Monday, September 10, 2012
My Billion Year Contract by Nancy Many
My Billion Year Contract (Memoir of a former Scientologist),
Nancy Many. Somewhere in California: C.N.M. Publishing, 2009. approx. 360 pps.
Prior to reading My Billion Year Contract, I knew very little about Scientology. I'd heard that a relative of an acquaintance had mortgaged and re-mortgaged her home in order to pay for Scientology courses. She lost that home, I'd heard. And I knew that Scientologists do something called "auditing" with something like a lie detector in order to "clear" out junk in someone's psyche. And I had read about Lisa McPherson's death. I knew that there was a bunch of Scientologists living in Clearwater, Florida. And that the guy who made it all up was a sci fi author. [N.B. I consider all religions to have person or persons behind them who "made it all up"]. And that the collective Anonymous stage lots of protests against Scientology because of human rights and censorship issues within the organization. And that the higher up Scientologists have a rep for throwing lawsuits and harassment at their detractors. But not a whole lot more than that. I didn't know about the Sea Org or the Rehabilitation Project Force or even about the traveling ship. My Billion Year Contract provided me quite an education along with a feel for how things were for Nancy Many when she was a Scientologist.
Nancy Many had her first known encounter with Scientologists at an Org in Boston. Within months, she joined up with the Sea Org, signing the typical billion year contract. She immersed herself in her work, dropping out of college. Nancy was shuttled to orgs in California, New York, and Clearwater Florida. She got married and got pregnant. When she was two months pregnant, she was ordered to undergo a "voluntary" stint on the punitive Rehabilitation Project Force (R.P.F.). Folks in R.P.F. slept on bunk beds in a crowded room in a basement, wore a dark jumpsuit, and were assigned to menial tasks like scrubbing toilet bowls. After her son was born, she was assigned once again to R.P.F. Only this time she and her husband both refused to sign the paperwork noting that their transfers to the R.P.F. were voluntary. After a few days, Nancy Many and her husband departed, taking their young son with them.
Working in Sea Org is not a great way to make money. Sea Org workers are generally paid less than fifty dollars a week. Nancy and her husband were virtually penniless. Family and friends helped them get on their feet after they left the Sea Org.
As a Scientology, Nancy had gone through numerous auditing sessions utilizing a quasi-lie detector known as an E-meter. She had a psychotic-like break during one of her sessions. In contacting other ex-Scientologists, she came to understand that there were others who had had similar breaks with reality during an auditing session. The lack of compassion exhibited by her auditors plus the death of Lisa McPherson caused some cognitive dissonance which Nancy could no longer ignore. Once Nancy got free of Scientology, she has helped other folks looking for their way out.
sapphoq reviews says: Nancy Many is very courageous in openly discussing what happened to her along with some of the whys. My Billion Year Contract gave me a sense of Nancy Many as a human being. Highly recommended to folks who are interested in controlling leaders and groups and to folks who like to read autobiographies dealing with emotions.