Buoyed By Anonymous, A Former Scientologist Offers Thanks And A Heartbreaking Story
If estimates hold true, there were at least 6000 people protesting globally against the multitude of abuses for which the cyber-group calling themselves 'Anonymous' hopes to hold the Church of Scientology accountable, including, but not limited to: suppressing free speech, fraud, intimidation, extortion, even malevolent neglect toward its own members.
On last night's GlossLip Radio show, Arnie Lerma joined me to discuss the protests in Washington, D.C. Lerma, a former member of Scientology and now one of its most outspoken critics, joined the 200 plus crowd of Anonymous protesters gathered in D.C.'s Dupont Circle.
I asked Arnie to describe the events and his experiences at the D.C. protests:
"The main group assembled at Dupont Circle, but we did not join them there because basically we had like a parade float, a truck with big signs on the side of it. We found a parking space in front of the Scientology building on R Street and Connecticut. It was wonderful. We couldn't have done better.
Our first contact was their advance team, who came down to scope out the site and set up the sound system and the main body came down at about 11:00 o'clock.
They were disciplined, polite, intelligent, organized. I mean it was like clockwork. I was blown away.
I thought I was at a late '60s anti-war rally. A lot of energy, and they kept everybody psyched. They had some good guys working the microphone. I don't know them all, I mean, they're anonymous. So I can't thank them by name, but who ever they got running this, an running this picket, I can't speak for the other ones, but the reports I've read are very, very complimentary. This was just an amazing choreographed maneuver, absolutely blown away."
Lerma, has become a legendary figure within the anti-CoS movement due to his previously close ties to the Church for ten years of his life. A vivacious and articulate man, Arnie gives credit to Suzette Hubbard (daughter of CoS founder L. Ron Hubbard) for helping him leave the Church. That story in itself is mythic.
Arnie and Suzette began a love affair almost immediately upon meeting each other within the confines of the Church. The two, swept away in their love for one another, briefly escaped the Church and were only 48 hours (the waiting period between getting their license and the actual formalities) away from being married. When word got back to CoS officials, and Suzette's father L. Ron, the two were immediately separated, and this was the wake-up call to Arnie to leave while he could.Continued on the next page