Here is an interview done with Renee, a Scientologist and mother of three, on what Scientology has meant for her family relationships:
Where do you live – and what do you do for work?
I currently live in Northern Virginia with my husband and kids. But originally I’m from Southern California. Born and raised in San Diego and then spent many years in Los Angeles because I was a professional dancer and actress. I’m a stay at home mother of three kids. I have a five-year-old son and boy & girl twins who are 2 ½ now. And I just turned fifty in October.
How has Scientology affected your family?
To be honest, I actually wouldn’t have a family of my own had I not found Scientology. Before Scientology, I was quite messed-up in the area of relationships in general; I just kept picking the wrong guys for me.
I found Scientology when I was 30 years old. When I started taking courses in Scientology, the first major change which happened was I finally discovered how to have a relationship with my dad for the first time. Up until that time, I had an extremely rough time communicating with him, as I had blamed him for a lot of my problems. It was in an action I was doing with a Church staff member at Celebrity Center International where I finally saw how to mend up the relationship with my father. After a study of relevant Scientology material on ethics & responsibility, I could see what I was doing which was causing antagonism between us. Amazingly, without my dad having to change anything on his part, the change in my viewpoint on my own responsibility finally allowed me to navigate the relationship, and we ended up becoming very close. This after 3o years was a huge win for me, as the poor relationship I had with my dad previously was ruining me.
Now – this all happened when I was in the middle of one of the first courses I ever did in Scientology, and is indicative of how things tend to go. You’ll sign up for a course to handle one thing, and you end up getting all these amazing bonuses in other unexpected areas of life. You just never know what will come up – but from my experience over the last 20 years of taking courses, things do indeed come up. Then, when they do, you have this amazing team of dedicated church staff members there to help you through anything and everything that comes up. They never leave you hanging in something, and whatever life throws at you it gets handled right away. Be it by taking a course, reading a reference, visiting an ethics officer there’s always a tool that can be used to get one winning at life again after a setback.
Another facet of Scientology is that there is no one there feeding you answers to your life, there’s nobody telling you what your problems all are. The church staff and fellow parishioners are there to help you so you can figure things out for yourself. That’s what’s so powerful. In my case, no one up and told me, “Hey – you are antagonizing your dad, just knock it off.” I discovered that for myself after studying simple texts on the subject, and after reading them I saw for myself what I had been doing, thereby saving my relationship with my dad.
What changes have you seen in yourself since getting involved in Scientology?
Scientology is something that puts you at a cause point – as in, you discover for yourself you aren’t just a victim of other people’s actions. You gain more and more responsibility for yourself and, in turn, those around you.
So the situation I had with my dad, I became responsible for our relationship. I was able to see him and his good points, and was finally able to look past the bad. I could love him for who he was, even though he would, at times, still say silly things – it just didn’t bother me anymore. I was happy finally to be that person who didn’t blame him for his shortcomings! Nor did I take the things he said personally anymore.
And the above pretty much sums up all the instances after that where I had to mend relationships, it was in me! I had to take responsibility for what I did to cause the upsets. Even if it was a, “well I knew this guy had some glaring red flags but I dated him anyway”. Ding ding! – my responsibility again. So, things got better for me after this point. Once I look at what my own responsibility is, in any situation, then the problems disappear!
At any rate I was lucky I had the chance to mend that relationship with my dad those first few days when I started taking courses in Scientology because my dad passed away about 11 years later. It bought me that time with him. And I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful I got to handle that because it pretty much had halted my growth as a being. I was stuck that 30 years of my life, and just look, it took a few hours to untangle with a simple handling with a Church staff member in my first few days of learning some very basic Scientology tools.
Do you think Scientology is for everyone?
I actually don’t think Scientology is for everyone. By that, I mean if you are someone that ideally wants to blame others for things that happen to you, then Scientology is likely not going to make you happy. Scientology helps you become happy, helps you become a problem solver, helps you succeed in your goals, with your relationships, at your work, and which helps you become more aware of your environment and those around you. You can’t really become aware if you are busy blaming others for everything. When I see myself blaming others, it just tells me right now that there’s something I need to look at in myself – that there’s some part of what’s happening I need to be more responsible for. That awareness of self is what you gain in Scientology. Awareness of your actions, your thoughts and of those around you, the ability to predict one’s behavior and those whom you deal with. It pretty much makes life a whole lot easier!
You’d mentioned not having a family of your own without Scientology. Can you tell me more about that?
Owing to everything I’d seen and experienced growing up, I had felt that families and society in general were “messed up” when it came to raising kids. I was utterly terrified to have kids, but yet I simultaneously wanted a husband and kids so badly. So I never thought it could have a family, or be a good mom. As I continued on my path in Scientology, I began to see that I too could have kids and a family that wasn’t all messed up.
Then, while doing the Purification Rundown, I had another one of these unexpected side-benefits of Scientology services. While sitting in the the sauna sweating out toxins (a facet of the program), totally on a mission to detoxify my body, I suddenly saw that I was surrounded by a number of sweet, precociously-able Scientology kids. These kids were so thoughtful and polite, they knew how to study, clearing up definitions while studying their homework. Here I was, not having learned to really duplicate anything I had read in high school, yet here were these young kids reading away and having very mature conversations about what they were reading. The conversations they were having just blew me away. The way they conducted themselves it was definitely an eye opener for me. At that moment I thought, “Wow – I actually can have kids. Right here, there’s a way to bring them up, and to give them tools to be sane, productive, able adults.”
It was like a light bulb went off. I later ran into these kids’ mother – who was also very impressive, a great listener and was very interested in me and what I had to say. I told her because of her kids I knew now that I could raise a family that was functional, productive and sane. Before this I had fear I’d be so overwhelmed. Well that same lady and I crossed paths about 18 years later when I was 48 and pregnant with twins. We had a tearful moment and a nod between the two of us. We both reflected on that day when I told her because of her I knew I could be a good mom and raise kids that would be able and happy!
And that’s what I have today a loving husband and beautiful family. I worked hard on myself, corrected things I felt I needed to be corrected to make me more responsible and able. I took many courses and did a lot of auditing, I just finished OT VII (definition here).
Scientology means knowing how to know! Just clearing up that definition made me want to discover more – and so I just kept going!