Although I've posted here for awhile, I've never posted an introduction. I've never followed the non-existence formula. I'm not going to do that now. But I will post some experiences, some thoughts. Most of the following has been copied from bits and pieces of my posts in other threads. I thought I should post it in one place, here.
I was involved in Scientology, very, very off and on for a period of 20 or 25 years.
I'm embarrassed to admit that.
I kept hoping that the Church could be reformed, saved. That the good could be used without the bad. That the cancers of delusion, greed and paranoia could be excised.
Hell, talking about delusions of grandeur , I tried to "reform" and "save" the Church myself. LOL You have no idea.
I've followed and observed Scientology for a significantly longer period of time. I've been around online, at first in various guises, since the heyday of ARS (the usenet newsgroup alt.religion.scientology). At times, I've counted some of the OCs (original critics) as my friends.
As I've said elsewhere, there is some very basic "tech" that I think has value -- e.g., the comm course, the TRs (properly understood), the ARC triangle, the KRC triangle, the concept of "Clear" as a mental model akin to, but certainly different than, the Id, Ego and Superego. The concept of "confront" as Ron defined it. The e-meter "works." The use of the e-meter to facilitate this-lifetime confront and aberactive therapy, as opposed to implanting "past lifetime" bullshit or extracting blackmail material.
That is, sadly, the bait of the trap. If the bait was all putrid crap, the trap wouldn't be effective.
I left the Church because I became ashamed of myself. Not merely embarrassed, but ashamed. With good reason.
For example (I've told the story elsewhere), there was an event at the Los Angeles Music Center. (For some reason the event was not at the Shrine that year.) I was approached by a very nice man and his wife who were not Scientologists but who were there for another event. (There are three different venues at the Music Center.) Turns out the guy was a psychiatrist. He asked me if I was a Scientologist. I said that I was. He told me he was a psychiatrist, and asked whether I thought he was evil. Did I really think it was his intention to hurt people, to enslave them? Did Scientology really teach that Scientology was the source of all evil in the world? The source and cause of Nazism? Of Communism?
What could I say? I'm fairly intelligent and fairly well-educated. I knew better. I knew that the COS ranting about "psychs" was ignorant, paranoid self-serving bullshit. So I said nothing.
But I stayed in or came back.
I had a good friend who was gay. I've never known a better human being. Then I read DMSMH and Science of Survival, and particularly the parts about how gays are 1.1 covertly hostile perverts. I was appalled. But I made the mistake of discussing it with my friend. My friend was appalled. But I stayed in. My friend never thought about me the same way again. With good reason.
Another story I've told elsewhere. I was doing volunteer, unpaid Dianetic auditing at the Org. My PC was winning, making progress. She really liked it. Of course the pressure and push came to switch her to professional, paid and indeed expensive Scientology metered auditing. The push included telling her how it was a religious practice, how wonderful and effective it was. How it was, in fact, necessary for her spiritual progress. Until it turned out she was an illegal PC. How, precisely, do you explain that? Something like -- Yes we are a caring and loving Church, and a religion, and auditing is a religious practice, and indeed your only hope for spiritual growth and development, but because through no fault of your own you saw a licensed medical doctor and took legal, prescribed psychiatric medication, we are going to label you an "illegal pc," and deny you auditing -- or force you to go through never-ending, humiliating, degrading petition proceedings.
Yeah, that works.
But I stayed in or came back. I thought things could be made better.
Another story I recently told. An elderly, very lonely widow came in. She owned her own home and had a modest retirement. I saw the vultures (reges and FSMs) circling. I knew, from past experiences, stories, and embarrassingly my own personal experience, that this was not going to end well. That they would take every penny they could get out of her, regardless of the effect that would have on her life. So, I protected her and got her the hell out (without her or anyone else really knowing). You know you are done with a religion, church or group when your primary concern becomes protecting people from that religion, church or group.
I'm a fairly nice guy. Fairly intelligent, fairly well-spoken, fairly well-educated. (Ohhh, OSA, do you detect a button? LOL) I was scarily effective at recruiting people, smoothing things over, and explaining things. Scarily effective at appearing concerned and reasonable because at heart I really was concerned and reasonable. I could interact and communicate with anyone (unless, of course, I had to explain why psychs are evil ). I was the concerned, nice, reasonable public face that the Church wants, and indeed needs, to project.
I was camouflage. I was an enabler, a co-conspirator, an aider and abettor.
In the end, I just got tired of being ashamed of myself.