Scientology's Grip on the Mind


Thought Criminal
"In December, we brought you the story of Melissa Paris, a former Scientologist who we got to know after her sister Valeska's stunning claims that she'd been a virtual prisoner on Scientology's private cruise ship from 1996 to 2007.

Melissa had her own shocking tales of growing up in Scientology's "Cadet Org" in the UK. (The Paris sisters were originally from Switzerland and had been brought at a young age to England by their father, who had joined Scientology's hardcore "Sea Org.")

Since we profiled the Paris sisters, we've described the horror stories of others who experienced the Sea Org's deprivations, including the strange office-prison at Scientology's secretive headquarters east of Los Angeles.

Like other former Scientologists with harrowing tales of abuse and escape, Melissa says that she's constantly asked one question more than any other: how did she put up with that kind of treatment for so long? So she decided to give us an answer that she hopes will help non-Scientologists understand the mentality of Sea Org workers.

She provided the following account, and I lightly edited it only for readability. I'm sure she'd be happy to answer additional questions from our commenters."