This was sent to me by my friend Andy Porter. It is a “disconnection” letter and his “Open Letter” in response. Andy is a very accomplished professional photographer — I included one of his shots above and two more at the end of this post. You will find many more at his website: www.AndyPorterImages.com
I received this letter last week from someone I have known through Scientology for 25 years.
“I am sending this letter as an official disconnection letter. I am remaining a member of the Church of Scientology. It is my intention to have no form of connection with you including any form of communication. I’d appreciate it if you will respect my decision.”
“I sincerely hope you return to the church in the future.”
Reading your letter produces a wide range of thoughts and emotions. I have taken some time to gather my thoughts and respond. But I do respect your decision and will not harass you with my…ideas.
I am a bit unclear about what I am supposed to do if we see each other. Living in a small town and being part of the same groups I expect to see you once in a while.
Do you expect me to shun you, to avoid contact, to pretend you don’t exist? Am I not to say “Hello” or give greeting? And if we do cross paths and I inquire “How’s it going?”, will you turn your back and ignore me?
Will having communication with me create enturbulation for you? Will my words have the effect of nerve gas or kryptonite? Or is there an anxiety that I will mention some new reports of David Miscavige beating staff, or share details from his father’s new book?
It has been more than a year and a half since we stopped working together. When we have encountered each other the conversation has been pleasant. And before that, it had been years since we had any communications about Scientology. So officially “disconnecting” does seem unwarranted…
As I recount our long friendship I recall fondly our interesting conversations about the world, discussing history and politics, sports and science. You were always welcome at our house and we shared great times watching super bowls, celebrating holidays. Your Santa impersonation was hands down the best, my son still remembers you!
When I moved here with my family almost 12 years ago my intention was to move away from Scientology and fly under the radar. After 20+ years of working for the church, both here and abroad I saw all sides of the church. Anything negative I observed I chose to ignore or make excuses for. But my last trip to Flag, to start OT 7, in 2000 just crushed me. I have detailed this trip earlier (http://www.mikerindersblog.org/andy-porter-speaks/ ). I was left with a deep gashing hole in my soul and came here to lick my wounds.
We had many conversations about Scientology. You opened up on your own, about your bad experiences with the church, the incessant demands for money, the nightmare of the Sea Org recruiters at your house trying to pry away your daughter, pressuring and threatening you… and I listened.
I had no plan then to speak out against the church, or make any noise.
For me what changed was reading the stories of multiple Sea Org execs that had recently left the church. Their detailed descriptions of the complete, bat-shit insanity of Miscavige moved me. The recurring re-release of the courses and materials, all obvious ploys to generate more money and the completely off policy “Ideal Org” program infuriated me
Following this was the church’s new fixation on disconnection: anyone who communicated with anyone who mentioned the obvious fact that Miscavige and the church were lost was declared suppressive and all others forced to disconnect from them.
This is what pushed me over the edge: the idea that one is not allowed to look, to see, to speak about obvious injustices is so unspeakably wrong. The fact that Scientology morphed into a complete mind control, soul crushing cult cannot be ignored.
The position of the church, that anyone who criticizes the church is a suppressive person is utter bullshit.
No one is trying to suppress scientology; there is no intent to stop anyone from attaining spiritual freedom. My intent, and the intent of many people who have spoken out about Scientology, is to stop the abuses of Miscavige and the Church; to eliminate disconnection, stop breaking up families; to reform the church so that its actions help make the world a better place for everyone.
And the effort of the church to paint these people as evil is a final confirmation and proof that the church has itself become a suppressive group. ANY group that demands completely blind adherence is insane.
As you may recall, the local org OSA people came up to visit me, at your clinic, to interview me after I had written a letter calling for reforms. Their questioning was all along the line of “who told you there was something wrong with the church?” When I answered that no one told me, I can simply observe for myself, they were not satisfied. When I detailed my own, personal experiences of what is wrong I was told that this was not important, and asked over and over, who was I connected to that told me the church was doing bad things.
I am guessing that that is what happened to you as well. Of course for you it more difficult: Your daughter is still “in” Scientology. If in the end you did not toe the line, then your relationship with her would be severed.
I have no issue with your continued pursuit of spiritual gain through Scientology. I wish you success. I harbor no hard feelings about you or what you have done.
One day I hope you will come back over for a cook out and maybe a World Series game. My family and I await you, you are always welcome.
PS: If you havent heard about it yet, the new season of Orange Is The New Black (in which Laura Prepon stars) takes a serious shot at scientology. See Episode 6 around 50 minutes. The parade of media now using scientology as comedy fodder continues to grow.