‘Growing Up in Scientology’ project launches

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‘Growing Up in Scientology’ project launches

This a subject close to my heart - I was raised in scientology from the age of 14, now 62, so it has affected me most of my life. Although there have been some terrific individual stories published, there has not been a great deal of in-depth discussion of the issues affecting generational scientologists. I have tried to get that going over the years but I guess the time wasn't right. Now more and more are speaking out and this is wonderful.

The children raised in the Sea Org can have huge problems coming to understand 'normal life', yet what is often missed is the ongoing insidious effects on children of staff and public as they mature and become adults. Some for example did some basic courses or were simply taught scientology "tek" by parents when young and that was all, and the concepts they were taught can unkowingly affect the rest of their lives. I have watched this unfold over 4 generations of my own family and I have seen it in others. You end up with adults who can have twisted ideas of what is "normal", or "successful" or who have no real understanding of unconditional love and family relationships, just to name a few issues.

I am hoping these projects take off and help the many out there who were raised in scientology and perhaps don't quite understand why they face challenges that other people don't understand.

Tony Ortega :
In April, we announced a new project by Aaron Smith-Levin and Nick Lister. The two former Church of Scientology members were planning a YouTube channel that would feature the stories they felt were left out of Alex Gibney’s movie Going Clear — the stories of young people who had grown up in the church.

More videos at above link.

When we announced Aaron’s project in April, we mentioned that Nora Crest and her husband Cameron were planning to do post-production work on the series and had launched a kickstarter to raise $30,000 for equipment. That Kickstarter didn’t fund, but Nora tells us she’s still planning on doing her own project, no longer with Aaron and Nick, and she calls it “Growing Up Scientology: From Cradle to Slave.” She also plans on putting out episodes of 5-8 minutes from the interviews she does.
Also see thread on Nora here: http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?38929-Raging-Buddha

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I think it's really good to put this information out there.

A lot of never-ins just assume all scientologists are the same. They don't even know about the difference between public, staff and sea org, let alone those who joined as opposed to those who were raised in the cult.

Having these different viewpoints explained helps to give a complete picture of the evil that is the scientology organization.
New YouTube channel "Growing Up in Scientology"


Aaron Smith-Levin has started a YouTube channel wherein he'll interview "ex-Scientology kids" about what it was like to grow up in Scn, how they escaped, etc. So far he has an introduction video and two interviews with Nick Lister.

Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD8AAvA3_JDFeOps-HzPPHg

Intro Video -

Nick Lister interview pt 1 -

Nick Lister interview pt 2 -

Read more about Aaron Smith-Levin on Ortega's blog here. And in case you didn't know, Nick Lister is the son of Sara Goldberg, whose story was featured in "Going Clear".

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The Underground Bunker has the second interview up with an article:

Nick Lister: Scientology asked me to seduce Mike Rinder’s wife in a spy operation

Nick’s story is much more complex than what was relayed in the film, as he’s beginning to explain in these clips. In this segment, he talks about trying to get back into Scientology’s good graces by doing his “A to E steps” — programmed measures of contrition that are supposed to allow a fallen member to regain his or her status. But Lister found that doing these steps weren’t enough.

Scientology wanted more from him, Nick says. At one point, he claims, Scientology’s Kathy True, an ethics officer in the Office of Special Affairs, the church’s spy wing, asked him to do something for her. Lister says that True told him Mike Rinder, the former Scientology spokesman, was going to be out of town for three days (Rinder is under constant surveillance by Scientology agents), and while he was gone OSA wanted Lister to seduce Christie Collbran, Rinder’s girlfriend, who he married in 2013…

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Comments from the above article link.

Aaron Smith-Levin • 13 hours ago

Good morning everyone! Thank you for your comments. We're going to keep putting out a segment per week from Nick's interview. Once we have used all the bits that lend themselves to stand-alone segments, we will probably put up the whole 2-hour to 3-hour bit.

An important aspect of Nick's story about Kathy True asking him to try and steal Mike's girlfriend away from him is how many Sea Org members (especially the ones who work in the Personnel & Ethics/Justice departments) get to a point where they view people as almost nothing more than tokens or coins or pawns to be traded, bought and sold.

In the Personnel sections of Sea Org orgs, staff are literally referred to as "coins". Meaning, they are something of value that can be traded for something else of value, i.e, staff from other SO orgs. In the SO staff can be traded between orgs the same way players are traded between baseball teams. "I'll give you 3 new recruits and a supervisor in exchange for an auditor".

In the story Nick's telling here...remember that Christie has already herself been declared and spoken to the media. So from SCN's viewpoint she is a very "bad person" Nick had been declared, but had not yet spoken to the press, so he was a lower-level bad guy who was working to get back into good graces so he didn't have to lose his mom.

Kathy True didn't just want Nick to have some sort of one-night-stand with Christie, but to actually try to genuinely get her to leave Mike for Nick.

So Kathy was trying to get Nick to hook up with a "bad person" just as long as it would hurt another "bad person". No regard for Nick or Christie of course. They were just viewed as "coins" to be used to buy something SCN wanted, which was to make Mike's life a living hell.

We have all heard some pretty crazy Fair Game stories. This isn't the first time SCN has tried sending someone in to seduce one half of a couple.

Sara Goldberg Aaron Smith-Levin • 3 hours ago

Kathy True was assigned specifically to work with and handle Nick to get him through his A to E Steps. This was highly unusual and unheard of until then. Kathy True, as the head of OSA Internal Security told me she had this project of seeing Nick through his A to E because of the lines he was on. Namely Mike Rinder but also because he hiis parents were OT 8's. Cara, the Flag Justice Chief who is suppose to be the person helping a declared SP get through the steps, was pushed aside and Nick was handled directly by Kathy True who would then be the intermediary to IJC.

Doug Parent •

I also had a conversation with Kathy True of OSA. At the time my mother was in the process of being declared for having left the church some 25 years earlier, and because my mother had a Phd in Pysch, Kathy True made a concerted effort on her part to convince me that my only mother, an 83 cancer survivor at the time, was actually in league with the "enemy" of all mankind. And that disconnecting from her, just simply unplugging from that relationship and walking away from the person who gave birth to me, in her 80's, partially blind, on a fixed income, with all of her kids and grandchildren abandoning her, was the greatest good and the most ethical thing to do. She then gave me a list of Scientology scriptures, written by Hubbard, to drive her point home. So here is a senior official of the church, intentionally placing a member of the church of Scientology into a position whereby in order to continue with his religious activities, and maintaining his friends and connections of over 30 years,
was basically ordered to initiate the alienation of his affection and devotion to his own mother. Knowing full well that this decision would have literally crushed my mother, Kathy True was insistent, at times raising her voice to the point where I thought she might start raving. She caught collected herself and said "I know you are just trying to solve a problem" "But you have to look at what LRH says about the Pyschs". My point being, is that the Church of Scientology will not hesitate to DEPERSONALIZE an ex-member into a personification of evil and then wage an attack, with malice and forethought, upon the familial ties of any church member related to that person. One of Hubbards writings, the Code of Honor, has a point that states "never permit your affinity to be alloyed" yet in this case the very organization that has the trademarks to Hubbards writings were pressuring a member (at the time) to do exactly the opposite. I hope every single Scientologist remaining will honestly look at their own experiences and those of their friends, who were ordered to disconnect "or else" and ask themselves if the current state of the Church of Scientology is the same group that they originally joined. I came to my own conclusion, and decided to leave on my own findings. If an organization, or in this case, the "church" of Scientology will declare you an enemy to all of it's members for maintaining your integrity and applying some bedrock principles that are found in the fundamental precepts of the subject itself, then you know something is amiss.

Doug Parent

You are kind to say thank you. It was not an easy decision at the time. various family members were in different positions on the topic. Eventually all left but for awhile things were dodgy. In the end, the cult lost. My mother got her kids back. I have been vocal and will continue to speak out against the abuses of this destructive criminal enterprise. Scientology is the gift that keeps on giving. I know of no other sect that has such a *problem* of having the distinction of the most active motivated and dedicated group of detractors. And most of them are ex members who have been in the position to observe and witness much of the abuse first hand. I hope they get the exemption stripped. I hope Miscavige goes to jail. I hope the cult makes restitution to all it's former victims and then I hope they disappear from this earth never to reappear again.

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This link is posted on another thread, however it is so relevant to the subject of this one.

The chat Leah Remini has with her friends is so exactly right.


Readers of the Underground Bunker might have recognized the women. Two of them, Trisha Conley and Sherry Ollins, were featured in a previous story about Remini hanging out with her former Scientology friends in defiance of church leader David Miscavige.

Trisha’s parents, Jim and Kaye Conley, are prominent, longtime church members and former Sea Org workers, and Kaye’s sister Cherie is the mother of Kate Ceberano, a singer who is Australia’s most famous Scientologist.

Trisha is from Melbourne, and joined the Sea Org at only nine, leaving at 14. In her 20s, she rose to OT 4 in Scientology’s scheme of courses, but then she became disillusioned, in particular over the intense pressure members were under in 2007 to pay for an overpriced set of books most of them already had in earlier editions.

A good friend left the church in 2009, and when Trisha refused to disconnect from her, Trisha’s parents cut off ties to their daughter.

On a personal level how great to see Trish Conley in this group. I am many other here knew her parents Jim and Kaye Conley, Kaye at least is 2nd generation, so Trisha is 3rd generation. And free - and disconnected from. But free ....
(The link in the quote has more info on Trish and her family.)

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The Surviving Scientology podcast: Growing up in the Age of Miscavige
Jeffrey Augustine is back with another podcast. We asked him to provide a synopsis…

Aaron Smith-Levin is a second-generation Scientologist who grew up in the David Miscavige era. Aaron spent virtually all his time after school in the Philadelphia Org where his mother worked. By age 12, Aaron was an outer org trainee at Flag training for the original Golden Age of Tech. By age 15, Aaron returned to the Philadelphia Org to work as supervisor.


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New video on growing up in scientology ... Cruise is disgusting.

How Scientology is Tom Cruise? How he put ethics ‘ruthlessly’ in to his own family
Aaron Smith-Levin has another clip from his YouTube project, “Growing Up in Scientology,” and this one is really something. Once again, he’s interviewed Nick Lister, who was talked about in Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear. Nick has some revelations about working in the Tom Cruise household and how seriously Tom holds Scientology’s concepts of discipline, even as it applies to his own family. Aaron has supplied us with this description of what you’re going to see…


John P. • 13 hours ago

A couple of details that struck me, over and above the obvious horror of somebody who would disrupt the life of a teenager for two years over doing something that most teenagers either do or wish they could do (experiment with sex):

1. Who has security cameras on the inside of their house? I know that certain stars have to have 24-hour extended security on their principal houses because there are plenty of whack jobs that climb fences and try to get inside. But you'd think that would be focused on the outside of the property. The only reason you would have security cameras on the inside of your house would be to catch people doing stuff you don't like. Micromanaging your family, with video evidence? That's even sicker than some of those patriarchial Christian extremists like those "19 Kids and Counting" people.

2. Security camera pro-tip: having interior security cameras focused on your family members, along with watchers reporting back to you any transgressions maybe, just maybe, has something to do with why your third wife left you. If being married is an important image-booster for you, you might do well to take this into account when you're having your church find you wife #4. And if you're bemoaning the small size of the in-cult applicant pool, you might consider that this is why the outside applicant pool for the job of Wife #4 is infinitesimal.

3. The fact that Benetta Slaughter is out is remarkable. Given that she knows a lot about the Lisa McPherson case, I suspect she's getting a really nice payoff to remain quiet, just like Debbie Cook and her husband are. It would be interesting to track her down and see if there has been a change for the better in her living circumstances recently. I wouldn't expect her to talk, though, because she wouldn't want to endanger what I would bet is a really sweet deal.

Bortas John P. • 6 hours ago

John P., regarding your opening comment about the horror of disrupting the life of a teenager over natural things: This is entirely consistent with the cult's attitude to children and sex. It's a Scientology and Sea Org tradition to effectively exile "misbehaving" children. They are viewed as a distraction to their parents' focus on Scientology, and that simply will not do.

Dozens and dozens of children were exiled to the Mace Kingsley Ranch in the late 80's and early 90's, where most were beaten, all were abused and indoctrinated with militia-style training. Most were there for at least a year, and many remained for longer. The ranch continued in different incarnations in Northen California (Tahoe) and later New Mexico.

The cult's attitude to sex is militantly puritanical, and that is a mild description. Anything beyond simple kissing is considered "heavy petting" (name courtesy of Hubbard's 1950s social terminology that prevails in Scientology) and therefore "out 2D". For Sea Org or staff, this means an instant sentence ot the RPF. Or, in the case of children and teens, exile to a place like the ranch.

Tom Cruise's niece was lucky she didn't face much worse. If she was in the Sea Org then, she would have.

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I have just finished watching the video, I posted it above before doing so, and it's great! I so relate to how Mike describes what scientology was like in those early years in Australia, and I remember a lot of the same things and people. Then Aaron tells his story from a later generation viewpoint, really, really interesting. Around the middle of the video they both crack up describing auditing and early courses, really funny. If you want to understand scientology more, this is a must watch.

Aaron Smith-Levin • 13 hours ago

Morning everyone! Sorry it took me so long to start getting this next series of interview videos out. I wasn't sure who was going to do my interview, but this idea of Mike doing it, with me interviewing him at the same time seemed like a great one. This will likely be a 4 or 5-part series; so much to discuss and so many stories to tell.

in response to GOING CLEAR I saw many responses along the lines of "I understand why people get into Scientology and also why they leave but I don't understand why they stay in for so long". Well, that's one of the main questions I have set out to answer by telling the stories of people who grew up in Scientology.

To understand why people stay in SCN for as long as they do before eventually leaving, it's necessary to understand the ways in which people who are in Scientology feel helped by it. There are other factors of course that keep people in, like the threat of disconnection and Scientology's general "Matrix" view of life in general. I'll be making a point in all the interviews I do to delve into all of these factors and explore which played the biggest role in keeping each person in for as long as they were.