This Family Took An Interesting Route To Speak To Their Kids Within The Church Of Scientology

We heard from Nicole Kidman’s experience (or Leah Remini’s recounting of it) that the Church of Scientology can be ruthless in separating children from their parents. An ex-Scientologist couple have confirmed this reality by taking out a billboard in an attempt to get their grown children, who are still in the religion, to contact them.

The Hollywood Reporter has an interview with the couple, Phil and Willie Jones, who say that the Church excommunicated them after both began having doubts about the organization. This included cutting them off from their grown children, Mike and Emily, in a process known as “disconnection.” The billboard, up near Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, says, “To my loved one in Scientology…call me.” The Joneses say that they tried to put the billboard up twice in Hollywood, but the Church was able to interfere with those plans.

And this is what “disconnection” involves:

If you leave Scientology and make any kind of critical remark at all, every Scientologist has to disconnect from you: family, friends, business. Because my wife and I were in it for so many years, our entire lives were surrounded by it. Literally overnight we were cut off from everyone, including our own children. There’s no recourse. You can’t call the kids up and talk about it. We’ve tried to phone, letters, we go to the building, and the security people come out: “You’re not welcome here.” We were at a loss as to what else to do, and that’s when we came up with the billboard. We wanted to make a statement: We want our families back. They’re holding them hostage.

Other interesting tidbits: the son–Mike–apparently moved to Los Angeles to pursue music, but then the Scientologists brainwashed him into giving up that dream: “The ones who have big careers — the Tom Cruises and John Travoltas of the world — they had their careers before Scientology.” In addition, most Scientology staff don’t have cell phones unless they’re high up in the organization.

The Joneses left Scientology five years ago, and haven’t spoken to their children in over two years.

(via Hollywood Reporter)