This is my story of escaping from Scientology’s Sea Organization.
I spent 18 years at the so-called Flag Land Base, Clearwater, FL and 2 years on the cruise ship Freewinds at the Caribbean.
The schedule on the ship was much more tough than at Flag and the sugarcoat treatment I received at the beginning melted away very quick. I ended up in the brutal atmosphere of the galley with a nasty Restaurant Manager as my senior.
I acquired a hernia and I had to continue carrying heavy racks for several more months. I also noticed the way the Captain of the ship was talking to his crew: even though the majority spent over 25 years in service, many times on the same post, he treated them like complete assholes. It didn’t make sense.
Later on I was transferred to an admin position, where I was doing well first, but when I had to also take over organizing all the Sea Watches (with zero experience and no man-resources) and handle the Scientology books call center attendance, also with no resources, people started to yell at me very soon.
The Reason I Left
There were two final drops in the glass. I was sent to Taiwan to handle the $200,000 debts of an on recruit and of course we failed. I got charged with accepting an illegal order going on the project in the first place. I wasn’t able to leave the ship for over 3 months, which made me quite claustrophobic.
Then the last thing was a day off that was supposed to be for all crew. We were about to go on a movie outing, which was one of these rare instances, as the usual schedule made sure I couldn’t go with my wife most of the time.
When I went to the cabin, my wife told me that a very high level executive ordered that she couldn’t go as she only produced over 7 hours that day and not 8.
This was the point when we decided for good that we wanted to leave. The obvious choice was to get pregnant, but that didn’t work out for some reason.
I had a 1-inch kidney stone that was stuck on the way down and per the doctors was putting my life into constant danger. My right kidney shut off in response, but it was still somewhat alive and was possible to save it if acted on fast enough. Nothing was happening on it for over a year. I have to give the merit on the ship’s doctor who discovered it – I had had it for 10 years and I only had pain a couple of times.
Going To Florida
Eventually I was named to go to Clearwater to handle the Ship’s files at the warehouse and to handle my kidney stone cycle. I knew I wasn’t ever going back.
The project was fun. Finally I got my kidney stone removed, but unfortunately I was heavily under the effect of the anesthetics. I was driving and someone ran into me. It wasn’t my fault, but I wasn’t careful enough.
We were leaving to go to lunch and I stopped at the red light. The light turned green, and I started turning. A woman ran her red light and crashed into the side of my rental car.
Because of this accident one night I was told that I would be flying back to the Ship next morning.
I was terrified of getting confined to the ship for months while my wife would be sent to Clearwater to do her training for six months or so.
So I got in comm with my wife and she fortunately agreed that I had to go. We agreed to be in comm. I got a Florida map on my tablet.
I got on the plane at Tampa and in Miami I just didn’t catch my connecting flight to Aruba.
OK, so I was there in Miami with a few hundred dollars of cash and a few credit cards. And I had no idea about the laws of the jungle out here, after being inside for 20 years. But I felt totally relieved that I wasn’t under the suppression any more.
I decided to go to Panama City. It was a big mistake, a degraded Florida dust spot. I was looking on Craigslist and I saw pretty good rooms listed for $300 per month.
Eventually I figured out these were just scams posted by a site named Roomster to con you into signing up for their site and pay for their membership, the rooms didn’t exist. But I was counting on this room when I arrived to Panama City.
I stayed at a cheap motel, but I made the big mistake of paying with my credit card, trying to save cash. The Ship tried my wife’s password on my credit card account and instantly got the phone number of the motel. They were calling and they had my wife call also to persuade me to return, I heard her leaving a message on the voicemail.
My hunch told me I shouldn’t answer my wife’s call, and I was right – she was calling with the Ethics Officer in the background. They told the receptionist that I was ill and I needed medication…
Getting Locked Out of My Accounts
A couple of hours later my wife called on my cell, this time by herself. She told me that I needed to change all my credit card passwords, as they got into my accounts and they were changing my passwords and locking me out of my own accounts. They even called Citibank and pretended to be me, trying to get my password changed, but fortunately my non-existent pet’s name wasn’t in my life history, so they failed…
She also told me that they found the Facebook account I had just created when trying to sign up for Roomster and that I shouldn’t log into Facebook as OSA Flag is working with the Ship to recover me and they have a way to get my location if I logged in. So I stayed away from Facebook as insecure, no way to get help there. Finally she told me that someone was getting on the plane from Clearwater to find me in the motel and bring me back.
My relax time was over. I changed all my passwords and slipped out of the motel, leaving the key in the room. I told the receptionist I was going for a walk.
Finding A New Place
I stayed outside the entire night, not knowing how far they will go trying to recover me. It started raining heavily and I spent the whole night under the roofed entrance of a church, hiding from the heavy rain.
The next morning I went to an ugly abandoned beach area with trash all over the place and passed out for a couple of hours there in the sun. I got onto Craigslist an I managed to somehow find a place to stay 60 miles away in Fountain, completely cut off from human life. Without going into too much detail, the room was freezing cold, someone smoking pot next door, the owners going into a fight with each other.
I posted on Craigslist that I was looking for a room. Someone contacted me that they had a nice apartment for rent. They wanted me to Western Union the money and then his attorney would come over and hand me the keys. I almost did it. I was in the Western Union office filling out the form when I realized it was a scam. The guy just picked a property for sale on a website and advertised it on Craigslist for rent.
I had to go back to my earlier place… slept in the hallway as my room had already been rented out to someone else. Everyone was asking for proof of income and background check. Luckily I found a somewhat less crappy place in an trailer park in a suburb of Panama City.
Looking For A Job
I started to submit job applications on Indeed.com. No result whatsoever. My wife gave me some of her Xmas bonus…
I continued searching for jobs on Craigslist. There was another scam I avoided, a fake cashier’s check scam where someone offered a job to do some shopping for him. He sent me a check that turned out fake he wanted to deposit it into my bank account, withdraw it and send most of the money to his “travel agent” and I could keep the rest. Except the check was fake and I would have ended up with a negative balance.
There was another fake Army Captain that was looking for a personal assistant that I dodged, then I worked for free for a scammer for an entire week that had me post on Craigslist.
And there was another one with a vacation rentals scam who was “renting out” houses that were being sold on Zillow.com.
As you can see, it was really rough. I was paying my credit card minimum payments and was using the credit cards to live on. My debts were at $15K.
Rescuing My Wife
Finally my wife called me and told me that she was coming to Flag. It was weekend, therefore the car rental places were all closed. I persuaded my landlord to drive me to the airport and I rented a car.
Sunday morning I headed for Miami. Quite a long haul. After a few hours of driving my wife called me from the airport in Aruba saying that the plan had to change – her suitcase was locked inside the huge mailbag that was going to Clearwater and she couldn’t get it out, she was already drawing attention of the officials. Therefore we had to meet in Tampa. Which was less driving, but made the whole thing more uncertain. Can I get to her before she would get picked up? In which case I was going to stay around and abduct her from around.
Tampa airport was under renovation when I arrived. I think I went to the 10th floor of the short term parking garage. Her contact person was on the 8th floor and luckily had to stay at the van. My wife used a nail clip to cut off the plastic brace from the mailbag and freed her suitcase and came upstairs. We drove off and never looked back.
When we got “home” there was an email waiting for us from the ship. I think we got 24 hours or be declared. I was looking forward to it! Also my wife was told that $10,000 was missing from the mail bag – another bogus attempt.
Still No Job
We tried finding a job, no success. We ended up signing up for an eBay coaching program. We purchased customer return electronics and sold it. There was no profit in it, but at least we were able to roll forward our credit cards.
We were both sick of the marijuana smoking of our landlord, so we decided to move to Jacksonville. Bad neighborhood, unfortunately. We tried to scale up our eBay business, so we ordered two pallets of Walmart electronics customer returns.
Unfortunately our housemates were criminals. We got robbed the first time.
Then someone attacked my wife inside the place we were staying. She was getting punched on her head. I grabbed the chick off her and I grabbed the attacker’s neck, at which point she fled.
We moved all our stuff into our room and put up a camera there. One day we went to a thrift store to look for some merchandise… Our room was broken into and the camera was disconnected before it was able to start recording.
Ran Out of Cash
We had no more cash to find another place and I was strongly against borrowing more. We are going back to Hungary, I decided. We left all our merchandise there. I found a flight for $500 for each of us.
Finally I got to see my mother after 20 years.
We have now divorced and I need to restart my life from scratch at 46, with only having a suitcase of clothes and my debts.
There are many more abuse stories like this. If you have one, please submit it through my contact form.
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