Sunday, March 2, 2014

My 14 years in Scientology

First off, let me say everything you’ve ever read about Scientology is true - 
except the bit where Tom Cruise can fly. He can’t fly. Neither can that 
ashtray you yell at for three hours on the $1200 course.

Anonymous Sydney Protest, via

But as a confused 17 year old it saved my skin. It could have been Jesus, 
Children of God or the Great Pumpkin, but it was those clipboard 
touting freaks on the street that badger you about happiness. 
Do they still do that?
 They did in 1977.

the Church of Scientology in Adelaide, where I was.

Then I was perfect meat for Scientology. I was lost, miserable and smoking 
heaps of pot. I was also shop lifting and trying to have sex with 
my gay best friend. Actually, being busted for shop lifting and having fines 
to pay was how I ran met Scientology.

I worked in a busy 300 seater Pancake restaurant. It ran like clockwork.
It was a Scientology family running their business along Scientology lines.
Their first born was in the US and part of Ron Hubbard’s inner circle. 
Mike was a hero, but it was his little sister who became my best friend.

The family I met - later Mike left Scientology very publicly.

We hung out a lot and the family were very kind. They knew life at home was 
rough and I’d stay at their house dancing to Gloria Gaynor. In Scientology, 
drugs are bad, family is good. I began to straighten out and think clearly.

When Scientology wants to hook you, they look for the right bait. 
The bait is whatever is messing up your life right now. It’s called your “ruin”, 
and what was ruining my life, apart from not being able to bed 
my gay best friend, was my mean as hell mother.

She had her head up her butt mostly, and when she pulled it out it
was to look for a target. That target was me.

Never had I gotten so much attention than when I announced the 
Church of Scientology had a new member. They scattered like lead 
from a shot gun. For a family so good at neglecting, ignoring, and 
pretending suddenly all eyes were on me. 

My grandfather flipped, threatening to go to the newspapers, and I was 
banished from his presence and his cheque book.
He didn’t want any mumbo jumbo getting into my head to jolt 
free the things he and the family were really doing – with me, 
my brother and other less fortunate ones.


There is irony: The first born daughter of a multi generational cult family 
was joining a cult. There is more irony, as by the time I woke up to my 
family’s secrets, I was long gone from Scientology’s clutches anyway. 

They helped sort out a messy teenage life, and taught me assertiveness, 
but as far as retrieving any buried family memory, it was useless.

I could have bought a house, or had a nice long stay in one of those fancy private retreats that rich women go to for the money I spent on Scientology.
Back in 1977, my family didn’t know what a good job they had done. 
Memories of them prancing about amid clouds weird smoky stuff were so 
buried in my head even the Great Pumpkin, Ron Hubbard couldn’t get at them. 
I remained oblivious, trying to get my ashtray to fly.

the ashtray that didn't fly when I yelled at it in the Scientology course.

When Mike’s little sister offered a book to help understand people I jumped. 
All I wanted was to figure out my nutty family. It was called, 
How to Choose your people, and the intro was written for me:

"In my early teens; I expected that somewhere in the process of growing up
 I’d learn how to choose people—how to tell the good guys from the bad ones."

I stayed in Scientology for 14 odd years till one day I got sick of the crap 
and left. Leaving required assertiveness, but hey! They taught me that.

Last time they knocked on the door, I had been gone 20 years. 
It was after 9pm, and Dog hurtled to the door, bristle and tooth, 
followed by Don, who lifted one by the throat and described 
what he’d do if they they ever came back
 My knights. My family of choice.

Baxter, hound, protector and namesake of grrl+dog

They saved me from a cult, while in 1977, all my birth family saved 
was their asses. They were the reason joining a cult 
seemed like a good idea. 

Ever known anyone in a cult? Ask yourself, what could possibly 
be going on in that person’s life to make joining a cult 
look like a good thing?

After 14 years in Scientology, my ashtray still does not fly, 
but I did learn how to choose my people. 


  1. You have chosen wisely! Scientology compelled me to take their "personality test" when I wandered in off the streets in L.A. back in the early 70's. I did so well that they wanted me to become a "teacher" or some such bullshit. That was my first clue that I did not need them. I, too, have chosen DOG.

  2. Wow, great post! I definitely relate to the mother-from-hell part. There was no cult, so to speak, in my family...unless, of course, one considers the cult of denial that everyone but me drank the kool aid of. Maybe that's the same cult you're talking about. The thing that I did that started the process of breaking down internal barriers for me was the est training. Spent a few years in that milieu. If it had touted itself in any way as a religion, I would've been outta there yesterday. Although even without religious overtones, that network still produced more than its fair share of droids. The sad part for me is that I'm still learning how to choose people, after having made a near-lifetime of mistakes. Oh well, life is for learning, eh? xo

  3. I love a Brave Teller of Honest Stories. That's YOU.

  4. So fascinating. The skill of choosing good people is a great one. So pleased you left with that.

  5. Cheers for you, Don and Dog. Good on ya.


  6. Wow...Denise
    This is one crazy believable story. Being as I am a native Californian, and had the opportunity to live in Orange County, Southern California, where South Coast Plaza was (a huge, shopping mall in Costa Mesa)....well, long story short, my husband and I and another couple were at a small sandwich/ice cream parlor/restaurant, years ago, and who should be sitting there but Ron Hubbard, in the flesh, reading a newspaper, with the weirdest looking contraption on top of his head that resembled an opened-framework wire pyramid. We did not laugh, but gosh, it was an eye-opener that people can be duped into believing just about anything given the right circumstances. There are many churches that have the cult mentality and don't even know it.
    I know, because I was in one of those for near on 50 years, but I have learned to forgive people, and get on with my life, and be who I am. It's good to believe in oneself and to let all the rest of it go. It's really the only way to live in this crazy world.
    I would say everything you did was for your own self-preservation and sanity. Anyone can be blinded by any type of 'so-called' truth. It is so freeing when one finally finds real freedom.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    Teresa in California

    1. Wow - in the flesh??
      I only got to babysit his son, but no pyramid wearing as far as I knew...what a cool story - love it.

    2. Yes, it was really Ron Hubbard in the flesh. It was a 'don't look now, but guess who is sitting two tables away from us' kind of experience. I don't get to see many celebrities in the world and he was one of them. It was during the mid 1970's in So. California. Crazy, huh?

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I am glad you found your people. I have a similar tangled past. Did similar things (not Scientology though) and came out of it stronger. You are brave to put it all out there.

  8. What a story! And I'm glad you now have Don, Baxter and Bruce backing you up!!

  9. Surviving is the ultimate way to rise above everything and anyone in life
    and the best middle finger too I reckon lol
    Good on you and wishing you three continued enjoyment of life : )

    1. ndeed!

      The Scio’s have a saying, “flourish and proper” , which may have been stolen from Mr Spock, but there was no funny hand sign.



  10. How does being surrounded by Crap-holes your whole childhood create trusting the wrong people when your an adult? Do you learn that having a B.S. radar is a waste of time, or do you accept it as your lot in life? All I know is, dogs are the best things to come home to after a long day of people!

    1. …and do I have to join a cult to get one of those groovy hats Tom is wearing?

    2. Ms Radish -
      I reckon it s tin foil - and ohhh the gossip I could tell you about the big "stars" in Scientology..but yes, having an excellently honed BS radar is the best as is a warm, loving, family of choice.

  11. I am always over awed by your life story and your courage.

  12. Lisa says it all ..... "a Brave Teller of Honest Stories". I love the part about Don and Baxter marching them out the door.

  13. 'My knights. My family of choice'.....made me smile in happyness for you Denise. They are the best choice! Stay strong. ♥

  14. Thanks so much for sharing this story -- your story. I too am so very happy for your that you now found your family!

  15. Yay for Don and Dog(s), and yay for you for doing what you had to do and coming out of it stronger, and having learned a pretty damned important skill at that. Thanks for sharing your story.

  16. Your story as told by you, with love and humor. Gotta love it! xxoo

  17. I believe absolutely that it takes what it takes. You/we are still here. Who could have ever guessed? Yes, teller of honest stories, survivor of others' dishonest stories. And our bullshit detectors do become more finely tuned. xo

  18. What a nightmare!
    Scientologists always seemed to me to be utterly controlling and, frankly, weird.
    Anything theta purports to give you answers to big questions strikes me as inherently suspect.
    Hooray for DOG and DON


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