From: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Sunday, August 08, 1999 4:59 PM
Subject: My Story Continues
Thank you for your response. As I said, I think I was simply suffering
from the constraints of email. Sometimes one has to be more explicit
with an acknowledgement via email to ensure it comes across. Thanks.
All right, let me continue my story.
I had finally made the clear decision that I was no longer a
Scientologist. I was hurt and saddened. Before I went back to LA, I
had a few interesting experiences. Most notably, I fell in love, and I
met a most peculiar fellow.
As I know you've had your experiences of being in love, I need not
recount my experience of first being in love. It was a most amazing and
incredible experience. I don't think it plays any part of my views on
Scientology, but it was a major experience for me.
The other experience that I think is worth mentioning is a fellow I met
while in another acting class. His name was Clayton Covell (pseudonym). He was a
short fellow, I didn't think he was particularly handsome; you could
compare him to Gary Sinese. I met him through a friend in the class.
Clayton was odd, as I often heard him say he wanted to start a religion. I
found out that he studied LRH, not for the content of his work, but for
the power he amassed. He greatly admired LRH's abilities to command
authority, and wanted to find similar power for himself. He was amazed
to learn that I was able to leave Scientology after being born and
raised in the Church. He felt LRH missed something (i.e. if the
religion were developed a little better, I wouldn't have been able to
question the Church as I did). He and I had some interesting
discussions. While I was glad to have met him to learn what I did from
him, I was also glad our friendship was short lived. I don't know if
his view of LRH had any validity, but it sure kept me thinking.
I had also read several anti-Scientology books to see what they all had
to say (i.e. Madman or Messiah, A Piece of Blue Sky, Bare Faced Messiah,
Combating Cult Mind Control, etc.). While they were all interesting
books, with information I hadn't heard before, none of them had more of
an affect on me then my own personal experiences. I will say that
Combating Cult Mind Control did give an account that accurately
reflected the experiences and feelings I was going through, which was
very interesting and reassuring to read. I don't feel that any of the
reading fully answered the many questions I had regarding the Church and
LRH. I suppose I will always have a lot of questions, and I don't think
I will ever get them answered. I can only rely on what I know, and
other people's stories and opinions fall short of filling that space.
The following summer, I went back to California. Many people questioned
my position with Scientology. I was staying with my father. We
generally avoided the subject, though there was great tension between
us. One night Chris called. It had been a while since we spoke. He
was always kind to me when he saw one another, or spoke. After some
discussion, he asked where I stood with Scientology. I explained that I
had reached a point where I could no longer call myself a Scientologist.
I had read books like Bare Faced Messiah, and I had reviewed my own
position with the Church, which lead me to feel a need to leave the
Church. He said that was what he feared. He didn't want to believe
what people said or what the reports read, which is why he called me, he
wanted to hear it from the "horse's mouth" (as he put it). He went on
to say that this conversation was his point of disconnection from me. I
said, with some anger, "You're doing this because you're forced to by
the Church." He said, "That's not true, I can communicate with
I choose, I just choose not to speak with some people." He also stated
that it was really I who was making the choice to disconnect, as I was
the one leaving the Church. I was angered and frustrated; my choice to
leave was not a request to disconnect. Unfortunately, it was clear that
this was how he saw it. I felt no one had an understanding, or could
hear my perspective. In a final fit of anger I said, "Chris,
Scientology is never going to Clear the planet."
"Why is that?"
"Because there's always going to be someone like me around." I
"You Asshole!" and he hung up the phone. That was the last time I
with Chris. I never made my peace with him while he was in the body I
knew. I never got to apologize, or clear the upset. I don't know what
his feelings were about the incident. It is sad for me to think about,
but I know that he and I have both gone our separate ways. There are
times I've assigned myself as the SP on the line for his illness, but he
had disconnected from me so profusely, I'm left assuming I wasn't. I do
feel bad about the whole experience. For me, I have to let it go, as I
assume he has. It is sad just the same.
All right, here's another point that I figure to be a good time to check
in with you. This last ARC break is particularly sensitive to me. When
last I saw Bess and Don, earlier this year, I recounted this story to
them. As you would expect, they listened to my experience, and
acknowledged me. Don reassured me that no one person could have had
that impact on Chris. He also noted that Chris was the sort that didn't
hold on to things. I would be curious to hear if you have any thoughts
on this, as I know you and he were close.
I hope you are well. My story is near an end, and I probably have one
last installment left, which includes my father's disconnection, and the
one very human response I got from Alison Pringle (Osmond?). I do
appreciate your listening, and your acknowledgements.
Best to you,
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Monday, August 09, 1999 11:44 PM
Subject: Re: My Story Continues
Thanks for continuing the story. I didn't get an Email from you right
away and was afraid you didn't want to comm to me anymore. I'm glad
that's not the case.
Please ask me the questions you have about the church. If there are any
I can get answered I'd like to try.
Here is just my thought. Chris is happy you are interested in cleaning
up these ARC breaks. That's what I think he would have wanted. So far,
everything you have been in agreement with in regards to Scientology has
been the true Scientology. It's people's mis application that has given
Scientology a bad name to some. Chris would only want us
to clean up the BPC so that you can have the real Scientology that gave
you the wins you had and so you can become OT if you should so choose to
go that way. He would want you to do well.
From: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 7:37 AM
Subject: Quick Note
Just a quick note, as I'm on my way into work. Thanks for your note. I'm
sorry it took a bit to get back to you. You see, I've just bought a
condo, and I'm getting ready to start my MBA this fall, so my schedule
has not been my own these last couple of weeks.
I want to get back to you about your thoughts and comments. I appreciate
your comments regarding where Chris is. I also want to finish my story.
Please don't get the feeling that I don't want to continue this
communication, I've just been so busy. This communication has been
beneficial to me, and your responses have acknowledged me, and been
inviting for me to continue my story, for this I'm thankful.
I will get back to you within the next couple of days.
From: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 4:29 PM
Subject: Final Installment, and a Question for you
Well, I got home early today, as our office is being painted, and we've
been asked to go home early to avoid the fumes. This means I get some
time to more fully respond to your last email.
First off, I just want to make clear that I don't want to cut short this
valuable comm-line. As I said, it's been enjoyable and rewarding.
From here, I'd like to finish my long story, which you have kindly
listened to, and ask one question of you regarding the Church and my
experience. Here's the rest of my story:
Later that summer, my father asked that I see the MAA at AO. I did. She
asked me where I stood with Scientology. I explained that while I
appreciated the religion, I had reached a point where I needed to take a
step away from the Church. She asked if I considered Scientology to be a cult. I
explained that it depends on how you define "cult." In the
broadest sense, I would consider Christianity a cult, and using that
definition, I would also consider Scientology a cult. She understood my
response, and didn't pursue further. She said my father was concerned
for me, and while she didn't see reason to route me to Ethics, she asked
that I be honest with my father, and have an understanding for his
concern. I said I understood.
I later relayed this to my father. I don't remember our exact
discussion, but I do remember him eventually saying, "Well, maybe we
shouldn't have the father/son relationship we have." I couldn't believe
it, my own father! At this point I knew where I stood, and I knew I
didn't push him to do this. I said, "Max, please understand that this is
fully your choice. I'm not asking to disconnect, but if this is your
choice, then I'm left having to accept it." I was frustrated, sad,
angered, and shocked. My departure from Scientology, while very painful,
was becoming clearer and clearer. There was no way I could return.
Michael, Chris, and my father had all disconnected from me, and through
it, I knew I had to stay true to my view and experience. I will say that
I had one experience that was very different.
One afternoon I was at Delphi LA. I ran upon Alison Pringle who was
teaching Beginner I at the time (if I recall). It was after classes, and
Alison asked if I would sit down with her. She asked where I stood with
Scientology. I started by thanking her for asking. I said, as I had told
others, that I had reached a point where I was left feeling that I had
to step away from the Church. I explained that I went through a number
of experiences, including reading a number of books. I also said that I
wasn't expecting her to disconnect, but I was prepared as others had
made that choice.
With what seemed like near tears in her eyes she said, "No, I don't want
to disconnect from you. I'm just sorry to hear that this is a choice you
have to make. Of course I would want you to continue with Scientology,
but if you've reached a point where you need to question and leave the
Church, I respect that."
I didn't know what to say. She gave me the first real and honest
response out of all my friends. It was very moving to feel and hear. For
that, I am thankful to her. Her response was the first that made me
question my decision. After Alison and I said our good byes, I drove up
Angeles Crest Highway. I found a viewpoint at the side of the road; I
pulled over, and just cried. The whole thing was overwhelming. What was
I doing? Where was I going? How do I know what to do? I was so sad that
all of this had come to pass. There was no turning back.
Alison and I didn't really keep in touch, though I think we exchanged
Christmas cards one year. I will always remember her true and honest
response it touched me dearly. When I think of Chris, Michael and my
father, in their respective moments of disconnection, I can see that
they each did what they felt was right. My father and I have since come
to terms regarding his disconnection, and have worked to rebuild our
relationship. For Chris, I can only go by my own personal experience and
hope that he has come to terms regarding our ARC break as I am working
to. For Michael, I hope one day we will be able to clear our ARC break,
and perhaps, to some degree, re-establish a friendship. I don't know if
he felt that it was me that disconnected from him, as I left the Church
-- whatever the case, I do feel it was he who disconnected from me, and
as such, it's hard for me to work to re-establish a true comm-line. If
you feel it appropriate, I would be very comfortable with you sharing
these letters with him.
All right, with that all said, I have one question for you. Considering
the slew of experiences I've recounted for you, some good, some
peculiar, and some just misapplied use of the technology -- If I could
go back in time, how might I have done it differently - to avoid the ARC
breaks, BPC, and miscommunications? At what point, particularly early
on, might I have done something differently that would have avoided this
series of events that led to my departure? I've thought about the whole
experience, and this one stumps me. I worked very hard to be true to
myself in this experience, and I did what I felt necessary under the
circumstances. I've no doubt that the Church continues to be very
valuable. As I've said, it's the religion I was born and raised in, and
I'm ever thankful for the values and lessons I've learned through it. If
I could see a way that I could have freely gone through the questioning
I went through without enduring the experiences I did, I would be much
more open to going back on-lines.
As always, I'm grateful to your listening, and I look forward to your
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Sunday, August 15, 1999 9:14 PM
Subject: Thank you.
Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. I had some trouble with
my computer.It's all fine now.
Thanks for the rest of your story. As I wasn't there when this cycle
happened I don't really know what you could have done differently. You
did what you felt was necessary.
I'm glad we are in comm now. My intention is to apply the tech
standardly and to help others to do the same. That way conditions will
improve. It's standard tech that needs to get applied so that we can
clean up any BPC. That will help give you your answers. Standard tech is
my stable datum. If something has gone wrong in Scientology I know that
tech was either mis-applied and/or not applied. It is my job to persist
and find out what happened and correct it.
You are important to me. It is your decision as to what you want to do.
I'd like to offer a way to get some ARC breaks cleaned up. I could
probably arrange a free ARC break session for you. What do you think?
From: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Monday, August 16, 1999 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you.
Thank you for your response. I greatly appreciate your care, interest
and willingness to help me address the ARC breaks, and BPC I've
experienced though my departure from Scientology. You have listened to
my story, and have held steadfast to applying standard tech. You have
and continue to be a great friend.
Your offer for a free ARC break session is also appreciated, however
there is more to this than ARC breaks. My experience left me with some
significant questions regarding the Church - for example, why would the
Church condone my closest friends and family disconnecting from me on
the grounds that I was no longer a Scientologist? If this is misapplied
use of the technology, why didn't the Church offer some avenue for
recourse? I wish there were an easier way for me to go through thequestioning I went through, but alas my closest friends disconnected
from me, and I was left feeling that I had to leave. While the tech
remains very useful in my world, I found no solace in the Church during
this difficult time. Why?
Your friendship is dear to me. In the near 9 years that I've been away
from Scientology, you are one of the very few that has reached for me to
hear my story, with expressed willingness and care to address the ARC
breaks, BPC, and questions, and have held true to this continued
comm-line. For this, I remain grateful.
As always, thank you for listening, and I look forward to your response.
With Much Care,
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Tuesday, August 17, 1999 12:15 AM
Subject: Re: Thank you.
I completely understand. I believe the Chaplin is the terminal to handle
such matters. He could of arranged a handling for the cycle so that all
could be said and done within the codes of the group. All i know is now
the Church does not hold pple with the wish to leave in such ways.
Please see the section on Q & A on the Scientology.org web site. Had you
had known your terminal was the Chaplin if you had a disagreement with
other Scientologists or the Church it would of made your cycle much
er. Unfortuately that was not made known to you.I'm more than happy to stay in comm with you. The offer is always there
if you want it.
From: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Friday, August 20, 1999 5:09 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you.
First off, I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you. This
seek has been extremely busy for me. My office is being painted, and
I've only had limited access, and my schedule has been completely tied
up going to business meetings and dinners. As I've said, you are an
important comm-line for me, sometimes it just takes me a bit to get back
>I completely understand. I believe the Chaplin is the terminal to
handle such matters. He could of arranged a handling for the cycle so that all could be said and done within the codes of the group.
Thank you. Perhaps the Chaplain would have been an appropriate terminal
for me. Although, I will say this, after it's all said and done (even
though I would never wish some of those experiences on anyone), what I
learned has been most incredible to me, and extremely valuable. I'm very
happy to have come out as the person I am today. The path has been a
tremendous journey, and I pride myself in knowing that I will continue
to build my own path. In all honesty, I find myself feeling more free
than I did when I was in the Church -- I don't mean this as any
disrespect to the Church, this is simply my experience, and what I've
found to be true for me.
I am extremely happy to have found a renewed comm-line with you. The
experience of writing my story to you, a Scientology terminal, has been
a very valuable process. I've blown a lot of charge through it, and I
thank you for being on the other end listening. If you want to ask me
further questions about where I stand with the Church you are welcome
I suppose what I want to know after all this is -- How are you? What
have you been up to? Where do you live? Do you have a boyfriend? etc.
Tell me about you.
You see, you are a part of a most treasured childhood of mine. After
being disconnected from both Chris and Michael, I basically had to
write-off a piece of who I am. Your comm-line invites me to learn more
about you, and my dear friends of my past. I couldn't be more pleased.
For me, my life has continued an exciting journey since you and I last
knew one another. I'd love to tell you all about it, but first I want to
hear more about you. I think I've spent a lot of time telling my story.
What about yours?
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Saturday, August 28, 1999 11:52 AM
I finally made it back on the net. Thanks for waiting and trying to call
me. As you can see I'm very hard to reach. Hardly ever in my office.
I'm doing very well. As you probably know I've been on staff for over 9
years. That's really the way I know everything has changed. The demand
for 100% standard tech is there now so the wins people are having have
100X. I have no boyfriend now but I'm meeting this guy today that I'm
As I said on the phone Michael on his own said that he hoped you are
doing well and that he saw he really mishandled the cycle with you
earlier. Here comes another comm line. It's amazing while we've talked
I've gotten more comm from others wanting to sort this cycle out with
you. I talked to Don the other day and he wanted me to let you know he
was going to sent you a What is Scientology book. That way you can read
through and see all the changes.You might have already received it. Bess
wanted me to get you in comm with the Qual Sec at the Boston Org. I gave
him your number. I hope that was ok? Let me know if I shouldn't give it
out in the future. It's understood that you don't want to come back to
Scientology. That is fine. I would like to still get you a free ARC
session so that more charge can be cleaned up. It won't mean you have to
come back to the church after. Scientology deals with making the able
more able. That's you.
From: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Sunday, August 29, 1999 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: Hi
It's a pleasure to hear from you again. I figured you were tied up.
Like me, it sounds as though your schedule keeps you quite busy.
Thanks for the update on how you're doing. I'm glad you're doing so
well. I think it's important to have work that's rewarding to you,
which it sounds your tenure on staff has provided you. I'm sure that
seeing people with so many wins can be very exhilarating. I hope your
meeting with this new guy proves promising.
Back in our days of Delphi, I remember you were interested in modeling
and dancing - do you still carry these interests? Are you pursuing them
(or other interests)? What about your living arrangements - What part
of town are you in? Do you live with friends or on your own? Are you
seeing much of our fellow Delphi graduates? When I last saw you, I
remember you mentioning that you were still in touch with Alison, yes? If so, how is she? Do you have an email / snail mail address for her?
I'd love to drop her a note. What about Peter Milford, how is he? Any
contact information you could pass on would be much appreciated.
For me, my life has really been moving along since I saw you. As you'll
recall, I was going through a separation, which was very painful to me.
I've now been able to blow through a lot of the charge and issues
related to the experience. I think it was just a matter of me getting
my own ethics in. I now feel very much aligned with a direction I like
for myself. I've been accepted into Babson's MBA program, which starts
next week. I've also bought a condo, which I'm truly enjoying. This is
the first time I've bought a home - it feels great! My work has been
very exciting - it's kind of hard to explain, but basically I'm working
with 11 Boston area Colleges and Universities to find ways for these
schools to collaboratively address common concerns. I've found myself
on many exciting and rewarding challenges (I'd try to explain them, but
I'm afraid it would take to long over email). I too don't have a
girlfriend, but at this point that's just fine. My marriage was another
incredible experience for me (it really highlighted some of the issues I
had on the 2D, which I needed to address for myself). As a result, it
left me working to become more familiar with who I am, what I want, and
where I'm going (particularly in the area of the 2D). When I was
married, I found myself giving so much for the sake of the marriage, and
not much for me. This was a true learning for me.
As for Michael Coleman, I'm delighted to hear he wishes me well. Did
you share with him the letters I wrote you? If he is interested in
re-establishing a comm-line with me, I would welcome it; at the same
time, it's been a long time since we've really been in comm, and I'm
sure were very different people now. In other words, I could easily see
that the awkwardness between us would take a lot of time to overcome,
and I don't feel a need to push the comm-line; we have time. When last
I saw him, it looked as though he was doing well for himself - he still
has the sense of humor I've always enjoyed him for. Please pass on my
well wishes for him.
I haven't received Don's book yet, What is Scientology. I will look for
it. The continued interest and care that Don and Bess have for me is
truly appreciated. They were a dear family to me, and I have many fond
memories of them. Perhaps in time, I'll have an opportunity to
re-establish a good comm-line with them. They meant a great deal to me,
and I wish them well.
I did receive a call from Robert, the Qual Sec at the Boston Org. We
had a nice conversation. I didn't mind speaking with him, but I did
find it odd that he would call me without some earlier communication on
it. Robert told me that his call was made as both you and Bess thought
it would be good for him to speak with me. Now that I got your letter,
it makes more sense, though the fact that Bess also made the request
made me wonder why Bess didn't contact me herself in some way - since it
is her interest.
As for the ARC break session - thank you very much for the offer. At
this point, I think I'm more comfortable not going back into a session.
While I still carry a lot of respect for Scientology tech, and the many
friends I knew - the truth is, my experience with the church as a whole
(all the disconnections, the questions, etc.) left me not wanting to
re-engage with the church. I'm certain that an ARC break session would
be very valuable, but I worry that going through the process would lead
to people further pursuing ways to get me back on lines, and in all
honesty, that isn't my interest. I'm very happy staying off lines,
though I most certainly want to re-establish communications with past
friends such as yourself.
Your interest, care and reach have truly been a wonderful experience for
me - thank you. You have proven to be a true and consistent friend,
which I am grateful for. My other communications with Scientologists
(e.g. Donna Robinson) didn't get me much for responses. You have proven
otherwise - thank you!
I wish you well, and I look forward to hearing from you again.
Part 1 -