I got my rights back on two of my historical romances, so I’ve been working on getting those ready to re-pub myself. It’s a helluva lot of work because I’ve learned quite a bit about writing in the last 10 years. I can’t put them up without extensive editing, and editing is one of the most time consuming and least fun things about writing.
Also, Hurricane Harvey. No words.
I’ve watched a lot of Scientology stuff because 1) I’m fascinated by religious cults. 2)It takes me entirely out of the news which is a relief. I’ve watched youtube videos, movies like Going Clear and Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. I read a book too, and I’d read more but there’s no time. The videos I can have in the background while I work. I pause them until I need a break, press play, play a round of computer spider solitaire, then pause again to do some more work.
Naturally, I have Thoughts.
1) Marty Rathbun is working for Scientology again. Lots of people talking about that. If you don’t know, he was the highest up person to leave. He did a series of videos in 2009 in The Truth Rundown. Although I watched them twice (fascinated=obsesssed), I did find a certain arrogance in him. Of all the Scientologists I’ve followed, he’s the one with the least amount of family ties in the cult. He also joined in his 20’s, as opposed to many of the people we hear from who were brought into the cult as children. In my head, that gives him more responsibility for what went on in the organization. I’m not sure if he ever apologized and tried to make amends (I have only so much time to research these things, no matter how obsessed I am). He is now making youtube videos denouncing all the things he denounced previously.
2) I watched youtube video interviews of Aaron Saxton, an Austrailian who was in Sea Org, the administrative arm of scientology. He was brutally honest. Kudos to him for being that way. I did note, however, that in the comment section of the first series of videos he asked the owner of the channel to take it down. That was a month ago. I can understand that, considering how much of himself he put on the line. I still admire him, though.
Aaron slammed both Rathbun and Mike Rinder. He talked about the perks of being one of the higher ups in the organization. They had special apartments in Florida. They had drivers if they wanted to get around. They were given special diets, including fine coffees from France. At least 3 times a year when they were brought to Florida. While Aaron’s slamming them for leading the poisonous culture of Scientology, he seems to not understand the difference of indoctrination that comes with 20+ years in the cult, and his 6 years.
3) I’m back and forth on Mike Rinder. I believe he was definitely part of the problem as Aaron says. I expect he did some pretty shitty things. On the other hand he really does seem to be actively working against the cult in an effort to take it down. I believe he issued apologies, sincerely. Apologies do not make up for awful things, but they aren’t entirely useless. They validate a person’s suffering and in a cult, which has a whole lot of gaslighting, that validation is useful.
Also, Rinder was brought into scientology when he was a child and joined Sea Org around 17 or 18. His whole family was in it, so leaving was daunting. He lost his mother, his wife, brothers, sister, children. He was thrown into the hole and beaten up regularly by Miscaviage. I think leaving was much harder for him than Rathbun by far and he seems pretty wrecked by the stories he’s hearing in Scientology and the Aftermath. Maybe he’s just a great actor but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt.
4) Being a child in Sea Org is means being an adult. They drag you in with lies, promise they’ll educate you, but don’t, and then teach you how to lie. Astra Woodcraft discusses this extensively, as does her sister. It is criminal, and there should be criminal investigations into the abuse of children in this organization.
5) Miscavige is a grade A narcissist, and possibly a psychopath. The entire organization works for him, both to keep him in the high life and as a reflection–the narcissism part–of who he is. That is scientology’s only purpose right now.
6) Many of the people who stay in the organization do so out of a strong, but misguided, belief that they are helping the world. I sincerely believe this. But there is a little narcissism in this as well. Or at least an appeal to ego. Scientologists are told they are better than anybody else. This is typical cult behavior and has to be considered when we think of why people get into and stay in scientology.
7) There seem to be some good aspects of Scientology. In the beginning it has you work through some of the tougher stuff from your past and learn to let it go. It’s actually therapeutic although scientologists would hate that. Maybe people who do one or two beginning courses and then run, will have positive experiences. But it’s a cult, and cults don’t like to let your run.
8) I like Tom Devocht the most. He seems to be the most down to earth.
9) I’m kind of fascinated by how often people talking about Scientology uses the phrase “know what I mean?” I don’t know why they do this, or if I’m the only one who’s noticed it. But it does seem to be used excessively.
10) Blown For Good by Mark Headly was interesting, especially the part about how he and his wife left the cult and the hoops they had to jump through.
All right, I have to get back to work now.