January 4, 2017

ABC 20/20 show on Scientology

This show you’re about to air has hurtful, wrong information about my religion. It’s that type of incorrect information propagated that will result in wrongfully targeted hate and bias.

January 4, 2016

ABC 20/20
New York, N.Y. 10023

Dear Mr. Harris,

I just became aware of a segment you’re planning to air on your 20/20 show which takes aim at my religion, Scientology.

Both of my parents were Scientologists when I was born. However, they both let me know that I was free to choose my religion as my father was of Jewish descent and mother a Protestant. They didn't push me to receive any Scientology religious counseling, courses, etc. I asked them for it at the age of 12, as I wanted to see what the religion was about. I had friends from different faiths and I was curious which would work for me.

As a child in school, I was very shy and introverted. I didn’t really ‘fit in’ you could say. That was what I wanted most to handle in life. The first service I did as a child was the Success Through Communication Course which helps a person confront and communicate with life in its various aspects. About the same time, I received my first auditing to help me address my insecurities and trouble with confronting life. While receiving those services at the Church of Scientology Mission of Montrose, I was helped by a lady named Carol and man named Arshak. They were so incredibly helpful and acted like family, answering questions and allowing me to reach my own conclusions. I just came to the mission after school each day, spent a couple hours at the church doing a course or getting the counseling, and went home. The counseling was a structured discussion with a minister about the troubles I was running into. After about 3-4 weeks I found myself coming out of my shell, able to confront talking to others and just better able to be myself comfortably.

I never experienced nor witnessed any mistreatment. After a few months I felt happy and confident and started making new friends. School was easier and life became fun for me. It was that huge improvement in the condition of my life that made me want to choose Scientology as my faith and to continue within the Church. Part of what made it so easy was that the doctrine I was raised with in Scientology is that if any of the information I received wasn’t true for me, I didn’t have to believe it. I could choose the pieces that made sense to me and use and apply those to my life at my own will.

I am now 37 and have continued in Scientology. Meeting many other Scientologists and Scientology families, while each has their own stories, they all had similar gains to mine in their own ways. The happiest families I know are those applying Scientology in their lives. Not once did I observe, experience or hear rumor of any mistreatment of children or families. My Scientologist friends in school were the friends not doing drugs, not having promiscuous sex around school, and who were driven to do well and help others do well. If their personal ethics started to slide, they were helped to get their ethics in so that they started succeeding in life again.

This show you’re about to air has hurtful, wrong information about my religion. It’s that type of incorrect information propagated that will result in wrongfully targeted hate and bias against my religion and the families within my religion. I don’t want my own children to be afraid to tell others at school that they are Scientologists or to get bullied or ridiculed for being in Scientology families. That would be very similar to WW2-era Germany where families and children were ridiculed and bullied for being Jewish.

I respect you for your religious beliefs whatever they may be. Even if you’re atheist or agnostic in your beliefs, you are innately entitled to whatever they may be. I won’t attack or allow others to attack what you believe, so please do not assist others in attacking mine.

You are completely responsible for what you air on your network. Do you want to be known for forwarding religious hate in the same vein as the Jews experienced not long ago? Is the money or rating worth that? This is YOUR life and YOUR choice. YOU have to live with it, no one else. Please don’t let this be a smear on that work.

Respectfully,
Ryan Gross
Woodland Hills, Calif.

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