"I want my money back"

St. Petersburg Times/January 24, 2010

On Feb. 27, 2009, long-time Scientology parishioner Larry Anderson met with two church officials, Tommy Davis and Jessica Feshbach, in Burbank, Calif. Anderson, the star of the Scientology film, Orientation, openly recorded their 90-minute conversation. Here are some excerpts:

  1. Anderson explains why he's leaving Scientology and says he wants the church to return the money he put down in advance for services. Davis says Anderson will be expelled and no longer associating with Scientologists. They discuss Scientology's "disconnection" practice, where current members no longer associate with expelled members.

  2. Davis says the church is not obligated to give Anderson his money back. The two spar over whether the money Anderson gave was a donation.

  3. Davis says getting money back from the church is a simple matter but he's concerned about Anderson's ties with actor Jason Beghe, a former Scientologist who is an outspoken critic of the church. He fears Anderson will speak out too.

  4. Davis tells Anderson that speaking out would hurt Anderson's friends in the church. Anderson says leaving the church shouldn't affect his friendships, his "third dynamic." He lays out some reasons for wanting to leave.

  5. Anderson has just finished telling how Beghe called Davis on Anderson's behalf. Davis presses for more information about Anderson's ties with other Scientology critics.

  6. Feshbach explains why the church thinks his associations are relevant. Anderson says he just wants his money back.

  7. After Anderson talks about his 33 years in Scientology, Davis says his leaving could create "quite an effect" given his starring role in Orientation.

  8. Davis says Anderson should give some "due consideration" to the church by keeping his defection to himself and "working out some agreements on that basis." Anderson says: "This is not an extortion. Or is it?" Davis replies: "No."

  9. Anderson explains how he plans to conduct himself in Hollywood after leaving the church. He expands on why he's getting out, saying church management is corrupt. Davis presses him on why.

  10. Feshbach explains the consequences of asking for money back: Anderson will be expelled and Scientologists likely "will never be associated with you again."

  11. Davis says he's concerned Anderson is not promising to stay quiet about leaving Scientology. Anderson says he has no plans to speak out. Davis says: "You're lying."

  12. Feshbach says the church is willing to give his money back but doesn't have to.

  13. Davis says it will cost the church "a couple million dollars" to redo the films Anderson stars in. A debate ensues over how much Anderson is bound by agreements he signed with the church.

  14. Anderson explains why he thinks church management is "corrupt." Davis responds with a defense of "Chairman of the Board RTC," Scientology's title for its leader, David Miscavige.

  15. After Anderson expresses concerns about how the church gets money from its parishioners, Feshbach asks: "Are you, like, broke?"

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