The Truth About Scientology


I’ve always known that people were curious about the church, but I wish they’d take the time to understand a little more about why people join and what they get out of it, instead of just writing it off as the cult of Tom Cruise and its ‘brainwashed’ members. If any one thing prompted me to write this piece, it’s that I hate the idea that my mother — who joined the church out of principles stronger than many of us possess, and then showed enormous personal courage in leaving the organization to build a new life for herself and her family — should feel embarrassed to share her history.

Here’s the last installment of a six-part piece about Scientology on The Hairpin.

Its author, the pseudonymous Stella Forstner, was raised in the church and has a lot to say about its realities—both dysfunctional and mundane—beyond all the alien volcano stuff.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →