|If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.
My following story certainly is not comparable to those accounts of persons who spent years of their life in the cult, who lost their physical or mental health, and who had to give up their families and friends after they decided to leave. Or of those who lost their families and friends because of the cult. And it surely claims no equivalence to the tragic stories of those who lost their life because of Scientology. But even if my life has not been as heavily influenced by the cult as others I know of have been, I still decided to tell my story. I strongly believe that everybody who has learned about Scientology one way or the other should make known his experience, for the sake of all those affected by the cult, be it now or in the future.
I have never actually been a Scientologist, although I probably would be doing my courses and my auditing sessions right now rather than writing this, if it had not been for all the help from my family and friends at that time – but I am jumping ahead of the story.
When he first knocked at my door – I was living in his mother´s apartment house at that time, she had been talking about me, so he wanted to meet me – I was so stunned I invited him in for a cup of tea. We talked till late after midnight. I had never had such a conversation before. He seemed interested in everything, was polite and friendly, confirmed all my statements with a soft “Yes, I see” or “Good”… His enthusiasm and diligence impressed me, as did his cheerfulness. Later, when he brought a book with him, “What is Scientology”, he showed me the tone scale, the ARC triangle, the 8 Dynamics and mentioned former lifes he believed he could recall. But since I had not really heard about Scientology before and since I had already fallen in love, I pushed my arising doubts away – if somebody really wants to believe he has to get all his bad experiences from past lifes audited out of him, why not? If somebody feels he can manage his life better by using the ARC triangle and by sorting people into a chart, I felt tolerant enough to let him. Everybody has his peculiarities, I kept telling myself.
In the weeks and months to follow, I began noticing that even more things were not right.
He was either working (for a Scientologist management consultant) or doing his courses, and he more and more condescended to people who were not “working” all the time and thus of no “value”, such as his parents, or student friends of mine. I noticed he was often lying to people concerning his whereabouts, probably because his parents did not approve of him being a Scientologist. When he received mail he did not want to read, he wrote “Recipient deceased” on the envelope and sent it back. He did not sleep very much, was always in a hurry and nervous. Due to his Scientologese, he had obvious difficulty talking to cashiers at the supermarket, or to some friends of mine who talked about the latest movie. He would not read anything except Hubbard´s books, stating that “all other literature” was useless for him. And I noticed that he was not really as cheerful as he first had seemed, but just trying to be smiling and looking happy all the time. One night, he called me at three A.M. and let the phone ring until I finally answered it; he just wanted to hear my voice and was obviously rather concerned about something, telling me he was afraid to be alone again after we might break up in times to come. We spoke for almost two hours that night, and I did not really grasp the meaning of this conversation at that time.
By then, I had read several of Hubbard´s books, of course, since I was supposed to “find out for myself”. I had. I especially objected against the statement that only non-aberrated individuals should be granted civil rights (Dianetics, page 486 in my 1992 edition), and all the ideas I found in the Ethics. But when I talked to him about all those passages I was doubtful of, he behaved as if I had not understood them correctly, or he would be trying to focus my attention on some completely different, unrelated passages. I read some critical books on Scientology as well, and I met an Ex-Scientologist who kindly answered all my questions. My boyfriend knew about this meeting in advance because I felt no need to hide anything from him. He reacted as if I had been exposed to a disease and treated me as if I were deranged. And he was really furious that I had read books he would not even touch, although he did not really show his anger, of course.
After that, talking to him became increasingly difficult. Looking back now, I would say that by then his Org had started to interfere directly with our relationship: He became more and more indifferent to me when he had been to the Org, or spoken to a Scientologist. He constantly asked me to read another book, to try out some auditing, to talk to some Scientologists, to take the personality test. And indeed I went to the Org with him and met other Scientologists, most of them long-time members. I was disquieted by the similarities in ways of thinking, talking, argumenting, and not listening to other people´s opinions I encountered in all those I met.
I also kept on reading critical books, talking to people critical of Scientology, and repeating to him that I did not wish to become a Scientologist. So we soon had trouble keeping up our relationship. My boyfriend now was obviously trying to “handle” me. Talking to him on the phone became more and more painful, same with visits. We did not plan ahead any more, neither of us knew how much longer we would be able to take it.
When I came back after 7 weeks on vacation and when I hardly recognized him (he had been on PTS/SP course during that time and after), I knew something had to happen. And since I had found out what Scientology really was about, I wanted to help him more than anything else. Although I was already critical of Scientology at that time, I nevertheless thought about joining, hoping that would settle our trouble and give me the opportunity to reach him, and maybe make things more clear. Luckily, I had my family and friends at that time, and the people I had met when trying to find out more about Scientology.
He tried to cope with the pressure in another way. When he came home after a business talk with a Scientologist he knew, he was shaking all over. He would not talk to me about what had happened, but was just clutching me silently. One evening when we went for a long walk he started talking about him and me and Scientology again. My answer clearly did not satisfy him, and later I found him staring at me. I let some time pass, thinking he would explain himself, but only when I asked him later did he tell me something about thought transference by Thetan beams. I am not really sure but I presume that was his own interpretation of Hubbard.
He was talking about joining the Sea Org, and so he could not have a 2nd Dynamic relationship with a non Scientologist, of course. He would not accept my No to Scientology, he kept trying to talk me into it, and I remember horrifying conversations we had during that time. I was shocked how much he had changed, and in such a short time! It seemed to me as if he was another person. As a consequence, our communication was dwindling. He ignored my critical questions about Scientology and later tried to lure me by promising everything would be okay again if I joined. I had told him many times before that I did care about him, but not Scientology, and that I therefore would not want to answer his letters and e-mails anymore whenever they were concerning Scientology. Well, they all were, and he obviously did not have anything else to tell me. When he heard that I had been talking to a girl who was a Sea Org member and left the cult a short time ago, he felt obliged to let me know that I was in the condition Treason because of that.
He would never have reacted in such a way only a few months earlier. We have not spoken since then.
You can also listen to Natascha's video interview