND SCAN ... out of balance. A person should Focus just long enough to get the information he needs.. then move on... A peerson that looks at a clock and keeps looking at it and looking at it... is Abberated... and a person that runs around like a chicken without a head... and has no FOCUS... is also abberated.

    Believe nothing of what you read unless it rings true in your heart...
    unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.


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