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The Voice of the Silenced

February 28, 2010

“Rebel008” has always been somewhat of a composite voice.  When I originally started this blog in July 2009 (has it only been seven months?), it was because I had been contacted by a group of OT VIIs and VIIIs who were fed up with the Church of Scientology. They contacted me after reading my online memoir of 35 years in the Church, Counterfeit Dreams. They wanted to expose the abuse, the tech and policy violations, the bullying tactics, but for one reason or another (family, business connections) were not free to speak out without retribution from the Church. Rebel 008 became their voice.

In the beginning, I kept my own involvement confidential, out of deference to the OTs who were speaking out. I didn’t want to make it easy for the Church to track them down and harass them. But over the past months, this original group of OTs has gone public and found their own voices. And they have been replaced by dozens and dozens more, some of whom are free to speak publicly, some who are not, as they are still “in good standing” with the Church (whatever that means these days).  My own identity is no longer an issue. My friends have known for some time that this is my blog and, through the grapevine, it has been common knowledge for several months. As I have been speaking out publicly since 2006, under my own name, anonymity is not a personal concern of mine.

Personally, I am an Ex-Scientologist. I no longer call myself a Scientologist. That does not mean, as some have intimated, that I hate everything about the subject or its practitioners.  I have many close friends in the “Independent Scientologist” movement. They know that, even if we might not always agree on everything, I stand by them and defend their right to practice Scientology outside the Church. They are not abusing anyone. Personally I don’t wish to be labeled, and have no desire to be associated in any way with the oppressive, extremist cult that the Church of Scientology has become.

But this blog isn’t about me, it is about exposing the abuses of the Church of Scientology and its current dictator, David Miscavige. People sometimes ask me why I don’t encourage Scientologists to stay in the Church and reform it from within. Well, anyone who wants to try that is more than welcome. Write your Knowledge Reports and speak out against abuses. But don’t be surprised if you are rapidly silenced, declared, and disconnected. It’s happened to many others.  Any questioning of authority is ruthlessly crushed. Any dissenting voice is pressured out of existence. There is no way to speak out within the Church.  The only real option is to “vote with your feet,” to leave. Because by doing so, you withdraw your support from the Church and cease to enable its abusive leader.

Speaking out against the abuse has become a crime. Hence this blog. More and more Scientologists are daring to look, daring to listen, daring to speak out. There are many dozens of people who contribute to the articles you read here. There are literally eyes and ears everywhere, and there is nothing the Church can do these days without the world watching.

Rebel 008 is, and continues to be, the voice of those who have been silenced.

Jeff Hawkins

PS: If you have information about physical or mental abuse, disconnection of families, corruption, fraud, human rights violations or tech and policy violations within the Church of Scientology, and wish to make it known on this blog, you may e-mail me privately on my hushmail account with the details. Your identity will be protected. You can get a free hushmail account here.

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31 Comments
  1. lunamoth permalink
    February 28, 2010 1:28 am

    Jeff

    I was excited to see a new post here today – I won’t embarrass myself by telling you how often I check – so thanks for the new article. As I was reading down a few paragraphs I started to get a bad feeling about it, I started to think you were going to tell us you were retiring! I mean, who could blame you if you did? Well, I’m relieved!

    I come to this site, well, let’s just say ‘often,’ because I know it’s always going to be good (absolutely no pressure there). I’ve found that you always have a way of taking something that I have thought, or momentarily examined, and really ‘making a meal’ of it. The result is always well written, honest, compassionate and smart. And you don’t suffer fools.

    Thanks for providing a voice for the silenced. Without your site ( and to some degree, a couple of others) I doubt I would have made the transition out of the cult so painlessly and with so much insight and personal certainty intact. Since making the decision a few months ago to leave, my world has expanded with vital, interesting and like-minded people. What could have been a collapse turned out to be real expansion. I want you to know how much I appreciate your contribution to that, and how much I value what you do. Thanks so much.

    lunamoth

    • Amy Scobee permalink
      February 28, 2010 2:40 am

      Lunamoth – I am sooo happy for you! And Jeff, I have included your website as a vital link at http://www.scobeepublishing.com as I want anyone who goes there to see the wealth of information you have provided on this site. You are very appreciated. Love, Amy

  2. John Doe permalink
    February 28, 2010 2:15 am

    Bravo, Jeff!

    Lunamoth expressed my thoughts exactly! Please, keep writing. Your voice is very valuable to me.

    JD

  3. craig houchin permalink
    February 28, 2010 2:18 am

    I second lunamoth on everything she expressed so well. I will only add my thanks to you for Counterfeit Dreams. I was so moved while reading it that by the time I finished — I knew I was finished with the Church.

    It wasn’t a harsh, recoiling decision, but a calm and even compassionate knowingness brought about by my own observations and your beautiful, tragic, heroic story.

    So, thanks.

  4. February 28, 2010 4:23 am

    I watched you on YouTube and think the things you said about losing your eternity is a very wrong way of controlling people. (Anyway, there are so many freezoners everywhere by now.)

    However, I still believe that Miscavige is the primary error and the tone he’s setting destroys so much of the fun. My strong belief is that the Church needs to be reformed, the prices needs to go down and the controlled environment should cease to exist.

    It’s funny how most of the Scientologists, both in and out, are quite sensitive and aware people, but the ruler Miscavige has taken control of them in a negative way.

    I think more should be done to have Miscavige removed from post, and obviously it isn’t enough to “vote with one’s feet”. Takes too long time. He should be fired. By whom?

    Well, I can tell you. HE is the one that will be remembered for a very long time and will have great problems to come back.

  5. Rebecca-Tribecca permalink
    February 28, 2010 4:33 am

    Jeff ~~

    You deserve a HUGE acknowledgement for authoring “Counterfeit Dreams”.
    Take a Bow.
    It is a spell binding account that really communicates with R to ~~

    1)The Scientology community.
    1a) The Independents.
    2) Relatives and friends connected with Scientologists.
    3)Outer parameter folk such as Contractors, merchants, Port authorities, lawyers and so on whose paths have crossed with the Church.
    4) Enemies of the Church, Declared SPs
    5) Ex So members who blew

    You have many audiences or Publics. Because you told it in a way that truly communicates. And without rancour. I can’t even tell you how many I know that have read it. It is a link that is being passed around like a Chain letter. I sincerely await the day when it is published as a book .

    I am one of those OT 8s that have exited. I look forward to the day when I more broadly tell my stories.

    For those of you out there who have been through a reg cycle with Charmaine the South African Reg and have been skinned alive for $$$$$ and witnessed what is going on at Flag and Freewinds, you will know that the Church is close to reaching a Critical Mass.

    DEFINITION
    critical mass . NOUN . The smallest mass of a fissionable material that will sustain a nuclear chain reaction at a constant level.

  6. February 28, 2010 4:52 am

    Jeff!

    You da man!

    Can’t say we agree on a lot of things but on the important points, we seem to be in total concord.

    I linked to your blog back when I was reading ARS to get actual intel on what was really going on and I gotta say even though you weren’t as sexy as the ARSCC Librarian, you had me hanging with bated breath for every Chapter of Counterfeit Dreams!

    You probably don’t remember me, maybe due to my screen name 😉 but I remember you and the Central Marketing Unit.

    Man, you were a star, even to us techies who were over inflated with self importance toiling in the vineyards of Tech and Qual at PAC. Truly a legend!

    I mean it was because of that Dianetics campaign of yours that my scheduling board was packed to the brim! A blessing and sometimes a curse but aside from Ron, Mary Sue and a few others I have been fortunate enough to run across in Scientology you made it fun.

    So you can call yourself whatever you want, ex-Scientologist whatever. I’ll still consider you a friend.

    Also I really dig this blog, too.

    Ml

    R

    • Editor permalink*
      February 28, 2010 6:20 am

      RJ, I remember you well.

  7. brendon permalink
    February 28, 2010 6:19 am

    Brendon is, and continues to be, a huge fan. Counterfeit Dreams was a breakthrough event, and this blog is a very important, balanced and reasoned site. (And damn well written I might add.)

    Keep up the good work!

  8. sherrymk permalink
    February 28, 2010 6:33 am

    You have been like a guiding light to me Jeff, in a storm of confusion, in a Tzsunami of lies and deceipt.

    Counterfeit Dreams was one of the first things I read when I was looking for answers, trying to find my way. Besides staying up all night and greeting the sun to finish reading it… the laughter, the tears, the despair and grief…I shared with you, as anyone who’s read it surely has.

    Thank you for being our voice and making it safe for others to communicate and to heal.

    You are one cool customer…and I am proud to call you my friend.

  9. Natalie permalink
    February 28, 2010 2:33 pm

    Jeff,

    I love the articles on this blog and truly appreciate what you have done and are doing to help others navigate their way through the obstacle course that leaving the C of S is.

    When individuals use their voice and share their story, the truth spreads. It has been liberating for my family and I to learn that what happened to us is not just a local matter, but is happening all over the world in the C of S.

    For some it is too shocking, and too much to confront so their heads go back in the sand. For many more the truth indicates so strongly, burdens are lifted and individuals can walk with their heads held high again.

    Keep up the great work!

  10. February 28, 2010 5:02 pm

    Hi Jeff. I suspect that I’m one of the few who had no idea who Rebel008 was but that also meant that I got the benefit of getting to be pleasantly surprised when I read this post. And I must say that being pleasantly surprised is an effect I enjoy.

    Your blog has been tremendously helpful to me. You have managed to create a safe space here and I intuitively knew that I could make originations here that I would not feel comfortable doing elsewhere. Just as I intuitively knew that doing such was okay here I intuitively knew that elsewhere such originations would be considered taboo. And I tell you from one who is working their way through such a convoluted aggregation of deception, lies and betrayal such as the CoS, LRH and Scn…I have had to open many “forbidden” doors and look into many ominous places in my desire to learn the actual truth. As it has turned out, the truth in many cases is not pretty. Indeed, it is often somewhat horrible. However, I have discovered that unequivocally I prefer a horrible truth over a pretty lie any day of the week. The truth, even if its an unpalatable truth, does set one free.

    When I first came to Leaving Scientology, I had this particular thought chiming in , “Well, I’m not leaving Scientology but I have left the church so this site probably won’t apply to me, although, I am curious about those who are leaving Scn…like to know more about that.” I instantly found that the perspective presented here was of value to me so I’ve continued to come back for more.

    The recent thread that evolved on your post, The Bridge to Nowhere, was a special event for me and I sincerely doubt that such a dialogue could have or would have been able to manifest anywhere but here. In any event, that partiular thread, and I mean every comment on it, was a game changer for me. It served to eject me out of the tar pit of perception where I was so frantically struggling for clarity into a point of view where I actually could have the clarity I so desired.

    Following is an analogy that serves as my description (in part) of where I have come to be. Of course, the analogy could change at any second but at this moment it is holding and I am expanding.

    The analogy is that of me being a prospector for gold where gold represents the truth. The truth is scattered all over the place and in can be found in some of the most unlikely of places. However, one has to be willing to sift through a lot of dirt, rocks, gravel and sand in order to isolate out the various sized nuggets of gold. Sometimes, though, you get really lucky and strike a big vein or hit the “mother lode” but so often the accumulation of truth comes in the little nuggets picked up here and there along the way.

    I now look at LRH as being one hell of a gold prospector. He travelled far and wide and discovered a huge amount of gold and brought it together in one place. He arranged and displayed his disoveries in such a way that others could share this immense wealth. And he openly invited everyone to come and share in his discoveries. When I happened to come across LRH, Dn and Scn it was like discovering a incredibly rich vein of gold. I knew that I had hit the mother lode! And for a long while I truly believed that I had in my grasp all the gold there was to be had. Well…I eventually learned that I was wrong about that. It took a bit of time to sort that out but no regrets. I figure it was just part of the sifting process and without equivocation, I most definitely added an enormity of gold to my box at this claim. Gold that I am very grateful to have.

    Now here I am out on my own free to roam with my tenacious burro, my pickax, my sifter and, can’t forget this…my trusty pan. So once again I’m on the move and actively prospecting for that wonderful gold stuff. And what fun this prospecting is! I must say, though, that I have become acutely aware of the fact that what I see as gold is not necessarily what another might see as gold and vice versa. I have come to realize, on a whole new level, that truth and reality is most definitely a personal matter. But…that’s my gold. It might not be the next person’s. 🙂

    Thank you Jeff and all others who are here, silent or otherwise.

    Monte Smith

  11. Thought provoking permalink
    February 28, 2010 6:48 pm

    Hello Jeff,

    Many of your posts have been fascinating and eye opening to read. I have always been partial to rebels!

    I had not made the connection of Jeff and Rebel and am glad to know that they are one in the same. I went through the full gamut of emotion reading Counterfeit Dreams. Here was a detailed accounting of the true greatness of the individuals giving their all in order to disseminate Scientology technology. I was angered by the sheer evil that DM perpetuates, knowing that he stopped every possiblity for expansion of the tech. It really brought home to me what LRH talked about in KSW.

    I was saddened to see that it resulted in your deciding not to be a Scientologist. I have been fortunate in that I have received so much personal freedom and relief in auditing that I truly wish that others could experience the same thing. It is why I fight with the Independents.

    Although I respect your choice and decision, I am enraged that someone who contributed so much towards making Dianetics known and well thought of did not get the benefits that I did. Still, I thank you sincerely for all that you have done to help those who do want to use the tech as LRH intended. You are a beloved ally in this cause and I wish you a very successful life and will continue to look forward to your articles of enlightenment.

    Highest Regards,
    Karen LaPorte

  12. February 28, 2010 7:18 pm

    Jeff,

    You speak sooth and with a voice that defies being ignored.

    I read Counterfeit Dreams and made a conscious decision that I would do everything I could to prevent others from having to undergo similar abuse.

    I understand the feelings of those who feel that if DM is removed, all can be made whole again. I felt that was a reasonable goal when I first decided to become an independent scientologist after 33 years in the church.

    As I started writing about my own experiences in Scientology on possiblyhelpfuladvice.com and actually doing research without regard to who was an “approved” source of information and who was “declared”, I found more and more information about Ron and the church that has been carefully hidden away.

    The upshot for me is that I see no credibility in the idea that the church can be reformed from within. Most of our best and brightest have tried to do that from the early Mission Holders to the execs who helped LRH turn the church into a juggernaut. None were successful and are only now getting traction as part of a growing group of outside activists.

    There is a slight possibility of bringing DM down by legal means, but the most likely scenario is that those of us outside the walls will succeed in cutting org income and recruiting through publicizing the abuses.

    The top-down management model is an ideal tool for suppressive control of an organization and David Miscavige has cleverly used the loyalty of staff members to keep themselves in line and submit to authority no matter how insane and off-policy the command intention became.

    The remaining staff and public are so PTS that they willingly stifle any impulse to ask questions or look at “unauthorized” information. There is neither the will or the way for them to break free until their very lives are threatened enough that they finally cry “Hold! I’m out of here!”

    Voting with one’s feet is a time honored way of escaping suppression. It is rampant in corporate life and in countries with suppressive leaders.

    Escaping to a safe point gives one the opportunity to regroup and to help right the wrongs of the past if one chooses to do so.

    I feel that helping those inside to actually look at what is going on is the key to salvaging hard working staff and public who deserve a chance for a better life.

  13. Eleanor Gehrig permalink
    February 28, 2010 9:07 pm

    Hi Jeff!

    Last month, after I had heard that Larry Anderson had left, I was jolted with a loud “WTF is going on?” I decided to get some answers for myself. I Googled leaving scientology, and this blog came up. My heart was pounding as I clicked on the link, because I was sure my head would explode once I started reading. Happily, my skull remained intact, but my head did explode–in the best possible way.

    I also began reading Counterfeit Dreams simultaneously with this blog, and I was moved beyond measure. I was amazed at how many of my perceptions and ideas were confirmed by the information contained in both blogs. While I have never toiled in the SO, I know what you guys have been through, and it’s just plain savage.

    What you’re doing is really important, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having the cojones to stand up and speak the truth. (You’re also a wonderful writer!)

    A faithful and enlightened reader,
    Ellie

    • David L. permalink
      March 1, 2010 12:20 am

      Ellie wrote:
      “I decided to get some answers for myself. I Googled leaving scientology, and this blog came up. My heart was pounding as I clicked on the link, because I was sure my head would explode once I started reading.”
      Thanks Ellie, that’s the best laugh I’ve had in several days.
      And thank you Jeff. You’ve created great sites and content that have helped a lot of people.
      Counterfeit Dreams is a “Classic” and anyone whose willing to take the chance of their “head exploding” must read it if you haven’t already.
      As is also the “Bridge to Nowhere” thread a “Classic”.
      I congratulate you sir.You’ve done some might fine work!
      David L.

  14. Mickey permalink
    February 28, 2010 10:18 pm

    Jeff….no wonder the writing of your articles for this blog were speaking to me and so it appears, to many others who read here.. It was you all along!! Ha! What a hoot. And it’s even more of a hoot when I think back to the “Bridge to Nowhere” thread how you were splitting your brilliant retorts between being “fishdaddy” and “Editor”. I wouldn’t have made the connection the way you finessed and let that thread flow.

    Was wondering why you chose at this point to reveal the Rebel as being you? And does this mean you’ll no longer continue to come up with these great and enlightening articles? Quite honestly, this particular blog is a nice respite to the other Indie ones which at times beat the same drum many of us (speaking for myself really) grew weary of hearing many moons ago.

    • Editor permalink*
      February 28, 2010 11:37 pm

      Mickey – no, I’m continuing the blog – still a lot more articles to come!

      • Fidelio permalink
        March 2, 2010 10:10 pm

        What a good news!!
        Can’t wait…

    • lunamoth permalink
      March 1, 2010 12:16 am

      @Mickey

      “…this particular blog is a nice respite to the other Indie ones which at times beat the same drum many of us (speaking for myself really) grew weary of hearing many moons ago.”

      Yes! This is an important part of what this blog offers. While a great deal of freedom of thought now exists among Indie-, Ex- and non-scientologists as compared to inside the church, I’ve found in actual practice the degree of tolerance varies on the other sites I frequent. On those sites, there are definitely things you cannot say without inviting attacks. Certain subjects or viewpoints are just too
      extreme and too “out-R” to many of the people the sites attract.

      If you’re looking for an open and frank discussion that may include the examination of previously taboo subjects (The Bridge to Nowhere is going to become mythic, you just have to know that), you can do that safely here. You can do it on other sites, too, but it would be an entirely different experience with much different results. And I’m not even considering the “hate and venom,”” IQ of 40,” sites when I speak of this. I never bother with ’em.

      I don’t mean to say, either, that you won’t run up against opposing viewpoints on this site. But when the dust settles, it’s still safe to bring up another “radical” viewpoint. I know that WHO posts here makes a difference, but I think a big part of the difference is Rebel.

  15. Boyd H. permalink
    March 1, 2010 4:27 am

    I was wondering about rebel008, now it makes sense. It’s too bad Scientology lost you Jeff, you’re a smart guy.

  16. Dora N. permalink
    March 1, 2010 9:21 pm

    “Counterfeit Dreams” was riveting and I love this blog, it’s the first site I check every day. What you’re doing is really important and it’s helping a lot of people. Thank you.

  17. emldubu permalink
    March 2, 2010 2:48 am

    Thank you, Jeff. Ditto, ditto, ditto. I’ll just add that your site has been among my “dailies” for several months and you really do bring a vital perspective to the culture change that’s happening. Same with Counterfeit Dreams. You’ve definitely been helping me peel the onion and grow some teeth.

  18. ButterflyChaser permalink
    March 2, 2010 8:34 am

    Jeff,

    This site has meant the world to me. You have created a little refuge here – an island of sanity.

    Your cogent analysis of the current scene has given me much food for thought and has made me think deeply about the religion in which I was involved for over 30 years. This site, “Ask the Scientologist” and “Possibly Helpful Advice” have all been superb dance partners as I learn to “move” again.

    I enjoy being able to think freely about the subject and not forced to think one way or another. This is true freedom, is it not?

    I have gained a great deal from the exchange of communication on this site – even with those with whom I did not agree. Somehow, during the process of these exchanges, the “socal veneer” was ripped off and it became clear where people really stood. It got a little “raw” there for a while, but everyone threw their cards on the table and it was enlightening to see the hands they were holding. I was even surprised at my own hand when it came right down to it and was forced to really LOOK. Having to answer to those with whom I strongly disagreed forced a “come to Jesus” moment upon me – and for that, I am thankful.

    Like you, Jeff, I have come to the conclusion that I am also an “ex”. (An “ex” with a tiny bit of an open door – possibly for a session or two if I felt I ever needed or desired it.)

    Ha! I just remembered a crummy analogy of what Scientology was like for me. I thought of this when I first started ‘waking up’ and it gives me a chuckle, so I’ll go ahead and share it.

    For me, Scientology was like a humongous pile of ice cream (taller than me!) encircled by a little ring of shit. Every time I would step in to take a few licks of the delicious ice cream, I would also have to step onto the little “shit circle” in order to reach it (“Oh, this ice cream is sooo good! So I get a little shit on my shoes! Who cares?”). Over time, however, the mound of ice cream began disappearing and melting more and more quickly (Oh nooooo!). Now, when I went to taste the ice cream, I also got a surprising mouthful of shit. (What the hell?) Sometimes – shit was ALL I got. Lo and behold, after many years, the whole thing just became a big gooey puddle of melted ice cream and shit – all mixed together and indistinguishable.

    So me and my sticky, smelly shoes walked away.

    (Hey – I told you it was a crummy analogy.)

    For those who want to separate it all back out again, I tip my hat to you. You have your work cut out for you and I admire your willingness to do so.

    Me — I realized I don’t even need shoes as I run barefoot through the soft, green grass and flowers that I had convinced myself were all just part of this dirty prison planet.

    Never again, my friends. Never again.

    For me, the sun DOES set on Scientology. Yet it rises again into a dewy, radiant morning embraced by this beautiful Planet Earth of ours.

    Thanks for helping me kick off those old shoes, Jeff.

    • lunamoth permalink
      March 3, 2010 1:00 am

      Wow. Now that was an analogy I never would have come up with on my own.

  19. Fidelio permalink
    March 2, 2010 3:43 pm

    Jeff, you are a Super Star!

    Thank you for all you are doing, I am in awe!

    Much much love!

  20. Nomnom permalink
    March 3, 2010 6:23 am

    Jeff,

    Your “Counterfeit Dreams” has set the bar.

    Erudite, talented and gracious.

    Thank you for what you’re doing.

    Nomnom

  21. Greg Cook permalink
    March 3, 2010 6:47 pm

    Bravo Jeff!

  22. Just Me permalink
    March 6, 2010 3:41 pm

    (Days later ….)

    Gee, Jeff … I had NO idea Rebel was you. Nicely done! Thank you for this blog.

    And, yes, “The Bridge to Nowhere” thread is a classic. I discovered it long after you’d closed the comments. Otherwise I’d have chimed in. That thread was valuable because people said what they thought / believed / felt. No “supposed to’s,” no social veneer, no “let’s all just get along’s.” It was written by folks unafraid to communicate.

    BTW, I never assume what everybody says / thinks / feels / believes is what they’re going to say / think / feel / believe in the future — especially not those who are rapidly receiving so much new information.

    I hope everyone here, especially those newly out or newly looking, appreciates they don’t now have to hunker down and defend like crazy what they believe right now.

    Some who are leaving Scientology will re-enter it soon, and some re-entering Scientology now will be leaving soon … until everyone here figures out what is true for them long-term.

    Certainty, doubt, ambiguity, doubt, certainty, etc. – ah, the dance of life. It’s also called know, not-know.

    With much, much affection for all who are here,

    Just Me

  23. March 8, 2010 7:20 pm

    I loved Counterfeit Dreams. 🙂

    There are many message boards now that cater to scios and ex-scios of all kinds, some more tolerant of differing viewpoints than others. I won’t push my favourites, but it shouldn’t be hard to find one or more that are suitable. From what I read, many have found it extremely valuable to both read *and* post of their own experiences.

    Paul

  24. April 20, 2010 3:00 am

    I agree with the statements that removing DM is not really going to effectively change much. I keep wondering about that day years ago when the story about DM walking into the Director of the IRS’s office and calling a truce. That was when the IRS suddenly allowed services to become tax-deductible.

    What I wonder is …was that the day the church got hijacked from LRH, buy those same folks?

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