Two Los Angeles parents have posted a billboard in the Echo Park neighborhood hoping that it will grab the attention of their two adult children. Willie and Phil Jones have not spoken to their children, Emily and Mark, since leaving the church of Scientology two years ago.
Los Angeles’ ABC 7 reports:
They’ve been disconnected, which is what Scientologists call their choice to cut off communication with people outside the church. Mike and Emily Jones are Scientologists. Emily Jones works for the upper management of the church, her parents said.
“We know what the conditioning is and what goes on there. It is a form of hypnosis. We’ve experienced it, we went through it. We were in that mindset for years,” Phil Jones said.
After making multiple calls to their children as well as showing up on the doorstep of the church, the Jones’ became increasingly desperate. That’s when they say they decided to put up the billboard. The couple raised enough money to keep the billboard up on Glendale Boulevard for a month.
“To my loved one in Scientology,” the billboard reads, “call me.”
The couple told ABC 7 that they had a hard time convincing LA-based billboard companies to post the message. The Jones’ said that two companies initially backed out and believe that the church exerted their influence. A third company finally agreed to post the billboard.
There are no guarantees that the Jones’ children will see the message, but they said it makes a “strong statement” that other families divided by Scientology can understand. “We started to get donations and stories from so many people. It’s just amazing how many people are affected by Scientology disconnection,” Phil Jones said in an interview. “So we made the billboard a little bit more general, so it’s a message from all of those people.”
In a statement, the Church of Scientology said:
“It is shameful that two people desperate for publicity would hook up with a reality TV producer to shamelessly exploit their two adult children over their choice of faith. It is equally despicable that these individuals would use a private family matter to promote anti-religious hate and bigotry.”
The Jones’ said they were not working with a reality show producer, but rather a documentary filmmaker.
Screenshot via ABC 7.