Paul Haggis posted this to Tony Ortega’s website a couple of days ago. The Oscar winning writer director of “Crash” and writer of “Million Dollar Baby” was a Scientologist for 35 years. A couple of years ago he had an epiphany after Scientology told his wife, actress, Deborah Rennard, that she, Paul, and their son could no longer speak to Rennard’s parents. They had already left Scientology. Haggis also objected to Scientology backing groups against gay marriage. Two of Haggis’s daughters are gay. After Haggis left the cult– which is described fully in “Going Clear” tomorrow night on HBO– the vindictive group went after him. Here’s an excerpt:
Despite what is being said in their rather pathetic attack pieces on me, I was very involved in Scientology for most of my adult life. While I thought the OT levels madness, I used many Scientology precepts in my daily life — so much so that it took several years after leaving to actually question the many “self-help” concepts that I had learned and used. The slow indoctrination process is as subtle as it is dangerous — largely because you truly believe that you are thinking for yourself, when in fact you are discouraged to do anything of the sort.
Paradoxically, there is great pride in belonging to a stigmatized group. It’s like being in love with a narcissist. All your friends will warn you that you are just being used. You understand why they think what they think, but you believe in your heart that they just don’t see what you see. You just tune them out. For that reason, when I did discover what many outside the church knew, I was truly shocked.
While some of the information had been out there for many years, like all Scientologists, I refused to look. Yes, I was told not to, but I didn’t have to be. This was my group and I knew there to be many people in the world who were bigoted and close-minded, and when I was told that we were “under attack” in Germany or France or wherever, instead of looking for the reasons, I assumed this to be the case — and donated many thousands of dollars toward our “defense.”…
It took years after leaving to understand that these practices I railed against had always been at the core of Scientology — that Miscavige was just very faithfully, if cynically, following L. Ron Hubbard’s cruel playbook. The reason this was hard to believe is exactly because of the duplicitous nature of Hubbard’s writing. He wrote tomes on the practice and necessity of critical thought; how nothing should be accepted at face value.
Scientologists …truly believe that only Scientology can save the world, and that they are making major strides in this direction every year. They hold onto this belief despite the fact that there isn’t even a modicum of evidence that they are having even the tiniest impact on any problem in any part of the globe. ..
Without even watching [Going Clear] my former friends will condemn it as lies. You see it happening already. Understand that many of these Scientologists are damn smart people; many of them truly lovely and caring. But they are the same people who will not hesitate to cut their closest friend or family member out of their lives if they commit the ultimate crime of criticizing the church. You could do anything else and they would stand by you; commit any crime and they would be there to defend you. But not this.
[Scientologists] cannot afford or allow the smallest doubt, because if it took root, their perfect world — a world where there is an answer to every one of life’s questions — could fall apart around them…Which brings to mind something a true genius wrote: “Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” For the sake of my former friends, many of whom I loved, I hope that Going Clear is the first crack, that they will watch it, and the light will slip in.
— Paul Haggis