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Leaving Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’ isn’t easy, and some turn to desperate measures

Why do people do extreme things to disqualify themselves from the Sea Org? You’ve heard harrowing stories about Sea Org members making suicide threats and suicide attempts, making hazardous attempts to run away, and some have even threatened to go to the press just to get themselves out of the Sea Org. A Sea Org member who has been brought to the brink and does not want to be there anymore cannot simply give a two week notice and leave. Leaving the Sea Org for some can require drastic measures. Let’s explore why that would be.

When a Sea Org member makes a run for it, in Scientology language that’s known as a “blow.” I myself went through it many times over the 32 years I was in the church. Many of them were when I was a child, but still many more as a grown up not wanting to be in the Sea Org any more. I actually managed to escape many times. But with my only parent being in the Sea Org, and having no one else to turn to (that I knew of) in my own family, I came back, head held low, ready for my “ethics” handlings. I must have run away hundreds of times, only to come back, because where would I or could I go? For me the world was an unfamiliar, and even scary place. I had been told people outside Scientology were not aware, that they were blind and could not see things as we did.

After one of these blows, there’s always a “handling” done. This applies to anyone who tries to leave and is recovered. I went through the ethics conditions and “found out” (again and again) that Scientology was the best thing in the world, and I should help them, not harm them by trying to leave. Living conditions no good? It’s my fault, and I need to work harder in Scientology and the Sea org to fix it. And so I put my nose to the grindstone once again and got back to it. And I forgot why I wanted to leave. Well, I didn’t forget, I got too busy “saving the world” to remember I didn’t want to be there.

This cycle went on for me for decades. There were times I truly felt we were doing good work, and we were helping to save the world, one abberated person at a time. I was proud of the work we were doing. But, oddly enough, I was never proud enough to go out and say boldly “I am a Scientologist.” I tried not to wear my uniform where possible, and never ever wore any Scientology or Dianetic clothing anywhere. I guess that was a sign I was never really fully committed.


I have always been a pretty decent study, so it was relatively easy for me to get trained up in Hubbard’s auditing and Case Supervisor training. For some it is a long and difficult lineup to complete. After completing the training I discovered it unfortunately made me invaluable to the org, as tech trained staff were sometimes hard to come by (or were always getting busted for something or other. Tech trained people were not expendable).

This “not being expendable” extended to many other staff positions such as people who were privy to private information, or knew about the inner circles, or who were suspected of knowing too much, were also not allowed to easily leave the Sea Org.

While it’s true leaving the Sea Org is hard for anyone, for some it was nearly impossible.

In addition to “blowing,” there were many times I said I wanted to leave. So what happens when you are in the Sea Org and you say you don’t want to be there anymore? Well, if you haven’t disqualified yourself, you will be coerced, in awfully aggressive conversations, to be convinced to stay in the Sea Org. They will spend months and months intimidating you to change your mind. You will be made the subject of what is called the Perimeter Council meeting, which is a group of staff members who have, as one of their duties, dealing with those who want to leave the Sea Org. They will try everything they can to get a person to stay. Love bombing, scare tactics, yelling about how you will die out in the world, telling you that you won’t make it, telling you that you will be last on the list to be saved if you leave, telling you your family will leave you, telling you that you are abandoning your family and everyone who loves you. On and on and on. It takes incredible persistence to be able to leave. They will throw everything possible at you to convince you not to leave and try everything including parading your poor family you would be abandoning in front of you. This also may include heavy interrogations and lots of physical labor. Many give in and decide to stay.

Others find ways to make themselves disqualified, to avoid going through all that again. The process of trying to convince a person to stay is traumatizing in itself for many.

So some Sea Org members who know how to disqualify themselves do it, simply to get out of the Sea Org in the easiest possible way.

We have heard so many wild stories about what people have done to get out of the Sea Org. Besides blowing, some people get out by attempting suicide or threatening to — and I want to be clear that I’m not recommending that. Threatening to go to the press does the same trick, however it could get also get one declared suppressive, so if that’s not the outcome one wants, that’s not an option. I have seen Sea Org women who get pregnant and then refuse to have abortions so they get shipped to lower orgs or booted out entirely. In these case, often the father is recruited back much earlier and the mother left to care for the child. Often Sea Org members engage in “out-2D” (sex while unmarried), which results in automatic RPF assignment. If a person refuses to do the RPF, they may be allowed to leave, but many of them end up spending months being “handled” to do the RPF program instead of leaving. And so we are back to the same traumatic cycle where the person can’t just be allowed to leave, sanity and family intact.

The other ticket out that I saw was chronically ill or infirm health as in the case of the elderly, who were subjected to “Fitness Board” meetings where people decided if they were fit for the Sea Org, and if not, booted out. These people are dumped off wherever Scientology leaves them, with no funds saved up or any medical insurance. They are left to deal with it themselves or have any outside family member help them.

My own situation was similar. I had to make myself completely unwanted in the Sea Org to get out. I had to make them hate me.

And it worked. They hated me. I was very attracted to the woman I briefly dated, but if I was happy in the Sea Org, I could have curbed my attraction and conformed to its homophobic relationship rules.

It may be hard to understand unless you lived it, but trying to leave the Sea Org as a “highly trained” tech person is not easy. It almost never happens. I would have had to blow and hide out so they could not find me or disqualify myself. History showed me that when I blew, they tracked me down and got me back. It was so much easier in the long run to make them reject me.

And yep, I made myself loathed up one side and down the other. What a gross person that I was trying to destroy Scientology. What a pervert. It was fine with me, because I was finally free. Even though I was locked up under 24/7 guard for 5 months, they were not, in that entire time, trying to convince me to stay. No, they wanted me gone pretty badly. It just took that much time to get me through the interrogations and cleared to leave (part of the process is to make sure I never speak out against Scientology. I guess that one didn’t stick!)

I knew in my heart that the goals of Scientology were fake. And I knew I no longer wanted to be a part of it.

What an inhumane organization that it brings good people to the brink like this? Over and over and over again we hear these stories.

To this day I am incredibly leery leaving a job, being yelled at or being coerced in any way. In fact, I have been pleasantly surprised when I have decided to leave a job and found only “thank you for your service these past years” and “you are always welcome to come back.” Even so, being born and bred in an environment like Scientology and the Sea Org these fears in the back of our head about commitment, staying or leaving a job, our dedication and so forth are a point of stress and constant concern.

And we all left with labels from Scientology about what horrible people we were that we had to be let go. Despite all the years of dedicated service to the Sea Org, all the long hours, low pay, sleep deprivation, constant pressure and being screamed at. We were “perverted,” “low producing,”, “liars,” “adulterers,” “stat crasher,” “wife beaters,” “mentally unstable,” or we were attempting to “destroy” Scientology. The list goes on and on and on.

Has anyone ever been thanked for their service in the Sea Org and been allowed to get on with their life?

— Sunny Pereira


HowdyCon 2019 in Los Angeles

This year’s HowdyCon is in Los Angeles. People tend to come in starting on Thursday, and that evening we will have a casual get-together at a watering hole. We have something in mind, but for now we’re not giving out information about it.

Friday night we will be having an event in a theater (like we did on Saturday night last year in Chicago). There will not be a charge to attend this event, but if you want to attend, you need to RSVP with your proprietor at tonyo94 AT gmail.

On Saturday, we are joining forces with Janis Gillham Grady, who is having a reunion in honor of the late Bill Franks. Originally, we thought this event might take place in Riverside, but instead it’s in the Los Angeles area. If you wish to attend the reunion, you will need to RSVP with Janis (janisgrady AT gmail), and there will be a small contribution she’s asking for in order to help cover her costs.

HOTEL: Janis tells us she’s worked out a deal with Hampton Inn and Suites, at 7501 North Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, (818) 768-1106. We have a $159 nightly rate for June 19 to 22.



Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Erika Christensen, Ethan Suplee, and Juliette Lewis]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] Georgia police department closes its case on Arnie Lerma attempted murder-suicide
[TWO years ago] Dungeons & Dragons and Scientology collide: Can we get a saving throw on that engram?
[THREE years ago] Scientology leader David Miscavige in Atlanta on Saturday: Can you feel the excitement?
[FOUR years ago] AUDIO LEAK: Hear a Scientologist being declared suppressive and facing the loss of her family
[FIVE years ago] Sunday Funnies: These fliers should convince you to give all your cash to Scientology!
[SIX years ago] Independent Scientology: The Ballad of Captain Bill
[SEVEN years ago] VIDEO: Proof that L. Ron Hubbard Was the Most Awesome Human Being Ever


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,402 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,531 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,035 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,515 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 578 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 466 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 3,773 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,641 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,415 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,189 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,535 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,101 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,021 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,188 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,769 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,029 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,069 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,781 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,307 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,396 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,536 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,856 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 7,712 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,831 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,187 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,489 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,595 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,997 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,869 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,452 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,947 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,201 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,310 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 30, 2019 at 07:00

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Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2018 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2018), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

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 | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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