The stories of young Scientologists not told in ‘Going Clear’


Big List researcher
Didn't see this posted, so here goes. Also, request on WWP.

The stories of young Scientologists not told in ‘Going Clear’

By Tony Ortega, The Underground Bunker

A year ago, we brought you the story of a family ripped apart by Scientology’s ‘disconnection’ policy. Gayle Smith had been a longtime staff member in the Philadelphia org who found herself “declared” a “suppressive person” in 2011, cutting her off from the church and everyone in it. That included her son, Aaron Smith-Levin, and his three children. But she defied the church, continued to see her son and grandchildren, and that ended up getting Aaron tossed out of the church and his kids kicked out of a Scientology school.

Also last year, Tampa Bay Times journalist Joe Childs reported another stunning case of disconnection. A woman named Sara Goldberg was forced by church officials to choose between her son, Nick Lister, who had been declared, and her daughter, who remained in the church. Her dilemma became a key highlight of Alex Gibney’s documentary, Going Clear, which began airing on HBO last month.

Now, the two young men from those stories, Aaron Smith-Levin and Nick Lister, are teaming up to create a new YouTube channel that will feature the stories of other young Scientologists who grew up in the church and believe they have a unique view of it.

Gibney told us that his first cut of Going Clear was four hours long, and there are many stories he wanted to tell besides what fit into the final, two-hour version. Young Scientologists and their stories of growing up in the church was one area Gibney said he would like to have had more time to tell.

In 2008, several members who had grown up in the church started a website, Ex-Scientology Kids, which had a big impact on the media, and helped shift the public narrative about Scientology from something that was purely the subject of ridicule (as seen in a South Park 2005 episode, “Trapped in the Closet”) to an approach that was more about the abuses and control experienced by second- and third-generation church members.

Smith-Levin, who does research for hedge funds, has the resources to match his ambitions, which are, he told us, not only to interview other former Scientology kids, but also to try to correct a lot of misinformation in the media about the Scientology life.

“I want to describe why people get in, what they get out of Scientology, and what makes them stay in so long — and not just the controversies and abuses that so much of the media is about,” Smith-Levin tells us.

He filled us in on what’s happened in his life in the last year, when we wrote about him but he couldn’t, at that time, talk for publication.

Continued here:


Patron with Honors
I read Gayle's story this morning On Tony O's blog. What a tragedy for Gayle and her entire family. I look forward to watching ex-scn kids by Smith-Levin & Lister. Its kids like them that help give me the courge to one day speak up...


Patron with Honors
I'd sure love to tell my story, but I have a family member still involved, and this family member is currently financially supporting me as well as paying for my college tuition, plus I'm financially involved with some other Scientologists.

But... at least my story is posted on!

And I donated to the Kickstarter fund! It's definitely a project worth supporting.

Free to shine

Shiny & Free
I think this is going to be huge .... it needs to be HUGE. There are so many stories ...

Basketballjane • 10 hours ago

Tony thank you SO much for posting this amazing article. I have known Aaron now for 19 years since we trained together at FLAG on the original GAT. Before I joined the Sea Org I had a major passion for film making. Since I joined RIGHT out of High School I never had a chance to go to college and perfect my craft. But I did earn my ONLY A+ in Film Studies in High School. I guess that is part of the reason I joined the Sea Org At Celebrity Centre. So I could still sorta be part of the movie magic that I love so much. More on all that when my interview comes out.
Aaron and Heather's story is heart wrenching to me. I was lucky, my mother NEVER stopped being part of my life. Even when she believed still in the tech. Eventually I helped to get her out. My father died in 1995 months after I joined the SO so he never knew what I went through. Honestly I don't know what his reaction would be.

Thank you all so much for the love on the video. Yes we are going to be producing some EXCELLENT stuff. My husband does the magic. I write the words. Just as an example of his ENORMOUS skill set, the table that the contract is on and the contract and pen, ALL movie magic. None of that is real. This video was made with love and a LOT of hard work. My oldest son provided the voice over reading of the Code Of a Sea Org Member and the salute at the end. Hearing my little darling say those words that I had to memorize and recite over and over was a traumatic experience for both me and my husband.

Making this platform available to get the whole story out for those of us who were born in is so important. Thank you all so much for the support you have given. It really means so much.

Sheldon Goldberg • 13 hours ago

As Nick Lister's step-dad and Sara Goldberg's husband, I would like to dispel some mis-information about the extremely in-humane practice of disconnection Scientology is so "famous" for. You do not have to be a critic of Scientology or having spoken out against them to be labelled a suppressive person.
They have another clause that causes disconnection - remaining connected to someone that the church has declared to be a suppressive. That is all it takes.

Nick, who really is a great guy and is extremely funny (so I think you will find his videos both informing and entertaining) gets lied about on their hate site, has his privacy extremely violated by a so-called cherch after he worked for them for peanuts for 2.5 years. Not to mention, was a leader in their boy scout troop, became an Eagle Scout at 17 and started their Youth for Human Rights campaign in Clearwater.

His main "crime" was staying connected to a friend that he worked with for years.

And My wife had never spoken out against the church in any way before being deemed a suppressive. Her only "crime" was remaining connected to her son when she was told she needed to disconnect from him. That is it.

My only "crimes" were remaining connected to Nick - whom I love very much - , reading what I pleased on the internet and on occasion, telling my wife what I read. My wife or myself had never been in any form of communication with individuals the cherch deemed to be suppressive people.

Now of course, my wife has spoken out and I'm quite proud of her for doing so. For that, the church has done a ridiculous video about her with a cover photo of her with a target around her face. What is that all about? They have a false statement from her daughter about the film exploiting her "special needs" daughter. Ashley is literally hyperventilating while talking about that. Well, if you've seen the film, you know that her daughter was not exploited in anyway and if anyone was exploiting, it was Ashley and the church on their hate site.

I guarantee you that EVERYTHING she said in her interview with Joe Childs for the Tampa Bay Times and her interview with Alex Gibney was 100% the truth.

A grandmother that helped the cherch for 37 years, gets a target and a smear campaign for simply telling the truth.

I've met Aaron a couple of times and found him to be a very intelligent, well-spoken and friendly guy. Certainly not a "suppressive person" or "anti-social personality." Actually, I immediately liked him very much.

I congratulate both of them for their efforts and wish them incredible success.

Vic Sheldon Goldberg • 3 hours ago

My X disconnected from all 3 children. The ONLY thing they have done is remained connected to me. My X and I routed out of the SO and paid our "debts". If I am declared, I don't know about it. We were all willing for them to believe whatever he wants. But, we wanted to believe what we want and that doesn't happen to be scientology. And, the children wanted to remain connected to me. So - voila - disconnection. A very, very hurtful thing to do to the children!
This is going to be fantastic. I also wish I could tell my story, but I have too many ties that would cause a major shit storm if severed by disconnection.