Escaping Scientology: An Insider's True Story: My Journey with the Cult of Celebrity Spirituality, Greed & Power (Paperback)

Escaping Scientology: An Insider's True Story: My Journey with the Cult of Celebrity Spirituality, Greed & Power By Mike Rinder (Foreword by), Steven Hassan (Foreword by), Karen [Schless] Pressley Cover Image
By Mike Rinder (Foreword by), Steven Hassan (Foreword by), Karen [Schless] Pressley
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Artists Peter and Karen Schless were seduced by Scientology's celebrity spirituality, and detoured from Hollywood careers to join its extremist group, the Sea Org. Within leader David Miscavige's inner sanctum, they built their mental prison as they melded into its radicalized lifestyle where danger, captivity and abuse were normalized. After three escapes, Karen chose between two unbearable options. Escaping Scientology Part I sweeps you into the lives of two young adults filled with hope and love as designer Karen and her award-winning musician-composer husband Peter overcome obstacles to succeed in the music and fashion industries together. Scientology re-focuses their goals toward the importance of clearing the planet and recruiting celebrities to build Scientology's social capital. Karen portrays the basic beliefs of Scientology that led to her radicalization into the Sea Org at the Celebrity Centre, a fortress where artists aspire to achieve greatness while attaining spiritual freedom through L. Ron Hubbard's teachings. Karen shows how celebrities are lured into Scientology and develop a co-dependent relationship from which few break out. Part II reveals Karen as a flawed and complex woman when she and Peter move to the secretive International Management headquarters, where they join 800 fanatical Sea Org members that made billion-year commitments to make this a Scientology world without war, criminality, or insanity. Karen finds the dystopian outpost and its global operations to be proof that Time magazine's 1991 article "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" captures the essence of Scientology's mindset, that she describes as "war is everything and everything is war." She is no passive victim as she attempts to stay in the driver's seat and keep their marriage intact while fighting the pressures of the Int base culture that attempt to break them apart. Scientology goes under "Cruise Control" as Miscavige becomes obsessed with his biggest trophy, Tom Cruise, and stiffens his control and abusive punishment methods on the Int base staff. Karen rebels against regulations and spends time in Scientology's prison camp. After two attempts to escape the Int base, she is trailed by security guards and coerced into returning. Failing to escape, she questions the evidence of her own senses, and makes a mind-twisting re-commitment to become the best version of a Sea Org member she can be. Karen carves out a world she can live within as she is promoted into the highest echelons of management, appointed by the Chairman of the Board RTC to Int Management Public Relations Officer and later to take charge of the image of Sea Org staff internationally from the Int Finance Office. While working on special projects under David and Shelley Miscavige, she travels to Scientology bases around the world where she sees human rights violations set in place by Hubbard's policies. She concludes that Scientology is a for-profit business that builds billions of dollars of assets on the backs of Sea Org slave labor, while hiding behind the banner of the First Amendment, claiming benefits and protection as a non-profit religion. The epilogue of Part III portrays the mind-wrenching process of physical escape, and psychological anguish as Karen plies herself out of Scientology's grip and endures its cruel disconnection policy. She re-acclimates herself to life on the outside while, brick by brick, she disassembles the walls of the mental prison she had built, and survives with the help of her accomplice and the love and support of her family. Karen Schless Pressley's narrative memoir shows that Scientology's plan, authored by L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige, is filled with flaws: While the leaders impose their will on thousands of members who follow blindly and spend exorbitant amounts of money or dedicate their lives to achieve spiritual freedom, they grossly underestimate the power of free will in those brave enough to escape and spe.

About the Author

KAREN SCHLESS PRESSLEY enjoyed her pre-Scientology career in fashion design and music publishing until she was seduced by Scientology's celebrity spirituality. She survived a 16-year journey with the cult as a celebrity recruiter, as the Commanding Officer of the Celebrity Centre network, and as a 12-year member of its extremist group, the Sea Org. She held creative and executive positions at Int Management headquarters, from costume designer in its film studio, to Int Management Public Relations Officer in the Senior Executive Strata, to doing special projects for church leaders David & Shelley Miscavige while in charge of Sea Org image and uniform design. After her first two failed escapes, she rose in the ranks for five years until a final reckoning. After her third escape in 1998, she became an activist against Scientology's abuses. She has spoken at more than 100 events and appeared on CNN, NBC Dateline, CBS Morning Show, and in French and German documentaries on Scientology. She rebuilt a new life on the outside through education, career, family life, and personal development. She is an honors graduate of Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, GA, with a B.S. in Communication and a Master of Arts in Professional Writing from KSU. Karen enjoyed a post-graduate career as an adjunct instructor of English at Southern Polytechnic State University, and as an adjunct instructor of Communication at Kennesaw State University from 2011 through 2015. Karen established Bayshore Publications in 2017, with Escaping Scientology as her first release. Coming to Terms With Your Story: Writing to Heal is in editorial production for a 2017 publication. She edited Commodore's Messenger: Book One by Janis Gillham Grady (Outback Publishing, 2017). Her work has appeared in the International Cultic Studies Association's ICSA Today magazine and Cultic Studies Review Journal of Research, News and Opinion. Karen enjoys family life on the Florida Gulf coast, and survived Hurricane Irma mid-publishing Escaping Scientology. Karen's works will always strive to carry the theme of being a survivor/thriver.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780999088128
ISBN-10: 0999088122
Publisher: Pressley & Associates
Publication Date: September 21st, 2017
Pages: 422
Language: English