What’s Wrong With The Church, Part 4: Disconnection, a Personal Perspective
I’d like to pause for a moment and give you a couple of personal stories regarding “disconnection”.
When I was a teenager, I happened to meet a kid who turned out to be like a “soul mate” to me. Let’s call him “Chris”. We were best friends in high school. He understood me better than anyone else besides my mother. And I understood him the same way. I spent many enjoyable days and evenings over at his house. We talked for hours, played board games, wrote stories together. One of my years of high school, he spent the year at a location where we could only write letters to each other. We wrote absolute tomes to each other, discussing girls, philosophy, science fiction and anything else you can imagine (yeah, we were weird kids).
Chris was a year older than me. So when I was a senior in high school, he was in his first year at his chosen university. When it came time for me to go to my university of choice, it was a different one. But we kept in touch. We still wrote letters, though not as often or as long. Life sort of intervened.
At some point, I got into Scientology and joined staff. He was fairly open minded about this, though he was on a different spiritual path. We still continued to correspond. Then one day he surprised me with a visit. I convinced him to do read Dianetics and do Comm Course at the Church, which seemed to go okay. When he went back to school, he did the HQS course, and then decided he didn’t want to continue in Scientology. Knowing his father and family, I can say that his family was probably very antagonistic toward Scientology, which would explain why might not want to continue in it.
I was fairly philosophical about this. After all, it was his choice. Some time passed. We continued to correspond, but as time wore on, the tone of his letters became more critical, especially when it came to Scientology. He actually visited me at one point again. Shortly after that, he began to see a psychologist. He became more and more critical and snide in his communications with me. This, too, was his choice. I was willing to avoid the subject of Scientology with him, but he became harsher and harsher.
Finally, I had enough. Once last critical letter, and I decided I didn’t want to hear from him again. I simply avoided answering his letter, and never heard from him again. No attempt from him to re-establish contact, so he must have seen the writing on the wall. He must have sensed that he was driving me away and been okay with that. I had disconnected from him, not because the Church told me to, but because I didn’t want to listen to this guy who’d been my best friend, my soul mate for so many years, continue to attack me and my choice of religion. I wouldn’t have attacked his religion, if he’d had one. A shame, really, but Chris just wouldn’t let it be.
I haven’t heard from Chris since. His father died a number of years ago, and I knew where Chris was. I almost contacted him to send condolences, but decided against it. I didn’t want to reopen old wounds. I imagine Chris has had occasion in the years since to regret his conduct. Or maybe he forgot about me completely. Who knows?
My second story is about a Scientologist I used to room with in my twenties. We’ll call him “Pete”. He was a great guy, really laid back and cool. He was a solid expert in his career field. At some point, we both moved away and lost touch. Years later, I was daydreaming one day and wondered whatever happened to Pete. I searched around and found him on one of the social networking sites. I didn’t have an account on that particular site, so I created one and sent him a message (to send someone a private message, you had to have an account there).
Pete recognized his old roommate and we re-established a comm line. At some point, Pete decided to caution me that I might want to not communicate with him because he was on the outs with the Church. I was a little amused, and touched by his concern about my relationship with the Church if I kept on corresponding with him. I was also concerned by the tone of regret or distress I felt from him.
I don’t recall exactly what I said to him at the time. But the gist of it was that the Church didn’t dictate to me who I talked to. I didn’t give them that right. Of course, at the time I would have liked to do whatever I could to mend his relationship with the Church. And rightly or wrongly, it just felt to me like Pete had been through enough crap without having another friend desert him.
But most important, there were a couple of stable data involved. Both were essays by LRH. One was The Code of Honor and the other was On Personal Integrity. Pete was a friend of mine. Whatever beef he had with the Church was beside the point. As a friend, I wanted to help him if I could. But regardless, I wanted to be clear that our friendship was more important than whatever crap was going on between him and the Church. Besides, I’d been through the ringer with the Church many times before. I wasn’t going to let them tell me who I could and couldn’t talk to. As long as Pete wasn’t shooting holes in my car or trying to steal my wife, there wasn’t any reason I could see not to talk to him.
Pete and I have continued our correspondence. He’s still the cool, laid back friend I remember, only a little more seasoned, and a little bit farther up the Bridge now (no thanks to me or the current Church). My only beef with Pete: the dude’s got more hair than I do now. ;-}
My point in these two stories? Well, they both have to do with disconnection, but otherwise none, really. Well, maybe that every once in a while it’s worth whipping out a copy of The Code of Honor and On Personal Integrity and considering them in relation to your life.