BBC reporter John Sweeney revisits the Church of Scientology
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Sunday September 26, 2010
I never meant to shout.
Strangers had been on my tail. Scientologist Tommy Davis and his colleague Mike Rinder – my handlers – had been on my case, day in and day out.
They had taken me to an exhibit called ‘Psychiatry: Industry of Death‘ on Hollywood Boulevard, where a Scientologist told me psychiatrists set up the Holocaust. I feared I was being brain-washed.
And then I lost it – big time.
The Church of Scientology put out my impression of an exploding tomato onto the internet which millions had a laugh at courtesy of YouTube.
It was no way for me to behave. I apologised then and I apologise now.
Shortly after that programme, Scientology & Me, aired in 2007, I received a tip-off that Mike Rinder had left the church.
Three years on and my old adversary came to me to shed some light on what had been going on behind the scenes in the days leading up to my infamous meltdown and screaming session in Los Angeles.
Now an independent Scientologist, Mike is critical of the church and of its leader David Miscavige, who was actor Tom Cruise’s best man at his wedding to Katie Holmes.
Mike, 55, wanted to meet and talk about his life in the church, which he was a part of from the age of six.
He began by telling me about the moment when he decided to get out: “I knew as I was walking out – that was the last time I would ever talk to my wife, my children, the rest of my family. I couldn’t take it anymore. When I left I felt I had been freed.”
Mike was subjected to what the church calls disconnection. His wife, daughter, son, brother and mother have cut him out of their lives.
Mike was one of a number of people we met who effectively grew up in the church and have since left.
Those who speak out say they can be deemed by the church to be enemies and subjected to disconnection – when all ties to family and friends are severed.
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