Tory Christman : biography
Tory Christman is a prominent American critic of Scientology and former member of the organization. Originally brought up to believe in Catholicism, Christman turned to Scientology after being introduced to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health authored by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard while staying with her parents in Chicago, Illinois. She identified with concepts described in the book including the idea of attaining the Scientology state of clear, and became a member of the organization in 1969. She hitchhiked from Chicago to Los Angeles, California, in order to begin the process of studying Scientology, and initially felt that it helped improve her life. In 1972, she joined the elite division within Scientology called the Sea Org. After being a member of the Scientology organization for ten years, Christman reached the spiritual Operating Thetan level of OT III, and learned the story of Xenu. She subsequently rose to a higher Operating Thetan level of OT VII, the second-highest within the organization. Her medical condition of epilepsy caused difficulty while in Scientology, as the organization did not approve of taking medication in order to manage her condition.
She became an ordained minister within Scientology, and instructed celebrity member actor John Travolta in initial coursework. Christman worked in multiple Scientology staff capacities, including for its drug rehab organization Narconon, and at one of the organization's Celebrity Centres. After serving in these roles, Christman came to work for the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which functions as an intelligence agency within Scientology. She participated in multiple missions for OSA, including a 1979 operation designed to advance the organization's interests in Clearwater, Florida, and a 1985 operation assisting OSA agents during a lawsuit against Scientology. In 1999, OSA agents removed the censorship software "Scieno Sitter" from Christman's home computer, in order to allow her to carry out a mission of monitoring critical material about Scientology on the Internet. It was in this capacity that she came across the Scientology critic website Operation Clambake, managed by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Christman reported directly to OSA vice president, Janet Weiland, about her efforts to remove criticism of Scientology from the media and online. She supervised the Scientology Parishioners League, a group dedicated to removing criticism about the organization from the press, media, and Internet. After an operation viewed as successful where Christman complained to MTV about a South Park parody involving Travolta and characters from the comedy series which satirized Scientology, she was assigned in 2000 to monitor postings to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology. Christman took the screen name of "Magoo", and posted multiple times to the newsgroup in attempts to stifle criticism. This conflicted with her ideals of freedom of speech, and after Andreas Heldal-Lund reached out to her by email, she subsequently decided to leave Scientology.
After leaving Scientology, Christman's family and friends in the movement ceased communication with her, under the organization's policy of disconnection. She traveled to Florida to join members of the Lisa McPherson Trust, a group dedicated to protesting against Scientology. For leaving Scientology and joining with a critic group, she felt she was subjected to the Scientology policy of "Fair Game"; a form of retribution for criticizing the organization. Christman has since become one of the more prominent critics of Scientology; she lectures and gives interviews about the organization internationally. In 2008 she joined in protests organized by the movement against Scientology called Project Chanology started by the Internet-based group Anonymous, but criticized the group for some of their initial illegal acts. Christman maintains an account on YouTube with the identification "ToryMagoo44", where she posts topically about Scientology. The Sunday Times characterized Christman in a 2009 article as "a fierce critic of the church".
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