Zoe Woodcraft Interview

Part Six

"Zoe Leaves Scientology"

Video Interview - January 20, 2001


Transcript of Part Six

Zoe: I started calling my father and my sister, like, quite often, and it got to where I was calling them almost every single day, and I was, like, getting really frustrated because, I mean, I just kept going over the... like, the same parts of the Student Hat, over and over, and I was never going to leave. I started giving up on it... because after they put me on the Student Hat again, everything seemed, you know... anything else seemed better. Anything and everything else seemed better than the Student Hat, so I was seriously thinking of just joinging the Sea Org, and giving up.

Stacy: So you wouldn't have to do the Student Hat anymore?

Zoe: Yeah, I would complain to my mom, I wasn't getting through it, and I was getting really frustrated, and my dad and my sister were like, "Come on, you need to get through it. You're missing school time," and they would always be supportive of me, and I would be calling them in secret. I would do it from the One Stop Shoppe, which is a Scientology-owned shop, but I would do it in the corner on the payphone, and I would try to keep everything quiet, because we were a little critical of the Sea Org then in our phone conversations, and but when I... I would also go to the public library and call. I would walk there late at night, which I was not allowed to do. You're not... you're not allowed to walk anywhere. You have to go on busses to everywhere. And so finally Astra, one day she said... she's like, "Do you want dad to just, like, come pick you up? You know, like, you could just get out of there. You wouldn't have to talk to anyone, but you could just come back," and she said, "It seems like you're never going to get done." I was like, "Wow, Astra, you're talking of blowing!" Like, because "blowing" is, like, you just leave without permission, and that's a really bad offense. But, it seemed so great to me, you're like... I was like, "Oh my God!" and, "I could leave... and just leave?!" because you never think of that possibility... or at least I never thought of that possibility. I never thought of it.

Stacy: Until she said it that day?

Zoe: Yeah! I never thought of just leaving. I never thought I would actually do it. I... I'm not even sure I actually even had the thought of, what if I just left? I never even had that. I was just, like, "Wow," and then I was like, "Yeah!" I'd go like, "Yeah! OK!" And then, so then we kind of worked out a plan of... of... would I just fly to LA? Because I had a return ticket from when I went back from Hawaii, I said... I said to my dad, I know it's going to cost extra money, but it will give me extra motivation if you just buy me a return ticket. Make this a round trip, me going back to Florida, and then make it a round trip, and I would have the ticket with me, and normally they would have tried to take it away and take my ID away, but I hid the ticket, and I always kept it in my backpack, which I had, which I had on me every single day. So we... we were trying to decide what I should do. Like, should dad come pick me up or should I just fly out there... back there on my return ticket? And I was so scared. What I was doing was so forbidden that I felt I wouldn't have enough courage and it would seem so weird, because you know, when you... when even going in a car is, like, a... a treat to you, catching a taxi is like... seems impossible. You're like, "I get a taxi? What about the guy? Won't he be weird? Do I just give him the money at the end?"...

Stacy: So it was just too much?

Zoe: ..."and will he know that..." Yeah, it was kind of too much. It was overwhelming. So we arranged a plan where dad would come out and pick me up really quickly, like it would be like a... a 24-hour round trip, and I had to make sure everything was perfect, like I had to fix every little detail. So finally my dad did fly out here. He spent one night, really quick, in a hotel, came early in the morning, I came to meet him. I had, like, all my stuff... I had started putting it in cardboard boxes, like, throwing it in a cardboard box in the workplace, and I like packed up some backpacks really tightly. And I felt really guilty. I felt so guilty. Like, the night before, when I said good night to my grandma, and I knew it was like the last time I would see her... she's reather old... and I was just like, you know, OK I can't do anything about this. I'm just going to have to say goodbye. So then... then, in the morning, I like... I felt so bad, I felt like... because I was leaving some of my stuff behind, because I couldn't pack it all in, and I was like... I felt so guilty towards my mother. I was like, "I'm going to leave my poor mother to clean out the rest of my stuff," even like that. So then I... I finally got to my dad and we just flew off, and even... even in the middle of that... even though I didn't really like Scientology anymore, even though I wouldn't admit it to myself... I still... I still... I still wanted to go back in some ways. I still felt like, "I could just go back right now. I could just go back right now." Even then it was still a conflict for me. So...

Stacy: You didn't know what you were going into...

Zoe: Yeah.

Stacy: ... really, did you?

Zoe: No. I didn't. I... I wasn't even sure I could, like, go to public school, because, you know... public school. I wasn't even sure that I would be able to exist within the system, you know, I would be able to do well. So then I just... I got on the plane with my dad and I left. When we... By the time we drove home, about a 40 minute drive, my mom had already left a bunch of messages on the phone, and she... and then she called up and she was just talking to my sister and my dad, and I didn't want to talk to her because, like when my sister blew, or like, left suddenly to... [??????] got permission, my mom had to call her up, and my mom then had been all, like, crying and everything and pleading with her, and I didn't want her to do that with me because I just felt so guilty. I'd been living with her for the last six years, and suddenly I would just be leaving her, so... But when I got on the phone with her, she was really just, like, angry and snappy with me...

Stacy: Really?

Zoe: Yeah, she was... I thought she would be a little understanding, but she was just, like, angry and she was kind of mean about it, and eventually I finally agreed, after about three weeks of them threatening to declare me a Suppressive Person, things like this... I finally went in for an interview, just to make sure that I hadn't stolen anything, like important documents. I was so nervous, because I knew I would have to be lying, because by this time I hated Scientology. I did not like it. I knew the truth about it. I'd read up about it on the Internet, and I read that book dad had passed on to me. I was... I liked it so much I read it, the whole thing, in one day.

Stacy: What was the book?

Zoe: The... Madman or Messiah...

Stacy: Oh!

Zoe: ... by Bent Corydon. So...

Stacy: Now, where did you get on the Internet, at the library?

Zoe: No, this was at home...

Stacy: Oh...

Zoe: ... in LA. This was a...

Stacy: ... you'd gotten to LA and gone on the Internet

Zoe: ... few weeks afterwards, because it took awhile to convince me to go in for an interview, and by this time I didn't like Scientology at all. So I was worried that, you know, they would find out on the e-meter, because I was still scared of the e-meter. I still had so many normal Scientologist fears, like... like that morning I was supposed to go in, I still went to school that morning, but I was... I felt so sick to my stomach that I had to go to the nurse's office, and I started crying, and I just kind of went through a nervous breakdown that day. But I went and I did it anyway, and I did all sorts of tricks, like to... so that... because I still felt that they could read what I was thinking from this, so I would like wiggle my big toe, so that... that the electrical thing would go wrong, and they couldn't tell, and I would like think up something else when they asked for this thing, so that, you know, I felt I was fooling them, and I did, because they asked me a bunch of important questions that I could have, you know, spewed my guts over, but I didn't. I just lied. And they asked me more than just, did I steal anything. They asked me, like about sexual things, had I done anything sexually that made me want to leave. They asked me what... what were my crimes. Things like that.

Stacy: How... how did you feel when you discovered that the e-meter wasn't such an all powerful thing after all?

Zoe: Because I've never gone back to an e-meter, I mean, I still kind of do have a fear of them. I mean I think I'll always have kind of some Scientologist fears in some ways. I feel like it will be so hard for me to completely shake Scientology out of my mind.

Stacy: So how long have you been out?

Zoe: Late February, 2000.

Stacy: So almost exactly a year ago.

Zoe: Yeah, but I haven't been out of Scientology for, like, more than 10 months because it took me awhile...

Stacy: Because of your [?????]

Zoe: ... I was reading and, yeah, Internet.

Stacy: Well, how are you doing in the last ten months, now that you're out?

Zoe: [Laughter] Good! I go to Birmingham High School. You know, I... I kind of, like, lead a regular teenage life.

Stacy: Is it fun?

Zoe: Yeah! And, like, I like school, which is almost... the other students in my class are like, "What's wrong with you, you straight-A student?" [Laughter] And I'm like, "OK, if you had known!"

Stacy: You have no idea!

Zoe: Yeah, exactly! And, you know, I always liked books. So, I'm a year behind in school...

Stacy: What grade are you in?

Zoe: I'm in... I'm in... I'm a sophomore. I'm grade 10. I missed so many subjects. I never studied history, really, or geography, or anything like that... only basic subjects and Scientology. And I missed time in New York, so it was just a lot of time I... and so I said, "Start me as a freshman, and put me in the easiest math class," because they didn't really believe in teaching algebra. They thought it's so unimportant, you'll never need it...

Stacy: In Scientology, they did?

Zoe: Yeah, in the Sea Org. So, yeah, I was like in the really easy classes of everything. But I... I got like all A's. I only had, like, the last 10 weeks of the year. But I managed to get all A's and... and I learned how to type in 10 weeks. That was, like, amazing to me, and I rose to the top of my, like, English class, my math class, my history class, because I just liked it so much. So, yeah, then we went on another vacation, like Oregon and stuff in the summer, and I was thinking, "Another vacation!" you know? It was like a year or two after Hawaii and I was, "Wow!"

Stacy: Did you have a good time?

Zoe: Yeah! Yeah, it was fun. And then I'm back in school now. And, I don't know, in some ways I feel like it's ruined my life, and in some ways... I mean, I know I have to work through this, but I feel like... inadequate in some ways, because people around me seem so normal, and I had to work through so much Scientology habits, like holding in and not wanting to go in front of the group, because you had to speak so perfectly and robotically, that I felt like if I made an oral presentation, I would... people would be like, "God, who's she?" and... So, I've worked through a lot of that, though, and... and... but, and then the other side of it is I feel so lucky because I went through all that, and other people don't appreciate what they have now, and I'm like, "School!"... "Oh, a bed!" And I was like, "Wow! Look at this huge bed! And I have my own big bedroom to myself? And I can eat whatever I want?" And, like, I have an allowance, a regular allowance every week that I don't have to beg for, and I'm just like, "Dad, can I have my allowance?" So my life's just... I don't know, I feel blessed and I feel like I went through a lot that I shouldn't have. I don't feel that the Church of Scientology treated me fairly or right, and I feel that they put me through a lot of stuff that I... I never should have been put through. But I... I feel like I came out of it OK.

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