“The Hairpin” describes itself as, “[…] a general-interest blog […] mostly read by women. We also feature original work from our contributors [..]”.
‘Stella Forstner’s’ story appear in six parts. They make up a brief autobiography of a woman born to parents who were both committed Scientologists.
Forstner and her mother left the Church after the ascent to power of David Miscavige (the present leader of the Church of Scientology) after the death of L Ron Hubbard. They were persecuted by Scientology’s ‘secret police’, but rose above it all to build a new life.
It is, simply, a very good read and rarely has so much good sense about Scientology doctrine been expressed so succinctly.
Part two discusses the much mocked Xenu story, and states,
I get deeply frustrated when I hear people say Scientologists must be either nuts or brainwashed because they believe in Xenu. The truth is they either haven’t learned about Xenu yet because they’re too new (or don’t have the financial resources to move up “the bridge to total freedom”) or they have learned about Xenu after many years of training, tens of thousands of dollars spent on courses, and a transformed social and family circle now consisting primarily of other believers who would be forced to disconnect from them should they disavow ‘LRH Tech.’
Some critics of Scientology should be required to learn these words by heart.
Part three contains a clear explanation of how Scientology ‘ethics’ works, and the disaffection that followed when Miscavige took power and escalated this system to consolidate his control (incidentally leading to a mass exodus of members). regarding ‘ethics’, she writes,
That idea — that blame must be located within someone – justified an invasive surveillance regime, adopted by both church leaders and staff members, who were encouraged to keep tabs on one another and report any questionable behaviour. If you wanted to avoid being the ‘head-on-a-pike,’ you did your best to find someone else to put up on that pike
Part four demolishes Hubbard’s ridiculous ‘Study tech’, reflects upon the application of cognitive dissonance theory to Scientology, and provides a personal account of the evil of disconnection.
Part five sees the author studying Chinese History at Phd level – and drawing comparisons between the church of Scientology and the Chinese regime under the Cultural Revolution.
Part six expresses my feelings as an outsider, perfectly
While I sometimes joke about Scientology, I never mock the people who believe in it, and it saddens me to see so much unnecessary nastiness, so many thoughtless asides about brainwashed drones chasing body thetans. It’s usually not accurate or funny, it’s just mean. And I believe it only makes things worse — a group that feels it’s being persecuted will only turn more deeply inward and become even more distrustful of outsiders. Anyone who doesn’t support the church thus becomes its enemy, and this only tears more families apart and leave those members who already have doubts about the church all the more isolated.
My criticisms of the church are grounded in my own experiences and those of my family. I’ve seen how they’ve treated my parents and some of their friends, how they’ve harassed, threatened, and tried to destroy the reputations of ex-Scientologists and others who’ve opposed them, and how they treated my ex-stepmother, a woman who (even though she thought I was evil incarnate) devoted her life to the church only to be abandoned by them at the end, denied financial support for medical assistance, and told she could cure herself with more auditing.
Read it all. You’ll be glad you did.