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Twelve lessons every Ex-Scientologist needs to learn

January 10, 2015

1. The world outside Scientology is not a dangerous or degraded or hostile place. You’ll find that on the whole, people are pretty nice, and you’re likely to encounter more kindness, empathy and friendliness – and less judgment – than you did inside Scientology.

2. You have your own ideas and opinions separate from those of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Learn to differentiate. Ask yourself, “is this really what I personally think or believe, or is this just what I was taught in Scientology?” Stop putting everything through a Scientology filter to determine if it is good or bad, true or false. Make your own decisions. And it’s OK to disagree with Hubbard and Scientology.

3. You have the right to privacy and to your own personal space. Your private life, your activities, your lifestyle are your own choice and no one has the right to pry or invade your space or pass judgment. You do not have to reveal or confess everything about your life to anyone. People in general do not care or judge you.

4. Learn to relax and live your life. You don’t have to be “productive” every moment. Take the time to relax, go for long walks, daydream, read a book, hang out with friends and family. You are not on the clock and you don’t have to measure every minute of your life against some arbitrary standard of “production.”

5. Make an effort to overcome any prejudices instilled by Scientology. Gays are not “covertly hostile.” Psychiatrists are not evil. Journalists are not “merchants of chaos.” “Wogs” are not degraded or out-ethics. And they are not “wogs.” Try to re-examine generalities like this and see people and institutions for who they actually are, not what Scientology told you they are.

6. People who disagree with you are not “enemies.” People who challenge your opinions are not “attacking” you. Loosen up. Try to see other viewpoints. Re-examine your own opinions and conclusions. You will never learn anything if you only reactively defend your own position and demonize those who disagree.

7. It’s important to take care of yourself. See a doctor regularly. Get a checkup. See the dentist. Take needed medication. Get over any preconception that doctors, dentists or medicine are bad, scary, invalid, or unnecessary.

8. Emotion is a good thing. It is not a sign of a weak person or a “lesser being.” Emotions are a part of life, and everyone feels them. It is not shameful to feel anger, grief or depression, and it does not make you less of a person. If you try to suppress your so-called “lower” emotions, you may end up being unable to feel anything.

9. Whatever wins you have had, remember that nothing in Scientology has made you superior to others. Get over any sense of superiority or entitlement. Realize that Scientologists have the same hang-ups, problems, foibles, and faults as anyone else. They make the same mistakes and commit the same sins. Scientologists have not reached a “higher state” where they have super powers or are morally or intellectually or spiritually superior to others. Try to see yourself objectively and with humility. Do not approach others with arrogance or condescension.

10. Get over the idea that your life only has meaning if you are “serving a higher purpose.” Just living your life with love, tolerance, kindness and charity is what gives it meaning. If the world is to be improved, it will be through individual acts of kindness, friendship and generosity, not some organized international movement to “save the planet.”

11. You don’t need to follow someone else on your life’s journey. You don’t need a leader or a guru or a “source.” You don’t need an “ism” or “ology.” Get over the idea that Scientology – or anyone for that matter – has all the answers. Broaden your horizons. If you are interested in learning more about the mind and spirit, read or study broadly. You don’t need someone else to define truth for you. You are fully capable of coming up with your own ideas, opinions and conclusions. Blaze your own trail to your own truth.

12. You don’t need to be constantly “fixed” or corrected. You don’t need constant auditing or interviews or therapy to survive. Scientology only exists by constantly “finding people’s ruins” and convincing them of their failings and imperfections all the way up the line. In all likelihood, there is not as much wrong with you as you might have been led to believe and you are pretty much fine just as you are.

  1. Keith Myers permalink
    January 11, 2015 2:49 pm

    I honestly have to disagree about the journalists. The media merchants ARE merchants of chaos in the world sense. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, a lot of their propaganda and misinformation rivals Scientology in ideology. That’s the only point I disagree with.

    “Be true to one’s self” We learned a lot from Scientology. It’s only a shame we were being manipulated into learning it for disingenuous reasons. That was also a lesson in life.

    • Jefferson Hawkins permalink*
      January 12, 2015 12:29 am

      I’d be cautious of generalized statements: “All ___ are ____.” Make an effort to find exceptions to your general view of journalists. Try to find some examples of good, honest, conscientious journalists. I think you’ll probably be able to find more than you expect to.

      • Keith Myers permalink
        January 12, 2015 2:15 am

        Jefferson, you sound like a Scientologist. Making generalized statements is not anti-social and the ethics officer is not monitoring this site. I was being a bit sarcastic and speaking in general. If there were no good journalism there wouldn’t be a benchmark to judge how bad most of it is. But I do so hate how the mainstream media portrays events. That’s the Conservative American in me speaking.

      • Jefferson Hawkins permalink*
        January 12, 2015 5:50 pm

        I said nothing about anti-social.

      • Keith Myers permalink
        January 13, 2015 2:03 pm

        As lesson #2 states, one should not evaluate one’s actions, or others, by the lessons of Scientology. Generalizing was one of the anti-social personality traits. That makes you ‘sound like’ a staff member correcting a public. While I believe I assimilated an immense amount of tech in my years, I maintained a sense of self-evaluation. I evaluated that I was just as capable of judging my actions as any person on staff.

        Right now I have a case against journalism, in general, and I was simply voicing a sarcastic prejudice based on popular opinion in conservative political groups, not one instilled by Scientology (Lesson #5).

        And I love debating minutiae.

      • Jefferson Hawkins permalink*
        January 13, 2015 6:47 pm

        “Faulty generalization” is a logical fallacy. Nothing to do with Scientology. Except that they themselves commit faulty generalizations all the time.

      • Keith Myers permalink
        January 12, 2015 2:20 am

        I agreed with 99.9% of the 12 points. It’s only my selfish, individual opinion I am stating.

      • Keith Myers permalink
        January 12, 2015 3:34 am

        Read lesson #2.

      • Keith Myers permalink
        January 14, 2015 7:13 am

        I still contend that the ‘media merchants’, the news media, purveyors of mass media, do contribute heavily to appearance of chaos where it isn’t and the down-playing of chaos where it exists. I reluctantly subject myself to their reporting almost daily and I witness the exaggeration, distortion, subtlety, misinformation, propagandizing and hidden agenda. I don’t like the way I feel the public is being manipulated with slanted facts. It’s like George Orwell’s ‘1984’ come to life. So I will throw caution to the wind when I attribute them with the moniker. Sure there are good journalists. I think I qualified my statement by saying media merchants, and not journalists.

  2. Bela permalink
    January 11, 2015 3:22 pm

    Each of these lessons could be an article in itself. These are the points of cognitive dissonance that one goes thru as a member of the church.
    Thank you for laying this out so clearly.

  3. January 11, 2015 3:22 pm

    PS. I’m glad to see this site posting articles again. I hope it continues.

  4. Marilyn permalink
    January 15, 2015 9:53 pm

    Thanks for putting up your blog again. A few years ago, when I read your book, Counterfeit Dreams, I experienced a catharis, realizing that I had made the goals of Scientology more important than my own. At that point, I regained something back, a certain sense of my own self from before my time in Scientology, and a memory of what it was like to have my own goals. I determined that it was OK to live my own life for my own goals.

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