My name is Steven Mango and I was a parishoner of the exclusive Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International in Hollywood, CA. In the span of four years of devoted membership until my escape in 2012, I became a lifetime member, I donated close to $50,000 to the church, and I was a victim of severe spiritual and emotional abuse inside the walls of the church. I was also a poster boy for the church, appearing in advertisements for the International Association of Scientologists across the Celebrity Centre. My photo also appeared on their The Way To Happiness booklets.
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Tags: Church of Scientology, Scientology Celebrity Center, Steven Mango
Tags: Church of Scientology, disconnection, scientology
Tags: Church of Scientology, Counterfeit Dreams, Jefferson Hawkins, Releasing the Bonds, Steven Hassan
One of the better books by a former Scientologist is “Counterfeit Dreams” by Jefferson Hawkins. Hawkins was responsible for the 1980’s TV volcano ads which put Dianetics back on the bestseller lists.
Hawkins’ book can be read in its entirety on his website, COUNTERFEIT DREAMS: my journey into and out of Scientology.
COUNTERFEIT DREAMSFrom the Preface to the hardback edition of Counterfeit Dreams, available August 2010
This was not an easy book to write. For three years following my departure from the Church of Scientology, I was not able to write anything sensible about my experience. Then gradually, the onion layers of indoctrination started to peel off, one by one, and I began to get some distance and perspective.
I began writing my account as a blog, posting it chapter by chapter. I did this to put pressure on myself to continue writing, to finish the narrative. And partly to reach out to others who may have had similar experiences.
I knew that I could never tell part of the story; it had to be the whole story or nothing. When I would try to tell people about the abuses I experienced within the Church of Scientology, they would ask me one thing: why had I stayed so long? And understanding that meant telling the whole thing.
My blog account attracted an audience, and they kept the pressure on me to finish. Some of these were people, like me, who had left Scientology and they found in me a kindred spirit. Others, to my surprise, were people still actively involved in the Church of Scientology. They were shocked by my revelations as to what goes on at the top levels of Scientology, and, after reading my story, they began to re-examine their own involvement with Scientology. Hundreds of people have now left the Church of Scientology as a direct result of reading my story. And every week I get an e-mail or two from people who have newly left.
Once my blog account was completed, my readers and friends encouraged me to expand Counterfeit Dreams to book-length and publish it.
As I often have to explain to people, I am not anti-Scientology. While I am no longer a Scientologist, I have many friends who are and who practice the subject outside the Church. I wish them well. My objection is to the abuses of organized Scientology and it is these that I continue to expose and fight against.
I have also heard from many people who were never involved with the Church of Scientology. For some who have been trapped in an abusive group or relationship, my story resonates. If this book can serve as either a cautionary tale or a message of hope, it will have been worth writing.
Steven Alan Hassan is a licensed mental health counselor who has written extensively on the subject of cults. In 1978 Hassan was one of the first people to develop and perform exit counseling, and is the author of three books on the subject of destructive cults, and what he describes as their use of mind control, thought reform, and the psychology of influence in order to recruit and retain members. Here’s what he has to say about Hawkins’ book.
Hawkins has written a compelling and emotional story that demonstrates how intelligent people can be drawn into and controlled by abusive, authoritarian groups. His new book, Counterfeit Dreams, is a must-read not only for those who have been directly involved with Scientology but also for their family and friends who want to understand it from a 36-year insider at the highest levels. Furthermore, I believe former members of other abusive, totalitarian groups would benefit from reading this valuable book.”
Steven Hassan, author of Releasing the Bonds
Esquire writer,, takes a tour of New York City’s Church of Scientology … emerges with a copy of the faked Oxford Capacity Analysis. And an interesting observation about being approached in the men’s room.
After being subtly coerced in the men’s room into taking a personality test, I was issued the “Oxford Capacity Analysis,” a 200-item questionnaire that had no direction and seemed to lack methodical validity. While I’m not a personality expert, I spent a summer as a McNair scholar working with personality experts during which I wrote my undergraduate senior thesis on workplace personality types that I presented at a few academic conferences. I’ve read enough papers and worked with enough indices to know that no way in hell did this test come from Oxford. (The 1971 Foster Report for the United Kingdom government said the test “is not a genuine personality test; certainly the results as presented bear no relation to any known methods of assessing personality or of scaling test scores.”)
Not surprisingly, my test results were awful. I scored clinically low on everything but “aggression.” But “this could be helped with Dianetics,” I was told.