The 11 stages of denial encountered when leaving the Church of Scientology

After several years of research, I found that extricating myself from the cult mindset took a lot longer than I expected.

It takes study and auditing to recover one’s power of choice over ideas and lifestyles. There is a gradual awakening of curiosity and individual thinking and from what I have seen, but the process of overcoming the cult’s indoctrination can take several years in the best of cases.

The recovery of one’s power of choice is so gradual and the development of a new awareness varies so much from person to person, that it is often easier to spot where the person is by what he or she is denying.

These stages of denial are all about adopting the viewpoints of others instead of inspecting life for yourself. They all represent a denial of self.

These stages of denial do not appear in any particular sequence and not everyone experiences all of them. Furthermore, most people seem to pass quickly through these stages once they get the idea that they are no longer bound by church dogma and are free to communicate with the realities of life.

When someone hangs up on one of these stages, they have given up their power of choice in a particular area and are not willing to communicate with the uncertainties and realities of that area. Therefore they become the effect of that which they are denying.

Here is my take on the various stages of denial found in almost every Scientologist and Ex-Scientologist:

1. Denial that there was anything good about Scientology or Ron Hubbard – These people never experienced benefits from their church experiences or auditing and are still royally pissed.

2. Denial that there is anything basically wrong with the Church of Scientology – This person is living a very protected life or is trying very hard not to look at anything unpleasant.

3. Denial of hope of improvement for self – This person is out of the church and is still licking their wounds. Is numb and wants to be left alone. This will pass with enough rest and sleep and gentle support from friends.

4. Denial of self in order to receive group approval – This person is still mentally in the cult. This person will probably resent people who do not care about group approval.

5 . Denial that one has been a bona fide cult member – This person has not been able to look objectively at their own behavior as a church member. They are still subject to the indoctrination they received. When they Google “cult characteristics”, they may begin to adopt a different view.

6. Denial of their own role in supporting the destructive actions of the church – They hope to change their behavior without taking responsibility for the damage they did. Many of these people will not discuss their church experiences publicly.

7. Denial that Ron Hubbard was deeply involved in all of the destructive actions that led to the Miscavige era  – These people feel that targeting and removing David Miscavige will bring an end to the abuses being committed daily by the church. These people will gradually move through this stage as they become exposed to the true data of Scientology’s history.

8. Denial of the right of free choice – There are independents who try to stop others from using the technology in their own way. These people feel they need to dictate how someone uses the technology or alters it for specific purposes. Some of these people are even trying to enforce COS type justice actions on other independents. These people are still stuck in the fixed datum that KSW #1 created.

9. Denial of the possibility that admin technology and auditing technology is flawed or incomplete – These people feel that KSW defines the gold standard and are unable to exercise their power of choice. They are unable to even consider that KSW may be a seriously flawed control mechanism for protecting cult beliefs.

10. Denial of responsibility for using what technology they know to help others – These are people who are trained and know that they can get results using the technology but choose to wait until times are more favorable.

11. Denial of one’s true strength and power – If you have any back-off on creating desirable effects and helping others, you are probably at this point, but you can probably discover what is holding you back if you try.

If you feel I have missed an important stage of denial, Feel free to add your comments. Let me know what denials you have seen or experienced.

[revised 10/28/11 to incorporate feedback from readers]

Number of views:938

OldAuditor on October 22, 2011

12 Comments

OldAuditor  on October 23rd, 2011 Edit comment

I had to upgrade the confront level on this post as it is not as easy to confront as I expected. I do not like violating the Second Rule for Happy Living* and regret the omission of a warning label for this post.

I wish I could make this a “feel good” post because the subject matter is loaded with material that is extremely useful but it hits buttons that will bounce the unwary reader right off the site.

If you duplicate this material, you will begin to understand the reason your pleas and arguments go nowhere when you try to help someone make the transition from indoctrinated Scientologist to a truly independent person who can think freely.

If you can identify the stage of denial the person is in, you can do careful false data stripping and provide true data to help them regain their power of choice.

*Cause only those things which others are able to experience easily.

Béla  on October 25th, 2011 Edit comment

Hey David,

this post needs some confront.
What do you mean under 7th post? Where can I read something about the history?

Best regards, Béla

Bruce Pratt  on October 25th, 2011 Edit comment

Good idea on the upgrade.

#7 is could be a bit overstated, especially as we’ll probably never have the true story of the life of the founder at this point. I think I’ve said here I almost would rather have no data than personal testimony. I don’t know of any evidence other that personal testimony but even so did I not get the idea of deep, all inclusive involvement.

#8 may be the thing or part of the thing that Scientology is trying to correct. That we did not fully understand and get applied the tech and admin lead us to dramatize the very thing we’re trying to handle.

#9 is or could be almost the same thing as #8. Where did this insistence of perfection come from? It’s a workable system, not a perfect one. In the presence of understanding, true understanding, a world of good occurs.

And yeah, I think there are a couple of denials that could be added. From POT himself, I think, denial associated with “It did not happen to me, therefore it did not happen”, an interesting, if nonsurvival instantiation of personal integrity.

Another one along the lines of “I am at the top of the Bridge, this cannot happen there. Or there is no way this could happen at the top of the organization because they are the best of us.”

From A New Slant on Life — “The only aberration is denial of self.”

Damned thought provoking.

Bruce

OldAuditor  on October 26th, 2011 Edit comment

Regarding #7. In the independent field, we are free to read or not read anything we choose. I chose to read everything and match the stories up with my own experiences and observations. You are free to ignore all accounts that do not agree with your views.

However, If you wish to understand Ron Hubbard as a man and not as a symbol, read Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman and ALL of the references listed on the right sidebar under “Scientology history you may not wish to confront“.

You may wish to believe that we’ll probably never have the true story of the life of the founder at this point. I prefer to believe the majority of the 12-15 personal accounts from people who lived and worked with Hubbard on a day to day basis. They discuss his strengths and his weaknesses, including his treatment of his household staff and Commodore’s messengers. Many of them considered themselves to be his best friends and strongest supporters at one time.

It would be a more comforting story to believe that the mischief started with David Miscavige, but Fair Game, using PIs, attacking those who opposed him by manufacturing evidence all started with LRH. He was a man of many facets.

OldAuditor  on October 28th, 2011 Edit comment

Regarding denial stage #8. This is based on the idea that KSW is some kind of natural law and that the only reason someone would wish to use the technology in their own way is because of noncomprehension.

KSW was written to define Ron’s view of how the cult should operate and what Scientologists should believe from that point forward. Those who played a major part in developing the technology and knew Hubbard as an all too human individual were quite dismayed at his claiming the role of infallible Source who had risen above the bank.

KSW marked the point at which Scientology transitioned from “Knowing how to know” to a religion where dogma was enforced by the militant priesthood of the Sea Org. Power of choice was replaced by obeying orders on threat of punishment.

Read the references on the right sidebar under “Scientology history you may not wish to confront”. There are even more accounts which are not listed yet.

OldAuditor  on October 28th, 2011 Edit comment

Regarding denial stage #9. Somewhere it is written that perfection is the enemy of the good.

KSW would have us believe that there is no deviation from the perfection of standard tech, but almost every student of Scientology has been exposed to several flavors of standard tech each of which was expressed as an absolute standard from here on out.

The tech was continually evolving during Hubbard’s life to deal with circumstances which had not been anticipated. Are we to believe that all changes stopped with his death? GAT was Miscavige’s effort to cope with delivery problems and he is a non-interned Class IV auditor. The Three Swing F/N is now standard tech and it is destroying cases every day.

Bruce Pratt said: “Where did this insistence of perfection come from? It’s a workable system, not a perfect one. In the presence of understanding, true understanding, a world of good occurs.”

The insistence of perfection come from KSW #1 which claims that standard tech is perfection and all other ideas are to be hammered out of existence.

In the independent field, auditors attempt to reach a state of true understanding and to help pcs deal with what they wish to have handled. If a pc does not fit in the neat categories of the latest versions of COS standard tech, the skilled auditor will find some early tech that applies to the pc and will devise a program that uses that tech to produce the needed result. Sometimes the skilled auditor will have to extrapolate from early research results in order to find the solution to a pc’s problem.

There is a wealth of tested technology that does not show up on the standard grade chart. When auditor or pc are stuck in stage #9 of denial, the pc is limited to the services blessed by the COS.

Bruce Pratt  on October 29th, 2011 Edit comment

Interesting points of debate, discussion. For my self, I do apologize for even entertaining discussion of LRH vs his body of work. Different things. I really am much more interested in the body of work as opposed to the man who compiled it.

As far as KSW beging natural law, as well as perfection stemming from KWS #1. I guess that’s possible because current testimony supports that can happen. Did not happen for me, but that’s just me. Call me contrarian. Just don’t call me late for dinner.

Bruce

Vítek Profant  on November 1st, 2011 Edit comment

Very good article, very pan-determined. But I don’t particularly agree with the point 10, because one have free choice, his own dynamics, his own data and for whatever reason doesn’t have to think that helping people through how they’ve been trained in Co$ is desirable.
Otherwise, thank you for the viewpoint.

David St Lawrence  on November 5th, 2011 Edit comment

Vitek,

When someone is trained and KNOWS they can get desirable results from using the technology, they generally are willing to help others.

I am not suggesting that they HAVE to help others, but responsibility is cause and a trained person can generally find a way to use their training to improve the state of their environment in some way…unless they are concerned that they will get in trouble for using the technology they are trained in.

This does not apply to the person who has no certainty that the tech work or who has never seen it applied well. These people know what they have observed and using the tech to help others is really not their responsibility.

On the other hand, someone who has successfully audited others and achieved the wins that being an auditor provides is denying themselves and future preclears better lives.

People are looking for relief from the stresses and upsets and insanities of life and are willing to go to great lengths to get that relief.

Alternative medicine and spiritual therapies abound in almost every community because people feel the need to unburden themselves of the physical and spiritual pain they carry with them.

A well-trained auditor who cannot find an outlet for his talents is missing out on the best part of life. He has probably stopped himself from realizing the goal that prompted him to get into Scientology in the first place.

The emergence of the independent field auditor may be one of the most interesting stories of this decade. This blog is dedicated to helping and encouraging those who are willing to strike off on their own and make their own decisions on what constitutes workable technology.

elizabeth hamre  on November 14th, 2011 Edit comment

Hi David, Elizabeth Here. My siter is full OT 7 since76 We were at St Hill together the same year. She dont want to hear anything about Scientology, Like it never existed, that is not right she gets very antagonistic when I mention it. By now You know where I am. Advise please? At list i would like to talk to her about my wins She wont even look at my blog. Refuses, she teaches yoga.

OldAuditor  on November 14th, 2011 Edit comment

Elizabeth, You have spent a long time exploring your own universes.
Perhaps it is time for you to put your considerable talents to the task of understanding the universes of others.

She appears to have found a solution for the problems of life which she now teaches to others.
Enforcing or even introducing other solutions will upset the stable datums which she has chosen to explain life.
It would appear that she is no longer searching for answers as she has all the answers she needs.

If you cannot validate her for having found a solution that works for her,
I suggest that you turn your attention elsewhere where you can make a difference.

Life is relatively short. Do the actions that promote your own survival and do not upset the survival of others.
Messing with other people’s stable datums is rarely productive.
Getting someone to examine their stable datums takes a great deal of skill and a caring attitude.
It is a vastly different task than examining and changing one’s own stable datums.

Good luck!

John Doe  on December 21st, 2011 Edit comment

Interesting thought: If one follows the KSW dictum, “hammering out of existence incorrect technology”, then might that also apply to incorrect technology that is part of the brand Scientology? For instance, Disconnection and whatever policies those camera hat people are following? These bits of ‘tech’ are so obviously not correct technologies designed to ‘free mankind’, and are demonstrably so unworkable, that they are leading to the destruction of the church, if not also the subject itself.

Indeed, KSW#1 doesn’t say, “hammering out of existence any technology about the mind and spirit but Scientology technology”, although the context in which these ‘ten points’ appear definitely leads to that conclusion, and has been so interpreted by everyone I ever met in the church

I think it would be wonderfully ironic if just the 10 points of KSW were stripped away from the context of the rant they appear in, and used as a guideline by thoughtful people to sift through the body of Scientology work to actually get to the point of ‘having the correct technology’, and further, having the courage to ‘hammer out of existence, incorrect technology’, even if that bit of incorrect technology was authored by LRH.

One thought on “The 11 stages of denial encountered when leaving the Church of Scientology

  1. Chuck Beatty

    Two more things I personally think even more powerfully block my progress would be:

    a) Denial of the soul/thetan. I consider the soul like Santa Claus, it is a fiction
    b) Why seek wisdom (realizations) in my own “mind” or thoughts? Better to read and do adult education and just read all the bright ideas and things other humans in history have discovered, because I will never “realize” those things that others have discovered and written books about, LOL! Reading is better more production of realizations for me than my own thousands of hours of auditing I’ve had, so reading suits me FINE today.

    Chuck

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