Leaving Scientology: Jon Atack Navigates the Labyrinth of Paranoia - 2013-07-13
John McMaster Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He now has a new edition of the book out, 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.
This week, the media is buzzing about a woman who left the Church of Scientology after protesting the way it interrogates and discards people, and pits members against each other. Longtime Scientology watchers, however, know that these are not new concerns about the church. And Jon Atack makes that point by telling us what he went through when he left the church in 1984...
JON: I left Scientology because a close friend of mine was declared Suppressive. Well, actually, his name was put on a list — the formal declare took rather longer. According to strict policy, there must be a Committee of Evidence before a Suppressive Person declare is issued, but, as with many others, his name went on a list and that was that. A week before, his friend Peter Shantz, who was Ethics Officer at Saint Hill had called me in and said he was concerned that our mutual friend might be declared. He wanted my help to oppose this. A week later, he called me back in to tell me the deed had been done. I asked what we were going to do about this, and was told that suppressives can be very devious. His friend of over a decade was thrown to the sharks, because his name was on a list. That was all the evidence that Shantz needed.