I’ve always tried to be open-minded when it comes to socializing with new people, so I didn’t run the other way when my date suddenly revealed that he was a Scientologist. What ensued was one of my most memorable dates ever, though it definitely left my head spinning. Here’s what happened.
Everything started out so normally. We’d met in a coffee shop in that sort of “meet cute” way a lot of people dream about. Our casual conversation was actually really interesting, and I have to say he was pretty charming when that conversation turned into flirtation. I also hadn’t been on a date for a while at the time, so I didn’t really hesitate when he asked me out. The date itself was pretty normal too. After all, we were just going out for dinner.
Yeah, I was surprised about the Scientology thing. We just got our food at the restaurant when the topic of religion came up. He first asked what I believed in and I openly admitted that I had been raised Catholic but currently considered myself more agnostic than anything else. His response? “Oh. Well, I’m a Scientologist. Are you familiar with the Church?” Gotta admire how casual he was, but no, I had no clue that was coming.
A non-Scientologist dating a Scientologist is actually pretty rare. According to my date (and later confirmed by my post-date late night internet searches), it’s quite uncommon for a Scientologist to date someone outside of the church. In addition to Scientology being one of those fundamentalist belief systems where the theology is the answer to anything and everything in life, the other reason for this is actually quite simple. Scientologists just spend a lot of their personal time in the church/engaging in church programs. That “meet cute” that we had in the coffee shop? He had just come from a session in church. And where was he before our date? At the church of course!
The date kind of became all about Scientology. While I was tempted to say “OK!” and move on, my date seemed very interested in what my personal feelings on his religion were. The truth was that I really didn’t want to tell him my exact feelings on Scientology in case I insulted him, but I also didn’t want to lie… so I compromised with myself and told him that, like most people, I’d heard a lot of different things about Scientology, some of which may or may not be true. That proved to be a mistake because the rest of our time in that restaurant centered on him trying to A) find out exactly what negative things I’d heard and B) convince me that Scientology was just GREAT!
He wasn’t the first Scientologist I’d ever met. While this was my first (and only) date ever with a Scientologist, the truth was that I’d known one before. It was actually a friend of mine in college, though she’d always been pretty quiet about the subject. Then came one summer where she announced she was leaving school to go work for the Church and none of us ever heard from her again. Even her Facebook account was deleted shortly thereafter. Every now and then I think about her and hope that she’s OK.
I was interested in hearing everything he had to say, but only because I study religions as a hobby. I’m not religious myself but I’m totally fascinated by different belief systems. For years now, I’ve studied different religions in my spare time to the point that I can tell you the theology of all the main ones and then some. But instead of informing my date that I already knew all about courses, OT levels, engrams, bridges, the Sea Org, Xenu, Tom Cruise, etc., I stayed silent and listened. Give everyone a chance to share their side of the story, right?
He wouldn’t really answer my questions. Much as I wanted to hear him talk about his own perspective on his beliefs, he was very evasive whenever I asked specific questions about it. For example, at one point I asked how much it cost, on average, for a person to get started in Scientology. His response? “It’s so funny you ask that because you really can’t put a price on it.” Later on, I inquired what would happen if he or one of his family members ever left the Church. “You do have a great imagination!” he said, before swiftly changing the subject.
Turns out he hadn’t been in very long. Like many Scientologists, my date had joined because members of his family did, but it turned out that they’d been involved for just over five years, which is pretty darn short compared to a lot of people in the religion. He was adamant that Scientology had changed all of their lives for the better but for some reason wouldn’t really get into specifics about his parents or siblings beyond basics like how old they were and where they were living.
He was a really nice, articulate guy. But of course he was! For those who don’t know, Scientologists learn through their church courses how to communicate better with people. So, many of them are very poised and well-spoken when around others, and I suppose dates are no exception. Much as I was annoyed by my date’s vague answers about his religion, I couldn’t help but admire the way he spoke and carried himself.
No, he didn’t try to recruit me (or at least he was subtle about it). I kept waiting for him to say something like, “You should come see for yourself why Scientology rocks. Here’s a pamphlet!” but I respected the fact that he never did. He definitely portrayed it in a positive light, and at one point he did tell me that he thought I’d benefit from it. Still, he never pushed me to go visit the Scientology center and I appreciated that. Maybe he hoped I’d offer on my own to go.
I thought it best for both of us if we didn’t continue things. I don’t regret my Scientologist date at all, but I knew we weren’t going to work out. I politely let him know this at the end of the evening and so we hugged and parted ways. I think he knew that it was the right move too. I never saw him again.
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