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How to Leave

Corridor SkyI am going to devote this section to advice and practical answers on the nuts and bolts of leaving Scientology. I will keep adding to this as time goes on. If you have specific questions you would like answered, post them as comments here, and I will try to address them as best I can.

1. You don’t have to do anything sudden or dramatic. If you are like many Scientologists, your life is very much entangled in Scientology. You may work at a business with other Scientologists. Many of your friends may be Scientologists. You don’t have to make any announcements or dramatic gestures. In fact, it is possible to “fly under the radar” for months, even years.

In The Way to Happiness, on the subject of governments, LRH says this: “Unscrupulous and evil men and groups can usurp the power of government and use it to their own ends…Opposition to such governments usually just brings on more violence. But one can raise his voice in caution when such abuses are abroad. And one need not actively support such a government; doing nothing illegal, it is yet possible, by simply withdrawing one’s cooperation, to bring about an eventual reform.”

So if you believe as I do that the Church of Scientology has become corrupt and abusive, the first step can be to simply, quietly withdraw one’s support. Tell your friends or the Org that you are “taking a break” or “saving up your money” or anything else you want to say. Or offer no explanation. Many Scientologists are in this position – more than you might guess.

Don’t do anything at this stage that might trigger an SP declare. Don’t make critical comments to Scientologists or staff. Don’t put known SPs on your Facebook friends list. Keep a low profile and keep your nose clean. The time to speak out and the time to fight will come later, if you choose that path.

2. Begin to educate yourself. According to the Church, the only thing you should be reading on the internet is the Church’s own websites. You should be getting all of your information on Scientology from Church magazines and events, period. You should not be reading anything outside of official Church releases. But if you believe, like I do, that the Church releases hide more than they reveal, that they are playing fast and loose with the truth, then do your own investigation. I have recommended various websites in the list to the right. Wikipedia is a pretty good place to start.  Research what interests you. Work to get your specific questions and doubts resolved.

3. Realize that Scientology and the Church of Scientology are two different things.  Scientology exists outside of the Church. There are many independent field auditors, C/Ses and even orgs that have nothing to do with the Church of Scientology. If you believe that there is good in Scientology, and that much of it works, then you are free to apply it as you see fit outside the Church. Those applying Scientology outside the Church will even tell you that their application is purer, as they use materials from before the Miscavige “revisions.”

4. Gradually plan and carry out your separation from the Church. If you work in a company owned by Scientologists, work out how to switch to another job, one not connected to Scientology. Change your phone number. Consider changing your address. If you live in Los Angeles or Clearwater, consider moving to another city. I know several OTs who have done so. By physically removing themselves, they forced themselves to find a new job and a new circle of friends.

5. You have many friends on the outside. I didn’t realize how many until I separated myself from the Church and was free to talk to anyone I wanted to. Through the magic of the internet, I have been able to reconnect with literally hundreds of old friends – friends I was forbidden to talk to as they had left the Church. It’s easy to connect to former Scientologists through various chat groups. The most popular is ESMB – the Ex-Scientologist Message Board.

These are some initial thoughts. There will be more to come.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicki permalink
    August 13, 2009 3:28 am

    I am such a person…under the radar, no longer supporting..
    but I have made no announcements and have felt more free than I have in years.
    I have found the freezone and many sites and have made new friends.
    Thank you for this website.
    I think it is necessary and very appreciated.

  2. Good Idea permalink
    September 27, 2009 8:28 pm

    Yes indeed! – excellent site, beautifully clear and to-the-point. I will just make a few brief points about the article above if I may:

    I do feel in 4. above that moving city, changing phone numbers etc is a bit extreme. I certainly won’t be doing that. If MAAs or OSA start hassling me I will politely ask them to desist. If they don’t I will tell them I will be recording their calls or home visits. The imagined danger of E/Os, MAAs and OSA is far worse than the reality, which is mostly bark without bite. As long as you don’t do anything illegal you are obviously protected by law. Generally PIs do NOT follow you after you leave, you will NOT get poisonous anonymous phone calls in the middle of the night etc. These are scare stories that no doubt OSA are happy to let folk believe! They don’t care, (and in any case have got rather a lot on their plate just now what with trying to defend the indefensible barbarism/abuse/fraud/lies that are rampant in the current set-up that is CofS!). In the highly unlikely event that any of these things do happen though, there willl a host of friends and decent people such as the guys behind this site and who will help.

    Personal integrity is key here – the ultra-level-headed OT VIII Geir Isene talks about this a lot on his site (see blog roll on the right for link). If you don’t stay true to what you know is right, well surely that’s not healthy. IMHO any sane and rational person who knows the true state of squirrelling, abuse and dishonesty at the very top of the Org Board can really only come to one conclusion when they do their own Doubt formula (I don’t mean necessarily literally per the Ethics book by the way, one can resolve doubts in other ways) – whatever their views on the SUBJECT of scientology. Stay true to yourself and what you know to be true.

    The one thing that stops people taking the step of leaving more than any other I believe, is their “think” that they are leaving behind their only hope of spiritual freedom or “going full OT”. I have done quite a bit of research on this and have concluded personally two things:

    1) that this think is indocrinated into public – and staff – so thoroughly that it becomes “true” in their minds. It was “true” and a “fact” to me. Actually just a few weeks ago I had a comm cycle with my OT VII FSM wherein I had said I would not be doing any more services on Church lines and she said “So you are saying you will not be going up the Bridge this lifetime?” Quite insidious really. It’s just another version of the old line from Churches throughout history that “you believe our way or you go to hell”. We fell for it … AGAIN!

    2) That the opposite is more likely to be the case. Going on a quest to spiritual freedom in a suppressive/oppressive organisation is an oxymoron. Those that do reach OT VIII either wake up and leave (like Geir) or are so PTS that their gains are likely to be shallow and temporary. There are some remarkable and touching stories from OT VIIs and VIIIs on ESMB that show that having reached the top of the Bridge is no substitute for bit of good old fashioned humanity! Having a loving heart and friends that care – now that’s valuable. And free!

  3. Virginia permalink
    November 11, 2009 1:36 pm

    Any suggestions an getting refunds for unused money on account. No one will return my calls from Flag. We’ve been out for 15 years.

    • Gandiguy permalink
      July 9, 2010 12:18 am

      Have you gotten any help in that yet? There are a lot of folks over at Marty’s site that have gotten refunds. Ask over there also.

    • whodat permalink
      January 28, 2011 1:47 pm

      Virginia, if you have monies on account it’s called a repayment, not a refund. When you do contact an org, do it in writing and request a repayment. If you request a refund which it is not what you are doing, you will be put on the bottom of the pile, pending basket, whatever. Just simply say that you want a repayment of monies you haven’t spent and you should get a check for that amount.

      • Keith permalink
        September 18, 2011 6:51 pm

        Thanks for the tip. I lost a lot using loan money and mortgage money to pay for my Bridge and I can barely get a metab to get into session. I can use what I have on account to get real services and care for my family.

    • mila permalink
      May 14, 2013 5:45 pm

      do not ask for a refund or you will be declared an SP possibly.

    • Keith permalink
      May 15, 2013 1:51 am

      You can ask for repayment of money on account if you have not used it for services. You need to have a sure-fire reason to side-step all the auditing procedure in the routing form which goes to the Claims Verification Board (CVB). Otherwise they’ll eat up your money in the services which route you off. I was able to get a repayment from Flag in short order, but my local church has not yet paid, even though both forms go through the same verification. I did get good advice from this website in acquiring the repayment I received. Don’t worry about an SP Declare unless you are considering going back sometime.

  4. Robin permalink
    November 23, 2009 7:54 pm

    I would have left a long time ago, if I didn’t have Scn friends and family. I simply do not wish to do further services (I’m OTV, FEBC and I’ve gotten everything I wanted and I’m done.). But you are not allowed to be “done”. I don’t even want to do any Scn outside of the church. I’ve moved on. Not interested anymore.
    I believe my friends would stay friends despite the disconnect policy, but my OTVIII family members would definitely disconnect, which would cause a lot of upset in the family in general. You cannot go away quietly, and so you must hide. I hate living like this. There is no easy solution, and your tips are OK but they don’t address what happens when you actually ask off the mailing list or make a definitive move, even quietly and politely.
    Anyway, thanks for trying, it’s nice to at least vent about it!

  5. Chris Eisenman permalink
    January 8, 2010 4:49 am

    Tip for staying under the radar: If you tell the Org contacting you that you haven’t paid your income taxes or filed a tax return they will not deliver services to you anymore. Also a good way to get out of going to events! 🙂 I did this successfully for 2 years plus. (it was actually true at the time.)

    • Cassi permalink
      January 13, 2013 8:18 pm

      Hah! That’s how I was able to get out of being forced to go to Flag for KSW training, when the Int. Finance Police came to my area.

  6. alice permalink
    January 9, 2010 2:38 am

    I can testify to the whole “not paying your taxes” line. I’ve been telling the C of S that all year and they haven’t bothered with me. They will reg my spouse but won’t even look in my direction!!! It’s their policy and they have no arguement so it’s an easy way to ensure you will be left the hell alone!!!

  7. March 1, 2010 7:08 pm

    Thanks for this great post. Very simple. And it is what worked for me. Complete disconnection. Not that I don’t get the occasional phone call from people who like to talk to me – old friends/bookends.

    Technically, the only thing they have to hold over your head is what you give them. Legally, they can’t do anything. (Just don’t go around libeling them – which is spreading lies, not in telling the truth.)

    When I actually found this out, that I could leave staff at any time with no problems, it was a great relief. You aren’t going to be more broke than you already are on staff. For public, once you pay off those credit cards, then you are done. Just don’t put any more debt on them.

    Make new friends and find out all the people who you wanted to talk to after they left. Far, far more nice people outside of $cn than still in there. And a great deal of people simply want to get on with their lives.

    Technically, there is probably a way to be left alone and still talk to your other Scn friends. That “not paying taxes” is a great one. Also, they really don’t have any response to “I’m simply not interested any more.” It’s not a recovery button they can use. If you are friendly to the people trying to recover you and you tell them that you’ve simply moved on with your life, this seems to be a simple way to handle the situation.

    Most recovery efforts are money motivated, anyhow. Like “freeloader debts.” Don’t exist unless you grant them that beingness.

    Again, thanks for this great post.

  8. truey permalink
    April 11, 2010 6:05 pm

    I find your site quite confusing. You seem to support radically differing viewpoints. Is this a site for people who still support Scientology but are unhappy with the current church or a site that is against Scientology or what? I don’t think anybody would even be talking about it if we didn’t have wins and didn’t realized what truth and possibilities were here. Also, if your doubt formula doesn’t work, it helps to go lower and do enemy by finding out who you really are or even a lower one if that’s where you need to start. Conditions formulas are not a punishment, they are the best free gift EVER. I was married to a horrendous SP who was using the church against me and did several rounds of conditions and wasn’t getting anywhere but the last ones did the trick. He blew off during my enemy formula — how bout that for a conditions formula! REAL TA!! If you want any help, just let me know.
    And, speaking of TA, what I obnose is that all this push with the basics, which, no matter if the changes are good or bad, are still pure source and the broad dissemination of this is what may be what is moving the TA to reveal what’s happening up at Int. The truth will out.

    • Jeff permalink*
      April 11, 2010 6:47 pm

      Maybe you find it confusing because I allow people with radically different viewpoints to post here. Different people have had very different experiences with Scientology and I think its valuable to hear about those experiences.

      • Li po permalink
        April 12, 2010 6:27 pm

        Yes, and we are gratefull for that, Jeff

      • Martin permalink
        April 20, 2010 11:45 pm

        Valuable indeed – priceless I’d say. The result is some of the most extraordinary dialogue I’ve ever seen on the web. The Bridge to Nowhere thread for example is just stunning reading – truly eye-opening and uplifting.

  9. Suzy permalink
    April 16, 2010 4:06 am

    I “dropped out” 27 years ago. I just dirfted off…didn’t hear from them. Same for family…. they just drifted off with no problems. Several years ago my grown daughter got a phone call for me. Don’t know how they conected her to me – I left when I was 6 months prego with her. With a “play on words” they accepted that I was “not here – I was “sob” gone”. They misunderstood and considered that I was dead… oh darn.

    About 2 months ago I got a phone call asking for me by my “old name”…. I just thought it was an old friend calling after all being on classmates, facebook, etc. it is easier to get in touch with old friends. I admitted that it was me… BIG MISTAKE.

    I have gotten many calls, I tried reading a script telling them I was recording the calls, I told them to leave me alone, I told them that Ron was an insane idiot and that DM is a sociopath, I told them that I would NEVER EVER come back… you get the idea. They want to know why I am so upset, why do I not want to talk to them, etc. I am guessing they are running out of money VERY fast – other family & friends that are out are reporting the same type phone calls… Since the Anderson 360 started playing I have not gotten any calls!

    Maybe they will “drift off” and let me go!

  10. Foremost permalink
    May 20, 2010 7:27 am

    I simply moved to another address to shake off the 500 lbs. or so annual mail I used to get for every Scientology Tom, Dick & Harry that had lived there for the last 20 years. That’s about $ 2,500 worth of promo wasted someone else got regged for that I could not get the various SCN organizations to stop sending.

    The existing phone number became permanent answering machine, and a new number for non-Scientology calls.

    And that was the end of that.

  11. rory medford permalink
    May 20, 2010 5:28 pm

    quietly depart from the MOST CONTROLLING group on the planet. They are BAD NEWS no they are horrific and they will take every penny u have if u let them.. They r brutal!!!!

  12. axiom38 permalink
    May 30, 2010 11:01 pm

    Thank you for the write up.
    I was wondering if you have seen or could post any hat write-ups by those who have had success in bringing friends and family out of the Church of Dave and into the Independant field.
    This could be of great benefit.

  13. cate permalink
    August 12, 2010 12:54 am

    I am not part of this belief, but I have a question. I hope you don’t shut me out on this though..Let’s say, you address to them your decision to leave? what are the things they say to keep you with the organization? i read in E news a comment of a reader.. he said he did some research on scientology (on what they, people from scientology will tell you) and whn you hear those things, you would really be afraid to leave.. can you give me an idea? i hope that’s possible.


  14. paul cooper permalink
    September 6, 2010 8:55 pm


  15. Sheri permalink
    February 1, 2014 7:24 pm

    Hi I need help. My father is a scientologist. He recently got the West Nile Virus and is not capable of making decisions for himself. I have been appointed by a court to be his guardian conservator. He is 78-years old. He recently made a phone call to one of his Scientologist friends and now there is a plan to help my dad because he told them that my daughter and I, who are taking care of him, do not like Scientology. Now I do not know what to do and I was wondering if the Scientologist are know to attack their opponents or those who know them for what they are, a cult who are evil, corrupt, and abusive? Thank you. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.


  1. How to Leave Scientology « 31 Factors

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