The Bad PR that the cult creates for itself

minnie

Patron with Honors
This is a letter I wrote in the recent past to appeal an unexpected exclusion from my studies when my academic performance was affected by Disconnection. I thought it might be of interest. I guess the cult can't quite envisage the different ways in which word gets out about some of the practices it engages in and publicly denies.



(deleted)
Date (deleted)
(deleted)
(deleted)

I wish to appeal against my exclusion from the course of the (deleted) on the following grounds:

Mitigating circumstances
On the 2nd of August I received a "disconnection letter" from someone with whom I have had a very close relationship and who was also my former boyfriend. He is a Scientologist. Any Scientologist who encounters someone who is critical of the cult must "disconnect" otherwise they themselves will be declared a "Suppressive Person" (akin to an anti-social personality, criminal etc), and any of their Scientologist family or friends will be forced to disconnect from them. It also means they will not be allowed to receive Scientology services ever again and therefore supposedly risk losing their chance at achieving "total freedom" this lifetime. I used to be a Scientologist but managed to leave in 2005. As a result I lost a lot of friends who disconnected from me and shunned me in the streets etc. I was very traumatised at the time but considered myself fortunate that my attempts to ensure the cult did not interfere with the custody of my child were successful. However, I spent the following years working hard to recover from my 15-year cult involvement.

I decided about 2 years ago to specifically help my former Canadian boyfriend discover the truth about the cult. I did this feeling safe in the knowledge that due to the distance he would not discover that I was now an ex-member. I very subtly had him look at different things that were wrong with the cult over this 2-year period. I stayed with him in Canada during a trip in July last year. When I got back home we had an altercation via email which led to my real stance being known. He thus had no choice but to disconnect from me. His disconnection was approved by the cult.

The disconnection had the effect of reversing the progress I had made during the last few years of my recovery. It is a highly traumatic experience to be denied the chance to associate with someone ever again, especially someone you love dearly and who you had future plans with. There have been many suicides and depressions caused by Scientology's Disconnection policy.

It was because of my involvement with Scientology since I left school that I did not pursue a university education, something which I have had deep regret about and have felt disadvantaged in many ways in life as a result, and as though there is a lot to catch up on. That is why I have quite belatedly started on my university studies as a mature age student. I specifically chose Law as I wanted to use the law to help those who have experienced human rights abuses, as I did, due to their cult involvement, and to help put an end to these abuses. The influence of the cult in August via this disconnection had the result of threatening to derail my path and dreams in life once again. Immediately after the disconnection I scheduled an appointment with the Counselling section of the university. Having been indoctrinated to detest and fear Psychiatry and Psychology, this was not an easy choice to make, but I felt desperate enough to do so as I didn’t want to discontinue my studies but wasn’t sure how I would otherwise cope now and for the rest of the semester. I had a couple of counselling sessions and was told that I should make an appointment with the GP to see if I would qualify for a block of 12 counselling appointments under the MHTP. Again this felt like I was going in deeper against prior indoctrination, and I had to give it some further thought, but due to the extreme circumstances I made the appointment and the GP evaluated that I was suffering from depression. I also had 2 hypnotherapy sessions at great expense to help me alleviate the trauma. Likewise, this was quite a step as hypnotherapists and ‘other practices’ were also taboo according to the indoctrination I had received as a Scientologist. I even begun taking St John’s Wort as a natural anti-depressant despite the stigma such a substance had when I was in the cult. The GP told me that depending how things progress I may need to consider stronger medication.

The disconnection caused me much anguish and anxiety which interrupted my ability to concentrate in class and on my readings and other tasks. I had to stop mid one of my class presentations (‘Contracts Law’) due to being so flustered by the effects of the disconnection (and the accompanying sensation of being emotionally blackmailed by the cult). I also had many more occasions where I felt like crying or had physical manifestations such as trembling or hot flushes. I also very quickly began to put on quite a lot of weight due to the stress and low morale. Having experienced the pain of disconnection before I wasn’t looking forward to going through this trauma all over again and I was not coping well psychologically in spite of my determination not to allow the cult to influence and deter me as it had done in the past.

I also immediately engaged in further activism against this cult policy by contacting various people in government both here and in Canada, telling as many people as I could about it, writing on message boards, contacting a judge (deleted), asking the advice of some of my tutors etc. As usual the exposure of this cult’s many abuses (including disconnection) continued to grow, but the breakthroughs were especially now not occurring at a fast enough rate for me, and so I found it difficult to settle down and concentrate in class due to my frustration. I usually have very good levels of concentration and no problem academically. When I completed my (deleted) in 2008 I received an award for first place as a result of achieving raw marks of 100% in my three ‘B’ subjects. In my very first semester of Law I had been very attentive and participated actively which aided my intake of information. However, in this last semester as a result of the disconnection my participation declined due to the emotional turmoil and extreme sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction with the sharp turn in the way my life was now heading, as well as the reduced level of concentration, and thus not being able to engage in my usual interested and enthusiastic way with the tutors and the materials. I also found that domestic tasks now seemed to require much more effort than previously. The whole situation, and full-time study load became very difficult to keep up with and wasn’t getting any easier as time went by. It was a major effort to simply focus in class, let alone focus when researching and writing essays. My Constitutional Law essay for example was uncharacteristically not worth handing in in my opinion due to its below-par quality together with the loss of marks with each succeeding day past the deadline.

One day in September I was feeling very depressed, and the Chaplain was not available, so I decided to make an appointment with the Special Needs section in case they might also have some helpful advice for me to cope with my situation, although I didn’t think I would be able to actually qualify for their assistance. I discussed my situation and was told that my circumstances were relevant to this area, and that also Special Needs could assist in circumstances where the student was having difficulty at a time past the census date. I was told that I could apply to withdraw without financial or academic penalty, and that I had an entire year within which to apply. I decided that I would keep this as an option and that I would do my best to keep up with the classes and lectures, while attempting to complete the assignments and exams. SN set me up with the note-takers to get around the fact that I was having difficulty concentrating. I discovered in December that I had been excluded for a year which came as a surprise to me as I had no previous knowledge that this is a usual occurrence at university and thought that the application to withdraw (which I had already begun to gather some evidence for) would cover everything.

Change in circumstances

It is now January and although the disconnection still upsets me tremendously, I am more positive in my outlook. I also have had the support of some very good friends as well as a lot of ex-Scientologists who can relate to my experience. I have created an online support group for those who are suffering from Scientology disconnection which already has over 200 members and continues to climb. It has helped to bring a bit of levity to such a painful subject for myself and so many others. It also is serving to apply some public pressure to the cult in the hope that it will cease this practice.

My son and I have also spent more quality time together which has helped to take the edge off the fact that I have lost an important relationship and the hopes I had invested in this.

My frustration over the lack of speed of exposure of the cult’s abusive practices has lessened due to the current efforts of Senator Nick Xenophon and others to bring about a Senate Inquiry, together with police investigations which have already begun. Exposure also is continuing favourably worldwide.

I have also spent time working on my spirituality, and have been meditating to reduce my stress levels and feel more grounded. I am also on the list for upcoming stress management sessions at (deleted). I will be continuing my counselling sessions this year. I have been doing a lot of reading of books concerning spirituality, and also concerning cults.

I have decided to reduce my study load at (deleted) from three subjects until such a time as I can again handle a full-time schedule. I will be doing only one subject this semester and will make use of the Student Centre tutors. I will continue to avail myself of the note-taking service. My son has agreed to be more helpful round the house and to take more responsibility getting his homework done so that I can have more time and focus to engage with my studies more effectively.

Yours sincerely,

(deleted)









Enclosed:
Letter from GP (deleted)
Letter from Psychologist (deleted)
Disconnection letter from former friend/boyfriend
Receipt from Hypnotherapist (deleted)
Statutory Declaration from (deleted)
 

EP - Ethics Particle

Gold Meritorious Patron
Best wishes!

Thank you for posting your excellent and informative letter, Minnie. :thumbsup::clap:

Let us know how things progress and evolve, OK? :)

Love,

EP
 

minnie

Patron with Honors
Thankyou Panda and EP! <3

Will let you know the outcome.

At the very least academia received an education on disconnection as I flailed ALL OVER THEIR LINES. They are not the only ones who were informed either. Even if those I talked to only ever tell one other person, the stats are straight up and vertical. :yes: :dieslaughing: One for one, the average 'wog' is really shocked by this sort of thing. We know that, but I think the insulated, anachronistic, unworldly (in this respect), cult needs reminding.

I guess this was, uh, yet another footbullet for the cult. I hope too it was helpful for anyone reading it, in some way.
 

dchoiceisalwaysrs

Gold Meritorious Patron
Thanks for posting this Minnie.

I can see you have a lot of strength. I too have had similar experiences, so your letter helped me to understand some of the things that I have been going through.

Thank you for the help.:bighug:
 

minnie

Patron with Honors
Just to let you all know I was recently informed that my appeal against exclusion was successful.

My main point in creating this thread though was to share some of my experience with disconnection for those it would resonate with (and because I had not yet written any of My Story before, of which this is the tiny tail end of it I guess time-wise), despite its somewhat embarrassing nature, and to bring some more attention to the issue. I am still coming to terms with everything.

My main beef is that this f*$&ing cult has dictated the terms of the situation I am in, just as it had during the years I was in (the time I was on staff particularly). Prior to getting involved with the cult I was known for not towing the line with authority - my school tried to turn this into a favourable characteristic by referring to my "independence" in the reference they wrote for me in the last year of high school :D. I do not appreciate the cult's very unwelcome influence in my current life. As much as they would like to be cause over my life or anyone else's I will not let them get away with it.

I had moved on in many ways from the influence of this cult, but this threw me back into it, and is not easy to throw off. I have found Vinaire's thread on depression very interesting and somewhat helpful.

It seems that there is one VFP (valuable final product) which the cult strives to create: depression (or worse) in its former members/enemies. I never signed up for this :no:

So, yeah I'll leave this here for a bit more exposure, before I let it drift back down the board again. Thanks.
 

Opter

Silver Meritorious Patron
Well done Minie.:happydance:

And I would love to read your story when you are ready to tell it.
 

minnie

Patron with Honors
Well done Minie.:happydance:

And I would love to read your story when you are ready to tell it.

Thanks Opter.

God, how to write my story...seems daunting. Telling it in person to others comes quite easily, but getting the mf'er down in written form, not so much. I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking software in the past so that I could simply dictate emails, essays, etc - but despite following the set up procedure so that it could recognise my pronunciation style, it made hilarious distortions of what I said, and thus was utterly useless. :duh:

Thanks dchoice and Skollie for your support both on and off this thread. :hifive:
 
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