(originally published on September 24, 2017)
Back on May 25th, 2014, a man by the name of Derek Bloch did an unforgettable article on Cracked called 5 Disturbing Things I Learned in Scientology’s “Space Navy.” I was very impressed with both Derek’s honesty and bravery when it came down to writing this article. It was one of those pieces on the Cracked website that always stayed with me.
After years of writing for other websites, I finally decided to start running my own blog because there were some dark, real life issues I wanted to tackle. Although I believe that there are plenty of good people in this world, there’s also a lot of darkness that often goes on behind closed doors, and when people try to speak out most of the time they’re ignored. I’m glad that we’re finally getting to the point in which more people are open minded about many different situations and I also see that more people are willing to stand up for what’s right; which made me contact Derek.
I found David on Twitter and asked him if I could interview him for my blog. Derek couldn’t have been nicer and was very open to it. On September 23rd, 2017, I had the pleasure of talking to Derek for an hour. I am happy to say that he held nothing back and despite the horrible things he’s been through, I can tell that it has only made him stronger and he’s got a good head on his shoulders.
So, without further delay, let’s talk about Derek’s story.
Derek came from a Catholic family that lived in Texas. When Derek was seven and his sister was four, their Dad was approached by some Scientologists who said they could help him with his business he owned using what they called “Management Technology.” His Dad had to pay them a fee for their “services,” but they made a big deal about his success in being one of the first accountants featured in Scientology’s Magazine. This is where the family made the transition from being Catholic to Scientologists.
Within the first year of them being a part of Scientology, his parents spent a total of $250,000. His Dad sold the business, which was a family thing, against his extended family’s wishes. They moved to L.A. so his Dad could go from being “Clear” to being able to move up the Ladder. By this time, David’s parents had cut off their extended family.
As his parents got more serious about Scientology, they went from being very strict and giving spankings to becoming hands off, since kids are seen as tiny adults who had lived many different lives beforehand. Parents are taught to take care of their kids while they’re babies, but once they can function of their own kids are supposed to be responsible for their own actions and parents need to just guide them in the right direction. In fact, when Derek was nine, it was mostly his sole responsibility to take care of his baby brother. As you can imagine, that’s a lot on a nine-year-old.
Derek and his sister were immediately taking Scientology classes at the ages of seven and four. Even at a young age he had his doubts. He admitted that he tends to approach things with some skepticism. Still, he kept this to himself. At the age of thirteen, adult members of the Sea Org started trying to recruit him. Derek said that they looked powerful, like police officers to him. Still, he was not interested in joining.
The members started pressuring him a lot more when he was around fourteen and fifteen. His parents were against it and tried to talk him out of it. So, it was not part of their plan for him to join. That all changed when he was leaving school at the age of fifteen and recruiters from the Sea Org were there waiting for him. Derek tried his best to avoid them and went behind the school to walk home. He doesn’t know how they were able to pull this off, but they were able to quickly catch up with him. They offered him a ride home and acted really nice about it, so Derek agreed and got in the van. That’s when they took him to base and started pressuring to join the Sea Org.
It was a long and painful process for him. The recruiters yelled at him and pressured him non stop from 4 pm-12 or 1 am. David at one point broke down crying but couldn’t leave because they were all in a small room and the door was blocked by the adults. It got to the point where Derek was so broken and tired that he ended up signing the Billion Year Contract just so he could go home. Once he finally got home, his Dad was angry, but not for the reasons you’d expect. His Dad’s anger had to do with the fact that Derek never called him to let him know where he was. There wasn’t any indication that he was relieved that his son was home. That is when Derek felt unwelcome in his own home and left for the Sea Org not too long after that.
There wasn’t much in the way of education there. Instead, he and the others had to do very difficult manual labor. As far as contact with his parents, he was allowed to call them once a moth for ten minutes. His aunt did send him a cell phone, but it was taken away and he got into trouble.
His parents had also given him a big trunk of toiletries that he very much needed. It was hard to be able to afford toiletries in the Sea Org because they got paid very little. But, someone broke into his locked trunk and stole everything. He knows it was a staff member because they were the only ones that were allowed in his room, but he didn’t know which member of the staff it was. This was the time he started experiencing very serious doubts about everything about both the Sea Org and Scientology itself.
On top of all this, the punishments they would give out were horrible. Although Derek didn’t receive the worst ones, he still got some that were very draining. At one point in time, he and his fellow Sea Org members had used the wrong cleaner while they were cleaning the floor in one of the bathrooms. Their punishment was that they had to strip the bathroom floor of all of its tiles and then apply new ones throughout the night. The worst part about this was that none of them knew what they were doing and they weren’t shown what to do, either. Everyone had to figure it out on their own.
When Derek was sixteen he was sent to the Sea Org that’s located in Clearwater and he formed a relationship with another male there. Neither the relationship or his sexuality was ever brought up while he was being audited. So, when someone figured out who Derek was secretly seeing and told the staff, they kicked David out and sent him back to L.A. And they kicked out his partner at the time as well and we went back to the U.K. (Derek hasn’t heard from him since.) At that point, he could see clearly that their auditing system didn’t work like they claimed it did because it never picked up on the secrets he was keeping from them. (That’s a good observation, by the way.)
As he was flying home from Clearwater, he was at the airport and he broke down and started crying. That’s when he’s seatmate on the airplane with him on his way home showed him kindness and comforted him even though they didn’t know him. It then hit him that he hadn’t experienced comfort from his parents since he was five.
It was 2004 when he got home, but he was not greeted with open arms. In fact, his Dad was angry with him for getting kicked out because he felt like the incident made HIM look bad. Not too long after he arrived home, Derek often thought about suicide.
While he prepared to make the transition back into the real world, Derek started working for a Scientology Company so he could build work experience, since serving on the Sea Org wouldn’t look good on his resume. He was able to build a good work ethic and always went above and beyond what was expected of him. Eventually, he was able to meet up with a headhunter (for job placement) and she found him a job outside of Scientology. He felt like once he was out in the real world, he met a lot of really nice people and made close friends. However, he didn’t get this feeling of acceptance from his own family.
In 2011, David’s car was stolen, but his Dad once again blamed him and even went as far as to threaten to call the police on him. He couldn’t believe it and knew he had to get out of Scientology. This was also the time he was reading about the horrible things going on inside Scientology that he hadn’t been aware of and he was appalled. He tried many times to tell his parents about the how bad both Scientology and the Sea Org are, but they didn’t want to hear whatsoever anything bad about what they believed in.
It got to the point where Derek found a message board for ex Sea Org members where they could support each other. He shared his story and got a great amount of support. When the article was published, the church was able to use his anonymous post online to figure out who he was. After they figured this out, Derek’s Dad arrived at Derek’s friend’s house where he was staying and his Dad ordered him to go home. Derek refused. No matter how much his Dad insisted, Derek held his ground. The next day, he moved out, and his friends (who are married to each other) offered him a place to stay with them without him even asking. He was very touched. This all went down on April 20th, 2012, when he was 23 or 24. He was declared a Suppressive Person (SP for short) and his Mom, Dad, brother, and sister, cut off all contact from him. It wasn’t a bad thing for him, though. He not only had several families that had considered him to be an adopted member of their’s In 2012, Tony Ortega wrote an online article about him, making this the first time Derek publicly told his story outside of the message boards. Because of Tony’s story, this made it to where Derek was able to get back in touch with his extended family that he hadn’t spoken to in so long. So, he moved back to Texas temporarily to reconnect with them. (On a sad note, when his aunt on his Dad’s side had passed away, Derek was very bothered by the negative way his Dad talked about her and didn’t show any sadness.)
The good news is that Derek is back in L.A. living in his own apartment with a full time job, his own car, and taking online classes studying to be an accountant. He is getting his credit back up and hopes to get his own house in a few years. He also still has a strong support system with his friends.
Another piece of good news is that when he wrote his article for Cracked about his time in the Sea Org, he was blown away at how supportive people in the comments section were. He made sure to answer any questions they had. Writing for Cracked was a good experience for him and he was happy with the way his article turned out.
You can find Derek on Twitter @LAFinanceGay. Make sure to follow him and show him your support. I personally want to thank Derek for taking the time to talk to me and be very honest and open with me. I can confidently say that Derek is a great guy and I wish him nothing but the best in the future. He is an inspiration not only to me but to so many others as well.