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Five Years

April 18, 2010

Well, a significant milestone came and went. There was no fanfare, no celebration. And that’s as it should be.

Five years ago, on April 16th, 2005, I left the Int Base, the Sea Org, and the Church of Scientology forever. With my possessions piled into my car, and a $500 check in my pocket (my “severance pay” after dedicating 35 years of my life), I headed up the California coast to find a new life.

Like any exodus from Scientology, no matter how seemingly abrupt, it was in reality a long process. It began while I was still at the Int Base. I became increasingly aware of the “cognitive dissonance” in my life. Cognitive dissonance means attempting to hold two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time, in my case, my idea of what I thought a “Scientology environment” should be like, and the nightmare world I observed around me at the Int Base. It culminated in my decision to refuse to go back on post or the go to the RPF, but to insist on offload.

My “exit” continued long after I had physically left. In those first few weeks, I still thought of myself as a loyal Church member. I fully intended to do my “A to E” and get back in the Church’s good graces. But gradually, as I decompressed, got enough sleep, went for long walks, and began tentatively exploring the internet, I started peeling off the onion layers of cognitive dissonance. After a few months, I made the decision that I would never, never go back.

By October, I was willing to start reaching out, and began posting under my own name on the XSO chat group. I began connecting to old friends, and attended an Ex-Sea Org reunion in Las Vegas.  There followed, really, years of talking, writing, thinking, trying to make sense of my Scientology experience. I tried several times to write something about my experience, but my thoughts were still too chaotic, too confused.

Finally, in April 2008, fully three years after I’d left, I felt it was time. I began writing Counterfeit Dreams, and publishing it chapter by chapter as an online blog. I felt strongly that I could never tell just part of the story. I had to tell the whole story or nothing. It took me four months to complete.  I was, at last, willing to tell my story, and gave my first media interview that August, to the Portland Mercury.  There was a lot of anger in that interview, probably too much. But it was a start.

Sometimes I’m asked why I didn’t start speaking out immediately, as soon as I left. All I can say is, I wasn’t ready yet. As Marty told CNN, everyone leaving goes through a period of decompression, of thinking, talking, discussing, reflecting.  Everyone has their own journey out of Scientology.

If I had known the life that awaited to me outside the Sea Org, I would have left many years before I did, frankly. When you’re inside, the world outside the Sea Org is painted as scary, daunting and desolate. Miscavige used to regale us with stories of people who had left and ended up homeless, or in menial, poverty-level jobs. I found out, after I left, that these stories were fabrications.

For me, I have been able to create a great life. I live in a big house on the side of a mountain, with an awesome view of downtown Portland. I have my own freelance graphic design business, a longtime dream. It brings me a good income while allowing me the freedom to set my own schedule, get enough sleep, and paint in my large art studio. I have a wonderful family (including two wonderful grandkids), a great group of friends, and plenty of time to explore both Portland’s night life and its wilderness trails.  The myth of a large, hostile, aberrated and threatening world outside Scientology is just that – a myth.

And I also have time to try to help others find out that there is Life After Scientology.

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58 Comments
  1. Jack Airey permalink
    April 18, 2010 9:51 pm

    Jeff;

    Your story was one of serveral I read that helped me get the hell out of the nightmare and become a public whistle blower.

    Thank you. I hope some day to meet you and thank you in person.

    LOL;

    Jack Airey

    • Martin permalink
      April 18, 2010 11:48 pm

      I second that Jack. I read Counterfiet Dreams recently and it was a revelation. The detail and honesty made it especially poignant. The true psychosis of life in the SO was laid bare in a gripping yet sobering way. (Sorry, this is sounding like a tacky book review!).

      Anyway I for one feel a debt of gratitude to Jeff for this book – I hope to see it on bookshelves very soon. And yes, life is GOOD outside the Truman Show!

  2. lunamoth permalink
    April 18, 2010 10:55 pm

    Congratulations, Jeff, you SO deserve it. Thanks for your help, and for your friendship.
    It makes me happy to see you doing so well.

    (Love the hat).

    lunamoth

  3. Just Me permalink
    April 18, 2010 11:02 pm

    Jeff,

    Congratulations on your fifth anniversary. Sounds like it was a sweet one.

    You’re a talented writer and a truth-speaker, Jeff. This blog of yours is a valuable forum for people expanding their knowledge and their POVs. Thank you for your many contributions.

    Like Jack, I too look forward to meeting you one day. One night about three months ago I read your Counterfeit Dreams online all the way through until dawn. I simply couldn’t stop until I found out “how it ended.”

    Just Me

    P.S. Jack, I look forward to meeting you some day, too — and Mary Jo and Lunamoth and Monte and RJ and SherryMK and WH and David StL and Onceuponatime and … the list goes on and on. Many thanks to everyone who comments here.

  4. AlexMetheny permalink
    April 18, 2010 11:34 pm

    Thanks for all you do Jeff!!

    Your story was key for me deciding to leave the church. I could not have that kind of thing happening to a dedicated Sea Org member, especially such an upstat one.

    I would never disconnect from a person based on what the CofM has labelled someone. They are proven liars and I don’t have any respect for their labels.

    ARC,
    Alex

    • VaD permalink
      April 20, 2010 5:00 am

      Alex,
      “They are proven liars and I don’t have any respect for their labels”. – I like the way you stated it. Me, too!
      For me it started from getting a wind that Marc Headley was declared. Marc whom I’ve known well and liked and respected. So I asked myselg “He is an SP??? WTF???”
      And now – here I am – reading, posting and saying to others that I’m NOT a scientologist.
      Reactions of dedicated scientologists is an amusing one when you tell them your POV. It’s like taking part in some puppet show where you speak to a doll programmed to tell you certain things and no further. Then they report. As if I cared. 🙂

  5. earth mother permalink
    April 18, 2010 11:41 pm

    Jeff,

    Happy Anniversary! I am so pleased that you are living a full and enriched life these days. I have so much admiration for you.

    It has been just over a year since I left (as public, not SO) and the difference is amazing. I have returned my energies to my family, my art and my friends, and I am truly flourishing. Living life…ain’t it wonderful?!

    • lunamoth permalink
      April 19, 2010 3:45 am

      …another artist! Sure seems to be a lot of artists on this blogsite…

  6. April 18, 2010 11:43 pm

    Jeff, congratulations on your 5 year anniversary. I’ve been witness to your decompression over a few of those years, thanks to your contacting me after that LV reunion and I’m grateful that you did.
    On another topic entirely, where can we see some of the paintings coming out of your studio?
    All the best,
    Dan (and Mariette)

    • lunamoth permalink
      April 19, 2010 3:46 am

      We may have to have a virtual art show at some point.

  7. ExVet permalink
    April 19, 2010 12:03 am

    Happy Anniversary, Jeff! God bless!

  8. Marta permalink
    April 19, 2010 12:07 am

    Terrific, Jeff. Thanks for this – and Counterfeit Dreams, all your articles, videos, activist work. This site has been, and continues to be, one of my Dailies.

    Although, I wasn’t connected to any CoS org for over 20 years after leaving the SO, I went back on-lines and it took eight years to disabuse me of my attempts to resolve the cognitive dissonance. And, I’m still peeling the onion – so when folks ask why it took you so long, like I said to Old Auditor, from where I stand you’re a speed demon!

    Please, keep it coming.

    Marta

  9. Sharon permalink
    April 19, 2010 12:24 am

    Your story was the one that impacted me the most, Jeff. Infinite Complacency is still the first link I give to people wanting more information. It’s really good to see and hear how well you are doing. Thank you for your wonderful, wonderful blog.

    • April 19, 2010 4:06 pm

      Sharon,
      Thanks for the heads up on Infinite Complacency. It’s good to be reminded of a side of Hubbard that those pro-Scientology too often try to avoid or deny. Truth is truth whether we like it or not.

      I still enjoy the insights offered in Hubbard’s works. Most of us bought into all of this because the information changed our lives . And most of us hang around because a part of us recognizes something that we dearly wanted.

      Being betrayed by a lover doesn’t then make love bad. Nor would electric lights stop working if we discovered Edison to be a pedophile. And finding dirt in the soup doesn’t mean the recipe had no merit.

      If the rottenest bastard in the world told me how to escape after the mine entrance caved in, I might just listen. Following his instructions, I might see others he’s told lying exhausted along the way. I might want to stop, but even more I want to get out. Ahead, I see a light. Hmmm. What have I got to lose? I dig and see more light. It isn’t exactly what the bastard said, but I’m getting some fresh air and I’ve got something to do. Better than sitting in the dark, holding my head in despair. After a while, I find out the bastard died deep in the mine because he didn’t even follow his own advice. Maybe he didn’t believe what he said. I don’t care. There are others helping me dig. We see more light. And breath a little easier.

      Much love,

      Michael

  10. Petey Cougar permalink
    April 19, 2010 1:53 am

    Good on ya, Jeff. Your courage in making the decision to talk has inspired others (including me) to get up and tell their story and DO something. How wonderful that you have built the kind of life you always wanted in such a short time. More power to you! Let’s hope your blogs are the spur needed to get more old friends out of the Int madness. PC

  11. Sinar permalink
    April 19, 2010 3:57 am

    Jeff,

    Congratulations on the 5th anniversary – I just realized that April was the same month I left as well, though 4 years earlier. Had those similar unfounded fears and misgivings as well. The biggest fear for me was loss of “Eternity” but that was gone as I realized this was not happening and in fact impossible in Mestology and so absolutely nothing was holding me prisoner.

    Decompression for me was a bit longer 4-5 years or so.

    It was great meeting up with you and other old friends at one of the reunions some years ago, these always get charge off from the sharing of stories and reminisces.

    I’m echoing Dan – when do we get to see your art?

  12. RenegadeX permalink
    April 19, 2010 4:06 am

    Thank you. Counterfeit Dreams was one of the best written Scn-SO experiences that I’ve ever read. It was tear-jerking, tragic, anger-inducing, revelatory and more. I’m very happy you are doing well and I hope to meet you soon.
    RX

  13. earth mother permalink
    April 19, 2010 4:15 am

    I just noticed the sign on the fence you are standing near…’Endangered Species’…There will come a day soon when people like you aren’t an ‘Endangered Species”…people who have made the fully aware decision to leave the COS.

  14. LogicHammer permalink
    April 19, 2010 4:39 am

    Jeff,

    Your website was the first ex-Scn website I found and actually read through with strong interest. My expectation of websites created by ex-Scientologists would be one of natter, insanity, squirreling, etc. Here was a website by an ex-Scientologist, yet the website was very upstat-looking, had an aesthetic layout, and it said things that, since I was still in the “grip” of the church, hurt. Truth hurts. I was still trying to deal with the contrary facts of what LRH had laid out in endless writings and tapes and what my experience had been in the church. I was more than pleasantly surprised to see that such an intelligent website was created by an ex-Scn. I left the church before you did but I was having a dickens of a time “finding myself.” I felt I was committing an incredibly large whole track overt by searching for websites such as yours and I was feeling so overty that my fingers would shake, my shoulders would tremble, my heart would race and I would lose my breath googling various search terms, and the overt would be consummated by hitting “enter.”

    But I decided I would brave the potential ethics officers, IAS reges and SO members who would kick down my door, rip my face off and take my eternity and immortality away from me if they knew I was reading sites like yours, and I found myself returning more and more to your site and feeling a little better each time I would visit and read some entries. And wouldn’t you know it, no one was kicking down my door. My fingers started to tremble less as they typed at the keyboard.

    Your site was the one site that validated me for daring to apply Scientology to the Church. I saw that the Church of Scientology is not Scientology. I was able to start ending the not-ising I was doing of LRH’s intentions compared to the reality of the Church. I felt my personal power begin to return, and I started to feel something that even botched Ls couldn’t give me; stability. Your site has also encouraged me to take my eternity back and seek auditing outside of the church.

    My “first act” in Scientology started when I read Dianetics. My “second act” in Scientology commenced when I started reading your website. You can see in this comparison how important your website is. And the Church knows it.

    VWD, and happy fifth anniversary, Jeff.

    ARC,

    LogicHammer

    • VaD permalink
      April 20, 2010 5:46 am

      LogicHammer,
      It’s amazing how well you expressed my hunted feelings, too 🙂
      I started reading and watching in the beginning of February and decided to agree to “possibly lose my eternity and make this overt anyway. Then I’ll figure out how to deal with it.”
      It came out ok. I’m free!

  15. Rebecca-Tribecca permalink
    April 19, 2010 5:22 am

    “Counterfeit Dreams” was the most impacting, life changing autobiography I have yet to read.
    I was supposed to do a Reg cycle the very next day.
    Well, I can tell you, the Church has not gotten any more donation$ from me date co-incident with the enlightenment of your tremendous Shakespeare quality write up.
    I still laugh at the part that you mentioned in Santa Barbara when you were working without breaks still going at the speed of SO schedule, when your boss was saying “slow down, slow down, take breaks” and even asked if it was too much to make you work til 8pm and you laughed. After 80 hour weeks….
    That was such a human touch. Can’t wait to purchase numerous copies of the book ….
    Congratulations on 5 years out and may you live many many moons…you have stories to tell and you engage us the audience quite effortlessly.
    love,
    Rebecca
    (Tribeca is simply is a location where I now live in Manhattan, the area between Broadway and the Hudson River)

  16. Freetothink permalink
    April 19, 2010 6:49 am

    Congratulations! It’s great to see that you’re flourishing & prospering.

    I was still very involved with the Church when I read your story. For me when I first started reading your story it was so much easier to confront than some of the blogs I was visiting once in a while. I experienced something similar to LogicHammer who expressed it very well.

    I could relate to your discovery of Scientology & the taste for adventure that made you drop everything. Through your story I learned to love, admire & respect you. By the time I finished it, I couldn’t tolerate defending & being part of a group that would treat so badly their members. I’ve always considered SO members some of the most valuable beings on this planet. For them to be treated like dogs & sometime worst than dogs was completly unacceptable. Your story combined with the Truth Rundown & my own observations brought me to the conclusion that my Church had been highjacked & that I had lost my religion.

    From that day, I’ve had the desire to meet you to thank you in person for the incredible contributions you have made to the Church & also thank you for being part of my “awakening”. I know we will have a chance to meet soon and I really look forward to it.

    The Dianetic & Self-Analysis campaign were amazing! Also really impressed with the trophy amongst other things 🙂

  17. hubbardianen permalink
    April 19, 2010 8:01 am

    I think it’s very important that all of this come out and all the details are even more important. It now becomes clearer and clearer that Miscavige could probably be described as a “not suitable” (to put it mildly) leader with his threatening tactics and bullying control, diametrically opposed to Scientology’s real goals. All of these witnesses and stories create a good whole picture.

    Perhaps “losing your eternity” might be a relevant issue, but it can still be avoided, either through FZ or other ways. Certainly, that phrase should never be used in a forced way. If we’ve lived for at least 60 trillion years I figure we can continue some more time… 😉

    Christianity threatened with Hell, Church of Scientology with “losing your eternity”.

    • April 19, 2010 2:03 pm

      I forgot: Being in the Sea Org seems to be a huge sacrifice on the first dynamic. This could, I guess, only be compensated for by getting lots of auditing and courses for free in a stable pace AND to be treated with respect from fellow staff members, including the COB.

  18. Fidelio permalink
    April 19, 2010 10:58 am

    Jeff,
    please receive my deepest respect, admiration and gratitude for all you are and all you do.
    What a unique person you are!

    My very best,
    Maria (aka Fidelio)

  19. Eleanor Gehrig permalink
    April 19, 2010 2:40 pm

    Congrats, Jeff! Thank you for all you’re doing. This blog, then Counterfeit Dreams were the first two things I read when I started feeling like there was something really hinky going on and I needed some answers. I read CD in two (long!) sittings–I couldn’t “put it down,” as we say in book-publishing parlance. I love this blog because it gives me a sense of calm and also lets me know that I am not alone and that the world is a pretty beautiful place if you stop and really take a look for yourself.

    Paint on, design on and live happily, my friend! 🙂

    L,
    Ellie

  20. Mary Jo permalink
    April 19, 2010 2:44 pm

    Dear Jeff, congratulations! Your story inspires me still and you have my love and admiration always. You are as real as real gets. And your heart is so huge and your approach so sane and intelligent- that is a very healing thing to experience as we all go through our personal processes.

    Having your blog is also a daily thing for me – your intelligent and astute observations on current events inside the CoM and your amazing style of writing — it is all a treat!

    I too want to meet many on this blog. Hopefully before the 6th anniversary we will have many personal reunions and yes, virtual art galleries exhibiting many talented artists, including yours!

    I too read your story all the way through, staying up all night. I look forward to the book with additional information!

    I send you a big hug!
    Mary Jo

  21. Scarlet Pumpernickel permalink
    April 19, 2010 2:52 pm

    Five years — congratulations Jeff!

    I hope you know, even though we don’t talk as often as I would like, that you have been a huge, huge help for me in my own decompressing process. Can you believe it’s been over two years now for me? I can’t either!

    When I first got out in late 2007, I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I had no money, no friends in the area, no job and no prospects of finding work. Par for the course, right?

    After a bit of time, I started poking around the internet and decided to plug in some names in the hope of locating old friends. When I found your design website on the internet I couldn’t believe it. I sent you a message, not knowing if I’d hear back from you. Your response was almost immediate, and so warm, so welcoming and so filled with kindness and compassion that I broke down and cried reading it — just as I’m doing right now, remembering what a huge moment that was for me.

    Looking back, I’ve come a long way in the past two years or so — a freelance design business of my own, a wonderful man who loves and appreciates me for who I am, an adorable house we purchased last year, in a town where I am literally surrounded by family and friends. You were the first one who helped me to realize that all this was waiting for me.

    I treasure your friendship, and I hope you realize just how much you mean to so many people.

  22. April 19, 2010 3:01 pm

    Hi Jeff, and congrats on hitting the five year mark! Your Scn track…what an incredible phase of your journey. What an adventure! And, what a bonus it is for all of us who frequent your blog and have read Counterfeit Dreams, that you are such a tremendously good writer.

    As an enormously adept wordsmith you were able to reach out and pull us, as the reader, into your adventure, into your mind (complete with vacillating emotions) and allow us to be your shadow as you entered the universe of CoS and accompany you on your journey all the way through to your leaving.

    It was no accident that your Counterfeit Dreams blog became my hitchin post just shy of beginning my own exploration into the bowels of the church. Once I set foot onto that path, almost instantaneously, my stable datums began to vaporize in mass and your story Jeff quickly became my anchor. This Ex-SO guy, Jeff Hawkins and his story Counterfeit Dreams was a story of sanity prevailing in a created micro-universe that had gone insane and yeah, most definitely, as my CoS illusion was rapidly unmocking around me, this dude, Jeff Hawkins and his Counterfeit Dreams became my hitchin post!

    And while Leaving Scientology was a blog that I came to early on in my exploration and very much enjoyed the articles posted by Rebel, it often times took a back seat in my blog line-up. However, when the Bridge to Nowhere post appeared and then how the thread that formed up around that article evolved…and even more importantly, how it was allowed to evolve…well, that took Leaving Scientology to the top of my blog list. Empirically speaking, The Bridge to Nowhere post raised the virational level of Leaving Scientology and it moved into a whole new harmonic range. Then, on the tails of The Bridge to Nowhere you reveal that “Rebel” is none other than yourself. And again, another wratchet up.

    Jeff, even though I don’t know you other that through your writings and what little I’ve seen of you on TV and a few videos, I know without a doubt that you are the kind of being that makes a positive difference in the lives of those your connected to either directly or indirectly wherever you may be. You make a difference! And the world is certainly a better place for you being here and participating.

    I want to say that I very much appreciate your sincerity and your honesty. And, I am thankful to you for creating this blog site as it is most beneficial to me and obviously others in the process of sorting all of this out. Like particles are attracted to one another and that universal law is certainly demonstrated here on this blog. The beings that come here and share are beings that aren’t afraid to swim in deep waters or even dive down into the murky depths of the unknown and it’s a genuine pleasure and benefit to be able to be amongst such folks. I too, look forward to someday being able to meet everyone here. Perhaps we can have us a big Pow Wow sometime.

    Finally, I want to put it out there that in the not too distant future you create another blog…the Post Leaving Scientology blog because there is indeed a life after the CoS and, yes, there are other things in life that warrant discussion. 🙂

    All the best Jeff,

    Monte

  23. VaD permalink
    April 19, 2010 3:57 pm

    Jeff,
    thanks MUCH for al that you’ve done and stiil doing!

    Great pic, BTW.

    I used to care much about scientology. Even about how the word itself was used.
    Remember watching film “Bedazzled” where Brendan Frazer said to … (forgot her name – she played Devil) in response to “I have an ofer you can’t refuse!” and he said “Scientology? No thanks!”
    I was REALLY offended at the time!
    So, I FULLY believed in all of **it under this name.

    Then my decompression started (great word used in AC360 by Marty. I like it because it precisely describes the process your mind and soul go through).

    Now I don’t care about scientology at all. Not as a word. Not as a set of ruling principles for life. Not as a teaching.
    I don’t care whether scientology will go up or down.
    Now I’m for Indies and FZ because they are closer to truth than “official church.” I guess, though, it will not last forever (once official church goes down)

    It’s not I’m against it. I’m just over with it.

    Life goes on. There are PEOPLE to care about. And it’s THEM who I care about the most.

    Thank again, Jeff (and all you, posters) for helping me see what I see now – the world without boundaries where boundaries have been only in my head.
    The head which was f***ed with by you know who.

  24. freespirit permalink
    April 19, 2010 3:57 pm

    Congratulations Jeff. Everyone moves at his own pace to decompress and yes- “deprogram”- its a process in itself and after many years stuff is still coming off in its layers. But I constructed a great life for myself. There are the MANY who live successful and happy lives, as they should if they ever completed Scientology courses or auditing honestly. After all that is what Scientology is about: improved conditions. So I think for you to be doing what you are doing after a few years is quite amazing. Wishing you continued success and that you continue to flourish and prosper!

  25. April 19, 2010 4:47 pm

    Jeff was responsible for throwing me a lifeline also — four years after I left, I didn’t know where anyone was, and had no idea that anyone was even out there. I’ll never forget the Sunday when I received a phone call and miracle of miracles, it was Jeff! I was also still in the mindset thinking I’d go back and eventually handle my $82,000 charge that somehow the DM bots decided I owed them for the privileged of giving them 20 years of my life. And it was Jeff who first got me to start differentiating, by pointing out there were gradients of workability and truth to all things, shades of gray in between total right and total wrong. I had to agree with that and that got me to start looking. My loving wife also helped a lot and eventually I shook free of the suppression and disconnected from DM, the Sea Org and especially Int Management because today they ARE totally suppressive.

    Thank you Jeff and thanks also for reaching out, and leading the way to recovery for so many people who have been harmed by the suppression.

  26. ButterflyChaser permalink
    April 19, 2010 5:02 pm

    Jeff,

    I felt so honored to meet you a few months ago. I must say, you come across, in person, as the “zen dude” you are in your posts. Counterfeit Dreams was, for me, the point of no return as far as Scientology goes. Because of it’s eloquent, “non-victim-y” (very important to me at the time) approach, it opened my eyes completely. Here was a sane, intelligent, compassionate man who gave it his all and still couldn’t make it work. Yet, you never came off like you had an ax to grind – even though you had every right to.

    I’m at the exact same point in my view of Scientology as VaD described above. I just got my KR from the S.O. girl who showed up at my door last week. I wasn’t even ruffled after reading it. Normally, getting a KR like this would have sent me into minor convulsions. But when you no longer subscribe to the “ethics and justice” of Scientology, it no longer matters. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt. Pure joy. They have no power over me anymore. Like blowing a mosquito off your arm. Poof!

    LRH was right about one thing – flourishing and prospering in the face of suppression is the best “revenge”. But here’s the thing – your stats are REAL. The church? Uhhhh…not so much.

  27. Heather permalink
    April 19, 2010 5:16 pm

    Dear Jeff, I’m a stranger to you, but I love and respect you. You are a living treasure.

    ❤ H

  28. Moving Forward permalink
    April 19, 2010 5:17 pm

    Jeff, I wanted to offer my congratulations and thanks along with the others here. Like many of others, Counterfeit Dreams was one of the first things I read when I first heard about the allegations of physical abuse and about all of the people who had left and were now speaking out. That was just over a month ago, not so long for me. I was in the SO for 10 years and have been out for 10 now, although still trying to be connected to the church and active for many years after I left. I’ve been ‘distancing’ myself from the church for the last 2-3 years, but was still in the position of trying to ‘not think bad thoughts’ about it.

    One line in your book (talking about CMO Messengers) still makes me laugh: “I think that teenage girls should never be given drugs, alcohol, or power. Because they become addicted. ”

    For the sake of transparency, I should mention that I was, for a rather short time, in CMO as a teenage girl. I was never a Programs Ops, but I’m sure I had my moments (although overall, I think I was both too nice and liked to ‘fraternize’ a little too much with the ‘plebs’ to really have made it there).

  29. craig houchin permalink
    April 19, 2010 5:27 pm

    Jeff, I’ve already told you in person what Counterfeit Dreams meant to me but I’ll say it again publicly. It “rocked my world.” Emotionally. Psychologically. Scientologically.

    Just as finding Scientology had once been a dividing line in my life between a lesser and greater state of awareness so, too, was Counterfeit Dreams.

    It is the new dividing line in my life between what had become fearful, self-imposed blindness and open-eyed, open-minded awareness. After years of denying my own knowingness, avoiding and blinding myself to the wrongs all around me, or justifying them when I could no longer suppress the obvious, your story gave me the courage to peel that self-suppression off. That is no little thing.

    So, once again, thanks for telling your story AND — as one writer to another — thank you for telling it so goddamned well! It is truly a work of art.

    I look forward to holding your book in my hands and taking that journey with you again.

    All the best

    craig

    ps — I, too, would love to see your painting.

  30. VaD permalink
    April 19, 2010 7:08 pm

    Jeff, so many great posts!
    You, posters, really rock! (it’s unlike anything I see anyplace else. You REALLY contribute your minds – GREAT minds! I guess it’s due to author’s level as a way to communicate to and with a quite intelligent person who Jeff Hawkins is. He caught me in 12 Feb 2010 interview and never let down my views after that).
    I would like to strip off one more layer of an onion that kept being stuck in my head.
    It’s “scientology PR technology”.
    Well, it’s actually not about “Scientology’s PR technology” but about ANY PR technology (which is used heavily these days).
    I could never connect and understand PR before I got into Scientology. I knew nothing about it.
    In S.O. I got to know PR as “THE way to make good things known”. I tried to make those good things known – to my parents, to friends (“wogs”), relatives, women I loved… They didn’t accept it.
    So, I was at fall.
    Why? – “You have an MU”. Well, I tried to clear them. Couldn’t. Just didn’t jump on me (I mean, some realization).
    Now I understand. I have different mentality that “is supposed to be” per LRH.

    To me (while I’m Russian and don’t particularly like Germany for what it had done to my nation and country), German way of PR and Marketing (where “create/make good product, and it will speak for itself and make its own way into the market”) is WAY better idea than American way (where “create/make something and make it known to so many as you can. Product – great or not so good – doesn’t matter so much”).

    LRH pushed the latter way.
    Now I see that it was never MY way to go about life. Yet, I had to comply (because “LRH said so”).

    Now we have DM using PR to the extreme. Wow!

    I have never been able to understand “Scientology events” fully. (Yes, I DID have goosebumps from hearing wins. Yes, I DID stand up and applauded to LRH). I couldn’t understand them because there – in all these events – there NEVER was a mention of what the life around us really was, and what was going on “out there”. I just heard DM and others saying about “great past, better present and even greater future” of scientology in this world. Nothing else. That – after too many events – developed in my head stable cognitive dissonance.

    Sorry, Jeff. I didn’t mean to offend you or others. (I understand that you spent most of your life doing just that – PR and Marketing. No hard feelings, please. I’m all for you!)

    Well, I can’t denigrate LRH, either. He, with the help of you guys (in classrooms and in communications), helped me A LOT. Now I can read, write, speak English and understand English. LRH had good and extensive vocabulary. It helps me now when I teach people English. And that’s what I do (without any scientology attached).
    To LRH!!!
    🙂

  31. Impressive person permalink
    April 19, 2010 7:30 pm

    Well,

    here you are, five years after setting foot on the real bridge to total freedom. Look how far you’ve come, and didn’t cost you a dime. I can’t possibly imagine how intense that feeling of freedom must be – after decades of physical, spiritual and mental imprisonment, it must be really sweet!

    Even the longest journey starts with the first step, and you’re obviously helping many people to do just that. All the best to you, and maybe one day your (ex)wife will knock on your door.
    Would they let her go and risk that she would corroborate your indictment retroactively?

  32. April 19, 2010 7:32 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary! And thank you for telling your story.

  33. lunamoth permalink
    April 19, 2010 11:13 pm

    Jeff, can you imagine what it would be like to get all these people in the same room? What a love-fest for you. You are one appreciated, admired and loved dude.

    Must be the hat.

    lunamoth

    Okay, maybe it’s you.

  34. scooter permalink
    April 19, 2010 11:44 pm

    Congrats, Jeff – you deserve a celebration.

    “Counterfeit Dreams” was the first thing that I read when I was struggling to leave Scientology – and it remains one of the best. The friend who first got me looking pointed me in your direction.

    Although I’d never been in the SO, I had many friends who had and every word of what you wrote shone through like the truth it is. It made me re-evaluate what I’d read in the 80 courses I’d done as a Scientologist with what I’d actually SEEN.

    It made my decompression from 30 years “in” so much easier and faster – I can’t thank you enough for that. I’d never have been able to speak out publicly if it weren’t for what you and a few others have done.

  35. KevinBloodyMackey permalink
    April 20, 2010 12:25 am

    Jeff, I always appreciate your writing and commentary, seems like it’s improving as time goes on, it just keeps getting more and more real.

    Glad things are working out for you and that you’re happy, you truly deserve it mate.

  36. lunamoth permalink
    April 20, 2010 1:39 am

    Jeff

    Who is that dark, handsome stranger at the end of the leash?

    luna

  37. Aeolus permalink
    April 20, 2010 2:42 am

    Like so many others here, I consider reading Counterfeit Dreams to be the pivot point for me. I had read the SP Times articles, but with a major dose of skepticism. The news media was suspect anyway (wonder where I got that idea?) and the head of the church beating people up? It was just a little outside of my reality and easy to reject as a “he said, she said”.

    But your book was the next thing I read, and what emerged was this totally coherent portrait of a classic psychopath, screwing up your life just because you were a big being with intelligence and talent and therefore a big threat to Mr. Short Stuff. Exactly what you would expect from an antisocial being with too much power. Your narrative had me hooked non-stop just for its entertainment value, but of course I couldn’t help comparing your detailed and totally believable time-place-form-and-event to Tommy Davis’ claims that the bunch of you were all liers and that you had gotten together and made up your stories.

    That was the big reality shift, right there. You were telling a true story, with eloquence, and the Davis puppet was lying through his teeth. Once your book had helped to change my viewpoint, I started seeing the pattern in all of the crazy crap I had dismissed over the years as isolated outpoints. Now there is no going back, any more than you could put a butterfly back in its cocoon, and to a significant degree, I have you to thank for that.

    So Jeff – Thank You!

  38. Karen permalink
    April 20, 2010 2:54 am

    Jeff,

    You are an amazing writer and I am so grateful that you chose to share your life and knowledge with those who would listen. By the time that I got to your book I had already gotten a pretty good understanding of what went on at INT. But, your book allowed me to see the very personal and intimate way DM suppressed the wonderful and loyal people of Scientology.

    I was in awe of your successful and powerful campaigns, saddened by your loss of love, yet understanding the need to regain your sanity. I have to admit that I was truly heartbroken that your experience resulted in your complete disaffection toward Scientology. But I respect your doing a careful evaluation for yourself and deciding it is not for you.

    I applaud your willingness to stand up for what is right and to help reveal the true suppression of Scientology. You are a great communicator and it is your lack of rancour that invites one to see the truth in your words.

    While in SO you were a powerhouse that was forcebly held back, a great loss for Scientology. Now that you are free from that suppression, you have naturally flourished across the dynamics. I am so happy to see this happen. Your efforts have befriended many good souls and you so very much deserve the happiness and prosperity of living life to the fullest.

    Warmest wishes to you and your future.

    Karen

    • ButterflyChaser permalink
      April 20, 2010 3:57 am

      I have been listening to Alan Watts lately and enjoying his profoundly beautiful and entertaining lectures. Here is a wonderful quote of his which I feel is apropos to this blog, Scientology, and to the wonderful, saavy beings who post here.

      “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”

      This blog, Jeff, is the one place where many of us ex’s are finally free to be “open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.” Thank you – once again – for creating an environment where we can speak freely to one another, explore and question those beliefs which we “held tight” for so long.

      • VaD permalink
        April 20, 2010 6:50 am

        ButterflyChaser,
        Great quote. Thank you for sharing.

        May I suggest that it’s Self Importance that kept us holding tight to scientology beliefs.
        I believe LRH was so successful at procuring followers because he appealed to people’s inner Self Importance.
        Look at scientologists. They are SO pumped up with their ways of life and “knowledge of all answers”. They are all SO Self Important. They are “the only ones to help”, they are “the only ones to SAVEW THE PLANET”, they are “the only ones to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT”, they are “the only ones who know THE Truth, the REAL truth”…. on and on and on. Everybody else is just blind to the core, if he is not a scientologist.

        This is what I can see now. I couldn’t see it before. I was entangled in the same web of beliefs, Self Important and “rich” with “what LRH gave me and entrusted me to carry on”

        That’s what I don’t like about scientology and scientologists – their Self Importance is out of the roof.
        Besides that anyone is entitled to believe anything they want. And it’s better to have people around who believe in something rather than not.

        And what I think Jeff has demonstrated and is demonstrating here and there is that lack of Self Importance on the subject of scientology that attracts us here.

        Just thinking aloud.

      • Fidelio permalink
        April 20, 2010 5:01 pm

        VaD,

        I couldn’t agree more to what you observe.

        And yes, the humble respect Jeff exudes in all and everything he writes is heart warming. His nonjudgemental way to lead others to simply take a look on what he points out and to keep us looking even if it may hurt attracts me very much to this board here.

        And the fact that he helped Thoughtful come up to surface again so that he started with his brilliant blog is just another gem in his crown.

        From a German who has a very soft spot for Russians — Love, Fidelio

  39. John Doe permalink
    April 20, 2010 4:22 am

    Jeff,

    I, like many others here, spent sleep time reading your blog. You are such a fine writer.
    Your path, your story, is part of my path now, so thank-you for that.

    Funny, how it works. If, in the Sea Org, you had had a purpose to disseminate scientology so as to let people know about some new ways of looking at things, and that a person could free his mind from harmful self-limiting thoughts and considerations, and that there was freedom and happiness to be found, and yet you were prevented from achieving that purpose, well dude, you just went ahead and did it anyway, but from your own unique viewpoint.

    You are probably responsible for freeing more minds each week than many lost down the Thursday at 2:00pm rabbit hole.

  40. TRUTH permalink
    April 20, 2010 5:30 am

    Thank you Jeff for being true to yourself and others around you. You are a powerhouse and extremely able. I am very happy to see you free and doing great in life. You definitely deserve it.
    Thank you for being there, communicating and helping other to free themselves from this cult.

    My love to you and your family always!

  41. Nomnom permalink
    April 20, 2010 5:47 am

    What a long, strange trip it’s been….

    • lunamoth permalink
      April 20, 2010 5:40 pm

      Nomnom

      …well, this part of it, anyway. The ride’s not over – hands and feet inside the car at all times (or not) !

      • Nomnom permalink
        April 21, 2010 3:15 am

        Lunamoth,

        You’re right about that!
        There’s a lot of road ahead.
        I’ll just stick my head out the window, open my mouth and let my cheeks balloon and flap ’cause it’s fun!

  42. Jeff permalink*
    April 20, 2010 6:40 pm

    Thanks for all the great comments. Shucks, now you’re embarrassing me! Time for a new post…

  43. Sandy Holeman permalink
    April 20, 2010 6:57 pm

    Congratulations on 5 years, Jeff. For me it has been over 27. It took me much longer than you to peel away the layers, and I applaud you for your journey, and your activism. Reading some of the comments from your readers, I see how you have inspired so many to open their minds, find out what is going on, and get their lives back. You really are making a difference. Keep up the great work. — Sandy

  44. April 20, 2010 9:14 pm

    5 years!

    Congrats, Jeff!

    Believe or not that’s when I decided to get the &*%# outta dodge!

    Proving once again that great minds think alike 😉

    Also I can’t believe it’s been 2 years, since you penned ‘Counterfeit Dreams’.

    Wow time flies!

    I remember reading it and saying myself that man this guy can write!

    So articulate!

    And even though I was only on the outer fringes( I used to review folders in what was called the Exec 40 Unit) of the hell that the Int base became. You made it clear what the monster was that we were feeding and I’m sure made a lot of Scientologists aware of the monster too.

    So many kudos Jeff!

    Happy Anniversary!!!!!

    And may you continue to “Flourish and Prosper”.

    Ml

    RJ

  45. Mickey permalink
    April 21, 2010 8:15 am

    I’m late to this kudos party!! Awesome congrats Jeff to five up years in your life. What a fun read this has been!

    When you first began posting in XSO and we traded a few private emails back then and you would post with such honesty on that board, it was easy to see in bits and pieces (because that’s how it’s done on XSO…. short posts, then some to many medium to short comments on that original) you had much more to say. And then Counterfeit Dreams began to roll out in chapters and segments. I recall looking forward with great anticipation to the next resonating part. Those who now have the advantage of taking CD in all at once are indeed fortunate to be able to experience the whole story as a completed book.

    Some folks reading these comments might think you’ve become an idol of sorts, what with all these wonderful comments. But, beyond that misconception, I think to us you are a humble friend. What has become apparent to me in your various forms of writing is your acceptance of others. You have commented often that you have friends all over the spectrum of believers and non believers in this path of Scn. And man is that refreshing…it’s called acceptance. What a concept! And what I, and maybe some of the “we” who read your words, are comforted by in practicing acceptance of another’s point of view, is a peace of mind about what we’ve been through.

    There is a balance, an even keel I see we come to in our lives after having had much tumult and chaos dished out in so many areas of the Scn experience. This balance and peace in your life comes through clearly in your writing and appearances in interviews and I think offers hope to everyone coming through a similar portal of time in their own lives.

    I am truly grateful you decided to write. And I think you will keep on doing so. Thanks be to you Jeff.

  46. Watching Eyes permalink
    April 24, 2010 2:36 am

    Love your post Jeff. So glad to know you’re happy and doing well. Congratulations on your new LIFE.

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