|Leaving Darkness by Lucho Mosqueira, on Flickr|
1) DISCUSS IT WITH YOUR SPOUSE, if you have one. You may be surprised that they would understand. You have nothing to fear except the inevitable non-enturbulation order, and eventual declare, and perhaps a slew of knowledge reports. Don't worry about these, they are inevitably going to occur anyway, or it's best to operate as though you understood this was likely. They will be used against you. If you fail to communicate with your spouse, your family, and your friends, you may regret it later, when you cannot communicate with them any more because they close their doors to you.
The only time I wouldn't do this is if you are concerned for your safety or autonomy, in which case get out at your earliest convenience and alert your family outside, or if you don't have any, I think many people (including me) would be willing to put you up in an emergency while you sorted things out. DO NOT FEAR LOSING YOUR FAMILY: it has already happened, if they won't come with you. Instead, realize that you may be able to live freely and happily with some or all of your family if you communicate with them. If you don't, realize they will be encouraged to close ranks against you.
2) If you work with scientologists, realize that your job will be likely threatened or lost if you leave. Prepare for this. Spiff up your resume. Start shopping it around about a month before you go. Don't worry about what sort of job you'll get, too much. Take something solid that allows you to pay your bills and live independently of any supports in the Church. Consider writing to someone on this forum and asking for their help finding a good job. This is a huge network, and someone here probably knows someone near you that is hiring. It's worth a shot, and people who post here will understand the extremity or difficulties you face.
3) Realize that you are not the only person ever to have trod the path out of the Church. If you have questions, realize that probably 90% of the people who have ever been involved with Scientology are no longer involved with the Church. You are not alone. I, for one, understand what you are going through. Some here understand even better. I was only on staff two years, very young. Some here have left after 35 years or more involved, with their whole lives revolving around the Church. Don't be shy about asking people what their successful actions were, and what troubles they faced.
4) If you consider that the Tech is worth keeping, realize that you don't have to stay in the Church to have access to it. I'm not promoting the FreeZone, here, but I do think it's important for people concerned about "loss of Bridge" issues that these issues have been addressed outside the Church. If you don't give a hoot about the Tech, and you just want to be free, don't sweat that last. The FreeZone was incredibly helpful to me when I left the Church. I learned more about scientology through these people than I ever knew in the Church, because the secrets are bared, and the prices people charge are subject to market pressures, unlike in the fiat monopoly in the Church. I then decided I wasn't a scientologist, but not everyone makes that decision, and I respect people who decide that they remain scientologists, although they have left the Church.
5) DO NOT PAY ANY FREELOADER DEBT. This flows power to an organization undeserving of it. You will need your money in your new life. F/L debts don't hold up in court. The debt is not real. You don't owe the Church anything if you've been working for them. Very likely, they actually didn't deliver the services or training you wanted or needed, anyway, and perhaps inflated the costs of offering you the service. I paid my freeloader debt. I was a damned fool to do so.
6) KEEP ANY CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE CHURCH. Sometimes they slip up and say stupid things. Sometimes you are facing a divorce, as I was, and the documents that IJC sent me would have been very helpful in establishing a mental cruelty charge and increasing my access to my children, perhaps obtaining full custody instead of losing it. Declares are hard to come by, these days, and the actual physical order that you are declared is quite a collectors item. If you never need that correspondence, great, no harm done. If you do, but have thrown away something because it upset you or you didn't think you'd ever take action on it, you'll kick yourself.
7) If you feel the Church defrauded you or abused you, consider suing them. While you may feel that Scientology always wins every case, take it from me, and others here, that this is not only not true, its completely false. They lose cases quite frequently, although many times settlements are obtained instead of court victories. If they told you you'd be able to levitate an ashtray, and you did the drills and paid your fees, and you can't levitate an ashtray, I'd say they both lied to you and took your money from you. Generalize that to any claims of Dianetics or Scientology services that were used to sell you on exorbitantly priced services that almost never deliver what was promised. You have a right to hold them accountable for this.
This last I reserve for the feisty. It requires a willingness to fight, a little bit of resourcefulness getting lawyered up, but it is a tremendous moral victory if you do win, and lays stronger and stronger precedents with each person to do so. However, realize that the Church is structured to be a bit of a tar baby. They exist to fight with enemies real or imagined. The reason I encourage people to fight them, now (if they want to), although I've advocated against it in the past, is that critical mass has been achieved. The Church is overwhelmed fighting on more fronts than they can manage, and losing on all of them. Now is a time when you can pile on without much concern about their nasty tactics, as the people willing to employ them are getting caught on camera and put on youtube now, and what was once cloak and dagger is now just another chance to put the abuse on record.
I hope some of the above will be helpful to someone considering leaving. I stand by my words,
- Facing Your Doubts About The Church of Scientology
- Confronting Thought Reform & Coercive Persuasion
- “I don’t know why I couldn’t see it” by Jeff Hawkins
- Recovering from Scientology by Just Bill
- Captive hearts, captive minds : freedom and recovery from cults and abusive relationships by Tobias, Lalich & Langone
- Church of Scientology Repayments – Get your unused account balances returned by David St Lawrence
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