Apostasy: Is it Just Your Former Cult Trying to Discredit You?

At the end of a fascinating Wikipedia article on Apostasy, these three paragraph appear:

“Sociologists Bromley and Hadden note a lack of empirical support for claimed consequences of having been a member of a “cult” or “sect”, and substantial empirical evidence against it. These include the fact that the overwhelming proportion of people who get involved in NRMs leave, most short of two years; the overwhelming proportion of people who leave do so of their own volition; and that two-thirds (67%) felt “wiser for the experience”.'[119]

“According to F. Derks and psychologist of religion Jan van der Lans, there is no uniform post-cult trauma. While psychological and social problems upon resignation are not uncommon, their character and intensity are greatly dependent on the personal history and on the traits of the ex-member, and on the reasons for and way of resignation.'[120]

“The report of the “Swedish Government’s Commission on New Religious Movements” (1998) states that the great majority of members of new religious movements derive positive experiences from their subscription to ideas or doctrines that correspond to their personal needs—and that withdrawal from these movements is usually quite undramatic, as these people leave feeling enriched by a predominantly positive experience. Although the report describes that there are a small number of withdrawals that require support (100 out of 50,000+ people), the report did not recommend that any special resources be established for their rehabilitation, as these cases are very rare.[121]”.

I’m sure that citing those paragraphs of scientific studies by those social scientists is going to make me even more popular among Anti-Scientologists (not). What’s so fascinating to me is – with all their feigned love of SCIENCE – how little influence actual science has on Anti-Scientologists for their claims of “mental damage” that Scientology, and other cults, do to people.

Why do you think that would be?

Because the preponderance of scientific evidence on this subject raises serious doubt on the claims of Anti-Scientologists, and other members of the anti-cult movement.

Scientific studies from the University of North Carolina show a very high correlation between an hysterically negative view of one’s former religion and exposure to the ideas of the anti-cult movement.

As an Ex-Scientologist, there is so much to learn from social scientists in this area.

Here’s more from the article:

The American sociologist Lewis A. Coser (following the German philosopher and sociologist Max Scheler) defines an apostate as not just a person who experienced a dramatic change in conviction but “a man who, even in his new state of belief, is spiritually living not primarily in the content of that faith, in the pursuit of goals appropriate to it, but only in the struggle against the old faith and for the sake of its negation.”

The American sociologist David G. Bromley defined the apostate role as follows and distinguished it from the “defector” and the “whistleblower” roles.

  • Apostate role: defined as one that occurs in a highly polarized situation in which an organization member undertakes a total change of loyalties by allying with one or more elements of an oppositional coalition without the consent or control of the organization. The narrative documents the quintessentially evil essence of the apostate’s former organization chronicled through the apostate’s personal experience of capture and ultimate escape/rescue.
  • Defector role: an organizational participant negotiates exit primarily with organizational authorities, who grant permission for role relinquishment, control the exit process, and facilitate role transmission. The jointly constructed narrative assigns primary moral responsibility for role performance problems to the departing member and interprets organizational permission as commitment to extraordinary moral standards and preservation of public trust.
  • Whistle-blower role: defined here as when an organization member forms an alliance with an external regulatory agency through personal testimony concerning specific, contested organizational practices that the external unit uses to sanction the organization. The narrative constructed jointly by the whistle blower and regulatory agency is depicts the whistle-blower as motivated by personal conscience, and the organization by defense of the public interest.

Stuart A. Wright, an American sociologist and author, asserts that apostasy is a unique phenomenon and a distinct type of religious defection, in which the apostate is a defector “who is aligned with an oppositional coalition in an effort to broaden the dispute, and embraces public claims-making activities to attack his or her former group.[5]

That bolded is mine. Does it sound familiar?

Context is everything. Breaking these 3 types of Exes out into those three bins above:

  • Apostate Role
  • Defector Role
  • Whistle-blower Role

allows for a better analysis of the types of ways that people leave cults. And, I think it better illuminates your own context as an Ex-Scientologist. The prevailing view among Ex-Scientologists is that the Apostate group shows “more responsibility” for their fellow man. But the apostate group has some very revealing characteristics:

The Capture Story
The Atrocity Tales
The Escape Story
The Pleas for Government Intervention (and the resulting government apathy to such pleas)
These characteristics don’t only occur with Anti-Scientologist apostates. They occur in a very small percentage of all people who leave all religions.

They are the Apostate group.

They have been identified by social scientists who study these things. And not all of them are “paid off” by the Church of Scientology, either. The apostate group is different in the ways above than others who leave.

Is apostasy an identifiable human response for some people who change their minds about something as deeply rooted into their self-identity as religious and spiritual belief?

I am very aware that the Church of Scientology has used the word “apostate” to try to discredit the atrocity tales of Ex-Scientologists and to shudder them into silence. But this particular use of the word is of a very specific group of people who share many very real characteristics from many different religions and cults – not just Scientology – but ALL religions. We could call them the “Striped Shirt/Plaid Pants” group from now on if that helps your passions make your reason less passive.

By studying this information, I think I have found one of the last steps of leaving Ex-Scientology behind forever – by owning my apostasy.

More on this for future posts.

What? You thought I’d just shut up now and disappear?

No way.

Just like when I left Scientology, I’m just getting started leaving Ex-Scientology!

34 thoughts on “Apostasy: Is it Just Your Former Cult Trying to Discredit You?”

      • Blows Scientology – Bitter they were duped.
        Can’t admit they wasted years and money – bitter at DM…DM BAD – LRH and his TEK – good.
        Some hover in the Indie stage – bitter at DM
        Some go all the way down the rabbit hole – Bitter at the con man – LRH and his evil cult (healthy stage)
        Working out the bitterness – “comes to a realization they were victims of Scientology cult mind control tactics. Won’t do that again and warns others of Scientology.
        If they don’t work that out – they move to
        Bitterness at Ex Scientologist’s – you won’t get compassion, understanding or love from the Ex Scientologist. It has been audited and trained out.

        • . . . “you won’t get compassion, understanding or love from the Ex Scientologist. It has been audited and trained out.”

          I never identified that as an “item” in reexamining my scn experience, but I’ve become more extroverted. So maybe I’m no longer or less of an Ex Scientologist as an identity. Thanks Marco. You just never know where you’ll pick up a win on AlanzosBlog.

          • There is a pattern from Ex Scientologist’s – very provable if one can step outside of themselves to see it.

            It is a side effect of Scientology.

            The side effect is hatred, anger and regret – it shows up in many ways.

            WE all suffer from it.

            Just admit it.

  1. Is the next phase for the Ex Scientologist who is coming out of Bitter about Scientology – all of it…

    Bitter about the Ex Scientologist who is bitter about all of Scientology and Scientology has some value?

    This is interesting.

    • That has been the next phase for me.

      And I tend to not be quiet about things like this, especially when I see Exes living a communal nightmare not associated with reality. I scream and shake things and try to wake them up.

      It’s annoying, I know. But I can’t help it.

      • Its all good – at least you admit you are in a phase. Marty is there too. Andy is in Phase II – left Corporate Scientology and can’t admit he was duped. If Scientology worked for Andy – he is not compassionate or kind. Making fun of Chris Shelton was not a class act. Chris has done a lot of good and I use his videos to get SO out.

      • Okay – I agree with you and find the majority of ex Scientologist’s too fucked up to be good friends. Sorry guys – but I had a life prior to Scientology and I know how people should behave and I did not get my brain re-wired by Scientology. I left quietly without sorrow from my viewpoint. I managed to slip off the radar and avoid contact with either ex Scientologist’s or active. Furthermore, I bypassed the Indie stage by going all the way down the rabbit hole and finding out the whole truth about L Ron Hubbard, Scientology and David Miscavige. I deprogrammed myself by reading and studying hypnosis, mind control and how Cults reform thoughts, control people etc. I still get triggered by some of the tactics Scientology used on me to get money out of me and going up their fake Bridge to no where. I think you are in a phase – Hating Ex Scientologist’s. They are programmed not to have empathy or compassion. You will not win this battle and are further making your life a battle. IMHO. Thanks – Marco

      • Agree Oracle – Ex Scientologist has been wired to traumatize – no compassion, empathy or love. Implanted with altitude, “elite”, “knows more” and ego has been inflated from involvement in cult. Ex Scientologist’s who do not deprogram make crappy friends. IMHO – based on my own experience. No empathy – won’t help others without getting paid and will discard w/o sorrow anyone who does not agree with them. That is what I experienced personally – my “science” of knowing how I know.

    • Yes. There is colossal betrayal for most people who really gave their lives to Scientology. Most Scientologists did not do that, however. Only a small percentage did. The Int Base and Sea Org Escapees seem to forget that in their hysterical accountings of what Scientology is.

      Having started Scientology out on the cornfields of the Midwestern US, I can attest that it was nothing like Int Base. It was nothing like ASHO, even.

      It was better. It was meant to help people.

      And it did.


      • Okay – so you know that SO and Int Base Slaves were abused and mistreated. They are suffering. Chris Shelton was in for most of his life. He is trying to help others and heal himself. I did not find Andy’s video funny at all. It was mean and more proof that you and Andy may have had your ability to have compassion and empathy destroyed by the game of Scientology and the phases cult victims go through. Andy is in Phase II – believes there is something there from Scientology. Anything good from Scientology came from other practices and is found in the Wog world – for FREE. If you do meditation and study Buddhism – your behavior is not that of a kindred, kind and compassionate being. You come across mean and critical – now of Ex Scientologist’s. I know they hurt you by kicking you out of spaces – but they are suffering from trauma and when one goes on an Ex Scientology message board to promote LRH’s tech – don’t be surprized if you get attacked. They are trying to recover from mind control. Experts say it takes 12 years on average to recover from a cult. Most never recover. Just saying. Visit Margaret Singer’s You Tube videos on Cult recovery. They are very helpful.

        • Alanzo. I don’t know Marco, but he has stated some very good points here. It might benefit you to at least consider and really think about his post.

          And he was most respectful, IMO.

          It was the first thing I said to you when I joined your blog was who cares about the good in Scientology?? Most blogs and people like Mike and Leah and other forms they want to expose the abuse and you keep coming in saying but there’s good. And I think you’re missing the point.

  2. Alanzo – you were in – you left – you blogged bitterly and now I read you blogging about the exes – seemingly forgetting that this may be a phase for the newly blown ex Scientologist?

    I am curious – What is Scientology?

  3. Wow. What do you expect the outcome of this crusade to be? As a fellow ex ex, I feel emboldened just a bit. But I don’t know where we are heading. Will there be a banquet? Will certificates be awarded? Something has changed.

  4. A lot of this rings true for me; and in many ways accurately describes all Ex-Scnists to some degree. However, some parts seem to miss the mark (at least with regards to Scn).

    They seem to imply that one’s exit is more or less a “hum drum” experience. I don’t know ANY Ex who would describe their departure as uneventful.

    The church cannot resist that parting shot, quite spiteful, actually. It is mean-spirited and makes you bitter. And no one enjoys that.

    It feels good to speak out about these things.

    It’s YOUR parting shot.

    • Very true, and I agree that it’s good for a person to speak out.

      It’s the negative cognitive distortions that you keep repeating to yourself for YEARS. And the hysterical claims of singular CRIMINALITY and ABUSE in all the atrocity stories that get repeated and repeated, over and over in the apostate community that I found interesting.

      It’s what I was looking at a few years ago that made me sit up and go “Hay wait a minute! Is this really true?”

      Am I spending this much of my time and energy living in a communal nightmare about the experiences in my life that isn’t even real?

      That’s when I saw that everyone’s all whipped up into a lather and no one is questioning anything, or investigating whether these atrocities are actually true. And to what degree are they true?

      Nobody wants to do that.

      It harshes the buzz. It kills T-Shirt sales.

      And it happens in ALL APOSTASY GROUPS -just like the anti-Scientologist Apostasy group.

      That’s what blew me away.

      It’s also a possible explanation for why law enforcement isn’t doing anything about Scientology. They get hysterical apostates coming at them from all kinds of religions all the time. They know what a liability it is to believe them.

        • Amen. And I’ve seen people get stuck in “anti Scientology” so solidly they can not even think with another conversation. And I have seen fanatics in Scientology stuck in it so bad they can not even think with another conversation. When you are stuck in one conversation you have a problem. I think a person’s problem lies in only being able to be in one conversation. It starts to sound like a record skipping. This is my problem with both sides. Who wants to stay in the same conversation over, and over, and over and over? Just make a recording and leave it somewhere for people to keep playing. This is the area of robotics.

    • Did you read that University of North Carolina study?

      The study group had only 1% ex-Scientologists in it, but the results sounded like almost every anti-Scientologist I’ve ever talked to.

      It gives you an important context to think with.

      I think.



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