Jon Atack: For Scientologists, thinking outside the church can feel like breaking a taboo - 2013-12-21
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has a new edition of the book for sale, and on Saturdays he's helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet.
On Thursday, Jefferson Hawkins explained to us how Scientolgy's system of "ethics" seals church members off from outside influence. But how, ultimately, do Scientologists then break out of that bubble and escape? Jon Atack this week helps us understand that process.
JON: I left Scientology because a close friend was declared suppressive. I refused to disconnect from him — enforced disconnection had just been reintroduced — but he insisted that he would not communicate with me, in case it affected my relationship with the Organization. I spent six months "following policy." I started with the Saint Hill Ethics Officer and then moved up to the HCO Area Secretary. Unable to get any sense out of them, I wrote to the International Justice Chief (where do they get these titles!), pointing out that we all have a right to a hearing, at least according to the policy of Scientology. There had been no "bill of particulars," indeed no accusations of any type. No "committee of evidence" and no "findings and recommendations." There had not even been a "Suppressive Person declare." My friend's name had just been put on a list, along with several hundred others.