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Derek Bloch reflects on what having Scientology parents can mean for kids in the church

[Derek Bloch]

Several days ago, someone sent us some photographs from a wedding and asked us to forward them to a regular figure here at the Underground Bunker, a young man named Derek Bloch. We sent those images to Derek, and they hit him hard. We suggested that he deal with that emotion by writing something, and that’s just what he did. So fasten your seat belts.

I often think back fondly to the days before Scientology, or at least what I can remember from those days. My parents joined when I was just a few years old. I was originally raised Catholic. I think I made it to my First Communion. My parents were very strict when I was a kid. My sister and I would talk to each other after bedtime, for example. My parents didn’t like that, even when we were whispering. I never understood why it bothered them so much and even as an adult I still can’t fathom hitting children because they are talking to each other. But that was my parents’ response — my dad with the belt and my mom with the wooden spoon (or hanger). One time, I remember that my mom was hitting my ass through the blankets when I was laying in bed. It didn’t hurt me at all, but she took that as a challenge.

So, she made me pull the covers off and she hit me so hard it broke the spoon. When they took me to stay with my aunts or grandparents, it was always a reprieve from the constant fear of crossing my parents when I was home.

After Scientology, that all changed. My parents took a more “hands-off” approach. It’s been said many times that Scientology’s philosophy is that children are just adults in tiny bodies. In fact, this is all set up by the belief that a child’s soul (thetan) can choose the body and family they want to be a part of. Now that I am not a Scientologist and I know how to act and think like a grown-ass human being, I realize that is such a powerful way to guilt-trip children. My parents used to say to me all the time, “you picked this family, we didn’t ask you to be here” as if it was a matter of fact. They used it repeatedly to make it like I was some kind of burden that had inflicted myself upon them. They would also use it to explain why I was similar to them. Imagine my shock when I grew up and learned that children are random combinations of genetic material between parents.


I was indoctrinated into Scientology through courses which are specially designed for children. I never did go to Scientology school. Not only was it too expensive for my parents, but my dad said all the kids that graduated from them were stupid. He wanted me to get a “real” high school diploma and he felt that public school would give me the necessary life experience. Ironic that neither one of those things happened, but Scientology isn’t known for making sense.

I remember one of the first times that I was severely embarrassed by Scientology confessionals. I was 13 years old and I had looked at pornography a few times since I was 11. The Internet was still a new place back then. I had a Hotmail account, but I had one time accidentally typed in “hotmale.” I immediately clicked back. I was afraid my parents would see that I had visited that site so I learned how to delete Internet history. After a while, I realized my parents had no idea. My dad was Clear and I was afraid that meant he could read my mind. That fear became more prominent when he was OT, but I quickly realized that he couldn’t. So I visited the site a few more times, along with some others. Anyway, I started on the Personal Values & Integrity course, which is one of the beginner adult courses. At the end of it, it requires that you write down transgressions in a specific format. Not only that, but you have to hold the cans of an e-meter and answer to whether or not you have written down “all of them.” I hadn’t written down the porno visits. Somehow, I got by with not admitting that they were gay porno sites. I was able to keep the information generic enough that it wasn’t clear.

That is what I was really worried about, after all. I didn’t want my parents to find out that I was gay. I remember my dad talking about the “gay agenda,” and how they are using TV and movies to force gay people into normality. This was ever since I was young. My dad would quit watching shows just because there was a single gay character. I knew better than to let on that I liked dudes. I kept it hidden from everyone. I was afraid that if I told my friends and especially church members that it would get back to my parents.

I hated that walk home, especially towards the end of the school year when it was hottest. There had been some Sea Org recruiters on me for months, named Luc, Vanessa, and Jimmy. They were like dogs with a bone when they saw me. I had made the mistake of answering “yes” to a questionnaire a Church member had given me which asked if I was interested in the Sea Org. I was interested because I didn’t know what it was. Jimmy was at that event and he was all over it. From then on I would get phone calls every day at all hours — 6am, 9pm, 1am. All wanting me to go visit the Sea Org recruitment office in Hollywood on L. Ron Hubbard Way. My parents explained to me that the Sea Org was only for the most dedicated Scientologists, and that if I went there I would not be allowed to come home. They said I would never get a driver’s license or be able to make any real money. My dad said that I could join if I wanted to but only as an adult. That way, if I fucked up, it wouldn’t reflect on him. That was always his concern, his image to other Scientologists.

When I was 14 years old, it was a hot, hot summer day in Eagle Rock — a community within the City of Los Angeles. I had to walk home about a mile and a half, and most of it was steep hills. I saw two of the three recruiters sitting in a black Camaro out in front of my school. I did not want them to embarrass me in front of my classmates. I also didn’t know how they knew what school I went to. My dad would later tell me that it was probably me that had told them without realizing it. I took a different route home through the back of the school so I could avoid them. They found me anyway when I was a quarter of the way home or so. They offered me a ride and I politely refused. I clearly said, “I don’t want to talk to you.” They said that was fine, but that they were offering me a ride home because it was hot.

The car had A/C. They convinced me to get in the car and put me in the back seat. The Camaro was a two-door, four-seater with a small back seat that was only accessible through the front seats. I was stuck in there. I had been taught to trust these people, but they lied to me. Around 4 pm we arrived at the Pacific Area Command Base of Scientology on L. Ron Hubbard Way. This was despite my numerous protests. I wasn’t allowed to leave the tiny room they locked me in. The phone in that room was disconnected. When there weren’t also eight to ten Sea Org members in the way, there was a solid steel desk between me and the door. I was stuck again. They spent hours and hours working me on an emotional roller-coaster. They told me that everyone in the world would die if I didn’t join the Sea Org. They told me that I was a piece of shit if I didn’t join the Sea Org. They asked me if my parents were telling me not to join and suggested that my parents were SPs. Tempting as it was, I didn’t take that bait.

I ended up signing the contract out of desperation to get out of that tiny room and get something to eat and drink. It was almost 1 am when I called my dad for a ride home. He was livid. When he finally showed up with my mom in the car they berated me on the whole ride home about how this was my fault for answering the stupid questionnaire. Even after I explained my kidnapping and imprisonment to them, they said it was my fault for not being stern enough.

Eventually, my dad reneged on his promise not to sign me over to the Sea Org, and once he did I had no reason to stay home anymore. I went to the Sea Org. For the next three years, between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, I rarely had more than four hours of sleep a night. I worked 17 hours a day and made $50 a week on my largest paychecks. I was restricted to stay on the same city block that I worked. I was on camera 24/7 and all my movements were monitored. The Security staff on L. Ron Hubbard Way make sure to remind you of that by periodically questioning you about your movements.

I see the stupid ads from Homeland Security all the time now, “Human Trafficking is Modern day Slavery.” How hypocritical that they are so worried about human trafficking but they refuse to have anything to do with Scientology or even entertain reports like mine that are sitting with the FBI. I was being trafficked, as a child, for labor in the years 2001 to 2004. I gave the FBI the names of my abductors and my traffickers. It’s been a year and a half with no response from anyone.

I was trafficked to Florida next, where I had the unfortunate experience of falling in love with another male staff member. We spent time lying in bed together and one time got caught by a fellow roommate. After months of manual labor and interrogations, I was finally released two days after my 18th birthday. I called my parents after the security guard Alex dropped me off. First, my dad asked me how he was supposed to explain this to his friends. What were they going to think of him now that he has this degraded ex-Sea-Org son? Then he hit me with “I told you so.” Then I explained why I was kicked out. I knew they would find out anyway, so I told him that I had been in bed with another male staff member. You’d have thought I’d admitted to strangling one of our pet dogs. My dad started shouting at me that he didn’t raise me like that. My mom said that she couldn’t trust me to be alone with my little brother because I was going to molest him. Then my dad told me that I should kill myself to spare him the embarrassment of having a gay son. I convinced them both it was a mistake and that the other guy made me do it. That was not true of course. Then I lay in bed after they went back to work and I cried while staring at the ceiling. I cried for hours. When my parents came home I left. I just went walking all over the city. When I got home, they pretended like they were worried about me. I don’t believe they were anymore. I found out from my uncle that my dad never even wanted kids. My dad used to say he hated kids while talking about a daycare across the street from the accounting practice he owned.

As if having my own dad tell me to kill myself was not bad enough, he pushed me to get a job through a Scientologist head hunter named Mya. Scientologists love to employ ex-Sea-Org because they know we are desperate to make a buck and to get work history. I was young enough that I still had a chance, but some people are so old when they leave the Sea Org that they will never be able to build up a resume.

Scientologists that employ ex-Sea-Org will work us 12 hours a day, knowing that we appreciate not having to work the additional five hours. They don’t offer proper benefits because they know we don’t care. What’s worse, Scientologists know that if they mistreat us at work, we cannot sue them. If we do sue them, we will be expelled from Scientology as well as our parents’ home. In a city like Los Angeles, you cannot live on your own with a minimum-wage job. There is an alleged recourse within Scientology where you can arbitrate labor disagreements with WISE. WISE is an organization that monitors and manages all Scientologist-owned companies. They convene a committee that automatically sides with whichever Scientologist is more valuable in the Church’s eyes. Ex-Sea-Org members are considered the lowest rank of Scientologists in the entire Church community. Needless to say, I would never have won a labor dispute. This is what ultimately lead me to get out of working for Scientologists and into the normal world. My dad would complain about the crappy pay and benefits working for a Scientologist, but he refused to follow my example. He said that no one else would give him personal loans and time off to do things like the OT Levels.

When I got my first paycheck, my dad sat me down and split up my money for me. He told me how much he was going to take from it. He wanted 30 percent of my paycheck to pay rent. I understand now that he needed the money because he was destitute from giving all of his money to Scientology. I have been paying rent since I was 18 years old. By the time I was 20 I was paying $500 month which was full market value for a room in Los Angeles in 2006. I know because I checked into moving. I had to keep hiding the fact that I was gay from my parents. I would often sneak out for late-night rendezvous and I was afraid they would catch me. That’s why I had been trying to figure out how to move. Eventually, I gave up altogether because I could never afford to move out on my piddly salary.

My parents repeatedly reminded them that I was a “liability” to them. This is something in Scientology used to make people feel guilty for not doing what’s expected of them. In order to get out of liability you have to take a sheet of paper around and have members of whatever group you’re in sign it, until at least 51 percent of them have signed. Before they will sign it, you have to convince them that you did enough to make up for whatever your failure was. Doing your regular job is not enough — you have to go above and beyond. Which I did at every opportunity for my family. They never once acknowledged this. I tried to tell them for years about how bad the conditions were in the Sea Org. About how I was sharing a room with 30 other boys and men. How I had to work such long hours, and I was always tired. I told them how the gifts they gave me were confiscated or stolen. They would have none of it. They said to report it to the Church, as if the Church weren’t the very people who were abusing me. I gave up after a while.

I wanted to learn how to drive because taking the bus was adding hours to my commute. My dad flat-out refused to let me learn in his car. He told me if I wanted to drive, I needed to get my own car and learn in that. He wasn’t going to have his degraded son wrecking his precious Mustang. After I got my own car and my license, he gave the Mustang to my sister who used it to learn to drive and get her license. She promptly wrecked it by crashing into a wall in the rain. My dad even came to me to complain about it as if I was supposed to care. I pretended to care, but really I was already fostering a lot of rage at both of my parents. The longer I stayed there the more they rubbed it in my face by giving my sister everything she needed and leaving me to fend for myself. She never had to pay my dad rent or utilities. In fact, she would go long periods of time without working and my parents would say nothing. When I was let go from one job, my parents hounded me every day about submitting applications to other jobs until I got one a month later.

At one point my dad took up a volunteer position at work, helping people with their personal lives. He would come home and tell us all about how his co-worker Erin was a slut or how some other person was a drug addict. He would boldly share intimate and embarrassing details of the people that he was supposed to be counseling. This is standard in Scientology. There is no privacy. In fact, I got into a shouting match with my parents because they were opening my mail. I installed a lock on my bedroom door because they were snooping in it when I wasn’t home. My parents would casually discuss their sex lives, in vulgar detail with their teenage son and pre-teen daughter around to hear it. I remember one time when I was 12 or 13, we were visiting my aunt’s house in Orange County. My parents were talking to the neighbors and mentioned that my little brother was a “hot tub accident.” My sister was 9 years old at the time. This is what happens when you think of kids as “little adults.” My dad also shared intimate details about my mother’s personal life with me. He confided in me that she had planned to cheat on him with a co-worker named Kevin. He wanted me to cheer him up — again I was 13 at the time. My mom would come to me and talk about their financial troubles. She would apologize for us having to eat beans and cheese for dinner so much because they didn’t have any money. She blamed it on my dad’s investments in Scientology. One time, my dad told me that Charles who was in security at PAC had convinced my mom to join the Sea Org. She was ready to leave the family behind and do it, until my dad made her stay, somehow.

My dad convinced my aunt Brenda to divorce her husband. Her husband had never been active in Scientology. My dad believed that my aunt’s health issues — which were related to diabetes — were because of her husband. He offered to share a home with her and so she started divorce proceedings and moved in with us. She was online dating. My dad managed to get into her room and dig through her computer messages. This was condoned by the Church personnel at the local church because my aunt had become uninterested in Scientology. After reading her messages on the online dating sites, my dad called my sister, brother, mother, and me together so he could discuss them with us. I came home from work one day to find out she had moved out. She was being declared and I was not allowed to speak with her. My dad facilitated all of this. My aunt died within two years. She was in her early 50s. After my aunt passed she left me with a small life insurance claim. I was let go from work in early 2011 and because of the financial crisis at the time, I was unemployed for nearly a year. I survived off of the money she left me. My aunt, who was disaffected and declared, had left me cash so I could for once in my life take a vacation from working. Those few months were the only vacation I had had since I was 15 years old. I was 25. I realized that my aunt cared more about me than my parents ever did. We had to move again and my dad said he needed money for the deposit. He asked me to borrow $4,000 for it. I later found out he gave that money to the Church in my name. Evidently, he never needed money for the deposit. I was so angry and I told him as much. He never apologized to me for stealing my money.

In early 2012, my car was stolen from a friend’s house and wrecked. I called the police to report it and it had been impounded after being involved in a hit-and-run. I wasn’t worried, because I wasn’t in the car. Plus this is what insurance is for. When I called my dad he flipped out. He asked me how was I going to get to work. He screamed at me through the phone so much so that my friends could hear and I had to go to another room. He asked me to go home and I told him I would not with him acting like that. I hung up on him. He called me back and threatened to have me arrested since the car was in his name. When I finally agreed to go home, after he had calmed down, he called me outside with him. I thought maybe he was going to comfort me or apologize, but I should have known better. He asked me if I was having sex with men. I stormed up to my room and cried all night. This is when I downloaded Inside Scientology to my phone and read it all. I realized that I wasn’t weird and that there was something wrong with my family. I had known for a while because my friends were all non-Scientologists. This just confirmed it.

All of that led up to me posting my original story online. I was expelled from Scientology and my home. My parents came to a friend’s house to tell me they knew I had posted something online. Initially, I lied to them, but it wasn’t convincing. I agreed to go home and meet them. I was just going to go upstairs and grab my stuff and go to a different friend’s house. My dad wouldn’t have it. I stood there and listened to him berate me for an hour or so. I can hardly remember what he said, but it was all about how embarrassing this was for him. I was having a case of déjà vu. One thing I do remember clearly was when he asked, “Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t want to be involved with Scientology? I would have left you alone.” I told him, “I thought it was obvious.” He just started to cry while my mom and sister patted him on the back like he was some kind of martyr. It was disgusting to watch, especially now that I was coming to terms with how horrible my parents were — not only as parents but also as people. My mom convinced me to go with her to the church on L. Ron Hubbard Way so that I could read my declare. It was there that she had me sit in front of Lon and Julian so that they could show me why I was being declared. (Lon is the one of the senior enforcers of Scientology “ethics” in California. He had previously rejected me as a friend because of his homophobia and told his brother to also reject me as a friend later on only to then personally insert himself into my family’s disagreements and order them to disconnect from me.) Their reasoning was that I had said bad things about Scientology online. I looked all through it but I could find nowhere that they accused me of lying. Apparently, if the truth looks bad for Scientology, it’s your fault not theirs.

I haven’t heard from anyone in my family besides my mom. I spoke to her for 30 seconds as part of an episode of a show that never aired. Funny how not only does law enforcement not care about people like me who were abused by Scientology — seems like the media doesn’t much either (unless you’re a celebrity). I told the producers of that show that I wouldn’t do it unless they knew it was going to air. They lied to me, but by then I was used to it.

Six years it’s been, plus a couple of months since I moved out. Recently, I found out my brother was married in 2015. I saw some photos of the wedding. I will not share them or say from whom I got them at this time because I appreciate what that person did for me. My sister wasn’t there, which makes me wonder if she’s fallen out of my dad’s grace as well. My brother was being hugged by Lon. One of two people who are personally responsible for surveilling me on the Internet and telling my parents to eject me from their home. I’m not really mad about being separated from my parents, but I wish they hadn’t done the same thing to my brother that they did to me. I used to be sad that I couldn’t see my mom and dad because I thought maybe deep down they still loved me. Seeing how close they are with Lon, though — he was my brother’s best man. It was disgusting. It made me so angry and it made me feel so sad for my brother. He does not have an identity outside of Scientology and he will never have the opportunity to form one.

When I first parted ways with them in 2012, my parents sent mass e-mails to our extended family. They accused me of freeloading off of them. They said that I was unsupportive of them and even accused me of doing drugs. My sister visited our extended family exactly one week after I was there visiting. My visit was the first time I’d been to see them in a decade or more. It was right after Tony had written my story and it had been passed around to all them. I was there to answer their questions about me. I had no interest in bad-mouthing my parents or siblings. My sister had a meal with a cousin of ours. She asked my cousin if they thought that I was disgusting. After all, don’t Catholics hate gays too? When I was there visiting at a different time, I mentioned that my parents had talked about my granddad having a reverse mortgage on his house. He asked me how they knew that, but I had no idea. Apparently, he had not told them so they had found out on their own somehow. After that, my grandparents told me they had caught my sister digging through their financial papers when she visited. My granddad also told me that my parents had the nerve to ask him to cash out his retirement for them, so they could give it to the Church.

It is with the writing of this that I am formally declaring that I do not have any interest in reuniting with my parents. Not because of religious disagreements or because I am uncomfortable with their sexual identities. It’s because they are disgusting human beings. They are examples of Scientologists who know damn well what is going on behind the scenes. They know the horrific conditions of the Sea Org — my dad even warned me about the RPF when I was being recruited. They know that Scientology schools are fraudulent. Even worse, they are active participants in the abuse of their fellow Scientologists. I will never blame my siblings for our falling out because it is not their fault. The blame sits squarely on my parents.

— Derek Bloch


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,173 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,776 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 319 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 207 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,382 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,156 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,930 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,276 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,842 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,510 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,770 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,810 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,522 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,048 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,137 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,277 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,597 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,572 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 928 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,230 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,336 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,739 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,611 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,193 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,698 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,942 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,051 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on July 12, 2018 at 07:00

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The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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