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Criticism and Disconnection 


It can be hard for disaffected Scientologists to leave the Church,  particularly if they have built large parts of their lives around it. It can also be hard for critics to stop being critics.

I once spoke with an anti-cult 'expert'.  While we were talking, he was trying to impress me with his passion for his field. He revealed that he had met his wife at an anti-cult meeting and that his friends were anti-cultists. He made his living by giving lectures and by doing 'exit-counselings' or deprogrammings.

How easily could such a man change his mind and realize he wasn't doing a good thing with his life?  

How would he feel if he came to recognize what ~I~ would call the truth about the whole thing?

What could he say to his colleagues? How could he support his family?

Far easier for the man to stick to his old comfortable certainties.

There is enough information for both sides in the Scientology/anti-Scientology struggle to be able to support their point of view. 

It's easy to build up a case to say that the church is wicked. There's plenty of anti-Scientology and anti-cult material. You just have to give credence to that type of material and ignore and justify away the rest.

It's also possible to build up a perfect picture of a church that has never mis-stepped - again  simply explain away any contrary facts and give no credence to any criticism.

The truth is that the church has misstepped on occasion.

As Ron Hubbard wrote in the Aims of Scientology: ' We may err, for we build a world with broken straws.'  Fortunately, he set up the church so that it can correct itself when things go wrong. This has to be done carefully, as his work also needs protecting. However this is what I see happen  and over the past two decades I've seen improvements in each and every area of the church. It's been a marvelous thing to see.

This is from a post of 2 November 2000:


FT >>SP declares have become much less common in Scientology as far as I can see. Check my posting of 26 October for some details.

>>In the early eighties, the EDs of my org seemed to get declared on a fairly regular basis. It was wild. Recently however, I haven't heard of any declares at all (apart for this one of Tory's). I am sure they do happen, but it seems to be a lot rarer.

>>Good news, huh?

Gerry Armstrong: >No, bad news. It just means that $cientology and $cientologists are going more and more down tone. Now declares are more covert. $cientology has become more and more covert. It was once more openly hostile. Now it's more covertly hostile.

That's not what I observe.

When the declares were coming hard and heavy it was definitely a nervous, worried scene in some areas (this was in 82/83).  However these declares trickled to a halt by about mid '85 I think. Also almost all the people I knew personally who had been declared later got back into good standing fairly quickly. There were two fairly newish people who got promoted over their heads, got declared when the org crashed and left Scientology - but the other people came back.

I've ~never~ ~known~ a Scientologist who was instructed to disconnect from a family member or friend (parent, spouse or anyone else). As I wrote earlier, the one time I've known one half of a Scientologist couple to get declared suppressive they continued living together.

It's possible that things are a bit easier than when you left Gerry.


It's quite difficult to get declared suppressive these days. You've got to really work at it. The easier thing for the Church is to simply ignore the bad behavior.

In Scientology we want to help people to improve their communication with those around them.

When I was on staff I used to work very hard to help people restore and improve their relationships - with family members, with friends, and with people they were having problems with at work.

In my opinion the bigotry and hatred displayed by many critics has led to a situation which can  strain family relationships. Although critics blame the church for family breakdowns, I feel that the concatenated lies of the anti-cult movement are the real cause. I've often seen both Scientologists and non-Scientologists confused and distressed by stories that I knew to be untrue.

Here's the story of someone whose life was altered for the worse because a relative (a) believed the anti-Scientology rhetoric, (b)  quietly acted to destroy his relationships, and (c) blamed the church for what had happened:


I've also had relationships ruined by people who believed ill-founded nonsense about the church. The worst case was when I lost a girlfriend because I was a Scientologist.

A mutual acquaintance caused the rift behind my back. I had no opportunity to repair the breach because he persuaded her not to tell me. I didn't find out about what he'd actually done until months later.

I've had a number of other relationships and friendships damaged because of more open, but still ill-founded, criticism.

I was able to get on with my (non-Scientology) family far better after I had started studying and applying Scientology. I became less self-centered, and better at empathizing and understanding. I have sometimes been able to use my knowledge to help when they have had problems.

The only tricky time was in my first year (twenty years ago).  My father had read some of the critical books - Corydon was one, possibly Hassan - and he, the rest of the family and some of their friends all believed that I was in danger.

Well-meaning people sat me down and gave me long lectures in which they looked glum and sadly shook their heads. One of my aunts banned my cousins from seeing me, as did the mothers of three of my old school friends (I permanently lost touch with two of them).

The most dramatic moment was when my elderly relatives gathered around; and solemnly, one after the other, cut me out of their wills.

However, after a year, my father in particular was able to see that I was actually doing better in life. It was he that I was closest to; my mother had died some years previously.

I then repaired the breaches with everyone else as best I could, and after that my relationship with my father and with many of my other relatives became stronger than they had been previously. (And in the end my inheritances didn't suffer.)

At one point during that first difficult year my father was at a dinner party and mentioned the situation to someone. The other guy was an angry, fascistic fellow and he suggested having me kidnapped and deprogrammed. (!)

Luckily, my father was appalled by that idea, even more than by the very twisted picture he had gleaned from the critical books of life inside Scientology. Had he gone down that path, our relationship could have been permanently damaged.

The thing is that none of my relatives had the
~faintest~ idea of what Scientology really was.

They were simply operating on versions of the kinds of extremist lies that we can see on the internet every day.


Here's the official line on the subject of disconnection:




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