My short bio: I was born into the Church of Scientology and was very involved with it until my parents, my grandparents and I left in December of 2009. My mom was in the Sea Org when she found out she was pregnant with me. They asked her to abort me and, obviously, she didn't. The Tampa Bay Times did an article about it here.

I did my first course at 7 and eventually moved to LA to join the Sea Org (that didn't last), then joined staff at my local org when I was 16. I ended up going to Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida to do training to be a Class IV Supervisor. I left while I was on the last step of my training, after 18 months of full-time training, when most of my family left Scientology.

My mom, Chris Shelton, and I were all recently interviewed by City Pages about our involvement with the local Twin Cities org. You can find that here.

Ask me anything!

My Proof: This is me!

UPDATE: I'm winding down for tonight, but if you have additional questions, feel free to post them and I'll get to them tomorrow. Thank you everyone for your questions and nice words! Have a great night!

Comments: 121 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

SarcasticJosh26 karma

Are you afraid for your safety? And have you been threatened at all from the church?

ExScn_Shelby63 karma

No. I've been out since 2009 and no one has ever threatened my safety. I attribute that in large part to my mom's original badassery when we left. She said if anyone tried to contact me from the church, she would tell her story to the media. Someone did contact me and we have been telling all ever since.

ExScn_Shelby41 karma

Also, I've never been threatened by the church. They did try to get me to move in with a church staffer to get me away from my family when they left.

Duggie133017 karma

So did you truly believe in the ideals and story of Scientology?

Is the day to day of a Scientologist odd and different or essentially the same?

Can you explain the mindset of someone who really thinks the story Scientology preaches could be true?

ExScn_Shelby51 karma

Absolutely. I completely believed everything I read and heard. It's all I knew growing up. I like to think I'm a bit more of a critical thinker nowadays.

The day of a Scientologist is essentially the same except your thoughts about daily events are very different. Also, much more of your week is spent at church than in almost any other religion.

A person who really thinks Scientology's story is true is often someone who is both searching for answers and not truly looking at what they learn critically. In Scientology, they like to tell you you're thinking critically while at the same time telling you you can't continue to the next step until you've accepted everything you've read as true.

Duggie13308 karma

Very interesting. Last question, did you switch to a new religion or are you an atheist? If you don't want to answer that, simplier phrasing: do you believe in a god of any form now?

Edit: "not an athiest" to "an atheist"

ExScn_Shelby31 karma

I'm an atheist. There were a good few years where I would have considered myself agnostic for the pure fact that I just couldn't fathom trying to sort that question out for a while, but when I started searching again I discovered I'm an atheist.

joelschlosberg6 karma

Where does your atheism fall on the weak/strong spectrum?

ExScn_Shelby8 karma

Strong atheism - thanks for the link!

frypincher3 karma

I am also a former scientologist, though I wasn't raised in it. I joined an org @ 19 and really thought I had found my calling as a dianetics auditor. One of the tactics that made me feel like I was 'winning' was the OCA before and after courses and auditing. I 100% felt smarter, more aware, more capable. I felt powerful and important. I can't say I regret being a scientologist. I wouldn't trade that time in my life bc I did learn a lot about myself and how to deal with difficulties in life. I gained a lot of useful tools. I use ARC daily in customer service. It works. I will say that I regret how much debt I accumulated trying to pay for courses and THEN, the "Golden Age of Tech" happened and we bought the all 'new and improved' basics. I can't/won't go back bc I refuse to do anymore O-dubs. Screw that. I'm glad you got out. I was only in it for about 3 years but as you know, that's a lot when you're there every single day.

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

I'm glad you had such a great experience and am also glad you didn't stay in long enough to accrue much debt. People stay in Scientology because they've found something that helps them - that's certainly why I delved in deep. It's too bad they can't make things more main stream (not religious) and lose the culty aspects.

frypincher2 karma

Do you find yourself still using tech words like "reality" and "postulate"? Lol. I do years later.

ExScn_Shelby1 karma

Lol, I did for a long time, but I've made a concerted effort to use words that communicate to other people what I mean since they don't know the Scientology baggage that comes with those words. Every once in a while though, "reality" is the right word to use and I have a whole internal dialogue about whether or not to use it.

throwaway_theicemilk-1 karma

Absolutely. I completely believed everything I read and heard. It's all I knew growing up.

This is a great example of how religion works, in general. I would like all religious people to close their eyes, and really honestly ask themselves, why they think they happen to believe the same thing that their parents believed (usually). When you're taught something from day 1, you believe it!

Part of why it's so insulting when a Christian tries to make it seem like I chose atheism, like I said "This is what I'm choosing to follow." No! I just didn't have a religious dogma shoved down my throat from day 1! They did, and now that's what they believe. Shocking.

Yet, Christians act like it's a conscious choice they made. "Yep! Totally believe in the talking snake and the brimstone and all the rest! Sure, my folks were Christians but that's not why I am, I just know that Jesus loves me and has a plan! Couldn't be because this is what my parents cemented into my 2 year old brain, no no no!" . . .

ExScn_Shelby0 karma

I love this. Exactly.

lemmegetauhhhhhhhhhh16 karma

Are pop tarts ravioli?

ExScn_Shelby29 karma

Yes, they are the sweet variety.

threewhiteroses15 karma

How did your parents and grandparents first become involved with scientology? Does what you hear in the media about the church match up to what your experience has been?

ExScn_Shelby20 karma

I think my grandma got involved when she met my grandpa who was already involved. They were both working at the Celebrity Centre at the time. My mom was young at that time and then grew up in the church herself. A lot of reporting on Scientology focuses on Xenu and David Miscaviage beating his staff, neither of which were part of my experience. I wish there was more reporting done on the average Scientologist's experience - there is a lot of crazy happening even without those two things.

echoicdecay31314 karma

Didn't you question anything growing up or was it a realization you suddenly came to?

ExScn_Shelby27 karma

I didn't question anything growing up. Looking back, I can't believe I didn't. I think I had some subconscious doubts, but it's all I ever knew and Christianity didn't make sense to me so I went with it. I didn't fully realize I didn't want to be a part of the church until I had been out for 3 months and my mom was getting me used to the idea of being interviewed for the Tampa Bay Times article. She asked me, "When was the first time you realized that what you went through were human rights abuses?" That question is what completely sold me because it was the first time I ever realized that depriving people of sleep, making them eat rice and beans if their statistics were down for the week, making them stay up into the middle of the night cleaning or calling Australia to get donations were all brainwashing techniques and were completely abusive.

SeErYo14 karma

How was your experience having almost completed your training and being so deep in the church with your family being out of it? While your family was out and you were still in, was the church doing anything to keep your family away from you?

ExScn_Shelby26 karma

It was difficult leaving. My mom told me the church was all about money and David Miscaviage was beating his staff and I thought she was lying and was ruining my life.

There was never really a time when my family was officially out and I was still in. They waited for me to come home from Florida before they left officially because they knew if they left before I was home that I wouldn't be allowed to come home.

SarcasticJosh13 karma

Also, what's up with Xenu?

ExScn_Shelby32 karma

I'm glad you asked! This is one of the main things that grinds my gears about Scientology reporting. There's never any reporting on Scientology that doesn't mention Xenu even though most people only hear about it once they're on OTIII. Obviously, it's a crazy story, but I would hardly call it a core belief of Scientology as most Scientologists have never heard of it. Honestly, you probably know as much about Xenu as I do. :p

frypincher4 karma

THANK YOU! Lol it's hard enough to explain Scientology to people but I was start with "there is no xenu or aliens".

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

I'm so glad you could back me up! :D

poeandfinn1 karma

Since Xenu/aliens didn't come into your experience of Scientology, what did you believe in?

ExScn_Shelby2 karma

Thank you for asking, I rarely get this question.

Scientology for me was about how you could change your day to day life by improving communication skills and getting rid of emotional and psychological hang ups that cause you to react irrationally when presented with a difficult situation. I was very interested in doing that for myself and helping others achieve those same goals.

I also believed I was a thetan (spirit) who would live on once my body was dead. I believed I would find a new one and start over again. It was my understanding that the higher you got in your Scientology processing, the more control you had over choosing a good life for yourself and the more likely you were to remember your past lives.

The spiritual part of my beliefs were part of the bigger picture and definitely influenced how I thought about things, but I think I was more motivated by how it could change my day to day life and how I could help do that for others.

SmittyFromAbove9 karma

What was the final straw that made you realize you needed out of the organization? Is there anything people can do to help people who are brainwashed by a cult begin to see reason? Thanks for doing this!

ExScn_Shelby24 karma

My final straw actually came after I had already left the organization. My parents had been telling me the bad things the church was doing, but I didn't want to listen to them because I felt they couldn't understand. Scientology has a "Bridge to Total Freedom" that you're supposed to follow to achieve basically ultimate spiritual enlightenment. One side is the "training" (learning to be an auditor and audit people) side and the other side is the "processing" (being audited by an auditor) side. My parents mostly did the processing side and I mostly did the training side so I felt like they didn't know how to communicate to me in a way that was most effective. I think the first breakthrough happened when my parents had someone over for dinner who had left the church who had done a lot on the training side as well. He was able to point out inconsistencies to me that made a lot of sense. After that, they directed me to Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinders websites and told me to check it out when I was ready. After a while I looked at it and what I found made me feel uncomfortable about my beliefs. The nail in the coffin was when my mom was helping me prepare for our interview with the Tampa Bay Times. She asked me, "When was the first time you realized what you went through were human rights abuses?" I thought about it and it just hit me. I told her that moment was the first time I'd ever realized it. I never thought the same way about Scientology again.

chelaberry7 karma

Is internet access restricted for Scientologists? Or monitored? I guess I'm wondering if anyone can google the church and find out what's said about it. Or like watch Leah Remini's show. Are most members so brain washed they don't even think about it?

ExScn_Shelby11 karma

If you're not a Sea Org member and actively living on a Scientology base, you can have whatever internet access you'd like. It is commonly understood though that you shouldn't Google Scientology because you're "bringing entheta" (negativity) into your life. The church will tell you everything negative about Scientology is "Black PR" and a lie. People can Google the church, and often do once they're questioning. That's what my parents did and what ultimately lead them to leave.

Idontneedluck7 karma

I wish I had seen this earlier. I am actually kind of neighbors with Chris Shelton! He did a couple videos with my wife on another cult. Anyway, I just wanted to give my encouragement in speaking out against Scientology. Since I need to ask something, I have had a chance to go through a lot of his videos. Are you in any of them?

ExScn_Shelby5 karma

Cool, thanks for the encouragement! No, I'm not in any of Chris' videos. He was at the Twin Cities org for some time, but I was at Flag in Clearwater, Florida while he was there so we didn't work together a lot.

PocoChanel6 karma

Thanks for doing this.

  1. What are your thoughts on the Free Zone people?

  2. What do you think about the disparity between LRH's life and his teachings? (Was he sincere?)

  3. Do you have friends who are still in and who you still see?

  4. What's the deal with CoS and childbirth/childraising/adoption (outside the SeaOrg)? Is there dictum or encouragement to adopt rather than bear children?

ExScn_Shelby8 karma

  1. That's difficult. People can do what makes them happy, but I feel like it's a pausing place between being in Scientology and being out of Scientology. Scientology has some teachings that help people which is why I think people join the Free Zone, but I feel like the teachings that help people could be found if you just studied psychology instead.
  2. Oh gosh, who knows? I'm sure he felt sincere to some extent, but after a while he had to keep up the ruse. Scientology praises LRH like he's accomplished every possible feat known to man, but many of those feats have been disproven. LRH was a sick man.
  3. Kind of. I have some FB friends who probably just don't know that I'm out. I met another friend who was still in while I was travelling. I told her when we met up that I had left and she seemed uncomfortable about it and tried to tell me it was because I must have done something against the church. We remained FB friends, but we don't talk anymore.
  4. As far as I know, if you're not in the Sea Org then there are no rules about birthing a child yourself vs adoption. Scientology definitely has an opinion on the birthing process itself and child rearing. You should be quiet during childbirth (no music, no screaming, etc.) and you should not have any drugs in your system. When raising a child, there are also ideas in place on how to handle when a kid gets sick or hurt. All of these are ultimately based on the idea that you have a reactive mind (Dianetics) that could rear it's ugly head if you simulate a situation similar to that of when you were hurt or in a less conscious state.

PocoChanel1 karma

Thank you for all of your answers. I asked about child raising because it seems like a lot of Scientology celebs have adopted children. I thought I'd read somewhere that parents were advised to raise kids who had different familial thetans (?)...this sounds silly as I write it and was probably just ignorant bullshit.

ExScn_Shelby1 karma

Lol, I've never heard of that. However, I had also never heard of Xenu while I was in so I guess I can't say for sure. I can say that it sounds ridiculous.

french_mayo1 karma

What happens if you break the child rearing rules?

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

I wouldn't really call them rules because the church doesn't do anything if you don't follow the child rearing policies. However, you strongly believe you should follow them because if you don't, you're potentially ruining your child's life and setting them up for failure by giving their reactive mind more fodder for later use.

elksaremagic1 karma

And what happens if you break any of the church rules?

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

Typically, you go to the Ethics Officer (in a Class V, or local, org) or MAA (Master at Arms in a Sea Org) to work through Scientology "conditions." You need to find out what condition you're in (Confusion, Treason, Enemy, Doubt, Liability, Non-Existence, Danger, Emergency, Normal, Affluent or Power - you would likely be in Danger or lower if you're seeing the Ethics Officer) and work through the steps to get yourself to a higher condition. Depending on the severity of what you've done, you might also do an Overt/Withhold Write-up to confess what you've done against the group which made you not want to contribute to the success of the group. This might be part of your "handling" to get you back to a higher condition. In my experience, these are the steps followed in a Class V org.

In a Sea Org (whether you're a Sea Org member or an Outer Org Trainee [staff from a Class V org, doing training at a Sea Org]), there will likely be some extra guilt or yelling involved in the process and they might make you wait a long time before they'll help because every minute you're not doing your job, you're missing opportunities to increase your statistics. If your statistics are down, you get in more ethics trouble.

ConchitaMylove0 karma

what exactly are the steps? you are not being specific. explain what exActly are the consequences if you break a rule against the church or your child ease if you can.

ExScn_Shelby2 karma

Typically, you go to the Ethics Officer (in a Class V, or local, org) or MAA (Master at Arms in a Sea Org) to work through Scientology "conditions." You need to find out what condition you're in (Confusion, Treason, Enemy, Doubt, Liability, Non-Existence, Danger, Emergency, Normal, Affluent or Power - you would likely be in Danger or lower if you're seeing the Ethics Officer) and work through the steps to get yourself to a higher condition. Depending on the severity of what you've done, you might also do an Overt/Withhold Write-up to confess what you've done against the group which made you not want to contribute to the success of the group. This might be part of your "handling" to get you back to a higher condition.

These ARE the exact steps. The only further information I could give you would be that you could look at this information on the Church of Scientology website on what those steps include. Here are the lower conditions and here are the regular conditions. The site is down right now, but it was up yesterday so I'm assuming it will be up again soon.

Also, I would add that if you have to "make amends" to the group, you might do extra cleaning or other work in order to make amends.

VeryApe1216 karma

How much money did you spend?

ExScn_Shelby12 karma

None. I was on staff so my training was all free. However, since I was only paid a dollar or two a week, my parents had to pay for my gas and any other of my main expenses. They spent a lot of money donating to the church for the new building and paying for their own progress up the Bridge. I'm not sure how much, but I know they refinanced our house.

ljleonard274 karma

Are you apart of any religion now? What influenced your decision to join or stay away from another religion?

ExScn_Shelby11 karma

No, I'm an atheist now. For a few years after I left, I didn't want to consider religion in any regard so I considered myself agnostic. Honestly, I wanted to be religious. It seemed easier to believe in something, but once I had the time and space to reconsider, I no longer felt any religions made sense. After my experience in Scientology I felt it was incredibly important to be a critical thinker, but I didn't feel any religions were compatible with that.

not_an_exit4 karma

How much money did you end up giving them?

ExScn_Shelby14 karma

I didn't end up giving them any money since I was too young to have any. My parents paid for all of my services until I was on staff at which point all of my services were free as long as i completed my five year contract. The crappy thing is that my contract didn't even start until my training was complete and the training took years. If I wanted to stay in good standing with the church, they would say I have to pay back my "freeloader debt" since I got free services and didn't fulfill my contract. I would argue that I got paid almost nothing, sometimes not even enough to buy soda out of the vending machine, each week so we're even. In fact, they probably owe me money.

OMGCluck2 karma

Did you get sick of cafeteria eggs?

ExScn_Shelby4 karma

Lol, I'll wait in line 20 minutes to get over easy eggs if it means I don't have to eat those nasty, slimy, scrambled eggs.

NotHuskyStarcraft4 karma

What was it like interacting with non-Scientologists as a kid?

ExScn_Shelby5 karma

I was the youngest person in our org for a long time so every kid I knew was a non-Scientologist. It was normal when I was little. Most of my Scientology experiences were inside the house or church. I would do "contact assists" if I got hurt, but I remember making a point to do it casually so I wouldn't attract my friend's attention.

It got awkward as I got older and my friends were going to confirmation classes and talking about their churches. I didn't have a normal world view in which I could insert my Scientology knowledge so I found it really difficult to talk to my friends about Scientology since I didn't know how they would react.

I generally tried to avoid the topic of religion and when asked directly by a friend about Scientology, I would give a vague explanation. I remember when I was 15 and I had my first boyfriend - he asked me about what I do at church and I answered his questions, but eventually his questions felt too probing and I told him I didn't want to talk about it. Looking back, his questions weren't very probing at all, I just didn't like having to justify my religious practices because I didn't have good reasons. In high school I had a friend ask me for the first time about Xenu and about having aliens in our bodies. I thought it was so ridiculous that I told her I'd never heard of it and that it definitely was no part of my religion.

In my senior year of high school, we had a board where everyone posted where they were going to college. I didn't want to have to explain myself so I put Florida University since I was going to Flag Land Base in Florida. When a friend of mine pointed out I was going to FU (think "F You"), I got embarrased and said it must be Florida State University or something like that (I had no idea what the Florida universities were at the time and for some reason I didn't think to research before lying about it).

therankin4 karma

Is Leah Remini's show having an impact on Scientology as much as I hope it is?

ExScn_Shelby4 karma

I sure hope so! I would say 7/10 people who I talk to about Scientology mention Leah Remini at some point so I'd say she's having a pretty good impact.

hbenthow3 karma

Are you familiar with Leah Remini's Scientology exposés, and if so, what are your thoughts on them? Do the things she has said jibe with your experiences?

ExScn_Shelby7 karma

I've only seen the first episode of her show. I'd like to watch more, but I find I have to spread out my intake of Scientology-related reporting and shows or I get in a weird frame of mind. I think her show is great so far and from what I've seen in the first episode and other reporting I've heard from her, her experience seems very real to me and similar to my own (except that she experienced the Scientology celebrity treatment). I'm really happy her show is getting so much attention.

amoorman9133 karma

Why did you and your family decide to leave? I'd there anything that you miss?

ExScn_Shelby16 karma

My grandparents started questioning why we had all these fundraising events. L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, wrote that you can't get money for doing nothing and that you have to provide a service for money. When my grandparents and parents started asking questions about that, they got into a lot of trouble with the ethics officer and had to do auditing (counseling) to find out what actions they had committed against the church to make them think these strange thoughts. That's Scientology's mindset - if you question the church, you must be hiding some wrong-doing from the church.

ExScn_Shelby11 karma

For a while I missed being in a group that believed so hard core in the same things I believed and who were on the same path as me in "saving the world." Nowadays I find it difficult to wholeheartedly join a group like that, even getting super into yoga or a food trend because I was so wrong about the group I'd already committed myself to so wholeheartedly. Over time I've found new ways to feel a sense of community without going overboard.

GrandAlexander3 karma

Is there any advice you can give for people with friends involved in manipulative groups such as Scientology?

ExScn_Shelby10 karma

That's really tough since I don't think there is anything my friends could have said that would have changed my mind about Scientology at the time since they really teach you to ignore criticism.

I don't think there's a short-term solution, but if you could teach and encourage critical thinking, that would be huge since that's what people in these groups are usually lacking. Maybe start by using critical thinking in a realm outside of their group or religion and after a while when they realize it's important, apply it to their group.

Best of luck!

VibrantGoo2 karma

I hear you have to attend class many hours in a day. What does that exactly entail? Going to lectures and taking notes, reading a lot then having quizzes?

ExScn_Shelby7 karma

The courses generally entail reading LHR's writings, listening to his lectures, watching videos and doing drills to practice the skills he is teaching. You follow a checksheet which has a list of items you need to complete, in the order you need to complete them. Most of the work is on your own and you are not allowed to talk to other students during course time unless you are working with them on a drill. There is no chatting - all the time you spend in the course room is spent working through your checksheet in one manner or another. Sometimes the Supervisor (kind of like a teacher, without the lecturing) comes over to check if you understand what you're learning. They might ask you questions about the material or ask you definitions of words you've already read past.

Depending on if you are a full-time student or if you have another schedule, your studies could be anywhere from 2.25 hours/day to 10.75 hours/day. When I was a full-time student at Flag Land Base (Clearwater, Florida), I studied 10.75 hours/day, 6 days a week. On Saturdays we only studied 7.75 hours since we had the mornings to clean our birthings (housing), do laundry and have a little bit longer of a breakfast. So we studied 72.25 hours/week. We also had roles outside of our study time which usually involved sales or leading extension (correspondence) courses.

AlfaKenneyOne3 karma

So you studied everyday. Sunday to Friday 10.75 hours and then 7.75 hours on Saturday?

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

Yep. It seems crazy to me now. I'm not sure how we kept up that kind of schedule for so long, but we did it.

reavpm2 karma

  1. Are you considering trying other religions? Why / why not? Are you more skeptic about it?

  2. How was to get back to society in general? Any problems adapting?

Thanks in advance!

ExScn_Shelby9 karma

  1. I considered it for a while. Being in a religion seemed like the normal thing to do so I thought about Buddhism for a while, but never acted on it. After a while, and once I felt I had safe people to talk to about it, I realized I'm an atheist.

  2. Getting back to society was weird. I realized for the first time that "normal" people were actually really nice and that they were leading happy and fulfilling lives, unlike what I was lead to believe. It was confusing when I got a job and people would say "good morning" to me every day. I also found it really hard to communicate without using Scientology terms. It was a few years before I didn't have to ask if the way I was using a word was a normal definition or a Scientology definition.

The main effect I've felt after leaving is that I am a skeptic about many things now and find that I can't wholeheartedly delve into anything anymore. At first it sucked because I felt like I didn't belong in any groups: religious groups, yoga groups, school or work pride, etc.; but now I like that I don't just participate in anything anybody asks me to and I actually consider if it's a worthy endeavor on my own. I can still feel pride in a group without thinking it's the only way which is something I wasn't able to do before.

intrebox5 karma

I'm a bit late to the party, but if you have time to answer one more question, I'm very interested in the misuse of words. Was it terms that don't exist outside Scientology, or do they use certain words for different purposes? Do you have any examples? Thank you so much for doing this, and make sure to send some support from us goofy redditors to your family for walking away. That was tough to depart their world and a very admirable act. I'm glad you're doing so well.

ExScn_Shelby2 karma

LRH both created words that didn't previously exist and co-opted words that already existed and gave them new meanings. Some common words he co-opted, with the Scientology definitions are below. I found several of the Scientology definitions (it's been a long time) from this website. Check it out if you're interested in a laugh. Many of the definitions have an air of sarcasm to them.

Abberation - An instance of insanity. Also, another term for an engram, or a hidden memory of pain and unconsciousness.

Auditing - The action of running Scientology or Dianetic processes on a PC (a preclear; someone receiving Scientology processing). Auditing usually involves an e-meter, with the PC holding onto the soup can electrodes, and the Auditor taking down notes and asking questions.

Responsibility - The ability and willingness to assume the status of full source and cause for all efforts and counter-efforts on all dynamics.

Tech - Short for "technology." Scientology auditing processes.

intrebox1 karma

Thank you so much, and thanks for the site. I'm so glad to hear you think it's a laugh now, hopefully that means the pain of the experience has subsided.

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

You're welcome! It has. That's not to say things don't occasionally come up that I need to work through, but my experience no longer controls my day to day life.

reavpm4 karma

Individual freedom is enlightening and so it is skepticism! Sounds like you're rediscovering yourself, must be weird to you. Do you feel it is/was hard to learn how to trust in people again?

ExScn_Shelby8 karma

I do feel like I'm rediscovering myself, but I'm also in my twenties so I don't feel super out of place from my peers anymore. :)

I don't think it was hard to trust in people again because people are what helped me make my transition out of Scientology and into normal life. I would, however, say that I've found it difficult to put my trust in groups or organizations. I'm initially skeptical of anything people are very zealous about.

I've had such good experiences with people who hear my story and I appreciate everything people have done for me to help me get into the real world for the first time in my life. My uncle, in particular, encouraged me to go to college and helped me obtain and grow in my first two jobs. I would not be anywhere close to where I am today without his guidance and support. Shout out to UC if you ever see this!

reavpm6 karma

btw, respect to your mother. Legit badass

ExScn_Shelby3 karma

Definitely, my mom is one badass woman! The whole time we were in Scientology and even through us leaving, she was there every step of the way, protecting me from the church's complete hold. She saved me from the Sea Org, she made sure I graduated high school and she got me out of the cult. Shout out to you too mom!

dofffman2 karma

Just FYI there is buddhism the religion and buddhism the philosophy. The philosophy has no real requirement for any particular religious thought. I guess its wrapped in reincarnation but its easy enough to throw that out. I guess what I am saying is that you can be an athiest buddhist. Also there is a church my sister goes to. Its the unitarian universalist. They do not require specific religious belief although do have some over arching moral prinicples and historically they evolved from christian sects. Its interesting to read up on anyway. Full disclosure have never went but if I was going to go to a church I would likely try them.

ExScn_Shelby1 karma

That is interesting, thank you for sharing.

IrishFlukey1 karma

Do you think that using words like "Religion" and "Church" are actually appropriate for what Scientology is?

ExScn_Shelby4 karma

In my day to day life I refer to Scientology as a "cult." I decided not to do that here since I didn't want people to assume I am a bitter apostate whose opinions are too biased to be trusted.

Scientology is legally recognized as a religion in the US, but I don't think it should be as they use the title to do more harm than good.

atomicllama11 karma

Does the church still randomly call you try "update your mailing address" ?

I keep telling them to never call me again but it happens pretty frequently.

ExScn_Shelby6 karma

No, I have the benefit of being declared a Suppressive Person. As such, I don't get contacted by the anyone at the church for fear that I'll enturbulate them with my entheta (upset them with my negativity).