Death of a Scientologist - 2002-08-15
While the shock and grief of his son's suicide were still fresh, Bob Bashaw read back through their decades-long correspondence, looking in particular for references to Scientology. "I wanted to see what there was here I missed," he says. His son Greg had been a member of the Church of Scientology for more than 20 years. During that time other relatives, fearing he belonged to a cult, had voiced concerns. But Bob supported his son's choice, because he believed people should be free to practice their religion without getting hassled about it -- and because he couldn't find a good enough reason not to. That changed in November
2000, when suddenly, he says, Greg broke into "a hundred pieces." He'd recently lost his job in advertising. And now, Greg told his father, his church had excommunicated him. Seven months later, more than $50,000 in debt, he ended his life on the shoulder of a Michigan road, leaving behind a wife of 20 years and a teenage son, to whom he'd written a brief, unemotional note.