Tory Christman - Scientology - Decision To Leave

Decision To Leave

During this period of time in her efforts on behalf of the OSA agents, Christman felt conflicted in her activities, because she supported freedom of speech and she felt her activities constituted censorship. The operator of Xenu.net, Andreas Heldal-Lund, saw Christman's posts on ARS and reached out to her via email on July 14, 2000. The two engaged in communication, and Heldal-Lund explained to Christman his motivation for managing the Operation Clambake site. Christman identified with Heldal-Lund's ideals of free speech, and on July 20, 2000, she announced her intention to leave Scientology in a public post to ARS. She realized she would face repercussions from the organization for her actions, and asked Heldal-Lund for help; he recommended she contact a group of protesters against Scientology called the Lisa McPherson Trust (LMT) who were based in Clearwater, Florida. The LMT was started by Robert Minton and former Scientologists to highlight the controversial death of Scientology member, Lisa McPherson.

Through the Scientology practice of "disconnection", Christman's husband and the majority of her acquaintances and friends who were Scientologists at the time of her exit from the group were excommunicated from her and cut off contact. Christman recounted how after leaving the organization, the Church of Scientology attempted to damage her reputation through a policy referred to as "dead agenting". According to Christman, the Scientology organization publicized inaccurate information about her online, tried to get her removed from her position of employment, and opened a lawsuit related to her protesting against the group on church property. Then Scientology-spokesperson, Mike Rinder, called her a "wacko" and rejected her assertions as "absolute bullshit".

Christman contacted the Scientology critics based in Clearwater, and arranged flight transportation to Florida. She arrived at the airport in California to find that her flight was cancelled. Her former supervisor, Janet Weiland, was waiting for her close to the ticket counter, and tried to convince her to remain in the organization. Christman eventually got on a flight to Tampa, Florida, but was met at the gate when she arrived by agents of Scientology. Tampa police were notified, and escorted Christman safely away from the Scientologists. While a member of Scientology, Christman had given over $1 million to the organization; she used her inheritance money to pay for coursework. She commented to the St. Petersburg Times of Florida about the thought process she underwent after leaving the organization, "When you get out and you get the whole thing, you're like, 'What was I thinking?'. I know the people inside are brainwashed and they're laughing at me. But to me, the truth is, I'm free. I can do what I want. I can say what I want."

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