Looking to connect with second gen Ex Scientologists

Hello, I’m in my mid twenties and was born into Scientology. I left Scientology at the age of 18, spent my teenage years planning that escape. I’m realizing more and more as I try to do research and connect with others how unusual my experience is. I would love to talk to and connect with other people who were born into the church and left, or even just people within my age range who have left.
As I’m sure you all can imagine, leaving your life behind at 18 is a huge challenge. Coupled with being thrown into the world for the first time, fear of losing contact with family, struggling to find others who have had my experiences. It’s a lot for a young person to go through, and I’m hopeful to find others who share that experience or can relate in some way.
 

Karakorum

Broke ranks over 10 years ago, never looked back
Hello and welcome to the forums!
:welcome2:

We have some members here who are 2nd or 3rd generation ex-scn who were born into the cult and then left. Including myself.

For reading other people's stories and misadventures in scientology, this sub-forum is a good place to start
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
As Kara notes, we have a lot of second gen and long term people here. Welcome aboard!

Read some stories, and when you feel ready, perhaps consider contributing a story or two.
 

Dotey OT

We Finally Got a Puppy!
Welcome!!

And the following disclaimer:

You should keep as few details as possible that might help OSA dimwitted scrutinizers from discovering your identity. I am UTR (Under the radar) and hopefully will be that way until I decide not to be, and so should you.

Glad to see you here!

:cool:


A beautiful almost spring morning here in the South.
 

freethinker

Controversial
Hello, I’m in my mid twenties and was born into Scientology. I left Scientology at the age of 18, spent my teenage years planning that escape. I’m realizing more and more as I try to do research and connect with others how unusual my experience is. I would love to talk to and connect with other people who were born into the church and left, or even just people within my age range who have left.
As I’m sure you all can imagine, leaving your life behind at 18 is a huge challenge. Coupled with being thrown into the world for the first time, fear of losing contact with family, struggling to find others who have had my experiences. It’s a lot for a young person to go through, and I’m hopeful to find others who share that experience or can relate in some way.
Yeah it's hard, but imagine if you are 40 or 50, and thrust into the same situation, how do you start over?
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
Yeah it's hard, but imagine if you are 40 or 50, and thrust into the same situation, how do you start over?
That was my thought as I decided to leave the Sea Org: that every further year, every further month, would make it more difficult to re-establish myself in my former career. So I left while it was still feasible to re-enter the real world.
 

JeansAndRice

Active member
Hello, I’m in my mid twenties and was born into Scientology. I left Scientology at the age of 18, spent my teenage years planning that escape. I’m realizing more and more as I try to do research and connect with others how unusual my experience is. I would love to talk to and connect with other people who were born into the church and left, or even just people within my age range who have left.
As I’m sure you all can imagine, leaving your life behind at 18 is a huge challenge. Coupled with being thrown into the world for the first time, fear of losing contact with family, struggling to find others who have had my experiences. It’s a lot for a young person to go through, and I’m hopeful to find others who share that experience or can relate in some way.
Hi Strawberry, and welcome!!! Second gen ex Scn here for ya. As everyone else has said, should be plenty of us around to relate to any manner of strange and nuanced experiences re: Scientology upbringing, leaving etc.

I want to add I've also struggled with trying to connect with others and then feeling that my experience is too unusual for that to happen... And I wanna tell you something that helped me, and even changed that for me--> researching the broader implications of Scientology's framework and its mechanisms/concepts has let me see how similar it is to many other ideologies, even if the intricacies are different. The trauma, or the end result, of Scientology is not unusual. And I like to say less that the experience is unusual, because the psychological damage caused by institutions, fundamentalist religions and self-help leaders is VERY usual, and more that the experience is uncommon, as most people aren't damaged by Scientology. Hope this helps you a little like it helped me.

I say this to let you know you aren't alone.. <3 plus, for better or worse, now you have all the weirdos on this forum
 

Enthetan

Veteran of the Psychic Wars
The above describes the community here

No matter what you experienced, no matter how "out reality" it would seem to the people who weren't there, you have people you can tell your stories to here, who can say:

"Been there.

Done that.

Got face-ripped and gang-bang sec checked over it."
 
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Hi Strawberry, and welcome!!! Second gen ex Scn here for ya. As everyone else has said, should be plenty of us around to relate to any manner of strange and nuanced experiences re: Scientology upbringing, leaving etc.

I want to add I've also struggled with trying to connect with others and then feeling that my experience is too unusual for that to happen... And I wanna tell you something that helped me, and even changed that for me--> researching the broader implications of Scientology's framework and its mechanisms/concepts has let me see how similar it is to many other ideologies, even if the intricacies are different. The trauma, or the end result, of Scientology is not unusual. And I like to say less that the experience is unusual, because the psychological damage caused by institutions, fundamentalist religions and self-help leaders is VERY usual, and more that the experience is uncommon, as most people aren't damaged by Scientology. Hope this helps you a little like it helped me.

I say this to let you know you aren't alone.. <3 plus, for better or worse, now you have all the weirdos on this forum
Very much appreciate this response! And it’s certainly true, while it may be a challenge to connect at times I’ve definitely found myself relating to the experiences of people from other, yet similarly restrictive and oppressive, religious backgrounds. Especially I’ve found Mormonism has a large amount of crossover with things like disconnection.
 

JeansAndRice

Active member
Very much appreciate this response! And it’s certainly true, while it may be a challenge to connect at times I’ve definitely found myself relating to the experiences of people from other, yet similarly restrictive and oppressive, religious backgrounds. Especially I’ve found Mormonism has a large amount of crossover with things like disconnection.
Yes, I'm glad to assist. And another yes because I have a bestie who is ex-Mormon and she very much relates to the strange insular nature of it all.
I have some book recommendations that helped me feel less alone/in the dark, if you like books! Also podcasts. Podcasts help a lot.
 

Karakorum

Broke ranks over 10 years ago, never looked back
Very much appreciate this response! And it’s certainly true, while it may be a challenge to connect at times I’ve definitely found myself relating to the experiences of people from other, yet similarly restrictive and oppressive, religious backgrounds. Especially I’ve found Mormonism has a large amount of crossover with things like disconnection.
I've listened to some of the Mormon Stories podcast and it has been insightful. While there are obviously a lot of differences, the two things that Mormonism have in common with Scientology (and that few other cults do) is the very large and complex "mythology" combined with the sheer volume of ceremonies, practices, teachings, writings etc.
Another is the sheer size of the Organization and its corporate-ness.

Also the role of fantasy-biographies and fake storytelling the cult "munchausen syndrome"... few other podcasts gave me the amount of insight into Hubbard's self-bio-deceit than the Mormon Stories podcast about Paul Dunn (Pretty much their version of Hubbard: guy claiming to be a ww2 hero and making up all sorts of amazing stories from his past that he would use to make himself a teacher and authority). It was very insightful as far as why people do that and why they do that in cults in particular.
This is the episode in question:
 
Yes, I'm glad to assist. And another yes because I have a bestie who is ex-Mormon and she very much relates to the strange insular nature of it all.
I have some book recommendations that helped me feel less alone/in the dark, if you like books! Also podcasts. Podcasts help a lot.
That’s lovely to hear! Yes I would definitely appreciate books and podcast recommendations. Podcasts especially!
 
I've listened to some of the Mormon Stories podcast and it has been insightful. While there are obviously a lot of differences, the two things that Mormonism have in common with Scientology (and that few other cults do) is the very large and complex "mythology" combined with the sheer volume of ceremonies, practices, teachings, writings etc.
Another is the sheer size of the Organization and its corporate-ness.

Also the role of fantasy-biographies and fake storytelling the cult "munchausen syndrome"... few other podcasts gave me the amount of insight into Hubbard's self-bio-deceit than the Mormon Stories podcast about Paul Dunn (Pretty much their version of Hubbard: guy claiming to be a ww2 hero and making up all sorts of amazing stories from his past that he would use to make himself a teacher and authority). It was very insightful as far as why people do that and why they do that in cults in particular.
This is the episode in question:
Thanks for this! I’ll give it a listen for sure. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos and listened to some podcasts of ex Scientologists who talk about the history of Scientology/ Hubbard as well as other cults , it’s really fascinating and I appreciate having an understanding of the way things like this come to be. On the other hand it can sometimes be triggering and difficult, do you ever find that to be true for yourself with these sorts of things?
 

Karakorum

Broke ranks over 10 years ago, never looked back
Thanks for this! I’ll give it a listen for sure. I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos and listened to some podcasts of ex Scientologists who talk about the history of Scientology/ Hubbard as well as other cults , it’s really fascinating and I appreciate having an understanding of the way things like this come to be. On the other hand it can sometimes be triggering and difficult, do you ever find that to be true for yourself with these sorts of things?
I did not find mormon stories to be particularly difficult or triggering. Of course, sometimes there is a guest who describes a traumatic event like a death of a loved one or abuse and they become very emotional and start to cry etc. But I think that watching this makes everyone a bit uncomfortable, ex-cult or not. I haven't had any vividly ex-cult-triggers watching mormon stories.

The only piece of media that was a bit difficult was Janis Grady's book about her experiences on the Apollo that I'm reading now. It is a very well written book and I'm sure for people who were never in the Sea Org it would be a "page-turner". For me it is a much slower read, because there's much to compare and some "Oh so THAT's how X started..."

Also I found it bizarre that everyone focuses on the "locking adults and kids in the chain locker" punishment, but nobody mentions several day long sleep deprivation sessions for kids. o_O
I'd much rather spend 2 weeks in the chain locker rather than have the 72 hour long sleep deprivation session while doing an "amends project" that Janis was subjected to while she was 12. :eek:

I'm speaking as someone with personal experience of long sleep deprivation - that's an immensely harsh punishment even by scientology standards. Hubbard didn't care, probably because he never himself went through such long periods of sleep deprivation (unless he did it in Thelema, but I'm not aware of that).
 
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HelluvaHoax!

Well-known member
Yes, I'm glad to assist. And another yes because I have a bestie who is ex-Mormon and she very much relates to the strange insular nature of it all.
I have some book recommendations that helped me feel less alone/in the dark, if you like books! Also podcasts. Podcasts help a lot.

Very interesting.

Once I was dating a girl who was still in the LDS (born and raised) but straddling the line as to whether to jump overboard and swim ashore. In the rest of her life (besides being born and raised in LDS) she was anything but conventional. She was a pretty wild child to be honest, Church of the LDH (latter day hippie), LOL.

But we got along great and had fun but one day i started asking her about LDS and the more she told me the more my jaw dropped in awe at the similarities to the COS. I became fascinated and dug into a bunch of research on various EX-Mormom message boards, Apostate sites, and hardcore LDS debunking domains. I started talking to her (gently) asking about this and that. It was shocking how they had 75 million control tethers into her life (still) while they were trying to "handle" her with all the tricks, gimmicks that ex-Scientologists know very well. Love bombing is only the first page of that encyclopedia, and ethics handling is only the second page. Then there is a virtual ONE FOR ONE identical-ness of how the cults keep their cults working.

I even took her to bookstores and bought her "must read" stuff about Joseph Smith, who like Hubbard was a world class con man, liar and scammer, using the "mystical" or "religious" angle to rip people off. It's unbelievable (using the LDS paradigm) if you want to see Scientology without having to look thru the prism of one's history of BEING IN Scientology. It's a raw feed, so to speak to see a cult laid bare without any protections.

In any case her LDS "Friends" stepped up the campaigns (plural) to "recover" her. We saw and talked to each other less and less, but stayed connected as friends at later points in time. Our lovely friendship/relationship never had a heated moment or conflict about her LDS "doubts". We only discussed the truths and the lies and she was waking up like crazy. Maybe she got back in because of all the family and church pressures that were unbearable...maybe not. If I ever talk to her again, I'll ask and she'll tell me.

The amount of psychological pressure a cult can bring to bear on a cult member can be nearly unbearable. But, truth is far more powerful than lies, so most everyone who begins the journey "out" makes it all the way "out". One of the encouraging factors to newly-outs is that 98 percent of all people who were ever "in" he cult ended up blowing.

The vaccine called reality works on the cult virus, innoculate as much as needed by reading all, talking to all and by any means, learning all the cult traps that are supposed to keep you delusionally happy that you are in a spiritual chain locker! LOL

.
 

JeansAndRice

Active member
That’s lovely to hear! Yes I would definitely appreciate books and podcast recommendations. Podcasts especially!
Podcasts-

IndoctriNation with Rachel Bernstein, I've listened to only a few episodes with ex-Scientologists, but she has many with ex-Scn, and many other cults and manipulative/high control groups. She's a therapist in CA, and I like her interview style and personality.

Obv, Scientology: Fair Game with Leah Remini and Mike Rinder, I've listened to most of the episodes. Yes, sometimes learning about and hearing about all of the fucked up shit a group you were a part of commits, or the ways in which it can emotionally ruin a person can be triggering and difficult. It's all about going slow, take breaks when and if you need to, and also realizing that you are not the group.

Behind The Bastards from iHeartRadio has a 3 part series on LRH that is hilarious and sometimes hard to listen to (when you realize what a sociopath he is, ughhhh). They don't have a lot of sympathy for the man, understandably. So just be aware they can seem harsh, though I feel it is due. Also, Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller (book), it lends a lot of insight into the man behind Scientology's creation. I believe this book is at least one of the references of this podcasts on Hubbard's life.

The Gateway: Teal Swan from Gizmodo. I don't know what to say about Teal. I feel this is relevant because these movements (cult-y spiritual movements) are still happening in real time, and the personalities of the people who do this type of thing are worth noting and knowing. As well as their methods of recruitment, and trains of "logic" for why they do what they do. Teal is still active.

That feels like a sufficient place to stop, more than enough hours of listening there. Another tip/trick/idea: I have found leaders in their fields who I respect and whose work makes sense to me, and I search their name on spotify to find interviews with them. It usually isn't related to Scn, but it helps me balance the input, as well as giving new information where old ideas are being dismantled.

Without something to grab onto, deconstructing your worldview can be a shock.

For that I read/listen to Noam Chomsky, Bessel van der Kolk and Brene Brown (and more).. Brene Brown's podcast Unlocking Us is so inspiring and she listens like a hug you didn't know you needed. Her work on shame is so important, and considering the myriad ways Scn shames one into submission.. well, I can't tell ya how much learning my shame has helped.

Lastly, the one book I would say to get (at this time) is Dangerous Persuaders by Louise Samways. This was published many years ago in Australia; the information in it is concise and accurate, even if cursory. This is like a quick cult rundown, laying out criteria, methods and then different groups that exhibit cult behavior. Useful and quick read.

Other books to look into:
A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack (Jon's perspective is FIRE!)
Understanding Scientology by Margery Wakefield (this helped me see how Scn appears objectively)
The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk (okay.. this one is big and heavy, but understanding trauma from the psychological standpoint, as opposed to the Hubbard reactive mind standpoint, was invaluable for me. Being able to use non-Scn terms to name the way I was feeling was so liberating. I really could write a piggyback book on this book about how much I love it. ALSO this is the first book I've ever read by someone called a psychiatrist. What I LOVE about him is that he does not promote or even really support the use of drugs in clinical therapy. So he's easy to get behind coming from the still-kind-of-weirded-out-by-the-medical-establishment-thanks-to-years-of-indoctrinating..... he's definitely a maverick kinda psychologist.)
Brightsided by Barbara Ehrenreich (this was a great perspective into how toxic positivity was born and is perpetuated. I know this is something very common in Scn, and while she doesn't address Scn it is easy to apply these ideas to the subject, while also seeing the ways in which our current society supports this toxic positivity.)
Troublemaker by Leah Remini (I read this in like 3 days. Have I mentioned I love her?)
A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein (this one also reads quickly. Kate is so witty and brings such a tongue-in-cheek perspective to it all.)
Currently I'm reading Losing Reality by Robert Jay Lifton. The sub-heading of the book is "On Cults, Cultism and The Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry." It's a great read so far, and like I had said in a previous post, understanding these systems is really helpful in the deconstruction. And recently someone here on the forum posted on a book coming out in a few months, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell, and I'm really looking forward to that.

Hope this is not too much, and just enough. Lol... okay maybe it's kinda extra.
 
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