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Long Blown


New Member
Well here is my story in a nutshell:
My story started in Seattle. I had moved shortly prior to then from the south; kind of on a whim and ended up working for an individual who was a public Scientologist. To get the job you had to do one of the personality tests, and I had some issues, but having been raised in a good stable home, nothing major. I was rather sheltered up to that point and knew nothing about Scientology, Dianetics, any of it. I think I probably ended up with that job because I was willing to learn darn near anything.
My boss sent me to the mission where I started taking some classes; the communications class and a few others that I don’t remember. Eventually I joined staff there which meant I worked from 8-5:30 then went immediately to the Mission where I worked until around 11:00pm. I was lucky there because after reading some of the horror stories about what happened on some of the staff’s I never really experienced any of it at the mission. The people were very nice, they were genuinely interested in helping others, and there was a feeling of community. I usually got out of going to the events because I was working 2 jobs and was pretty adamant about getting enough sleep to be functional.
Then it happened, I got roped into going to an event by my boyfriend at the time, it was on a Saturday and I was able to leave early for it. When we got there he wandered off to talk with someone and about that time an SO Missionaire approached me. He had a survey in his hand and asked me to take it. I did, not thinking anything of it, and continued my evening. We watched a video of something, everyone got all happy, no one tried to get me to donate anything, and my boyfriend and I left.
The following morning the phone rings and one of my roommates answered it. We were all scientologists, though I had not been in nearly as long as they had, and they were on staff at the Org, not the Mission. My roommate hangs up and tells me we need to go up to the Org. I thought at the time that she needed to go up there, and needed a ride. We headed off and when I pulled up in front and she said that I needed to park and go in with her. At this point I am still rather clueless, the evening before was the first time I had ever seen a Sea Org officer and did not realize that many of their missions were to recruit people. In hindsight, it certainly explains why darn near everyone was avoiding them.
We get into the Org; the lady who ran the Mission was down there looking kind of concerned. My boyfriend was down there looking very upset, and I was just not paying attention. The guy in the uniform and another fellow in uniform were there as well. They ushered me into an office and basically shut out everyone else. At that point they begin explaining about the SO and clearing the planet and how you got every Sunday off to do what ever you wanted, free room and board, a steady paycheck. You would be living in LA, blah, blah, blah. I know quite a few of you already know the happy picture they paint about life in the SO. It sounded really positive and I was pretty gung ho in general, after all I was new to staff, I had just started my first 12 hours of auditing, I had done several classes with positive results, and had no clue what Scientology was actually about. I was also as impulsive as the average 21 year old who had, just months prior, moved cross country on a whim. Needless to say I signed on the dotted line with stars in my eyes.
Around this time, with in days of me signing my contract my Grandmother passed, and Mom booked me a round trip ticket to Nebraska to attend the funeral. Of course they had heard my excitement when I talked about Scientology. They were also pretty happy that I took an IQ test and did quite well on it. Growing up I had issues with motor skills, and once diagnosed, my folks did everything necessary to help me overcome the issues. But alas, children are cruel and when you have an alphabet on your desk until the 4th grade, children tend to delight in mocking you and calling you stupid. So taking the IQ test was something of a revelation to me that when my parents were telling me “You’re smarter than that”, they were not just speaking out of love. LOL.
My folks were still teaching at the time and had read the article by Time Magazine, so they were understandably concerned with my decision; concerned enough to ask the Pastor at the family church to have a talk with me. This conversation occurred with in hours of my grandmother’s funeral and did nothing but make me more determined then ever to see this through. Fortunately my folks have adhered to the “we might not like your choices, but we will support you in them” philosophy so through out this entire situation we never lost contact. (Thank God)
The next couple of weeks were a whirlwind, I sold my car to my roommates, packed up what I was going to take with me (under the delusion that I would at some point be able to afford to ship the rest). I was unaware that you could not have a TV, and that there was no real room for any of my stuff, and boy did I bring a ton of it. I got on a plane and flew down to LA. I was picked up by a fellow who took me to the Big Blue Base. My stuff went into a closet and it actually remained there, intact until I graduated. I received my EPC uniform and spent half my day studying tech and the other half doing laundry. It was not bad. I have always been an avid reader, so getting through all of the information was not difficult and I actually graduated on time.
I went to work at SMI and was dealing with the mission finances, still studying several hours a day. The fellow who was in charge was a horrible individual. He screamed at everyone, could not get his act together enough to ensure we were actually paid on time, and used force and verbal abuse to get what little accomplished he did. Rarely did we leave before midnight, Thursdays it was usually between 3 and 4 in the morning. The thing that sticks out most in my mind was being in constant fear. Fear of goofing up because I did not know enough of the policies to know if what I was doing was correct, fear of being RPFed, fear of being late, just flat out fear. I still called my parents like clockwork every Sunday, for the most part giving them the fair weather BS that we were told to.
The Golden Age of Tech came in while I was there, and I got pulled off of several of my normal duties to call Scientologists and confirm them for the big event. That was a pain because you would work for hours making phone calls and then more hours trying to get caught up with your work.
At another point, something was going on with Org finances, and we had to go through boxes and boxes of financial data creating spreadsheets and getting everything in order for some sort of an audit. I don’t know whether this was an internal audit or something brought on by the IRS, but that was exhausting.
There were a few good things, on Saturdays because renovations of one of the buildings was falling behind we had to go over and work on that. I absolutely LOVED that. A fellow by the name of Dan Garvin had me work with his electrical guys because I was little enough physically to get up into the roof and pull cables. Bless his heart, the one time someone else snagged me and had me waxing floors he saw me, and informed them that I was needed else where. I owe him a huge thank you, because of that experience I currently work in the construction industry and absolutely love what I do.
One morning, it was about 2am, I had just gotten in from working, I was exhausted, sick, I could feel myself running a fever and I was not about to tell anyone because I did not want to be labeled PTS or stuck in that horrible room with all of the other individuals who were sick and dependent on their org to bring them the basics like food and water. I had yelled at two people that evening for not “making things go right”, the very things that I had not been able to make go right when I was stuck with them. It made me feel like crap, but I also knew that if I did not scream at them for it, then I was going to get screamed at for it, and at least it would look like I was working to make things go right.
I was laying in bed so miserable I could not sleep and it occurred to me that I did not have to do this. I realized that nothing I had done since I had arrived contributed to saving the planet. I had not had even an hour of the auditing I had paid for in Seattle. I was behaving in a manner that even 6 months ago I would have been appalled at. I had no time off, even most Sunday mornings I was working. I had seen RPFer get screamed at and publically humiliated. I had heard stories of people being told they had to divorce their spouse because they were PTS.
I watched two teenagers get married and everyone act as if this was a good thing. I had seen children working at AHSO foundation org at 12 years of age, and going to school all of about two hours a day; these same children being pretty good readers, but having no math skills to speak of, and could not tell me what started World War II.
I saw all of the older staff with health problems. Several had rotting teeth because there was no money in the budget to get them to a dentist. I watched several folks route into the SO then blow because they never saw their children, then there were the children whose parents were in the SO who completely ignored them.
I met kids who were SO who I knew for a fact would never have a life beyond scientology because they would never have the education or social skills beyond what they learned in the SO. I had taken verbal abuse that I had never been subject to before in my life, and I had dished out the same crap all because I was afraid if I did not I would be stuck in the RPF and never see my family again. The next revelation I had was at the rate I was going, being RPFed did not matter because I would probably never have permission to spend more than a day or two with family, not that I would have had the money even if I could get the time off.
If this was what I was creating by clearing the planet, I wanted no part in it. It was then that I decided my life in Scientology was done, and I began planning.
I was taking a class where we had to interview non-scientologists and assign them different tones on the tone scale. I headed to class the next morning with a purpose, when I left to go do my interviews I found a payphone a couple of blocks away and called my folks collect. For the first time since I arrived there, I told them the truth and asked if there was some way for them to get me a plane ticket or a bus ticket or something to get me the heck out of there. Both parents were listening, but mom did the talking, she informed me they would figure out something. She had the number to the office I worked in and said she would call me when she and dad figure out how they were going to handle this. We did have relatives in California, in the LA area at that, so if all else failed Mom would call them. I hung up with her, finished interviewing the non-scientologists, and headed back to base.
Apparently when I hung up the phone, my folks got the suitcases out of the attic and started packing for the trip to California. They left that afternoon and were both as on edge as I was the entire trip there.
I had the scare of my life when one of the CO’s on base informed me she had seen me off base. She asked me who had given me permission to go, I explained about the class. My thought was “I am SOOOOO busted.” She then proceeded to chew me out about how dangerous it was for me to be out on the street by myself, and she realized I had to get through this class but to make sure I had someone with me because I could be PTS and not know it thereby bringing something in.
Later that afternoon we were called to muster and there were a whole bunch of new faces with crisp uniforms standing where the former top dogs on base had been standing. We were informed that the stats base wide were not where they should be, it had been determined that the former top dogs were responsible for that and had therefore been replaced. The only thing going through my mind was I will make this go right; I will make this go right. Finally midnight came and I went back to my room and to sleep.
I went to breakfast then class the next morning, then to the office where my CO informed me that my parents had called and they were going to a conference in and since Phoenix was as close to LA as they were going to get any time soon, they wanted to spend a few days time with me. Oh and by the way, they would be there by noon the following day. My CO then informed me that with the change in management I could not get two days off, but I could go to lunch with them. The catch being that I had to bring them to meet him before we left. I told him that that was fine, but since I had brought so much stuff with me, I was going to send it home with them since I was not using it anyway. He was fine with that, thought it made sense (especially when the housing people were griping to get the closet I had it all sitting in cleaned out. I think they planned to make it into more berthing.)
I can honestly say the following twelve working hours were the longest hours of my life. I left work that evening, packed up everything I could that would not make it apparent that I was leaving for good. We had armed security at the entrances of the big blue building where we all slept, and I did not want it to be obvious that I was not coming back.
I got out of class that day and approached the building where I worked. My father was standing outside of it and a glance down the street told me their van was parked and mom was inside. I walked up to him, hugged him and told him I had talked to my CO, the only time I had off was to go to lunch. I also told him that before we left I needed to take them by the office and check out with my CO. I stuck my head into my office to let my CO know that I was going to my room to get the stuff I needed them to store loaded. He said to bring them by the office before I left for lunch, so when we were heading to my berthing, I reiterated that I would need to stop by my office before we left. (I don’t think it had quite sunk in at that point that I was leaving, not temporarily, but leaving for good.)
My father pulled around the horseshoe drive that was in the front of the building I was living in, I stopped by security, introduced them to my folks, told them my folks would be storing my stuff and I wanted to make sure Dad could park there until we got everything loaded. Security was fine with that. So we went up and down and up and down that elevator what seemed like a hundred times. The final trip was just my mom and I. We grabbed the majority of my pillows, but decided to leave my boots, leather jacket, one pillow and a comforter there to give the appearance I was coming back.
Dad had the van running when we got down there. I got in and said once again that I had to check in with my CO before we left. There was a moment of silence where both of my parents just turned around and looked at me. The light bulb turned on and I said “Ya know, it occurred to me that I don’t have to so anything I don’t want to do, and there is nothing anyone here can do about it.” Dad was already pulling out of the drive at that point and he said something to the effect of “I am glad you realize this, because I was not going to take you over there.”
We made it as far as Palm Springs before we stopped to eat. Dad bought me a beer to celebrate my new found freedom. It was about a two day drive back home. I remember the first night in the hotel, we had the news on and the FBI and some militia group had been in a stand-off for 54 days and I had never heard of them.
When we arrived home, there were messages on the answering machine for half the base it seemed like. They had made the mistake of calling my sister in the middle of the night; she chewed them out then hung up on them. With in a few days I was staying with my sister and had found a job. I got back on my feet financially and emotionally and in the years since I have completed a couple of degrees and have a career I love.
It is amazing to me the indoctrination that takes place in Scientology and to an extreme degree in the SO. All of this happened in under a year’s time, but it took an adjustment mentally to get back to the real world. It was months before I quit expecting to be yelled at for even the smallest transgression. It was a well over a year before I realized that just because I worked through my normally scheduled lunch did not mean I could not eat.
The hours we put in while I was in the SO served to enhance an already solid work ethic, but in the real world, you actually get paid for those hours. Being accustomed to those hours allowed me to be able to manage working full time and going to school full time, and not breaking a sweat about it, actually I usually got more sleep working a mere 40-60 hours a week and taking 15 hours in school than I did when I was in the SO. I also picked up one philosophy that in the years since I still cling to. It was a phrase spoken to me during my time in the EPF, the fellow there said “when faced with a problem you have two choices; you can whine about the problem or you can find a solution.” Adhering to that has served me quite well professionally as well as personally. I cannot say I got nothing out of the experience and though I would not wish it on anyone, I was able to walk away from it with a few positives and one heck of a story to tell.
I have been out now for over a decade, but when a friend of mine called (about three years back) concerned because someone he knew was getting involved with Scientology my response was to keep them the heck away from it. It had been years since I had thought about my time in LA, and it had never occurred to me to do an internet search to see if there were others who had blown. It was this conversation which led him to do an internet search and email me going “you were involved with a cult that believes we all are here because of Aliens?” I did not know what in the heck he was talking about. I had heard mutterings of past lives and a time track, but I was not even managed to get more than an hour or two of auditing, the only information I really had was from the policy manuals I studied to learn my job, and all of the information he found was top secret when I was involved. This led me to start doing my own internet searches, and what a revelation. Reading the stories from some out there makes my experience pale in comparison. The upside is way back when I would tell my story I was usually greeted with doubt and some disbelief, now thanks to the internet and several enterprising journalists, people are finding out that this really does go on, right here in the good old USA.


Patron Meritorious
Thanks for telling your story, kercue.

I am glad that you got out of the SO relatively quickly and now you are reaping the rewards of your own labor, which is only fair. :thumbsup:

Miss Penguin

Patron with Honors
Thanks for sharing. I was in the Sea Org for a few years too and really understand what you mean about adjusting to the real world. I still take great pleasure in knowing that I can sit on my porch on a Saturday all day if I want, drinking iced tea and reading a book. I don't have to hide MY purposes and dreams, I can be friends with who I choose, when I choose.

I'm glad you are doing well and that you are happy.