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Amazing Grace

March 16, 2010

The following was sent to me by a friend who recently left the Church of Scientology. It’s a reminder that there are places where one can find beauty, grace and peace. And it has nothing to do with how many square feet of space you’ve bought or renovated.

I had an interesting experience in a church yesterday. My husband and I were in a little neighboring town. We’d been walking around an arts festival for about 3 hours, and by about 2:00 we were tired and hungry and were looking for a place to sit down for a few minutes on our trek back to the car. We walked by an old church, and the doors were open and a pipe-organ was being played, so of course we went in.  Even though it was Saturday, the church had been opened to the public and a few tired festival-goers were sitting in random pews. A middle-aged guy in jeans was playing an old pipe organ. So we went in and sat down in one of the old wooden pews.  I noticed the wooden floor in front of our pew was actually worn from the feet of people walking in and out, and shifting their feet around while seated during services.  The floor and the pews looked original to the building, so that would have made them over 80 years old. That’s a lot of Sunday services, funerals, christenings and weddings.

This church was an old Spanish Revival style; white, hand-plastered walls, wide-open, gable ceiling with dark-stained, heavy timbers and beams from which hung big, wrought-metal chandeliers. The window wells for the stained glass windows were a foot deep into the white walls. At the front of the church was a huge, rosette window with a depiction of some religious figures. The glass had been stained in brilliant blues and soft greens, the robe of the central figure in cardinal red and touches of gold.  We just sat there and breathed in the beautiful organ music, the light through the windows and the smells of the old wood pews. It was calm and beautiful and my husband and I both gratefully expanded into the space.

After a few minutes, the man playing the organ stopped and got up from his seat.  He spoke to a woman near the altar who was just sitting down in front of a harp, then proceed to where we sat, and stopped.  He smiled and chatted with us a few minutes, and then went about his business.

The woman started playing the harp. Ode to Joy, followed by Greensleeves.  Sitting in the pew only 10 or so feet from her, I started to cry.  I couldn’t suppress it.  I couldn’t stop.  I just sat there and cried, quietly.

After a couple of minutes of this, I turned to my husband and said, “He didn’t try to sell us a book,” and we both laughed.  It was so ridiculous.

What I had experienced so profoundly at that moment was the realization of loss. Sitting here in this old church, I was suddenly aware that my own “church” had removed from the experience of religion every beautiful thing I’d ever loved about churches.

I had never wanted to be a member of a church, I have just always loved churches.  I love the smells, the sounds, the light, the peace. Old churches are spiritual places.  They are completely and utterly different in that way from any church of Scientology, old or new, that I have ever experienced. Yet, despite never having wanted to join a religion, after 30 years I found myself a member of some perversion of one. And nowhere in that experience was there ever any of the things that I loved about churches. None.

So sitting in the old church, no longer feeling any part of my old “religion,” and  knowing that would never have to set foot in another one of its commercial, high-pressure, nerve-wracking and spiritually bereft organizations, I just let it go.

I just sat there, listening as the harpist gave me her personal expression of her spirit, sitting in the light of an artist’s stained glass creation inside a beautifully designed old structure that had beencared for and cherished by the people of the community for 80 years.  And was left in peace to think or feel whatever “the spirit” moved me to think or feel.

And when we decided to leave, and got up and started to walk to the door, the organ player smiled and waved goodbye.

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30 Comments
  1. March 16, 2010 5:10 am

    That brought tears of joy to my eyes.

    She captured the emptiness of the cult we once were a part of.
    The CofS has never assumed the role of a true church except as a means
    to avoid taxation.

    The quiet reflection and personal exhaltation which are part and parcel of many church services is never found in Miscavige’s folly.

    Thanks for reminding us how far we strayed from our original quest for enlightenment and personal peace.

  2. Mickey permalink
    March 16, 2010 5:15 am

    Beautiful, just beautiful Jeff from your friend’s heart to mine, to ours. It took similar experiences of letting go and coming into a moment of a quiet calm within for me to separate my “self” from the group-think “self” that oh so gets pounded into us in the current “church” atmosphere and culture. This place inside is one we all eventually get in touch with again once we realize it has gone missing and suddenly one day the longing for it surfaces again. Call it some state of the Divine, God, Great Spirit, Grace, Home ….it’s doesn’t matter. It’s not the label that is the focus, but the experience itself that speaks to us.

    For me I remember saying to myself….”all I want is inner peace”. I didn’t care what happened beyond that point because I somehow knew if I could just get back to that quiet place (like being in the calm eye of a hurricane watching all the chaos swirling around and about, yet being untouched and unaffected by it all), then life beyond this peace would take care of itself. And indeed, I think the lessons and continual learning and discovery of what we do each moment works out this way when this idea is kept at the forefront of mindful thinking.

    Thanks sooo much to you Jeff and your friend for sharing this with us. Terrific stuff!!

  3. March 16, 2010 5:40 am

    That was a wonderful and touching story. Thanks much for sharing it Jeff.

  4. ButterflyChaser permalink
    March 16, 2010 5:44 am

    Reading this was a religious experience for me. What can I say? She said it all.

  5. VaD permalink
    March 16, 2010 9:09 am

    Heart-touching exprerience!
    Truly revealing (the essence of “the church”)

    Even if it was made up as a story, I still could connect to it – since I had my own similar expreriences about being in the Church, real one, after having been for so long within of what calls itself such name. Shame on them!
    (Believe it or not, I don’t wanna use this word “scientology” anymore – not because it’s copyrighted 🙂 but because the more I use this word the more I feel as having been trapped, raped and fooled, and I don’t wanna think of myself as having been such a naive “passive victim”. Did you notice how often we use Passive Voice when we speak about “CofM”? 🙂 – “I was sent, I was offloaded, I was declared”)

    The post makes me think:
    whatever Hubbard had cooked up as a “New and Better Church” obviously hasn’t worked.
    It’s too bad for “the church” that people can’t be fooled forever and finally come out to the Sunlight and FEEL the difference being out here after “struggling as tigers to survive on all dynamics” within.

    It’s SO good to read these posts and comments!
    So many cognitions, So many wins, So much joy of open KNOWING what was felt deeply as known but suppressed within.

    Thank you SO much, you people who write here.
    It gives me vision that I’m not alone in what I’ve felt and lets me go and do other things (without being stuck to “find out more about…” this crappy so called “church”)

    My love and admiration to you all!
    And – my deep compassion to those who are still stuck to that “ultimate system of beliefs” inside “brand new – fully renovated, ideal ch… (no! not church) soulless building”

  6. March 16, 2010 9:49 am

    Actually when I first got into the Church of Scientology, we used to have sunday services every week and someone would play guitar or some other musical instrument, then some group processing and then the minister would give a sermon about the Factors or the ARC Triangle or some other basic Scientology concept.

    Occasionally we’d have weddings or funerals much like they had in other churches.

    Oh sure there was the “PR” factor but if anyone remembers the times most of us didn’t care if the Government approved of the Church of Scientology or not. We just did it because we considered ourselves a religion and besides it was an enjoyable experience. Especially the group processing.

    In fact I remember leaving services very often totally exterior.

    So personally I think there was more to it than merely proving to the IRS that we were a religion.

    The fact is that the tax exemption that Miscavige claims to have achieved single handedly was obtained after the Sea Org took over and jettisoned any religious aspect to the organization and turned it into a money making racket.

  7. Aeolus permalink
    March 16, 2010 2:46 pm

    That was a beautifully captured experience, and it reminded me that churches have traditionally provided the matrix that holds a community together, on many dynamics. When I was a kid the church we attended had a variety of family activities, pot-luck dinners, bingo nights etc., where you could mingle with other members and it wasn’t just the stuck flow from the pulpit to you.

    Several decades ago I helped to create one of the very first OT Committees, and high on our admin scale was the creation of a social group, which we all felt was missing from our religious experience. It worked for a while and we did have some pot luck dinners, a few outings, but it wasn’t very long before the local Org co-opted the OT Committee as part of their Div 6. Book drives were in, pot-lucks were “other fish to fry”, and the social aspect of our group died a quick and painful death.

    Since then, OT Committees have become just another organized fund-raising and regging activity, under the command of ex-GO staff Sally Jensen. And family activities? I can’t think of a single one provided by the church.

  8. lunamoth permalink
    March 16, 2010 7:05 pm

    Yes, please, give us some peace!

    It was the craving for exactly that element that started me on this journey out and I had not realized it until I read Mickey’s comment, above. I had thought that it had all started the first time I decided to look at the internet, at what was truly going on with the c of s, but it was before that.

    The start of the whole journey was when I decided I wanted, needed and deserved some peace from the incessant phone calls, emails, and home visits from the church. I stopped even listening to the orgs’ phone messages on my answering machine. I’d been screening my calls for years, but the decision that I had no moral obligation of any kind to LISTEN to them was a turning point. Didn’t want the comm, so I wasn’t accepting the comm.

    The result was sudden and glorious peace. It was remarkable! My entire universe calmed down. I could hear my own thoughts, and they were saying “This has made my life better. This is how I want to live. My life is better without communication from the church of scientology.” Funny how you can’t hear that little voice when call-in people and reg’s and fsm’s and org staff are calling you night and day.

    I understand the power of peace. And I understand the feeling of renewal of one’s own viewpoint and spirit that comes from it. That was the starting point for me of real recovery of self and an exhilarting feeling of freedom. And that is something I would truly like others to achieve.

  9. Marta permalink
    March 17, 2010 1:08 am

    What a terrific article.

    During the 25 yrs I was off-lines and in-active, but “in good standing”, with CoS my husband and I visited and attended several different churches. It didn’t matter to us what “brand” of religion, we were simply seeking spiritual connection. In some there was very little, while one or two offered sweet, spirit filled, enriching connections. And we continued reading and practicing the Scientology philosophy, which is so much a part of our lives it’s second nature.

    The CoS could have been working to establish its aims (rather than its values: $$) deep in the fabric of its operations and practices, rather than just to build a disguise of lies. Out-ethics. So, whether it’s broken or never quite got on the rails firmly enough to hold, it’s definitely void of the stuff that this story communicates!

    Thank you for posting it.

  10. Jack Airey permalink
    March 17, 2010 2:46 am

    WOW!!!!

  11. Freedom Fighter permalink
    March 17, 2010 3:23 am

    This story indicated to me on such a core level. I can practically feel my TA dropping. It’s not often that I’m speechless, but this is one of those times. Thanks for posting.

  12. LogicHammer permalink
    March 17, 2010 4:58 am

    That piece makes me think of something that I had “bognited” on (cognite too late on something) several years ago; I had developed a superiority complex against wogs and other churches, what with all of the auditing and training gains I’d had, but as I looked at it closer, I realized that, in spite of no tech, people like the organ player and the harpist were the happy ones, were the kind ones, and I wished I were like them.

    Strangely enough, perhaps it was my auditing that actually got me to “flip.” Rather than myself becoming more powerful, I started to see the true power of others, and was humbled, and I felt hopeful that they would allow me to be with them.

    I too, felt like I was in that Spanish church and wept at this piece, because I have the same loss, and I wish I hadn’t felt so superior to people who were probably MY superiors. I have had case gain, these others haven’t, but they seem to apply LRH’s lessons much better than me.

    I weep when I see simple acts of kindness and love; a child hugging a parent, a family at a picnic, friends sad to leave each other at airports (you’d better not let me take an OCA right now!). Why? Because I used to be so haughty about my religion and there were so many other things to be concerned about than these simple acts, like going up the Bridge, making the next million, increasing PR presence, becoming immortal. But watching these simple acts of kindness and love showed me who the true immortal ones were; those without answers for pain and death, yet they continue to love and be kind.

    That non-Scn churches and non-Scns extend so much kindness to strangers is a lesson the present CofS should take to heart.

    LRH wrote in the HCO PL “Manners,” You have no idea how important people are.” To me, it seems that many wogs have a much better idea of the importance of others than many that are still in the present CofS. We are not just walking talking checkbooks or credit cards, we are not just supposedly nattering because a case gain wasn’t delivered, we are not just a juicy stat in their “GI push” game. We feel, we sacrifice, and we have worked hard to donate towards what the CofS said they could deliver to us so that we could help others and ourselves, but delivery didn’t occur. And instead of the mighty church righting itself, the Lords of RTC deem it best to abandon those who complain and start working on their next marketing campaign for their next GI push.

    “the organ player smiled and waved goodbye.” Such ARC I wish I had seen more of in my stolen church.

    Thank you Jeff, and Jeff’s friend, for this piece.

    • Martin permalink
      March 17, 2010 10:23 am

      Well said, LogicHammer. Very poignant. I too had often wondered at what point on the Bridge did one attain the only level that ever meant anything to me – the level of “decent and loving human being”. I only realised after 30 years that no amount of OT levels or years on the SHSBC was going to help acheive that, if the environment in which one is learning is itself arrogant and suppressive. Some OT VIIIs are the most aggressive and arrogant people I know. And to whom or what is David Miscavige a role model? Imagine running that as a process!!!

      I started in scientology because I sensed inately that people around me looked to me for guidance and help and I didn’t know how to give it to them. My role models had been people who had a sense of fun and were generous of their affinity and support.

      I started attending a local Anglican Church after I left CofM last year – it was a breath of fresh air in many ways. Here were people who just liked each other without any agenda. No crush-regging, no ridiculous demands for time I didn’t have. No streams of phone calls or late night visits…no “our way or the highway” spritual blackmail. I was valued and acknowledged just for being there and participating.

      I get more spiritual gain from spending time with my daughter that any amount of $5000 intensives. For a great “demo” on the joy of unconditional love, watch “Love Actually”, especially the montage at the end of family members greeting each other at Heathrow Airport. This sequence wasn’t staged or acted, it was just film of ordinary people and the unsuppressed pleasure one gets just from being reuinted with a loved one.

      • LogicHammer permalink
        March 18, 2010 5:46 am

        Thanks for the kind words Martin.

        You know, you’re right about the end of “Love Actually” being a great demo on the joy of unconditional love. An incredible scene. Believe it or not, I was at Flag auditing at the time that movie came out. I was having a rough go of it, so I went to theaters to watch movies off base to get my head out of the grinder. That movie actually helped me to survive at Flag.

        Well done on being the kind of person that got into Scn to help others. You were already a very high level of OT before you got into the church.

  13. Rebecca-Tribecca permalink
    March 17, 2010 8:08 am

    To the Writer of this beautiful piece

    You sure know to play with words and create images. I could almost FEEL and SMELL and HEAR the inside of the Church.

    After some pretty messed up handlings in my final year with gigantic amounts of $$$$ spent and squandered within the Church I left FREEWINDS shortly before Christmas.

    On Christmas Day, I decided to go to a Catholic mass. I was raised in the Catholic faith and this was going back home.

    I could only imagine what reaction my OT 8 CS would have. However, the Catholic Church is NOT a squirrel group, I kept telling myself.

    I loved the mass. It is all in English these days, not Latin, with interaction with Public. I felt serene, I felt at peace, I felt in unity with the crowd. I can’t even begin to describe how safe the space is inside.

    I have been back to Catholic Mass a few times. I might even consider going to Confession !
    No videotapes of others looking in and hearing the session, no copious notes taken for later use at MAA and OSA. NO FESers later reading every word.

    In Scientology, auditing is not between you and an auditor. There is an ARMY of personnel with access to your most private thoughts and deeds. MAAs, D of Ps, Tech Secs, CMO, OSA, FESers and so on.

    Priest/Penitent Privilege is a misnomer. As if only shared between 2 people as in attorney/client privilege. Not so ~~ In Scientology, TONS of people access the pc folders.
    What bothered me the most was every session is videotaped and CSes and INT execs can look in from a main video bank of monitors. I have not seen any LRH policy that says all sessions are to be taped for public viewing.

    And I do not find anything religious about these actions at all.

  14. March 17, 2010 3:10 pm

    Love the comments here by everyone. Thank you all.

    My view of church, my personal experience with church is, though, a bit different than most of you here. And, interestingly enough, and with no small dose of irony, seemed to have set me up to enevitably embrace the “church” of scientology.

    In 1977, after I finished reading the book Dianetics (Dn) I wanted to know more. After all, it was now 27 years since the book had first been published. Surely, many advances had been made over what is approaching almost three decades. But, I had a problem. If I wanted to find out more about Dn I was being told, by a card inserted into the book, that I was going to have to contact the Church of Scientology. As soon as I saw the word CHURCH I bounced. I didn’t even get to the word scientology.

    Church was something that I had had my fill of. I had grown up around a lot of church, hell fire and brimstone and until I was 18 years of age it was mandatory for me to attend Sunday school (my mother’s dictate). Then, more often than not, after Sunday school I had to go and sit in that space where the weekly sermon was delivered. But, while my body took up a space on the pew, “I” would go elsewhere yet would leave just enough attention units behind to keep up a good front (it didn’t take many).

    To me, the word ‘church’ = organized religion = the person attending church must accept without question what is told to be true. Discussions and Q&A are not encouraged in such places as church. Nope, no room for free thinkers in organized religion. And I was a free thinker that would ask questions and point out contradictions and wonder about things. However, it didn’t take long for me to learn to keep my curiousity to myself.

    There I was with this big problem. I really wanted to know more about Dn. I wanted to learn how to audit and I wanted to be audited by an auditor. I wanted to be deaberated (aberration – my favorite new word) and I wanted to deaberate others. But, I was adamant about not wanting anything to do with church. Damn it! I was stuck. As they say, though, the Lord works in mysterious ways, and little did I know that a crowbar that would pry me from this jam of integrity, was to be delivered by my mailman. It came in the form of a pinkish colored personality test that had been sent out by the Portland Dn Center. There was no mention of a church whatsoever. My dilema had been successfully circumvented. Yahoo!! Thus, the irony begins.

  15. Sharon permalink
    March 17, 2010 4:34 pm

    That was absolutely beautiful and deeply touching.

  16. Jeff's Friend permalink
    March 17, 2010 5:06 pm

    I want to thank every one of you who shared this experience with me, and who added your own experiences and comments on my story above. Reading them has been a real “communion.”

    Thanks for making this possible, Jeff. Here’s to more truly spiritual experiences in our lives.

  17. sherrymk permalink
    March 17, 2010 6:41 pm

    Jeff’s friend,

    Beautiful moving piece of prose. I’ve experienced more of a true religious experience in breathing in your words than any amount of auditing has brought me too.

    You are gorgeous.

  18. Marta permalink
    March 18, 2010 2:43 am

    Monte,

    I get you, really. I, too, wanted nothing to do with churches because mostly what I saw there was hyprocrisy. What I found in the Scientology philosophy was applied truths and a way to improve conditions. In the organizations and the SO (and I’m talking back before DM, too) I again found hypocrisy, but it looked like just a young organization (a young church or spiritual group) improving itself and not perfect yet. And now it’s just gotten more hypocritical, much MUCH worse over the years.

    A couple of my favorite Ghandi quotes are “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” and “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

    What’s true for individuals will likely reflect in a group, yes?. I realized that my actions didn’t automatically come out “perfect” after auditing or training. Auditing freed me up to think at cause (intentionally), speak intentionally, act more intentionally, create habits that are positive, and assess and re-evaluate my values more quickly, easily, and readily. But, I still have to DO these things. I have to BE there.

    IMHO the CoS as an organization has not had its ethics in for a long, long time. Words without substance. It went “up the pole” on being a religion or whatever, and never looked back. “We don’t care, we’re the biggest baddest Church of Monopoly, so we don’t have to.” And the group is made up of its individuals.

    This new group of ex’s and independents is a smarter group, at least we’ve got some subjective reality on this situation. Based on this post and comments, and so many others I am truly hopeful we might pull something from the rubble.

    Bless you all.

    • March 18, 2010 5:13 am

      Marta, you wrote…

      “I realized that my actions didn’t automatically come out “perfect” after auditing or training. Auditing freed me up to think at cause (intentionally), speak intentionally, act more intentionally, create habits that are positive, and assess and re-evaluate my values more quickly, easily, and readily.”

      That’s a big DITTO for me!

      Also, thank you very much for those wonderful Ghandi quotes. I like Ghandi.

      Not every church experience I had in my early days was unpleasant. The most impactful church experience I had was when I was 11 years old and went to church camp in the mountains of southern New Mexico. Including me, there were six boys in my group and our counselor was one very cool dude. One day on our way to the big assembly hall where we were to have church sevice for all of the groups, he pulled an “exit stage right” and off we went up into the mountains making our own trail as we went. Eventually we came upon a big boulder where we stopped. And right there somewhere on this mountain, sitting around and on top of the boulder, we had our own private church service which was actually this incredible open discussion where we each shared our views on what we considered God to be. It was an amazing experience given to this group of six young boys by an amazing individual!

      My next unforgettable and impactful church experience occured in NW AR when I was 13. There was a little classic white one room country church near our ranch. And there were only a few small country families that attended this pastorless church. Instead of a pastor, usually three to four students from John Brown University in Siloam Springs would drive out to minister to the group. On one particular cold winter Sunday these four JBU students showed up and they wanted to divide us into separate groups and have Sunday school. As the church was only one room, one of the young men gathered the older kids (I was the oldest) and led us out to a car. We all piled in, he started the engine, turned on the heater and as the snow began to fall we proceeded to have one of the most memorable sunday school classes I have ever had. Again, like on that boulder in NM, it was a free form discussion about religion. The guy didn’t restrict, inhibit or enforce anything. Now that’s church!

      Marta, you say we’re a smarter group…I certainly hope so. I hope we have learned in a way that we can apply. LOL that sounds like something a scientologist would say.

      Follow your bliss…

      • lunamoth permalink
        March 18, 2010 6:47 am

        Monte,

        Again, a wonderful video, and love love love YoYo Ma.

        lunamoth

  19. Marta permalink
    March 18, 2010 4:19 pm

    Monte – thanks for the Joseph Campbell, each one spoke to me.

    “If you have an apple and I have an apple, and we exchange apples, then you and I will still each have one apple But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange ideas, then each of us will have two ideas”. George Bernard Shaw

    May we each practice on-going exchange with one another.

    • lunamoth permalink
      March 18, 2010 6:25 pm

      Marta

      I loved your Shaw quote so much I just posted it on the wall in my office. Thanks!

  20. freespirit permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:13 pm

    I was very moved by the honesty and truth of this blog. Thank you for posting it. I would like to share an experience that I had in a church outside of Scn.

    I have been out for many years. I did original OT 7: I was a Sea Org member for 10 years, I was also at INT, and I was on staff for some 20 years. I eventually routed out after finding it unbearable to continue with the farce of “clearing a planet.” I won’t get into specifics.

    In any case, I returned to the church of my roots with my spouse. Your description of these moments is very real to me; I experienced many such moments of overwhelming joy. One of my friends recently put her finger on it for both of us (she too is experiencing these and she is an OT 7). It is about the reverence and respect for the 8th dynamic. This is what we see and feel in our churhes. This reverence and respect; and my extension as we are God’s children- the reverence and respect for others as spiritual beings – and the desire to connect through our sense of humanity for each other. I deeply value these experiences. At first I wasn’t sure if I should feel this way, but one of my sisters simply told me to open my heart and allow the experience to unfold. It is a form of healing. She was right. In doing so I so clearly saw how I had devoted my life to belief system that demonstrated the exact opposite. A system that denied each of us (outside of session) to feel and demonstrate that reverence and respect to the eight and 7th dynamics. We know how we are assaulted -invalidation of wins, denial of states,etc.

    One day I went to confession. I was really hesitant to do so, but as we were renewing our vows in church, I needed to do it. I had not been in confession for over 30 years. I recall having some bad experiences then, and then all the sec checks…….ugh.

    I was informed that confessions had been revamped and that I would find it a very different experience.

    I walked into the confessional booth. I was surprised to see a priest facing me – not behind a screen. He was very old -clearly in his late 80’s or early 90’s. White hair, with the gentlest smiling eyes. I will share this conversation.

    “Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been over 30 years since my last confession”

    “30 years? Is this going to take long?”

    “I don’t think so father. I really don’t know where to start. I feel I’ve really tried to do right, that I tried to live a decent and honorable life. I have made my mistakes, and as a result I’ve hurt others, but in my heart, I tried to live without malice and do act without malice. I hjave sinned in leaving the church. I abandoned my faith.” I told him that I went to another “church” that had secular leanings. But at the end in the eyes of my church -there could be no worse that abandoning my church and its beliefs. I talked and talked. He listened.

    I prepared myself to hear a long lecture. I was ready to be castigated and admonished and ridiculed….

    “Don’t be so hard so yourself. At least you came back. Give me a good Act of Contrition. And while you are at it say a good dose of Hail Mary’s and The Lord’s Prayer.”

    At that point he place his hand on my head and prayed for me. He asked the Lord’s forgiveness and then by the power of the Church He forgave me all my transgressions.

    I cannot describe the jolt, the release, the profound peace. I just started to cry, so overwhelmed I felt by the relief, the forgiveness and the acceptance I just experienced. Contrary to my experience routing out- completing extensive sec checking and then being ousted. So much anger and bitterness dissipated.

    I appreciate having studied Scientology as I feel I have a more responsible approach to the subject of religions and spiritual belief systems. I can see what is true for me and what isn’t. It is positively criminal that a “religion” that has explored the depth and breath of Man as a spiritual entity is so diametrically opposed to it by its collective actions.

    Your blog moved me to share this with you.

    • Martin permalink
      March 20, 2010 11:15 am

      “30 years? Is this going to take long?”

      This is the best (warmest/funniest) thing I have read in ages! I could just imagine this old white-haired man slightly startled and wondering if he should mention his weak bladder, or the soup simmering on the stove…

  21. Friend of Jeff's permalink
    March 18, 2010 9:28 pm

    Freespirit

    I am almost unable to reply to your poignant comment, I am so emotionally moved by it. This is a “companion piece” to what I experienced, and could well foretell the sort of spiritual richness our own futures hold for many of us. I wholeheartedly agree with your evaluation of the spiritual deficiency of the culture within scientology. It leaves us starving in a what should have been a spiritual banquet.

    Having been a default Catholic (born into it rather than choosing it) before my years in Scientology,
    I have some personal reality on the scene you describe. I read this to my daughter and could barely get through it; I was choking up. My daughter had goosebumps on her arms. We finally laughed with relief. I am so happy for you.

    How ever you have arrived where you are now, whatever you had to go through to learn what you did, it has led here, to being able to so fully have and live your 7th and 8th dynamics. I have to say “Well done,” for persisting, and for not “settling” for something less. I aspire to achieve myself
    what you have achieved . Thanks so much for showing us all what can come next.

    • freespirit permalink
      March 19, 2010 12:45 am

      Friend of Jeff – THANK YOU so very very much for your enormously sensitive response and I am grateful that you shared your experience and that Jeff posted it; it has opened up my willingness to communicate more broadly on the subject. “A spiritual banquet” …. “starving” – so, so,so right….

  22. earth mother permalink
    March 21, 2010 4:16 pm

    I have been sitting here reading, in the quiet of the morning, a Sunday morning, and I feel as if I have truly been to Church. I can relate to so many of the postings here.

    To Jeff’s friend: I too, am drawn to go inside old churches, and the signs of years of people who have been there before me is a testament to our longing to be connected and in community. I love the smells and sounds of old churches. I can feel the remnants of the years of joy and sorrow that the walls have been witness to. I love the down home friendly attitude so many have to strangers in their midst. They are so welcoming of seekers…whether they be seekers of a truth, a community, or a respite from the madness of the world. I felt I was right there with you as you so beautifuly described the moments.

    lunamoth, I would so love to meet you someday! I am getting my peace back bit by bit. I too don’t answer my phone, I let it go to voice mail, and I look forward to the day the calls stop coming in. Each call disturbs my calm.

    I was an Anglican before abandoning years of friendships and community to join COS. There were a few people who stayed in touch for a while, but no one ever regged me, or called or came by my home to ‘recover’ me. In a way, I wish someone had. But it was not their way. My choosing another path was OK with them. They weren’t going to fight to get me back, bully me into seeing that I was making a huge mistake, that my ‘eternal spiritual freedom was at stake.’ They were willing to let me live my life; learn, discover, and seek on my own terms. And if I found what I was looking for, more power to me. If not, they would be there for me if, I mean, IF, I chose to return.

    Freespirit, I have been thinking of contacting the Vicar of my old parish and asking for a private confession for some time now. After reading your post, I know it will be a cleansing action for me to do. I know there will be no malice, no heavy ethics action, no blame, or shame placed on me. There is a bit of regret on my part, and that is the loss of community I have suffered in the 7 years since I left them.

    When I think back on all the social activities that I participated in that were just for the sheer joy of community, I can find nothing that compares in the COS. Nothing. For every event, for every gathering, there is an army of robots waiting to take my money. “will that be cash or credit?”

    I honestly don’t know if I will align myself with another organized religion, but this I do know, If I do choose to do so, it will be one that truly celebrates the communion of spiritual and human beings, and knows how to have serious potlucks!!

  23. lunamoth. permalink
    March 21, 2010 8:36 pm

    earth mother

    Well, I think we should meet! You sound like just my kind of friend. And like you, I have a renewed respect for the value of spiritual community, and we’re going to get that by creating it, so why not-
    we’ll figure out the logistics later!

    My first thought when you mentioned that you were entertaining the idea of meeting with your old
    vicar was “Do it!” Not as a commitment to become an Anglican again, necessarily, but because your
    old vicar was obviously an important part of your spiritual history and growth, and how wonderful for him to know that now, after all the experiences you’ve had since leaving the church, you still think of him and value what he represented to you. What a wonderful creation of community right there, between two spiritual beings.

    And I can tell you from experience that the phone calls do stop. After absolutely no response by me to any phone comm for only a couple of months, the calls diminished to only a couple a week. We have gone months at a time now with none at all. It’s wonderful. And once org terminals get wind of the fact that you are “disaffected” ( = paying attention and getting the truth about the church), the only calls might occasionally be from DSA’s or tech terminals wanting you to come in for a “D of P” or other interview. But I am delighted to tell you these are just as easy to ignore as any call-in person and with no real consequences. All it takes is practice.

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