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Sasha Zbitnoff

Part 2

These letters appeared in ARS in September 1999 and I webbed them as part of my Scientology Kids page. I have been critical in the past towards apostate stories exaggerating their claims, but found these letters on the contrary thoughtful and respectful of Scientologists. Their style is excellent and the stepped installments help keep the reader's interest.

The letters are interesting in that they describe from within the mindset of someone who was born and raised in Scientology, the process of "waking up" to the outside reality, and the reaction from his immediate environment. What is also of interest is that they show that it is mostly the cultic assertions ingrained in the belief system itself rather than any strict rule that leads Scientologists to disconnect from friends and family members, and that not all of them necessarily do so.

From: sashaz6092@my-deja.com
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Letters to a Scientologist (2)
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 02:05:09 GMT
Message-ID: <7shakf$36u$1@nnrp1.deja.com>


From: Sasha Zbitnoff
To: Lorin
Date: Sunday, August 08, 1999 4:59 PM
Subject: My Story Continues

Dear Lorin,

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 whomever 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 replied, almost smugly.

"You Asshole!" and he hung up the phone. That was the last time I spoke 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,


From: Lorin
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Monday, August 09, 1999 11:44 PM
Subject: Re: My Story Continues

Dear Sasha,

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
To: Lorin
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 7:37 AM
Subject: Quick Note

Dear Lorin,

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.
Many Thanks,


From: Sasha Zbitnoff
To: Lorin
Date: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 4:29 PM
Subject: Final Installment, and a Question for you

Dear Lorin,

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 response.

Your Friend,


From: Lorin
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Sunday, August 15, 1999 9:14 PM
Subject: Thank you.

Dear Sasha,

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
To: Lorin
Date: Monday, August 16, 1999 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you.

Dear Lorin,

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,


From: Lorin
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Tuesday, August 17, 1999 12:15 AM
Subject: Re: Thank you.

Dear Sasha,

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 easi

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
To: Lorin
Date: Friday, August 20, 1999 5:09 PM
Subject: Re: Thank you.

Dear Lorin,

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 to 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.

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 to.

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?



From: Lorin
To: Sasha Zbitnoff
Date: Saturday, August 28, 1999 11:52 AM
Subject: Hi

Dear Sasha,

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 excited about.

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 Break 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
To: Lorin
Date: Sunday, August 29, 1999 8:40 AM
Subject: Re: Hi

Dear Lorin,

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 - Part2

Wearing Scientology Blinders (Sasha's Mother Story)        Suri Cruise (Scientology Kids)

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