Chapter 1Unlike a lot of Scientologists that you see coming out in the media, I was not introduced to Scientology as an adult. I was practically born into it. I was raised in a Scientology environment from about age 6, under Scientology rules and using things called assists, which are faith healing techniques taught in Scientology that will supposedly help alleviate physical and emotional trauma.
One of the most commonly known rules in Scientology is the "rule of silence". Essentially Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, believe that the subconscious mind recorded moments of emotional and physical pain as things called "engrams". These engrams would act upon an individual unconsciously and cause him to feel pain or emotional distress, even going so far as to cause both acute and chronic physical conditions. Supposedly any chronic ailment should be treatable by this method.
Words were some of the most powerful of these triggers. They were given the ability in Dianetics to cause post hypnotic possession when spoken during times of trauma. Therefore it was essential when someone got hurt to remain quiet. This was heavily enforced among Scientology kids and adults alike. To this day when someone gets hurt I still feel like I should remain quiet and on occasion I will feel guilty when talking while someone is hurt.
Scientology is very much against any kind of sympathy. They believe that sympathy causes someone harm and that it should be avoided at all costs. Needless to say, I didn't get the usual, "Oh baby are you okay," Or the, "It's okay son, everything will be okay." That I most kids are accustomed to at that age.
Scientology has a very strict code of ethics. One of the primary pieces of this code is the fact that a person is responsible for everything that happens to him, bad or good. This extends to all situations. If you are crossing the street and struck by a car, you are held at fault in Scientology. If you are shot, or harassed, or your car is stolen the same rule applies. This is heavily enforced among children.
Scientology has a gradient level of punishments. The most notable and frequently used among Scientologists is the gradient where you are supposed to bad-mouth people behind their backs. It's called, "Speaking derogatorily behind a person's back." When someone has not followed the rules to specifications, these gradations are employed in an effort to cause the person to realize what they are doing wrong.
It will eventually result in being "declared a suppressive person." In normal person speak, suppressive persons are the elite among Scientology nemeses. In dogma they are l categorized as sociopaths or psychopaths that seek to destroy everyone and everything around them. In practice they are usually people who have questioned the status quo of Scientology or committed the thought crime of questioning their beliefs. Scientologists are required to either "disconnect" from the person, meaning to cut all ties with them whether personal or business and regardless of whether they are family or not, or they cannot practice Scientology.
This gradient scale is applied to children when they are out of line. It is used to get them to act responsibly as per Scientology text. From my personal observations parenting in Scientology involves a lot of letting a child make mistakes and using ethics to get him back in line. There is not a whole lot of preventative parenting.
There are different things you have to do, like a written confessional, a confessional on an e-meter (a Scientology instrument that is a primitive lie detector), writing up conditions formulas (basically they are "to do" lists that when followed in order ensure that you do not repeat the same mistake twice) and these are all utilized as soon as a child can read and write.
Scientology believes that people are trillions of years old and have lived many lives before. As a result Scientology typically treats children like adults. There is not a lot of the usual "babying" that you would see in a healthy family. As a matter of fact there is almost none. Children are let in on information not usually privy to children, they are allowed to cuss, there are no ratings limits on movies.
The most extreme example of treating children like adults is something called the Sea Org. It is most famously referred to as the "fake navy". It is a bunch of people who volunteer for the church working careers for pennies an hour. Usually no more than $30 a week. Sometimes no one gets paid at all. They are called "ministers" by the church, but they are not. A lot of these people perform the same menial tasks that any office or manual laborer does.
They are looked upon in Scientology as the "elite" force. As a child you look at them like Power Rangers or G.I. Joe. They are something that you want to be because it would make your parents and your community proud. The reality is very different.
I was recruited into the Sea Org at age 15. When I was there the youngest kid with us was 13. That was a pivotal point in my Scientology life and there will be much time dedicated to that later.
As a child I spent a lot of time on course looking at picture books and being indoctrinated into the personality that makes you a Scientologist. Every part of life is touched in Scientology from how to read, to how to assimilate information, to how to brush your teeth and even how to talk to people. Every part of my life was touched.
Most of the time my Scientology training was fun as a child if not tedious. School is not highly encouraged in Scientology. Public education is typically looked upon as inferior. College is discouraged. You are encouraged to start working and start giving money to the church as soon as you are able. My dad simply saw it as a way to introduce me to the "real world". He thought it would be a good tool to introduce me to something other than the Scientology world because he wanted to prepare me for "real life".
He had no idea what that would come to mean. I am no longer a Scientologist most likely because I had been introduced to the real world. So despite our disagreements, I do have him to thank in a large way for encouraging me to leave the church and gain a normal life. Even if it wasn't intentional.
Once I got older and started becoming a teenager I was getting deeper and deeper into my indoctrination. Eventually I was encourage to do a course called "The Personal Efficiency Course". This was supposed to help you improve your life using various Scientology ethics techniques. I did not know that my first confessional would be the last procedure on the course. I had to complete it, otherwise I would not finish my level and not be able to move on to the next one. I was thirteen at the time.
I had to sit down and write on paper all the bad things I could remember doing. Afterwards you sit down at an E-Meter and see if the instrument shows the proper readings that indicate you are done with writing down your bad deeds.
Admittedly, most of the things I would not be embarrassed about sharing today. The most horrible one was that I had watched pornography. I had to read a bunch of stuff and write "conditions" so that I would not do it again. Can you imagine as a kid being so embarrassed. My parents were going to find this out. The person I was doing the confessional called them and told them not to let me on the computer any longer because I was watching pornography. It was awful. I had the worst pit in my stomach.
That is probably one of the most traumatic experiences in my confessionals up until I was ejected from the Sea Org. Again more on that later.
As I progressed through the levels I moved onto a level with "Training Routines" and "Objectives". The "Training Routines" are supposed to teach you how to more effectively communicate with people. The "objectives" are supposed to make you more alert and aware of your surroundings.
Both procedures involve performing menial tasks for extended periods of time where you are both giving and taking orders. Both procedures are heavy indoctrination techniques that teach you to submit to the will of others by unquestionably following orders from them when delivered in the right tone. This was around age 14-15 when I did this.
Around the same time the harassment from Sea Org recruiters started. These people made me have butterflies in my stomach like I was meeting celebrities. They take advantage of that status to assist them in their tactics to recruit kids into the Sea Org.
They spent maybe a year working on me. They would pick me up at a school unexpectedly, show up at all hours of the night, keep me in their offices away from my family until late at night. They would follow me around my neighborhood and call incessantly.
My dad would scream at me to answer the phone and not to ignore them because they would just keep calling. He did his best to protect me from them, but eventually the church turns on parents like that. Threatens them with confessionals or even investigations if they don't stand aside and allow their child to be recruited. Admittedly, I have no idea what kind of stuff my dad was put through during this time to keep him from protecting me, or my mother for that matter.
I would scream at them that I would not sign the billion year contract, that I would not join their ranks. I would cry and beg and plead to be allowed to go home. They would spend hours and even entire days breaking me down convincing me to eventually say yes.
My parents were against my decision but what were they going to do. The church is great at coercing people. Eventually they gave in and I would join the Sea Org.
For an adult maybe this would be an easy, no-brainer. For a child this was torture. Being told that you had the chance to save the world but you must leave it behind and join the elite ranks. Being told that your parents and other Scientologists would never be proud of you unless you signed that billion year contract.
I was fifteen years old. What the hell did I know about the world?
For that matter I was being recruited by people only a few years older than me, what did they know about the world?