Leaving Scientology may be the most important decision of your life. Remember it is your decision. You have the RIGHT to leave. You don't need the Church's permission. They may act like you do, but it is absolutely your right to walk away. You are a free person, not the Church's property.
Below are writings about Scientology and its effects, videos and written stories from ex-Scientologists speaking freely about their time in the Church, and other resources to help you make a decision and carry it out safely.
Since you are here you probably already have reasons for wanting to leave. If you're unsure, much has been written on the effects of being in the Church by ex-Scientologists and we invite you to read it and decide for yourself if you think it makes sense. All of the content below is "safe" - completely free of references to "advanced materials", OT levels, etc.
- An Open letter to Scientologists by OT8 ex-member Michael Pattinson
- Dear Scientologist letter #1 by Michael Tilse from Lermanet
- Dear Scientology Staff member letter #2 from Lermanet
- Dear Scientology Staff member letter #3 from Lermanet
- "Imagine a letter from L. Ron Hubbard" from Lermanet
- The 8 steps out of Scientology from Lermanet
- Demons of Freedom, an Essay from Lermanet
- Scientologists: If Truman Can Break Out, Why Can't You? from Tory Christman's website
- Mind Control Made Easy video by Carey Burtt about how mind control is done
- Video Testimonies Interviews and testimonies of Vivien and Tanya who were children in the Sea Org, Tory Christman talks about her 30 years in Scientology, Jim Beebe discusses the evolution of Scientology into the modern COS, and Frank Oliver talks about his time in OSA as part of a documentary
- Ex-Scientology Kids is a site made by three people who grew up in Scientology, Kendra Wiseman, Jenna Miscavige Hill (the recently-disconnected niece of David Miscavige), and Astra Woodcraft. Their stories are must-read if you have children in Scientology, and the site is an all around fantastic resource and contains a page of assorted personal stories.
- Tory Christman: Assorted videos after leaving Scientology, also see her personal website.
- OTVII Panel: (Video) Four OT 7s (Greg and Debra Barnes, Tory Bezazian and Peter Alexander) swap notes about their experiences on Scientology's upper levels
- The Woodcraft Family The stirring story of a family in the Sea Org, with video interviews, transcripts and written affidavits
- The Kim Baker Story Long written story about one woman's experience in the early battles between Scientology and the internet
- More Personal stories, many from ex-OSA members talking about the harassment and "dead agenting" (dead agenting) activities they performed against critics and ex members on behalf of the Church
- Many, many more personal stories constantly posted at the Ex-Scientologist Message Board
The Ex-Scientologist Message Board is a vibrant community of ex-Scientologists who have left, including many former top Scientologists. A great resource with lots of people who have been in the situation you are now.
XSO Yahoo Group is a very active ex-Sea Org chat site run by Mick Wenlock, great for reconnecting with others who have gotten out. Registration is required, but an easy process. Mick Wenlock can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ex-Scientology Kids forum is part of a new site Kendra Wiseman, Jenna Miscavige Hill (David Miscavige's niece), and Astra Woodcraft (ex-Sea Org) who all grew up in Scientology. Although new, a community of ex-Scientologists who are speaking up is forming there already.
Lermanet.com is a great resource for Scientologists run by Arnaldo "Arnie" Lerma. The site is run by ex-Scientologists for Scientologists, and deconstructs and explains how the Scientology machine takes control of your mind. Arnie also counsels Scientology members with transition support, getting refunds and in evaluating if they should find a lawyer, and has been for many years. Tel. (703) 241-1498 e-mail email@example.com
Escape International: Helps put families back together
These sections are written by an ex-Scientologist.
If you've come to the decision that Scientology is not for you, and you're wondering how to get out, we're here to help. Many people who realize that they may have some serious doubts about Scientology doctrines and policies don't know where to go from there. Here are some pointers that ex-Scientologists have found helpful:
1. Remember that you're not a criminal. Although people who leave are painted as downtone, downstat, or worse, SPs, always remember that "what's true for you is true for you".
You may be called a traitor, coward, liar, or criminal. You may be told that you have CI, or that you need to get your O/Ws off. You may be told that your petty complaints are not as important as saving the Universe. You may be told that "leaving is not the correct action", and that the correct action is to "take responsibility" for the situation and handle the church's problems from the inside.
Your ethics are YOUR ETHICS. You are the only one that gets to decide whether you are "out-ethics" or not.
Well, we're here to tell you that a desire to leave does not mean you have overts. It does not mean you're a traitor or a criminal. It does not mean you're a coward.
What it means is that you are choosing your own way, and keeping your integrity in. And that is a brave, brave thing to do.
2. Remember that you do not have to justify your decision to anyone. You are absolutely within your legal and human rights to refuse sec checks, route-out processes, and other procedures. You may, however, choose to do these things to remain in good standing with the church, and that too is your decision.
3. Figure out why you are leaving. If you are leaving because you still agree with the tech, but disagree with the current management practices of the Church, you may consider anonymously contacting the Freezone, a group of people who have left the CoS and continue to practice Scientology.
If you are leaving because you disagree with the Tech altogether, or because you feel that Scientology is not an uptone, Spirit of Play environment, you may consider anonymously joining one of the many online message boards and connecting with others who have gone through the same thing you are going through. (The Ex-Scientologist Message Board, Ex-Scientology Kids forum, XSO Yahoo Group)
4. Reconnect! If you have family and friends that aren't Scientologists, give them a call or get in touch. You don't have to talk about Scientology with them, but it does help to have some outside commlines. If you don't, give the message boards a try. Many of the long-time posters and administrators would be more than willing to chat with you on the phone.
Give yourself some breathing room to really evaluate Scientology for yourself, without the influence of Scientologists *or* anti-Scientologists. Examine any pluspoints and outpoints you noticed in Scientology. Read some websites about Scientology - both for and against. Ron did plenty of reading and research, there's no reason why you can't do the same.
If you decide to leave, the easiest way to actually begin the leaving process is to simply start fading out of the org environment. It's your money and *your* Bridge - you can choose to spend your money however you see fit, or go up that Bridge as often or as infrequently as you want.
Fading out slowly will also help ensure that you will not be presented with an SP declare, and ensure that family members still inside will not be asked to disconnect from you.
Stop showing up to the org as often, and avoid events and reg cycles. On your off time, start going out to places you don't normally go. Talk to people in coffee shops. Look up some interesting book readings or art events in your community newspaper and attend those instead.
After a time, you may choose to openly declare yourself a non- Scientologist. Or you may not. Again, the choice is up to you. But whatever your choice is, there are people on the internet and in real life who will support you.
And remember, the closest way out is the nearest door.
The easiest and least confrontational way to leave as a staff Scientologist is to become a public Scientologist again, and then fade out quietly.
Often, staff members who leave staff are looked down on, and told they are stupid, insane, PTS, "letting the org down", "not on board", "don't want to clear the planet", etc. Once again, what's true for you is true for you.
How you leave is up to you. However, you should know (and probably already do know) that if you originate an intention to leave staff, the org will be extremely reluctant to let you go, and you may be kept there for months "routing out". You should remember that Scientology has no legal basis for demanding that you do this. For those with family and friends still in, however, the routing-out procedure will ensure that you may continue to be in comm with your loved ones.
It's worthwhile to note that the routing-out procedure, in many cases, is designed to make you question your decision to leave. Be adamant about your personal decisions and your integrity. No one can take these from you.
If routing-out is unacceptable to you, or if you want out fast, you can and should blow. It's not easy, but if you feel that you are under tremendous pressure, or if you are certain you want to leave but know that you don't want to go through the sec-checking procedure, or if you are being verbally harassed and intimidated, just walk out the door.
It is your fundamental right as a human being to simply walk out that door.
We understand that you have been told that blowing is a high crime. We know, because we've been through it ourselves. We know that your compatriots and seniors look down on people who have left, and call them SPs. We understand that even people who go through the routing-out process are treated as if they are cowards, and traitors to the cause. You're not.
You may find this statistic very interesting: There are currently an estimated 5,000-7,000 people in the Sea Org. On the other hand, there are around 25,000 EX Sea Org members.
Many current SO members don't realize that they have the right to simply walk out. Leaving the Sea Org is a scary thing to do. But the best way to do it is to simply blow. If you have friends and family who are non-Scientologists, call them. If you have parents who will come get you, call them.
Here are some things to remember to keep you strong. Keep them close to your heart.
- The freeloader bill is legally unenforceable. They're not going to charge you for it. It's just a piece of paper.
- The Sea Org contract is legally unenforceable. Any Scientology lawyer who tried to take you to court for not fulfilling a "billion year contract" would be a laughingstock.
- The routing-out process is designed to degrade you, make you wrong for wanting to leave, convince you that you have overts, and convince you to finally decide to stay. The way that the SO route-out is often administered is illegal.
- If anyone tries to physically restrain you, they are guilty of kidnapping and wrongful imprisonment. Be Tone 40, and don't put up with it.
- No one has the right to not give you vacation time, especially when promised.
- No one has the right to open your mail and monitor your phone calls home.
- No one has the right to force you into session.
- No one has the right to tell you you cannot receive gifts from your family, if you want them.
And most importantly, THERE ARE PEOPLE YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO LOVE YOU, and care about you, and will give you unconditional support, a shoulder to lean on, and even a place to stay if you need one.
If you need help, or if you just need someone to talk to, please call the Ex-Sea Org hotline, a toll-free number manned by a network of Ex-SO members who can help you get out. The number is: 1-866-XSEAORG
It is highly probable that after you leave, someone will be dispatched to wherever you are staying to cajole you, threaten you, or pressure you to come back. It's important that you give yourself enough time and space to destimulate and make up your own mind.
You may be declared for leaving this way. That's something you will have to confront. If you have lots of family and friends in the Scientology that you don't want to disconnect from, and you feel up to routing-out, give it a shot. But if at any time you feel you're being badly treated or pressured, put your foot down. You are NOT committing a crime by asking to be treated ethically.
Don't sign any legal documents. If you do you are signing away your own rights. Don't sign any non disclosure agreements not to discuss your life in the Sea Org. It's much better to refuse to sign anything until you're out and can go over the documents carefully, or with representation.
What to expect
Sea Org or Staff Scientologists
If you've blown it's likely you'll be declared SP. If it happens your friends will be told lies about you, and will likely disconnect. It's an unfortunate and ugly truth. It will not be an easy step or an easy transition. They will come after you. They will try to convince you to come back. They will use the illusion of authority to order you to come back, but if you say no and stand firm, there simply isn't very much they can do.
As stated above, there are 25,000 ex-Sea Org members out there and tens of thousands of ex-staff, and most of them are leading happy, productive lives. They have wonderful jobs, they travel the world, they have children, they lounge in their gardens and read, they sip fine coffees, they go to Sunday brunches and rock shows, and they experience life to the very fullest.
You can too.
SP declares happen but not as much. As long as you don't speak out against the Church but just stop participating and remain in good standing, you probably won't be disconnected. They'll probably call you very often to try to get you to come in for services, and send you a lot of mail. Your Scientology friends will ask you "when was the last time you were on course?", or be concerned.
What will your life be like outside? Who knows? We can tell you that a huge majority of the Sea Org members that left do not regret their decision. People tend to be less stressed out, more at peace with the world, more comfortable in their human relationships. But as far as the specifics - where you will travel, who you will meet, what fun you will have... that is *your* adventure to create. And like the man said: "The greatest joy in this life is creating. Splurge on it!"