My name is Derek Bloch.

I am not the typical "high-ranking" or celebrity Scientologist. I am more familiar with the low-level, day-to-day activities of cult members than anything else. I was exposed to some of the worst kinds of abuse, but compared to some of the other stories I have heard I got away relatively unscathed (and I am thankful for that). Now I live on my own as a lower-middle-class, married, gay man.

FTR: I have been going to therapy for years. That's helped me gain some insight into myself and the damage that Scientology and my parents did me when I was younger. That's not to say I'm not an emotional and psychological wreck, because I kinda still am sometimes! I'm not a licensed psychologist but I think therapy has given me the tools to objectively understand my experience and writing about it is cathartic. Hence, the AMA.

First I shared an anonymous account of my story online to a board specifically for ex-Scientologists. It's important to note there are two distinct religious separations in my life: (1) is when I was kicked out of the Sea Org at age 18 (literally 2 days after my birthday) because I developed a relationship with someone who also had a penis; and (2) is when I left Scientology at age 26 altogether after sharing my story publicly.

After Scientology's PR Police hunted me down using that post, my parents threw me out. On my way out, my dad called me a "pussy" for sharing my story anonymously. He also said he didn't raise his son to be a "faggot". {Side note that this is the same guy who told me to kill myself because I am gay during separation #1 above.}

Being the petty person that I am, I of course spoke to a journalist and went very public about all of it immediately after.

(Ef yoo dad.)

I also wrote a Cracked listicle (full disclosure they paid me $100 for that).

I tried to do an Aftermath-style show but apparently there were some issues with the fact that they paid me $500 to appear on the show (that was about $5-$7/hr worth of compensation). So it was shelved. Had I known that would be a determining factor it would have been easy to refuse the money. Production staff said it was normal and necessary. Here is the story about that experience (and it was awful and I am still pissed that it didn't air, but w/e.)

Obviously, I don't have any documentation about my conversations with the FBI, but that happened too. You'll just have to take my word for it.

On that note, I am 95% sure this post will get buried by Scientology, overlooked by the sub because of timing, or buried by higher-quality content. I might even get sued, who knows. I don't really care anymore!

I'll be popping in when I get some notifications, but otherwise I'm just assuming this will disappear into the abyss of the interweb tubes.

PS: Please don't yell at me for being overweight. I have started going to the gym daily in the last few months so I am working on it!

AMA!

Comments: 3040 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

SeaofSilverLight8492 karma

Are they still coming after you? They came after me for a little over 10 years. From 14 to about 26/27 Having lived through this hell myself as a kid I wasn't going to ask any questions, but as I was stalking the comment section I noticed one of the first things you listed as a catalyst for new membership.

"Death of a loved one".

This is EXACTLY how they got my parents and I still blame them for the actual death of my mother to this day. They were desperate, she had cancer. Basically they convinced her that she didn't need and definitely should not subject herself to treatment. That she didn't need it and that it was more poison than treatment. They could just audit it out. Clearly she was just infected with interstellar negativity emanating from invisible space ghosts.

She died a long and extremely slow and painful death and my sister and I had to watch her waste away and cry in pain on a daily basis in between the audits at the DC area location of this place. I don't think it was the main DC building, but I could be wrong because it's been decades, but I know for a fact it was at least on the way to DC in Maryland. She ultimately did seek treatment before dying, but by then it was too late. had she not listened to these people and gotten treatment started immediately? Her Doc said she most likely would have survived, or at least given herself several more years.

I will not call them a church. They are not a church.

Man, just reading this and commenting has got my adrenalin up to 1000. There's so much more bad behind the readers digest version of my experience with Scientology and the whole thing honestly. I've got PTSD from that time in my life that I am still dealing with in my 40s. For instance in addition to the adrenalin I am physically shaking so hard that I keep hitting the wrong keys and having to retype my sentences.

I'm glad you got out. I hope more people do soon as well. Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

edit: over

dbloch79864055 karma

Occasionally, I'll get a troll come by or something online to try to ruin my day. But mostly they haven't messed with me too much. I am so sorry for what you went through. Unfortunately, there are lots of organizations that discourage people who need it from getting necessary medical treatments. This kind of behavior is tolerated WAY too much in the US. It's crazy how much we allow people to push pseudoscience as a cure for illnesses. It makes me angry every time I hear of a cancer patient stopping chemo in favor of using crystals and holy water.

xIAmSpartacusx1572 karma

I literally had someone recommend I just feed my son (with Stage IV Neuroblastoma) ginger instead of seeking treatments. That's the cure. Just ginger. It's so frustrating to have people try to talk you away from medicine.

dbloch7986940 karma

LOL Scientologists are all about that shit too. It would drive you insane. My parents constantly made us drink colloidal silver and licorice root instead of NyQuil for the flu. When I finally left the cult, I took an Advil for a migraine and about shit my pants that I had been dealing with the pain for years and years without this simple solution. 20 minutes it took and the pain was gone.

wesssleey2496 karma

How do you feel about the work Leah Remini and Mike Rinder are doing to call out Scientology on a public scale?

dbloch79863311 karma

Honestly, I think that shit is amazing. For both of them to put themselves out there in the public eye is just awesome. Especially, Rinder. He was the head of the most vicious part of the organization. He knows where at least some of the bodies are buried and he faces criticism from former members like me and current members as well.

thinkB4WeSpeak1672 karma

People have been fighting against Scientology for years. What do you think the best way to bring it down is? What's the best way to raise awareness about their shady dealings?

dbloch79862021 karma

What do you think the best way to bring it down is?

I think that less focus should be put on this and more focus should be on forcing them to comply with labor standards. Their existence wouldn't bother me so much if their employees were paid a living wage and had insurance plans. They also shouldn't be forced to live on-site and should be allowed vacation and sick time.

What's the best way to raise awareness about their shady dealings?

I think that there is plenty of this going on at this time. So I say, people just keep doing what they are doing and we'll be okay!

singuslarity1442 karma

Where is Shelly Miscavige?

dbloch79862281 karma

She is in a facility near Lake Arrowhead here in California. That facility is tasked with preserving the works of L. Ron Hubbard on titanium plates and discs inside of giant vaults in anticipation of the coming nuclear destruction of the human race.

Lots more here from a diligent reporter that is also a friend of mine (full disclosure): https://tonyortega.org/category/shelly-miscavige/

ALoudMeow710 karma

Do you believe she’s alive? If so, why don’t they trot her out in a PR piece? I think she’s dead.

dbloch7986741 karma

If Miscavige brought her out he would be conceding defeat to critics of the church and the general public. The only time she'll be brought out is to show the current membership that she's still around. The current membership is mostly unaware that she exists anyway. That's why they don't bring her out.

Sanguinetti501 karma

I grew up in Lake Arrowhead and know exactly what facility youre talking about. Incredibly well guarded and all the locals know its there and not to go near it. The incredible thing to me is that its not hidden whatsoever. Literally just off the highway by 200 feet and the entrance is at an intersection that leads down to Crestline. I never knew what exactly they had in there so thanks for the info!

Edit: I sent a screenshot of your info on the Arrowhead facility to a friend whos into this kind of thing, according to him Shelly has been spotted a couple times at a grocery store called Goodwins thats about a mile down the road.

dbloch7986240 karma

I have heard about those sightings! How surreal it must be to live there and see that all the time. There's some good drone footage of the place if you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLk6p2MyTIYzYAtzyUSbt4eBZJ4mRxaY7Y&v=bBe7eOhngCc

Sk1tzo42051 karma

Do you believe that?

dbloch7986167 karma

I mean she may get moved around since the cat got let out of the bag, but I don't believe she is dead. There's no reason Miscavige would risk a murder charge if he doesn't have to. He's in it for the money.

xixxi1278 karma

What type of labor were you trafficked into?

dbloch79862417 karma

When I first joined I was working about 10 hours a day doing all kinds of manual labor and janitorial work. The other 6 hours I would study stuff written by Hubbard. Then shower and sleep. There were a couple of meals in-between.

After this I worked 17 - 24 hours a day (occasionally went several days without sleep) for 365 days a year.

I moved to working in the basement of the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles where I was responsible for computerizing their central files. These files contain letters and invoice documents written to and by anyone that had ever bought anything from the organization over the life of the organization. I was also responsible for installing CAT 5 connections all over the building so people could access the computerized system. (15 years old)

After this I worked in one of the areas where Scientologists go to study. I was a customer service rep. I basically managed complaints, monitored people for tardiness and reported them if they weren't on-time to class, called people who didn't show up to classes they were scheduled for, helped people go take exams for courses they finished, signed up people for new courses, kept a log book, cleaned the classrooms, cleaned the film room, put on films for students who were studying courses that required them, cleaned the projector, performed maintenance on tape deks/CD players that people used to study their course materials, ran errands for the instructors and other general classroom upkeep. I was generally here from 7-8am until about 12-1am each day. My whereabouts were accounted for by the people I worked for at all times. (15 - 16 years old)

Then I was moved to the sales area. There I served as an assistant to a sales person. I processed credit card payments, transcribed documents, wrote letters to Scientologists trying to sell them things, served coffee and tea to customers, cleaned up the sales area at the end of the day, cleaned the bathrooms by the sales area, ran errands for sales people and other ad hoc things. I was not allowed to leave my desk without telling the sales person I worked for where I was going and how long I would be gone. I was here from 7am until 1am most days. (16 years old)

After this I was transferred to Florida where most of my work was studying L. Ron Hubbard texts to prepare me for different lines of work down the road. This was a bit easier assignment than my other ones and I cherished it. I was assigned here because I was submissive and didn't cause too much trouble in my earlier positions. Eventually, this position would get me in trouble because I caught feelings for a fellow staff member who was male. I was typically studying from about 8am until 12 am each day. My whereabouts were not as monitored. I could wander off for about 2-3 hours without being noticed by someone if I wanted to. However, I was in a totally different state that was 3,000 miles from home so there was nowhere for me to go. (16 - 17 years old)

On my way out I was sent to work in the tunnels under L. Ron Hubbard Way in Hollywood, CA. Down there I was assigned to organize moldy storerooms of items and files, box up and ship books to people, ad hoc manual labor and janitorial work, and shred papers in an industrial shredder. I took advantage of being on the way out and typically started work at 9am and was in bed by 10pm. This was simultaneously the best and worst part of my trafficking experience in that I got lots of sleep but I also couldn't stop thinking about killing myself over the humiliation.

SquizzOC444 karma

Were you ever at Golden Era Productions in San Jacinto?
Around the time you are describing, I was on the inbound queue for a computer hardware and software sales company, fresh out of training and a 15 year old kid called in to order some equipment. Over casual conversation I learned he was "Serving his time like missionary work for his religion", but he could only answer emails between the hours of 4pm and 11am or some funky "work hours".

At the time I was intrigued because when I was about 13, I was driving with my dad around 2am on Gilman Springs Rd, this road goes right through the middle of the complex (They've tried to take possession many times, but legally they have no right to it). While driving through I saw a group of roughly 100 people in all white garb digging out the foundation of the building with buckets.

So seeing this, hearing the stories before all the big media stories started coming out, I always knew something wasn't right about the "religion". Just wondering if we happen to have worked together in the past and if so, glad to see you are doing well :)

dbloch7986401 karma

Thank you for the well wishes! I never worked there. I can explain the e-mail situation: Scientology buffers employees from being able to freely send and receive e-mails by caching them on a system not directly connected to the internet. They download them from there and upload them to another system that is connected to the internet. At least, that's how it was done during my time 17 years ago.

The digging out was probably back when the base got flooded during a rainstorm. If you're interested you should check out Mark Headley's book "Blown for Good". He worked there for years and years and even talks about the time the base flooded really badly.

Salamandersss964 karma

Is Tom Cruise really that important in the church? I grew up watching his movies but now as an adult, I think he is a joke. People can believe what they want, but come on, we don’t have any better action actors out there to jump around building and do ninja kicks. The guy isn’t even believable, he is literally Tom Cruise in every movie to me.

I typically ask ever AMA, as a joke, if aliens exist but I wanted to try and give a more serious question that others might be interested in as well. Bernie Sanders never replied to me, along with ever other AMA I have asked so far. But are aliens really that important in Scientology?

dbloch79862067 karma

Is Tom Cruise really that important in the church?

This question really has a few parts.

From an external perspective, Tom Cruise is a champion for Scientology. He is essential to the existence of the cult in that he provides legitimacy through his public involvement.

From an internal believer perspective, Scientologists understand the legitimacy granted to the cult by Tom Cruise and how important that is to the existence of Scientology. However, he does not have significant control over church matters and he is not a significant part of the day-to-day life of Scientologists. Some of the Scientologists who consider themselves more zealous dedicated to the cause are insulted by the way the current leader idolizes Cruise*.

Lastly, from a Church Management (really there is only one person who runs the Church and that's Miscavige) perspective, Tom Cruise makes them loads of money. In fact, though I never worked for him personally, people like me who are trafficked for labor by Scientology work for Cruise for free. They staff his house, assist his kids, do his PR, act as his publicist, design and build his custom cars, and other things like this. They are not compensated personally, although David Miscavige deposits Cruise's donations into accounts that only David Miscavige has control over.

But are aliens really that important in Scientology?

Oh boy, you hit a gold mine here. Yes. Extraterrestrial life is integral to the Scientology belief system and experience. Don't let any Scientologist tell you otherwise and if they are do feel free to bluntly accuse them of lying. As a child, I grew up listening to my parents' stories about how they were aliens in a past life. One of them worked at an interstellar prison of sorts, the other designed spaceships with warp drives. I asked my dad to design one but he said that we don't have the tech necessary or something. (LOL) A large part of the "alien" story in Scientology is that the Solar System is surrounded by a screen that prevents us from making contact with the society that dominates the central part of the galaxy.

On a personal level, I am happily agnostic about intelligent extraterrestrial life. We have proof that bacteria once existed on Mars, so at least on that level aliens do or did most certainly exist. If there was intelligent life outside of Earth, I think that the laws of physics mean we won't make contact with each other until we are both out there exploring the universe. (hurry up Elon!)

Salamandersss474 karma

Great response and you answered all of my questions, in detail and for a wide range of subjects. Thank you. That was awesome.

Through the way you write, I can tell that you are a reasonably intelligent person. So this must scare the shit out of them on some level. Do you ever see them being held accountable for the things they do? Someone else brought up the Catholic Church and it seems that little to nothing has been done to them. So does that make you pessimistic because of the comparison or optimistic because the church of Scientology is not a 2,000 old religion with its own country? They are a smaller fish to catch.

dbloch7986505 karma

Do you ever see them being held accountable for the things they do?

Under my current worldview, I do not see this happening. I see them fizzling out over time after current members' children lose interest. Miscavige has enough money on-hand to keep him going for the rest of his life at this point.

I know that Scientology has started to shift its focus outside of their formerly Euro-UScentric business model. This leads me to believe that they have become acutely aware of their bleak future in terms of recruitment.

The "small fish" metaphor is very accurate and adds to my pessimism.

wildeflowers180 karma

Hi, Karin! 👋🏻

What happens to all of the money though. I do agree that the top leaders realize that membership is depleting, yet it is still the most rich and powerful cult in the world. Does Miscavige recruit a new leader to "control" all this money and real estate? Scientology is just bizarre and horrible. I hope that it goes away, but I'm not sure how with the amount of cash they have.

FWIW, my husband inadvertently saved someone from scientology once. His friend was joining up and was giving them all his cash and belongings, but husband advised him to hide a vehicle and some cash in a storage locker in case he wanted to get away. Surprisingly, the guy listened and when it because obvious he was a slave in a cult he managed to escape, thanks to being able to access that vehicle. This was before internet, etc. so it was easier to keep them from knowing.

I'm really sorry that the people tasked with protecting and loving you failed to do so. Children have little chance when being indoctrinated from a young age.

dbloch798684 karma

Your husband is a saint for helping that guy! Real estate is a sensible investment. It's rare that real estate depreciates. Religious organizations are prohibited from hoarding cash. I'm sure someone warned Miscavige and he decided that "well if I HAVE to spend it then I might as well spend it on real estate". I doubt someone as self-absorbed as Miscavige would be thinking about a successor.

dranobob130 karma

Thank you for all the insights, I have always wondered why celebrities would risk being associated with the cult, but you answered it perfectly: free labor.

Just one correction though, there hasn’t been any discovery of bacteria on Mars (at least not yet). There was some rock formations we thought might be many years ago, but those have all been debunked as natural formations. As far as we know currently, life only exists on earth (all though I have high hopes we prove this wrong in my lifetime).

dbloch7986164 karma

That's dope! Thanks for correcting me on that. I think it is simultaneously as cool as it is boring that life may only exist on Earth. That means the universe is literally ours for the taking and that our existence is so rare that we really should appreciate it more.

HeliBif26 karma

Do you think these previous lives of your parents are back stories they invented and built up on their own? Or is this a back story essentially given to you as part of the auditing process?

dbloch798695 karma

Nothing is fed to a person during the auditing process, but there is a lot of exposure to space opera stories during general studies of Scientology materials. Using that as a baseline it is easy to build a personal back story. There is also the case of false memory syndrome. An auditor insists that "something is there" so a Scientologist will keep looking for answers to "what is that you're thinking about" even if they aren't thinking about anything. That spurs the imagination to create something that seems real enough to satisfy the unanswered question.

yakshack670 karma

Shelly Miscavige: is there as much internal speculation amongst regulars of Scientology as there is externally, or is it something that nobody talks about?

dbloch7986881 karma

When I was still involved in Scientology activities, Shelly Miscavige was mostly an unknown. Miscavige is so singularly consumed with his own public image that Shelly never became a significant part of it. Other than people who worked closely with her or interacted with her at church functions and are now speaking out, most Scientologists wouldn't even know she existed. They probably don't even know who the "Shelly" is in the "Where's Shelly?" posters and chants. You could probably count the number of regular Scientologists that know who Shelly is on one hand.

2001ASpaceOatmeal661 karma

If I know someone that is considering becoming a member, what would you say is the best way to go about discouraging them to join? To elaborate, what are some things that could be easily believable to a potential member in your experience would you say would detract a person from joining?

dbloch79861671 karma

I wouldn't encourage you to discourage them. Rather, it's more important to encourage your friend or relative to think about the things that the Scientologists are telling them. This person should be asking themselves and the Scientologists tough questions. This kind of confrontation and critical thinking is uncomfortable, but that discomfort is the voice in their head telling them "this is wrong".

Scientologists who are recruiting new members go to great lengths to discourage them from mentioning their budding involvement to family or friends. Scientologists don't do this because they know that Scientology is bullshit or anything. It's because they want other people to believe in Scientology too. It validates their own belief.

You can always sit them down at a computer with you and look for "Operating Thetan Levels" and read the craziness that is Scientology right there with them. I'm sure that'll kill their mystery.

Usually, people who are considering joining a cult are having some kind of life-changing experience. It could be an existential crisis, loss of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, etc. Rather than trying to turn them away from Scientology, I would look deeper at the problem they are trying to solve with Scientology. Then you can help them find the resources that would actually be helpful and effective for that problem. Often times, these real resources (as opposed to the fake resource that is Scientology) are a fraction of what Scientology costs or entirely free.

IamNoatak636 karma

How accurate was the south park episode concerning the scientology belief system?

dbloch79861976 karma

The Xenu story featured in South Park is an accurate rendition of what Scientologists refer to as "OT III". This is where they believe some of the biggest secrets of the universe are revealed. These are kept secret from Scientologists and only revealed to them after anywhere from 3 - 10 years and $500k - $1,000k invested in the cult.

This is despite the fact that the information is available in the public domain for free because of Scientology's own screw up in court. If Scientologists run into this before they are "officially" exposed to it in Scientology, they are told it is not real. This is what happened to me.

However, when I was watching it my dad was in the room. When the story was about halfway through I looked at him and his pale face told me all I needed to know. In fact, this was one of the external catalysts that sent me looking for answers to my concerns outside of the cult-provided materials. (You did a good thing Trey and Matt.)

1doctor473 karma

Wait, you watched the South Park episode with your dad? What was his verbal reaction to it? I'm really curious to see what other scientologists reactions you know are to that episode, because it seems to be the most public lambasting of that particular scientologist belief that I know of

dbloch7986672 karma

What's funny is that there was no lambasting at all. It was presented with an animation that Scientologists don't use but other than that it was a word-for-word accounting.

My dad stayed silent the whole time and his face was pale when I looked at him. He was already uncomfortable enough so I wasn't going to press him on the matter.

testfire10100 karma

Got a link to the biggest secrets of the universe?

dbloch7986279 karma

Here you go.

Sorry for being a bit cheeky lol. Seriously though, they are all over the place. Not too hard to find. that's what makes it so crazy that people still spend so much money on them.

The_Great_Goblin400 karma

Why do rank and file /non rich scientologists put up with the exploitative nature of it over the long term?

I understand how they get into it, but what keeps them going once the drudgery sets in?

dbloch7986803 karma

This is a difficult question. I could argue that there is nothing which keeps them in over the long-term since statistically speaking the number of Scientologists who stick around compared to those who leave is almost insignificant.

Most of the ones who do stick around do so for a multitude of reasons.

My dad, for example, owns an accounting firm that does work exclusively for Scientologists and businesses owned by Scientologists. He would lose his livelihood if he left Scientology.

I stuck around for as long as I did because I wasn't ready to admit that I was better off without my parents and siblings. A lot of people stick around for that reason, actually.

Some people just suffer from the sunken cost fallacy, thinking that they have spent so much time and money on this that they have to stick with it. Or they just don't want to face the admission of defeat that's required when you finally realize it's all bullshit.

Some of them are born into Scientology and have never known anything else.

Still, a lot of them leave. I would guess that over the years millions of people were exposed to Scientology's recruitment methods. At their biggest, the membership of the organization was thought to be about 100k people. So we're talking 5% - 10% of people stick around. There's probably a mental health statistic for personality disorders that would explain why that percent of people stick around. All of this is just conjecture on my part though.

A_Feathered_Raptor321 karma

What do you believe it would take for Scientology to face consequences for their actions?

Their actions are on the level of the Catholic church's cover-ups but they get more attention. Why do you believe this is, due to the widespread popularity of the religion or are there more legal and logistical issues?

Thank you for the AMA, I can't even begin to imagine what you've been through.

dbloch7986475 karma

What do you believe it would take for Scientology to face consequences for their actions?

There needs to be a coordinated effort from all levels of law enforcement to gather evidence and testimony related to Scientology's abuses. Law enforcement needs to draft a strategic plan that works backwards from the people who are on the fringes of Scientology all the way to those who are most deeply involved. Coordination is the key and what makes it so hard. Scientology spends lots of money on local law enforcement in terms of donations to law enforcement charities and public relations activities to shield their abusive nature from view. Law enforcement needs to take a more cynical view of religious organizations in general. Which ties directly into your comment about the Catholic Church. They too are given too much benefit of a doubt.

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if secret Scientologists worked for LAPD, LASD, Riverside sheriff's, Cleawater, FL PD and so on. They have done it before and for more details on Scientology's crimes of espionage against the US Gov't you can look up "Operation Snow White".

Revoking religious status would also go a long way in ending the cult. In fact, based on their espionage activities against the US Gov't in the 1970s, they should be declared an enemy of the US like ISIS (IMHO).

In my case, I think the reason the FBI didn't pursue it further is because my parents were complicit in trafficking for labor. They signed custody over to the cult and shipped me off. (Frankly, I think they were happy they didn't have to spend money caring for me anymore. They also felt like the fact that I was working for the cult gave them a sort of status within the cult.) The fact that my parents were complicit makes it hard to corroborate my story.

Although, I gave them names and approximate dates related to my grooming before I was actually abducted and signed up for the labor force. It should be easy enough to interview those people and get documentation related to my time inside. There are also statutes of limitations to consider but the US Attorney could argue to extend it on my behalf. I can see how they justified not taking action based on my criminal complain. I also know there is a possibility they could have at least tried to prosecute it if they wanted to.

Their actions are on the level of the Catholic church's cover-ups but they get more attention. Why do you believe this is, due to the widespread popularity of the religion or are there more legal and logistical issues?

If you look the government's history with cults, it's largely disastrous. I understand the reluctance of authorities to do anything. Scientology doesn't pose an immediate threat to the life or most members. It's mostly a Madoff-level investment scam, but with a spiritual twist. If anyone got hurt during a raid it would be totally unjustified.

I think that it would be more helpful to prosecute Scientology from a labor law perspective. Forcing them to follow labor laws and pay workers a living wage (at least minimum wage), offer insurance, not employ minors, and other things that are required by law for normal businesses would go a long way at remedying the way this cult abuses its members.

runit4ever263 karma

What was the response from the FBI? I mean clearly nothing of value, but how have they been notified by so many people and nothing has been done substantially between the federal law and Scientology?

dbloch7986444 karma

The agents I talked to were extremely caring and concerned, but I believe their hands are tied because of statutes of limitation related to labor trafficking. I don't blame them for not being able to do anything.

Knowing that something bad is happening and proving that something bad is happening require different standards of evidence. The feds probably have an idea that something bad is going on, but they probably don't have what they need to prove it. Scientology prides itself on being ready for a counter-offensive at any time against any law enforcement.

They also dedicate a huge amount of resources to lawyers and making connections in the legal field. In one more recent case, they had a lawyer representing them in front of an appellate court who was formerly a judge that sat on the bench at that same court.

There are multiple dimensions of complexity to engaging in Scientology. One thing that Hubbard did right when founding the religion was to dedicate a huge portion of funds and manpower to staying ahead of authorities.

kainsdarkangel254 karma

Are you okay? How are you holding up? I'm so sorry this happened to you.

dbloch7986411 karma

I am okay now, thank you for asking! Years of therapy and medication and freelance studying of human psychology gave me the tools I needed. I still struggle with lots debt, severe anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. My panic attacks are down to once a month or less now from nearly 3 a day for a years. Sometimes, I think back and wonder how the hell I was ever able to manage.

That also works the other way though: Sometimes I am facing a current difficulty and freaking out over it so I just think back at the worst of the shit I was able to manage and realize that I'll be just fine.

CarterLawler202 karma

How can I help?

dbloch7986270 karma

Amplifying the message is the best way to help. The truth is what will keep people from falling prey to the cult.

out_of_serotonin177 karma

What's up with the people they send out to discredit those who speak out? Is that a sanctioned part of the beliefs or just jerks within the church?

dbloch7986279 karma

It is both Church policy as well as jerks who believe that Scientologists are superior to the rest of humanity. If there is an argument happening which is impossible for you to win, the only way you're going to create a perception of having won is by deflecting from the argument itself. The most effective means of deflecting is to attack the credibility of the person delivering the opposing argument. Fortunately for Scientologists, all human beings are flawed and so our credibility is generally easy to attack by find mistakes we have made in our pasts. This goes for anyone and everyone--especially in the days of social media justice.

buckshotjack151 karma

Do everyday, run of the mill Scientologists have access to tv or other forms of media? If so, is it controlled by "upper management"? If someone had access to tv/internet, what is to stop them from watching Going Clear and the Leah Remini show?

dbloch7986211 karma

Scientologists who are not working for the Church itself have access to the outside world. There is internal pressure from other members that prevents them from watching anything critical of the official "Church" story. They are also subjected to interrogations by staff members regularly in which their loyalty is tested. Most Scientologists actively choose to remain ignorant to the truth. This is because they are taught to distrust any source of information that is not Scientology itself, because they have invested so much of their lives into Scientology, and/or because they were raised inside Scientology without exposure to much of the outside world.

kindnesscary131 karma

What do you think makes people get into these kinds of cults?

dbloch7986319 karma

One of the key components of any cult's recruiting tactics is to find people who are in the midst of some kind of life-changing event. This is typically when people are most vulnerable. Some examples could be: * Death of a loved one * Unemployment, especially right after a recent job loss * Losing faith in a belief system * Addiction * Divorce

Specifically, I think it is when one of these events triggers an existential crisis. In other cases, Scientology fleeces people who are "looking for deeper meaning" in life, or something similar. Typically, the people who fall for cults are convinced that (1) they would never fall for a cult and (2) that they were meant for something greater in life. Think in terms of the "mom's business" MLM-types who are also being fleeced by cults, but financial cults rather than religious cults.

In my dad's case, he had lost his dad and his mom was dying. He was faced with running the family business by himself. Members of Scientology offered to help him manage the business through "consulting" based on L. Ron Hubbard's management techniques (which really are only useful in terms of managing things that Hubbard himself created which didn't include my dad's business). This was in 1995.

GoldenBear1990130 karma

Do you believe the celebrities who are associated with Scientology receive non monetary reimbursement of their donations through the uncompensated labor as a way to skirt tax laws? For instance Tom Cruise donates a some money to the church but then receives services back through the church in excess of the cash donated.

dbloch7986196 karma

Do you believe the celebrities who are associated with Scientology receive non monetary reimbursement of their donations through the uncompensated labor as a way to skirt tax laws?

Absolutely, I do believe this. Whether or not it is specifically to skirt tax laws is arguable, but there's no question they make use of the slave labor force of Scientology for personal benefit. They are also acutely aware of the abuse happening, it's just that Scientologists feel that the abuse of the slave force is justified in the name of the "greater good".

actonesceneone112 karma

You refer to Scientology as a cult, rightfully so

Thanks in advance for your post, it’s super informative

Ok. Does the “church” have dirt on Travolta which prevents him from ever leaving?

Certainly you don’t know for sure but I guess I’m asking, is that type of stuff ever talked about?

dbloch7986274 karma

From my personal interactions with people in the industry, whatever dirt the Church has on Travolta is already well known by the rest of Hollywood.

He ignored the fact that his son needed treatment and as a result, his son died. As much as you'd think that would cause someone to snap out of it, the sunken cost fallacy pretty much ensures that someone who loses a child to their faith will become even more faithful. Leaving at this point would mean that his son died for nothing.

There are probably a lot of similar reasons why he sticks around.

ohshititsausername101 karma

Besides the information that’s already out on Scientology, are there other things that haven’t been talked about yet that we should know about?

dbloch7986308 karma

Scientology despises disabled people. They believe in something similar to traditional Karma. They believe that anyone who is born with an intellectual disability or physical disability deserved it because of something they did in a previous lifetime. They are really actually very savage people. Some of them have done horrific things in the name of Scientology. They have surrendered children to social services, abandoned loved ones in their most desperate times of need and driven friends and family to suicide over hateful rhetoric. My own father told me to kill myself rather than live as an openly gay man.

Stmpnksarwall65 karma

I wasn't aware of their stance on people with disabilities. Gives me even more reinforcement of my negative opinions of them.

dbloch798682 karma

It's really bad. I wish I could offer something as a reference for it, but I just have my memories. I am so embarrassed when I think back about how my parents used to talk about them and how I would join in.

thats_bex98 karma

First, so sorry this has happened to you. But good on you for getting your shit together and bringing awareness about the evils of this organization.

Second, are you in contact with anyone still there? Since you were in at such a young age, I’d imagine you’d have made friends along the way.

dbloch7986273 karma

I never really had the chance to make friends. Scientology is all about the cause and all personal relationships (including familial) are conditional upon belief. During the time I was working, I was always too busy to talk about anything but work.

After I left the Sea Org, word got out that they booted me because had formed a romantic relationship with another male staffer. I tried to make friends but the more word spread the more people refused to associate with me. Homosexuality is considered a worse crime than child molestation, rape or drug use in Scientology. The only thing that is worse than being gay is being treated by a psychiatrist/psychologist or being a psychiatrist/psychologist.

I don't have contact with anyone still in.

starshock99088 karma

Do you think A&E's Scientology and the Aftermath will create a big enough uproar that the various justice departments that are being willfully blind will be forced to pay attention?

I'm sorry you went through any of this. Congrats on getting out, and I hope you're doing better now.

dbloch798687 karma

Thanks for the kind words. I think that Aftermath will do a lot more good in terms of providing catharsis to other ex-Scientologists like myself, helping ex-Scientologists describe to others what their experience was like, and helping to innoculate people from joining the cult in the first place. I don't think it will do much in terms of influencing law enforcement, unfortunately.

yourkberley81 karma

Is it true that the Sea Org is a child labor camp? A few ex-Scientologists have claimed that the children make merchandise in there for 12-14 hours a day.

dbloch7986120 karma

That is 100% true. I believe that under scrutiny from authorities and pressure from the public some of the living conditions have been improved recently, though. Whether that means they've gotten better at hiding it or Miscavige decided the government was getting too close to his pocketbook and actually made changes--well that's up to personal interpretation.

Only4DNDandCigars77 karma

So like, Scientology confuses me insofar as how it still exists and has supporters after all the exposure and sheer bullshit it received. What are some things any average person can do to help dissolve it/cut off its spread/etc?

dbloch798692 karma

Amplification of the message is the most important thing. Getting the truth out there is what inoculates people from being taken advantage of by this cult.

tomcruiseiscrazy76 karma

Hey just wanted to add, did you read the dictionary every day?

dbloch7986138 karma

Fuck my life. I spent more hours buried in dictionaries while I was studying Scientology shit than I have ever spent doing anything else in my life--I think.

eurydice_kairos75 karma

I didn’t go through anything like what you did, but I have been taken in and taken advantage of. Since then I feel like I’m hyper aware of cult-like behavior and tend to shun tribalism of any kind.

Do you think you notice more cult-like behavior than others who haven’t been through an experience like yours?

If you’re comfortable sharing I would love to hear what books, psychology, etc. you’ve read that helped with your transition away from Scientology.

Edit: Whether or not you have time to answer my question, thank you for doing this. It takes balls of steel to throw yourself up against entrenched injustice.

dbloch7986121 karma

I appreciate your encouragement very much!

I am hypersensitive to cult like behaviors and I do notice them all the time. Everything from cliques of friends, to people who treat politics like religion, to anti-vaxxers, to Primerica-type MLMs. It's difficult to separate what's dangerous from what is benign sometimes.

I went on Amazon and got some basic books: "Psych 101", "Big Ideas Explained Simply: Psychology", and lots of Great Courses lectures.

d1ldosmith66 karma

A minor was trafficked. Why didn't the FBI do anything?

dbloch7986122 karma

I don't want to justify their inaction, but I think I do understand. I didn't come forward for a very long time because I didn't realize what had happened to me was trafficking. Convincing a judge to set aside the statutes of limitation on crimes is difficult and the US Attorney's office would have expended the resources going to bat for me in the courtroom.

I actually caught a Law & Order episode where they described trafficking and then started looking into it. I reached out to the Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888). They connected me with a lawyer who then helped me get to the FBI report the crimes. Prior to this happening in 2015, I had no idea that labor trafficking was even a real thing. I only knew about sex trafficking.

Even though authorities chose not to do anything about my case, it is nice to have a name for what happened to me.

Allrawdogsgotoheaven62 karma

Is it true that when you join sea org you’re made to sign a crazy 1000 year contract? If this is true, were you released from this contract when you were kicked out or were you found in some sort of violation of it?

dbloch7986134 karma

I was found in violation of the One Billion Year contract. It's called a "religious commitment" now because of lawsuits.

OprahIsHungry61 karma

What's up with all the "Hi Karin" posts related to scientology?

dbloch7986114 karma

Karin Pouw is the official spokesperson for the Church of Scientology. She and those who work with her in the "Office of Special Affairs" (fancy name for their PR and legal liaison departments) are tasked with monitoring all activity on the internet that they consider critical of Scientology. They dedicate a huge amount of resources up to and including reading every comment on this post and printing it out for a file somewhere (that probably has my name and picture on it).

So they're just telling her "Hi" because they know she's reading.

NobodyCanHearYouMeme50 karma

So this very comment I’m writing will go on file somewhere in the church? That’s dope but also not dope

dbloch798658 karma

Yeah. I have had my comments entered into evidence in a court case involving Scientology before. I saw them in the publicly filed documents.

redacteur47 karma

Have you kept in touch with anyone, do you miss any friends or family and do you have non-scientologists family members in your life? Thanks, I wish you the best.

dbloch798693 karma

Thanks friend. I have not kept in touch with anyone. I do miss my sister and brother, but that's about it.

shred80545 karma

[deleted]

dbloch798665 karma

Here are links to drone footage of the ranch. As far as I know, nothing happens there anymore. It's being taken care of by a caretaker until Hubbard returns for his second-coming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Es9XHMl-HX8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OI6c3Mt7Ls

madijanee41 karma

Is it true that they have a “hole” that they put people in for extended periods of time if they broke a rule or disobeyed? How is it legal for people to be locked up like that?

dbloch798660 karma

After Debbie Cook exposed "The Hole" in court, it was shut down. Most of those people are kept in dormitories now, I think.

Debbie Cook Hole Testimony (SFW): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqTp-szDdeU

Computascomputas39 karma

I'm glad you got out. How do you find people inside? Or who have gotten out? My friend is stuck in there some where. His twin brother never really went in but I can't contact him either. Found him once on the Florida voters records, but never mailed him anything. His mom hates me because I was a bad influence on him (I was.) So I have no way of finding him. Jacob Chilenski if you're out and reading this, come find me dude, I can help you out. I'm not a depressed 18 year old living in the wrong state for me anymore. I can help.

dbloch798641 karma

Most of the ex-Scientologists that I have met since leaving were because I networked through other exes. Unfortunately, other than Googling him or Facebooking I couldn't tell you how to get in touch.

Years ago and long before I ever met my husband, I spend months searching for the guy that I had a relationship with and I found him. He owned some kind of fire retardant company. I sent an e-mail and asked him how he was and he said he's married and still a Scientologist. :( Sad times.

Don't give up. People get easier to find every day.

cahitmetekid38 karma

I mean this in a a very non-insulting and serious manner, how do people believe this complete garbage? I mean its stone age level of crap. It's the 21st century ffs

dbloch798670 karma

I know your question is probably rhetorical, but I literally ask myself this question at least 8 times a day. I pride myself in exposing myself to lots and lots of different points of view and I think lots of them are dumb.

jagmania8528 karma

Sorry this happened to you.

My question is do you not get extremely angry at the world and the "system"?

If yes, how do you manage to keep your cool and keep going because if this level of injustice happened to me, I wouldn't know where to turn to or how to handle it.

Once again dude, sucks and so glad your up up, live and kicking. You rock dude.

dbloch798659 karma

Honestly, I don't keep my cool. I use my Twitter account to vent and the other day I said that the human race deserves to go extinct and that we should be stopped before we ruin the rest of the universe too. I don't really feel that way, but it feels good to rage against the machine sometimes even if it's only symbolically.

DADWB27 karma

I'm going to ask something more light-hearted. What is something you find incredibly attractive in a partner?

dbloch798674 karma

Innocence, I think. I'm not sure how to describe it without sounding creepy. It's someone who still has almost child-like optimism about the world. Someone who is constantly looking for the good in things and tries to avoid the ugly truth that I see in the world. It's a nice ying to my yang of constant pessimism and cynicism. It's one of the things that I love about my husband. He reminds me that there is still good in the world.

ragenaut27 karma

Is there a certain rebellious element in the sea org? Do people who feel that way tend to congregate and attempt any form of resistance? I assume the church is pretty good at rooting out and cutting off that kind of dissent, especially with all of the in-built reporting methods for kids to tell on other kids. At the same time, given the nature of teenagers forced under authoritarian rule sets, I have to imagine groups find ways to meet up in the night or even develop coded language.

Did you ever see anything like this?

dbloch798636 karma

There is too much self-policing that goes on in Scientology for this to happen. The subculture of Scientology is very authoritarian but nowhere near something on the level of Chinese or North Korean censorship. Scientology still has to live in some kind of harmony with the outside world. This means that when those groups do start to form, it's usually very quickly followed by them splintering into a different sect.

flanjoe27 karma

Your story sounds so awful, I'm sorry you had to deal with such immense homophobia on top of all this cult insanity. Have you ever listened to Ross Blotcher and Carrie Poppy's experience with Scientology on their podcast? They basically infiltrated one of the big orgs to see how far they could get, it was pretty interesting. If you have heard it or any other public recounting of someone's experiences with the cult, are there any that strike a resemblance to your own experiences?

dbloch798643 karma

That is the most accurate "undercover" reporting I have ever seen about Scientology. I linked it for someone else here too. Listening to them talk about it took me back to those times. They even spoke about people that I used to know.

singuslarity25 karma

Do you know if undercover law enforcement operations ever took place within the church? Do you know if scientology has moles in law enforcement?

dbloch798667 karma

I am 85% sure that Scientologists work in law enforcement but keep their association with the church secret. "Operation Snow White" was run by Hubbard and allowed Scientologists to infiltrate the IRS, FBI and other high-level agencies in government. It is the most extensive case of espionage against the United States in the history of the United States. Why do they still exist after that? I have no clue.

That being said, I am doubtful of any undercover operations. I think Scientology would find out about them right away. There was a podcast that went undercover though and holy shit I loved this series. They even talked about people that I knew during my time in the cult. 10/10 recommend.

akfamayn24 karma

Outside of being a celebrity, how do NEW young people get recruited in Scientology this day and age?

dbloch798640 karma

I don't think they do get new members. I think it's just second+ generation Scientologists that are contributing to new membership.

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dbloch798655 karma

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beakybal418 karma

although your experience sounds horrendous is there anything from that life that you miss?

dbloch798629 karma

My relationship with my sister and my brother is probably the most significant thing that I miss. It's also nice to have a bit of structure and it's nice to feel that you are contributing to something bigger than yourself.

Rihsatra4 karma

How do you live on your own if you're married?

dbloch79862 karma

"On my own" means that I am financially independent from my parents. It's kind of like when people say, "I live at home" when they actually mean they live with their parents.

phantomjm3 karma

Has your family seen "Coming Clean" on HBO? If so, what was your/their reaction to it?

dbloch79864 karma

You mean "Going Clear"? They probably haven't seen it, but I haven't spoken to them in 7 years so I don't know.