Actress and Former Scientologist Cathy Schenkelberg Uncovers the Church's Dark Side - 2017-04-06
For nearly two decades, Cathy Schenkelberg's entire life was tied up in Scientology. She's shared a burger with John Travolta and had coffee with Kirstie Alley. She never did like Tom Cruise, Scientology's most famous member, but that didn't keep her from abandoning her burgeoning career as an actress to meet all of the church's shocking demands while raising her daughter and handing over her money.
Now, after escaping the organization she calls a cult, she's telling her story — mistakes and all — in a one-woman show titled Squeeze My Cans. The title is a play on words, inspired by the church's "auditing" process, wherein church members grasp metal, can-like tubes that are hooked up to an "E-meter," while recalling some of the most personal and/or traumatic moments in their lives. Some have accused the Church of Scientology of using this private information as a means of extortion against people who try to leave the church, but Schenkelberg shamelessly puts everything on the table herself — how she first fell into it, why she went along with it for as long as she did, and how she finally got out.
On a recent visit to Nashville, Schenkelberg sat down with the Scene to talk about her experiences and give more insight as to why she's now sharing her story with the world, instead of running far away without ever looking back.