Navigation Bar,  Lisa McPherson Trust,  33 N. Fort Harrison, Clearwater, FL 33755, 727-XXXX Go to our home page About the LMT About Lisa McPherson Find it on our search engine! Go to LMT Media Go to legal library index

Meet the Woodcrafts

ASTRA                     LAWRENCE                  ZOE      

During mid to late January, Lawrence Woodcraft and his daughters, Astra and Zoe, as well as Astra's daughter, Kate, visited all of us at the Lisa McPherson Trust in Clearwater. During their visit, each of the Woodcrafts shared intimate details of their personal experiences in Scientology's paramilitary Sea Organization.


Astra Woodcraft was seven years old when her parents thrust her into the world of Scientology's "elite" Sea Organization.  From the cramped quarters of the motel room her family of five shared when they first arrived at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, Astra was moved into a dormitory where, because Scientology would not provide a bed for her, she slept on a couch for a year.

This was the beginning of Astra's life in the sub-standard and oppressive living environment that is accepted as routine to those in the Sea Organization.

Astra's affidavit covers her formative childhood and teenage years. In it she describes the poor schooling she received and the hours working at the behest of the Church of Scientology, including having to guard other members who wanted to leave. Shortly after her fifteenth birthday, Astra married a 21-year-old man on the orders of her superiors. She tells of being belittled and yelled at by other Sea Org members, including her own mother, when she refused to get an abortion after becoming pregnant at 19.   

In this affidavit and in newspapers articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 12, 2001 and also in the London Daily Mail on February 17, 2001 , Astra speaks out about these horrific experiences and many others inconceivable to those unfamiliar with the practices of Scientology.   

Watch "The Story of Kate", a video interview of Astra Woodcraft, in which she details the pressure that was brought to bear on her to abort her baby when it was discovered that she was pregnant. Meet Astra's beautiful daughter, Kate, who is alive today because of Astra's courageous escape from Scientology's Sea Organization. and "Lawrence Woodcraft on Astra's Story".

There are also two more videos in which Astra reveals what it was like for her in Scientology: "Astra's Childhood in the Sea Org"


Astra's 16-year-old younger sister, Zoe Woodcraft, became involved with Scientology's Sea Organization when she was just two years old.  Her mother joined the Sea Org while doing services at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida, without consulting her husband Lawrence. She then insisted that he also join and that they move the entire family from England to the Scientology headquarters in Clearwater.  Thus Zoe, her seven-year-old sister Astra and 15-year-old brother (who also joined the Sea Org at this time) were thrust into the regimented, controlled environment of Scientology's paramilitary Sea Organization.

In Zoe's affidavit we learn what it is really like for children raised in the Sea Org. Zoe was raised by other Sea Org members who were assigned to be nannies. Often these "nannies" were children not much older than she. Zoe was housed far from her parents in sometimes filthy, cockroach-ridden and dilapidated buildings.  Her only education was from Scientology "course supervisors" with no educational qualifications other than training in the Scientology method of learning. For years she was housed at the "Cadet Org" on a remote ranch in California, where the children were completely cut off from the outside world.  As Zoe put it,  "This ranch was hours away from normal civilization.  In the year plus that I lived there we never went into town for a field trip; never went to a movie, shopping or anything.  We were totally isolated."

As Zoe grew older she was pressed by Sea Org personnel to sign her own billion-year contract and dedicate her entire life to the Sea Org. The inducements were many -- a few dollars more a week in pay, better living quarters, more time off.  Zoe, however, was not persuaded, thanks in part to the influence of her father and her sister Astra, who were by that time both out of the Sea Org.  As the quality of her life in the Sea Org continued to decline, Zoe finally requested permission to leave so she could join her father and sister, who were living in California.  

When Zoe made known her desire to leave, she was subjected to nearly a year of punishment and repeated attempts to persuade or coerce her into staying.  She was kicked out of her dorm and forced to sleep on the floor in her mother's bedroom. She was told she was "out ethics" and forced to do "ethics handlings." Her handlers showed Zoe newspaper articles about gruesome crimes and warned her that the outside world was a horrible and dangerous place in which to live.  Her motives were continually questioned.  Didn't she want to "save the planet through Scientology?"  Those who had been her comrades for years shunned her and Sea Org officials placed her on a treadmill of endless assignments that had to be completed before they would allow her to leave.  

In early 2000, Zoe's father flew from California to Clearwater, Florida to help his daughter escape.  Since that time, Zoe has struggled to overcome her experiences in Scientology and to make up for the years of sub-standard education she was subjected to in the Sea Org. She attends a public high school in California and is quickly catching up with her new friends. She and Astra have both had to learn to live without their mother, grandmother and brother, all Sea Org members who now refuse to communicate with them.    

Zoe sat down with Stacy Brooks and her father to tell us her story in a six-part video interview produced by LMT Media. (Complete transcripts of the interview are available at the video link too.)

Zoe also wrote an essay about her experiences for her English class in the fall of 2000.  That English assignment made its way to the Lisa McPherson Trust and so moved the judges of the 2000 LMT Literati Contest that they awarded Zoe Woodcraft a first place prize in the Juvenile Division. Her essay was originally posted on our website under the "nom de plume" of Darla de Toledo. Now you know the author's true identity.  


Lawrence Woodcraft was a licensed architect in England when, in 1986, he was recruited to join the Sea Organization and go to work for Scientology in Clearwater, Florida. He left England with his two young daughters, Astra and Zoe, and joined his then-wife Leslie, who had already been recruited and was a staff member at Flag in Clearwater. Immediately all the promises that had been made to convince him to join staff were broken. He was ordered to take a job that had nothing to do with architecture; his entire family was crammed into one motel room instead of the two-bedroom apartment he had been promised; his children did not go to private school as he had been told they would; in fact, Zoe did not go to school at all and Astra attended public school only briefly.

By 1994 Lawrence had routed out of the Sea Org and built a successful architectural practice in Los Angeles. He subsequently helped both of his daughters get out of the Sea Org. This allowed Astra to save the life of her unborn baby, as had she stayed in the Sea Org she would have been forced to have an abortion. His younger daughter Zoe had never been to a
proper school and is now, at age 16, in a public high school working hard to catch up with her fellow students.

For helping his daughters get out of the Sea Org, Lawrence was declared a Suppressive Person in September 2000. All of his Scientology clients were ordered to cease doing business with him in an attempt to destroy his architecture practice.

Read Lawrence's affidavit about his experiences in Scientology, and also check out the link below where you can read another affidavit by Lawrence in which he gives a firsthand account of the deadly levels of blue asbestos he encountered on the Scientology ship Freewinds. 

As Lawrence said, "While I give financial support to my daughters and try to help them complete school and college, the Church condemns me as a 'suppressive' and treats me as a common criminal."

Welcome to the world of Scientology -- through the looking glass.

We have separate page up for the affidavits and videos Lawrence Woodcraft provided on the discoveries he made concerning asbestos on Scientology's ship, the Freewinds .

Return to