Brian Haney labored to give his life fulfillment in many ways. The 37-year-old entrepreneur had been through two marriages, built a $100 million corporation, and attained the coveted state of "clear" as a Scientologist, meaning he had achieved the high level of freedom, personal control, and independence Scientology promises its followers. But none of these triumphs allayed his spiritual emptiness and dissatisfaction.Clears are individual Scientologists who say they have rid themselves of painful subconscious experiences known as engrams. They supposedly are free from fear to operate with greater intentionality and consciousness."They tell you that you've made it, that you're in, and you just keep walking around thinking: Shouldn't I feel different?" Haney told Christianity Today.So in 1994, Haney and his wife left the Church of Scientology, though they faced great resistance. At one point, Haney said, they contacted local police with concerns about their safety. Haney's search for truth and purpose did not end there. In 1997 he began attending St. John's African Methodist Episcopal Church with his wife and children.
"I must have listened to about 50 sermons of Spirit-filled, Word-based teaching before I realized that I needed to give my life to Christ," Haney said. "I was worried. I had joined a cult in the past, so I wanted to know how to discern the truth."
Haney purchased a study Bible and began to pore over it. "I was so excited the day I was driving in my car and I heard a preacher on the radio share a concept that I knew was not in the Bible. Not that I was glad he was preaching that, but it meant so much to me to be able to discern what was God's truth and what was human opinion."As Haney's faith grew, his disappointment toward Scientology softened. "At first I was really mad. I mean they ripped me off," Haney says, estimating that he gave more than $1 million to the church. "But as I grew in my walk with God, I realized that I just feel sorry for the people trapped in that mindset. It makes me want to weep now, not fight them."At age 38, Haney sold his business, leaving the corporate world to concentrate on his family and his newfound relationship with God. Besides becoming a church trustee and overseeing the congregation's new building project, Haney developed relationships with Christian groups that help people rebuild their lives after leaving abusive religious groups."What lots of people don't realize is that working with cult victims is about physical as well as spiritual needs," Haney said. "They need a place to live, food, and a job."Haney hopes his message will motivate more Christians to help others learn the truth. "We're called as Christians to expose the darkness to light. I would say that 1 John 1:6–7 is a guiding principle for me: 'If we claim to have fellowship with him but walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his son purifies us from all sin.'"
See today's other coverage of Scientology from Christianity Today:Building Scientopolis | How Scientology remade Clearwater, Florida—and what local Christians learned in the process. By Jody Veenker Why Christians Object to Scientology | Craig Branch of the Apologetics Resource Center notes "Clear" differences. By Jody Veenker CT Classic: Scientology: Religion or Racket? | A look at the religious movement from the November 1969 pages of Christianity Today. By Joseph Martin Hopkins
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