Scientology: A Family’s Church

Scientology: A Family's Church

Masterson’s accusers feared being kicked out of Scientology. His stepfather lived it, and he’d been brought up to think of his mother as his “mother church.” And he had a lot to prove. The first time he tried to leave, he was arrested in his mom’s house. He was told he was the one who “touched the orgs,” or made a donation, “and I was doing it.” His father, he told his classmates, was the one who “made me a member of Scientology. I was just using him to get money for my stepDad. If I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out the way he made it.”

Masterson was just as shocked by the way he was perceived by the church, which he’d always seen as his parents’ religion. “You’ve got to watch what you do and what the community thinks about you,” Masterson said. His mom, who had raised him from when he was six months old, was the family’s only spiritual leader, and she took him to church twice a month, or more often, depending on her mood. To Masterson, however, her church was the cult. The church was to her like what she thought her mother’s mother’s church was to her: she considered it dangerous.

“I just hated the way Scientology was portrayed in our family,” he says. “It was always something I had to hide, something I was scared of.”

Masterson says he was taken to L. Ron Hubbard’s office in West L.A., a place described in his childhood home as “an alien-looking machine with spinning red lights,” where he was repeatedly asked to perform sexual acts and where he says he was told he’d be thrown into a black hole to become the “first Scientology martyr.” To his mother, he said, Scientology was a “total cult.”

“If you said what was happening to me in that time was dangerous, it was dangerous,” he said. “And I knew the church didn’t have anything to do with me at that time. They were using me as a pawn.”

“I made no secret of it: that I thought they were, on balance, evil… and I didn’t want to be there.”

Masterson was just 22 years old: he was in his third year of university, but just barely scraping by in school, working

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