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My 9 Lives in Scientology

Article Index
My 9 Lives in Scientology
How I Got Involved
The Bait
The Franchise
My Father
Mind Control Techniques - The Early Months
Loaded Language
Overt Withhold
Alienation From the Outside World
My First Contact With the Sea
TRs the Hard Way
The Sea
The Flagship Apollo
The Flag Auditor
The Commodore Arrives
My LRH Commendation
The Mission to New York
Here we Go Again
The Lesson of the RPF
Learned the lesson of the RPF
I Begin My New Life

by Monica Pignotti

[Editor's notes are in brackets.]

The following is an account of my life in Scientology, a group I was involved in from December 1970 to August of 1976 — about 5 years and 9 months.  From 1973 to 1972 I lived aboard the Flagship Apollo ("Flag"), the home of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Dianetics and Scientology.  At Flag, I trained to be an auditor (a Scientology counselor), My life on Flag was a continual roller coaster of ups and downs.  One day I would receive a personal commendation from Hubbard and be held up as an example of what a Flag auditor should be and then, just months later, Hubbard would take away all my certificates and send me to the RPF (Scientology's prison camp) for an auditing error I did not even commit.  On Flag as auditors, we were under continuous pressure to be perfect, the standard of perfection being the whim of L. Ron Hubbard.

Many people, no doubt, have read horror stories about what occurred on Flag and I can personally attest to the fact that they are true.  This might lead one to wonder why a person would join such a group in the first place.  How could anyone put up with such abuse?  In writing this testimony, I hope to give people some insight into this question.  The fact is that I didn't join Scientology to be ordered around and abused and I don't know anyone who did.  The group I thought I joined, as an idealistic eighteen-year old bore little resemblance to what Scientology actually was and still is.

When I found Scientology, I thought I had found all the answers to the great mysteries of life.  I had found the Truth — or so I thought.  What I didn't know at the time, however, was that I was involved in a destructive cult that used deception, followed by subtle, but very effective techniques to control my mind and the minds of many others.

I didn't realize the full ramifications of the impact of this experience on me until years after I left the group.  I now realize that this group has caused me tremendous harm — that I was a victim of mind control.  My purpose in writing this account of my experiences is to make people aware of how it feels to be a Scientologist, what attracts people to Scientology, and to show the techniques that are used by Scientology to control people's minds.  It is not a pretty picture, but having this knowledge is essential if you wish to help a friend or loved one to free themselves from the clutches of this very destructive cult.

I am very grateful to my parents, [first names illegible] Pignotti, for not giving up on me and always leaving the door open for me to return home.  I would also like to thank Steven Hassan for writing the book, Combating Cult Mind Control, a book which has been very instrumental in helping me to understand my experience and put it into perspective and Bent Corydon for writing the book, L. Ron Hubbard Messiah or Madman, a book which also increased my understanding and made me aware that I was not alone in the feelings I was having while I was in the Sea Org.  A very big thank you, also, to Lorna and Bill Goldberg, who are helping me to put together all the pieces of my experiences in Scientology and all the people in their support group of former cult members.  Also, Vanessa Weber, Carol and Noel Giambalvo and Pricilla Coates have given and are continuing to give me a great deal of information and support, for which I am extremely grateful.  And last, but not least, I would like thank the man in my life, Sam [last name illegible] for being so understanding about my need to unearth my past and for his continuing love and support.  Thanks to the support that all of these people have given me, I am finally able to put my life back together and live, once again, as a free spirit.

As painful as my experiences were, I am very happy finally to be free, once again, to make my own choices in life.  However, some people weren't so fortunate.  Quentin Hubbard, L. Ron Hubbard's son and a very close friend of mine, committed suicide at age 22 because he could see no way out of the trap he was in.  Having been born into Scientology, he could not envision living outside of the cult, but could not stand living in it.  It is too late for Quentin.  He is gone and no one can undo that the damage that was done to him, but it is not too late for others.  If writing this gives someone the insight to get their loved one out of Scientology, then perhaps, my years in Scientology will have served some purpose.