I was a teenage Scientologist

By Chris, 5 April 1995

From: chris@rohan.sdsu.edu (Chris)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Victories over Scientology
Date: 5 Apr 1995 21:40:12 GMT
Message-ID: <3lv2ns$gkr@gondor.sdsu.edu>

I was a teenage Scientologist.

Back in 1975, I spent about six months in Scientology.

How I got there was weird enough, but what I saw while there gave me this 
strange sense of DeJa Vu when the Jonestown massacre took place 4 years later.

In February of '75 I had my right leg in a brace due to a terrible motorcycle
accident. And in February of the previous year my father passed away after 
an extended fight with cancer. At the urging of two friends from high school,
I went to the Org. On S Street in downtown Washington, D.C and took a 
communication course.  A requirement for taking the course was a personality
test that included a drug history. I was told that the personality profile
was confidential, but I later found out that the results were divulged to
my mother in an effort to enroll me in more  Scientology courses and
basically squeeze some of my father's insurance money out of my mother.

For about $800.00 Scientology sold my mother a course in Dianetic Auditing,
along with the course I would receive Dianetic Auditing that would cure me
of my drug addiction. This drug addiction cure was the main selling point
that some snake-oil salesman named Peter used to con my mother out of the
$800.00. My drug use at the time was nothing exceptional for that day and
age. I smoked some pot, dropped some acid, drank a few beers, and poped
a few ludes and amphetamines (not all at the same time). Matter of fact,
I was pretty clean at the time because my broken leg required a two month
stay in the hospital, and after that I wasn't able to get around real well,
and was basically broke. But this Scientology shister basically told my 
mother that I would be dead within a year if I did not receive treatment.  
He also told me that the auditing would help heal my leg faster! So in a 
sense he was trying to sell me medical assistance in the form of some
hokey classes.

So for every weekend for about a four month period my mother drove me 
down to the Org. on S street, and I began  my training to become
a minister and Dianetic Auditor in the Church of Scientology. Actually
becoming a minister was rather intriguing. I was only 17 at the time, 
and all of the fellow members heaped plenty of praise and affection my
way for becoming such an enlightened individual at such a tender age.
But soon I began to have a few questions and problems with the Church's

The first problem I had was basically staying awake while studying for 
8-12 hours. I would start to get sleepy, and naturally yawn a few times
until one of the instructors would notice, say something about a misunderstood
word, and toss a dictionary my way. Eventually I became a little annoyed
with this women's behavior and pointed out that yawning was a natural 
physiological reaction due to lack of circulation while sitting in a room
for hours on end. The instructor then indicated that I needed word auditing
so that I could better grasp the English language and understand the
course material. I pointed out that my reading ability was tested at 
the level of a college sophomore (I was a high school junior at the time).
But she pulled rank on me, and had me kicked out of class and enrolled
into a word auditing session.

For word auditing I went to some small, cold, dingy room in a boarding house
and once again spent hours on end, hooked up to an E-meter, reading Scientology
text, yawning, and looking up words in dictionary. The auditor would indicate
that he was picking up a missed withhold (or some such nonsense) and ask me to
define that word while he looked it up in some outdated dictionary from the
1950's. If I repeated verbatim the dictionary's definition we would proceed.
But more often than not he would indicate that I did not understand that word
and have me read the definition back to him. Often I would indicate that my
definition was close to the dictionary's, and would try to explain the 
difference between connotative and denotative meaning. Well, he would have none 
of this and he would ask such questions as " are you feeling resentful at this
time, or uncomfortable" in that authoritative Dianetic type voice. The kicker
came when the sales department (or whatever they called it) indicated that the
word auditing was going to cost an extra $1500.00 (the person performing the
auditing was a student himself, who paid for a word auditing course, and
was basically doing this for free to become a word auditor). I went to talk
to Peter, my appointed snake-oil salesman, and protested that I was here for
Dianetic training, not word auditing, and that I was under the impression that
the auditing was free. He laughed and remarked that "nothing was free in
Scientology." I then indicated that I was tricked, and I wanted out entirely, and
a refund to boot (refunds were part of the contract at the time). He relented
and let me back into the Dianetic classes where I once again spent long hours,
reading, yawning, and looking up words.

Next, I was approached by several members who wanted me to drop out of high
school, move downtown into a 1 bedroom apartment shared by 4-5 people, and
become a full-time member of the church. I explained to the members that I 
planned to attend college, and I needed to finish high school to get into 
college. I was then informed that college was a waist of time. And that I was
passing up a lifetime opportunity. Actually, I watched one of my fellow
students quit his job to move in with members to become a church employee.
Actually, what he became was an indentured servant. He worked sixty hours a week
in exchange for something like $90.00 a month and free room, and classes.
The kicker was that the $90.00 was what the church gave him to live on.
This included food, entertainment and what other expenses he needed to stay
alive for the entire month!

Meanwhile, unknown to me, the Church kept hitting up my mother for more money.
Eventually she forked over close to $4,000.00 to these shisters.

Anyhow, I kept going to the classes. But I just couldn't help but question
some of the member's unusual tendencies. One thing I noticed right away
was that this new, world-wide religion had very few black people as members.
I found this especially odd since this was Washington D.C. and there
were plenty of potential black members. Well, I guess the only conclusion
was that a) your average black person didn't have the cold cash to become
a member and b) Scientology was full of bigots.  I distinctly remember
driving around with one of the instructors through the D.C. night when
we had to stop and wait while two male black teenagers walked through the
intersection. They were obviously goofing on us, taking as long as they
possibly could to walk through the intersection, doing the black thing.
Well, the instructor almost went ballistic. He began in on how he had
this problem with blacks because of the way they act in public and the
"black face" that they put on in order to intimidate whites. Whoa! It
was easy to see that this person, who came from a privileged background,
just couldn't handle the black persona. He was just your average, 
up tight, white male hiding his bigotry behind a mask of enlightenment.
It wasn't that he had a problem with these youths, but it obviously 
extended to all blacks.

It was also quite obvious that the church openly worshiped L. Ron Hubbard
to the extent that he was a diety (considering his supernatural powers 
this wasn't unusual). In the classroom hung a huge portrait of Hubbard.
This reminded me of the pictures I saw in National Geographic of
Chairman Mao that used to hang everywhere in China. On top of that, there
was this room set up just as Ron left it years ago. This was sort of a shrine
that was established in anticipation of Ron's return. The way people talked,
Ron was destined to return at any moment. Matter of fact, I guess he returned
often by means of astral projection, but only the most enlightened
were aware of his prescence. 

Ron was an enigma. I can distinctly remember first hearing a tape of one of
his famous lectures. His public speaking ability was almost non-existent.
He rambled on, and said nothing definitive. I mean, here was a man that
going to take the world to a entirely higher realm and he came across
like a cold fish. Very uninspiring. Once I picked up a book of Ron's 
past lives that he uncovered while living on the Sea Org. I was in the
bookstore at the time, waiting for a ride home. This particular book
was meant only for members who had reached a certain level. The clerk
behind the counter asked me who I was, and I informed him that I was
taking the Dianetics Auditing course. Well, the clerk said that it
would be o.k. Anyways, I read one of the passages and had to bite my tongue
in order to keep from laughing out loud. It was that obvious that Ron's
past life experience was basically a crock. His description of the event
was obviously fabricated, and it read  like a high school English composition.

One thing that I found terribly troublesome was that basically every member
held his/her family in contempt because they refused to either join
Scientology or fork over the money so they could take classes. On top
of that, every member was love bombed by the other members. You just
couldn't escape them (unless you were clever enough) and the members
were relentless in their efforts to suck you in deeper. Finally, I 
convinced my mother that this religion was a sham. I told her about them
approaching me to drop out of school and forgoing college. Next, I had
to break my ties to the church. This was fairly easy since I knew that 
they had been going at it with the FDA and the AMA about some of their
healing practices. While I was doing my exit audit  the auditor asked me
why I was leaving. I explained that I thought the religion was a sham, and
that you had people in the organization trying to claim that my broken
leg healed faster and better due to Scientology. Well, it was obvious
that the tables had turned. She became quite agitated, and promptly
excommunicated me from the church, which I found rather amusing, and
authorized a refund.

At any rate, these are some of the experiences I had with the Church of
Scientology. A more creepy or sinister organization on the planet would
be hard to imagine. At that time I was only seventeen, and I feel a bit
of self validation  to have seen what it was and rejected 
the whole sham as the nonsense that it essentially is.
CJL   | Too many mice and not enough cheese!

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