From the hardback edition.
THIS was not an easy book to write. For three years following my departure from the Church of Scientology, I was not able to write anything sensible about my experience. Then gradually, the onion layers of indoctrination started to peel off, one by one, and I began to get some distance and perspective.
I began writing my account as a blog, posting it chapter by chapter. I did this to put pressure on myself to continue writing, to finish the narrative. And partly to reach out to others who may have had similar experiences.
I knew that I could never tell part of the story; it had to be the whole story or nothing. When I would try to tell people about the abuses I experienced within the Church of Scientology, they would ask me one thing: why had I stayed so long? And understanding that meant telling the whole thing.
My blog account attracted an audience, and they kept the pressure on me to finish. Some of these were people, like me, who had left Scientology and they found in me a kindred spirit. Others, to my surprise, were people still actively involved in the Church of Scientology. They were shocked by my revelations as to what goes on at the top levels of Scientology, and, after reading my story, they began to re-examine their own involvement with Scientology. Hundreds of people have now left the Church of Scientology as a direct result of reading my story. And every week I get an e-mail or two from people who have newly left.
Once my blog account was completed, my readers and friends encouraged me to expand Counterfeit Dreams to book-length and publish it. This is that book.
As I often have to explain to people, I am not anti-Scientology. While I am no longer a Scientologist, I have many friends who are and who practice the subject outside the Church. I wish them well. My objection is to the abuses of organized Scientology and it is these that I continue to expose and fight against.
This is my story, as I remember it. I have had a lot of help from friends in confirming details and dates. Some individuals in my story have been cast in the role of villains. I have met many of these people outside of Scientology and have found them to be concerned, caring people who regret some of the decisions they made while inside the Church. The Church of Scientology, in my opinion, often brings out the worst in people.
I have also heard from many people who were never involved with Scientology. For some who have been trapped in an abusive group, cult, or relationship, my story resonates. If this book can serve as either a cautionary tale or a message of hope, it will have been worth writing.
I make no attempt in this book to fully describe the philosophy or beliefs of Scientology. That would take a book in itself. Where Scientology terms or concepts are necessary to the narrative, I have tried to define or describe them in context. I have also included a glossary of terms at the back.