Murray Luther Fights Back
Although my falling out with the Church was a gradual process, I had to face some realities of my estrangement. I wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret indefinitely. First off, I had no intention of ever taking another Scientology service. Eventually, someone would have to notice that. Second, the IAS would never see another penny of my money. That would definitely stand out. Could I manage to stay out of their crosshairs? And for how long? I could have cared less if I were declared an SP and expelled, but I wasn’t prepared to give up all of my Scientologist friends and colleagues.
I was well aware of the consequences of my disaffection. The thought of all the Ethics BS I might be subjected to made me mad. Screw them, thought. I refuse to be intimidated. I decided that I just wouldn’t cooperate with any Church demands. Just say no. It was like the ultimate protest and it felt very liberating. I couldn’t be bullied.
Now that I was in this new frame of mind, I wondered what I might do next. I decided to reinvent myself. I’d stay “on the inside” as long as I could and keep a record of the Church of Scientology’s continuing exploits and publish my findings onto the Internet. It was a melodramatic posture, like I was the Green Hornet or something, but I liked the idea. And to be honest, I was beginning to take on a perverse curiosity about the Church. What wacky direction would the Church take next? From that perspective they’ve never ceased to disappoint.
I started posting some of my views on a few of the forums and websites created by critics and “Freezone” Scientologists—independent practitioners who operated outside the formal structure of the Church. I came up with an online pseudonym: Murray Luther, derived from Martin Luther, one of the principal leaders of the Protestant movement in the 16th century. Luther publicly opposed some of the policies of the Roman Papacy and proposed ways to reform a church he believed had become a corrupt organization. I wasn’t trying to equate my stature with that of Martin Luther, but I was a protester. I wanted to become a voice of dissent against a corrupt orthodoxy, and I felt compelled to speak my mind about it. At the same time I knew I’d have to do it anonymously or suffer instant retribution from the Church. And I took a liking to my Murray Luther handle—as if maybe I was Martin Luther’s long lost cousin several times removed.
I contacted several Scientology critics who were well known on the Internet. I wanted to start a regular column from my perspective: a Scientologist, still in good standing, who was willing to speak out honestly about the Church. After contacting a couple of critics via their web sites, I eventually found Kristi Wachter, a former Scientologist who maintains two web sites, truthaboutscientology.com and scientology-lies.com. Her web material seemed straightforward, honest, and free from the over-the-top antagonism of some of the other anti-Scientology websites.
Kristi impressed me as pleasant, intelligent, and sincere about her desire to expose Church misbehavior. She certainly didn’t fit the Church’s profile of a Suppressive Person. There were a number of critics who I thought were decent and conscientious. What a different picture it was from the way such people were portrayed by the Church. I proposed to Kristi a column titled Regime Report by Murray Luther. She thought it was a good idea, and said I could start submitting articles whenever I was ready. She even set up a Murray Luther index page that included a short bio and a nifty graphic that I created. Kristi was unfailingly helpful and enthusiastically supportive of my efforts. I hope that sometime I’ll get the chance to thank her in person.