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More former Church of Scientology members describe life after Miscavige

[Ready to say goodbye?]

We had a strong response to a recent posting that featured former Scientologists talking about what they would have missed out on if they hadn’t left the church. Scientologists are indoctrinated to believe the outside world is mysterious and dangerous, making it difficult to break away.

But for those who did take the leap and overcame their fears to leave Scientology, what did they find on the other side? How would they describe the difference between what they were warned about life after Scientology, and how it turned out to be? We heard from even more former members about the reality of life after Scientology versus what they had been warned would happen. We think you’ll enjoy these testimonies as well.



Marie Bilheimer: Things I would have missed out on had I never left Scientology, first off would be the relationship with my children. I did have my daughter by the time I was getting comm-eved in 2015 (she was 2-1/2 months old) and I think my son by the time I was declared, but I’m so thankful I chose not to raise them in that cult. Had I never left, they would have at least had a connection to it and as it is, they’ve never even heard the word mentioned. Of course this means my disconnected mother is missing out on their lives and isn’t getting the opportunity to see them grow and learn. They ask about her and wish to speak with her one day, hopefully sooner than later.

The other thing that stands out in my mind is meeting and learning from others with different views and opinions. Growing up in Scientology your ideas aren’t only limited, your connections with people outside of it are. How can you know what you truly believe in if you’re only ever given one view and you never know anything other than that?

Something I appreciate having left, is not living in constant fear. I used to worry so much about always adhering to the principles of Scientology for fear of discipline. The moral compass was so confused, complying to policies that enforced abuse on myself and others. It wasn’t until I took my own life back, including my mind and the thoughts in it, that I was able to see the BS and make my own choices.


Marc Headley: The thing that I would have missed if I stayed in Scientology is my kids. My three boys are my world. I cannot imagine life without them. It also helps me to understand even less how my mother could abandon me as a child and let Scientology be a surrogate parent. For many years, when I was a kid, I would spend all day at a Scientology school and then study Scientology for another 2.5 hours each night. Dropping out of school at 15 years of age and signing up for the Sea Org was a welcomed scenario by my mother. I know for a fact that so far, I have spent more time with my boys than my mom spent with me my entire life. I know that I love my boys and fight to protect them from anything like Scientology.

I also could never have imagined how great my life could have been after leaving. When you are in the Sea Org, you are indoctrinated on how horrible the world will be on the outside, should you ever leave. Since leaving, I would be hard-pressed to recall anyone that treated me as horrible as people inside Scientology treated me when I worked for them day and night. The few times I have encountered people acting hostile to me after leaving Scientology, they were all Scientologists.

In the 15 years since leaving Scientology, I have met many extended family members and made new friends all over the world. I have been able to travel, take vacations, enjoy my work, and have a somewhat “normal” life. None of this would have happened if I stuck around in Scientology. If I could tell someone I worked with in the Sea Org what life on the outside is like, I would say to them, “Your worst day in the real world is far better than your best day ever in the Sea Org.” Every minute spent in Scientology is a minute flushed away. Get out as soon as you can!


Derek Bloch: Had I not left Scientology, I would have missed out on pretty much everything in this world outside of Scientology. I met a friend after I left the Sea Org who had spent a few years in prison. He was telling me about what it was like coming back into the regular world. He was behind on technology and had no idea about the changes that had happened since he was incarcerated. It was the same for me leaving the Sea Org. I was behind on mobile phone technology and I had no idea the Internet had become such a vital part of daily life between 2001 to 2004. That was only three years and it was really like I had been gone from the world for that time.

There was still a degree of separation even after I left the Sea Org. When I left, word had spread to other Scientologists that I’m gay. None of them wanted to speak to me. My parents were controlling because they didn’t want to allow me to be gay in my free time. Eventually, as I was working my way out, I met people who accepted me for who I am. Only after I left Scientology was I able to get real therapy from psychiatrists and psychologists. That led me on a journey of self-exploration that helped restore the feeling that I deserve to be loved. It also allowed me to consider and reject the heterosexual relationship model that my parents were trying to force on me. I also learned how to love myself, despite my flaws and despite being rejected by my parents.


If I had not left Scientology when I did, I would probably be dead now. I would have probably committed suicide because of the way my parents and Scientology isolated me. They forced me to present a fake version of myself and doing so was unimaginably painful. I contemplated suicide a lot from 18 to 21 before I started to make non-Scientologist friends. They were the ones that showed me I had something to live for. Putting up a facade to please the people around me did so much damage to me psychologically and emotionally. Not only that but when you’re in Scientology everyone around you is putting up a facade as well. I never got to know who my parents really were or my siblings. It was like talking to empty shells all the time.

I don’t do that anymore. I am my genuine self now. I can feel true happiness in my soul when I look in my husband’s eyes or when I’m laughing with my friends. There’s something you can feel when you really connect with someone that I never felt when I was in Scientology. I would never have known true love had I left Scientology because nothing about the farce of Scientology is true. The world “love” doesn’t even exist in Scientology!

When I talk to people who are in the closet because they are afraid of coming out or are in a cult and afraid to leave, I can feel that void. There’s just an empty hole there without genuine human connection. People deny themselves what could truly make them happy because they are trying to please other people. That kind of capitulation is pathetic, in a sad way. We owe it to ourselves to be true to our inner nature. We owe it to ourselves to do or be what we know will make us happy. No one should ever be allowed to take that away from us.


Karen de la Carriere: I walked up to the HCO (Ethics office) on L Ron Hubbard Way with a heavy heart. The decision was made. I wanted out. I walked into the Office of the Executive and asked for a routing form to leave the Sea Org. The routing out procedure is not easy and fast. In my case it took six months. Six months of daily interrogations, “sec checks” to find my alleged crimes.

Only a criminal, a psycho would want to leave the Elite “most ethical group on the planet” Sea Org. That is the internal view of someone asking to leave. He barked at me: “Ha! So you have decide to go flip McDonalds burgers for $5 an hour?” I looked at the floor, it was pointless to get combative. The Ethics Officer thought I was being reflective and said it twice more. You will just be flipping burgers and poverty stricken, he said, maybe even living under a freeway bridge, and you will make $5 an hour.
Just go back on post, we won’t send you to the RPF, you will be forgiven for asking to leave, we do not want to lose class XIIs. Forget that you ever asked to leave, just erase this from your mind.

A few years later, I was earning high high six figures as a top seller to Thomas Kinkade art. Exiting the Sea Org I knew absolutely nothing about art. I did not know a Renaissance edition from a cow. It was all learned slowly and steadily with humble beginnings. Then when Thomas Kinkade died in 2012, we earned 3/4 million dollars in 4 days. Flipping burgers indeed.

It was only after my full departure did I realize how much freedom was important to me. Inside is an eternal trap. Every moment of the day is pre-programmed for you to live through as a little robot. What time you wake up, what time you east breakfast, what time you attend muster and on and on. There is no free time. There is no time to think. You live through the day. Exiting let me breath oxygen.

I could have dogs.
I could have felines.
I could have my pets sleep with me in my California King size bed.

I could sleep in and wake up late if I wanted to.
I never knew my passion for animals ran as deep as it turned out.

I could rescue birds, especially baby birds and this turned into a major hobby. I plugged into all the rescue and adoption organizations while ritualistically keeping up energetic work-outs in Griffith park. I call the shots on my time. With my beloved Jeffrey Augustine I have never been happier.


Bruce Hines: There are so many great things I have been able to experience outside that organization that I never would have if I had remained in. In no particular order, some of these things are:

—Space. I live in a pleasant house that has lots of space. And a front and back yard. And a patio with a grill for barbecues. And a hot tub and a sauna. And a stereo and TV that I can play whenever I want. And trees and shrubs and flowers and herbs. And a garage. In the Sea Org such things would not be possible. Even my first one-bedroom apartment after I got out was bigger than the apartment that I shared with ten other people in NYC (just off 51st and 9th).

—Freedom from a constant feeling of uneasiness that I might get in trouble for something. Or that I could get assigned lower conditions. Or receive a committee of evidence or court of ethics. Or that my whole unit could be put in a state of emergency with all of the attendant unpleasantness.

—The ability to eat whatever I want and when I want. No more cafeteria-style food. No more 30-minute meal breaks. No more days on end of eating only rice and beans.

—No more uniforms and saluting and musters and military etiquette.

—Being able to find a job that is way more satisfying and of value to society than anything I ever did while in Scientology. The people I work with are kind and decent. They are respectful. They are professional. They are not trying to show what bad asses they are.

—Now, for me, truth is based on science and not on authority. The actual scientific method, and not pseudo-science, is how knowledge and the resulting technology (actual technology) are gained. I am very fortunate that my work is as a scientific researcher.

—Being able to experience various emotions, and to see how they are a valuable part of life, without the threat of being labeled “casey” or “downtone” or “a victim” or “motivatorish” or other cult loaded language. And to allow others to do so.


—Spending time with friends and family whenever I want.

—Not having to always write CSWs.

—Having the wherewithal to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

—Not having to be worried about being sessionable or studentable.

—Being able to truly, for real, observe what is true for me.

—Contrary to one of David Miscavige’s favorite refrains, I am not flipping burgers at McDonalds. Though that would be far better than life in Scientology. I respect people who cook in fast food restaurants.

—Not having to follow an insane daily schedule. I work 40 hours per week and have plenty of time to do other stuff.

—Being able to go on the Internet and read whatever I want. And read books and magazines even if they are critical of scientology.

I’m sure there are other things. But that is what I think of at the moment.


Tory Christman: What are some of the things I would have missed out on if I hadn’t left Scientology? A wonderful relationship with my son, who had actually left before me. Getting back my freedoms they sell you when “in”, and remove step by step, level by level. Most important for me:

Freedom to speak to anyone I want.

Freedom to read anything.
Freedom to learn outside Scientology walls.
Freedom to think (for me, being on OT 7 for 7 years, I literally stopped thinking).
Freedom to reconnect with friends now declared SP.
Freedom to meet all kinds of people

I joined Scientology in 1969 to help people. In 30 years “in”…I doubt I helped many. However, In 20 years out I have been able to help hundreds, if not thousands of people, per their words.

Had I not left I would still feel the need, the obligation, to try to make Scientology work. I would have missed the tremendous joy and freedoms I got back, the second I realized it’s really just huge soul-sucking fraudulent business pretending to be a “religion.”

I would have missed the numerous adventures like traveling to Norway, London, Ireland, Canada. Also the ability to plan new adventures.

What do I appreciate the most about my life since I broke away? For me I have a bit of an unusual case due to having epilepsy and their medical torture for me. First in 1972 they kicked me out of the Sea Org, insisting I get off my medication. Believing them, I tried. I had numerous seizures and as a result my short term memory is screwed up.

What might other Scientologists be missing if they don’t wake up? Living life the way they really want.

Most of all, be curious. That is how you were when you joined. Read the Internet. You won’t be harmed and it might just change your life.



Geoff Levin: So many things I can enjoy and appreciate now. A big one, sex without guilt. joyous sex with my partner. Reconnecting with Scientology friends who left or were declared.

I get to save money that is just for “my” future. I was always in debt when I was in Scientology, no matter how much I earned. It’s great to donate to real valid causes that genuinely help people. Now I take a day off every week. No feeling like I had to be doing something in Scientology. Studying the many spiritual and philosophical teachers past and present. I was not going to “mix practices” when I was in.

I really enjoy meditation, Chi Gong and Astrology. I have gay friends now. Pretty much frowned upon when I was in.

I spend time studying and learning from the writings, podcasts and videos of many ex members of Scientology.(Jon Atack, Chris Shelton, Jeffery Augustine, Karen De La Claire and many more). And of course a long time must is reading Mike and Tony’s blogs every day.

I have reconnected with my “wog” family, classmates, friends and associates. They have been very happy to hear from me. And I reconnected with my declared brother Robbie and his family. Great to have a brother again.

Producing music that does not have to make money. Creating it because I am inspired. Texting with friends just because it’s fun, no agendas. I like fixing stuff around the house (I would have hired people to do it in the past so I could be on course).

I take vacations now. In the past the only traveling I did was to the Freewinds, Flag Land Base or for work. I now have time with my partner after dinner, not having to rush to be “on course.” We entertain friends, not just on weekends.

I can do social media interviews and posts where I can tell my truth about the toxicity of Scientology in my life. And also love working on my documentary film telling my brother and my story intertwined with Scientology. Couldn’t do that when I was in.

And most of all I am able to show empathy, gratefulness and love for others. That was always transient when I was in, because if someone left the organization I had to stop loving them.


Source Code

“You will normally find that semen and money cause the biggest commotion on a meter dial.” — L. Ron Hubbard, November 23, 1953



Avast, Ye Mateys

“EPIZOOTICS: A 48 to 64 hour illness is around. The number is decreasing. The last port of students brought it. High temperature, chills, aches in lower back and legs, strong headache, diarrhea are the symptoms. It hasn’t been named as to what it is. Probably some type of Flu that got loose from a Roche bacteriological warfare project to raise their dividends on anti-biotics sales. We get a lower percentage than other groups. But that it hits at all shows the need of stepped up auditing action. We have far too few auditors in Qual. Group numbers doubled but Qual auditors didn’t. Student and public lines increased in delivery hour potential didn’t. I have now speeded up tech results which should help.” — The Commodore, November 23, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Re the idea of as-ising the universe from a book, I remember once when I was a fairly green newbie in Scientology, my friend showed me the difference between the perceived cycle of action and the actual cycle of action (FOT) and when I really duplicated the actual cycle of action, I realized I was continually creating my body (create-create-create) and that if I ceased to create it, it would disappear, and that’s when it became transparent and I could see the floor through it and that’s when I slammed back in so hard to protect it I had a headache for days! So I grok your ‘as-isness’. ”


Past is Prologue

2003: Radio station WGRZ reported that the new Buffalo Scientology org has opened its doors. “The Church of Scientology had a marching band, a Hollywood-style set, even Hollywood celebrities promoting the religion, created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954. ‘You find something that works for you, that makes you happy, and you want to tell them about it,’ said actress Jenna Elfman, of ‘Dharma and Greg’ and the new ‘Looney Tunes’ movie. Last year, the church bought the former Buffalo Catholic Institute on Main Street and put in a reported 50,000 man hours to restore it. ‘It’s another sign that Buffalo is coming back. People want to invest in our buildings, but also invest in our people,’ said Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello. City leaders hope the new church will spur more development along Main Street, including a block of empty buildings right across the street. That block includes the Metzger Building, nearly destroyed by fire, and saved from the wrecking ball by preservationists.”


Random Howdy


“All along the Bridge, in the lectures mainly, LRH drops all sorts of clues, inferences, asides that the whole thing was a game and that there was an inside joke. Unfortunately a certain percentage of the faithful failed to pick up on this.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Masterson’s demurrer denied Oct 19, arraignment delayed to Jan 6.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay’s sentencing delayed for ‘Fatico’ hearing on Jan 19.
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Next pretrial conference set for Jan 12 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Oral arguments were heard on July 30 at the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Petition for writ of mandate denied Oct 22 by Cal 2nd Appellate District. Petition for review by state supreme court filed Oct 30.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Dec 18, re-hearing on motions to compel arbitration; Jan 29, Masterson’s request to stay discovery pending the criminal case
Matt and Kathy Feschbach tax debt: Eleventh Circuit ruled on Sept 9 that Feshbachs can’t discharge IRS debt in bankruptcy. Nov 18: Feshbachs indicated they will enter into consent judgment to pay the debt.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Second amended complaint filed, trial set for Nov 9, 2021.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: Trial concluded, awaiting verdict.

Concluded litigation:
Dennis Nobbe, Medicare fraud, PPP loan fraud: Charged July 29. Bond revoked Sep 14. Nobbe dead, Sep 14.
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe dismissed the lawsuit on May 15 after the Clearwater Police dropped their criminal investigation of her allegations.


SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks

The Australian Seven News network cancelled a 10-part investigation of Scientology and its history of dirty tricks. Read the transcripts of the episodes and judge for yourself why Tom Cruise and Tommy Davis might not have wanted viewers to see this hard-hitting series by journalist Bryan Seymour.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and coming November 1 to Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] In Touch sold out to Enquirer’s parent, so now it starts up with the Tom-foolery
[TWO years ago] Here is what’s in the documents that are prompting a new look at Casey Kasem’s death
[THREE years ago] We’ve cooked up for you a special Scientology Thanksgiving — so pass the Source!
[FOUR years ago] Before Leah Remini burns it to the ground, here’s Scientology’s side of the story
[FIVE years ago] Moscow orders banning of Scientology in ongoing dispute, church vows to appeal
[SIX years ago] VIDEO: Watch a Scientology spy get busted by Marc Headley in Las Vegas last night
[SEVEN years ago] Jon Atack: Why do Scientologists Find it So Difficult to Apologize?
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology Interviews John Travolta: Oddly, Massage Therapy Not Discussed
[NINE years ago] Chill EB and Me: Rappin’ About Scientology


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,129 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,633 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,153 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,173 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,064 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,371 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,239 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,013 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,817 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,133 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,699 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,618 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,786 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,367 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,628 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,666 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,379 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,904 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 259 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,434 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,985 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,134 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,454 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,309 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,428 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,784 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,087 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,193 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,595 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,467 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,050 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,545 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,799 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,908 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on November 23, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), 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, 14 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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