"Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves."
~ Leah Remini, ex-Scientologist
8 Steps for Leaving Scientology
Leaving Scientology can be notoriously difficult. We hope you can take comfort from the many who have left before you. The ex-Scientologists at Leave Scientology put together a practical guide for getting out based on what they found helpful. We've adapted their full list into eight basic steps:
1) Remember you are not a criminal. You may be told you have CI, or that you need to get your O/Ws off. You may be told your petty complaints are not as important as saving the Universe. A desire to leave does not mean you have overts. It does not mean you're a coward. What it means is that you are choosing your own way, and keeping your integrity in. And that is a brave, brave thing to do.
2) Remember you do not have to justify your decision to anyone. You are absolutely within your legal and human rights to refuse sec checks, route-out processes, and other procedures.
3) Reconnect! If you have family and friends that aren't Scientologists, give them a call or get in touch. You don't have to talk about Scientology with them, but it does help to have some outside commlines.
4) Fade out slowly. The easiest way to actually begin the leaving process is to simply start fading out of the org environment. Fading out slowly will also help ensure that you will not be presented with an SP declare, and ensure that family members still inside will not be asked to disconnect from you. Stop showing up to the org as often, and avoid events and reg cycles. If you are a staff Scientologist, become a public Scientologist again and then fade out slowly. Be adamant about your personal decisions and your integrity.
5) Remember Scientology has no legal basis to keep you for "routing out." You should know (and probably already do know) that if you originate an intention to leave staff, the org will be extremely reluctant to let you go, and you may be kept there for months routing-out. It's worthwhile to note that the routing-out procedure, in many cases, is designed to make you question your decision to leave.
6) Blow if you need to. If routing-out is unacceptable to you, or if you want out fast, you can and should blow. We understand you have been told that blowing is a high crime. We know because we've been through it ourselves. You may find this statistic very interesting: There are currently an estimated 5,000-7,000 people in the Sea Org. On the other hand, there are around 25,000 EX-Sea Org members. If you have friends and family who are non-Scientologists, call them. If you have parents who will come get you, call them. Leave however you can.
7) Do not sign any legal documents. If you do you are signing away your own rights. Don't sign any non-disclosure agreements not to discuss your life in the Sea Org. It's much better to refuse to sign anything until you're out and can go over the documents carefully, or with representation.
8) Also, know:
The freeloader bill is legally unenforceable. They're not going to charge you for it. It's just a piece of paper.
The Sea Org contract is legally unenforceable. Any Scientology lawyer who tried to take you to court for not fulfilling a "billion-year contract" would be a laughingstock.
The routing-out process is designed to degrade you, make you wrong for wanting to leave, convince you that you have overts, and convince you to finally decide to stay. The way that the SO route-out is often administered is illegal.
If anyone tries to physically restrain you, they are guilty of kidnapping and wrongful imprisonment. Be Tone 40, and don't put up with it.
No one has the right to not give you vacation time, especially when promised.
No one has the right to open your mail and monitor your phone calls home.
No one has the right to force you into session.
No one has the right to tell you that you cannot receive gifts from your family if you want them.
Most importantly, know there are people you don't even know who love you, and care about you, and will give you unconditional support, a shoulder to lean on, and even a place to stay if you need one.
The number If you need help, or if you just need someone to talk to, please call the Ex-Sea Org hotline, a toll-free number manned by a network of Ex-SO members who can help you get out. is:
If You've Already Left Scientology...
Sometimes making the decision to leave is the hardest part. We've compiled a list of resources to help you the rest of the way. If you need immediate assistance, like a safe place to stay, please see our Crisis Care page. We hope you find solace in the following communities and help organizations.
• The Aftermath Foundation ~ Devoted to addressing the immediate and long-term needs of those leaving Scientology and the Sea Organization, the Aftermath Foundation will help you find housing, gain employment or education, connect you with a therapist, and anything else you need to rebuild your life outside the CoS.
• Mike Rinder's Blog ~ Mike Rinder is a former staff Scientologist and Sea Org member. His site is full of helpful information about the Church of Scientology, its inner workings, and help for people who have left. You can also see him on the A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.
• Ex Sea Org Helpline ~ Founded by former Sea Org members, this site was built to help others leaving the Sea Org of Scientology reconnect with friends, find a place to stay, and get a job outside the church. Call 1-866-XSEAORG (1 866- 973-2674), and if you're in the UK, call 0208 864 4940
• The Ex Scientologist Message Board ~ Possibly the largest and most-often pointed to resource for recovering Scientologists, the ESMB is an active and thriving online community where those in every stage of doubting, leaving, and healing can come for answers and support.
• Operation Clambake ~ This support network is bursting with information to help you dissect Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard. The folks who run Operation Clambake also have a sense of humor--the bottom of their homepage features a section called "Always Remember to Laugh," which we think is an important and often-overlooked step in healing.
• Ex-Scientology Kids ~ Three of Scientology's most famous ex-believers grew up in the CoS and started this site to help inform other Scientologists and the public about everything from OTIII materials, the e-meter, disconnection, and more. Read the stories of other kids who grew up in Scientology in their Voices in Unison project.
• Alonzo's Blog ~ Of all the lessons Alonzo learned through escaping Scientology, one in particular stands out: Never let your tribe do your thinking for you. He applies this lesson to what he sees rising up in 'Anti-Scientology,' encouraging others to apply healthy skepticism to all belief systems. Check out his segment on Cognitive Distortions on Scientology.
• Freedom of Mind ~ You may recognize founder Steven Hassan from his guest appearance on the A&E show "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath." Steven created the BITE Model as a cult checklist of sorts to describe ways that groups recruit and maintain control over people. Read how the BITE Model applies to Scientology. Need practical help leaving the CoS or helping a loved one leave? Freedom of Mind can assist with that as well. Read more about FoM on our Cults page.
• Rachel Bernstein, Therapist ~ Looking for a mental health professional to talk with about your experiences in Scientology? Rachel has spent over 27 years been helping people who have left Scientology and other cults. If you're in LA, set up an appointment with her. If you're not, you can still check out her podcast IndoctriNation where she covers, "...cults, manipulators, and protecting yourself from systems of control."
• Cult Recovery 101 ~ The folks at this resource site have put together a list of therapists with experience helping people leave and recover from destructive groups. Many ex-Scientologists consider the CoS to be a cult because of its cultic methods of recruiting, brainwashing, and retaining members. Because of this, you may wish to see a therapist who specializes in helping cult survivors.
Also see our Cults and Mental Health pages for more therapists trained to help the specific needs of those recovering Scientology and other abusive belief systems.
Books from Scientologists Who Dared to Doubt