Novelist Gail Godwin talks about her time in Scientology

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by COS and NOI News, Nov 17, 2020.

  1. Novelist Gail Godwin talks about her time in Scientology.

    Compulsive Reader: An interview with Gail Godwin

    November 7, 2020

    Interview by Karen Herceg.

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    KCH: On that subject, the actress Leah Remini has come forward about her life in Scientology and its aftermath in an Emmy-award-winning documentary that investigates the organization and interviews former members. How do you feel about Scientology today after meeting Ron Hubbard and becoming involved with them along with your second husband, Ian, back in the sixties? Do you see it more as another cult now? (Godwin lived in England at this time and was married to her second husband, Ian.)

    GG: It was all totally new to me, and the insiders took it so seriously. My husband put me right in training, and you had to pay for everything, pay, pay, pay. Their goal is to train you to control yourself through a series of tests. My teacher, who they called an auditor, was a German woman named Cornelia. She had a very strong accent and would say things that would make me laugh or get some kind of a reaction, and she got me every time. If I passed these tests, I would become an auditor and would train others. It was similar to mind exercises. I look back on it as a sort of fantasy, though I must say I enjoyed it. After these sessions I’d get behind my husband on his motorcycle and we’d ride back to Chelsea and have something to eat. I did rise high in the ranks, though. Their headquarters were in a beautiful house in Bloomsbury. We would also go to the country house owned by the Maharaja of Jaipur, and that’s where the last classes were held. It’s where I became “clear,” as they say. I remember the incident that finally ended it for me. You were always holding onto these cans that acted as homemade lie detectors. It’s like a comedy. You were connected up to V8 juice cans that are hooked up to a needle and somebody is reading the needle. When I got to the last question, “Who is your suppressive person?” I thought of everyone I could, but the needle didn’t like it. Finally, I said, “God,” and the needle floated, which is what it’s supposed to do when you’re telling the truth. At that point they said I had to leave right away and disconnect from my suppressive person. That was my last experience with Scientology. It all occurred through the one winter of my short marriage

    KCH: How disturbing!

    GG: I think I was lucky. I was never the type of person that just went along with things automatically. But Ian was really into it. He was very intelligent and had completed a double major in philosophy and math at Oxford. Then he went to medical school and that wasn’t enough. It just never seemed to be enough for him. When I met him years later he said he’d gone back to Oxford and then returned to psychiatry. Mostly what he did was prescribe medication. But Scientology became very controversial in the last few decades from what I’ve seen on television. They’re very much about money, and it’s very autocratic. People who grow up in it are trapped like in other cults. I never took it as seriously as I did going to chapel with the nuns when I was in school. I kept one of the Scientology dictionaries, and there are so many interesting things in there that Hubbard thought up. He was very clever but restless. He made up these wonderful descriptions such as when you have an “overrun.” It means that you’ve just gone on with something too long. Your auditor would tell you, “You’ve just had an overrun!” Then there’s the ARC break, meaning Affinity, Reality and Communication, one of those breaks where you appear to be hanging on by two threads. I was gone by spring. I wonder how many people have been truly saved by that. Apparently, some celebrities say they have.

    KCH: There’s a lot of talk about that, about actors and others supposedly selling out their souls for what they received in return for their careers. I’m not sure if that’s tithing to the highest degree or something else. There are always some unique truths to these types of organizations or religions, but people’s agendas get in the way and things go off the rails.

    GG: I’m sure that’s all part of it. Some people feel these types of structures work for them.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
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