In case you haven’t heard, the Church of Scientology has settled its lawsuit with Debbie Cook. The outcome, according to The Tampa Bay Times, is that Scientology drops the suit, neither party gets any money, and Debbie and her husband Wayne agree to keep their mouth shut about all things Scientology. (You can download a copy of the judgement from Marty’s site.)
Results: Marty and his Scilons are pissed. And Caliwog is happy for Debbie.
Before I get into why, let’s quickly recap what happened. In 2007, Debbie, a former Co$ exec, and her husband left the Church after signing non-disclosure agreements in exchange for $50,000 severance each. This past New Year’s Day, Debbie Cook sent an email to Scientologists railing against the Church’s fund raising culture. Per L. Ron Hubbard policy, the Church sued Debbie Cook. While trying to get an injunction to shut her up,the Church put her on the stand, a move that backfired. Under cross examination – and under oath – Debbie revealed lurid details about the abuse she and other Church executives suffered. Her testimony made headlines.
(Debbie referred to herself as the girl who kicked the hornets’ nest, but it appears that the hornets’ nest may have been her!)
And so, for once, the Church did the smart thing: They beat a hasty retreat, although they did get a promise from Debbie not to speak out and not to get involved with any anti-Church groups (i.e., Independent Scientology).
I see this as a major, major, MAJOR win.
Remember Bob Minton, who fought the Church of Scientology with his considerable energy and fortune? The Church went after him with all the might it could muster, and eventually he buckled under the pressure.
“It was like the Terminator was after you,” Bob famously said. (This was in 2002, when Mike Rinder was head of OSA and Marty Rathbun was Miscavige’s chief thug. Go figure.)
Well, with just a few hours of testimony, Debbie Cook shut down the Terminator.
From what he’s writing on his blog, it seems like Marty is feeling a bit betrayed. “I have to take some time to evaluate this treachery,” he writes. And he seems to think the Church is lying about not paying Debbie anything to keep silent, although I can’t figure out how any rational person could come to that conclusion; after all the Church sued her, not the other way around. I guess Marty can’t fathom the idea that someone would keep silent without being bought off. The idea of simply getting over it and moving on is, apparently, completely foreign to them.
I can see why Marty and his band of merry Rondroids are pissed; they donated money for Debbie’s legal defense, and she turned her back, walked away, and agreed to keep her trap shut. Scientologists do not give for the sake of giving; they expect something in return. This is down to LRH’s policies about “exchange,” which I’ll write more about next week.
Of course, seeing what happened the last time they tried to keep her quiet, I doubt the Church will do much if she does speak out again. But I also know that Scientologists take their promises pretty seriously. They have no trouble lying – er, telling an “acceptable truth” – but when it comes to agreements, they tend to be pretty honorable. I have a feeling we won’t be hearing much from Debbie and Wayne.
And as I said, I for one am happy for them. Yes, it would be great to see Debbie speak out more about the Church. Yes, it’s sad that she’s volunteered to let the Church limit her freedom of speech.
But separating herself from both the Church and the independent Scientology movement gives Debbie the greatest opportunity to put Hubbard and Scientology behind her and move on.
We often talk about what constitutes being “out of Scientology.” Some say being “out” means getting away from the Church. Some say it’s when you realize that LRH was a fraud and Scientology is a con-job. I usually take latter view.
But the healthiest thing, the most out one can be, is when you put it all behind you. When Scientology is no longer a part of your life at all – when it has no importance or significance – that is when you are truly out. That is when you are truly free. That is when you have truly moved on up a lot higher.
Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate those who don’t break away entirely, who see Scientology for what it is, but stick around to help others out and make sure outsiders see the truth.
But I never begrudge anyone for getting out and getting healthy. And I hope, with every fiber of my being, that that is what happens to Debbie Cook and her husband Wayne.
Congrats and good luck, guys. And welcome to the Wog world. You’ll soon find it’s not the horrific place that Hubbard made it out to be.