I was 7 years old—just a year older than Suri Cruise—when I entered the Orwellian world of rules, rewards, and punishments known as the Church of Scientology.
Prior to that, I had led a relatively normal life with my family in London. My parents were Scientologists, but not in a zealous way. Then my mother decided to become more involved with the church, and we moved to Clearwater, Florida, where she joined a religious order called the Sea Organization. She signed a contract commiting herself to the group for a billion years—covering her future lives, as the church believes people are immortal. We settled into a compound with other families. The year was 1986. I remember it as the year I lost my freedom.