My Departure -- Liz Smith in Scientology cult

20 Oct 2001

"Liz Smith" <lizsmith@telocity.com>

Many of you have seen my husband's recent posting entitled "Departure", dated 18Oct01. I am his wife, Liz. I was first introduced to Scientology when my husband expressed an interest in possibly returning to the church in spring of 2000. I was "open-minded" and when we saw the LRH Life Exhibit in LA, I was just about hooked. I really admired the ideals and the amount of obvious research LRH put into his writings.

I read Dianetics and it made sense to me. I felt I had finally found some group that believed things I had always felt inside, but didn't know anyone else felt that way, too. (By the way, at this point, I had already completed a Bachelor's degree in Psychology hoping to embark on a career to help people. I had seen its' problems and lack of true, measurable improvement in people and had decided not to pursue any further training or career in the field. I was looking around for another way to help people).

So. We went to the org and took courses, (read Dann's post for more info). When I went to the ship last December, I was very impressed and actually did feel the "OT environment" they try to create there (or it just may have been because it was my first time in the Caribbean. Go figure.). I decided the best way to help people would be to join staff. So, after returning from the ship and working it out with my husband, we agreed for me to join staff.

I started on Feb. 26th, 2001. By this point, my husband and I already knew there was something wrong with the org and with the organization of the church, but I felt it was my duty to actively do something to fix it. (Which action of the Black Panther mechanism to choose, you see?) I was doing well on course, but sometimes a bit blowy due to some doubts, etc.

In fact, one week prior to being chosen to go to Flag for training, I had put in a CSW to go on an LOA for 1-2 months to handle finances and personal situatinos (but actually, to be honest, would have turned out to be an interminable leave). Ethics actions prevailed and I was encouraged to stay on purpose, to help others and look at the big picture. When the opportunity to go to Flag for Ethics Officer training came up, I was very eager to go to the MECCA and see how standard tech was applied.

And I was told it would be 4 weeks, 5 weeks TOPS and I HAD to be back home by mid-JUNE UNDOUBTEDLY. No way could I even THINK of taking longer than that. It had to be done. My husband and I agreed, knowing it would be a big impact on our finances, but we could clean it up after the month pretty easily. This was on Monday or so. I should have known something was up when my only stipulation was that I had to be allowed, as planned, to go to my brother's wedding that Saturday and then I would prepare to go to Flag.

This was so out-reality to the missionaires. I was questioned if I REALLY had to be there (yes, I am a bridesmaid and besides it's my BROTHER!!), if I could leave early from the wedding, if I HAD to go to the rehearsal & rehearsal dinner, what's a bachelorette party?!?!? , etc.

I attended the most important events by the skin of my teeth, spending the rest of my time on course at the org and preparing the CSW to go to Flag. After the wedding was over and my CSW was approved, I was on constant call to jump on a plane at a moment's notice. For 2-3 days, I slept lightly (or not at all) anticipating a middle of the night phone call and being on course as much as possible without falling over. I left on May 17th.

I was shocked at the schedule we were expected to keep at Flag. Basically, Sea Org schedule. Even the "Saturday mornings off" were a joke. This was the only time we had to do laundry and had to clean our rooms (and wait for an inspection) and be on course by 1 pm.

Sometimes we were ordered to go to an event or cleaning of Flag buildings on Saturday mornings or, to my exasperation, be on course at 8:30 a.m. after a late night Friday event (like Maiden Voyage events, at which outer org trainees were simply a mass hard-sell machine aimed at not letting any public leave without buying something). I did not find the smooth lines, perfect supervision and role-model SO members I had expected. I found LONG waits in HCO, unreasonableness, callousness and was very shocked at being treated like a third class citizen. It was soon made clear to me that I would NOT be home in 4-5 weeks, but more like at least 3 months.

Since I felt I was doing the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics (in the long run), I convinced my husband to please let me stay and he would see the benefits of my training when I got home and our org expanded and went Saint Hills size and suppression was shattered and <insert standard Scientology propaganda here...

But, I was having my own travails trying to accept the way I was being treated and the out-tech I saw even at Flag. My husband began telling me the reality of our financial situation and I knew I had to go home to do something about it.

I didn't want my credit ruined, and with credit card bills getting 3 months overdue, etc, I had to do something. My CSW's to go home were repeatedly denied. The lack of time to communicate with my husband was having a very bad effect on our marriage (not to mention that the times I did talk to him, we argued about me not coming home and he'd break down begging me to return and I would see it as counter-intention and urge him to go to the org for ethics handlings).

I was blinded by the very noble idea of saving mankind, shattering suppression, clearing the planet, etc. But, I still couldn't see how me going back home for a month or so could really have such a big negative effect on that crusade. But....their talk is powerful and the negative ramifications of disobeying also very powerful to one who does want to "go free" and help mankind (as I have always desperately wanted to do). My CSW's with very real, very clear cut pressing reasons to go home were denied. What else to do? Blow from Flag? Unthinkable, so it seemed. I had too much to lose.

So, I eventually came to the point where I knew I HAD to do something. After I had been at Flag for four months, I ended up deciding to disconnect from my "suppressive" husband (he was counter-intention, you see?) and then return to training. It was the only reason I was allowed home and even then it was like pulling teeth. (As a side note, I was supposed to fly home at 10:30 a.m., September 11th. ***ooh...damn***

That obviously didn't happen and I spent another 3 days biding my time, eager to return to my husband because I really love him and wanted to be with him and I didn't want anything to stop me going home to him once I had gained permission. I finally ended up arriving home Sept 16th after a grueling Greyhound bus ride).

Needless to say, he hadn't been the model husband while I had been gone (but I can see his side of things) and we had a lot to patch up. But we have. And I made the decision to leave the church after much deliberation and without talking to him about it or even perusing the internet's plethora of anti-Scientology information. I made this decision based on my own experiences and my PERSONAL INTEGRITY.

I cannot stay in an organization that treats its members this way, subjugating their self-determinism and demeaning their values and priorities in favor of their own agenda. I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness and left that group when I was 16 because of the hypocrisy I saw in the upper members of the group. My personal integrity will not allow me to knowingly remain in another religion that does NOT practice what it preaches. Especially at its highest levels. There are many individual Scientologists I admire and truly love as beings. However, the Church is ruled from above, and that's where I see the worst transgressions.

The Sea Org is not acting as Ron envisioned and it's very disappointing to me that something with so much potential has been reduced to what it presently is. The C of S will have a hard time reaching the people of this planet with its' current attitudes and practices. I am disappointed. (That's the way I feel. I know others may feel differently and I do not wish to tread on their opinions. This is how I feel and I respect your opinion as well, hoping it's made on your own observation and true data).

So, to make a longer story just long, I have left staff and am departing the Church of Scientology. I will end this with an LRH quote I find utterly appropriate to my experience from his writing entitled "Personal Integrity".

"What is true for you is what you have observed for yourself. And when you lose that you have lost everything. What is personal integrity? Personal integrity is knowing what you know - what you know is what you know - and to have the COURAGE to know and say what you have observed. And that is integrity. And there is no other integrity." --LRH

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing your replies.

Liz Smith


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