Another former Scientologist is speaking out against the Church, this time in a lengthy essay for Gawker. On Tuesday, June 23, the site published a piece by actress Carmen Llywelyn, who has had small roles in movies including Never Been Kissed and Chasing Amy, and who was married briefly to actor and Scientologist Jason Lee.
In the article, titled simply "Why I Left Scientology," Llywelyn details her history with the L. Ron Hubbard-founded religion, including what happened when she read the anti-Scientology book A Piece of Blue Sky and became known as a "Suppressive Person."
"The reality of Scientology is deceptively hidden and cleverly disguised. When I look at Scientology today, I have to forgive myself for not seeing through the manipulation sooner," she writes. "I've spent the last 13 years keeping Scientology out of my life. It hasn't been easy, but I've realized that the religion is built on a foundation of violence."
Llywelyn says she was introduced to the Church by her ex-husband, whom she married in 1995 after a year of dating. According to her essay, he'd been a Scientologist for about five years before they met, and was eager to bring her into the fold as well.
"Eventually, I started to feel like he was forcing Scientology on me, past the point where I didn't want to go any further," she claims. "He would never stop talking about it. It became a source of contention and I realized that unless I accepted Scientology the way he did and the way he wanted me to, we would most likely cease to know [one] another."
Llywelyn agreed to a tour of Scientology's Celebrity Centre, during which she says she "got a horrible feeling" in her stomach. "As we kept going, it occurred to me how unreal and expensive Scientology was going to be," she recalls, estimating her expenses to be more than $50,000. "To me, Scientology seemed more of a surreal lifestyle for the privileged than a kind of belief system."
Nevertheless, Llywelyn joined her then-husband at the Church. She spent eight years as a Scientologist -- but she never really let go of her "critical feelings" about it.
Until she left, though, she kept those feelings to herself. "You'd never think that speaking your mind could get you in that much trouble, but if you knew what the average Scientologist's perspective was on friendships you'd understand," she writes. "In Scientology, your friend can become your worst enemy overnight."
Llywelyn, 41, says she learned that the hard way when she became a Suppressive Person, which she describes as "the worst thing you can be in Scientology." She says her own best friend turned on her, as did other "former faux-friends" (including at least one celeb). Even Lee -- from whom she split in 2001 -- reportedly sent her a "disconnection letter" to cut ties.
Llywelyn goes on to claim that "Scientology has a sophisticated intelligence agency known as the Office of Special Affairs, which is essentially a complex system dedicated to ruining the lives of those it sees as enemies in any way possible." She further alleges that members of the Church "skirt the law and use methods like electronic surveillance and cell phones to monitor a person's every word and every move."
Now living in Atlanta with a long-term partner and their twin sons, Llywelyn says in her Gawker essay that she hopes to help "other survivors who have suffered through the experiences of predatory cults."
The Church of Scientology has not yet responded to Us Weekly's request for comment.