January 4, 2017

A personal appeal for fairness

I had met Leah Remini several times and worked with her on one occasion and that from what I personally observed, she was someone who would do or say almost anything for personal profit.

January 4, 2017

ABC News
47 West 66th Street,
New York, N.Y. 10023

Dear Mr. Harris,

It’s been brought to my attention that 20/20 is doing a segment on Scientology and children. I’ve been a Scientologist for 15 years and my son will be turning 11 at the end of January. If you have kids then you know that the concept of loving someone infinitely is more true of the love you feel for your child than any other relationship we have in life. My son is the most important person in the world to me. I’m incredibly proud of who he is and who he’s becoming. He makes me a better person and stokes my desire to always be improving myself and to set a good example for him in every way I know how.

Scientology is not something you believe in. It is something you do. It’s a set of principles you can apply in your life to achieve positive results. In 15 years of being a Scientologist I’ve met and worked with countless people from around the world who have dedicated their time and energy to making the world a better place, whether it’s through anti-drug and human rights information, or literacy and life skills education.

As an exercise, I just logged onto abcnews.com. Some key words based on a quick scan of the mobile homepage: enemies, suicide bombings, killed, cop-killing, dead, death, struggles, murder, injured, shooting. That’s just in the “Top Stories” section.

A quick scan of keywords of the mobile homepage for ScientologyNews.org: celebrates, volunteers, hope, happiness, success, magic, ability, understand.

When I was a kid, the nightly news was 30 minutes and filled with the extraordinary things that had happened around the world that day, good and bad. The fact that they were so out of the ordinary is what made them newsworthy. But in the age of the 24-hour news cycle, what once was considered extraordinary is now presented so relentlessly that it starts to seem like “normal” life. And the world you and your colleagues present is an exceptionally dangerous, unhappy place. “If it bleeds it leads” may sell advertising space and keep the lights on, but at what human cost?

Christmas week I was driving with my 10-year-old son in Hollywood when we came upon a billboard advertising Leah Remini’s latest show. It insinuated that our church leadership was trying to cover up some heinous truth. It made my son cry. He asked me why people would say things like that. I explained to him that I had met Leah Remini several times and worked with her on one occasion and that from what I personally observed, she was someone who would do or say almost anything for personal profit. Trying to explain to your 10-year-old that some people are willing to hurt other people, including him, for money makes you want to do whatever you can to change things for the better. Hence my letter to you.

There is an undercurrent to all the negative press about Scientology: If the Church isn’t who they say they are, then everyone can go about their business as usual. In other words, they don’t have to take any personal responsibility for the state of the world because that’s just the way things are and anyone telling you things can be much better is selling snake oil. If Scientology is “too good to be true” then it somehow becomes okay that we live in a world where criminality, war, profiteering and corruption are the norm.

But if, in fact, there’s a group of people out there who have genuinely workable solutions to drug addiction, rampant human rights abuses, illiteracy and crime, then “business as usual” starts to become a matter of personal irresponsibility on the part of any individual who has a chance to help make the world a better place but chooses to do nothing—not to mention those who profit from the status quo.

Please know that while the work you’re doing may advance your career, sell advertising and get ratings, it also personally affects the lives of people like my son, who is the kindest, most sincere and empathetic person I know. You are contributing to a culture of bigotry and misunderstanding that makes his life harder, and that’s so far from my experience and the experience of thousands of other Scientologists that it bears no resemblance to reality.

I just watched It’s A Wonderful Life with my family. It is a holiday tradition. On Rotten Tomatoes, 94 percent of critics liked it. The other 6 percent are miserable bastards. Stop spending all your time talking to people like that and try to be open to the viewpoints of the vast majority of Scientologists who could write a novel about how they have used it to improve their lives in ways they never thought possible.

My fervent hope is that within my lifetime, being a Scientologist becomes about as newsworthy as being a Buddhist or a Methodist. There’s an extraordinary amount of helpful, life-changing information to be found in Scientology. I’m not asking you to advocate for it. I’m just hoping that at some point you’ll be brave enough to let people judge for themselves in an environment not poisoned by the bitter justifications of a tiny minority of people who are fundamentally unhappy no matter what group they find themselves in.

Thanks for your time.

Best,
Wil Seabrook
Altadena, Calif.

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