Are All Ex-Scientologists Crazy? Chris Shelton Seems to Think So!

There are a certain set of assumptions that get repeated about the mental health of Scientologists and Ex-Scientologists. I didn’t actually hear these assumptions very often until Anonymous rose up in late 2007/early 2008, but they’ve been repeated over and over on their websites, and by lots of Exes on the Internet since then.

The line is: Anyone who was ever involved in Scientology is brain-damaged and crazy.

Along with the brutal and war-like moral values that Anonymous brought to the Post-Scientology Internet (“Never Forgive, Never Forget, Expect Us”, etc.) Anonymous did more to promote this idea that Ex-Scientologists were “damaged” and “crazy” than any other group.

Besides, of course, the Church of Scientology – who are constantly seeking to discredit the people telling their stories of Scientology abuse.

When you see recent escapees from the Church of Scientology, such as Chris Shelton, denigrating their fellow Ex-Scientologists by forwarding this idea as part of an explanation for a completely unrelated topic, then you know that the Church’s campaign to discredit Ex-Scientologists as damaged and crazy has been very effective.

Here’s Chris Shelton answering a question about the Marty Rathbun legal case, and inserting his assumption into this topic:

“You know there’s a lot of Scientology survivors out there. People got into Scientology for all different kinds of reasons. They come out of Scientology for all different kinds of reasons. And people go to Scientology in all kinds of different mental states, they come out of Scientology in all different kinds of mental states – generally worse than when they came in to one degree or another.’

“And don’t misconstrue anything I’m saying as you know I’m calling anybody crazy or any kind of extreme nonsense …because it’s not… just … [Look at] the words that are coming out of my mouth. ok? There is no labeling going on here. I’m simply making observations about the fact that Scientology screws people up and sometimes people were a bit screwed up you know before they got in and they got more screwed up coming out. And sometimes people were all right when they got in and they’re screwed up when they get out.’

“You know there’s a recovery process we talk about and we call it recovery for a reason. Because that’s what it is, you know? You have people especially Ex-Sea Org members suffer from various shades of depression, PTSD, other mental and psychological issues.’

“You know it’s just there’s trauma connected with it and it’s so easy on the part of many people, not just Scientologists, to say there’s no such thing as mental trauma or mental illness or PTSD and things like this and they just fluff it off. And I really don’t know where they get off doing that because it’s very real. As somebody who’s lived it I can tell you that it is very real.”

See Chris’ full video here.

Chris’ generalized assertion above that ex-Scientologists are mentally damaged was fully 1/3rd of his answer to someone asking about Monique Rathbun’s legal case, and Marty Rathbun’s disagreement with the way that Tony Ortega wrote about it.

His assertion that Ex-Scientologists are damaged mentally from Scientology was completely unrelated to the question asked.

Chris takes great pains to emphasize that he isn’t labeling any one individual Ex-Scientologist as crazy (Especially not Mark Rathbun – oh my god no). But he asserts over and over that the mental damage from Scientology is “real”. And you’ll notice that there is no scenario he provides where someone who comes out of Scientology is better off mentally than they went in. All of his scenarios end with a Scientologist coming out of Scientology more damaged and crazy than they were when they went in.

My point is not that there is no damage that can come from having been involved with Scientology. My point is that these assumptions must be examined critically before making these generalizations about Ex-Scientologists – and especially before adopting these assumptions for yourself as an Ex.

When you do critically examine Chris Shelton’s assumptions for the mental states of all Ex-Scientologists, they tend to fall apart for most people who were involved in Scientology.

The “Recovery” Paradigm Doesn’t Cut It For Everyone

The paradigms we use to frame our experiences can limit our understanding of those experiences.

Chris is using a “recovery” paradigm to explain a person’s life after Scientology, and his use of it seems particularly sloppy to me.

I do understand it, though.

This “Recovery” paradigm was a whole mental package that I’d adopted for my life after Scientology while hanging out with Exes on the Ex-Scientologist Message Board, and Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker. The longer I had been away from other Exes on the Internet, though, particularly on places like those, the more I began to question this paradigm for viewing myself and my life after Scientology.

There was even a time when I used the tag line “Recovery From Scientology” for this blog. I had been convinced that Scientology was something that I needed to “recover from” while I was a poster on ESMB. I still have a category of blog posts called “Recovery” From Scientology. I’m probably going to change that some day.

The overwhelming majority of people who were involved in Scientology simply walk away from it and never look back. They don’t post about it on the Internet or see themselves as “recovering from Scientology”. The overwhelming majority of Scientologists never got involved in Scientology deeply enough, or identified with it strongly enough, to have to “recover” from anything.

So right there, Chris’ generalization about the damage that Scientology does to Exes reaches too far. Having once been involved in Scientology does NOT mean that you were damaged by it. In fact, I am pretty sure that there are a great many people, if allowed, who would say that the time they spent in Scientology helped them overall.

They have nothing to “recover from”.

The Scientology Experience Should Not Be Defined Solely by Former Sea Org Members

Because of the paramilitary brainwashing techniques that Hubbard built into Scientology (such as OW write ups and Sec Checks and the Truth Rundown), Sea Org members had very different experiences in Scientology than anyone else.

Sea Org members make up a minority of people who got themselves involved in Scientology, and their experiences are particularly fanatical and extreme. If you are an Ex-Scientologist, and you were never a sea org member, then I think you should not be accepting these interpretations of your own time in Scientology without, at least, lots of examination of them for yourself.

When I was on mission staff, I was often “handled” by fanatical Sea Org members at SMI. I also received sec checks and other thought reform auditing programs by Ex-Int Base staff for a short time in the 1990’s for writing High Crime Reports on David Miscavige and each member of the Exec Strata. So I did experience some of those brainwashing and thought reform techniques that a lot of Sea Org members were put through.

But the overwhelming majority of Scientologists never experienced anything like that in Scientology.

Was I damaged by that?

Not really. I’d have to try real hard for a long time to make myself damaged by those experiences, and that’s something I’m not interested in spending my energy on.

I’m not saying that no one was damaged – I’m saying that I wasn’t.

Yet 1/3rd of Chris’ answer regarding the dispute between Tony Ortega and Mark Rathbun is about how Ex-Scientologists have been mentally damaged by Scientology. This is either an unexamined assumption Chris has about all ex-Scientologists, or it is an attempt to discredit Mark Rathbun, just as the Church tries to do to Rathbun, and to anyone else who criticizes Scientology.

Chris has been a busy guy here just 2 or so years after leaving the Church of Scientology. He is a great writer and is doing a great job learning and promoting critical thinking skills after Scientology. He has a book out, a blog, a youtube channel and a podcast. And he puts out a lot of great ideas, seemingly reaching many people who would otherwise not be reached.

But I think it’s a little too early for him to be speaking for all ex-Scientologists about their own mental states. He’s still a little too embedded in a certain mindset about Ex-Scientologists that began in the Church’s Office of Special Affairs, and rose up through Anonymous, and continues on ESMB and Tony Ortega’s blog to this day.

It’s the idea that anyone who was ever involved in Scientology is damaged and crazy, and has to recover from it.

There are many more constructive – and truthful – ways of seeing his and other’s time in Scientology, and an Ex’s life after Scientology, than that.

Chris presents too many assumptions here that are not true for most Exes.


80 thoughts on “Are All Ex-Scientologists Crazy? Chris Shelton Seems to Think So!”

  1. hey, I loved high school, it was a great time, many friends.

    Same with college, many friends.

    Same with scientology, many friends.

    Lone Star, that’s it, you are on double secret probation, you cause too many toilets to explode every spring, every Halloween the trees are filed with underwear, etc, laughing.

  2. Hi Alanzo,

    You asked me several questions on Martys blog. I’ll answer them here since on his current tread and past treads that I have posted he has clipped my postings and also did not allow my posts to go thru. I did not ad hom in postings he clipped or the one’s he did not allow thru.

    That’s fine, I don’t really care, I just will not be posting there anymore since it is not really a open forum. My stick will always be the so called religion of scientology is a fake in that the whole purpose of it is to produce a clear and then OT and there are none. as you know.

    you asked me:

    So singanddanceall –

    How does “”Marty has always been an asshole. Nothing has changed”. do anything constructive for Ex-Scientologists, who by the way, include Marty Rathbun?

    ANSWER: I agree, but it’s just a person’s opinion, although ad hom. And I don’t wish to read ex’s ad hom’ing each other. I think it is wrong.

    The church of Scientology engages in this kind of useless and even destructive denigration of Ex-Scientologists – especially when it is constant and unceasing as it is on ESMB. Why should this kind of rude insult be allowed to be so rampant on the Ex-Scientologist Message Board?

    ANSWER: It shouldn’t, but there is the possibly people do not understand ad hom fully.

    You do realize that this is a standard OSA dead agent line on Marty Rathbun, don’t you?

    ANSWER: yes, I understand that is what OSA does based on LRH policy, also called “fair game” which is actually the same as “ad hom” and probably people who post do not know this. Don’t know, maybe they do, maybe they do not know, maybe they do not know the effects it creates. If what I state is true, then it is unintentional for ex’s. Dead Agent is ad hom retermed by Hubbard. So maybe people do not know. To assume all ex’s know is not quite right w/o proof.

    What if Gizmo was challenged to say something worthwhile and constructive by the moderators on ESMB, instead of this kind of disrespectful and ad hominem personal attack? He could still voice his opinion, he just would not be allowed to be this disrespectful, in violation of ESMB’s own rules.

    ANSWER: I agree. The mods maybe to busy to really snuff this out, afteral, they work for free. But I don’t know.

    It is against their rules, as I have shown on my blog.


    ANSWER: yes.

    So why do you think it was allowed on the board?

    ANSWER: reasons above.



    BTW, the war is not over. There are still people trapped in scientology sea org, orgs and missions.

    Here is my reference, your latest post:

    • Thanks for answering, SADA.

      Moderators have total control over any post on any message board. And part of their job on any message board is to teach the participants how the rules work in practice. There is often a training period with many posters where what they have written does not conform to the rules, and they need to be shown that. So it does not have anything to do with whether the posters know what ad hom is. The moderators are there to make sure adhom and disrespect do not appear on the board.


      I see changes going on at ESMB, and it appears they are changes for the better. Their rules have always said it all. And now finally MAYBE after 9 years on the Post-Scientology Internet, the Ex-Scientologist Message Board MIGHT be applying their own rules.

      Things MIGHT be getting better for existing and future Ex-Scientologists on ESMB.


    • Let’s try something here

      Singanddanceall – On almost every post you make you exclaim No Clears! No OTs! It’s repetitious and annoying. I already know that and so does everyone else. You’re talking down to me so why don’t you just shove your repetitious MANTRA!

      OK – So now the moderator (Alanzo) is going to have some “fun”. Is he supposed to jump in and teach me to be more polite? Multiply my aggressive post by 10 people posting on different threads (ESMB) and it seems being a moderator wouldn’t be much fun. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      • Hey singanddanceall – I’m not at all hostile toward you! I enjoy your comments! I was just making the point that how I express a minor annoyance (relative to if I had attacked you personally) might put a moderator into a fix.

        It actually might be fun being a moderator. One would certainly be in the mix of a lot of human, albeit internet, interaction.

      • yah I know I repeat that too much. I’ll cool it. I just wish the media would get off trying to call scientology a religion when the whole purpose of dianetics and scientology is to produce a clear and OT. Oh, just thought of something, so maybe the media can call it a failed religion if they are scared of using that word by it’s lonesome.

        But, anywho, I have no beef with anybody here or elsewhere. No reason for Alanzo to step in. Take care NC2M.


        • Hi singanddance! – I liked your observation above, “Dead agent is adhom retermed by Hubbard.” He retermed almost everything.

          WTF Is an “Operating Thetan”?! A “Sage”? He woulda got called out fast for saying that.

          I got in a big debate one time with a guy about scn being a religion. He insisted Tubbs always called it a religion. I finally let it go by agreeing with him that when I was in I beleived in everything, so it was my FAITH! – Laughter

          • yah, it’s also called Character Assassination.

            “Character assassination is an attempt to tarnish a person’s reputation. It may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person. It is a form of defamation and can be a form of ad hominem argument.


            Hubbard was pretty big at that and called anybody who opposed scientology an SP, and that includes whistle blowers & critical thinkers, people that had been involved for a long time.

            Yah know, when I first got involved why everybody said, public and staff, are you going to the “org”, are you coming into the “org” tonight. LOL

            Somewhere along the way it got changed to are you going to the “church” tonight. Laughing. It was so subtle I didn’t even notice as I was saying the same words. Here’s what funny too, I got involved because of the “science” of the mind part and not the religious woo part, ie Operating Thetan.

  3. My issues with Chris are some of the same ones I had with him when he was still in. Chris talks a good game, but he has hardly mastered logical thinking (he was a 9/11 further up until recently), and he thinks he is far smarter than he actually is. His expounding on Marty and Monique is offensive because he has no actual information to add. He’s just spouting words to make noise. And not even intelligent words. Plus, the hitting people up for support via Patreon is lame and now he reviews Sci_fi movies? Can anyone figure out what his film critic credentials are?

    I always said Chris would cut down on the krs if he just had a 2d. Who knew it would be even truer now?

    • Oh, now, why shouldn’t he review movies? It’s just a fun thing he wants to do. I get your points and I don’t agree with everything Chris says, but that’s life. While I’m certainly in favor of debating and demurring where one had disagreements, I really hope for civility.

      Speaking as someone who’s been the subject of numerous witch cu– oops, I mean witch hunts, that may have started with disagreements but ended up like a scene from Mean Girls, Saved, or Heathers- I just don’t see the point of complaining about personalities and little things like reviewing movies.

      I’ve seen recent escapees do the lecture circuit thing before- that Lerma fan with all the nicks- Mockingbird- he annoyed people, too.

      At the end of the day, Chris, Mockingbird, you, me, any of our friends here- we’re just trying to figure out what the eff happened and why.

      Wanna know a fave topic of conversation at Chez Swazey? Our sojourn in CofS especially staff. Yeah, we discuss LRH, The Midget, etc- but we come back to our experiences a lot vis s vis wtf happened and why. We may not ALL do that, but many of us do. Inevitably, somebody will arrive at a different conclusion. Inevitably, somebody will pontificate. I know I surely have done so.

  4. As a person who was born and raised in scientology I feel it was/is very damaging. I wasn’t ever in the SO, but growing up being taught to think the way they do and believe the things they do definitely screwed with my view and understanding of the world. It’s takes a lot of time and thought to dig your way out of that.

    • As a person who was born and raised in scientology, and spent most of that time in the so-called cadet org, I concur. I would also add that some of the ideas absorbed by being in that culture are so close to one that it can be difficult to discern and identify them as ‘not mine’ or not the way one wants to think any more.

      Haggling over which word to use for the leaving process might be the wrong approach. Everyone will find a word they are comfortable with, sooner or later, if it suits them. I see my path as a mixture of recovery, healing and also learning things about relationships I preferably would have learned from role models as a child.

      Now I say: so what. It is what it is. It would have been nice to have a better start in life, but an abusive environment is not too unusual. I think a professional can provide a model of a healthy, connected life to compare against. Otherwise, nobody can really tell others their experience was bad, or was not as bad as they think, or trivialise it. The result of having been associated with scn is a very personal assessment.

  5. Don’t mean to highjack the thread. Leah was nice enough to open me up on Facebook to post it there on her page, so I am hoping Alanzo will be generous with me too. Just an open call for helping Tom to care for his little girl. Thanks all.

  6. I love being explained and defined to the world, by Chris Shelton. He is truly a “Scientologist whisperer”. Describing us as “damaged goods” was so insightful. And I love the way he speaks to us as if he were teaching little children at the front of a classroom. He is not afraid to reach down to our level. Thank you Chris !

    • Oracle,
      This is Path of Buddha who posts on MR’s blog.
      There is great practical value from my experience as an ex-scientologist.
      I fully handled teminatedly the Jehovah Witnesses who were knocking on my door
      every two weeks after I disabled the doorbell.

      • The Mormon missionaries stopped coming by after I blew two of them out of the Church. I did not mean to. Even read the Book of Mormon so I could talk with them! I loved talking to them. They are beautiful people inside and out. Now I am blacklisted.

        At the end, they were escorted by an elder Bishop. He arrived very holy, knowing, and above it all, but after 45 minutes he blew up on me. WTF? Because I covered his ice cream with a peach sauce that had brandy in it. I made that peach sauce with peaches from my own peach tree. He ate it all. Said it was the best ice cream he had ever had. I wrote the recipe down for his wife at his request. He said it was the first time alcohol had touched his lips and he was 80 years old. It was like, I had raped him or something.

        They live so they can co exist with God after this life. He is elsewhere. On another planet. And I am saying, “No, he is with me here right now. I have always co existed with God.” And they are like. “It isn’t God. It’s Jesus Christ.” And I am like, “Is not”. “Is too”. “Is not”. “is too”. Well you know how that goes.

        Then I pointed out they are asking me to disavow my connection with God. How religious is that? .

        I mean, the rage. Why? When I bend over backwards with symbiotic intent.

        • Wow!
          That story really gets to the point about Mormons.
          I handled the Jehovah Witnesses by showing them my meditation hall with the
          huge Buddha statue. Then I invite them for meditation classes. They never return.
          I feel bad about getting to that point but nothing else worked.

          I learned a lesson getting out of Scientology. For me it was really simple. All I did was stop talking about it in public and in private. When I had no urge to speak about it, the gaps in my life filled in.
          Chris Shelton never applied to me but I admire his drive to expand his own mission. He also has talent in media.

          • I always invite the JWs and the Mormons in and have them sit around the conference table in my living room. I grill them with questions and really listen hard to their answers. And then I think about what they had to say, and sometimes I even do the reading assignments they ask of me.

            Then, when they come back, I have more questions for them, and more intense grilling, and listening, and then more follow up questions.

            These sessions can last for 2 hours or more. They almost always end when the missionaries start looking at their watches, getting their coats and briefcases and books ready, signaling to each other while one is trying to answer me, looking around the room nervously, and finally just standing up and trying to leave.

            But I always have one more question!

            Sometimes I chase them down my driveway as they are scrambling for their car, “Wait a minute! What about Original Sin????”

            They roll up the windows and drive away.

            For some reason, they don’t come around my house any more, either.

            I do this because I am genuinely fascinated with people who adopt an ideology and try to fit every little thing into it that they encounter in the whole of existence. Everything in all of infinity into that one little ideology. They try to make the ideology answer everything, even when it has nothing to do with anything. ESPECIALLY when it has nothing to do with anything.

            I just can’t get enough of that shit.


            • Laughter! They are very easy to open up to and talk with because they are very bright and open and proud. They have a curfew, the missionaries, they have to be in bed by 10:00 and out of bed by 6:00 a.m.. They have to pay attention to their watches come around 9:00. They really have to work also, in the community. Taking care of elderly and infirm. Helping the Church and working in the food banks. And their families have to pay 400.00 a month for them to be in the program for two years. The first year I was here they came once a week minimum. They were very good company. I’ll bet they liked coming to talk with you. You must have pushed them out of the box a bit. I knew they were not supposed to have alcohol, but when you cook it in a sauce I thought the alcohol evaporated and went out. So, I didn’t think I was giving them alcohol. Maybe I wasn’t. But I guess I wasn’t up to speed. At first I was appalled at the women’s place in their community. They are really supposed to stand behind the men all the way, not even the same rights. But now that all my girlfriends here are Mormon, I am seeing it from a different angle. They love the culture because of the hold the Church has over the men. Their men will not stray or leave them. It is a two way street that seems to work for both on some level. I’ve gone to some of the Church services for the women, taken there by someone I met. The women are still very curious and wanting to be your friend even if you don’t join. Some have opened to me with very personal issues and I felt honored to be trusted. They have to wear this underwear that has tops with capped sleeves. So, they can not wear anything strapless or sleeveless. One thing they love to do is try on my clothes and jewelry. Covet in secret. Laughter! They are very, very feminine and it is so refreshing to be around them. They know everything about make up, hair and grooming. They don’t have the shame run on them for being women, and being interested and absorbed in “trivial” feminine things. I’ve always been obsessed with agriculture, so the men come by now asking how to fix their lawn, or what happened to their lawn. Or what is happening to their tomato plant on the patio. Or what is going on with hedges or trees. They do not exclude me from contributing because I am not Mormon. As neighbors. Now, they come by to get cucumbers or peppers from my greenhouse. We are working on getting people to stop using chemicals in the neighborhood for weeds and pests. Using organic. Honestly, it is like living in the 1930’s here, socially.

            • Alanzo,
              You have more patience than I have.
              When I talk to the JW’s, I go straight to the core issue and they get very defensive. Like I usually say that I love the Bible but cannot accept the Bible as my religion. They really get agitated.

              • George –

                I see the Bible in the same way.

                But that doesn’t mean the Bible is not useful, and even enlightening, in many areas of life. Especially in the areas of love and forgiveness, the Bible can’t be beat.

                So I gladly listen and learn from these guys, and even sometimes study the Bible lessons they give me.


                • Alanzo, Thanks for the summary of Chris Shelton’s video. I had a rough time getting in the full 18 minutes.
                  As I understand it, Chris has been out of Scientology only a few years. I can see in the video that he has more questions about the subject and think that is great. I get the feeling that deep critics of Scientology can make it a profession. We do have freedom of religion. Shelton is loudly sounding the alarm, and that seems to create waves of fear. This fear is what I see as a barrier to real communication on the subject.

          • Wow! That is great that you have a meditation hall. You are so right about not talking about it. Where I am in Utah it is 80% Mormon. The J.W. come by here too but rarely. Maybe three times a year, the same people. The line they have here is that the Bible must survive. (I guess because the Mormons replaced it with the book of Mormon?) Maybe it is because of the challenge they have here in a Mormon community, but they feel very sneaky and have 1.1 comments which are directed towards the Mormons. I guess they are trying to say the Mormons are a threat. It is deliberate sabotage in the Mormon community. Like, they are crossing over into gang territory. But that feels like their intention rather than to spread information or knowledge. Their eyes dart around a lot also as if they are fear. No need to be. The Mormons are a gracious culture and totally non threatening. But they seem to be filled with an enemy vibe, and really paranoid. I don’t bother talking with them. I could never be part of a religion that excludes Christmas and birthday celebrations. I had a friend in grammar school suffer through that. It was a very cruel thing to do to a child, run those kind of can’t haves. She is probably running an anti J.W. site now.

            • I did not know you lived in Utah. I did know that you were great in agriculture because you told me how to fix my lawn which is thriving this year.
              When I lived in Pennsylvania in the late 1970’s, we had limited contact with the Amish. They would not use electricity, as I remember.
              My wife and I have created a very Buddhist environment in our home. We do not have television or any kind of cable. We do have internet. We have an extensive library of books on Buddhism. I always mildly laugh when people come to visit. We have Buddha statues all around and people think that I am going to try to convert them. You can always tell when they mention their own religion first when I did not even ask. We avoid discussion of religion with others. I learned this the hard way having been point person in the Buddhist temple for over eight years. We get about one in a hundred with lasting interest and that usually fades. The Buddha said not to bother with conversion.
              It is a great relief.

              • Just moved here recently. A year and half been here. Working on a home purchased only halfway through construction that was lived in for fifteen years that way, with two people and six kids. Halfway there on renovations, after a year. Blew a lot of time on the outside, landscaping and gardening (greenhouse). Down to planting Thai spices and Indian Spices. Going for curry leaf trees now and Kaffir lime trees. Thai peppers, lemon grass, roots and ginger etc.. Got crazy and put a pond in the middle. Most of the house had no dry wall or electricity Very strange, but nobody else wanted to take it on so we got a great price on it..Your home sounds marvelous. Very spiritual. Point person is a new word for me, I like it! off to scrub paint off, one more bedroom finished. Still can’t believe I thought trees from Oregon would grow in this red clay. That was pretty stupid and cost me a lot of time and effort. Done with making the impossible possible, when it comes to farming. I sent you a friend request on FB a while back. In case you wander over there and wonder….. Always a pleasure finding out more about you.

                • Have not been on FB due to a hotmail crash. I cannot get any invitations until I change out the server. I’ll try to fix it, if I can.
                  We have had a lot of success with Japanese eggplants here in Florida. These are amazing little plants which really produce for us.
                  We have a curry tree given to us by a generous monk. It is also doing very well.
                  Very interesting about your house. I have been working on rental properties, but code enforcement in Hillsborough County have been tough. This has prevented a lot of wealth building.
                  I’ll do what I can to fix FB.
                  Getting fully out of Scientology took a lot of hard work especially after the OT VIII experience.

        • Hmmm… If the brandy (while on the sauce) had been cooked at all, the alcohol would have evaporated out of there anyway. If not, then here’s a biblical quote that seems apropos: Ban is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.

  7. It’s easy to refer to the post-Scn years as “recovery”, especially for those 10+ year veterans. Those who are truly “in” (e.g. org staff, Sea Org, Clears, OTs) rarely leave without some drama. Most often it is this drama that becomes the topic of discussion. For those declared SP, this will include a health dose of injustice. In other words, they’ve been fucked over.

    Now, just as there are subjective and objective gains from Scn, I think there are subjective and objective damages. For example:

    Wife divorces you because you’ve been declared SP
    Kids disconnect from you because you’ve been declared SP
    You filed for bankruptcy due to donations to the IAS and Ideal Orgs
    You got fired from your job because you’ve been declared SP
    You were held against your will and died at the Fort Harrison

    All your stable datum have been destroyed once you discovered what Scn really was
    You regret all the money you spent on services, and didn’t even get a T-shirt
    You endured brutal Sec Checking
    You feel like you’ve been conned and deceived
    You feel betrayed after decades of loyal support and service
    You’ve attested to Clear or OT and feel you cannot demonstrate the state

    When Chris Shelton speaks of recovery I feel he is referring to the “subjective damages” caused by Scn.

    How do you recover your self-esteem, your confidence; how do you false data-strip the lies; how do you re-integrate, re-wire for life in the real world?

    Objective damages are verifiable. Subjective damages are…well, not. That doesn’t make any more invalid.

    “Recovery” from damages inflicted by Scn means you have to overcome, rise above the objective and subjective damages. Some of these damages, such as objective damages, you have to learn to live with (e.g. your spouse is never going to get back with you). Getting over subjective damages is really up to the individual.

    To assume EVERYONE experiences objective and subject damage from Scn is obviously absurd. Everyone is different. Everyone leaves in their own way. Everyone “recovers” in their own way. So why propose a blanket statement about anyone who leaves Scn? Or imply we are all damaged?

    Within six months of being declared I was thoroughly and completely through with Hubbard and Scientology – completely, totally, no-going-back – through.

    So, I am I still “recovering”? Am I delusional? Thinking I’ve recovered from Scn?

    Really? So, you know me better than me?

    I think not.

    • Just as the word “food” makes you approach something differently than if the word used was “drug”, I think the use of the word “recovery” adds in all kinds of bullshit and untrue implications.

      If you are injured, or sick, or “addicted” (another term with loads of potential bullshit) then you “recover”.

      What is the term for getting out of Scientology?

      Move On Down the Road

      These are not only more productive and constructive terms with more apt implications, but I think they are more TRUE to the experiences that most people have when coming out of Scientology.

      YAY Statpush! Good to see ya, buddy!

      • Why the need to qualify and quantify? Why is there a “process” to getting out of Scientology? Is the need to categorize so important? Because I’m an Ex-Scnist, does that mean I’m in “recovery”? Nonsense. I never bought the “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” argument. So, why put ex-Scnists on some proverbial path to recovery? I’m sure Chris would view this as “denial”, because that fits in with his paradigm.

        I consider myself to be “recovered”. Once “recovered” their is no need for “recovery”…if you get my drift.

        The sooner we do away with the taxonomy and nomenclature of “recovery” the better.

        Al – good to be back – hope all is well with you.

      • For me, the process was:
        1. Decompress. That is the most descriptive word I’ve encountered used as a metaphor for the uncomfortable mental process of realizing you’ve been betrayed, that you’ve been a bit of a dupe, that that Scientology had kept a tight lid on your world view of everything, and now the reins to your life are back in your own hands.

        2. Realize I’ve graduated. “Graduate” is an apt word. It says you got something out of a study, but now you’re ready to leave the cloistered walls of the campus and strike out on your own.

        • I like graduate, too.

          I mean, do you “recover” from kindergarten? The struggles you had with the teacher, the fanaticism and the abuse from the other kids on the playground? The mandatory and stupid “Hokey Pokey” dance rituals?

          No. You graduate and you move on. It means that you take the lessons you learned there and you use them – in life and in First Grade.

          I actually think this is the best term to use for an Ex-Scientologist leaving Scientology: The Kindergarten of Religions.

          So I would change Chris’ statement to “They call it “GRADUATE” for a reason!” 🙂


              • nope, doesn’t work for me either. Of course I’m speaking from my viewpoint and experience and from my reading other stories, which seems to be more common among ex’s.

                Probably finding out the truth is a better word. The truth about hubbards past, his time alive, and his statements to Sarge at the end of his life.

                The truth that there are no clears or OT’s.

                Why even argue over if scientology is a cult or religion. The bottom line of scientology is it is supposed to produce a clear, and then OT.

                If only the media could get off the religion angle and ask the hard question which is where are the clears and OT’s? That’s the arguement to be had, IMHO.

                yah, I know I am repeating myself. Why don’t you ask Marty, windhorse, George White, etc who post on Martys blog? Where are the clears and OT’s.

  8. Lots of factors to consider here re exes being damaged.

    How deeply immersed did they get? The more involved, the more ppl get messed with by cult staff.

    How strong, decent and levelheaded was this person to begin with?

    What services dos he or she do? Though I personally think Scn has some benefit, I also think that there are inherent problems with some of the OT stuff. Ppl who dabble in occultism often have problems from that. It does depend on the person, but hey, look at Ron. It seems to have made him worse.

    And, finally, free will plays a part.

    • I don’t think that’s the point, Claire.

      Someone could have all the worst answers to your questions above, and still not have been mentally damaged by their time in Scientology.

      It is not a call for someone else to make.

      A person should look for himself to decide whether he has “mental damage” from anything related to Scientology. It is his own business.

      Other people speculating that an EX was mentally damaged by Scientology is, more often than not, an attempt to avoid what that person is saying, and/or an attempt to discredit him.

      More often than not, that is what I have found when Exes, critics, members of Anonymous, and OSA say that an Ex-Scientologist is mentally damaged.

      Remember “A Posse of Lunatics?”

      In Chris’ case, I believe that he has an assumption right now that everyone has been mentally damaged by Scientology. I don’t think he has examined that assumption very well just yet.

      Either that, or he was trying to discredit Marty Rathbun.

      I don’t know which it is, because he runs and hides a lot.

      But if I had to speculate, I actually suspect it’s the first one.


  9. I’d agree alanzo, using the phrase “mental state” I think, is also the wrong wording. It puts a condition on people, after all scientology is for “making the able more able” and is not supposed to deal with people that actually do have a “mental state” unless if they do indeed have money. But Hubbard sure did tell us we had a mental state, ie, if one is not clear why one is still crazy because an engram could be keyed in at any time and make us crazy. Laughter

    I think a better term would be something more like educational level or knowledge level, I don’t know, maybe you have a phrase or term?

    My coming out had nothing to do with “mental state”. When I finally decided to do a due diligence, that is compare scientology teachings to other philosophy, and how Hubbard tricked us, I had cognitions. Also reading the many coming out stories on Marty’s blog had a major impact. I realized the sheeple in on how great scientology is with the success stories, why the sheeple out with their stories is just as valid.

    But, anyways, it’s all good.

  10. I’m wondering what is the point of playing Ex vs Ex here? I had enough of that at ESMB. That’s why I left. I think I’ll get on with going my way wishing everyone a good life.

    • I’m not trying to “play” Exes against each other.

      The point, for me, is to question the status quo.

      And to point out things I think are important in my life after Scientology.


    • Ex Ex, I think most of Chris Shelton’.s vids about Scientology are terrific, particularly the ones where he breaks down different aspects of Scientology and uses different types of logic and references. There’s nothing quite like them and he’s a good speaker. In those, he presents a great deal of research, too and provides a valuable tool and service to many who were in Scientology.

      This vid does none of that. There are no quotes and no references to logic. It is a subjective vid containing his personal opinions. That’s fine, but I think if Chris wants to talk about his personal experiences and opinions based on those experiences, then he should be clear that the vid is strictly subjective and not a critical thinking vid.

      If he wants to do a vid that takes Scientology apart with critical thinking, that’s kind of his specialty. Vids of opinions that step outside the critical thinking mode and don’t present facts are different and I didn’t like this one.

      It seems to me we should be able to look at things critically and objectively ourselves and not have to accept every single thing a person does as a masterpiece. Not seeing everything the same way doesn’t mean infighting if we treat each other respectfully and are polite. Chris does a terrific job and I hope he gets back to critical thinking vids again.

      • I think that overall Chris does a terrific job, too.

        My criticizing one answer he gave in one video is not trying to discredit him and all of his work. I think he addresses very important topics and keeps it very timely. He knows the relative importance of various issues to the community to write about, and he writes about them very very well.

        I’ve told him that he almost has the clarity of a George Orwell in his style of writing. And George Orwell is a hero of mine and I mean it when I say it.

        I’m surprised at the backlash that is happening, actually. I thought my post would be pretty much ignored, that this was only me. But it appears that’s not the case.

        What’s too bad is that there is no interaction, no recognition or acknowledgement of the issues raised. Just basically running and hiding.

        Maybe I’m expecting too much.


        • I’m not quite following you, Alanzo. If you mean discussion about Marty Rathbun, Monique Rathbun and Tony Ortega, I’m tired of the whole subject. For me, It’s like being forced to run a non-reading item or a ‘no interest’ item. There’s little actual information available to us and the mystery doesn’t bother me and never did. Maybe I’m weird that way, but it seems the healthiest and maybe the kindest thing to do is drop it and some people are trying to do just that. Yesterday’s news and all that.

            • Oh, I see.

              I took it as Chris Shelton’s personal opinion, with which I also disagree. You summarized and broke down the falsity of the misconception that ‘all exes are at least a bit crazy’ very well. Maybe too well, cause I honestly didn’t have a thing to add to it. I agree with you. For some of us, it’s just an experience and the degree that the experience is good or bad and how we deal with it is a personal matter. Lots of people, actually, the majority who leave the Church of Scientology, never even look back. Looking back to say WTF? sure isn’t any yardstick of sanity or insanity either. So yeh, I agree with you and think you put your concept across very well.

  11. This particular Chris Shelton vid was disappointing.

    Why has Chris, who has built a reputation on critical, analytical thinking, provided personal opinions about any individual’s mental health or the mental health of a group? Where are the studies? Where are the facts? Where is the objectivity? It’s all opinions and unprofessional.

  12. I think the recovery process is as varied as are the individuals coming out of Scn.

    We often assume our experience with something is typical of everyone else’s.

    Chris Shelton has stated he thinks his recovery process will go on for years and years. Maybe that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In any event, his path of recovery is his own.

    Some exes wave their hand and say, “Scn was ALL bullshit.” To me, that looks suspiciously like just more black and white thinking. But to them, I respect their chosen path.

    My interest is in broadening my education about what I experienced in Scn, both the bad and the good, and where I DID achieve a benefit, examining other explanations of what may have taken place.

    This way, I can own the wins, understand the culty shitC and move forward.

    • Good comment. I think what you described for yourself is the most truthful and constructive way forward.

      There is no way I didn’t get something out of Scientology if I stayed in it for 16 years. I just don’t keep doing something that sucks for 16 years straight. I don’t operate that way.

      I don’t think anyone does.

      I now think it was a great disservice to myself continue to use so many cognitive distortions to explain my time in Scientology. But then again, I didn’t know about cognitive distortions, either.

      So there.

      • are you sure about that Alanzo, as you state:

        “I just don’t keep doing something that sucks for 16 years straight. I don’t operate that way.”

        I believe you stayed in for 16 years because you were hoping to achieve clear and then OT.

        That’s my story, I was in for 26 years. I believe the little wins and group pressure and hubbards rhethoric and the constant success stories kept us going, hoping. Until, one day, something happened. And that something that happened is different for all who left. For me, it was the Debbie Cook email, finally I had confirmation bias from somebody highly trained and I respected. She got me to research.

        • Sure. I had hope that my “postulates would work”, which is basically OT, right?

          But along the way I had multiple brain spooges with every course period and session, and there was an efficient economic society there where people recognized your training and skill and hired you for various jobs and paying gigs. And there were friends I would see on course, around the org and socialize with on the weekends.

          These are all social benefits that I enjoyed while being a Scientologist. They kept me going for 16 years.

          Sure, there was the hope of Clear and OT, and LRH absolutely lied through his teeth about them.

          But there were other things going on besides that, too.

          And some of those things were good.

          Or else I would have never continued just because I hoped I would be OT. People need more than that. I needed more than that. People need social and economic and other benefits right now in their lives. Just like any cult or sub-culture, those real, down-to-earth benefits existed for Scientologists in scientology, too.

          I’m sure they existed for you too, SADA.

          Am I right?

          Or wrong?


            • If there’s one thing you have to do as an Ex, if you are around on the Internet for any length of time, it’s re-peat and re-state the thing that made you leave Scientology.

              And you get really sick of repeating it after 15 years.

              This was 1999. I left secretly at first, and stayed home and read the internet. Then, when I’d decided I was no longer a Scientologist, I was still “under the radar” because I had a fairly good job at a Scientologist-owned marketing company, and because it was interesting walking among Scientologists as if I was one of them when I wasn’t any more. It allowed me to observe things that, as a Scientologist, I couldn’t see.

              So after around a year and a half of this, I was FULLY AND COMPLETELY OUT.

              And just like every kind of life-changing decision a person makes, my leaving Scientology was not just because of one thing.

              It was because of many things.

              • I understand about the repeating oneself.

                you state

                “This was 1999. I left secretly at first, and stayed home and read the internet. Then, when I’d decided I was no longer a Scientologist,”

                So the the question is: what did you decide that you were no longer a scientologist?

                What was your decision and why?

  13. It’s totally fine for Chris to express his opinion, but what is not fine is for everyone in the ex and critic community to just accept is opinion as absolute fact. And many do. Including Tony O, I think.

    I think Chris prides himself on trying to help “us” achieve logic and balance to our worldview so that we’ll never fall for a scam again. But last year he put out a video alleging that all conspiracy theories are wrong and that it’s illogical and perhaps “crazy” to look into them and find validity in any of them. Well, I’m sorry but that was an illogical approach to helping people discern conspiracy theories. In my opinion there IS validity to some of them. Not all of course. And there are lies and deceit to the “official explanations” to refute said theories. A real exercise in logic would be learning how to cut through the bullshit from both the theories AND the official stories, or explanations. No one should automatically trust any source on it’s face. Especially not at first. It takes effort and real work to get to the bottom of anything. Most don’t the time, patience, or inclination.

    But Chris didn’t really give any helpful information on this. He basically inferred that just agree with the official explanations and discount any “conspiracy theories” like a good little mentally healthy boy or girl. Well…..what if the official stories have logical holes in them? I don’t think it is honest or helpful to encourage “us” to just “go along to get along”. Sorry….I’ll never do that. In fact….Fuck That. I don’t need some ex-SO dude in Denver telling me how to think, thank you.

    IMO Shelton often engages in sophistry and tries to pawn it off as “logic”. Orrrrrrr….he is really impressed with himself and in his own way believes he is truly helping people. Which is probably the case.

    • I think that Chris’s intentions are good and he tries to be helpful for people who have been harmed by Scientology.

      He is a whirlwind of production and in the case I wrote about, I think he just got ahead of himself and answered a question he had no business answering, and in a way that was totally inappropriate.

      I am actually shocked at some of the responses to Chris Shelton here and on Facebook. I thought that people were going to be mad at me for criticizing Chris Shelton but obviously there’s a lot of “suppressed communication” on his assertions over the years.

      It’s another reason why I say that Tony Ortega is kind of like the Donald Trump of Scientology Watching. He picks these people for his “cabinet” who are actually the Sarah Palins and the Chris Christies of Scientology criticism.

      They certainly aren’t the only voices who should be heard, nor do they have the last say on anything at all.

      The best thing Tony Ortega does is following and digging up legal documents on the various court cases Scientology is involved in. For that, he’s invaluable – as long as he sticks to the facts and avoids inserting his own personal frustrations and speculation.


      • Yes all in all I think you’re right that Chris’s intentions are to help exes. Despite his friendly personality, sometimes he comes across as being at least a bit condescending. He also seems to think he has the field of logic all figured out. But, at times his “advice” or “teaching” is off the mark. IMHO.

        Like I said, he has the freedom to share his opinions in the form of videos or books all he wants. That is totally fine. I just have seen over the past year or so a tendency by too many to just accept everything he says as total truth. No one has total truth. No one.

      • This is similar to bringing up how Scientology damages everyone mentally in the context of Mark and Tony’s disagreement, and then saying “I’m not labeling anyone [mark rathbun] here as crazy”.

        Why bring it up then? What does the mental damage point – which takes 1/3rd video time to make – have to do with your answer if you are not saying anyone [mark rathbun] is crazy?

        What is the actual point that is being made?

      • Yes he did admit at first that CTs could be right. But I think that he was being either disingenuous, or he was being inconsistent. Or both. Either way, the name of his video was “Conspiracy Theories Suck”. By inference that means all of them. No exception. Which is bullshit. The world is not just black or white. Also by inference he is saying that all who believe in any conspiracy theories suck. Okay. Then I have the right to say that he’s both condescending and wrong. Not to mention attacking people’s character with a very broad brush. Talk about profiling.

        Many conspiracy theories are ridiculous. Some are not. Some have very strong elements of truth. Some “official story lines” are ridiculous and full of spin and outright lies. I know it may be shocking to Chris and others, but governments do lie and cover-up their crimes against the people and other nations. But I won’t say that everyone who believes them “suck”.

        The rules of logic should be applied to both CTs and Official Stories.

        • Good point, Lone Star.

          The term “conspiracy theory” is a term that describes exactly what it is, and yet if it has this label, then it is to be discredited.

          People come together to plan out things to get a particular result. It’s what we do as social animals. So to even use “conspiracy theory” as a term to discredit something is already logically specious. Conspiracies happen all day every day, so to have a theory that correctly points to a conspiracy as the cause would not make it false. Labeling something a conspiracy theory, when it is a conspiracy that caused it, is the right thing to do.

          The term is useless.

          I think Chris fell into this logical trap and couldn’t get himself out. Or else he would never have taken up the subject of conspiracy theories.


  14. I think the detrimental impact of hubbard’s scientology cultist indoctrination and systematic thought reform varies individually from Ex to Ex and as such, it’s for the Ex to determine for themselves. Some people just need some time to decompress and re-assimilate into society, others seek out Therapy, while others escape without any negative aftereffects. A lot of grey there.

    I’m not fond of the internet Ex culture which seems more interested in combative infighting, feeding drama addictions, I’m right & you’re wrong bombastic toxicity, and instigating everlasting spiteful grudge matches. I’ve met loan sharks that are more forgiving.

    Scientology indoctrinates a person to dehumanize and relentlessly attack anyone considered an enemy at the drop of a hat. I see too much of that in the Ex culture and I urge everyone to embrace The Golden Rule.

    • the golden rule does not apply to scientology or dianetics.

      There are no clears or OT’s, that’s not a golden rule. Even Hubbard admitted he failed.

      • The Golden Rule (treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself) is applicable to everyone. Sometimes people forget decency and civility should be the norm, not the exception.

        • I meant the subject of dianetics and scientology and not individuals. Otherwise I don’t have a problem with the golden rule as individuals are concerned.

    • “I’m not fond of the internet Ex culture which seems more interested in combative infighting, feeding drama addictions, I’m right & you’re wrong bombastic toxicity, and instigating everlasting spiteful grudge matches. I’ve met loan sharks that are more forgiving.”

      . . . and imaginary self-importance. No one much except ourselves have noticed the coming and going of Scientology.

  15. I just don’t read this as all being that generalized. Chris seems to be describing the different ways exes are affected. That’s fine with me.

    What he does seem to be generalizing about is the Scn concepts and ideology itself. “Scientology screws people up”. Well, yeah, but WHAT Scientology is he discussing? Auditing? Other “tech”? Or the cultic milieu? Or all of that?

    I personally think that some of we (yes I said “we”) other long time exes who had been long time members have just as good a grasp on this stuff as Chris does or Gerry, Arnie, Tory, etc. I appreciate all their efforts in trying to dissect this hideous mess we call Scn.

    But I know what I know and I’ve seen what I’ve seen. So my take on the mess is this:

    It’s mainly a self help thing gone rogue like a cancer where you have cells in the body that go haywire and create a very bad illness that, unchecked, spreads and kills the person. It starts when you walk in the door to take that first personality test, see a film, buy a book.

    It gets rolling when you get some Book 1 auditing or do an entry level course and you seem to get something out of it. The cells go rogue the first time you get sent to ethics for being late, taking aspirin, or someone KRd you because your spouse said something critical or someone thought so. But you still aren’t showing the signs of being truly ill. It’s early days yet. You do more courses. You ratchet your course schedule up to every day. Then you join staff. You get yelled at and you start to fall behind in the Scn training you wanted and in paying bills and rent. The memories of the euphoria you felt in sessions and TRs recedes into distant memory. Now you mainly feel fear. Now the cancer is making itself felt. You are sick and although you may be in denial, you know it.

    One day you get fed up and you leave. I compare that to the initial visit to the oncologist. You find out all us not lost- it’s not terminal. But you have a long road to recovery.

    When you did Scn stuff, maybe it did help for a bit. Then came to metastizing of the cancer. A few pleasant procedures of whatever didn’t save you from the cancer. They may not have caused the cancer, but they were packaged in with it. This, Scn made you sick.

    That’s only one hypothetical. There’s also a very likely scenario for various folks where Scn did not resonate with them and it didn’t do anything much for them. Then, when they got oppressed and hassled, they, like the other Scn’ists, got sick.

    Either way, spending any great length of time, effort and money in CofS is a body and soul destroying thing and we come out of it weak and trembling.

    But at least there’s hope when one gets away from the cult.

      • Well, it’s said that all analogies limp. I may have reached a bit with that one.

        The “if Scn is so great, then why are there no OTs, suicides, OTs in jail, sick OTs, shell shocked ex members, idiots in CofS, tantrums, infighting in the FZ, etc” is a question so many people including myself have been struggling to address.

        I like to fall back on far reaching analogies with a generous dab of verbosity. (Wink) But, yeah, the issue seems to be as wriggly as gelatin.

        • It is wriggly.

          And that’s why I’m coming to see that the most important factors in deciding what stories to tell yourself about Scientology are: how true and constructive is this story I’m telling myself about my experience?

          I took a 3 day trip to Chicago once. On Friday, my girlfriend and I checked into our hotel, went down to Rush street, ate a great dinner and went dancing, came back to the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

          On Saturday morning we woke up early and had a great breakfast, went walking along the lake, and went to a Cubs game. The Cubs actually won. The weather was stupendous, and the bars in Wrigleyville were hopping. We had a blast. We came back to our hotel and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

          The next morning, with a major smile on my face, I got up early to go down to an ATM to get some cash. The ATM was down the street at a bank branch. While I was pulling out my money, a guy came up behind me, pulled out a gun and said “Give it to me!”

          I did.

          It was $120.

          Even after living 11 years in LA, I had never been robbed before. I called the police and the processing of the crime was a complete hassle and it took about 5 hours. The whole day was shot. So my girlfriend and I got on the train and came home.

          The next day at work, people asked me “How was your weekend in Chicago?”

          What do you think I talked about? Did I talk about the great dinner on Rush street, the Cubs game, or any of the other extremely enjoyable things that happened to me that weekend?

          No. I got robbed. For the longest time in my own mind, that was the weekend that I got robbed.

          But is that story actually true?

          Is that the most constructive and truthful way to view my experience with my girlfriend in Chicago that weekend?

          No. It’s not.

          And so for the last few years I have been re-evaluating and re-interpreting my experiences in Scientology, by spotting and disputing the cognitive distortions in the stories I tell myself about it.

          And I’ll tell you what – it is a huge relief.

          Try this for one week: Don’t accept – from yourself or anyone else – cognitive distortions about Scientology.

          See what happens.


          • I’m reading and sort of following the beefs going round the roundabout and trying to give a fuck but really guess I don’t. Does that make me bad person? Wait, nevermind, I’m forgetting I already figured out I don’t care. I do love that you are presenting constructive alternative ways to process, experience, and discuss thought stopping ideology. That is something I do care about. Keep going Alanzo! Your friend and biggest fan, ~Chris Thompson

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