Left without incident, eh? That's honestly the first I've heard of that ever happening. Of course, it could be that the Melbourne branch just doesn't have the clout to apply the same pressure U.S. and Canadian branches do. Intriguing. Of course not everyone who's encountered a cult leaves "maimed for life." I know people who've left a couple of different cults successfully. David Macavige's own niece is an ex-member now (though her exit doesn't look to be quite so painless). Cults keep track of who they can reel in and who they'd be wasting their time on (because they're too stubborn, not interested, or otherwise unsuitable for what the cult wants), and your friend may have fallen into the latter category. Be glad he didn't end up like Steven Fishman, or, worse, Lisa McPherson. Out of curiosity, did he ever happen to mention whether he reached clear, or how much he paid? How involved was he? I wouldn't ask you to trust me, some guy you don't know on the Internet, over a good friend. Nothing of the kind. But your friend's experiences could help put the puzzle together, if he'd allow you to share them.