Tom Cruise helped me escape Scientology.
The impending HBO release of Alex Gibney’s and Lawrence Wright’s documentary and the sheer volume of interest it has engendered, in print and on the web, pushed me to revisit my own Scientology experience and beyond that, to try to contextualise it in terms of the path my life took before my fateful encounter and to try to make some kind of sense of the broken pieces of my life since I left Scientology behind.
This is what I came up with.
Trepidation accompanied a profound sense of liberation when, on the 16th of July 2006, I gave up on religion and such ideation, for good. I will try to reassemble the scattered pieces of the event herein before I become too old and addled to reconstruct this seminal moment in my convoluted life’s narrative.
Tom Cruise and I had something important in common. We were both fanatical adherents of the Church of Scientology. Otherwise the differences in the lifestyles that defined us could not be more stark. My blind faith in Hubbard had been shaken a few years before when I happened upon incontestable evidence that my all-knowing savior and guru had been telling porkie-pies the whole time.
Twenty two years of life at the very core of Scientology – the elite, communal living, unquestioning, ecclesiastical hierarchy, came to an abrupt end thanks to the Top Gun star. L. Ron Hubbard founded this ‘elite’ operation in the Spring of 1967. He christened it the ‘Sea Organization’ and then set off with a select few in a bunch of creaky old ships to mine the pockets and life energy of the vulnerable and credulous.