edit: Alright, I think I am Scientology'd out for the time being! Thanks for all of the great questions and discussions, it was a good experience. I apologize if I missed any questions and if I let slip some Scientology-speak. Hard habit to break! I added a little bit to my description below to hopefully clarify a few things for anyone who happens upon this as I missed explaining a few things in the original. Sorry about that.

I started working for the the church's 'Sea Org' just before my 16th birthday. In a nutshell, the Sea Org is Scientology's management organization and is staffed by people who dedicate their lives to work beyond full time for the church. I spent 10 years working for the church in the Sea Org. I remained a Scientologist for several years after I stopped working at the church, but began to see rising reports of abuses and also saw an increasing emphasis on money, so I distanced myself from the church and began to take a hard look at the religion from a broader view. I found much of what I'd thought to be true cast into doubt. After well over a year of investigation and self-reflection, I came to the conclusion that Scientology as an organization is very corrupt and that the religious practices do not provide the amazing results that are touted.

Because the church does personally attack people who say negative things publicly about it (I know this from personal observation both from when I was in the church and since I have left), I desire to remain anonymous, so will try to keep personally identifying information out of my answers.

Comments: 274 • Responses: 98  • Date: 

LOUgc8933 karma


happyoutside51 karma

I haven't. I was mostly in the LA area. Funny thing about that -- the location was supposed to be a big secret and no one ever talked about where it was. Seemed pretty silly to me at the time, but they were dead serious about keeping the location a secret.

LOUgc8916 karma


happyoutside35 karma

Wasn't talked about. You literally did not talk about any negative things that were going on when you were in the Sea Org.

I have read some accounts since I left, but not by anyone I know personally.

LOUgc8917 karma


happyoutside29 karma

It is the headquarters of the church management and also where the organization which creates all media resides.

Master-Thief30 karma

I'm actually reading Lawrence Wright's recent book on Scientology, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief right now. Fascinating, in a "watching a train wreck" kind of way.

  1. What are your thoughts on David Miscavige (the current leader of Scientology?) Did you ever meet him? What do people say about him within Scientology?

  2. Do you think that Scientology is a "religion," or is it a "business?" Should it be a tax-exempt organization?

  3. Have you read any works critical of Scientology since you've left - books, news reports, etc? Thoughts?

  4. I understand that people who leave Scientology are often hit with "bills" of $150,000 + for years of "auditing" and other materials. Do you think this would happen to you if you publicly left? Has this happened to anyone you know?

  5. Which would contain more Thetans - 100 duck-sized horses, or 1 horse-sized duck?

EDIT: Added question, link, and correct joke.

happyoutside41 karma

I just saw him on the Colbert Report, which is one of the reasons I was inspired to finally do this ama (some people had asked me to do it months ago!).

1) I believe he's a megalomaniac and narcissist. I met him once and he's nice enough if you're just being introduced. He has a great reputation inside the Church because there is a lot of PR done on him. I thought he lived very simply and wasn't leeching off the church. Since leaving though, I found out that he has an array of personal assistants, chefs, expensive cars, suits, etc. I've read enough creditable accounts from people I either peripherally knew or had been friends with now to know that he was violent and beat people. He seems to control the church with an iron fist.

2) I always considered it more of a philosophy than a religion. As for being a business, almost no one working for the church is making money off of it; it's only a very few and that is not known within the church. Most work themselves to the bone for almost no remuneration because they think they are helping mankind.

3) Lots. Actually, I always ignored the 'don't read negative things' and so read a lot of negative stuff while I was still in. But a lot of what I read didn't match my experiences and I just didn't believe the more outlandish things. When a bunch of former members came out a few years ago with allegations of abuse, I really started reading. They were more creditable to me at the time because many still believed in Scientology itself but were exposing corruptions within the organization. And it brought about realizations in myself that a lot of the stuff I saw and experienced that was negative weren't 'isolated incidents'.

4) I got a bill for about $65,000 when I stopped working for the church. It was ridiculous, but you become conditioned to believe that you 'owe' the church. They've had to change their policy on that a bit in the last few years because of the hordes of people leaving and exposing abuses. I've heard of people making deals to no longer have the 'debt' in exchange for their silence.

5) Apparently it depends on what OT level they are...

omgitsreallyme13 karma

What did you do about your bill? Did you pay it?

happyoutside35 karma

I paid a few hundred dollars of it before I realized it was total BS. They decreased it when dozens of ex-Sea Org members were speaking out about abuses in order to help keep people in the flock.

I consider it invalid now. They can't collect on it or anything.

[deleted]4 karma


happyoutside7 karma

Well, they sort of do, although it's just staff members calling you to try to collect the money through more guilt tripping -- but none of these types of bills are legally binding or anything. They only prevent you from doing any further services at the church until you pay them. Too bad for me, eh?

cp51843 karma

What sort of things were you doing that you thought your work was helping the world? Why did you think it was helping? Were members like you constantly putting more money into the church?

happyoutside3 karma

Well, I don't really want to go into what positions I held because I don't want to give identifying information. Nothing too exciting or interesting really. I was a cog in the machine, so to speak.

There is a big and effective internal propaganda machine within the church that makes it seem that all of these great and wonderful things are happening all over the world because of Scientology: wonderful and wildly successful literacy programs, drug and criminal rehabilitation, let alone the thousands upon thousands who are living tremendously better lives due to Scientology auditing and courses!

If you are in the Sea Org, you are effectively cut off from the outside world and these propaganda events are your only source of news on Scientology. You wouldn't believe the church is lying to you or making this stuff up, but they are.

I never donated much to the church because I worked there and had no money. Many Scientologists donate huge amounts, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, to the church and often under immense pressure. The fundraising tactics can be extreme, including showing up unannounced at people's homes late at night and refusing to leave until donations are made. People are strongly pressured to do things like take out second mortgages and overextend their credit.

tardischaser27 karma

Are members of your family still in the church and if so are you allowed contact with them still?

happyoutside57 karma

I do have some extended family and friends who are in the church. I haven't been expelled so I can still contact them. If it were known that I was doing something like this, though, I would certainly be instantly cut off from anyone I know there. The sad thing is that everyone I know would unquestioningly cut me out of their lives and believe I was a bad person.

TheCountryRedditaria22 karma

Thanks for the AMA!

How have your friends and family treated you since leaving? (Specifically those in the church)

Do you think Scientology can be a constructive religion if practiced in moderation?

Gotta ask, have you seen the South Park episode about Scientology? If so, how accurate was it and what did you think?

happyoutside49 karma

I haven't left publicly, but a few people know that I no longer consider myself a Scientologist. If I left publicly, they would certainly would never speak to me again because I would essentially be considered a traitor.

I think that some of the basic tenets of Scientology are good and have helped people. Why else would so many people get involved? Contrary to what people might think, most of the Scientologists I knew were very normal people who just wanted to improve their lives and help others. They are good people.

Do I think it can be constructed if practiced in moderation? Maybe. The organization is really corrupt and I would fear that an independent movement would fall into similar traps. I've seen some of the same mentalities crop up in the current independent movement, although to a much lesser degree.

One of the big problems, I think, is the way the concept of 'responsibility' is used in Scientology. I'm all for personal responsibility, but they use this concept against people. It becomes, 'you are responsible for everything that happens to you, including bad things and accidents' and turns into a trap that's hard to break free from.

edit: oh, the South Park episode was disappointing. I was hoping they would delve more into the subject rather than just focus on Xenu and the possibility of Tom Cruise being gay.

bilsh14 karma

But was the part where Stan went to the center and got his Thetan levels checked accurate, like if I was to go join a church would it be similar?

happyoutside17 karma

I don't remember that, but no. Thetan level isn't anything. They'd probably try to sign you up for a life improvement course.

Relaxolutionist7 karma

Would you say the emphasis on personal responsibility in Scientology is similar to the Republican/Conservative emphasis on personal responsibility? If not, how are they different?

happyoutside17 karma

Yes, I would consider them to be similar. Both seem to emphasis responsibility in ways that mean people who are having a rough time are just lazy (or in the case of Scientologists, unethical).

Slutmiko20 karma

How seriously did you take the Xenu stuff?

happyoutside29 karma

I didn't know about it. That was all 'higher level material' that I never got to. Scientologists believe we are immortal spirits who have been around for billions of years and so any amount of crazy things could have happened in that time period according to them.

I did believe in the spiritual being thing, but I'm not sure how I feel about it now. I have read some of the Xenu stuff now and it's pretty crazy, yeah.

thirdrail6917 karma

Trillions of years to be more accurate. This is, of course, far older than the age of the universe.

happyoutside16 karma

You know, I read about that just recently and was floored. It never occurred to me that Hubbard referenced things occurring 'trillions of years ago'. I never got that far in Scientology auditing-wise.

Llanolinn9 karma

How did you NOT know about that if you don't mind me asking? It's pretty common knowledge that the whole tihng was started by a science fiction author, and the whole story of the Xenu thing.. Are you guys not allowed to read the original bible/manifesto/whatever you call it that he wrote?

happyoutside22 karma

Here is how I, and many others who had not reached that level (the majority of Scientologists, by the way) did not know:

1) We were constantly told that anything that was on 'the internet' about OT levels was distorted/changed/wrong. We didn't think the church would be lying to us.

2) It is drilled into you that you cannot look at the upper level materials because it would be harmful to you -- as it, it would prevent you from getting the most gain when you finally reached that level. Plus, if you did read anything in advance, you would probably be disqualified from being allowed to do the levels (yes, you had to be approved to do them; it's a long story that somehow made sense at the time).

Besides, all of that is just 'auditing' and 'incident's. These are not precepts or tenets of Scientology. They aren't what Scientologists 'believe in'. I discussed this in further detail elsewhere in the thread.

Luminair18 karma

Is Scientology as insane as the medium/internet portrays it, less so, or more so?

happyoutside28 karma

Well, both yes and no. I think most Scientologists and Sea Org members are really good people who only want to help improve themselves and the world, but they are being manipulated by some pretty corrupt people, particularly David Miscavige, the leader of the church.

Diarrhoea_Cocktail16 karma

About 5 weeks ago... maybe less, an ex-sci did an AMA. He was border line illiterate, and his responses were somewhat rambling and full of tech talk (sci terminology). It was actually pretty frightening to see the effect it had had on him. A copy of an email an ex-sci sent out was linked by someone... it explained the entire process she went through to become a clear and then to move up through the OT levels - and her disappointment and confusion with learning the truth. Scary and fascinating reading.

Luminair10 karma

I'll give you an Internet biscuit if you can find that, sounds interesting!

Diarrhoea_Cocktail9 karma

I tried using the search for 'scientologist' in IAMA - but got really old threads instead. I'm not really good at reddit, so perhaps someone else out there can help out? Or remembers the thread I am mentioning. It was not very long ago, and it got a fair amount of attention - and people were weirded out by the guys responses because they actually had to be translated by ex-scis and another guy who heads a "action group" (I guess, I don't know the terminology) against Scientology.

happyoutside17 karma

This might be what you're talking about.

It's not an AMA, but is otherwise as you described.

Yeah, this is someone who was either messed up by Scientology or was already had some problems and then messed up even more by Scientology. I have seen things like this before, particularly with some kids of Scientologists; I would guess this person grew up with Scientology parents.

Some people also just can't either stop thinking in Scientology-speak or don't even realize they are doing it. I still catch myself on a few terms now and then.

tl;dr: Scientology is a mindfuck.

3x1x46 karma

TOMT'd your post. Hopefully someone can wield the power of the almighty Reddit search function.

happyoutside8 karma

SpikeNLB17 karma

In your statement you reference seeing rising reports of abuses, what abuses did you see personally and/or are certain occurred based on association with other members within the Sea Org? What was the most severe in your opinion?

happyoutside57 karma

Good question. A lot of people like me who have left look back now and wonder how we stayed so long and ignored things we saw that were wrong. A good analogy is a toad in a pot of water that slowly starts boiling. You don't notice the heat rising if it's done so incrementally. Plus, as I referenced in another post, you are considered to be responsible for anything bad happening to you, so it becomes, 'well, such and such a person had this happen to them, but it's their fault, so I don't feel sorry for them; they must be doing something out-ethics'. In Scientology terms, it's called 'pulling something in'.

As far as abuses, the RPF certainly. I talked about this elsewhere.

I saw children as young as 12 working 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. No school for kids. I was a few weeks shy of my 16th birthday when I went in and never went to another day of school again. I was happy with that arrangement because I wanted to be treated like an adult, so I bought into the whole idea they have that 'children are adults in small bodies', but now I see how horrible that was. Some of these kids were virtually illiterate. It was so sad and I hoped it would be corrected, but it wasn't.

Red5point118 karma

Thanks for this answer and confirm.
In the last few years here in Australia, a reporter discovered exactly this.
That school-aged children are been made to work on the pretense that they are been home-schooled.
The segment was shown by a show called Today tonight (mostly known for sensationalism) so many people falsely dismissed it as bogus. here is one of the shows

happyoutside18 karma

I did see that after it aired. It's largely true, although it's not really a 'secret compound'. But yes, there are children there and at best they are being indifferently homeschooled, probably irregularly if at all. Some of my old friends used to go to 'school' in the Sea Org, but didn't exist by the time I got there. And even then, they said they rarely went and it was often cancelled for 'work emergencies'.

LOUgc8913 karma


happyoutside26 karma

Work was mostly office-type work, but also some manual labor such as construction and the like.

perche16 karma

How the hell do they get so many celebrities to join? The competition among the religions to get these super rich mofos must be fierce. Yet they go with scientology? Seems odd.

happyoutside25 karma

Scientology really caters to celebrities and treats them extremely well from what I hear. And they get celebrities who are Scientologists to actively promote it.

Diarrhoea_Cocktail17 karma

Religions that emphasise piety and personal sacrifice don't tend to do well with celebrities. Religions that feel exclusive, that have cash values tossed around (Kabbalah and Scientology), where living rich and doing well is not frowned upon etv.... those tend to do well with them. Particularly when the religion with cater to them and be another 'yes man' to the celebrity,

happyoutside17 karma

This is all true. In the early 90's, celebrity and money weren't as huge a force in Scientology as they are today. People were celebrated for being 'successful' in life, which generally meant happy with and good at what they were doing, no necessarily being rich, although sometimes they are one and the same. However, I noticed a trend of increasing celebrity worship, particularly when Tom Cruise became more of a hard-core Scientologist around the early 2000's. I also noticed more and more fundraising led to Scientologists who were wealthy being celebrated and put up on pedestals. Money, money, money became the entire focus of management.

And finally, having money became associated with 'being ethical'. If you worked hard and liked what you did, but weren't wealthy, you were clearly not as 'ethical'. That made me so angry. By the way, this whole thing really is a manipulation of the Scientology tenets I know.

Llanolinn9 karma

Saw an interview on Daily Show with a guy who wrote a book on it-- Apparently in Cruise's case, they hand built him a limo, built him a hangar for his planes, etc. Treated like a diety practically it sounded like.

happyoutside11 karma

Yeah, I read about this when I was leaving. Having been in the Sea Org, I believe it. I think most public Scientologists would not.

masterbogarter13 karma

What is the worst punishment you ever saw the church give out to a member? Did you sign the billion year contract of service?

happyoutside22 karma

I've answered elsewhere -- the RPF is certainly the worst punishment I saw. I wasn't in the part of management where the violence was occuring.

I think that the emotional abuse was pretty common, but we didn't look at it as such. The phrase 'prison of belief' that Lawrence Wright used on his book title really resonated with me. Spot on.

I did sign a billion year contract -- it was considered symbolic, as I said elsewhere.

flutterarity13 karma


happyoutside21 karma

I have heard that Heber Jentzsch, the President of the Church (a figurehead title -- he was not a manager of church operations per se) was in the hole for a while and I knew him personally. That made me sad as he was really old and was always such a nice guy, at least from what I saw and knew. But then I suppose he had to be complicit with at least some of the corruption going on.

Llanolinn8 karma

What is 'The hole'? Solitary confinement?

happyoutside19 karma

The 'hole' is an extreme punishment that was put in place at the highest levels of Scientology management in the early 2000's, I believe. It's not part of the Scientology philosophy and actually violates a ton of the ethics and justice policies of the organization.

Basically, executives were locked into a conference room and both psychologically and sometimes physically tortured based on accounts I have read. They were kept there for years, and for some time even had to sleep and eat there. Anyone who was put 'in the hole' was closely guarded by security guards.

Here is a good account of what happened there by one of the victims.

Aberfrog7 karma

In a conference room ? Not some sort of cellar / dungeon ?

happyoutside9 karma

Well, to be fair, it was an evil conference room.

Although, I shouldn't make light of it; the people held there were really prisoners. Bars were apparently put on the windows and they were under guard. The account given by Debbie Cook that I linked to was pretty chilling.

p1k012 karma

When you notice a friend is getting drawn into scientology, what would be an effective way to try to put a hold to that, if at all possible?

happyoutside18 karma

Don't outright trash everything about Scientology. People, including myself, have been helped by some of the things in Scientology and so those who say things like, 'Scientology kills' or imply that all of Scientology is evil, bad, etc. aren't necessarily considered creditable.

It's one of the problems with protesters. You won't get much traction among Scientologists because they won't believe, 'Scientology kills'. You have to start more basic. Teach them about thought-stopping and try to get them to look at the corruption of the church itself, as opposed to Scientology. That's how I finally got out. I started with being able to look at the accounts of all the people who left the church but were still loyal to Scientology.

edit: fixed wording a bit.

p1k010 karma

Do you know of a book or a blog that is well balanced enough to maybe get this message through? Maybe something you read that triggered you?

happyoutside19 karma

Well, for me, I was already having doubts, so by the time I found out about the abuse allegations, I was more receptive to it.

It depends on how far in he/she is.

My favorite and the one that really got me thinking about Scientology in general is this one.

This site is pretty good for those who are hard-core Scientologists who might be receptive to the idea that the church is corrupt, but Scientology is all good.

Scientology-Cult is a site run by Scientologists who have left the church. Lots of expose stuff here. It's a bit harder for someone who is really into Scientology to visit it because of the 'cult' label, but there are a lot of great articles here.

Again, I think that acknowledging that 'Scientology can help people' is important to getting existing Scientologists to look at the problems within the church, because they are mostly expecting people who are saying negative things about Scientology to be rabidly antagonistic about the whole subject.

p1k09 karma

Thanks, I really appreciate you're doing this AMA!

happyoutside12 karma

Sure thing. I hope this helps a little.

DaMangaka7 karma

I cannot upvote you enough. I think this is the main problem with all religions TBH. It's the process or brainwashing they use upon you to stop thinking and make you overlook things. Either in the organization or the things they teach. A Thoughtcrime. If people where to show these kinds of aspects, I'm sure there would be less people inside.

happyoutside10 karma

Thanks -- it's tremendously hard to recognize when you are in and there is a lot of pressure to not think about the negative things. Which is particularly ironic since a big slogan in Scientology is 'think for yourself'. It's one of the things I liked about it when I first joined. It works so long as you don't actually question the church.

DaMangaka11 karma

Usually, religions or many of the New Age movements tend to be all like that. All "Free your mind" and happy trees being painted. Only when you are deeper you realize you are not meant to question anything they tell you. It's kind of sad. And it can be applied to many things actually, not just religion/ideologies. Good thing you are awake. Never give away that right to think by yourself

happyoutside7 karma

Yeah, that seems accurate. Thanks for the kind words!

BeneathTheWaves12 karma

Say we have friends or family that are members of the church. Is it worth it to try to get them out or could the benefit to them from Scientology outweigh any evils the organization is known for?

happyoutside20 karma

I've tried to talk to the person closest to me about it. He's still all-in and won't listen to or believe anything negative. It's hard to get people who are hard-core members to look at what is really going on. They simply don't believe it. I didn't either. If you told me back then that I'd be doing something like this, I never would have believed it possible.

The church engages in a lot of thought-stopping tactics. You are constantly taught that people who are saying bad things about the church are lying and out-ethics.

equilshift12 karma

Please tell me that Xenu doesn't make up a huge part of church doctrine.

happyoutside20 karma

It honestly doesn't, I have to say that. It's not 'doctrine' so much as part of a serious of traumatic events that supposedly happened to people as spiritual beings along the way. The basic idea is that, by contacting these past traumas, the person becomes more free and less encumbered by them.

Scientology doctrine has more to do with things like philosophies about communication, relationships and stuff like that.

Luminair10 karma

Scientology doctrine has more to do with things like philosophies about communication, relationships and stuff like that.

Until you get to a certain upper threshold, correct? From that point on it seems like the faith rapidly graduates to a whole different level.

happyoutside17 karma

Well, this is a commonly misunderstood thing about Scientology. These upper levels don't contain principles or tenets. They are supposed to be traumatic events that occurred in past lives that adversely affect you today. It's not like you worship xenu or anything (but that said, having read what some of the upper levels contain, I find them to be... discreditable).

Luminair6 karma

Can you expand on what you've read about without exposing yourself?

happyoutside12 karma

What do you mean, exactly? What I've read about the upper levels? Pretty much was is available on the internet. When I was in, we were all told that everything put on the internet about the upper levels was 'distorted' and wouldn't even look at it.

thebeachhours11 karma

Do you believe that the Church of Scientology is merely misinformed but harmless or intentionally misinforming and harmful?

happyoutside31 karma

Intentionally misinforming and harmful.

I have seen statements made by PR representatives that I know from personal experience to be untrue. Things like 'it's up to the individual member whether they choose to disconnect from people' and 'women aren't coerced into getting abortions'. I was actually told by my boss that I should get an abortion when I got pregnant...

sleepyj9109 karma

Did you get one?

happyoutside23 karma

I did not and was pretty pissed off when she said that to me. My then husband also had someone ask him why I wasn't 'just getting an abortion'. We were heavily stigmatized for deciding to keep the child as it meant we'd have to leave the Sea Org. At least half of the people I knew simply stopped talking to me and I got lots of dirty looks and snide comments. We were sent out into the world with no money, no assets and no experience. It was overwhelming and intimidating as hell.

HogwartsNeedsWifi11 karma

Is your husband out as well?

happyoutside16 karma

He's my ex and yes.

idmb9 karma

What can I do to make sure I never lose contact with my cousins? My aunt + uncle were Scientologists, and now all their kids have dropped out of high school and have been in the organization in LA for a few years.

happyoutside13 karma

Ask for email addresses and phone numbers and just touch bases with them from time to time. If they are indeed in the Sea Org, it's possible they don't have cell phones and very unlikely they have email as Sea Org members aren't allowed on the internet (well, last I knew, at least. Unlikely they've changed that policy, though, even if they say they have).

If you're told they don't have cell phones or emails, act as surprised as you should be about that. It's pretty shocking. Make them try to see that by asking about it in the most non-threatening/non-antagonistic way possible! Your aunt and uncle might be so indoctrinated that they don't realize that.

If you ever talk to them, just let them know you are always and will always be there for them. One of the toughest parts about leaving Scientology is the fear of losing everyone you know.

idmb9 karma

They do have cell phones, in fact one of them has three... Two work, one personal.

Cookies mailed to them were never delivered, along with anything else...
They know we're there for them.

happyoutside8 karma

That's good. A friend of my child had to give hers up when she went down about 2 years ago.

I used to get packages that were sent to me, so not sure why they would. Email addresses? I think the best thing is to just try to keep in touch. Scientologists don't respond well at all to negative information about the Church. You could possibly engage them along the lines of, 'I've heard some things that are concerning to me and just wanted to talk.' Usually staff are told to 'handle' any negative information their families have so you might be able to at least plant some seeds in conversation.

Edit: but, if your goal is to only stay in touch and not try to sway, this might not be the best tactic. Depending on how close you are, they might just be discouraged from talking with you too much...

Maut999 karma

How do you find Scientology compares to other religions?

happyoutside12 karma

It's more of a philosophy with a really militant group running it.

roh88809 karma

Would you explain, to the satisfaction of other Redditors, the biggest secret of Scientology?

happyoutside16 karma

I think that if people knew the extent of the child labor, they'd be pretty shocked. I worked with or knew literally hundreds of underage teens and even some kids as young as 12 who did not go to school and worked 90+ hour weeks. And that was just in my area in LA. There are major bases in Hemet, CA, Florida, NY, Australia, Italy, UK and elsewhere where more children are working.

I was one of them and I didn't realize how wrong it was at the time. I was excited to be being treated as an adult and had wanted to get away from the social pressures of school. But this shouldn't be happening.

Most public Scientologists don't know how bad it is, or, if they do, they've bought into the insane 'reasoning' behind it and so deny it in order to 'keep up appearances'.

LOUgc892 karma


happyoutside3 karma

Just the 'Gold' base.

Rude_Etude9 karma

Aren't you worried about a fatwa being issued on you now?

happyoutside11 karma

I'm not really worried about it because if they did come after me personally, I would fight back with the same ferocity. I'm not a timid person. That said, I also don't want my child to be so adversely affected by this, so am waiting to go public. It's a messed up situation.

Rude_Etude9 karma

The best thing that can be done about them is to publicize, more people like you get out of their clutches and tell all.

Also, I understand the some of the "tech" does indeed work and is therapeutic. Stuff dating back to the Dianetics days, and at least most of which was not invented by Hubbard, but by earlier researchers.

I believe these are those who use the tech but are not members in good standing of the church, and they're called "squirrels". They find that auditing and so on really does help them.

I'd like to see a movement to get auditing, use of the e-meter or something like it, etc., stuff that can be verified to date before Dianetics/Scientology, used outside of Scientology. Since my understanding is that is really does help people, and that's what sucks them in.

happyoutside5 karma

The independent Scientology movement is growing and I think that's a good thing, as it means more people are leaving the church. And yes, the church calls these independents 'squirrels' and tries to stop them from practicing through copyright.

KytaKamena9 karma

I was member of one organised group within one major religion. We have never been asked directly do give money, but it was expected from us. But we could ask help with employment from other members at influential positions.

Is is same for SeaOrg? Money and easier employment. And how big percentage of your members have university degree and/or PhD?

And what level did you reach?

Thank you for your bravery, I believe it is hard for you.

edit: 1 more question

happyoutside21 karma

Sea Org members work beyond full time for the church and, when I left about 10 years ago, were making $50/week. If you leave the Sea Org, you are considered a traitor and, from personal experience, I can tell you that a lot of Sea Org members stop liking you. I didn't experience that from the regular staff or public.

Public are asked to donate a lot of money and the increasing pressure and emphasis on fundraising was one of the things that made me start to re-consider the organization as a whole.

I didn't know many people who had a college degrees. It wasn't considered relevant. Emphasis was on education in Scientology only.

I didn't reach any high level, not even 'Clear' for those who understand that. I mostly learned organizational policies and some of the basic tenets relating to ethics, communication and such.

aidrocsid8 karma

When did you leave? What prompted it?

happyoutside12 karma

Well, it was a long process, stretching out over about 10 years, I'd say. It started with my leaving the Sea Org. Long story short, I had a child and you can't have children in the Sea Org because they expect you to dedicate all of your time to Scientology. There were some children of Sea Org members and they were sorely neglected.

After that, it was just years of seeing more and more stuff I disagreed with not change or get fixed, seeing more emphasis on intensive fundraising and money, and once I read about the abuses up at the international management level, I opened my eyes.

Dinoman288 karma

Why join in the first place?

happyoutside19 karma

I was 16, naive and wanted to help people. I thought Scientology did that. It was quite a while back before Scientology was infamous, btw.

Blasterbot8 karma

What do you think the future holds for Scientology? Is it growing or shrinking? Could they get radical or are they more likely to fizzle out?

happyoutside15 karma

Scientology is definitely smaller than it was in the 90's, despite their real estate acquisitions. I've seen SO many people leave the church in the last few years, including many extremely high profile people within the church.

People have been getting increasingly upset and concerned about the intensive and constant fundraisers for buildings and I think more are beginning to see the light and leaving the official church. The 'independent' movement is growing.

That said, Scientology has a tremendous power over the people who are still involved and it's not going away any time soon. I think they have already implemented some reforms (like not pressuring Sea Org members to get abortions) based on the outcry over abuses a few years back, but those weren't made because the powers that be actually felt they were problems, but rather because of liability issues. There is still a lot of corruption within the church and I don't see it being fixed. Scientology will be around, but I think it's going to continue to gradually shrink.

Blasterbot7 karma

Interesting. Now you mention an independent movement which tells me there is more to Scientology than cultish dominion. Is there a final destination for Scientology? (For example, heaven for christians?) And is there a grand vision for the leaders of Scientology or are they more or less happy with living a lavish life on the backs of workers?

happyoutside15 karma

Scientologists believe they are spiritual beings and the goal of Scientology is to reach spiritual freedom. Similar to the concept of nirvana in Buddhism. No heaven or hell, Scientology isn't a christian or deity-based religion.

As far as grand vision for the leaders, it's mostly one leader - David Miscavige - who seems to be benefiting the most and his end game appears to be owning all the real estate he possibly can. There are some who speculate that he might get ousted and, if he does, he'd likely run away with the ~billion dollars in reserves. But that seems unlikely. His internal propaganda machine is too good.

Blasterbot7 karma

I can see how vast amounts of real estate would be useful. Realistically speaking, could he be ousted? and how would one or more likely a group of people do something like that? If everybody agreed to get rid of him, money notwithstanding would all the property still belong to the church of Scientology without him?

happyoutside12 karma

I honestly don't think ousting him is realistic. I hope there will eventually be a tipping point where the church will shrink drastically, but I don't see it happening now. The internal PR machine has done a lot to completely discredit the latest wave of executives to leave the church and so I think less long-term people are leaving than, say, 2 years ago. But less people seem to be joining as well, so it may come down to a war of attrition.

Miscavige wouldn't be able to take the real estate, but he'd likely be able to take the huge reserve fund if he did leave/was ousted.

Blasterbot3 karma

You mentioned that Scientology has a following separate from the church. I believe you also mentioned that this independent movement could somehow fall into the same trap that the church is in today. Now I am led to believe that Scientology has respectable virtues of its own but does it also have some inclination to being a cult religion? Is it somehow natural for Scientology to control its followers or is that a leadership thing?

happyoutside9 karma

It's a good topic and one that has been discussed much in both independent circles and by onlookers. I think there are some principles which may lead some independent groups back down the path of being a cult. I'll put some thought into this and see if I can come up with a more thorough answer for you tomorrow!

Blasterbot3 karma

Alrighty, thanks a lot for answering in the meantime!

happyoutside10 karma

I think a few tenets of Scientology that lead it into totalitarianism are:

1) There is a very important policy in Scientology called, 'Keeping Scientology Working'. Everyone has to read this policy over and over and it's drilled in. The upshot is that Scientology works 100% of the time when applied correctly and, if it's not working, it's not being applied correctly. There is no room for discussion and violation of this is considered a serious ecclesiastical crime. It was written in the late 60's from what I recall, and many exes and even some independents consider that time period the point where Hubbard essentially lost it and Scientology became a real cult. He started the Sea Org in 1969.

2) There is no room for humor regarding Scientology. There is a policy called, "Jokers and Degraders" which makes it a crime to make fun of Scientology, Hubbard or anything related to the church. I'm not sure if it's this policy or another where Hubbard says that Scientology is a 'deadly serious activity'.

3) As I have reference elsewhere in this thread, the way Scientology views personal responsibility is extreme and damaging. One of the things I liked about Scientology initially was its emphasis on being responsible. I think that's a good thing and I'm all for it. But they take it to a whole new level. If you get sick or get into an accident, you are responsible for that having happened, for example. There is no caring or sympathy; you are considered to have done something unethical to have had something so bad happen to you. Any time I got sick, I got in huge trouble and my boss would be very angry with me. To this day, I hate telling my boss that I'm staying home sick as it brings back terrible memories and I expect anger and frustration from them.

I've seen quite a bit of discussion in independent circles on how to avoid falling back into the same trap, and I do find those encouraging, but most want to practice what is called 'standard Scientology' -- which means applying every policy exactly, so I don't know how they can do that and avoid totalitarianism.

RapAndCookies8 karma

Are you religious in any way now?

happyoutside15 karma

Well, I have been an athiest since I was about 17. I always considered Scientology more of a philosophy than religion. I'm not sure what to think about spirituality at this point.

Pfchangs8 karma

Are Famous people payed to pretend to be apart of this wacky religion?

happyoutside19 karma

Nope, they aren't paid. But they are handled very carefully to make sure they stay happy with the church and I'm sure are shielded from a lot of the controversy.

medicalalphabetical8 karma


happyoutside6 karma

Haven't seen it yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so.

keenod00d8 karma

You said you "worked alot" and were sleep deprived..what kind of work were you doing?

happyoutside12 karma

I worked probably an average of probably 14 hours a day, 6 days a week and usually another 8-9 hours on Sundays. Every once in a while (usually once every few months) I would get Sunday off. I never took longer than a 3 day vacation in 6 years and that was once. I knew people who worked even longer hours than me and took even less time off. I mostly did office type work. Hard to explain exactly as it all had to do with internal management of the church.

sleepyj9106 karma

When you were working did you ever think 'this sucks'? Did you really feel that you were 'at war' with the world in terms of saving it?

happyoutside12 karma

I did think 'this sucks' sometimes, but it gets pressed into you that such thoughts mean you are unethical. I also sometimes liked the work I was doing because I thought I was making a difference in the world, so it depended. It wasn't the hard work that I had a problem with, so much as some of the other stuff that went along with it, like neglecting families, children not getting educations and working long hours, and the emotional abuse of guilt and shame under the guise of responsibility.

flipflops28 karma

How do you feel about the anti-psychiatry views of the church?

happyoutside12 karma

Again, this is where the propaganda is pretty strong. I was reasonably against psychiatry because of everything the church said, but I never believed all psychiatrists were evil, like a lot of people I knew. I figured most psychiatrists actually wanted to help people, too and there were probably some bad ones.

Now that I'm out of the thought machine, I'm not nearly as biased. I still think ECT is barbaric and, although I know many people are helped by such drugs, I do think they are over-prescribed. I've met 16 year olds who were on a combination of lithium and xanax, etc. Strong drugs for such young people.

CarthageForever8 karma

Do you feel that the anti-scientology protests such as the ones done by Anonymous reduced Scientology?

happyoutside12 karma

I think they have decreased the number of people joining Scientology, yes. It has raised awareness among the general population about Scientology being a negative thing and so less people are inclined to look into it. I saw this first hand doing things like bookselling on the streets. Toward the end for me, it took a tremendous effort to even sell a book to someone as most people wouldn't even give you the time of day because of Scientology's reputation. In the early 90's, it was much easier because so many people hadn't even heard of it.

As for existing Scientologists, sadly the protesters tend to galvanize them. They feel that their religion, which has helped them despite the frustrations they may have with things like fundraising (and pretty much every Scientologist has these frustrations), is 'under attack'.

This is why I think it's important for protesters to try not to be antagonistic to staff and to realize that these people honestly believe they are doing something good, that these people have dedicated their lives to helping others, even if what they are doing right then is wrong. They are, to use Lawrence Wright's phrase, in a 'prison of belief'. The staff and public who interact with protesters are almost always instructed in how to do so by an arm of the church called the Office of Special Affairs, which is where a lot of the really nasty stuff you see externally (such as harassing former Scientologists and those who speak out against Scientology) is generated from.

Even if you (and I mean this as a general term, not necessarily you personally) disagree with Scientology philosophy, you should recognize that attacking deeply-held beliefs will get you no traction. The best tactic I have seen is pointing out how the current church management has twisted Scientology precepts itself and is violating Hubbard policies. This is the sort of thing that will actually get more Scientologists to start looking, because they most likely do have disagreements with management that they are harboring and have suppressed within themselves because such thoughts are 'bad'.

happyoutside8 karma

I thought of something else:

I saw a video recently taken by a protester of a staff member interacting with the police, who had been called by the org because of some supposed wrongdoing by the protesters. It was trumped up by the org, and the protesters were very upset with the staff member.

However, I happen to know the staff member in question and he's actually a really nice and extremely hardworking and caring guy. Most likely, it wasn't even him who called the police, and if he did, it was because this is what he has been instructed to do by OSA. OSA wants to 'catch' protesters with even the most minor infraction in order to force them to stop protesting or to discredit them by saying they 'violate laws' or 'attack Scientologists physically'.

omgitsreallyme8 karma

What is your perspective on L Ron Hubbard? Do you think he suffered from mental illness as has been speculated?
And what do you think his motivations were behind Dianetics and the creation of Scientology?
Did you ever see or know anyone that saw his office and rooms that are prepared for him daily in case he "returns"? How do you think that Scientology continues to recruit members worldwide despite its growing waning reputation?

happyoutside15 karma

I think he had a bit of a god complex, certainly. He thought he could solve all the world's problems. I don't necessarily think he made up Scientology just for money as some have said/speculated, but rather more for power and fame. For being heralded as some sort of savior.

I always found his fixation on communism to be a bit weird and he generated a legend for himself within Scientology that is widely believed (inside, that is).

Every church has an 'honorary' office for Hubbard. I don't think most people regard it as something for 'when he returns', but rather as an acknowledgment of his as the founder of the religion. He used to keep an office in all of the churches as he traveled around a lot, so it's in homage to that.

You could see one. Seriously, most church staff are friendly and would be happy to take you on a tour. You won't get into their clutches just by walking in. Although, in recent years, I have heard of staff getting more suspicious of people coming in to check out the churches, which is unfortunate. But if you walked in and said, 'I'm just curious about Scientology. Any chance I could get a tour and ask a few questions?' that is perfectly acceptable.

fred_durst_WISHES7 karma

Did you see The Master?

happyoutside5 karma

I haven't yet; plan to.

oldspice757 karma

Did you know of any physical torture within Scientology?

How much does Scientology's image of itself actually revolve around its celebrity members?

happyoutside10 karma

Aside from working long hours and lots of sleep deprivation, I didn't hear of physical abuse while I was in. I never saw any, but then I wasn't working in the location this is said to have occurred. I did talk with a good friend who worked there when I found out about all of the people coming out and speaking about it, and she confirmed it for me (she had left by then, of course).

A lot of the abuse I saw was more along the lines of child labor and emotional abuse.

I think that David Miscavige, the head of the church, loves celebrity and loves being seen with Tom Cruise, apparently a good friend of his. That filters down into a bit of celebrity-worship because having big names promoting Scientology is considered the best PR.

LOUgc897 karma


happyoutside8 karma

I don't know this place. I looked it up and you might be talking about a 'rehabilitation' camp for wayward members of the Sea Org. I don't have any direct knowledge of this place, but I know about other 'rehabilition' programs within the church.

LOUgc897 karma


happyoutside15 karma

Yeah -- I knew about Happy Valley. Basically, people who screw up big (which can be as simple as having sex outside marriage) in the Sea Org are sent to what is called the rehabilitation project force or RPF. It's a seriously harsh program where the people do manual labor something like 14 hours a day, 7 days a week and then study Scientology for 5 hours.

I've never been on it, but know people who spent years on it. No vacations, extremely limited contact with the outside world, etc. I always felt so sorry for the people who were on the program. They weren't allowed to talk to regular Sea Org members and had to run everywhere. I thought it needed massive reform as obviously the system was broken (and people were spending years on the program when it was supposed to be done in a few weeks). but you get in trouble if you are seen as being 'worker oriented'.

LOUgc897 karma


boner_fide10 karma

Being forced to work 14 hours and 5 hours of study followed by 5 hours of sleep could easily be considered torture.

happyoutside10 karma

Maybe 12 hours of work and 5 hours of study, I think my math was off. I think they got 7 hours of sleep, but I don't know for sure.

LOUgc898 karma


happyoutside9 karma

Manual labor -- anything from construction to cleaning.

LOUgc893 karma


happyoutside11 karma

There were probably teenagers at Happy Valley. A good account of that place is I knew some friends who were on the 'RPF' in LA who were in their teens.

Jeff Hawkins, a former Sea Org member, was there and gives a good account of it, I believe here

medicalalphabetical7 karma


happyoutside14 karma

Donations to Scientology are tax deductible as charitable donations, but the wealthy within Scientology give the church hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I don't think that's why they join.

medicalalphabetical5 karma


happyoutside10 karma

I'm happy to answer any questions. I think that the more people know about what is really wrong with Scientology, the more impact it will have on helping people get out.

oneofthethreebest6 karma

What are some of the practices you disagree with?

happyoutside11 karma

I disagree with children working in the church and abandoning their education.

I don't think auditing helps people nearly as much as is said by the church and most of the benefit people have gotten from it is due to the placebo effect.

I disagree with the whole of the Sea Org, making people abandon their families, children and lives to slave away for lies. Some regular (non-Sea Org) staff also do this. It's very sad.

The_Horse_Yeller6 karma

Did you ever reach the status of "clear" and move on the OT levels? If so, what was the training for it like?

happyoutside9 karma

I didn't. I mostly studied basic tenets and organizational stuff. And I worked a lot.

yo_yoyo6 karma

What's the most ridiculous thing you saw while in scientology?

happyoutside16 karma

Hard to say. I thought it was pretty ridiculous when I saw a church management official tell the executives of a local church that, after spending years fundraising non-stop to buy a fancy new building and renovating it that, now that the building was complete, they needed to start a whole new fundraiser to buy a new building because the one they'd just gotten 'wasn't big enough'.

Oh, and the current building was largely empty! It wasn't even close to capacity; a whole floor was barely being used.

Penguin_lover8135 karma

I heard that women are not allowed to make any noise or receive any pain medication during childbirth, is this true?

happyoutside8 karma

Sort of. It's not a matter of being allowed to or not. This is one where it really is up to the person, but most Scientologists will try to have what is called a 'silent birth' -- meaning one done with as little extraneous noise and talking as possible. This stems from the idea that anything said during a time of extreme pain or unconsciousness can adversely affect the person later.

Also, drugs are bad. Similar story, supposedly they will adversely affect the person later in life. But I had a painkiller because damn, that stuff hurts! I wish I'd had an epidural and strongly encourage any Scientologist mom-to-be to get one.

dillypickle5 karma

What do you do now? What kind of work did u do there?

happyoutside9 karma

I did administrative work then and that's pretty much what I do now. Don't want to give any more details about myself now because I don't want to deal with the personal backlash from the church at the moment.

I did work for the Office of Special Affairs (OSA) for a little while a long time ago, but I have to be careful about what I say there because if I tell much about what I did, it might give my identity away. I could answer some questions about how OSA operates, though if anyone's interested.

GonnaSin5 karma

What are your thoughts about the work Marty Rathbun is doing on his blog? Would you ever go to him for advice or possibly an audit by him?

I've read that he is still practicing his own "pure" version of Scientology.


happyoutside13 karma

I think Marty has done a lot of good in exposing how corrupt the upper management has become and how they have twisted some Scientology precepts. But I think there is a bit of hero worship surrounding him and see a danger in that. I used to visit his blog a lot when I was first leaving, but not so much now. I like Jeff Hawkins a lot, he helped me open my eyes to the sham of a lot of Scientology philosophy.

I am no longer a Scientologist and so no, wouldn't get audited by Rathbun.

4aceb14e5 karma

What was the weirdest thing you were ask to do, or what are the weirdest guidelines for everyday live on your level?

Some of things that are rumored is basic stuff many religions/cults have, such as shunning "traitors" or prohibiting books. Where doors Scientology stand out?

happyoutside5 karma

Sorry I didn't get to your questions before. Not sure what to say about weird things. No daily rituals or anything like that.

As for shunning, absolutely. Anyone who speaks out negatively about Scientology is shunned. People who publicly leave Scientology are shunned. Anything negative about Scientology is prohibited. You get in trouble if it's found out you have read anything negative.

thirdrail695 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. Have you heard of Gerry Armstrong? What, if anything, is said about him in the organization (sorry, just can't call it a church). I've met him and he's a good guy. Apparently the Scientologists still harass him.

happyoutside10 karma

I have heard of him, yes. He isn't talked about or really even known about among the general public or staff. Mostly it is the OSA (Office of Special Affairs) staff and public who do work for them that know of him.

I heard of him during my short tenure with OSA and it was all negative. He's considered a 'major enemy' and I am sure they keep close tabs on his activities and do harass him. The lore is that he is an evil suppressive and is attacking the church, which is just believed because you don't expect the church to be lying to you.

I had to re-think my negative opinions (fostered by the church) of people who speak out against Scientology. I had some protesters say some pretty nasty things to me while still in, so it was hard for me to do that in some cases, but I now understand that most are sincerely very angry with the abuses being perpetrated by the church. I get where they were coming from now and forgive the things said, but I think protesters could do better at recognizing that Scientologists aren't all bad; in fact, most are actually great, well-intentioned people.

thirdrail693 karma

He was in L Ron's inner circle. He was quite close to him apparently and was responsible for handling his writings. He made off with some of them when he left. I doubt the organization will ever forgive him for that nor forget.

Helluva nice guy. He's active in his community and loves helping people.

happyoutside3 karma

I have heard that since leaving and feel bad about my previously negative thoughts about him.

Jethrogalloch4 karma

Do you believe that extreme measures should be taken by governments in order to prevent the spread of or even eradicate organized Scientology? How do you feel about countries such as Germany labeling it as a cult and outlawing it?

EDIT: I also want to say thank you for doing this, you have been incredibly informative and have clearly put a lot of effort into your responses!

happyoutside10 karma

Sure, it's been an interesting experience for me as well.

This is a complex issue.

I think that it is wrong to ban religious practice, except those practices which harm others. This is to general, though and is clearly open to abuses on both sides (being to restrictive or not restrictive enough).

I think that all religions should be subject to investigation and prosecution if credible reports of wrongdoing are received. I don't understand how Scientology gets away with all of the child labor, for one.

However, I also know it's not so easy as all that. In Scientology's case in particular, interviewing current staff to find most abuses is reasonably useless because they will just deny any wrongdoing to protect the church.

I think that education and encouraging critical thinking are the best tools to fight religious manipulation. Also, no religions should be tax exempt.

Great_PlainsApe4 karma

What are your thoughts about the Anonymous movement and its interaction with the CoS? What did you think of them before you left the church?

happyoutside8 karma

A major disagreement I had with the church while I was in was it's censorship efforts.

I wasn't thrilled about seeing protesters outside the church, but I also knew that it was in part the church's own doing in their utter mishandling of PR and the internet in general.

I think that one of the more effective things to get existing Scientologists to open their eyes is to not just forward any negative thing, regardless of truth, about Scientology, but to focus on the corruption of the church -- particularly even the corruption of Scientology philosophy by church management.

Red5point14 karma

Firstly I'm glad you were able to get out.
I have few questions please, if you could expand on some of the points you mentioned.
In order to demystify what is actually taught at CoS, could you explain more on the religious teachings? is it mainly self help or is the Xenu mythology taught, or maybe a mixture of both.
Also can you confirm that guilt and shame are main drivers when getting people to follow their teachings?
Can you give an example of corruption you know of, was this internal or with external parties.?
Finally, can you add to "increasing emphasis on money" is thi a recent thing for the CoS or something that you started to realize. Also can you give an example of how they put importance on money.
Thanks again.

happyoutside11 karma

As I've tried to explain elsewhere, the whole xenu thing isn't about doctrine or worship or anything like that. It's just an incident that supposedly occurred a long time ago and unknowingly creates current emotional baggage, so to speak. There is a difference between 'auditing' (which is about contacting and confronting past traumatic events' and the philosophy itself.

Day to day Scientology is about tools to improve communication, relationships, personal ethics, etc. There is actually some good, albeit derivative, stuff there.

There is a huge emphasis on personal responsibility, which is good to a point. The problem is that it ends up being used to get the person believing that anything bad that ever happens to a person is their own fault. This, I believe, would be where the guilt and shame thing you mention comes into play. I've talked about this elsewhere in this thread.

People are also taught that if their problems aren't being fixed by Scientology, they or someone else are doing something wrong. It is drilling in that 'Scientology works effectively when used right'. From what I have seen, this leads to people just covering up or hiding problems that persist because it's their fault anyway and it would be a 'bad example' to say they still have these issues.

The increased emphasis on money is part of the corruption. I think someone else in this thread asked about the real estate and I'll go into that whole thing in response to their question.

Red5point14 karma

Thanks again for clarifying this.
As someone who has followed CoS and its activities, I had formed my conclusions and you have just confirmed them.
You did not touch on this, but what you have confirmed indicates as to why the CoS is totally against psychiatry. They themselves are using it to brainwash their victims.
Also all those "tools" for self improvement are not unique, they are what would be considered the 101 of self-improvement and can be learned from anywhere.
On a separate note, it must be tough to know that those close around you are going to potentially sever ties with you as soon as they find out you are leaving that cult. I really hope I works out for you as best as it can.

happyoutside8 karma

Well, the supposed reason for the psychiatric hate is because there is a history of abuses in the field. And there are; some psychiatrists have committed rape, mental patients have been abused and such. But writing the whole off because of that isn't right, either. There is still a lot of advancement and even reform to be made in the field of mental health, but demonizing psychology/psychiatry isn't the way, that's for sure.

As for tools of self-improvement, you are right, but many/most Scientologists are aware of that and education in this direction is certainly not encouraged.

And yes, it really is rough to know that some people will just cut me out of their lives like that. I already went through this to some degree when I left the Sea Org. It was was pretty hurtful.

SteveinOhio4 karma

Have you ever been involved in any of the "sue to harass" lawsuits? If so, in what capacity?

happyoutside6 karma

I haven't, no. The church has some full time lawyers who work for it and definitely use lawsuits to try to make things go the way they want.

megz0rz3 karma

Have you or would you go back to school to round out your education? And do you think the church would try and stop you or others that missed finishing high school due to working for the church as a teenager?

happyoutside7 karma

I did go back to college and it was great.

The church wouldn't actually try to stop just a regular Scientologist from going to college. But they would try to pressure that person to instead just study Scientology full time and work for the church. The pressure to only be involved with Scientology in your life is enormous.

LOUgc893 karma


happyoutside5 karma

I was never there.

LOUgc893 karma


happyoutside6 karma

Not other than the one I linked to elsewhere in this thread and have read online.

hollaback_girl3 karma

Can you list the real estate, businesses and other organizations that you know Scientology owns or controls? For example, the museum of psychiatry on Sunset Blvd. is a Scientology front. I'd really like to know if I'm living next door to a Scientology dorm or something like that.

happyoutside9 karma

Real estate: It's a lot! In fact, the church is on a big push to acquire lots of new buildings through intensive fundraising efforts.

If you live in LA, Hemet, CA or Clearwater, Florida, you might live near one. Otherwise, unlikely. There are something like 40 churches in the US outside those areas. Other countries only have a handful each at most.

hollaback_girl3 karma

Can you list what you know is in L.A.? I'm not talking about the obvious places, like the big blue building on Sunset or all those storefronts on Hollywood. I'm talking about the kinds of places you wouldn't know are Scientology if you were just walking by.

happyoutside10 karma

Scientology-affiliated places include:

Applied Scholastics, Delphian School, Hollywood Education and Learning Project (HELP), World Literacy Crusade, Narconon, Crimanon, ABLE, Author Services, Bridge Publications, Citizen's Commission on Human Rights

There are probably more, but these are the main ones I know of in LA.

funkseoulbrotha1 karma

How was the food?

Was it yummy at least?

happyoutside2 karma

Not terrible. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I don't remember much specifics about the food except the terrible runny eggs in the mornings!

scarfinati-4 karma

I thought you sea org guys sign a lifetime agreement?

Also seriously how could you ever think Scientology is genuinely a religion that could do the things it claims. It's so obviously a scam I really have to question someone's judgement eventhough you had the good judgement to get out

Luminair1 karma

scarfinati1 karma

Oh haha right How can you take a contract like that seriously?

happyoutside7 karma

We signed a 'billion year contract', which is really just symbolic. It was supposed to be a lifetime commitment, yes.

So far as judgement, well... in hindsight, it's hard to justify, but when I joined, I'd never heard of Scientology before and knew little about it. This was quite a while ago, before the internet. I knew some of the basic concepts and had done a communications course which helped me overcome my shyness. It helped my Dad quit smoking and a few other things, so I believed it when all of these adults around me were telling me about all of these 'amazing' things that the more advanced Scientology levels did for people.

scarfinati2 karma

Fair enough. The toad in water analogy is quite telling and believable. And I agree that now with the Internet and the availability of knowledge and truth it must be harder for scams like Scientology to exist.

Besides Hubbard stole all the great communication teachings from other sources. If he did half of things he claims he'd be the greatest American that ever lived haha

happyoutside5 karma

Oh yeah, I know that now... but at the time, like I said, I believed what all of these adults were telling me. Scientologists are shielded from negative news and in fact, told outright that it's bad to read anything negative. It creates a really insular world. You should see the propaganda at the internal events. And when you are in the Sea Org, you really are cut off from everyone else, so you think all of these great things are happening all over the world because of Scientology and that people are getting helped. It's total propaganda and Scientologists believe it because they would never think the church is lying to them.

All of the churches I have been to are constantly devoid of new people and few new people signed up week to week to do any services when I was last in a church a few years back.

BigFatBrucey-5 karma

Have you ever met a man called Bruce Luckman? He's a right old cunt of a landlord, never shuts up about rent. I think he's a scientologist

happyoutside3 karma

No idea who that is. Actually, even though I'm pretty much against Scientology at this point, most Scientologists are good people. They've just been misled and are being manipulated.