How to Leave
I am going to devote this section to advice and practical answers on the nuts and bolts of leaving Scientology. I will keep adding to this as time goes on. If you have specific questions you would like answered, post them as comments here, and I will try to address them as best I can.
1. You don’t have to do anything sudden or dramatic. If you are like many Scientologists, your life is very much entangled in Scientology. You may work at a business with other Scientologists. Many of your friends may be Scientologists. You don’t have to make any announcements or dramatic gestures. In fact, it is possible to “fly under the radar” for months, even years.
In The Way to Happiness, on the subject of governments, LRH says this: “Unscrupulous and evil men and groups can usurp the power of government and use it to their own ends…Opposition to such governments usually just brings on more violence. But one can raise his voice in caution when such abuses are abroad. And one need not actively support such a government; doing nothing illegal, it is yet possible, by simply withdrawing one’s cooperation, to bring about an eventual reform.”
So if you believe as I do that the Church of Scientology has become corrupt and abusive, the first step can be to simply, quietly withdraw one’s support. Tell your friends or the Org that you are “taking a break” or “saving up your money” or anything else you want to say. Or offer no explanation. Many Scientologists are in this position – more than you might guess.
Don’t do anything at this stage that might trigger an SP declare. Don’t make critical comments to Scientologists or staff. Don’t put known SPs on your Facebook friends list. Keep a low profile and keep your nose clean. The time to speak out and the time to fight will come later, if you choose that path.
2. Begin to educate yourself. According to the Church, the only thing you should be reading on the internet is the Church’s own websites. You should be getting all of your information on Scientology from Church magazines and events, period. You should not be reading anything outside of official Church releases. But if you believe, like I do, that the Church releases hide more than they reveal, that they are playing fast and loose with the truth, then do your own investigation. I have recommended various websites in the list to the right. Wikipedia is a pretty good place to start. Research what interests you. Work to get your specific questions and doubts resolved.
3. Realize that Scientology and the Church of Scientology are two different things. Scientology exists outside of the Church. There are many independent field auditors, C/Ses and even orgs that have nothing to do with the Church of Scientology. If you believe that there is good in Scientology, and that much of it works, then you are free to apply it as you see fit outside the Church. Those applying Scientology outside the Church will even tell you that their application is purer, as they use materials from before the Miscavige “revisions.”
4. Gradually plan and carry out your separation from the Church. If you work in a company owned by Scientologists, work out how to switch to another job, one not connected to Scientology. Change your phone number. Consider changing your address. If you live in Los Angeles or Clearwater, consider moving to another city. I know several OTs who have done so. By physically removing themselves, they forced themselves to find a new job and a new circle of friends.
5. You have many friends on the outside. I didn’t realize how many until I separated myself from the Church and was free to talk to anyone I wanted to. Through the magic of the internet, I have been able to reconnect with literally hundreds of old friends – friends I was forbidden to talk to as they had left the Church. It’s easy to connect to former Scientologists through various chat groups. The most popular is ESMB – the Ex-Scientologist Message Board.
These are some initial thoughts. There will be more to come.