Scientology does not have a good reputation for most people, if you say the name to most the word that probably pops into their head is “cult”.
Now, a new story has surfaced from an ex-Scientology life coach, about the horrible abuse and torture she suffered at the hands of Scientology for three years, all because she kissed a girl.
Before the trouble began, Nora worked at the Los Angeles Celebrity Centre, where she was the life coach to John Travolta and Tom Cruise’s children. But when Nora “kissed a girl and liked it”, she was put into the Rehabilitation Project Force [RPF], which former members describe as “Scientology prison”.
You may or may not know that Scientology’s founder, L Ron Hubbard classified homosexuality as an “illness” and “sexual peversion” and believed it was the Church’s duty to “cure” them.
Nora is the first person ever to reveal the horrible practices and abuse inflicted on Scientologist homosexuals, as they sent for years to the RPF and subjected to “hard labor” in squalid conditions for months and sometimes years on end.
“It was the most horrific time of my life.” Nora said. “I was battered and bruised, pushed around and nearly died trying to leave the Church and all because I had the audacity to desire another woman. I was brainwashed into believing I’d done wrong and had to live in horrific conditions for three years before I was finally allowed to leave. This can’t be allowed to happen to another person, hence why I’m speaking out. Homosexuality in the Church is the lowest of the low, you’re treated like scum.”
Nora did manage to escape and is now happily married, but not before she was forced to drink bleach in a desperate attempt to escape. Before the horrific events began for Nora, she was a member of the Sea Org, who are a hardcore group for dedicated members who sign a billion-year contract tying them to the Church.
Both her parents were members and were very eager for Nora to be as well.
“My father decided that there was no other path in life. Even at an early age, he was trying to get me to recall past lives, which is what Scientologists believe in. But I loved normal things like basketball and soccer. I had a plan to go to college and be a sports broadcaster. But I eventually took a job at 18 at the Lewis Carroll Academy of the Arts teaching PE and reading. It was a Scientology school, and in the eyes of the Church, you’re fully qualified if you’ve graduated from High School.”
“I did it to please my dad and the Church. When you’re a Scientologist, you want to show your dedication, and that it is at the heart of everything you do. I was doing more and more courses and had reached the “State of Clear” by the age of 14, which is really young. They say your mind is then free of unwanted emotions, but it basically means you’ve been fully brainwashed. They convinced me that, as I was doing so well, then I must have been a Sea Org member in another life, so it was my duty to do it again.”
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Nora was given a trusted position at the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles and worked with children of celebrities to help them study Hubbard’s teachings. Eventually, Nora found herself sharing a room with another girl.
“A few months later I got sick and [the girl] said she’d give me a Scientology ‘nerve assist’, which means laying your hands on critical nerves along the spine to get the body going again. It felt nice and comforting, she then offered to tuck me into bed, and leaned down and kissed me on the mouth. It was more than a peck. It was a very explosive moment in my mind.”
“I didn’t know what was happening and how I was feeling, but I liked it, and we continued to kiss over the next few months, but never anything more. We didn’t engage in sex before marriage, as we knew how strict it was. I didn’t want to get into trouble, I even got myself a boyfriend to hide what we were doing. I was completing major courses in Scientology, I thought this was my life and didn’t want to screw it up.”
However, it didn’t take long for other members of the Sea Org to find out what was going on, and Nora was ordered to take part in what she called an “intense interrogation.
“They recorded everything and said I was destroying the Sea Org morale, it was too much for everyone, so I confessed to everything, I felt so guilty. I was then told I wouldn’t be on my job anymore and they were going to work out what to do with me. They did the same with [the girl]. We were put on cleaning and construction work for three months before they sent me to RPF in March 2000, which is when my hell began.”
“It was the culture where every minute of every day, hundreds of people were watching you, judging you, making sure you didn’t step out of line. We were sleeping in dorms where there were at least 33 women on bunk beds, three beds high. If I put my hand on the shoulder of a woman, spoke to a woman, or anytime I was nice to a woman, I’d get a report. We had three meals a day, where you have 20 minutes to gather your food and eat it, and 30 minutes to do your hygiene.”
“You get numbed by nudity and have no privacy. You get used to going to the toilet and five people watch you. The rooms had bugs and cockroaches; the bunks were dirty mattresses with rusty springs dating back to the 50s. Disgusting conditions become the norm and you think that’s what you deserve and that you are what they say you are: a worthless piece of s**t.”
“You spoke only when you were spoken to. All outside communication was heavily vetted, so if my mom wrote a letter they would cross things out or I’d be interrogated asking why she said a certain thing. We got $11.25 a week and had to buy everything with that including hygiene products. If you wanted a snack you had to buy it yourself. You’d go to the canteen and they’d charge you $1 for a coke or $2 for a protein bar. That’d leave with you hardly anything for the rest of the week.”
“You’re required to run all day, every day. If you need the bathroom you have to run there. Your uniform consists of black jeans, grey shirts, a belt and steel toe-capped boots, as everyone worked on construction in some form. I worked for the electrical unit, even though I had no knowledge, and was given various challenges that you had to complete in a certain time.”
“For example, I’d have to put down five junction boxes in a minute, if I missed the target, I’d have to ‘Take A Lap’, which meant going down to the basement of the facility and running a quarter mile. If they didn’t want you to take the time to do that, they’d make you do fifty sit-ups or push-ups on the spot every time you missed the target. We would also be thrown ‘overboard’, which stemmed from people being punished on other bases where they’d be thrown into a lake or pool of water. As we didn’t have any water near us, we would stand in an empty trash can while various people poured buckets of iced water over your head and were shouting at you about what crap you were. After they were done with you, you were made to clean up all the mess.”
“Every Tuesday they would serve hamburgers and fries for lunch. It was the one thing, besides cold scrambled eggs for breakfast, that we had consistently. We’d be made to wait in line for the food to be distributed, there’d be around 250 people. When the doors opened, there was large stands of burger and fries and people would be diving at them, it was like a scene from Lord of the Flies, elbowing, punching each other, ripping hamburgers from one another, screaming in each others’ faces, then running off with the food to corners of the room like rabid animals and eating it quickly. It was a fight for life in there, every single day.”
“I was doing a Scientology routine where you learn to use verbal and physical commands to move a person from one wall across the room to the other. I was working with a man in his 40s and over 200 pounds in weight. He was becoming increasingly frustrated with not being able to move me across the room and became suddenly violent, picking me up off the ground and slamming my whole body repeatedly into the concrete wall. Two of my ribs on the left side dislocated from my frame, and cracked, and one on the right fractured. I had no pain medication or anti-inflammatory and I was still made to work.”
“Then while doing construction on a new accommodation block, I was breaking down a pony wall with a sledge hammer. After swinging the hammer for 20 minutes I collapsed and couldn’t move. I was unable to walk unaided and hunched like a 95-year-old. After I could stand for more than ten minutes on my own I was put back to work – ten to 15 hours a day. After all this, I was adamant I wanted leave, but they made it virtually impossible for me.”
Following two years of this ordeal, Nora tried to quit.
“They said I could leave but interrogated me with thousands of questions – are you a secret FBI agent? Do you want to harm the Church? Over and over again. The only way you can leave officially is if you go up against a board of your fellow Sea Org members, who you’ve been close to for so long, and prove to them that you’re not fit enough to be in the Sea Org anymore, you have to say you’re so pathetic that you’re not worthy of it.”
“I had to tell them i was a degraded human being, unable to help me or anyone else, I was a terrible person and they should please kick me out. It was one of the worst days of my life and I had to wait for three months for their decision while being convinced to stay on a daily basis. They’re telling me that I’m useless and I’m only ever going to be a hooker on the outside, I’d have nothing. They threatened to split my family up and that I could never speak to my mother or sister. Ultimately, I changed my mind and decided to stay, they’d broken me again.”
“I was put in the laundry unit and we were having fun, someone saw this and thought I was trying to seduce her, so they ordered me to do a confessional with an E-Meter, which would show if I’m telling the truth. I was asked all these questions if i’d kissed her, touched her, talked naughty words to her. I started laughing. I put down the E-Meter and said: “This isn’t Scientology”, and tried to leave the room, but they were stopping me. More and more people came into the room.”
“I was trying to get to the door and got five feet from it, but they were grabbing all parts of me and dragging me down. At one point, I had 13 people on my body and was pinned to the floor. I couldn’t move, I was screaming, but I somehow managed to break free an arm and open the door and wrangle free. I was being kicked and punched, my face was covered in blood, but I just ran. Not thinking straight, I didn’t run to the police, instead I ran to the security at the base, who held me there until an RPF officer came to see me. Next day, I was told by the commanding officer that I was a piece of s**t and would be heavily punished.”
“I was made to scrub walls, but I was crying hysterically even as I was working. I thought there was no escape, I even tried to cut my wrists with scissors, but they were so blunt that I couldn’t do it, I really thought that I was so inept I couldn’t even kill myself properly. I then went into a utility cupboard and saw a massive bottle of industrial strength bleach and so drank a hefty cap full, around the equivalent of a quarter cup. I fell backwards, my whole body was convulsing, my throat started to swell. When they found me, they got a gallon of milk and put me in a room and made me drink it. ”
“They then got a Scientology doctor, who escorted me to a hospital and made sure I stuck to the true story before we went inside, that I was not depressed and drank bleach by accident. The doctor didn’t believe me and kept asking the same questions, but I stuck to the story. When I was released from hospital, they took me to a building and I was forced to sign a waiver that I wasn’t ever going to sue the Church, say bad things, never criticize it. I said it all to camera. I didn’t care, I just wanted to go home. They then drove me to Eagle Rock in LA where my mom lived. I was just so relieved to see her. But I didn’t tell my mom what really happened for five years.”
Thankfully, following this horrifying ordeal, after some lengthy adjusting to the real world again she met her husband, Cameron, an ex-Sea Org member.
“I don’t think I would have coped without Cameron by my side. I can safely say that marrying my husband and having children saved my life.”