Out of Scientology's Labyrinth

By Karen Schless Pressley

freedomTom Cruise's recent anti-psychiatry, pro-Scientology, converting-Katie-Holmes-to-Scientology media blitzes prompted me to respond to his antics with this commentary. However, writing this article is about more than that. This also marks my seventh and sixth anniversaries—seven years since I found the way out of Scientology's labyrinth July 31, 1998, and six years since I answered the door to Christ's knock and He took residence in my heart.

When I hear Cruise's everything-is-great statements about life in Scientology, my stomach churns at the remembrance of the early 1980's when I felt the same way. Now, nearly 25 years later, the sun never sets on a day that I do not think about the Scientology-driven life I left behind, and give thanks for my new life. Now, instead of despising my moment-to-moment existence as I did during twelve years of bondage in Scientology's elite corps (the "Sea Organization"), I live free in Christ with an attitude of gratitude for God's miraculous deliverance from Scientology, and for the new life He has given me. I am thankful for the past seven years of healing, for the ongoing personal growth that comes from facing my past and learning from my mistakes, and for the God-given opportunities to build a new life as His plan for me unfolds.

Since freed from Scientology, I rejoice in the growing number of people who had the courage to break free of Scientology's grip or leave the confines of staff life, but it has grieved me to hear about ex-members involved in angry, vindictive, or vengeful acts against Scientology. The inability to forgive the group for its spiritual betrayal and totalitarian control that appeared to ruin lives, will keep ex-members in emotional bondage. The only way I have been able to forgive and break free from their emotional and mental holds was by learning about and experiencing the ultimate forgiveness—the unconditional love offered by God who forgave me during my Scientology years, and for living like a rebel in enmity with Him. I had looked for truth in all the wrong places while walking Scientology's path to total spiritual freedom, and instead ended up on their bridge to total spiritual bondage.

Fortunately, God caught me one night in 1998 while I was on the edge of a spiritual chasm-desperate and knowing I needed to get out of Scientology's trap but not knowing how—by reaching out His hand to me like a lifeline, washing me with peace and filling me with love. He rescued me from further ruin, and led me to new life in Him. That experience preceded my final departure from Scientology, and opened the gate to being able to find Him. His forgiving me continues to be the reason I am able to forgive others. 

I have wondered how anyone can leave a cult and create a new, sane, freed life again without coming to know the love of Jesus Christ. To me, it seems impossible. I have learned that many former Scientologists or their families resort to de-programming to be freed from Scientology's grip and re-adjust to life again. I can say with total certainty that the only reason I have become sane again, and am able to experience life with joy and happiness again, is because of my life in Christ…


Out of Scientology's Labyrinth

The Poached Egg