Scientology - Through the Door

Interviews

Friday, 26th September, 2008 01:21:07pm

Name or Alias: John Cullison
Training and/or processing level: ARC Straightwire, Pro TRs
Org or location: University Way / Burien -- also Seattle Org
Time involved in the Church of Scientology: About a decade
Recommended Website - N/A
1. How did you first become acquainted with the Church of Scientology?
Coming back from vacation on a train in Mexico, a teen I'd befriended mentioned Dianetics. A few months later back in the U-District in Seattle, I saw a stack of 'em on a table, but no one around to sell me one. A couple weeks later, a body router led me through the personality test maze, I ultimately bought Dianetics and read it, then three weeks later went in to find out about going Clear.

2. What initially appealed to you about scientology?
Dianetics was my initial interest. I had already realized a year earlier how behaviors get passed down from generation to generation, so Dianetics was already talking about something I understood. In fact, that Scientology was a religion was my first concern about it -- but when the registrar mentioned that to me, I decided, well, I'd stay in as long as it's working for me. Sadly, I stayed about five years too long.

3. Were there problems in your life that you thought scientology would address?
I was a giant reaction machine, prone to upsets, unable to handle things without blowing up... This I attributed to child abuse -- being 'imprinted', so to speak, with violence as the solution to every problem, anger and outrage became the false solution to virtually any problem I encountered.

4. Did you see, experience, or hear about things that didn't seem right while you were in the Church of Scientology? What were they, and what convinced you to set aside your feelings?
First: Scientology is a religion. I was already disgusted with the world's religions. That was my first concern, but I was very interested in seeing where Dianetics would take me, so I put that aside. I promised myself I'd quit as soon as it stopped working for me.

Second: The (2nd edition -- current then) Introduction to Scientology Ethics book had, as part of its High Crimes list, various things which called into question the activities of upper management -- like any claims that International Management is destroying Scientology. Just making such a claim became a High Crime, meaning that International Management basically made it so that it was immune to any such claim. This is, of course, exactly what someone who is actively destroying Scientology would want to do -- put itself out of reach of any ability to be corrected, 'above the law' and all that. This entire set of High Crimes really struck me as odd, but, again, my interest in seeing where this would go drove me to push aside my concerns.

Third: Way too many policy violations by folks who should have known better. As I was just Mission staff for a few years, my story is nowhere near as compelling as those in Sea Org for decades, for example, but I find it fascinating how those compelling stories have strong parallels to the crap that was happening way down in a lowly mission. It's very easy to accept the stories of the ex-Sea Org simply because the same kinds of lies and BS were happening in the Mission, too. Not the same scale, no RPF to speak of... WISE tells people that the way they find out what's wrong at the top of the organization is to find out what the common dramatizations are at the bottom. Based on what I saw and the stories I've read, there seems to be some truth to that -- certainly within the Church.


5. Why did you choose to stay in the Church of Scientology?
My interest started with Dianetics. After a couple of intensives of Dianetics, plus the HDA course, I started doing Dianetics auditing for the mission and could see the impact it was having on people. So I know that, at least this Dianetics stuff, can work.

As I did each of the steps of the Bridge, I had fantastic wins, and this really helped keep me interested, in spite of all the bullshit.

When I got through the Purif and realized that I really was becoming the person I want to be... pretty compelling stuff. The Objectives were incredible. I gained substantial control over myself, control I had certainly lacked before. The Scientology Drug Rundown gave me an understanding of how drugs had influenced me in the past -- the actual mechanism of how memory is messed up was just blown wide open for me. Then ARC Straightwire -- the end phenomenon of which is 'knows he won't get any worse', and the state of which is called 'Recall Release' -- I didn't understand what those really meant until I went through it and spotted the basic reason why I had such a crappy attitude so often.

Even the Student Hat was very enlightening -- I learned a lot from it. (Admittedly, I *loathed* having to do word clearing on things like Hubbard's interest in photography, but I observed, in myself and others, the various phenomena that Hubbard says occur with the Barriers to Study.) I never did the M1 course (I could never get a twin at the mission for it), but I did complete Pro TRs, and that, again, was pretty amazing. If what I got simply from the clay table processing had been the end phenomenon of Grade 0, I would have considered that a success.


6. Were you staff or public? If staff, was it at a mission or an org? Were you ever in the Sea Org or OSA? Which unit? If not on staff, did you ever volunteer to 'help out'?
On staff, at a mission. University Way mission, then Burien mission (which is what University Way mission became). Never in Sea Org (wanted to, but I am very thankful now that LSD use bars one from ever entering Sea Org!), never in OSA.

7. Why did you leave the Church of Scientology? Was there a "final straw"?
I realized that there was just too much crap I disagreed with, and if I'm going to be in a 'religion', it's either 100% or not at all. Just like flunking someone on TRs. 99% is still a flunk.

8. Do you think the Church of Scientology needs to change some of its practices? If so, what should be changed? How did those practices affect your life?
Well... yes and no. If the Church doesn't change some of its practices, it will die. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. On the other hand, I'm very much interested in pursuing Scientology still, but not with all the bullshit that the Church requires.

I'm sick of the willingness to drag people way too far into debt for services. I'm tired of buying services and then being coerced into spending it one something else, just so someone can get a stupid stat up. I'm so sick of the focus on statistics as a measure of success instead of the Church having the integrity to get people what it promised in the first place, with statistics as the INDICATOR rather than the PURPOSE. I'm sick of the Church being run by lawyers. I'm tired of being treated like a product instead of a being. I'm done being driven into agreement with bullshit I don't agree with -- 'or else'. I'm done with being treated like I'm nothing and the group is everything, the only thing that matters. I'm done with stupid course room rules. And I'm especially tired of the insanely poor PR the Church generates for itself.


9. If the items you listed in the previous question were changed, would you consider rejoining or staying in the Church of Scientology? If so, why?
You betcha. Like I said, I'm very interested in the 'tech' of Scientology. I am utterly uninterested, however, in changing my life to suit Scientology. I tried that.

If the Church can't handle that I do have interests outside of Scientology, FUCK THE CHURCH. Self-abasement and sacrifice are not positions on any scale that I'm actively seeking through Scientology or anything else.

I walked into the Church interested. I chose to do things because I was interested. I would have worked to pay for the things I was interested in -- BECAUSE I WAS INTERESTED. All that hard sell bullshit did was drive me further and further out of interest, way too deep into debt, with lots of insane problems, just for the sake of their stats (or, in my mission's case, to try to simply pay rent that month). Way to go, reges!


10. Any additional comments you would like to make?
Thanks for giving me an outlet!

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