Escape is a Christian ministry founded by Richard and Bonnie Woods in 1992 primarily to help families who have loved ones involved in Scientology. Richard and Bonnie are themselves former members.
Bonnie had spent eight years as a member in the USA and managed to escape in 1981. She had reached the ‘higher levels’ and was a committed member of the organization, working for them at their headquarters in Los Angeles, California, USA.
A serious illness, aggravated by the extreme working conditions, required major surgery and this proved to be the catalyst by which she was able to escape. I was a public scientologist at the time and was instrumental in ensuring enough time was given to Bonnie out of the grasp of the organization for a complete recovery from surgery and a resumption to a normal life.
We eventually married and left the USA to live in England. However it wasn’t until some ten years after leaving the cult that our lives changed dramatically when we both became committed Christians. We both felt that God had placed a calling on our lives to help families and loved ones involved in Scientology and formed an organization called ESCAPE.
Since then we have helped over seven hundred families and individuals in providing positive strategies and advice in order to overcome the many complex situations that derive from cultic behaviour.
Without any help, the majority all too often find it a long and painful road to travel ending in turmoil, estrangement, and sometimes disaster.
Our objective is to address the difficult and often misunderstood implications surrounding a loved one becoming involved in Scientology. Our advice in most cases is to be active and not passive. We believe in part, that an active role is first achieved by insisting that the organisation act in a responsible and moral way towards families and their members. Also there should be accountability for any damage caused, not only to the member involved, but to the whole family. We consider it the right of all families concerned to be able to do this without the fear or threat of damaging any future relationship with the member.
– Source: What We Do Escape – Helping Families Under Scientology Stress
Scientology pays for its hate campaign
In 1999, Bonnie Woods won a 6-year legal battle against the Church of Scientology which she had sued for libeling her. Scientology is notorious for its hate and harassment activities against its critics.
The cult ended up paying Woods £55,00 in damages plus £100,000 in costs.
The cult favoured by Hollywood stars is to pay £155,000 for harassing a woman in a six-year campaign of hate.
Bonnie Woods became the Church of Scientology’s target when she left them and began counselling people who got caught up in religious sects.
Now the church, whose followers include Tom Cruise and John Travolta, has agreed to apologise in the High Court today for orchestrating the dirty tricks campaign against Mrs Woods.
It will promise not to repeat allegations against her, under the terms of the settlement of a libel action she brought against the church.
– Source: Stars’ cult pays out £155,000 over hate campaign The Express, June 8, 1999
The legal section of the Escape website includes the text of Scientology’s court-ordered apology
The Woods write:
We believe the documents in this section portray the result of a six year litigation in the High Court of London against Scientology in a matter of Libel. The result of which enable us now to speak with impunity and freedom from any further legal harassment. The documents also, at one level, portray our credentials and it would be reasonable to presume that what is contained in the bulk of our website is true and one in which Scientology cannot dispute.
– Source: Legal Section, Escape
Escape is one of the counseling organizations recommended by Apologetics Index.
- Deceived: One Woman’s stand against the Church of Scientology by Bonnie Woods
The author describes her eight years involvement with the Church of Scientology in the USA, why she left, and her subsequent marriage and conversion to evangelical Christianity.
Following her marriage she moved to England where, as the book describes, the publication of her leaflet ‘What the Scientologists Don’t Tell You’ (which forms the Appendix to this book), brought her into conflict with the organisation.
Following a six year legal battle she received judgement in her favour from the High Court in London allowing her to publish her material, a written apology from the Church of Scientolgy and a substantial financial settlement.
Book – Online
Deceived “One Woman’s Stand Against the Church of Scientology” by Bonnie Woods, with David Waite.
Bonnie with the help of a gifted writer David Waite has written a book about her experiences and includes an accurate description of Scientology, together with testimonies of former members some posthumously and written before their untimely deaths. Some written by the parents and relatives of members.
Escape – Helping Families Under Scientology Stress Official website of Richard and Bonnie Woods