Raised in Scientology: Derek Bloch

Raised in Scientology: Derek Bloch

The 28 year-old talks about being raised in the Church of Scientology by a narcissistic father and passive mother.  He details the abuse inflicted by their “Sea Org” starting when he was 13, how he reconciled their homophobia with his being gay and ultimately how he broke away from the church and his family.

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To contact Derek email him at DManUnderground@gmail.com

To take the survey Paul talked about go to www.podsurvey.com/mentalpod

Episode Transcript:

 

Welcome to Episode 230 with my guest Derek Bloch. I'm Paul Gilmartin, this is The Mental Illness Happy Hour, a place for honesty for the battle in our heads from medically diagnosed conditions, past traumas, sexual dysfunction to everyday compulsive negative thinking. This show is not meant to be a substitute for mental health professional counseling, I'm not a doctor, it's not a doctor's office, I'm not a therapist, it's more like a waiting room that suck. The website for this show is metalpod.com, go there, check it out, there's a form, you can take surveys and share things about your lives with us. You can support the show financially there, you can read blogs, all kinds of stuff.

 

There was another shooting this week as everybody knows in South Carolina, and I, I don't even know what to say, because it's just... who knows what drives somebody to do something like that, but it bums me out when people focus, when people try to make it solely a gun issue because I think primarily it's a mental health issue. Anyway, that's my take on it, who knows what made that person do that. Was it hate? Was it mental illness? I don't know, but in my opinion, 99% of the mass shootings that you see it's mental illness related. Anyway, thoughts and prayers with the survivors... It feels so trite to talk about it because all I can think to say is the stuff that everybody else is saying and I debated even whether or not to address it, but I feel like since this podcast is about mental health, I felt obliged to say something, but now I feel like I said nothing. Anyway, we're off to a good start.

2:15

This is from the struggle in a sentence survey filled out by a woman who calls herself Forgotten Gypsy about her depression, she writes, “I envy people who laugh with their hearts, I wish I knew what it felt like, when the best I can pass off is a small smile or a smirk.”

 

Boy do I relate to that. I love the feeling of just being able to laugh unselfconsciously. About her anger issues she writes, “I take a lot of shit, but when I snap, it's like a tornado hitting a trailer park, and no double wide to big for me to take down.”

 

Snap shot from her life, “Having an alcoholic mother and an absent father, I was the child no one wanted, but everyone had to deal with. No one knew how to deal with me. I failed a drug test at seven years old because my mother would get me high and I had mastered rolling her joints at eight.

 

Wow, wow.

 

3:09

This is from a woman who calls herself Awful Lottafalaful, love that name, about her anorexia, she writes, “Nothing tastes as good as numb feels.” That's pretty profound. About her OCD she writes, “Like the never-ending itch, I can never quite reach.

3:26

A woman calling herself MyPMDDLife writes, PMDD is premenstrual disphoric disorder, she writes, “Once a month my ovaries spit out an egg and my real self disappears. Severe depression and unrelenting suicidal ideation take over, then I get my period and it suddenly disappears. I don't know if I'm mentally ill or physically sick, but I'm exhausted from having to save my life once a month every month no exceptions.”

3:57

This is filled out by a guy who calls himself The Real Me, about his depression he writes, “Like I am screaming my throat raw and no sound is coming out, then I realize, I'm just being ignored.” About his anxiety, “Afraid that everything I worry about will actually happen.”

4:12

 

A woman calling herself The Most Emotional Emotionless Person, a snap shot from her life, she has OCD, actually she's a teenager, and she writes, “I touch the bottom of a pool with my tongue when I was maybe eight, in parenthesis weird kid I know, as it was being refilled. For months I had urges so strong to touch it again, and again, and again, because it needed to be an even amount of times. I could have drowned a couple of times.”

4:41

A woman calling herself Float Away The Pain writes about her co-dependency, “My happiness depends on whether or not he will text me today.” I know a lot of people who feel that exact same way.

4:55

This is a teenage girl who calls herself Crusty Fucking Ear Wax, about her depression she writes, “No one told me that feeling nothing would feel this bad.” That is profound, that is profound, that encapsulates it for me. About her anxiety she writes, “I worry about what everyone thinks when they look at me even though I don't feel worthy enough to be looked at at all.” And about her OCD she writes, “My brain itches and I can't reach into my skull to scratch it, so instead, I tap the wall again and again and again.”

5:32

And finally this is from a woman who calls herself E Is For Elephant and about her love addiction she writes, “When I tell him he's a good man and deserving of being loved, I'm starting to wonder which one of us I'm really trying to convince.”

5:46

My God, somebody does what I've been doing. Your ashamed, You have boundary issues. I feel guilty for hating my mom. I will be high by 4pm. You feel helpless. I will be in hell by 4:15. Prison was not easy, but I deserved it. I'm addicted to lying. I rub my body with mud and I lay in the swamp literally for six hours. I looked forward to and dreaded a meal at the same time. I think I desperately, desperately wanted to talk about it but I didn't know how to start the conversation. Etc.

 

6:48

PG

I'm here with Derek Bloch who was raised in the Church of Scientology. You're not familiar with the podcast, but you heard about it from one of the Scientology messages boards on a website called what?

 

DEREK BLOCH – DB

The Underground Bunker, it's run by Tony Ortega, he blogs about Scientology, there's a bunch of followers on there, and somebody replied to one of my comments and mentioned your podcast, that's how I found out about it.

 

PG

Well I'm glad you got in touch with me because I've been wanting to talk with somebody who was raised in Scientology. Where to begin with your story, how old are you?

 

DB

I'm 28, I'll be 29 in July.

 

PG

OK, and you were raised where?

 

DB

In what started in Texas and then from there we moved to LA (Los Angeles).

 

PG

And that's when your family got involved in Scientology?

 

DB

They got involved before we moved to LA, back in Texas when I was about six and my dad, as he moved up the levels, wanted to be closer I guess to like the hub of Scientology, which is essentially what LA is. One of them and then Clearwater Florida is the other, so he figured he wanted to go to LA.

 

PG

OK, what are your earliest, how many kids in your family?

 

DB

There's three, I have a brother and sister, my sister is three years younger, my brother is eight years younger than me.

 

PG

OK, and what are your first memories of Scientology?

 

DB

Well I was about, I mean I guess I six, so I was very young. What I can remember is probably the first things they kind of taught us were assists they're called. It's sort of like a faith healing procedure, where you touch different body parts, or you like, give like, it's like not really a massage, but you sort of run your fingers along someone in certain areas and it's supposed to help them heal. And then there's another one called a contact assist which is where you're supposed to go back to the thing that hurt you, so if you got burned or something, when your finger doesn't hurt anymore, obviously when the object has cooled off, you're supposed to touch your finger to it again to sort of relive the experience, it's supposed to help get rid of the painful memories and help cure you.

 

PG

And did any of that ever work for you?

 

DB

Probably like a placebo type effect, I mean mostly it's like when your mom kisses your booboo when you're a kid, I mean that's pretty much what it was to me.

 

PG

Yeah. So what are some memories you have of your childhood, doesn't necessarily have to be Scientology related because I'd also like to get a picture of what your family was like, you know, outside of Scientology.

 

DB

Sure, I have three aunts on my mom's side, and then I had an aunt and an uncle, but my aunt passed away on my dad's side and now I just have my uncle and my dad. And I used to spend a lot of time with my Aunt Brenda who is on my dad's side that passed away and then a lot of time with my mom's aunts. I spent time with my uncle when I was younger, but as my parents got more involved, I spent less, you know, we became more insular, so I spent less and less time with them. I have a lot of cousins, I mean my, I think about 12, 11 or 12 on my mom's side and then I have just two on my dad's side. My dad's family was small.

 

PG

And where in Texas were you?

 

DB

It's a city called Tyler, it's in northeast Texas, it's about two hours east of Dallas. It's a nice little city. When I was there, when I was younger it was very small, I've been back to visit recently and it's grown a lot. But my grand dad was out in the country and I have a lot of good memories of being out in the wilderness and even though I've been in the city for so long, there is still a lot of country in me, you know. And I do enjoy every once in awhile going camping and stuff like that.

10:19

PG

I was raised on the border of a forest preserve, and there is something so great about having nature right at your backdoor when you're a kid. You know, in those days parents just open the door at nine in the morning in the summer, and you're supposed to be home for lunch or dinner and you would just play in the woods and let your imagination run wild. It was cool, it was definitely instilled a love of nature.

 

DB

Yeah, absolutely, I used to spend a lot of time running away from wasps, I got stung once when I was a kid, fortunately, I've been able to avoid it. I got cut by barbed wire, played with animals, and the whole real country upbringing, it was a lot of fun.

 

PG

In your early years, would you describe your family unit as kind of safe and nurturing or how would you describe it?

 

DB

I liked spending time away from home, my parents were always, especially my dad was very overbearing disciplinary wise. Back then it was different than what we know now about how we treat kids, so I got spanked a lot. My mom would use whatever was available, my dad typically used the belt to spank us. Unfortunately it was for sometimes ridiculous things like my sister and I would be talking after bedtime. I got pitted against my sister a lot, we were kind of in competition with each other with my parents. I typically won, which that's why it's kind of ironic that I'm the one now that has left Scientology of the kids.

 

PG

They're still in it?

 

DB

They're still in it, my whole family is still in it, well, not my extended family, but my immediate family is still involved.

 

PG

At one point was more of your family involved in it?

 

DB

My Aunt Brenda was involved, and she strayed from the church towards the end too.

 

PG

That's the one that passed?

 

DB

Yes, she's the one that passed. She's the only other member that got involved in Scientology.

 

PG

So paint more of a picture of your family life so I can kind of understand what, if anything changed when you started getting involved in Scientology. Or is there no discernible difference for you?

 

DB

I remember some things did change, when my brother was born was when my sister and I both noticed the biggest difference, because the way they raised my brother. Scientology teaches that kids are young... are basically adults in little bodies. You're supposed to be an immortal being that's lived trillions of years, so they assume that kids don't need much parenting other than make sure they don't hurt themselves, but other than that, it's hands off. My brother didn't get disciplined nearly as much as we did. I don't know whether the discipline was good for me or bad, I can't really say because I don't do a lot of “what if” thinking. I think that gets you into a bad place so... I just know that I was disciplined a lot more and my sister was disciplined a lot more than my brother was. That's probably the biggest change that I noticed. Also, my parents not being around as much. My mom was a stay-at-home mother, my dad was at work a lot. He ran his own accounting firm for awhile. But I found out from his brother recently that he got deeply in debt really quickly with Scientology when we were young, and obviously I didn't know this at the time, but that's why he was gone all the time. He was always asking people for money, and I noticed that my mom eventually had to get a job, and I noticed that my parents just weren’t around, they were always working. Then of course the more they got involved in Scientology, they were less involved with us. I would hardly ever see them anymore and it got worse as I got into my teenage years. My mom started working for Scientology and she would be gone all night and I would never see her.

 

PG

Who was the person who initially connected to Scientology?

 

DB

It was my dad. They have a group called WISE, it's short for World Institute of Scientology Enterprises. Scientology loves acronyms, everything is anacronyzed. As far as I know, he got involved that way. They visited him at work, they have this Hubbard Management technology, L. Ron Hubbard, obviously it's named after him.

 

PG

I watched the documentary on HBO.

 

DB

That's great, I loved it. So they have the Hubbard Management technology, they were selling my dad on it, they hadn't yet got accountants, they usually get dentists and chiropractors, those are the people they go for. My dad was the first accountant that took on the Hubbard Management technology, so they put him up as a poster child for this through WISE. So his ego was being fed, my dad is a very narcissistic person so he loved it, he fell in love with it. That's pretty much how he got sucked in and my mom was very... I don't want to say obedient but she follows my dad in everything he does, so she just went with it. Her family questioned it, a lot especially her mother, my grandmother, she questioned it a lot. That's why we sort of became insular because of that questioning.

 

PG

Why the high number of dentists and chiropractors?

 

DB

I'm not sure, chiropractors is sort of a faith healing thing too, because none of it is founded in science.

 

PG

Body intuition?

 

DB

It's not really founded in science particularly, it sort of involves just trusting that natural healing is a good thing, so they sort of get sucked in that way. Scientology is anti-drug, anti-medical doctors and all of that stuff. I know that about chiropractors, I don't know why dentists how they keep getting involved, but I think it's just the nature of their practice, how it's usually a single doctor that runs the practice, and he owns it so it's easier to infiltrate than let’s say a hospital.

 

PG

Tell me some stories about your experience.

 

DB

When I was young, when I was probably about 12, that's when I realized I was gay. I started puberty about 11 or 12. Prior to that I kind of knew already based on the Dianetics book that Scientology is very anti-gay, extremely and my dad is too. He used to say nasty things when I was a kid, so I already knew that that was a bad thing in my mind, so I knew to keep that secret.

 

PG

What did that feel like?

 

DB

It was tough for a long time. I never doubted the fact that I was gay, I never tried to pretend that I was straight, I was sort of, as far as my parents were concerned, I was, I don't know what the word is, I was just not interested in anything sexually. I never talked to them about my sex life or my romantic life or anything.

 

PG

Do you think they knew?

 

DB

I do, because parents always know. They sort of found out a little bit because at one point... this is kind of skipping ahead, I hope you don't mind if we jump around...

 

PG

That's fine.

 

DB

OK, so skipping ahead, I joined the Sea Org, which I'm sure you know about from the documentary.

 

PG

That was the ship?

 

DB

I didn't work on the ship, at this time it was land based, they have those buildings in Hollywood, the big blue one, they call it Big Blue or PAC Base, short for Pacific Area Command Base is what the Scientologists refer to it as. It's all run by Sea Org members. I worked there for a few years, and then I was sent to Flag, which is in Clearwater Florida, that's their Flagship building and there I was on what's called the TTC, the Technical Training Corps. I was learning to be a supervisor, which you walk around making sure people are doing their courses correctly is what you do. There I got involved with somebody else who was there from the UK and sort of developed a relationship. It wasn't sexual in nature, it was just intimate, we were very intimate. One night we were laying in bed together and one of the other guys that was in the room with us had caught us and wrote a big old report.

 

PG

What's the acronym for that report?

 

DB

It's called a KR.

 

PG

Oh my god, there is one...

 

DB

Yeah, it's called a Knowledge Report, Scientology is a tattle-tale culture, they like to rat people out left and right.

 

PG

That's how they maintain their leverage.

 

DB

It is. That's exactly right. That's how they keep control over you. I knew at that point when he saw us, it's over. I eventually got kicked out, which is better than the alternative, which would have been the RPF, short for Rehabilitation Project Force. That's essentially like a slave labor camp where you go for reprogramming to put it in non-Scientology terms. They make it sound like it's a retreat, a religious retreat, and you go and have a great time, but you eat scraps from people, it's bad, it's real bad. You sleep in the boiler room, it's terrible.

 

PG

It's like Pol Pot without the rice.

 

DB

Yeah, it's horrible. I got kicked out, got sent back home. That's how my dad found out, I had this relationship with this other guy... That was a big... That was a huge...

 

PG

You got sent home for good?

 

DB

Yeah, they kicked me out of the Sea Org.

 

PG

Did they kick you out of Scientology?

 

DB

No, not at that point. For eight years after that I pretended to be a Scientologist. I was distancing myself the whole time because I knew in my head that I never questioned my sexual orientation. I knew that I was gay, and I knew that that's what it was, that I wasn't going to be able to change that.

 

PG

Did you know that it was OK to be gay outside of Scientology?

 

DB

I didn't. 20:14 I had no idea

 

PG

So you believed the whole world looked at you the way Scientology looked at you?

 

DB

I believed they would, I did, I was very afraid for a long time about how people would... and I kind of came out at a good time because it was a lot more accepted in than in the 90s, but even back in the 90s it was still more accepted than in Scientology. But my dad, obviously he was very against it, he was very upset. Even at one point he suggested I commit suicide if I couldn't be straight.

 

PG

Really?!

 

DB

Yeah, it was intense.

 

PG

What did that feel like?

 

DB

It hurt. At that point I realized that I had nobody that cared about me. I realized that my parents loved me conditionally. It was at this point that it really dawned on me that my parents were willing to get rid of me if they needed to. And I felt, not that I had much, but that all my safety blankets were gone. I was terrified. And I even did contemplate suicide at one point when I was 18, that's when all of this happened. This was before I got a job, I had sat down and contemplated suicide, I actually sat on my dad's bed with his revolver in my hand. I had the bullets sitting next to me, I never actually loaded them into the gun, but I was really seriously contemplating it... I was probably sitting there for two or three hours, home alone... I don't know what happened, I just thought that if no one else cares about me, at least I can care about myself, at least I can be there for myself. I have so much more to live for, what's the point of me ending it all now, and that's not even going to be satisfying... At first I thought it would be satisfying for my parents to come home and find me dead, make them feel like crap, but then I kind of realized that I wouldn't be satisfied, I would be dead! I'm not going to know what happened, so I sort of realized I think the best way to do this is to just fly under the radar for as long as I can, kind of ride on my parent's support for now, as long as they believe I'll be interested in Scientology they'll support me, and they I eventually got a job and was able to get myself out of Scientology, but that was probably the darkest point in my life is when I was sitting on that bed holding that gun in my hand because I seriously thought about ending it all right there and I'm so happy that I didn't. I'm really happy that I didn't because a lot of good things have happened since then.

 

PG

Well we'll get into those later, for now, lets rewind back to where we were before we skipped ahead, tell me some experiences.

 

DB

Probably the first experience I had in Scientology was not a bad one. I was very young, probably eight, seven or eight years old. I was studying how... there's different courses they have for kids, that are targeted for kids, they have pretty pictures in them and stuff. I learned how to use a dictionary, I learned the Scientology way of studying things, they have a very specific way you study things. One of them is that yo demonstrate concepts with blocks and stuff, or you draw it on paper. You go through the books and you do these different drills, one of them is to learn the alphabet backwards, which still to this day I still know it off the top of my head backwards. It was fun, I was around other kids, and we got to play and when we weren't on course it was a good time. I enjoyed it right up until I was 13 or 14 years old, 13 years old, there a course called the Personal Values and Integrity course and it's supposed to teach you personal values and integrity. Scientology has this thing called an Overt and Withhold Writeup. Overts and withholds are things that you've done that are bad that people may or may not know about but that you need to confess, sort of like sins. The confessionals in Scientology are written down, at least this version is written down on paper. Well I should say all of them are written down on paper, some of them are also recorded on video and audio, but these you just write on a piece of paper what you did. There's a specific format to it. I had to do one of those and at the end of it you're supposed to get what's called a floating needle on the e-meter that they use, which is like a primitive lie detector. It's a little thing, it has a dial on it, just for people who don't know about it, you hold these cans on this e-meter, they ask you, I can’t remember the exact question, it's pretty much, “Have you been truthful about everything? Is this everything, is this all of it?” And if your needle floats, then you're done. So I had been watching gay porn since I was 12, since I was 12 or 13 years old I had been watching gay porn, and I was like, I have to tell them, but I don't want them to know, I'm still a little kid and I'm terrified of what my parents are going to say or do to me if they find out. I managed to write down that I was watching porn, I didn't say what kind, I let them assume, and somehow I got by with that. That was probably the most terrifying experience. Because I went to sit on the e-meter a couple of times and my needle wouldn't float and I was terrified that I was going to have to write that down and it was going to come out. That is when everything turned from being fun to being this is not as fun anymore. That's when I kind of realized that from this point forward, this is not going to be something I enjoy.

 

PG

The more I hear about Scientology, it sounds like it really attracts people who don't do well with nuanced thinking... like narcissists tend to have a black and white view of the world, and it seems like cults tend to attract people who have an all or nothing kind of view of dealing with things.

 

DB

You're exactly right. 26:30 I did for a long time suffer from black and white thinking and even after, I still catch myself sometimes even now with that. I'm trying to remember some other... There was a thing I did called the Purif, I don't know if you've heard of it, it's the Purification Rundown is the full name. Basically, you sit in a sauna for five hours, you're supposed to sweat out toxins, and I remember doing that for probably a month, month and a half. You sit in the sauna for five hours a day.

 

PG

How do you not die? Are you just drinking tons of water? Electrolytes?

 

DB

Yeah, they give you that and then they give you vitamins and stuff that you're supposed to take. Probably the most controversial part of it besides sitting in the sauna is the fact that you have to take niacin it's called, and you take loads of it. I was taking probably 5,000 mg a day at the end, which there's not a lot of science on what that causes. I have dry skin problems that I don't remember having before, so I think that might be linked to it.

 

PG

I have a friend who swears by niacin for his depression, he takes a shitload of it, and he was trying to get me to take it and I've never tried it.

 

DB

It's like any vitamin... I'm not into that like taking vitamins and all of that stuff, not that I think being healthy is bad, but I think that if you take vitamins when you don't need them, it can have bad side effects. I think that unless a doctor says you're deficient in a particular vitamin, then there's no reason to take it, why would you be taking it. Recently they've found links to cancer for taking too much Vitamin A. I don't know what effects niacin has on the human body, but I was taking loads of it and it causes a flush and they tell you it's supposed to be radiation leaving your body. It was all like real fun for me, I just got to hang out in a sauna all day and read books.

 

PG

What did you think the first time you realized how far off from actual science Scientology actually is?

 

DB

I probably realized that when I was in high school, when I was in ninth grade and I was learning a little bit about physics and stuff.

 

PG

What did you think or feel that moment?

 

DB

The only word I can think to describe it is cognitive dissonance, it's a really uncomfortable feeling, you realize that something you've been raised in and you've held on to really hard is now wrong. The only name I've found for that feeling is cognitive dissonance, it's a very uncomfortable moment and I never was able to reconcile it.

 

PG

Was there ever dread on your part that you wouldn't be able to speak scientific truth around your family, that you would have to keep pretending around them?

 

DB

It was very difficult. When I got out of the Sea Org, when I went back into the real world again, I started to read about scientifics, I've always been fascinated by the universe and nature and stuff like that. When I was a kid I was into weather and dinosaurs, it was all stuff I thought was really cool, but it was very difficult for me to have that knowledge and to have my parents refuse it so whole-heartedly. They would say things that were just completely scientifically inaccurate.

 

PG

Like what? What's Scientology's view on dinosaurs?

 

DB

This is where it's going to get into the craziness of Scientology. Scientologists believe that you're a trillion years old, that outside of the earth, the whole universe is populated by advanced beings who have ships and stuff that fly around. There's these volumes called Research and Discovery Volumes which have all kinds of stories from L. Ron Hubbard and they believe that the dinosaurs were hunted to extinction by aliens, that's what they think. Then after the dinosaurs were hunted to extinction, then human bodies were able to evolve and then that's when Xenu comes and sends all the spirits here to take over the human bodies.

 

PG

And Xenu is like what, the Jesus of Scientology or what?

 

DB

The opposite, he's more like the devil. Supposedly... I don't know how deep into this you want to go, but supposedly back in... 70 trillions years... I don't remember, so many trillions of years ago, Xenu found that there were people inside of his society that he ran, he's like the Galactic Overlord, that were causing a rebellion, an uprising, and they were artists, most of them were artists and creative thinkers, and so he rounded them up...

 

PG

Communist sympathizers!

 

DB

(laughs) I know, seriously!.... This gets crazy.

 

PG

Third Column, 5th Column, which column is it they talk about, that people are infiltrating? I think it's 3rd Column, anyway, go ahead.

 

DB

...Speaking of communism, you can kind of tell, and I can tell now when I reflect on it that this was all created in the 50s, 60s, 70, you can tell that Hubbard was of that mind set when he made all this. So he rounded these people up, supposedly he said he was going to do their taxes or something, so he called them all up, put them in ice cubes, froze them and dropped them in volcanoes and bombed the whole planet. And then the spirits were released, but he put like a shield around earth, and the things were captured by the shield and stuck on earth and we're still stuck here today. And supposedly the only way to get through this shield is with Scientology of course. And then when you leave, when you finish your levels or whatever in Scientology, your OT levels you can exit the shield and go onto other planets and stuff. So we've been stuck here for X trillions of years... for example, my parents, they wouldn't even believe that the space station is even possible because you can't get anything through that shield. The shield is supposedly 50 miles above earth. And the space station orbits at what, 150 miles I think, so it's got to be impossible, my parents were very into this very conspiratorial mind set, flat earth theory and all that stuff.

 

PG

What does that feel like as you say all these things?

 

DB

I feel like I'm a nut case... I can't believe I believed any of this..

 

PG

But you were a child.

 

DB

I know... When I was 18, I kind of realized... When I was a kid I would listen to my dad's stories about spaceships and stuff like that and about how he used to be an engineer and I'd be fascinated with it. And my dad has a voice like me, I sound a lot like him, it's kind of baritone and you can kind of listen to it for a while. And so he would tell these great stories and stuff and for me it was a cool thing. But then when I was 18 it was kind of like, this is weird, they actually believe these things. And when I finally read the Xenu story, and I realized my dad has done OT III, I was like, how can you believe this? I mean, my dad is not stupid, that's the part that I don't....

 

PG

How do you explain that? How do you explain that an otherwise rational person... is it that they so desperately want to believe?

 

DB

I think so... I can't remember all the psychological principles... I've read a lot about psychology... just for my own sake.... You have somebody pay for something and they like it more because they paid for it. And the more they pay for it, the more they like it. Scientology is a very step-by-step process and when you start off it's not crazy. And they make sure not to... Scientologists themselves are very careful not to expose newbies to stuff like that.

 

PG

They don't go Xenu out of the gate.

 

DB

No, and in fact Xenu, you don't even find out that story until you pay like $500,000 or $600,000 and then they show you that story.

 

PG

How's an average person supposed to move up all the levels?

 

DB

Well supposedly... Scientology is saying their aims and goals, they say they make the able more able, they only want people that are able right off the bat. They look for people that have this kind of money. And it's over years, it's not like they say give us $500,000 today. My dad, it probably took him I want to say 15 years or so to get up to OT III, so $500,000 over 15 years is not as much.

 

PG

What's OT stand for?

 

DB

35:15 Operating Thetan. I can explain that if you don't mind.

 

PG

Sure.

 

DB

The idea is that thetans have had all their natural abilities taken away by Xenu, and you gain them back when you do these levels, so as a thetan you become operating is the idea. Thetan is the name of the spirit which you probably know already, but for the listeners that don't know.

 

PG

I don't even know where to begin, it's so out there, it's so fucking out there. Watching that documentary, I could have.... I wanted that documentary to go on for six hours, I was so completely.... just couldn't believe that rational human beings were falling for this shit.

 

DB

Yeah... they do. I mean my dad's not an idiot... from what I remember as a kid, he was smart, he taught me a lot of stuff that I know

 

PG

Paul Haggis.... 36:11, Incredibly smart guy... For some people, they hit certain levels... I think he said when he read that book, maybe read the Xenu book... Didn't one of his kids come out as gay and that is when he broke with them?

 

DB

With Paul Haggis, what happened is that the San Diego Church of Scientology, they gave money in support of Proposition 8.

 

PG

That's it.

 

DB

… and he was upset by that... I don't know how he didn't know about Scientology's anti-gay stance up until that point. It's not like it's a secret, they're like the Westboro Baptists but they're quiet about it. They think that gays and psychiatrists are probably the worst people in the universe... and I mean that literally... I don't know how he didn't realize that up until that point, but he did, and his story in the New York Times was a big part of my decision eventually to just come out with my story.

 

PG

I would like to go undercover as a gay psychiatrist with a huge amount of money.

 

DB

Oh, they'll take it

 

PG

I know, it would just be interesting to see how they would deal with it. Tell me some more experiences from this.

 

DB

When I was 14... Scientologists have regular gatherings, they're called events and everybody goes and sits together and listens to the leader speak. It used to be, I can remember a shift in the Scientology leadership too, thinking back on it, it used to be several leaders would speak, and then eventually it became David Miscaviage was the only one that would speak at these events. I remember thinking to myself, it was three hours of this one guy talking, where are all the other people?

 

PG

That guy is the creepiest mother fucker I think I have ever seen. I don't think I've ever seen such naked megalomania as that guy... If I were watching a movie I would think, oh the megalomania is a little over the top. That gigantic stage with just him. It was like Citizen Kane.

 

DB

Yeah, it's crazy, absolutely crazy. But the thing is, Scientologists look at that maniacal look as that's an OT, that's you being powerful, that's a good thing, because if you look at the OTs they have that same look, that thousand-yard stare, that like, I'm looking right through you, not looking away, eyes wide open. Some people think that because you get taught that you have body thetans stuck to you that OT levels cause sort of a schizophrenic situation because you think that you're thousands of people in one body, so it sort of induces sort of a psychosis just believing that. Can you imagine?

 

PG

I read an interview, someone was interviewing Tom Cruise, this was maybe 10 years ago and they described how awkward they felt because his eye contact was so.... intense, and it never ceased and he was constantly like laughing and smiling, trying to get the same response from the other... It was like a complete disconnect between what two people were experiencing in a conversation.... there were no social cues...

 

DB

Scientology has... this is one of the things I learned when I was younger, I did something called the TRs and Objectives. TRs are short for Training Routines and Objectives are these things where you walk around a room and touch objects and it's supposed to help you come to present time, it's supposed to free you up from your past and allow you to receive auditing in the future. It's one of the first steps that you do. But basically all it is, you walk around that touch stuff in the room, it's really not that exciting. But the TRs are the reason Tom Cruise looks like that. They teach you to... they have TR-0 which is one where you sit and you just stare at another person for two hours and you're supposed to do it without flinching, blinking, without your eyes watering and they put you into this weird trance. I can remember sometimes the whole room would disappear, I would hallucinate, it's crazy this TR-0 thing. And parts of your body will hurt and you'll want to shift, but if you shift then the two hours starts over...

 

PG

Oh my god...

 

DB

Yeah, it's completely nuts, and that's why Scientologists have that stare. But there's one that follows called TR-0 Bullbait...

 

PG

What's the last word?

 

DB

Bullbait

 

PG

Like B-U-L-L-B-A-I-T?

 

DB

Yeah, like matadors do when you try to get the bull to come after you. You're trying to get a reaction from the person. So it's you, you sit across from someone else and they're very close to you and they're trying to get a reaction out of you and you're supposed to sit there and not react. And you do this for an hour, 30 minutes, whatever, they try to find what are called buttons that set you off, any kind of reaction, whether you blink, or flinch, or and they'll do, sometimes it's crazy, they'll touch you sometimes and sometimes it's in uncomfortable places just to try to get a reaction out of you. I think that teaches them to shut off their empathy. So it teaches the Scientologist not to feel what the other person is feeling. So that way you don't react to the other person's emotion, which is why, again, that disconnect, that'll explain that disconnect for you. He's learned not to react to the way other people are. He's solely acting... He's responding to his own conversation regardless of the other party involved.

 

PG

That's how this person was describing it. Talk about some good experiences that you had in the Church of Scientology.

 

DB

42:11 Most of them like I said were when I was younger, I did enjoy being with the kids, playing with the kids when we were there, and you know, my parents would go to these events and they don't want to bring the kids, so we would get to go hang out with whoever was babysitting at the time and we would all play.

 

PG

You were forced to sit at the little Scientology table?

 

DB

Yeah, the kid Scientologists... We hung out, we played with toys and all kinds of stuff, that was fun for awhile... I can't remember a whole lot that was fun. Most of the stuff I did that was fun didn't involve Scientology.

 

PG

Were there any moments where you felt that Scientology or some exercise you did in it helped you personally?

 

DB

I think the TRs, and learning to be non-responsive to people.

 

PG

Touch response, is that what that is?

 

DB

Training Routines. I think that learning to be non-responsive to another person and learning to be able to shut off your reactions, to let your buttons be pushed without jumping on someone, I think those have been helpful to me. I think that's a skill that people should have, especially people with anger issues and stuff like that.

 

PG

To not take things personally?

 

DB

Exactly. I think that's helped me because to me, I've learned that if I don't know that person, I don't have any connection to that person, then I don't care what they have to say and why am I going to let it bother me. So I think that that particular thing helped me... Even the confessionals, even though they were very intense, you do feel kind of good getting them off your chest, it's just that the punishment afterward is... You know in the Catholic church, you don't get punishment, you just do penance, you just say your prayers and it's a private thing...

 

PG

I would say the church is punishment, but go ahead.

 

DB

But the sins that you confess, you know the overts and the withholds they become public, Scientologists love gossip.... that part, that humiliation and stuff is bad. But I think that the confession part of it is good. It's nice to get stuff off your chest.

 

PG

Yeah, just not so good when it's used against you.

 

DB

Exactly.

 

PG

Or feel like it's being held over your head.

 

DB

Exactly.

 

PG

Have you ever met David Miscaviage?

 

DB

No, I've never met him in person. I've been very close to him, in proximity, but he doesn't usually interact with the low people and I was one of them, so, I never got to talk to him.

 

PG

Who was the highest ranking member that you interacted with?

 

DB

His name is Guillaume Lesevre I think he's French, he's the Executive Director International he's called. He's... I don't know exactly how that position works, but he's just very high up there. He came down to, when I worked at the Advanced Organization in LA, they deliver the OT levels, I was in the basement scanning central files, I was doing that whole thing. They have several different filing systems, this one called Central Files is where they keep correspondence within the organization, letters going back and forth, nothing private or anything like that. So I scan these things into a computer, they've been trying to make all their files electronic for some time. So I was scanning all those and he came down to check out the process, I kind of walked him through it. That was an interesting interaction for me, I mean I was very nervous because he's very high up, he's with the senior people in my organization and they all had their eyes on me.

 

PG

Does he drive a pretty fancy spaceship?

 

DB

Yeah, very fancy.

 

PG

Wire rims?

 

DB

Very fancy. Probably a Toyota Corolla.

 

PG

Did you ever see people benefiting financially from all the money that gets taken in? The documentary made it sound like they just invest it all in property, they're huge property holders.

 

DB

Yeah, gigantic, I can't even remember, it's in the billions how much property they own.

 

PG

Because they never pay taxes because they keep their status as a religious organization. And apparently, according to this documentary, they made it sound like they dug up some dirt on some IRS people so the IRS dropped their case trying to get them to lose their religious status.

 

DB

I don't know about that, but I do know that they had a lot of Scientologists sue the IRS, personal IRS, IRS agents personally, that's the official, the public story. There may be a situation where they did dig up some dirt, I'm not familiar with all that, I heard that in the documentary too, I would not be surprised, because that's how they do things. But I never saw anybody benefiting personally. However, like inurement, that is what you're talking about, I know that all the money that we made locally got sent up to David Miscaviage, all of it ends up there. There's a whole trail it follows, corporations... but I know that's where the money eventually ends up... Sea Org members are paid a stipend, whenever I talk to someone about the Sea Org I say we didn't get paid. Because essentially that stipend is $20 a week that you're supposed to spend on underwear, socks, shoes, laundry detergent, soap, body wash, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, you're supposed to buy all these things, deodorant, you're supposed to buy all these things with that little bit of money. And the church doesn't provide any of it. The only thing that the church provides to their workers is food, three meals a day, they provide you with a shirt, a tie, and pants and you get three of each, and that's all you get. And they provide dry cleaning service too for that. Other than that, everything else you have to pay for out of your own pocket. So you essentially don't get paid. On David Miscaviage's birthday, this is where I was going with that, so you get this little stipend and on David Miscaviage's birthday there's a person that stands outside when you're picking up your paycheck, because they pay you in cash and you're supposed to give them money, and they have a suggested amount that you're supposed to give. We're buying David Miscaviage a birthday gift, the Sea Org members who don't make any money.

 

PG

Wow.

 

DB

Yeah, and he got stuff like, I'm talking motorcycles and cars, that's how much money they were able to collect from all the Sea Org members.

 

PG

When did you start working for Sea Org and how long did you work?

 

DB

I started in August 2001 and I left in July of 2004, almost exactly three years. I left a couple of days after my 18th birthday. I was 15 when I started. I started at the Advanced Organization in Los Angeles and I spent the last six or eight months at Flag in Clearwater.

 

PG

Anything else you'd like to share about your experience?

 

DB

49:25 ...Besides when I came back from Flag and I had that horrible thing with my dad, there's a recruitment process that everyone goes through for the Sea Org. When you're raised in Scientology, you look at the Sea Org as Scientology's Power Rangers. They protect the OT Levels and the highest stuff, the highest information and they keep everything secret and they basically run the organization. We all know this and we're taught this and you see these big posters with them holding swords and stuff, and the galaxy is in the background, and it's all really cool. And so you want to be a part of that, you think they're part of saving the world. There's a recruitment process they go through, they look for young people because they always need young blood, because the work is grueling, the hours are insane, so they need new people all the time because people get tired or sick or whatever. They came after me when I was probably 14 when it started, 13 going on 14. For a year they spent working on me.

 

PG

Were you hesitant to join because you knew it was so intense?

 

DB

Well because I'm 13 years old, I just started junior high, I left high school in ninth grade, I didn't finish high school. I managed to get my proficiency exam while I was in the Sea Org, which is how I made it today, and my work experience now is what keeps me going. But I never made it through high school because these people pulled me out of high school and that's what I didn't want to do, and my dad didn't want me to do that either. But these people have a process they go through, they break you down emotionally and psychologically and everything... First it started with the phone calls... This is where I was going before... I was at an event, one of these Scientology events, they give you a paper at the end that you fill out, it's a little survey to say how was the event, blah blah blah. At the end is a question “Are you interested in learning more about the Sea Org?” and I checked yes on one of them. Biggest mistake of my life. I ended up having these people call me. It started off as a light-hearted thing, they would show up sometimes and talk to me. They started showing up everywhere, in random places, how the hell did you know I was here? These people just come out of the bushes and here they are trying to recruit you for the Sea Org. It got pretty bad at one point, they were call me at two o'clock in the morning, three o'clock in the morning, my dad was pissed, he blamed me because I answered yes on the thing, and it's all a 13 year old boy's fault that these adults are chasing him around... And what I never understood, dad, why aren't you angry at them? These are the predators coming after me and here you are blaming me for the predators coming after me. So at one point I had seen them after school, this was towards the very end, when they were breaking me down, I saw them after school and they would show up at my school to try to get me to go with them. Which is classic, I mean that textbook child predator shit. Like these fucking people are showing up in a car, these strangers trying to take me away.

 

PG

Separate you from the pack.

 

DB

It was horrible. I started walking home but I went a different way because I figured OK, they wouldn't find me, but I'm walking up this hill and all of a sudden I hear a car behind me slowing down, and I was like son of a bitch, they found me. I didn't look back, I just kept walking and then they were trying to talk to me through the window and stuff, telling me to stop, talk to them, come with us, we'll take you to PAC Base, talk to you about joining the Sea Org, blah blah blah. And you know, it's the greatest thing you've ever done, save the universe. I said no I don't want to go, not interested, don't want to get in the car. They said, “OK, we'll give you a ride home.” I got in the car and they basically fucking kidnapped me, took me to PAC Base and this is at four o'clock in the afternoon and I'm gone. I got in the car, they told me they were going to give me a ride home and they gave me a ride to PAC Base. Stupid of me to get in the car, but you don't think somebody's going to kidnap you, especially when I'm a kid, I'm 14. I'm there, they put me in a little room, like the room we're in now and there's one table, and it's classic police interrogation, now I know. They put me opposite the door and stood between me and the door so I didn't feel like I had a safe exit. There was no phone, nothing, the room was bare, there's nothing on the walls, the blinds were pulled closed and they started haranguing me about join the Sea Org, join the Sea Org, save the planet, blah blah blah. There's a whole spiel that they do, about how important it is. It's the most important thing you'll ever do in your life, give up everything and come join us. I didn't want to, I'm not ready to leave my friends behind, and my whole life behind and go be basic.... basically dedicated... you sign a billion year contract. They set a billion year contract in front of me, slide it over to you and there it is. I'm going to be in the Sea Org for a billion years.

 

PG

Did you try to negotiate and bring it down to a million?

 

DB

I thought about it, but it's already written so they can't change it. I didn't want to sign it, and the whole point is to get you to sign this thing. They would send people in, one after the other, different people, higher and higher level people. The captain of the organization comes in, at one point there's probably ten people in the one room all basically yelling at me, they're taking turns yelling at me and begging and pleading, they didn't give me anything to eat, nothing to drink and I was there from four o'clock in the afternoon until midnight or maybe it was one in the morning. My parents didn't know where I was. I told them to call my parents and tell them, of course they told me they would and they didn't. I finally got out of this room because I signed the contract, I was crying, sitting in the corner, I'm losing my fucking mind. It's insane, I can't even tell you how badly it fucks you up to have all the people in here screaming at you, telling you, and you're a little kid. Where are my parents? Why aren't they here helping me, I'm all alone. There's nobody here to save me.

 

PG

It is so incredibly abusive, those people should go to jail.

 

DB

I agree. It's horrible, the experience is so awful, it's probably the worst experience I had.

 

PG

Can you explain... why these people aren't in jail? Is it that nobody wants to deal with the litigiousness of Scientology by bringing charges against them?

 

DB

You've got to imagine my parents are dedicated Scientologists, they aren't going to bring any charges against these people. In fact, when I got out of the room I called them, I called my dad because they told me oh, we never called your dad by the way. And I was like well fuck, my dad doesn't know where I am for eight hours now. So I called him and he's pissed, at me though. That's what I don't understand, he came to pick me up and he's yelling at me. And I was even pleading with him, you can imagine, I'm 14, now I'm twice as old, but I was a 14 year old kid sitting in the car with my dad, like dad, they took me, why aren't you mad at them, why don't you say something, do something to help me, I was begging him to help and he wouldn't help me. He would tell me it's my fault and that I need to be able to say no and that's all he would ever tell me. You have to do this on your own, I'm not going to help you. I don't know why, because I don't know what was going on on his side of things, but I know that he said that I don't even care. He told me at one point that I don't care if he signs the contract, I'm not releasing him to you, but then eventually they got my parents to sign away their parental rights and gave it to some random person in the Sea Organization who I never saw the whole fucking time I was there. This person is supposed to be my guardian and I never saw him, he was busy working. It's all obviously not legal, but on paper it's legal, that's the hard part. The way they do it, it's very coercive, but how you going to prove that in court, but also, I can't sue on my own, I don't know any better. I look to my parents to do something for me. My parents aren't going to sue them because these are the people they're faithful to.

 

PG

You probably don't remember the names of any of the people that...

 

DB

Oh, I remember a lot of the names

 

PG

The people that brought you into that room and put you in the car

 

DB

I do, hell yeah I remember their names. But at this point the statute of limitations has expired on child abuse and neglect, it's been over eight years and that's how much time you have from the time you turn 18, you have eight years... I could probably if I had a lawyer go back and sue them, but I can't afford one. 58:16... There's a lady who's been suing them Laura DeCrescenzo, she's been suing them for I think going on four years now for a similar situation, I think she was forced to have an abortion when she was in the Sea Org. She's been going at it for a long time. So, I don't have that kind of money or resources, I can't really do anything about it unfortunately. All I can do is talk about it, so that's what I do.

 

PG

I'm just dumbfounded. I'm just absolutely dumbfounded. So let's talk about emotionally, after you get out... or was there anything you wanted to share about your time during the Sea Org? And it's the letter “C” or “S-E-A” Org?

 

DB

“S-E-A” Org, it's named after... When Hubbard was being sued by the IRS and tax organizations of the UK...

 

PG

Oh, he went...?

 

DB

He went out on the ocean and … international waters, he didn't want to get sued or any process servers...

 

PG

That's where most altruists go is for the international waters...

 

DB

They tell you that the psychiatrists were after him so he had to go on the boat to get away from all the evil people... Now I know the truth, it's interesting finding out the truth and comparing it to what I was told, the stories I was told... During my time in the Sea Organization, it was a lot of the same as that recruitment event, a lot of getting screamed at. You spend day-in and day-out, you don't know if you're going to be on somebody's good side or bad side. You don't know when you're going to have to do one of those OW write ups. They go after you for everything from masturbating to stealing money or whatever, anything that you.... It gets worse than OW write ups because at some point they sit you down across from someone on an e-meter and they're trying to get you to confess your sins but they're using the little needle on the meter to say 'oh I see you're holding something back'. That's where I was telling you about the video and audio taped confessionals, that's where those come into play, they do those to you in the Sea Org, they're called security checks. It's so Orwellian, it's crazy, but it's their thought policing. I spent those three years terrified, I was absolutely mortified because if I lose... if I do something wrong and it's really bad... and you're not really worried about doing something wrong, if you get accused of doing something wrong, it's like a witch hunt. They can make up things and hold them against you and convince you that you did them... They harangue you and get into your head... it's crazy... ________ that people think the same way, you can't deviate...

 

PG

There is a sick power to somebody that is willing to wear you down to get their way... My mom was that way and that's one of the ways that she would win an argument or get her way. She would be willing to A.) either go to the tears or just keep badgering you until you give up. Then after a certain point they just wind up getting their way because you know that if you contradict them it's going to be a half-hour ordeal of arguing. And it sounds like (and I'm certainly not comparing my mom to Scientology) there's a narcissistic quality to both of them and that energizing bunny rabbit kind of way of just not giving up.

 

DB

That's exactly what it is. It's crazy, they corner you and you can't run away, there's nowhere for you to go. There's no safety net, there's nothing. Now if I get into a conversation like that, I can get up and leave, have that freedom. But I didn't have that option here.... For three years I'm stuck with these... I mean getting screamed at... some days would be like 'oh, you did such a great job' and some days are 'you're a piece of shit, what the fuck is wrong with you? You're and SP' which is like their version of.. that's like an evil person... A suppressive person it's called.

 

PG

They covered that in the documentary.

 

DB

It's anyone who turns against Scientology is essentially it. But they threaten you with being declared an SP which means you're cut off from Scientology, which to me as a kid is, like that means my parents are going to give me up. Where am I going to go? I'd be on my own. I literally was convinced and was probably right that if this happened to me as a kid, my parents were going to leave me on the street... It's terrifying... I don't want to say you're afraid of death, but it's pretty damn close... I don't know what the hell I'm going to do with myself... I'm terrified into just doing my job, doing it right and keeping my head down. I knew I was getting into something intense, but I didn't know it was going to be bad intense. I thought it was going to be a good intense thing. So for three years I'm like this and then I find this guy in Florida, we really liked each other and he made me feel really good about myself and vice-versa and that's how we kind of built a relationship and I really enjoyed that time period. It went on for a couple of months and it was great, it was the first experience I ever had like that. It was very secretive, obviously we didn't want anybody to know about it, but it was wonderful. It was a good experience amidst chaos. It was probably the only light at the end of the tunnel for me knowing that I could have someone feel that way about me and that I could feel that way about someone. Even though it didn't last and he was sent back to the UK, and that was very devastating for me. Of course, I was in love with him, as in love as a teenager can be and he was torn away from me one day.

 

PG

Your experience could be a movie, it's a fucking movie!

 

DB

Yeah, if I could write a script I would. I don't know how to write a script like that but... This whole experience was just horrific. I was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after I left Scientology altogether. Like you said about studying science... I had read about psychology and psychiatry and I knew it was science based and that there was something.... It was good. In Scientology they make you think that these people have no idea what they're doing, but I'm reading about anti-depressants, they know the neurotransmitters in your brain that they affect. It's very specific, so it's not really like this loose... Anyway, after I left, where am I going to turn, what am I going to do? I fell back on some friends. I made friends that weren't Scientologists, a lot of them. And that was probably my first... when I was tearing away... this was years after I left the Sea Org. That was pretty much my experience in the Sea Org. I was diagnosed with PTSD by the first therapist I saw because of all the trauma that added up to one big traumatic experience... that's a heavy diagnosis, that's a big thing. She prescribed me some medication and it was wonderful. That whole experience.... that's what I attribute my PTSD to.

 

PG

And had you cut off contact with your parents at this point?

 

DB

By the time I saw a psychiatrist, yes.

 

PG

And did that feel cleansing? Or was it terrible? Or both?

 

DB

I like to compare it to cutting off an infected limb... During the eight years before I finally left when I was 26, and this is in the year 2012, during those eight years I started working with Scientologists who owned companies outside the Sea Org. I wasn't working for Scientology, but I was working for Scientologists. I bounced through a couple of jobs and picked up some years of work history, and then from there I presented myself to a head-hunting agency and they got me a temporary job with somebody who is not a Scientologist. From there I got a permanent job... for six years I was at one company and I made connections outside of Scientology. I was freeing myself at that point from Scientology. I knew that at that point when I sat on that bed and I was thinking about killing myself, I knew that eventually I'm going to have to cut off Scientology, so I prepared myself for that. I built up the work experience I needed and then exited Scientology. I started making friends outside of Scientology, my parents saw that I was drifting from the faith. They tried to pull me back in, it was very hard, they were pulling very hard, trying to get me to come back in.. so the circle... But I knew that I had met these people and I eventually told them I'm gay and they were OK with it and I saw how the world outside viewed gay people and how it was normal and that it's not something you can change. Gay reparative therapy doesn't work and all this... And I never really thought there was something wrong with me to begin with when I knew I was gay, I just knew that's the way it was and I can't change it. I just knew I couldn't change it. So I drifted big time. Then... when you leave the Sea Org, you're given what's called a freeloader's debt, just basically saying, you broke your contract, therefore all Scientology services you received while you were with us, you have to pay for.

 

PG

(laughs) Why not?! Oh my god, it's so over the top! It's un-fucking-believable!

 

DB

It's hard to talk about it because it's so unreal... Anyway, I had this freeloader debt, in order to do services, I had to pay it. My parents wanted me to do services, I couldn't start them so they said... they're trying to encourage me to pay this debt.... I finally at one point, and this is when I was finally breaking out of my shell, I told my dad I was a fucking child, I don't owe them shit! I was a child when they recruited me, I didn't know... How can you think they can hold this... but he's in agreement with this. So at one point... and this is going to sound even more crazy... we're moving houses, we had to move out of the house we were in to another house and my dad said, “Derek, I need $4,000 to put down for this new house.” I had $4,000 and I said OK, here's $4,000 to put down on the new house. Then I find out probably two weeks later that he took that money and paid my freeloader's debt with it. I was fucking livid, I mean my dad just stole $4,000 from me and I can't get it back. You can't get a refund without being declared an SP and he knew this and I knew this, so he knew I couldn't go ask for my money back,... and are you going to pay me back? No. So he just stole this fucking money from me. That was towards the end... In 2010 my aunt passed away, and my Aunt Brenda and I were very close, she was like a second mother to me, I absolutely loved her. Probably one of the greatest things I remember is her cooking breakfast in the morning for us, I loved her dearly. She had strayed from the church, my dad and her had a falling out. My dad told me and my sister a lot of bad stuff about her, to sort of like program us not to talk to her. I decided I'm getting ready to leave, this is just two years before... I'm getting ready to leave, I need to call her, I'm going to go try to live with her, and then I found out she passed away. It was devastating, not only because I hadn't talked to her in several months because of what happened between her and my dad, but also because I loved her, she was the first person close to me that I lost. I was going to lean on her for help and now my only exit was gone. It was a lot of shit that just fell heavy on me. My dad destroyed her memory after she died. The way he handled her death was awful. All he wanted was to find out how much money she had so he could take it all. Because he said, “oh, I'm the closest person here, I'm going to get all her bank account and blah, blah, blah...”, trying to find out whatever she had stashed away. It was just awful, there was a whole thing between her husband and my dad because they were filing for divorce but my aunt didn't sign the papers before she passed away, so technically her husband was the next of kin for everything. My dad just blew up because he was thinking.... my uncle is going to get all this fucking money and he was just pissed that he wasn't going to get the money, didn't care about his sister being dead. That was another one that was sort of like another the nail in the coffin for me. I was like, this is how my parents are going to be when I say I don't want to be a Scientologist anymore. So fuck them, at that point I was getting very rebellious, it's sort of like my teenage rebellion got pushed into my twenties.

 

PG

So was it a conversation that you had with your parents where you said, I'm leaving?

 

DB

In February 2012 I went online to the ex-scientology message board and posted my story. I had been reading there prior and I had posted under a pseudonym, but eventually, I was reading all these other people, and all these people are so fucking brave telling their stories, why am I not sharing mine.

 

PG

And are they sharing anonymously on there or ?...

 

DB

Sometimes they are,.... so they would tell me that the church monitored the website. I didn't really believe it... I was still kind of on the fence. I was like, there's no way they have the resources and spending all this time reading the Internet... I was like, you know what? Fuck it, I'm going to take a chance, I'm going to go post my story, we'll see what happens. I posted my whole story... It was long from beginning to end, and basically laid out everything. Being gay, and all of it. Of course, the church tracked it down two months later in April. My dad shows up at my friend's house. My dad didn't know the address of my friends except this one because my car had been stolen earlier.... Another whole thing that happened with that. Scientologists are very weird where they connect,... it's sort of like a karma situation where bad things happen to you because you did bad things. So my dad is sitting down,... My dad sits me down about my car being stolen, and he's blaming me first of all for my car being stolen. I called him from my friend's house, my car is gone, I don't know what happened, and he's screaming at me on the phone, like I did something wrong. And I was like, what the fuck is wrong with you? My car was stolen from me, I didn't do anything wrong...

 

PG

Typical thing that he's been doing all along.

 

DB

I just didn't understand.... At this point I was with my friends and they were very supportive, 'do you need a ride somewhere? You need a ride to work? Do you need to borrow my car? I'll let you use my car for a few days.' Very, very supportive. And here's my dad on the phone telling me that he's going to send me to jail for having my car stolen. 01:14:45 I told him... He told me to come home. I said I don't want to go home. And he paused. This is probably when... I don't know where I found the strength, I guess my friends had given me the strength that I needed. I told him “Dad, listen to yourself and how you're talking to me.” This is the first time I had ever said anything to my dad like this. I said, “Dad, listen to yourself and how you're talking to me right now and think about why I don't want to come home.” And he paused... like, oh my god, my obedient son is now talking back to me. And then he just started screaming and I hung up on him. First time in my life...

 

PG

Good for you. What did that feel like?

 

DB

Oh my god, it felt great. It felt amazing. And then he kept calling my phone and I just kept sending it to voicemail for probably a good hour. Then finally he called me again and I said, “Are you calm now?” and he started screaming again, I hung up on him again.

 

PG

Good for you.

 

DB

I just couldn't... Holy shit, my dad was losing it because how could your son be doing this to you... This happened in February 2012 is actually when it happened and this was the final straw for me.... I finally got a ride from a friend home... Oh no, I finally called him to give me a ride home when he did calm down, I waited several hours. When he called me and he was calm on the phone, I said, “OK, you can come get me now, here's the address.” That's how he got this friend's address... He picked me up and took me home and he started grilling me in the Scientologist way, what did I do wrong that this happened to me. Then he starts asking me about my sex life, 'are you having sex with men? Are you being promiscuous?' It felt disgusting. My parents were prior to this were very emotionally incestuous I think is the term for it. They shared too much about their sex life and asked too much about ours, me, my sister and my little brother. I was very uncomfortable with this conversation and I got up and went to my room. I told him, “I'm done with this conversation. I'm going to my room. I can't believe you're asking me, this is gross.” It felt gross, I felt dirty, I went to my room, I cried all night. I was so torn up. All the strength that I had, that I used... I was just able to let my guard down because I had my door locked and I just cried all night about... thinking about how the fuck can my parents not support me? I was falling apart. That's when I went online the next day and I wrote my whole story. Because at this point, I was like, I don't even care anymore. I wrote from beginning to end. Of course the church tracked it down a couple of months later and I happened to be helping my friends move out of their house – the same friends. So he showed up, showed me the story, and then I went to go live with some friends, I had already told them my whole story and they helped me out. From there I went to therapy, I've been going to therapy for a couple of years. I actually just started again with a new therapist since I got back. I moved to Austin to reconnect with my family, I've had a lot of good things happen since then. I actually have a boyfriend now...

 

PG

You moved to Austin to reconnect with your extended family?

 

DB

Yes... and I stayed there for a year and three months. I got to know them really well, we're all very close now. I went to visit them not too long ago. I'm very close to my friends, no connection to Scientology at all, with anyone and it's absolutely amazing. Since then I've gone to protests, I've hung out with ex-Scientologists, I've been online doing blogging and my youtube channel and all that with the story... My life is so much better. My job is better...

 

PG

Do you get harassed by them?

 

DB

I haven't thankfully, probably because I'm low on the totem pole, I'm not a senior executive or anything. I just try to share the human part of my story because I don't want kids to go through what I went through. People still get sucked into Scientology today, even with the Internet. It's horrible for children... Children are probably the worst off in Scientology. They get dragged into it, they don't know any better and they become the most zealous too, because that's all they know. You can go to the PAC Base and you can see all the kids there that work... they do manual labor, they're scrubbing the streets, picking weeds... It's horrible, I just don't want kids.... I want somebody to do something about the child abuse... it's slave labor, child slave labor is what they're using and they get away with it.

 

PG 01:19:24

If somebody wants to get a hold of you, are you comfortable giving out a public way for people to contact you?

 

DB

I have an email, gmail account I use for stuff like that, it's dmanunderground@gmail.com

 

PG

Derek, thank you so much for coming in and sharing your story.

 

DB

Absolutely.

 

PG

Many, many thanks to Derek. What a fascinating story. I'm just constantly amazed at the things I hear on the podcast. 01:19:59