The Capture Stories, Escape Stories, and Atrocity Stories of Anti-Scientologists

Sociologists who study the issues surrounding religions and cults have identified 3 types of stories that form a socially-constructed narrative of a leave-taker’s experience inside their former group.

These types of stories are not unique to Ex-Scientology. They have been found to occur as common coins passed around by leave-takers who assume a role which sociologists call “the apostate role”.

I’ve written about this before, but I am going to define these terms again here.

The Apostate Role, a role that a minority of leave-takers assume, is one type of role among 3 which have been identified by sociologists.

The 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.

The 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 depicts the whistle-blower as motivated by personal conscience, and the organization by defense of the public interest.

The 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.

The American sociologist Lewis A. Coser 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.”

When a person decides to take on the Apostate Role, he usually teams up with others who are also playing that role. And in order to be a legitimate member of this group, the new person has to get his stories about his former cult/religion straight. To stay in this group, Sociologists have found, (and I have experienced first hand), that the new group member needs to accept and promulgate three types of stories about his former group.

These three types of stories are called

Capture Stories

Escape Stories

Atrocity Stories

An example of a Capture Story introduces the idea of the “deluded follower” who was under “hypnotic mind control” in order to be captured against their will into the religion. This story which serves as an example, comes from Mormon apostates from the 1800s, goes like this:

At this time I was wholly unacquainted with the doctrine of magnetic influence; but I soon became aware of some unaccountable power exercised over me by my fellow traveler. His presence seemed an irresistible fascination. His glitte¡ eyes were fixed on mine; his breath fanned my cheek; I felt bewildered and intoxicated, and partially lost the sense of consciousness, and the power of motion . . . I became immediately sensible of some unaccountable influence drawing my sympathies toward him. In vain I struggled to break the spell. I was like a fluttering bird before the gaze of a serpent-charmer.

An Escape Story.. well. We’re very familiar with these. Almost every Int Base Escapee has an escape story. Few of which I actually doubt. Marc Headley wrote a great book called Blown For Good – which was all about his escape story from Scientology’s Int Base.

The question becomes, “What about the anti-Scientologists who never were at Int Base?”

Chris Shelton, a person who is playing the Apostate Role for all that it is worth right now, was also in the Sea Org, but not at Int Base. He told me his escape story. He routed out “standardly” and became a public Scientologist in Minneapolis. It wasn’t until the Church forbid him from even helping out staff at the Minneapolis org, and made a female Scientologist he was in love with disconnect from him, that he realized that, after 25 years, Scientology was a cult that needed to be taken down.

Most other non-Int Base Sea Org members I know left the same way – they routed out standardly or walked out the door and never came back. And I know of no Class 5 or mission staff or public Scientologists who had to “escape” in any way. But which escape stories are told over and over? The stories from the kookiest place in Scientology – Int Base.

You might ask yourself – as I did for years – Where is law Enforcement? Why haven’t they done anything about this? There are standard responses for these questions in Apostate Ex-Scientology. But I have found that these standard responses act as thought-stopping cliches which hide the real answers behind them.

In this critical examination of these types of stories that we tell ourselves, the process of separating these out and analyzing their details is important. Why? Because we need to have truth and accuracy if we are to locate the actual abuses in Scientology that need to be addressed and corrected by law enforcement or any other governing force in the real world. Facts are important, especially if you want to win court cases and force the Church of Scientology to change.

So here is a list of atrocity stories that I am familiar with from Scientology. There is no attempt here to make these false in any way. This is an attempt to identify what these sociologists are talking about, and to critically examine these stories in order to test their veracity.

In order to do this we need to step back – cool out – and think about what we’re telling ourselves.

The Paulette Cooper Story
The Lisa McPherson case
The Ellie Perkins Murder

Can anyone think of any more?

NOTE: I realize that these stories are considered scared in anti-Scientology and must never be questioned or challenged. Well that’s one of the things that kept me in Scientology for 16 years, and in Ex-Scientology for the same amount of time.

Questioning our sometimes insidious assumptions using critical thinking is mandatory after Scientology. This is the process that keeps us learning and keeps us evolving in our lives after Scientology. Without it we stultify and stagnate.

Think of all the Escape stories, Capture stories, or Atrocity stories you have heard or told yourself and others about Scientology over the years, and list them in the comments section below.

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Lone Star

I don’t think it’s accurate to put former members in just one of three categories. In my experience on ESMB most ex members who shared their stories mostly discussed their disconnection, financial collapse due to donations, lost time in the real world, failed relationships, run-ins with other members and staff, gang bang sec checks and heavy ethics cycles, negative effects of certain auditing procedures, etc… Most did not relate stories of capture, escape, or atrocities because they didn’t have those stories to relate. Like I said on the other thread most of those experiences come from the SO, especially if one served in close proximity to DM. Which of course was the case with Marc Headley, Marty Rathbun, and Mike Rinder.

I also don’t think it’s accurate to label all former members as being “Anti-scientologists”, which is what you seem to be doing. Marty of course went even further and called them the Anti scientology cult. Anyway, it’s perfectly natural for an ex member to go through a certain period of being a very devout vocal anti-scientologist. I think it’s part of the healing actually. You went through it. I went through it.

Now if a former member is still extremely upset after thirty years and continually freaks out if he hears of someone getting auditing in the Indy field, then yeah that person needs to do something else for recovery. It’s not healthy to leave the cult at 35 and still be pounding outrage on their keyboard at 55, 65 or 75. But the number of those who fit that category is quite small in my opinion.

Virginia McClaughry


“still be pounding outrage on their keyboard at 55, 65 or 75.”

It doesn’t make sense to me THAT BY ITSELF should be characterized as a bad thing. For example, people of the jewish faith are still making sure that the outrage of WWII is not forgotten, as well they should be.

There is no reason to soften actual crimes or actual abuses or lessen them just because time has passed. That could be just a new kind of denial, in that case.

Some events really are just wrong. They will always be wrong, and should never be classified as anything else.

Does that apply to Scientology activities? In some cases, yes, certainly. In ALL cases? No, of course not.

Lone Star

Oh, you mean the Jewish people who keep reminding us of the atrocities done to them in WW2 while turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to what the Israeli government and army is doing right now? Yeah. They sure learned a lot from their “holocaust”.

Virginia McClaughry

You’ll notice I didn’t say “jewish people” LS. Its a pet peeve of mine that they get called that. They are not a RACE, it’s a belief system they follow. It was British intelligence that started that particular angle back at the time of the Protocols of Zion crap.

That said, what are you talking about that’s going on in Israel? I don’t really follow the daily news that much. And even so, that wouldn’t change my point that was simply using that as an example.

Do you think that because of whatever this is that is going on on Israel, that this now somehow justifies the changing of the holocaust of WWII from wrong to less wrong?

That would be off-the-wall, to put it mildly.

If you are talking about the hypocrisy of certain people of jewish faith, I whole-heartedly agree. That is accurate, and then some.

But I don’t make the mistake of flat-lining it across all people of the jewish faith either.

Lone Star

I meant to say the “same Jewish people who….”, because not all Jews do what I mentioned above. Like any other people there is a wide variety of lifestyles, viewpoints, politics, etc… Even within the religion itself there are differences. Some Orthodox Jews are against Zionism for example.

But many Jews would take exception to your assertion that it is not a race, Virginia. There is the religion. Sure. But you first and foremost have to be a racial Jew to have “right of return” to the State of Israel. Converts are also accepted, but it is not as easy to get approved as a verifiable racial Jew is.

I did not say the Israeli government is the Jewish People Alanzo.

Virginia if you’re not aware of the atrocities, real atrocities, committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians then I can’t get you up to speed in a post. You know how to do research. Have at it if you’re interested.

Virginia McClaughry

Ok LS, maybe I will.

You, and some “modern” people of the jewish faith would be misled if you thought that the “race” idea was always in existence. By and large, they did not consider themselves a “race” until AFTER the lead-up to WWI. Have done the research on that.

No disagreement that it is NOW used that way, as you said, none at all.

Sorry if that wasn’t clear.


Most Jewish people I know do not consider Judaism to be a race. It is a belief system and a culture. I know blue eyed blonde Jews (like my husband) from Austria, and dark eyed Semitic Jews from the Middle East.
That may be different in Israel, the few Israeli. Jews I know seem much more “tribal” than racially oriented.

Virginia McClaughry

I would say that’s been my experience as well, Eileen.

Lone Star

Judaism is not a race. It is the religion of the Jewish people. The Jewish people share a DNA strain, or type, or whatever its called. In older times the nation of Israel had 12 tribes. (Actually 13 if you count the priestly Levi tribe). Eventually Israel split into a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom. The northern kingdom was ten tribes. The southern kingdom was made up of the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. (I’m pretty sure it was Benjamin). The northern kingdom was conquered and taken into captivity by the then mighty Assyrian Empire. They were removed from the land and taken north where most of them dispersed and sorta “disappeared”. Although a certain percentage later migrated back down to the area of Samaria, or northern Israel southern Syria.

Anyhoo…..later the southern kingdom was conquered and taken into captivity by the Babylonian Empire. They were removed to the area of Iraq and Iran today. As you probably already know King Cyrus of Persia allowed the southern tribes, dominated by Judah, to return to Israel and even gave them the resources to rebuild the Temple. Over time they came to be called “the Jews” because the tribe of Judah was dominant. It was the tribe of King David. It was also the tribe of Mary the mother of Jesus.

Not all “Jews” today are from the tribe of Judah, Levi and Benjamin. Some are from the northern ten tribes who at the time never called themselves Jews. But the Jewish moniker over the many centuries has stuck. My point is that they are a people. A race. Has there been intermarriage? Of course. More now than in the past though. Are the goyim allowed to convert to Judaism and “become Jews”? Yes, but it’s not encouraged. In fact out of all the major faiths of Abraham, becoming Jewish convert is the most difficult. They actually don’t want a lot of converts. They do not proselytize. Trust me….the Jews are well aware they are a race and are proud of it. They refer to themselves as being “of the tribe”. They should be proud of their racial heritage… a point. But they are also human, which means they have a problem with pride and arrogance. Just like the “Aryans” did, and do.

Lone Star

Uhhhhhh yes? Lol…

I get off on a tangent at times. What a minute! Virginia started it!


Next year in Jerusalem!


Lone Star – I didn’t find it a tangent, I found it interesting. If I can learn some things about Judaism from reading a blog, I’m more than happy about it. You’re presenting your general knowledge and viewpoints and I take it as that. (without being paranoid that you’re not “Source” in scio-speak – lol)


It’s boring to stay *totally* “on topic” all the time. Marty’s blog had plenty of side conversations which were often more interesting than the same old scn stuff.

Lone Star

To correct a detail regarding the tribes of Israel….There came to be 13 tribes due to the tribe of Joseph becoming two, Ephraim and Mannasseh, sons of Joseph. Levi was a priestly tribe, but it was also an original tribe always counted as one of the 12.


The guy who was or is the leader of the KKK justified his anti semitism by saying, “The Jews say they are the chosen people of God, but you have to be born into it.” (He said that, not me!)


True, the victims have become the aggressors.

Claire M Swazey

Raul Lopez-fraud
Maria Pia Gardini-extortion, coercion
Marc And Claire Headley-coerced abortion, physical attempts to stop them from leaving
Me-cult attempted to get my husband to disconnect (prior to expulsion #2), coerced into joining staff, lied to, attempts to intimidate into staying on staff (expulsion #1)
Friends of mine were made to disconnect

There are hundreds of accounts. I give credence to at least 95% of them as far as abuses go.

I have noticed that many people who sang the praises of Scn “tech” and would have sworn (when they were in) , in true believer fashion, that it wasn’t hypnotic-later (after leaving) said they didn’t like it or it never helped, then proceeded to hammer, harangue and hassle anyone who ALSO left but who still liked the “tech”. So those types of accounts seem to be a situation where, to put it tactfully, people seem to reevaluate their past experiences and come up with a different perspective. And some get as evangelical as an ex smoker in Marin county or Seattle or somewhere…

But like I said I am disinclined to discount accounts and testimonies of abuse and experiences. They have too much consistency with names and details matching up.

Ever read Mick Wenlock’s story? Holy crap! Do I question that this ever happened to him? Never!

Good friends of mine were in the SO putting up with all the crap, go into the nursery, find their baby sitting alone, neglected, soaking wet- and they told me: ” I got my wife and my child the hell out of there.” Do I believe them? ABSOLUTELY!!

Virginia McClaughry

Ok Alanzo, but what about The Paulette Cooper Story are you saying needs re-examining? What Jeff Marino tried to do to Paulette, while working for the Guardian’s Office? Or what…

I’d say that besides that inhumanity of that example, what stands out to me is that to even run a “black op” like that is an admission of failure – an admission that you cannot deal with the person directly and “win”.


I personally feel that anyone who lost money by donating to the IAS (International Association of Suppressives) especially and then the other donation programs, experienced atrocious treatment. It shows how jaded we are, that those kind of financial crimes against us are not considered “atrocities”

Created by Alanzo