Ex-Scientologist from Las Vegas opens up on time in Church - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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Ex-Scientologist from Las Vegas opens up on time in Church

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Light illuminates the outdoor sign to the Church of Scientology center in Las Vegas. (FOX5) Light illuminates the outdoor sign to the Church of Scientology center in Las Vegas. (FOX5)
Mark Fisher, right, said he spent 17 years in the Church of Scientology. Mark Fisher, right, said he spent 17 years in the Church of Scientology.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A former Scientologist who lives in Las Vegas is opening up about his experience with the Church of Scientology.

Mark Fisher was a Scientologist from 1973 to 1990. His dad got him to join when he was 14 years old. From there, he said he worked his way up, becoming the right-hand man to the church’s leader, David Miscavige.

But, his story takes a dark turn.

“People ask me why do I speak out. And, you know, because for a long time, I didn't, I didn't say anything,” Fisher explained. “I wanna save people from the heartbreak that I’ve gone through.”

When Fisher joined at 14, he was a shy, reserved kid.

“I did what was called the 'communications course'. It cost $50 and took two weeks, and that really helped open me up to be able to talk to people and that type of thing," Fisher said. "I got hooked at that point."

What hooked him was the feeling that he was doing something good for the world and bettering himself along the way.

“I decided to go join (Scientology) staff, and that's where I signed with the Sea Organization, where I signed that billion-year contract," Fisher recalled.

Fisher said he became the trusted confidant to the current leader, Miscavige. However, he said over time things started to change.

“He always was an angry person, but he got very angry where. at a moment’s notice, if you looked at him wrong, he could send you to the Scientology prison camp, which was called the Rehabilitation Project Force,” said Fisher of Miscavige.

Fisher said his wife was sent to this camp, and that’s what made him realize something was terribly wrong.

He planned to leave, all with the intention of being reunited with his wife.

“I came back on my own and I said, 'okay, I’m ready to do the Rehabilitation Project Force'. Well, when David Miscavige found out that’s what I wanted to do, 'cause that’s what he was gonna do, he goes, 'oh no, it’s too good for him,” said Fisher.

Separated from his wife and forced to do manual labor, Fisher said he was at his wit's end.

“After a while it just really starts to spin, mess with your mind, and I started really thinking, 'okay, am I going crazy?' I mean, I literally thought I was going crazy.”

The final straw for Fisher was when he said Miscavige approached him with a group of people.

“He said, 'I heard you wanna stay in Scientology still.' I said, 'No sir, I wanna leave,'” recalled Fisher. “He came over and grabbed me around the throat and started pulling and kicking at me, and I immediately bundled up and went down on the ground. I looked him right in the eye, and I said, 'Notice I didn't lay one finger on you."

A few days later, Fisher left for good.

“I hid and I ran across a field to this machine shop and got a taxi to a hotel, and then called them up, and I said, 'Give me my (expletive) or I'm going to the police right now,'” said Fisher.

Fisher: They took all my photographs, anything that I had that was anything Scientology-related. And then I was out the door.

Reporter: Have you seen your wife since?

Fisher: No, she's still in. 

Mark Fisher left the church in September 1990. He left behind his wife, his sister and his friends. He barely had any money to his name, no resume, no work experience, and no plan. That's when a couple of other former Scientologists reached out to him, offering him a job and a new life in Las Vegas.

He said he was declared a “suppressive person,” which means no one in the church is allowed to have contact with you. This includes family and friends.

"Families are put in that position. Scientologists are put in that position every day, because they really believe they're helping people. They really believe that they're helping mankind. And that's their purpose, so anything that distracts them from that - even family, friends, doesn't matter - they're secondary," explained Fisher.

Leaving behind the only life he knew, Fisher packed up and moved to Las Vegas with a few other former Scientologists. The group all worked together at a mortgage company. They felt free. They felt like they were through the worst.

"Scientology decided that they wanted to keep an eye on us," Fisher said.

"In 1993 they finally got IRS tax-exempt status. And the reason they were spying on us is because they were afraid we were gonna go to the IRS and testify against Scientology so they wouldn't get their tax-exempt status."

That's why Fisher said a private detective joined their business, posed as a mortgage broker and a friend.

"He basically was there to spy on us. So everything we said, everything we did, was being reported back to David Miscavige," said Fisher.

The group found out about his possible ties to Scientology, but just a few years later, he said they were duped again.

"I didn't know this until years later, they hired another person to come into our company to basically become my friend and I didn't find out until 2009. He came in 1999 here in Las Vegas," said Fisher. "This gentleman became my personal friend, my best friend, like I talked to him every single day."

Fisher said he didn't find out until other Scientology leaders who left the church reconnected with him.

"They told me, you know we had some guy that was watching you and he took you to Mexico around 2000, 2001. I went, 'what are you talking about? That's my friend.' And I said, 'I just got off the phone with him,'" Fisher said.

Fisher said this man tried to ruin his business, his friendships and basically make his life a living hell.

The church tells FOX5 that David Miscavige has never hired private investigators. However, they said church attorneys did hire them to "disprove false allegations made by potential adversaries." They said these attorneys did nothing illegal.

Reporter: “So after going through all of this, how do you even move forward?”

Fisher: ”I've had setbacks, many times. But I just keep going. And you know I go through bouts of depression over stuff like this and all that, but I just try and keep a positive focus on it and just keep moving forward. That's all I can do. I've been asked how can you trust people that have been sent into you that were spies and maybe I'm naive, I believe in the good in people and so I take them at face value unless they give me a reason not to trust them.”

FOX5 has taken all of Mark Fisher’s claims to the Church of Scientology. The church told us the organization refuses to debate former members on television. However, the church sent a letter from his ex-wife denouncing everything he said. You can find that letter here.

The church also sent us a letter from a Scientologist who said he witnessed the incident Fisher refers to as abuse by Miscavige. Here is that letter.

For the rest of their detailed statement regarding all of Fisher’s claims, click here.

They’ve also provided us these videos they say prove the immoral character of Fisher, which can be found here.

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