Inside Scientology

First-hand accounts of the Scientology Experience

An Experience of Scientology's Hard Sell

The following account of Scientology's "Hard Sell" techniques is from
someone who has e-mailed me privately, through a named account. I'm
witholding the e-mail address to respect the correspondent's privacy.

I was just reading your page on Scientology and I had to tell you my
story. I took a friend to Boston with me for a weekend. She was into
drugs and I was trying to get her to leave them alone for one weekend.
Though she didn't care much about physical improvement (there wasn't
much to improve on), she was an avid psychology fan and was always
trying to better herself mentally. As we walked down Newbury St., a
young man came up to us and asked us if we'd like a "free personality
test". Being two girls alone in a city that was not our own, I was
instantly cautious, but Shannon was not. He had said the magic words to
her, "personality test", it was right up her alley. She agreed and the
young man asked us to follow him for about two blocks. Halfway there, I
asked him (jokingly) if he was taking us to some cult. He looked at me
as if he was caught and then smiled and said, "Well, it's not a cult,
really". I knew right then that I wanted to run, but Shannon's
fascination held me there. I didn't think she was stupid enough to fall
for anything, and she'd be pissed if I took her away from her
"personality test", so I went along. We entered the building and I
instantly realized that this was a den of Dianetics. My mother had
warned me against the cult at an early age so I had my guard up as high
as it would go. Once we got there, I was surprised when they instanly
split me and Shannon up. I worried. I took my test as fast as I could
and waited for the person to come analyze it for me. I scored quite low
in some areas (though high in others) and she said she was worried about
me, but that I could do some work on it. For only a few dollars she
would give me a book that would explain it all. Dianetics. I declined,
telling her that I needed every last dollar in my pocket to get home
(which was more or less true). She still tried to convince me to give
her my money in exchange for that book! What nerve! I finally told her I
didn't want the book and she stopped her smiling, got up and left me. I
was taken to a front room near a door to wait for my friend. Worried, I
hoped Shannon would not be weak when she was given the same offer. I
knew better though. After a few minutes that dragged on, I tried to walk
around the building to look for her, but was deterred from doing so.
Finally I demanded to see her and was told to wait. She soon came out
with a smile on her face and nothing but lint in her pocket. They had
persuaded her to spend every last dollar she had on their crap. "Free
test", my ass. Great, that meant that I would be financially responsible
for getting us home. When we finally did get home, I sat her down in
front of my mother and we had somewhat of a "deprogramming party". She
tossed away the book, and to this day I think she has stayed away from
the cult. Unfortunately, she hasn't stayed away from the drugs, so I
don't really talk to her anymore, but I'm glad at least that we didn't
lose her to that cult.


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