I’ve been friends with this guy for more than ten years. We hit it off pretty immediately and have stayed in touch through the years. I have never made any secret about being a devout Scientologist. I never pushed it on him, but I always answered any questions he had.
I had no idea that I was fostering a toxic friendship until he posted something on Facebook that really sucked.
He opened his post with “Some of my closest friends and some of the best people I know are Scientologists, but…” Then he went on to praise ex-Scientologist Leah Remini’s show and closed it by basically bashing both me and my religion.
In a couple sentences he told me that I’m awesome—one of the best people he knows—but I’m also an evil cult member who ruins lives. I had never heard this from him, nor do I think he would say it to my face.
I had to take some time to process that. It stung pretty badly. The worst thing about it was that he formed his decision not from the people he knows—knows well—and claims to care for, but from the vitriolic cast of a reality show. People, I might add, that he doesn’t know and has never met.
I thought about calling him and putting the truth on the line, but I didn’t. I have been in this situation before with a “friend” spending so many years nursing secret hatreds to the point that nothing I say makes any difference.
After all, I have been branded a brainwashed cult member, so he’ll spend just as much time trying to “save” me. And nothing comes of it.
If he wants his “truth” to come from a scripted show, so be it. He can choose a television show’s reality over the real individuals and friends he recognizes as some of the “best people he knows.”
But see here’s the thing: though I was raised by Scientologist parents, they left the choice of becoming a Scientologist up to me. They, of course, exposed me to it, but before I really became a Scientologist for myself I studied many other world religions. I went to different churches and read the Bible and the Book of Mormon and studied Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism, and Buddhism. And while I found many great things offered by each of these religions, the one that spoke to me most was the religion of my upbringing. I became a Scientologist of my own accord. Nobody pressured me. Nobody forced me. I was free to make a choice and I did. I was nineteen years old when I dedicatedly became a Scientologist. I was living in San Diego on my own and felt that my life was lacking faith in a greater power.
Having become a Scientologist, I’ve never looked back, never regretted it, never gone a day without being thankful I made this decision, because it has given me tools that have enabled me to stand confidently on my own two feet.
Today, I don’t take crap from anybody. I don’t get pushed around, I refuse to be covertly bullied by someone who will never truly be my friend. If he wants his “truth” to come from a scripted show, so be it. He can choose a television show’s reality over the real individuals and friends he recognizes as some of the “best people he knows.”
My truth is something I live every day and it makes me happy. It grounds me in a world that is upside down and topsy-turvy. My kids are happy, smart, healthy. My marriage is going on ten years and I am more in love and closer with my husband today than we were the day we got married. I love my job. I love my life. I wake up in the morning happy to be alive and ready to conquer the barriers that may crop up.
If that’s “cultish” and “evil” then sign me up for more, please.