Mine was an uneasy childhood. My father was schizophrenic and had bouts of manic depression. He and my mother both died when I was 10 years old, and my siblings and I moved from Scotland to Ireland, to live with my mother’s relatives.
As a teenager, I started to find the idea of an all-encompassing God and protector alluring, and in 1984, moved to a small village in Germany. Here, I discovered Scientology. I was in a bad way one afternoon, walking the streets of Stuttgart, when a young lady approached me: “Do you have a good memory?” she asked. I agreed to join her at the local Scientology centre, to find out.
The centre was filled with friendly, efficient people. It all seemed very official and scientific. I took tests which revealed I needed counselling, or “auditing”. I found the “science” aspect very seductive, and quickly became involved in the group.
After two weeks, I was taken with the teachings of [Scientology’s founder] L Ron Hubbard. He was my guru, and I started to see less of my girlfriend and friends.
There’s a disturbing pattern in the stories of escapees … wonder what that might mean? Perhaps they are all part of a massive global conspiracy to bring down a legitimate religion? Or maybe there really is something to the claim that Scientology is a destructive cult. It’s certainly worth a 2nd look before jumping on board. For a deeper study of John’s experience, check out his book, The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology.