Ex-Scientologist story #214, Paul Haggis quits the cult.


“The process of induction is so long and slow that you really do convince yourself of the truth of some of these things that don’t make sense,” Haggis told me. Although he refused to specify the contents of OT materials, on the grounds that it offended Scientologists, he said, “If they’d sprung this stuff on me when I first walked in the door, I just would have laughed and left right away.” But by the time Haggis approached the OT III material, he’d already been through several years of auditing. His wife was deeply involved in the church, as was his sister, Kathy. Moreover, his first writing jobs had come through Scientology connections. He was now entrenched in the community and had invested a lot of money in the programme. The incentive to believe was high. . .

Over the years, Haggis estimates, he spent more than $100,000 on courses and auditing, and $300,000 on various Scientology initiatives. Rennard says she spent about $150,000 on coursework. Haggis recalls that the demands for donations never seemed to stop. “They used friends and any kind of pressure they could apply,” he says. “I gave them money just to keep them from calling and hounding me.” . . .

Proposition 8 passed in November 2008. A few days after sending his resignation letter to Tommy Davis in February 2009, Haggis came home from work to find nine or 10 of his Scientology friends standing in his front yard. He invited them in to talk and referred them to the exposé in the St Petersburg Times that had so shaken him: The Truth Rundown. The first instalment had appeared in June 2009. Haggis had learned from reading it that several of the church’s top managers had defected in despair. Marty Rathbun had once been inspector general of the church’s Religious Technology Centre, and had also overseen Scientology’s legal-defence strategy, reporting directly to Miscavige. Amy Scobee had been an executive in the Celebrity Centre network. Mike Rinder had been the church’s spokesperson, the job now held by Davis. One by one, they had disappeared from Scientology, . . .

After reading the St Petersburg Times series, Haggis tracked down Marty Rathbun, who says Haggis was shocked by their conversation. “The thing that was most troubling to Paul was that I literally had to escape,” Rathbun told me. (A few nights after the musical chairs incident, he got on his motorcycle and waited until a gate was opened for someone else; he sped out and didn’t stop.) Haggis called several other former Scientologists he knew well. One said he had escaped from the Gold Base by driving his car through a wooden fence. Still others had been expelled or declared Suppressive Persons. Haggis asked himself, “What kind of organisation are we involved in where people just disappear?”

The above was taken from the story, What happens when you try and leave the Church of Scientology?  The story of film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis’s resignation, that appeared in the April 23, 2011 edition of The Guardian.

To read the rest of this excellent story go here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/23/try-to-leave-church-scientology-lawrence-wright

One of the YouTube follow-ups:

Published in: on July 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

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