A Personal Story
Written and sent to me on 6/22/07
From time to time, people contact me and share their stories of their exposure to Scientology. I asked permission to post this here and have removed the names and city to protect the writer’s identity.
– Mark Bunker
Greetings Mr. Bunker,
Tonight, I was searching YouTube for a video and somehow ended up watching one of your videos regarding Scientology instead. This is the first time I had ever heard of “XenuTV.com“. I watched several of your videos which brought back some “not so fond” memories of my brushes with Scientology. I refuse to call it a “church” or a “religion”. Like you, I learned long ago what they truly are, but I learned the hard way. Though I did not suffer any tragedies, these are my experiences;
Approximately ___ years ago, I resided in the city of ________. I rented an apartment with my girlfriend. I was about 24-25 years old. I was a rookie cop, still wet behind the ears. At the time, I had never heard of Scientology.
One afternoon, there was a knock at my door. I answered it. There, stood two young men holding folders and clip boards. They introduced themselves as representatives of an organization which offers free personality tests and evaluations. They never mentioned they were from the “Church of Scientology.” They said that these tests were devised by Stanford University and were scientifically proven. They continued and told me that if I completely filled out the questionnaire and mailed it back, they would contact me to schedule an appointment to discuss the results of the test and offer a free “Self Improvement” course. I thought it was interesting and I thought that self improvement is always a good thing. I asked for two tests so my girlfriend could participate as well. We filled it out and mailed them off the next day.
Approximately one week later, I received a phone call from them. At the time, they had a Scientology center in the city of _____, about 15 minutes away from my home. A few days later, my girlfriend and I showed up for our appointment. Even during regular business hours, the entrance was kept locked. We rang the buzzer, at which time, a male and female came to the door and asked us a few questions to confirm that we had an appointment, then let us in. It was very quiet with the exception of the strange, but soothing instrumental music they were playing over the sound system through-out most of the building. They asked us to be seated in the lobby until called into an office. The environment was very business-like. I remember seeing several different “self-improvement” books as well as “Dianetics” and a few other titles on display racks. It reminded me of being in a doctor’s office waiting room. When the time came, they allowed only one of us at a time into the office. I volunteered first.
I walked into the office where a man sat at a desk. He asked me to close the door behind me as I entered. After just a few moments of conversation, I noticed that his eyes seemed to be opened wider than the average person, but more strangely, he hardly ever blinked. He also stared into my eyes, almost never breaking eye contact, except to read the test results or write down notes. He was quite frank when he discussed the results of the personality test. In fact, he was border-line offensive. He made me feel “small.” After discussing the multitude of negative things, he threw me a bone and said a few nice things too. I remember thinking to myself, “Am I really this screwed up? Sheeesh, maybe I am.” Eventually, he began to describe various self improvement programs they offered. The prices for the beginner programs were fairly inexpensive at about $30-$50. He told me that a few famous celebrities were “long time” members and that people from all walks of life were also members. He told me that these programs were used “world-wide.” He told me several success stories and guaranteed that these courses would work and that they would help me become successful in my personal life and in my career. At this point, he still mentioned nothing about Scientology. I was thinking that there must have been some actual validity to all of this. By the time he was done talking to me, I was eager to sign up. During this interview, I lied about my occupation because I was actually embarrassed about the test results.
While the man interviewed my girlfriend, another man gave me a tour of part of the facility. There were some areas which he did not show me. He said those areas were “off limits” and were for “long time” members only. He showed me a few classrooms, a few small rooms which he said was for “private instruction.” He then brought me into a 10’x10′ room which had no desks or tables. It contained several plastic chairs like you might see on an outdoor patio. Against one of the walls was a big screen television. He asked me to sit down while he showed me a video presentation. I recognized the man in the video as an actor named “Geoffrey Lewis“. I remembered him from my teenage years. He was in a few TV shows, including Dukes of Hazard. He had also been in a few movies. It turned out that at the time, he was a spokesman of sorts for the Church of Scientology. Watching the video is when I first heard the words “Church of Scientology” uttered, since I had arrived at this location. He also got into the history of it’s founder, L Ron Hubbard. He passed him off as being a war hero, a world traveler, and explorer who helped people all over the world. He made some great sales pitches. The man giving me the tour explained that they use this room as part of a “purification” program meant to detoxify the body and mind. He told me that students drink some liquid, which I cannot remember the details about. He also told me that they would take specially formulated vitamins, then go to the sauna after watching the video. He did not elaborate any further on these “specially formulated” vitamins. At the time, I thought this was all a bit strange, but I kept an open mind.
I enrolled my girlfriend and I in a course to get our feet wet and to get a taste of what this was all about. Over the course of three weeks, I noticed some strange things. Many of the people who worked there as “instructors” or “councilors” had the same facial expression as the man from my interview. When speaking to me, their eyes were wide open and rarely blinking. When they were not talking to us, they seemed somewhat normal.
When they discovered my girlfriend was not working at the time, they offered to hire her as a receptionist and said they would give us discounts on the courses we took. This sounded good. They then explained that she would have to dedicate herself to studying, completing programs, and progressing onto other programs. After a receiving her first paycheck, we discovered that they had taken most of the money from he paycheck to cover costs of books, and to pay for our courses. The pay she received was about 1/3rd what she should have been paid. I thought this was strange.
After completing the initial program, they convinced us to sign up for another program which was much more expensive (over $200), but it included classroom instruction as well. Before this course began, we attended an orientation in one of the classrooms. There was approximately 15 other people in the room with us. During the orientation they discussed many things, but the subjects that stand out in my mind had to do with “Auditing”, the “ARC Triangle”, “The Bridge”, and they also spoke in detail about “reaching clarity” and the fact that once you achieve clarity, you could learn to control others using your subconscious. It was at this point, I felt there was something seriously wrong here. How did they go from scientifically proven tests and self-improvement courses, to mind control!? They even showed us one of the auditing devices and they gave a small demonstration. The first thing I thought is, “Don’t they have something like this at Disneyland in the nickel arcade?” The only difference is, the one at Disneyland was mounted on a large oak cabinet. At this time, I knew we had either been conned or these people are mentally ill. I remained calm and finished out the evening.
When my girlfriend and I returned home, I logged onto the Internet and began doing some research into the Church of Scientology. I was horrified by what I discovered. It was then, that I learned about Lisa McPherson and all of the other suspicious homicides and suicides involving the Church of Scientology. I also saw articles about people that had ended up in financial ruin. The next day after work, I went to a local library and looked up other articles which I found in Time Magazine, various news papers, and other well known publications.
The following day I stayed home from work. I showed my girlfriend what I found on the Internet. She promptly telephoned the Scientology center and spoke to a supervisor and told them she was resigning immediately and that neither of us would be returning. The supervisor pleaded with her not to quit and wanted to talk to me. I told my girlfriend to hang up on him. After doing so, we received a call back from a female at the Scientology center. This female told my girlfriend that they wanted to discuss this with her alone, in private. They asked if they could meet her someplace to talk. I grabbed the phone from my girlfriend and told the woman to never contact us again. She asked what the problem was, so I went for it. I told her all of the negative things I had discovered and also about the death of Lisa McPherson. She said it was only media propaganda and that I would be making a serious mistake by quitting and taking my girlfriend out of the program as well. I asked what she meant by that, at which time, she calmed down and asked, “Please, Please, just meet us somewhere so we can talk. We need to clear this up.” I told her “No” and told her to never contact us again, then I hung up.
Approximately two hours later, there was a loud knock at my front door. I looked out the peep hole and saw three men and two women dressed in either dark blue or black military style uniforms. two of them had some kind of badge pinned on their uniform. At first, I had no clue who they were, but I never open the door for solicitors. I ignored them until they continued knocking again. I walked up to the door. Without opening the door, I asked what they wanted. One of the men said, “We are from the Church of Scientology. We don’t need to talk to you. We need to talk to _____” I was stunned! I could not believe what was happening. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I told them to leave immediately or I would call the police. Suddenly, I saw the shadow of two people attempting to look into my side window, through the closed blinds. Now, I had enough. They had pushed me too far. I retrieved my duty weapon and my badge from the kitchen table. I opened the front door with my gun in one hand and my badge in the other. They apparently did not notice the gun in my hand because the first thing out of one of the men’s mouth was, “We need to come inside so we can talk.” I replied, ” Hell no! Leave here right now or someone is going to jail.” I showed my badge and identified myself as a police officer and told them if anyone from their organization ever attempted to contact my girlfriend or me again, I would see to it one or all of them be arrested and I would engage them in civil litigation. Without saying another word to me, they left. Luckily, that was the last I heard from them.
I firmly believe that they are definitely cultist. I saw nothing during my experiences that would justify calling it a religion. They are nothing but an organization of con men and women who have successfully ran this massive operation under the guise of “religion.” They are smart because they know nobody with any sort of power will touch them for fear of being labeled a “bigot.” Most of the members I saw were in their 20’s – early 30’s. I am certain that the Church of Scientology targets this age group knowing that these groups usually have jobs, but are still somewhat naive.
On another note, I am much wiser, and of course much more mature at nearly __ years old. I wish I had this wisdom back then.Explore posts in the same categories: New Voices