Cerridwen & Kristi -- Different and yet the Same

Cerri was a long time Scientology member and left the cult about four years ago. She's busy finding her own way in life, which isn't always easy. Kristi is a Scientology critic, dabbled in Scientology very briefly mid 80s - never considered herself a scientologist - and maintains a few websites of which www.scientology-lies.com is the most famous.

Cerri posts on 13 July 2004

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Date: 13 Jul 2004 19:16:20 -0000
Message-ID: <S9S1OWWL38181.5946759259@anonymous.poster>
From: Anonymous-Remailer@See.Comment.Header (Cerridwen)
Subject: Gardening

Every once in a while in this unindoctrination process I just take a
break from it all.

I've been on a break for a bit.  You may have noticed that the Comp
lists don't come out quite as fast and furious as before  That's 
because I started getting interested in other things. 

One of thing main things I got interested in was gardening.  I had no
idea how much work and how much fun gardening was.  I always 
thought you just bought some plants, stuck them in the ground, 
watered them every so often, and voila!  A garden.

I was truly surprised to find out that there are all kinds of do's and
don't, as well as planting, watering, feeding, pruning and weeding.  
Don't even mention the subject of aphids to me!    

I've gone so far as to subscribe to a gardening newsgroup!

Aside from the beautiful flowers and lovely view that gardening
provides, it is also a wonderful time for reflection.

The past 4 years have been wonderful and horrible.  Wonderful because
I have gotten rid of so much of the Scientology mindset.  Wonderful,
because I am not afraid to listen, look and learn about new things 
any more.  Wonderful because I have established wonderful 
relationships with "Wogs".  ;-)

I love my wog friends and I love my friends that still consider
themselves Scientologists both in and out of the Church.

I no longer consider myself a Scientologist, but I also know that I am
not and will never be a Wog.  Actually, I take that back.  I can't 
say I will never be a wog, because 4 years ago, I would never 
have thought that I would no longer identify myself as a Scientologist.

There is still much about me that is a Scientologist, and I think
those are some of the good things :).  I've really worked hard at
getting rid of what I thought were the bad Scientology behaviors.   
However, I have learned to never say never. I also have
no idea if the unindoctrination ever ends.  I think it might  
and then in its place I may start to evolve more and more of
my own ideas. 

My viewpoint on many, many things has changed drastically but it has
not been easy.  The hard part is dealing with how fucking stupid 
I've been for so long.  It's really hard on the self esteem. 

It's tough to confront that you've been that stupid for that long.  It
can be truly depressing.   So I got to thinking about it.  I was 
wondering why did I agree? Why did I allow myself to go 
along for so long.  Why did I fail to see though the lies?  Why 
was I oblivious  to what is obvious to most everyone

Scientology was a promise of what I thought   "could be" .  

I agreed because I had this spiritual quest that gave me all the
answers.  And I think that was the hook for me.  "All the answers".  

Scientology is the lazy man's religion.  It requires no thinking, no
researching, no further looking.  It's all bundled up for you in a 
nice neat package, thanks to  "Source",  or LRH  

And I bought the package and refused to look, research or think
because I was too lazy to even bother.   

I guess what I am doing now is I am finally bothering.  Instead of
taking everything Hubbard says as gospel.  I look it over and say is this a good
thing or is this fucked up Indoc stuff.    Quite a bit has been tossed to
the compost. ;-)

Oh well.  It's been a definite learning experience.  Too bad it took
me so long to catch a clue, but I sure am happy that I finally did.  

The ARSCC is by far one of the more fun and interesting group of
people that I have ever known.  I even enjoy the ones that piss me
off.   Even though I disagree with the views of some members,  I still
read and listen to them because I want to make sure I never fall in to
a "I know it all point of view again".  It occurred to me that to only
have dealings with people that completely agree with you all the 
time is a bad thing.

Actually, being with people that agree with you all the time is lazy
and lazy thinking has the potential of leading you to cult thinking.

I love ars.  What I treasure most about the ARSCC is that its members
are all so very different.  So many different points of views, so many
different characters, and behind the scenes intrigue.  It's totally 
addictive.  To admit otherwise is being a fraud ;-)

Thanks to each and every one of you for your contribution and
assistance. My life has been bettered by being in this wild and 
crazy place.

Ok time to do more weeding ;-)



Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. 
- Andre Gide

For Stats on Scn go to:   http://www.truthaboutscientology.com/stats/
For News on Scientology go to:    

EMAIL: sorry, out of order.

Kristi writes back two days later

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: Gardening
From: Kristi Wachter <humanrights@racerrecords.com>
Message-ID: <40f74d01@news2.lightlink.com>
Date: 15 Jul 2004 23:35:29 -0400

My dear, dear Cerri,

Thank you so much for your wonderful post.

I loved reading about your gardening, and I always love reading your 
thoughts and feelings as you continue growing and learning and seeing new 
things from the new perspectives you're acquiring.

One thing you wrote, though, really differed from my viewpoint, and I 
wanted to share my thoughts and my perspective on it.

You wrote,

"The hard part is dealing with how fucking stupid I've been for so long."

And that just raised a big red flag for me - because I've never known you 
to be stupid.

I mean, we all make mistakes, and in fact we all make stupid mistakes, and 
depending on the circumstances of our lives, those stupid mistakes 
sometimes have repercussions that affect our whole lives and the lives of 
those we love, and sometimes we seem to "get away with it" - one person 
can make a stupid decision, knowing how stupid it is, to have unprotected 
sex with a stranger, and become infected with HIV, and die, after years of 
horrible suffering and grief to self and family and friends; and another 
can make the same stupid decision and NOT become infected. The extent to 
which our stupid mistakes and our stupid decisions affect our lives does 
not necessarily reflect how many we've made or how stupid they've been.

But here's the thing - even smart people make some stupid decisions (even 
some colossally stupid decisions), and that doesn't make them stupid 

I'm not even really sure there is such a thing as a stupid person. There 
are lots of people whose values differ from mine, which is a different 
thing; and there are lots of people who haven't been exposed to the same 
facts I have, and people who have developed learning systems that make 
them process those facts to reach different conclusions than I have. But 
that doesn't make them stupid.

Here's the thing - you and I are humans, and humans are learners. That's 
what we are. That's what we do. All our long lives, from the early days 
when we're learning to recognize Mom's voice and Dad's face, to the very 
ends of our lives, we learn.

I have this image in my head of a giant vacuum machine sucking up 
everything in its path. It has hundreds of suction tubes that suck things 
in from all different directions.

If a chunk of rock gets stuck in one of the tubes, it won't work quite as 

I think that's what happened to you.

There you were, going along in your life, learning learning learning, and 
you came across Scientology. And you learned lots and lots of things  - 
you learned some things about communication and about how to be more 
productive with your time and some other ideas that seemed useful and 

But you also sucked in a rock - you learned that some information is bad 
and dangerous and should be kept out of your learning system altogether.

Now, part of the learning system we all develop is a set of internal 
filters. A piece of information comes in, and we evaluate it. "Hmm - seems 
to make sense; comes from a source I've known to be reliable - let's put 
that in the Reliable Information pile. Now this other one - doesn't 
reflect other information I've deemed reliable, so let's put that on the 
False pile."

Scientology disrupts those filters, and plugs up some of your intake 
valves - rather a lot of them, I think - by telling you that lots of 
sources aren't to be trusted (SPs, the news media, natterers), and that 
certain information is so dangerous it can jeopardize your entire eternity 
(the OT levels, discussing your case with someone else).

So in addition to blocking some of your inputs altogether, it also, as I 
said, messes with your internal filters. It does this, I think, in two 
ways: first, by confusing values with facts, and second, by making it 
dangerous to examine either facts or values.

First, I've found it useful in my own understanding of the world to learn 
to separate facts from values when I'm learning about and judging an idea. 
But Scientology teachings can make it very hard to do this.

For example, Scientology teaches that, if you're having trouble 
understanding something, it's because you went past a misunderstood word.

Now, it appears to me, an outsider, that there is a set of values - 
judgement - condemnation in that, and that it is HIDDEN. Scientology 
purports to avoid punishment, to provide tech to rehabilitate any 
immorality and repair any damage you've done. But I think this is just 
what Scientology SAYS; I think, in reality, there's punishment and 
condemnation and shame and guilt and judgementalism all over the place in 

So let's say you're having trouble understanding something you're reading 
- maybe not even something related to Scientology. You immediately look 
for the misunderstood word you went past - an act which is, if I'm not 
mistaken, an overt. So conciously, you're simply doing the mechanical 
process of finding the point where things went wrong and fixing it; but 
unconciously, you're aware that you've Done Something Wrong. This confuses 
asserted values - you did a Bad Thing - with asserted facts - you went 
past a word you didn't understand. It's important in a case like this to 
evaluate BOTH the asserted "facts" - did you really go past a word you 
didn't understand? Does that act really cause you to be unable to 
understand what comes later on? - AND the asserted values - is it really a 
counter-survival, Bad act to read past a word you don't FULLY understand?

But if you're feeling, naturally, ashamed of having done a Bad Thing, 
you're not inclined to objectively examine the assertions or the values, 
because it's less painful to accept the teaching than to be REALLY bad and 
go down the road of doubting.

Scientology mixes value judgements - and condemnation - in with its 
unfounded assertions, making it much harder to question them than it would 
be even under normal circumstances.

So, I said another way Scientology interferes with your learning system is 
by making it dangerous to examine facts, or values, or both.

In my experience, to judge an idea well, we have to learn to look for its 
underlying assumptions and judge THOSE. This is hard to do, because so 
many assumptions are unstated, and because there just isn't time to look 
for and assess every single one.

Take the following statement:

"I know the Comm Course works because my ability to communicate improved 
after I took it."

There are LOTS of assertions in here, and this is just one simple, fairly 
unambiguous statement. Here are some things I might question:

Did your ability to communicate really improve? How do you know? How do 
you define that? How did you measure it?

If it really did, how can you tell that it was as a result of the Comm 
Course and not the result of some other factor or combination of factors?

Now, Scientology is, of course, chock full of assertions that claim to be 
backed up with scientific data - proven beyond any doubt. Just a few 
examples off the top of my head:

The only reason a person ever leaves a group is because of overts against 
that group.
The only reason a person ever criticizes Scientology is because of 
The only reason a person fails to make case gain is because of overts.

And all of these are proven - PROVEN - *PROVEN!* - by, well, reams and 
reams of unassailable research.

And look how these assertions mess with your internal filters.

You might have a filter that says, "Well, I can think of reasons why 
someone might leave a group other than overts." And Scientology says, "But 
that's not the REAL reason. It's a fake reason, a cover story. Scientology 
uncovers the REAL reasons behind the fake reasons. We have hard data to 
PROVE it." And Scientology further says, "That's just your case talking. 
That's the devil leading you astray. If you listen to that, you're a 

And so, if you ever started to wonder whether Scientology was really a 
group that you still supported wholeheartedly, that really reflected your 
values, this little filter-jammer has just put a big roadblock on the 
pathway in your brain that leads to "let me explore this question of 
whether I belong in this group anymore" - which, make no mistake, can be a 
pretty scary question for any individual in any group, let alone one 
that's threatened you with being pummelled with your own history of 
wrongdoing for simply re-evaluating your support of a group. Asking 
yourself, "Do I still want to go to my book club?" involves asking 
yourself questions about commitment, priorities, loyalties - re-evaluating 
and re-examining yourself. And that can be difficult, even if it's just a 
book club.

So Scientology drops a big roadblock on the "do I still want to be in this 
group?" pathway, and puts a big DETOUR sign on the roadblock, pointing you 
to a path that you wouldn't even have in your brain without Scientology - 
and that Detour is down the "what bad things have I done to my org, to 
Ron, to my friends and my family and the only hope the world has?" path.

Who the hell wants to go there?

I think we have these "shoulds" in our brains that short-circuit a lot of 
paths we might do well to follow: shoulds like "I should be strong enough 
to always look at my own past without flinching." Or like "I should have 
known better (... I should have known then what I know now)." And of 
course, Scientology piles on loads more shoulds in the various codes and 
creeds. "I should never desire admiration." "I should never desert a 
comrade in need." "I should never fear to hurt another in a just cause."

I can make strong arguments against those Scientology-based shoulds, but 
I'd like to talk about the non-Scientology-based shoulds, too.

Here are some shoulds that might be lurking in your brain:

"I should be strong enough to stand up to the group, my friends, my 
family, anyone and everyone, when I don't agree with something."
"I shouldn't worry (or be afraid of) being kicked out of the group."

Are these things you think?

If so, ask yourself - are they true?

I mean, maybe in an ideal world, we would all be completely clear on what 
we think about everything all the time and we would all be perfectly 
comfortable saying so in the face of any opposition because there would 
after all be no repercussions.

That's not the world we're living in.

Humans are social creatures, and we need each other, and saying you see 
things differently from everyone around you is RISKY. It's not cowardly to 
be afraid of that; it's PART OF WHO WE ARE.

One of the most fascinating studies to me in all of psychology is the Asch 


In this study, the experimenter brought the subject into a room with a 
handful of other people who were all pretending to also be subjects. They 
were all shown a set of lines and asked to select the two that matched in 
length. Then they went around the room and each person stated his or her 

The experiment was set up so that all the actors went first, and they all 
gave the wrong answer.

By the time they got to the last person, the actual subject, that person 
usually went along with the group and gave the wrong answer, too. (Over 
75% of the subjects conformed to the group on at least one trial.)

This is in a small group of a bunch of strangers over something you don't 
have any big emotional reaction to - just a set of lines.

Imagine how much stronger the desire is to go along with the group when 
the group are your dear friends (mostly), fellow volunteers in the fight 
to save the world before it destroys itself, your family, your confidants 
(if you've co-audited or done ethics actions with any of them) - and 
you're just beginning to think about voicing doubts about the group. 
Itself. The people you're talking to.

That's not just scary. That's paralyzing.

There's real danger there, and to decide what to do in the face of that 
real danger, you need to be able to think clearly about it. But 
Scientology teachings themselves get in the way of you being able to do 
that - by insisting that the group is the most ethical on the planet and 
would never hurt you (although to be sure some of its ways of "helping" 
you can be extremely painful and harmful to you); by shaming you and 
misdirecting you to focus on your own misdeeds if you consider diverging 
from the group; by subtle threats of retaliation ("we will never betray 
your faith in us SO LONG AS YOU ARE ONE OF US"); by insisting you commit 
to everything NOW, robbing you of time to consider before you "agreed"; 
and probably in many other ways as well. You needed to be able to calmly 
assess what you stood to lose if you said what you thought, but 
Scientology's false teachings multiplied the normal human fear of going 
against the group to make it impossible for you to think about it clearly 
at the time.

Fortunately, there was an unconcious part of your brain, working 
underneath the part that was in denial, that understood the stakes and 
kept you from risking the destruction of every aspect of your life back 
then, back before circumstances changed and you could afford to take that 
chance. That other part of your brain rescued you from that danger. That, 
my dear, was SMART.

I think the world would be a better place, for groups and for individuals, 
if everyone felt safe to say what they really thought. The thing is, it 
ISN'T always safe. When you were in Scientology, it wasn't safe. And the 
unconcious part of you knew that. It protected you from doing something 
you weren't yet in a position to do. Had you spoken out at the time, what 
would you have lost? Your family? Your job? Your ability to keep yourself 
together? Larry Wollersheim suffered ostracization from Scientology. It 
destroyed his business and broke his mind.

The part of you that kept you from letting your disagreement destroy your 
life knew what was at risk, even if you couldn't conciously admit it at 
the time. That was very, very smart.

And since that genuine, very real risk was combined with the detour in 
your brain that shoves you in the "what have I done wrong, that I want to 
protect this wonderful wonderful group from awful horrible evil me?" 
direction ... well, I don't wonder why you hesitated to voice your 
concerns, or even think them.

Looking for the source of your dissatisfaction within your own misdeeds, 
instead of with the group itself, is what you had LEARNED.

From what seemed like a reliable source.

And those ways of thinking quickly become habits, routine ways of thinking 
like, oh, routine ways of driving - you start going down the road, and it 
doesn't matter whether you're paying attention or not, you know the way so 
well you have to concentrate really hard to NOT go the way you always go. 
Those detours and directions Scientology introduced into the pathways of 
your brain became comfortable, known routes, and so it's easy and familiar 
to go down the route of "what bad thing did I do to cause this? what word 
did I go past? what was my withhold?" It takes a huge amount of effort - 
and especially awareness - to even see the path as simply the old familiar 
path, and to remember you meant to go a different way this time.

And all that's happening now is you're learning better information. There 
should be no shame (in my opinion) in coming to see things differently. I 
hear a reporter once asked Gandhi about having reversed his position on 
something, and he simply said, "I know better now."

You mused about how long it would take for the unindoc to finish and 
wondered if it would ever be over. I suspect you'll someday find that you 
don't feel it happening anymore with Scientology stuff, but that a similar 
thing will go on for the rest of your life with OTHER ideas - which is 
maybe what you were saying in your post. And that, to me, is just the 
glorious and delightful (and sometimes scary and infuriating) process of 
doing what we do - learning. Which often involves unlearning.

But one of the reasons I wanted to write this is because I think 
Scientology teaches you to look for defects in yourself, and to believe 
that you're fully, 100% responsible for everything bad that happens to 
you. And I think American society encourages us to beat ourselves up for 
past mistakes, too. If you got deceived, it was because you were just 
plain STUPID.

Well, I'm here to tell you different, to tell you what I tell anyone who 
asks me "How can people be so stupid as to believe in Scientology?" - and 
it's this:

Even smart people can be lied to.

Scientology lied to you to exploit you. The organization lied to you to 
get your money, your time, your effort, your dedication and your 
enthusiasm and all that is best in you.

And I'm here to tell you:

it wasn't your fault.

And I'm also here to tell you:

you can have it all back. It doesn't belong to them anymore. You don't 
have to atone, you don't have to make amends, you don't have to beat 
yourself up inside before you have a right to have those things back.

They're all yours, right now. The wonderful, beautiful, SMART, loving, 
caring person that you are deserves all that is best in you, to do 
whatever YOU want to do with it.

I hope you'll use it to take really, really good care of yourself - like 
by gardening.

I am outraged and heartbroken by the callous way Scientology uses the 
enormous punishment of banishment, exclusion, from the group, to 
manipulate its members. Ostracization, rejection, is an ENORMOUSLY 
powerful tool, and all you have to do is have your stats dip into 
Liability for you to AUTOMATICALLY BE EXCLUDED FROM THE GROUP and have to 
PETITION TO REJOIN. I find that galling.

And I want you to know, my dear Cerri, what you probably already know, but 
I will say it here, publicly, because it's important:

There is a home for you here, in my heart, that will always be a home for 
you. Here, you are cherished, you are admired, you are liked - you are 
valued for who you are and what you are when you don't even try, when you 
forget about trying.

You are my friend, no matter what.

I know you will screw up someday. You will still be my friend.

I know you will do things, say things, think things, that go completely 
against what I believe and value. You will still be my friend.

One day, you might do something I can't comprehend, something I will find 
despicable. I hope not; I don't expect it of you; but it might happen.

You will still be my friend, because I love you.

And this is a lesson I hope you will learn again and again, perfectly and 
well and truly each time, from all the many, many people who love you:

the irrevocable, unconditional, unfailing truth of love.


More personal accounts