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Mirriam Francis: Picturing Scientology parents who abandon their children to abuse

 
Leah Remini’s second season of Scientology and the Aftermath started off with a hammer blow to the church — a devastating episode about child molestation in Scientology that was condoned and covered up.

One of the women featured in that episode, Mirriam Francis, described what it was like to have a mother so dedicated to Scientology that even in 2013 she would not lift a finger to help Mirriam try to get justice after being assaulted for years by her own father.

Mirriam reached out to us this week to tell us that she has an awful coda to that story. She found a photograph, and it tells her even more about how she was victimized. Here’s what she sent us.

 
I thought that my mother, Kerrie Francis, chose the Church of Scientology over me in 2013, when she refused to provide a statement to the police about her knowledge of my father sexually abusing me as a child. It was clear that she had decided not to do so in order to protect Scientology’s public image, despite the fact that he had confessed to her when I was twelve years old.

However, recently I realized that she actually chose the Church over me the day that she left me in Australia for nearly two years, in the sole care of my father, while she was pursuing her Sea Org career in Los Angeles. That was when the sexual abuse by my father began, when I was four years old.

A couple of months ago, I came across a photo that she had sent from Los Angeles at that time, on the back of which she wrote “Dreams do come true.”

 
My mother painted the series of L. Ron Hubbard oil paintings which are displayed at the LRH Life Exhibition in Los Angeles and are featured in the What Is Scientology book. She works at Golden Era Productions at Int Base near Hemet, and she is involved in the graphic designs for Scientology promotional materials, magazines, books and lectures.

As a parent myself I find it difficult to understand how someone like my mother leaves a child. I can only refer to the teachings of Scientology on the subject. There is a firm belief in Scientology that children are simply thetans (spiritual beings) in small bodies. I remember my mother telling me when I was a child that she knew who I was last lifetime. That I was a close male friend of hers who had passed away and went on to inhabit this (my) body. From that perspective, this reduces the parent-child relationship when the belief is that this lifetime is just a tiny speck on the “Whole Track” of lifetimes spanning before and after it.

In 2011, after leaving Scientology, when I first started receiving counselling for the sexual abuse, I called my mother to ask her questions that I had never felt brave enough to ask before. Questions like “When did you find out?” This opened up the conversation between us. Shortly after this I received an e-mail from her and here are some pieces from that e-mail.

In this part, she refers to my decision to “cut comm” that is in reference to me ending my relationship with my father…

“I’ve been thinking a lot on the last conversation we had and your messages, and what is the right thing… at first I wanted to rush off, get retributive and hurl fire and brimstone, all stirred up. I did go over this with my chaplain and asked her help, and her suggestions let me see there’s other alternatives. For one, even though you say you’ve cut comm and I am totally, totally, totally supportive of your decision on this, you may like to reconsider getting back in comm. The only reason I mention this is because in my experience I’ve found that the things I’ve avoided have been things that lingered on with doubts and irresolution. You know how you kinda get hung up in a ‘maybe…’ or ‘if…’?

“The thing is you know I am here and I’m doing what I’m doing because I think it’s the best thing. I feel that I’ve helped change things in the world for the better, and I can not turn my back on that despite sacrifices that seem sometimes beyond the norm. To me there is a future that goes beyond this life time and so in my own way I try to think there is a future for us together.

“Much in life makes us bitter, but I’ve also seen from my own auditing that where I’ve been sour and unforgiving and protesting victim, that there’s been something that I haven’t understood or that I didn’t see the whole picture on, and once those things were cleared up then I was free from holding onto old grudges and just went about creating my own life and future.”

My mother has referenced here a Scientology term — “protesting victim.” That means an unfounded dramatization of victimhood. In Scientology there is no recognition of someone being a victim of something. You are always responsible for everything that happens to you. Regardless of age or vulnerability.

In fact, when I was doing my leaving the Sea Org confessional at age seventeen, I was asked questions about the childhood sexual abuse as if I were the one who committed the crimes. That is how completely backwards it gets in Scientology with regard to sexual abuse. Meanwhile, my father was still a Sea Org member in good standing. To top it off, they forced me to sign an affidavit (not written by me) alleviating him and them of responsibility.

 
— Mirriam Francis

 

 
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Nick Lister asks for a helping hand

One of the things that made Alex Gibney and Lawrence Wright’s movie Going Clear so strong was the story of Sara Goldberg, the Florida woman who was forced to make a decision by the Church of Scientology between her son and her daughter.

Her son, Nick Lister, who had been raised in Scientology, refused to give up his friendship with a former Scientologist who was working with former church spokesman Mike Rinder. That proximity to Rinder was close enough to get Lister “declared” a “Suppressive Person” — labeling him an enemy of the church. Sara was ordered to disconnect from her own son or risk being declared herself and thereby losing contact to her daughter Ashley, who was a dedicated church member. But Sara couldn’t abandon Nick, and that meant her daughter cut off all ties to her, and Sara also lost any access to her granddaughter.

It’s an emotional way to end the movie, and even though Nick doesn’t appear in the film, it made viewers very curious about him. He then told some amazing tales of his own on YouTube, including a story about the punishment of a niece of Tom Cruise that we featured.

What we didn’t know was that Nick Lister has been going through some difficult times lately, which he spells out at a GoFundMe page that he has put up, seeking some financial assistance.

We hope he can get things back on track. He’s only 30, and with his good looks he ought to be ripping things up. We’re rooting for him.

 
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Join Scientology and meet Tom Cruise!

Mike Rinder posted this flier at his blog today and we just had to grab it. We can never remember seeing Tom actually used in a flier like this. It’s for one of the Mexico City facilities…

 

 
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Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,914 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 60 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,123 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,897 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,671 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,017 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,511 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,551 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,263 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 789 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,878 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,018 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,338 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,313 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 669 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,971 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,077 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,480 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,353 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 934 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,439 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,683 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,792 days.

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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on October 26, 2017 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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