If there is anything that the experience of having gone through Scientology should teach an Ex-Scientologist, it’s that.
When I was a Scientologist, I believed that I possessed a truth that inspired my whole life. And then I learned things about Scientology that were being withheld from me, or that I was looking away from, that made that truth disappear – along with all my friends, my job, my business contacts, and almost my whole family.
After that, a new truth emerged. I was positive this one was permanent. I got on the Internet to fight for this new truth, and I gained a whole new group of friends after losing all my old ones in Scientology.
My new friends and I all agreed on this new truth, and this remained stable for at least a few years.
Until that truth changed, too.
Decompression as an Ex-Scientologist
Almost all Ex-Scientologists recognize that a Scientologist goes through a “decompression period” after leaving the Church. We’ve watched Scientologist after Scientologist change what he believes to be true as he learns more things that were hidden from him about L Ron Hubbard and the results of the technology of Scientology.
But what is not generally acknowledged by Ex-Scientologists is that there is a decompression period for an Ex-Scientologist, too. Just like most Scientologists find it very threatening to recognize that their truth will change the more they learn and experience, so do a lot of Exes. Why? Because they know that as the truth changes, your whole life, and all your friendships and even family relationships, will be threatened again.
As Exes, we explained away this phenomena of losing all your friends and family in the Church by saying something like “If they quit being your friend/family just because the truth changed, then were they really your friend/family to begin with?”
The true answer, of course, was “NO!”
This is usually followed by a new sense of security and satisfaction that your new friends and family out here in Ex-Scientology land are your REAL friends/family who would never dump you, or ban you, or threaten to ban you, just because the truth changed.
For some reason, human beings derive a sense of stability and security from believing they possess the truth. But just a quick scan of the wikipedia article on “Truth” can call all that security and stability into question. A thorough study of that article, and all its related references, will completely destroy any sense of security you once had in knowing “the truth”.
So people develop social skills that they use to hold on to their friends and family as the truth changes. The truth becomes less important than their friends. They aren’t so vocal about things. When they see an Ex-Scientologist telling himself complete lies about his own personal experiences as a Scientologist, they shut up and just let him keep doing it. They let the person keep thinking whatever he wants, no matter how false, because they don’t want to harm their friendship with him.
David Miscavige does this, too. As L Ron Hubbard did before him, David Miscavige knows that his whole empire is built on Keeping Scientology True. And so he either looks away from, or lies about, all of his experience that tells him that is not the case. He expels and fair games anyone whose truth has changed if they refuse to shut up about it. David Miscavige knows that if he values the truth over his social position, then all his friends who support him now would jettison him out onto the street.
So as long as he keeps making Scientology true, he keeps his social position on top the Church of Scientology.
The current popular kids of Ex-Scientology on the Internet know this, as well. If they say something “controversial”, or make some public statement that the truth Exes all agree on might not be true, they will lose their position of social popularity. So these popular kids end up saying things that they don’t really believe, or they keep looking away from things that might make the truth change again. And they ban anyone who disagrees and won’t shut up. They do all this in order to hold on to their social popularity, their existing relationships, and to keep selling their books and t-shirts.
It’s much easier to acknowledge that social relationships are impermanent than it is to acknowledge that the truth is impermanent, too.
The impossible thing, for me, is to recognize that they are both just as impermanent, and that they depend on each other, and to be fine with that.
So, apparently, you can have friends, and you can have the truth, but you can’t have both.