WOMEN
11/07/2012 11:12 am ET

Scientology And Me: Part One, Growing Up In The Church

I was about the age Suri Cruise is now when I had my first session. Mickey, my first-grade teacher at the non-traditional school I attended, had announced that day that he would soon be leaving for a new job somewhere in California. All I remember now of Mickey is his warmth, and his soft, crinkly eyes and thick black beard, but the day he made his announcement, I was devastated in the way only a six-year-old can be – someone I loved was leaving me! The world had turned cruel. I trudged home to my mother, sobbing, and though I’m not sure who brought up the idea first, I knew a session was just what I needed.

Because my brother was an infant at the time, my mother wasn’t going into the mission regularly, and when she did auditing it was from home. I remember the E-meter set up on a table in the light-filled kitchen, the screen facing her. I sat across, gripping metal cans narrower than soda cans but still too big for child-sized hands. I felt excited, a little nervous, my sadness about Mickey already dulled by my entry into the adult world of the church and the confidence that I could make these painful feelings of loss go away.

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