Inside the Secret Hell of Going to War With Scientology

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It’s insane, it’s just insane,” Valerie Haney kept saying as she emerged from her first day undergoing the Church of Scientology’s top-secret “religious arbitration” process.

Haney’s outfit that day—a tight black minidress and thigh-high leather boots complementing her long, curly hair and spiky sharp fingernails—was as different as possible from the drab Sea Org uniforms she had been forced to wear for decades.

Her two attorneys, Guy D’Andrea and Graham Berry, were ready with their notepads, and all eyes were on Haney, who was set up in front of a portable backdrop in a hotel room at the Commerce Casino, just a mile away from Scientology’s massive printing plant warehouse southeast of Los Angeles—where she had just spent the past several hours reliving the most traumatic events of her life.

“How did you feel going in there?” D’Andrea asked after a privately hired court stenographer had put Haney under oath.

“Scared,” she replied. “I was shaking.”

Seven years after escaping from Scientology in the trunk of a car and taking her fight against the church all the way to the Supreme Court, Haney had been forced to go crawling back to the place she had never wanted to set foot in again.

Valerie Haney was born to parents who had already signed Scientology’s billion-year “Sea Org” contracts by the time she arrived in 1979.

In a new 54-page sworn declaration, Haney explains why spending the first 33 years of her life in Scientology—raised by the church rather than by her parents—helps to explain how she got where she is today.

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