1) In case some people have been living in a tomcruiseless universe for the past 50 years, tell us, in your own words, what is Scientology?
Scientology claims to be a self-help religious philosophy founded by L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology has its own form of spiritual counseling called auditing. There are levels you go up within The Bridge To Total Freedom that Scientology says takes you on a path towards spiritual freedom and enlightenment. It’s all, however, bogus. It’s all a pyramid scheme based on money and power. Plus, the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige, is a truly evil person who ruins the lives of thousands (if not more) people around the world.
2) Who are you? How did you end up involved in Scientology? Take us through your journey!
My name is Steven Mango and I am an actor in Los Angeles. When I first moved to Hollywood when I was 18 years old I got into Scientology through an acting workshop, Breaking Into The Industry, hosted by an actor named Gino Montesinos. From there, I signed up for a $50 self-help book course called Self Analysis. I got hooked into Scientology and donated over $50,000 during the course of my time in the cult. I tell my full story in my documentary at https://youtu.be/LfKqOUMrCw8 if you are interested to hear me discuss my 2.5 hour story!
3) It appears that Scientology has a special appeal for creative people. Why do you think that is?
Scientology targets creative folks. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wanted well known people in Scientology to give it legitimacy. He targeted many celebrities to be a face for Scientology. Scientology believes creative people operate on an aesthetic waveband and they are the creators of our future and our society. In addition, L. Ron Hubbard believed that artists needed to be rehabilitated. They attract suppression and low toned people to them and are frequently a target of others for their special abilities. Scientology opened its Celebrity Centre to give a special place for artists. But, as you learn on my YouTube channel, it’s a destructive place that ruined my life and stole money from me, amongst many other horrible things.
4) What happens when you walk in through the doors of a scientology center and say “Yes” to one of their recruiters? Walk us through the process!
You normally don’t say yes quite so easily! I have been in regging cycles for hours and hours, locked in rooms, had credit cards charged without my authorization, etc. I never once tried to sign up for a Scientology course on my own accord or self determinism! But, once you say yes and hand over the money, they put you on a routing form. You get your course materials and see the course supervisor to make your schedule. Remember not to be a minute late or you will be sent to Ethics to get punished and asked about what crimes you committed since you last were on Course! Enjoy!
5) Money plays a huge part in Scientology: big buildings, big properties, flashy logos etc. Who pays for all this?
The parishioners do. I discuss a lot of this on my YouTube channel as well. Scientology courses, obviously, cost an incredible amount of money. There is what’s called the IAS, or the International Association of Scientologists. This is their membership department. You need a membership to be a Scientologist and those can run you from $500/year all the way to upper level memberships that may run you several million dollars! In addition, Scientology will fundraise for their buildings, their Superbowl commercials, etc. Parishoners will donate thousands upon thousands of dollars under duress. They will be threatened to get expelled from the cult if they don’t donate enough. They are forced to give these donations to remain connected to friends or loved ones, essentially.
6) How do they get the money out of you? Most members are normal, average-earning people, from what I know…
You will give everything you have to Scientology. Even if you are a normal, average earning person. I didn’t make anywhere close to the amount of money I donated. They get you to give money on credit cards and loans or to borrow money from others. They will have contacts in the banks to approve high limit credit cards you don’t even qualify for. The ends justify the means. It’s all OK, even if it’s illegal, as long as you get the money in their hands. You will also sell your car or cut back on your life in order to have money to give to Scientology.
Mostly it is forced donations. They would tell me to donate the total amount of my checking account to Scientology. They would rack up my credit cards, even without my permission. They would have me write advanced checks if I was expecting a paycheck. It’s crazy what they do to get you to donate!
7) One of the best known and most controversial aspects of Scientology is the Xenu story, Scientology’s origin story that brings to mind a 1950s B-scifi movie. At one point do they expose you to this story?
I never did OT 3. The materials are publicly available online. But remember, once you are at the level of OT 3, you have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars and have spent dozens of years in Scientology. You believe in it with your whole heart. L. Ron Hubbard was source. He is like a God. You believe everything L. Ron Hubbard says as a guru. All your family and friends are Scientologists. You work for Scientologists. You live with them. There isn’t any turning back once you get to OT 3. You are highly conditioned at that point of The Bridge.
8) Do you believe L. Ron Hubbard actually wanted to help people, or was Scientology meant to be a business from the start?
It’s hard to say. Most all critics, such as myself, will say it was all a money making scam. However, there were some helpful items in Scientology. Was it worth being in debt, being suicidal after leaving, getting PTSD, and having my life ruined to learn how to communicate better? Of course not! I think there may be a few things in Scientology that are beneficial, but the organization is corrupt and it’s a money making racket.
9) Getting back to you, what’s in your future?
I have a great life now with my husband Jeff and our two dogs, Phineas and Penelope. I am still pursing my acting career. I’ll be discussing the Scientology EMeter on the A&E TV show Storage Wars on May 31. Check local listings to see what time it airs near you. I am writing my memoir about my experiences within Scientology. I also post weekly videos on my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE5IHywtKYHcTGfr0AUB1Mw I also am a Beverly Hills hairdresser and take clients in the salon.
10) What was it like working on ‘My Scientology Movie’? Where can people see it?
I love the BBC and Louis Theroux. I always wanted to be in a Louis Theroux documentary. When the chance approached, and it was to expose Scientology, I was on board. I loved being able to tell my story and also act in the reenactment scenes of the Scientology prison The Hole. I was always told by Scientology that I needed to stay silent and that my story didn’t matter. Louis gave me a voice and allowed me to tell my story on a worldwide level. I will forever appreciate the opportunity he gave me!
You can see My Scientology Movie on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Video, On Demand, and on DVD. Go to MyScientologyMovie.com to see how to see it in a city near you!