I have been a "lurker" for the past several months, and I am now inspired to come out from the shadows and participate in your so-very-stimulating discussions.
Up until this past April, 2001, I had never even been on the Internet. Then our computer system at work was updated and revamped, and we got Internet access. We are allowed to use the Internet on our breaks and lunches, only no porn sites (I've no interest there anyway, woo-hoo!)
I got into Scientology around 1972, when I was 13 years old. I did several courses, but received only a little auditing, which was for a special action I needed during the 2-D Alignment course. As far as I was concerned, Scn was IT! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. But then, I had been "indoctrinated" by my older sister and her husband before I ever even set foot inside an org.
The only thing that kept me from going a lot further was the expense. I was just a poor Junior High School student at the time; my parents weren't thrilled at their children getting into Scientology, but to their credit, they gave us the freedom to make our own decision to be involved in it. So I took one course at a time, as I was able to pay for them from my meager part-time after-school earnings.
When the "Solution to Inflation" came out, I was dumbfounded. I felt like the proverbial donkey with the carrot being held out front, trying to catch up with it but never being quite able to. I would say that this was the first (and perhaps most powerful) thing that eventually persuaded me that there was a rift between the stated goals of Scientology (To Clear The Planet) and the reality of what the Powers That Be wanted to achieve (mega-multi-millions $$$).
So, after graduating High School, I worked on staff at the Denver Org. My dream was to join the Sea Org. I signed my billion-year contract, and was so very full of the grand purpose of bettering the world. My expenses were quite minimal; I went on food stamps, and my share of the rent at the house that I was sharing with 3 other staff members was only $40 a month. I think back to my very first payday.....a grand total of $5.27!!! I had to keep borrowing money (from my parents, who weren't too happy about it) just to pay my meager portion of rent.
Alas, however, I was denied eligibility to Sea Org Staff, on account of the fact that I had used LSD a few times. I was so bitterly disappointed! This was soon after the purification r/d had come out; it just did not seem right that on one hand it was claimed that these drugs would be cleaned from your body, yet you STILL couldn't join SO if you'd done acid! This was another BIG outpoint for me, something further for my analytical mind to gnaw on.
When I started browsing the internet this past April, I started to think about one of the last things I had heard as an active scientologist: Diana Hubbard had announced sometime in ‘79 or ‘80 that we would clear the planet by the year 1984! I just hadn't heard or read anything in the news about scientology for all those years since I routed off staff (after working for about 6 months; there was no way I could survive on $5 a week), and I did a search for "scientology" just to see if anything had been said about why the planet was not yet clear.
HAHAHA! I think now, how hysterically naive of me, to think that COS would give reasons for not making a target; indeed, for me to think that they would even ACKNOWLEDGE past goals that had never been achieved. One of the first things I discovered in my search was Robert Vaughn Young's affidavit regarding the death of LRH. I read it with growing amazement. After that I started visiting every critical site I came across, read every critical book that had been posted to the Internet, checking out all of the media reports. I felt like I had been living under a rock for the past 20 years!
I am flabbergasted to read about life in the Sea Org, with the RPF, the bogus Ethics conditions (another element that, as much as I believed in the validity of Scn, looked just plain nuts to me), the beans & rice, the forced abortions/divorces, and the disconnections. And yet, although I never experienced any of these things for myself (there, but for the grace of Timothy Leary, go I), I did not doubt that these things have indeed happened, and are still happening. I never thought I'd be so happy to have been an ex-acid head!!!!!
So, for the past 8 months or so, I have been absorbing as much information as I can get ahold of. And not everything critical rings true for me; some people strike me as not really having known what it's like to be a really gung-ho scientologist. I feel that I can separate the chaff from the grain pretty well, though. The bottom line is, it is SO VERY VERY WONDERFUL to find a whole world full of people out there that have had similar experiences, and who know what I'm talking about!!! Gawd, I love the Internet!
And I had no idea how indoctrinated I still was! When I read the OT III story, which I was very anxious to do, since that was the "big big mystery" everyone wanted to know about, I just couldn't believe it! Body Thetans??? Body Thetans!?!! And later that day, I caught myself musing about how a health problem I had been troubled with lately might be caused by body thetans. It was at that point that I knew I was going to have to make a conscious effort to restructure my thinking.....
I bookmarked Operation Clambake and have been visiting every week, if not every day. For the first time since quietly leaving Scientology, I feel now like I'm back in the warm presence of friends and confidants; only THIS time, the others are "real people", not Rondroids (I love that word.....)!!! And I'm still such an unsure net user, I wasn't even sure I could post comments to the discussions, until I did so yesterday.
Thanks, thanks, and thanks again, guys!!!! (Now I've got to try to get on ARS....I'm like ANONYMOUS; I can't get into ARS either. I will try Lorelei's suggestions.....)