All Your Friends Are Gone — Now What?

all my friends are gone

I thought the friends I had were real friends.  I didn’t think they would shun me.  How could people I’d known for decades do that to me?  On top of the cult brainwashing, that kind of treatment makes it hard to get over the whole experience.  By design, I think.  Leaving Scientology is supposed to send you over the edge.

Suppressive Person Declares

Back in the day, the org used to send me copies of SP (suppressive person) declares, printed on goldenrod-colored paper and called “goldenrods,” for short.  We’d get them in the mail at the shop. The owners had always been true-believing Scientologists.  The shop was practically an extension of the Scientology organization.  So when the org said somebody was an SP, everybody at the shop would knee-jerk react and dutifully disconnect.

Much of the shop’s business came from Scientology members, so they had no choice – similar to the way politicians have to bow to the special interests whose money put them in office.  Generally speaking, in this world, it’s all about the money.  Odd that I have to say that, but I thought I’d better spell it out for the people who, like me, might be naïve enough to believe most people operate on principle, not money motivation.

But the org had to stop issuing those goldenrods, because they had a few instances of bad PR, some of which escalated into lawsuits.  I don’t doubt it.  Many SP declares are full of lies.  People would be well within their rights to sue.

Few people would though.  By the time you disagreed with the org to the point where they decided to declare you an SP, the process would have beaten you down so badly that you’d be thinking of yourself as an evil person who didn’t have any rights at all.

Whispering Campaigns

I’m not sure when they stopped sending them out, but definitely by the early 2000’s I no longer saw any SP declares.  They changed tactics.  Now they get people to shun you through whispering campaigns.  “It’s your choice, of course, but I wouldn’t go to her shop any more.  She’s bad news,” and the like.

They even have their Facebook police, who study the friends lists of Scientology members and urge them to unfriend the ones who are “no longer in good standing.”  As in, “You may want to let that person go.  It’s up to you, of course,” they add, to cover their a$$es, so that they can later say the person was just exercising their free choice in the matter, when nothing could be further from the truth.

See, they have a policy that says any person who continues to adhere to a declared suppressive can also be declared.  So the wrong “choice” can subject you to a lot of hassle.

Destructive Policy

They even apply this policy between husbands and wives; parents and their children; employers and employees; businesses and their customers.  They’ve broken up a lot of families this way.  People have lost jobs.  Livelihoods have been destroyed.

Yet they disavow any responsibility for the results of this destructive policy, saying, “Oh, people have the right to choose whom they want to associate with.”  Yes, of course they do.  I’m just sorry my friends chose a destructive cult instead of me. Click To Tweet Half of my clients – and all of my friends – were members of the Scientology organization.  And now they’re gone.

So go out and make new ones, you say?

Easy for you to say, if you’re an extrovert.  But if you’re anything like me, you’d rather just hunker down and read a book.

But one day I got a flyer on the door of my shop, inviting me to an East Hollywood Neighborhood Council meeting.  They were going to discuss an issue that was interesting to me.  So I went.

And I kept going back.  It was fascinating to me to observe the democratic process at work at the grassroots level.  It’s a far cry from the way a Scientology organization is (allegedly) managed.  Over there, it’s all about who can scream the loudest.  To me, the neighborhood council was a breath of fresh air.

Eventually, I got appointed to fill a vacancy on the council and became chair of the Arts & Culture Committee.  So even the worst introvert (like me) can find new friends, simply by following your own interests – which you now get to do, now that the cult isn’t demanding all your time and money.

Go to a meetup.  Take a class.  Join a book club – many public libraries have them.  There are dozens of ways to enjoy your new freedom.

Don’t bet on it, but…

By the way, there’s always the possibility that your ex-friends will wake up and get out of the cult too — and reconnect with you.  It’s happened to me more than once.  It’s a longshot, but it does happen.

Go VIP

Lynn

Lynn Fountain Campbell is the author of "The Ex-Scientologist's Manifesto," a free downloadable resource available at https://shearperfection.com/blog/ex-scientologists-manifesto.html

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10 Comments

  1. I’m proud to have you for a friend, Lynn. It’s sad that so many people are susceptible to these mind control tactics. We all have periods in our lives when we’re lonely, but there are 7 billion other people in this planet. If you open yourself to the possibilities eventually you WILL make friends, and these new friendships will not be conditional on adherence to a rigid set of beliefs. No wonder they’re so afraid of you.

    Reply
  2. Great heart you have. The comradeship that Sci creates is destroyed by the SP process. That is what is needed to be repaired for those who have left.

    Reply
    • That’s right, Shawn. Sometimes it takes years to repair the mental damage. You find illogical ideas lurking, years after you thought you got rid of it all. It’s not a simple fix, especially when Scientology-think would have you view psychologists as “the enemy.”

      Reply
  3. Hi Lynn –

    Although you sent me an email I cldn’t open it so thought I wld come to this website and sure enough it was there.

    Firstly I would like to compliment you on your style of writing – it is very good. Also I never ever did find out what happened to you and when – just knew you were out. I left Kenmore Ave where I lived in 2008 and where I had been for 18 years – moved back to New Zealand! Big change – like starting all over again. Took a year to settle somewhere permanently and then find work and then make new friends. Joined a couple of groups like you did and met people that way. As I had an autistic nephew I tried for a job and got accepted looking after young people with mild intellectual disabilities – met more people there – caring people – I think it goes with the job and have been there ever since, 9 years now! I felt odd though – all my L.A. friends were still in and I emailed about seven letting them know of my plans and only one replied. One! So much for being friends – in a way I was in a no man’s land for a while but knew I would never go back. Starting over again gave me the focus needed and took my mind off of my prior 20 years. Am over it all now and am doing fine.
    Congratulations on getting on the local council – that is really something – you are taking responsibility for your area. I am involved locally in several different groups too – I have met and have some really true good friends – no money involved, and we exchange goods, i.e., I have a small organic garden and grow mainly greens and have lots at times and give them away – my friends willl respond with jam or preserves they have made, or a nice small gift of something – but some nice acknowledgement. The Church seems a long time ago now and I don’t miss it but often wonder what happened to different ones I had so much involvement with.
    Anyway great to read your blog and your success and wish you many blessings for 2019 and beyond.
    cheers,

    Reply
    • Hi Rowena, thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you’re “out.” I remember that last time you came in for a haircut and told me you were moving back to New Zealand. You didn’t specifically say you were leaving Scientology, but I thought you might be. Yes, I was amazed to find out how friendly and caring people are, when the “church” would have you believe that people who aren’t in Scientology are somehow lacking. I now know it’s the other way around. I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. (I’d love to have a garden like yours!) Thanks for your good wishes, and I wish the same for you. Happy New Year. <3

      Reply
  4. Great writing on the true modus operandi of Scientology right now. I observed the same things including the Black PR ie lies that they put into SP declares. They’re essentially the DEAD AGENT aka character asassination of a person deemed an enemy.

    Like you, I lost 95% of my friends with the exception of those under the radar. The phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has a whole new meaning!

    Reply
    • Yep. I got blindsided by the shunning. I thought four decades of service would count for something. Silly me. But even if they get you down, you don’t have to stay down.

      Reply

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