Wilfried Handl about his Life
  in and with Scientology

Interview in March 2008
(Questions by Ilse Hruby)

  An unofficial translation from the German Interview with Wilfried Handl

How did you get into Scientology?

Back then I had a girlfriend, who was into Scientology – and so it was only a matter of time before I learned about Scientology and went there.

How old were you then?

I was 20 years old.

How were you recruited?

In retrospect, I found out that in Scientology there is a type of financial marketing: each Scientologist gets 10 or 15% of all amounts received from someone who he/she has brought into the Org. My former girlfriend became a few weeks later "FSM" of the month, "FSM" (being Field Staff Member) this systems name within Scientology – and she had, other than me, a number of other people she knew brought into Scientology.

What was the first impression of this "religion"?

You never hear anything about religion or church – and I myself during my 28-year membership never noticed anything, except that this argument is used to get tax relief and social acceptance. It presented to me as an assembly of – quite sympathetic – people.

Did your parents / grandparents / siblings know about it?

No, not initially. Later, I recruited my brother for Scientology, I became one of those "FSMs".

Did Scientology encourage you to bring in family members and friends?

Yes. It is the main tool of Scientology that every Scientologist also gets his complete environment into Scientology.

Did you as a member of Scientology have special obligations?

A Scientologist actually has very few obligations – but those few are full time: he aims to make significant progress on the "bridge to total freedom", which is a course and auditing system that is comparable to a ladder, and which determines the way, which everyone has to complete to reach thereby the highest level of "enlightment".

Secondly, you have to complete these levels and then thirdly, you have to earn money to pay for these levels – and they are extremely expensive. (Each Scientologist pays 150.000 to 300.000 Euros in this way, more is not uncommon)

What was your daily routine?

Actually, quite inconspicuous – just with scientologic "Inserts".

Did you do your daily or weekly conditions formulas?

Sure. You are asked to do this by Scientology as well – the person who looks for this is the so-called "Ethics Officer".

Were there times of prayer or worship at Sundays or on holidays? Do people pray at those times or discuss religious matters?

There were and there are. To really understand we must imagine that this is actually a just meeting, to which (mainly) Scientologists have been invited and that is announced as a "Sunday service" where "edifying" texts are read. So light years away from any prayer time at a real church.

Did you yourself consider Scientology a religion even at that time?

No. Hubbard himself (there are enough statements from him – for example: Scientology is not a psychological analysis or a religion – 1954) and with him all Scientologists see it exactly the same way. It was and is only about tax relief, "protection" from market regulation and social recognition.

Were there any attempts by the Scientology Org to influence your marriage or family life? What took precedence?

Sure. Scientology tries to gain complete control over each member and his or her living conditions – and to readjust it according to Scientology values.

Did you educate your children according to Scientology guidelines?

Yes, unfortunately!
[see also:
Ex-Scientology Kids Homepage and Scientology and Children by F.A.C.T.net]

How did the teachings of Scientology affect your life? Professionally and privately?

One gets into a parallel world and lives in this one without realizing it. In this existence one not even necessarily is unhappy all people around are also a Scientologist and live according to the same specifications.

What level did you reach on the bridge of L. Ron Hubbard?

I became a "clear".

Could you go back in past lives while auditing?

In theory, yes but whether this is true, one can not fully comprehend; isn't it possible to imagine all sorts of things?

For me, much more interesting is that none of the objectives Scientology auditing promises is achieved. By the way, it already was this way at the beginning of the fifties as Hubbard full of pride presented in the Shrine Auditorium the first Clear and the whole thing ended in a fiasco. This situation has not changed except that Scientologists tend to reason the things into themselves and pay a lot of money too.

How did Scientology work out for you financially?

As for almost every Scientologists: with a financial bankruptcy. I would say that over 90% of the Scientologists are heavily indebted.

What have you seen that you do not like, and why did you then decide to stay in?

There are many reasons to stay: you have been paying a lot of money, peer pressure, the spying system with "knowledge reports", "security checks", the financial dependency in an environment with almost only Scientologists – and the pressure, that Scientology exercises on its members to keep them in control!

Did you in your active involvement of Scientology see critical reports about Scientology on TV or read them in the newspapers?

No, hardly. One is obliged to avoid these "enemy propaganda" – and has to go to an "Ethics Officer" if one does it anyway.

If so, what did you think at that time? Were there any specific instructions on how to react to such reports?

Scientology told me and everyone else that those reports would be made by criminals, were full of lies, etc. Also according to Hubbard, everyone who attacked Scientology was a criminal. I believed this – unfortunately.

How and when did you inform yourself about Scientology?

Only after my exit in 2002 – on the Internet, friends, former Scientologists, etc.

When did you get the feeling that something was wrong?

The doubts began at the end of the 80s – when I reached the "Clear" level. Back then I was thinking: "That was all of it? That cannot happen. That was about everything for which this monkey dance is being done?"

Nevertheless, it would take for another 10 years before action followed this thought.

What problems did the membership in Scientology create for you?

Actually, during the time I was in: none. Only after my exit I noticed everything in my time with Scientology that I had lost, unlearned etc.

How did you manage to get out of Scientology?

Actually, only with the help of someone who loved me and believed in me – the cancer was merely the straw that broke the camels back.

How do you live today with the experiences you have gone through while being a member of Scientology?

It's damn hard to return to being a normal person. It is now 6 years ago that I blew and I still fight with a variety of templates: I'm afraid it will also remain this way for some time.

What is the most important thing you would like to tell people about Scientology?

Scientology is a system – and I can guarantee you it's not the only one – that pretends something very different than it ultimately is. When you begin to get to know Scientology, it looks like an organization of dedicated and friendly people, that seemingly have a solution for every problem, and speak about this "scientologic way" all the time.

After a short time, the true face is shown: a neo-fascist, totalitarian organization, equipping you with blinkers, which won't allow for you to take a look around.

If you'd like to know how this ends, you only have to recall the fairy tale of "Little Red Riding Hood".

Scientology is in the bed of the grandmother, still has a big belly from eating her, but has enough chalk on its face to not look like the wolf to Little Red Riding Hood – after all the wolf would also like to eat the Little Red Riding Hood.

You must never forget this when faced with Scientology or Scientologists: In their way, they are all costumed wolves, with only one thing in mind: To eat the Little Red Riding Hood!

Thanks a lot to Wilfried Handl for this interview and all the best for the further life without Scientology!

A short Introduction to Wilfried Handl:

Wilfried Handl was inside in Scientology in Vienna (Austria) over 28 Years. This is a long time – nearly a half life! During parts of this time he had the job as an ED (Executive Director) of Scientologys Org. in Vienna and he acquired knowledge of many things from backstage of Scientology. He was married to a Scientologist and they got 3 sons. They divorced in 2001. Wilfried left Scientology in 2002 after he found out that the promises of Scientology are not true, because the Doctors found cancer in his body and he was near death. Wilfried was a "Clear" and Scientologys promises for this level are: "free from every kind of sickness". 2005 he wrote his book "Scientology: Wahn und Wirklichkeit" (Only available in German)

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