STORY #1

STORY #1

The following are my experiences in Scientology during my involvement from 1984-1990 & 1995-1999. When I first entered in 1984, I had read a copy of Dianetics that my then-roommate had given me, since he could not follow it, but it actually made SENSE to me! OK, I’m weird, sue me! (Well, I AM a big Sci-Fi buff that probably had SOMETHING to do with it!). But seriously, the engram theory seemed to explain a lot to me (If ONLY this were actually true and not the rantings of a deluded madman). It was as plausible an explanation I had encountered at that point to explain why the human race behaved as it did. Plus Hubbard’s declaration of humanity being inherently good and not evil was also refreshing.  I had moved only a few months prior to San Francisco from Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. For reasons that aren’t particularly relevant here, I never cared for L.A. and never got along with my family (which was one of the primary “ruins” they promised to handle).

It took me weeks to get through the Dianetics book, and walked into the local org shortly afterwards and was sold my first intro course, “Success Through Communication.” I was unemployed at the time, and could barely afford it, but I liked what it was saying, so I went for it. After completion, I got my first sales pitch about the bridge, and was impressed by what was being offered, but still could not afford any of it. A couple of months later, I chose to go on staff, but only two weeks later, during an auditing session, I was told since I had seen a psychiatrist as a teenager, I was “out-qual” for staff, had to train to Class V auditor, and petition ED International to be allowed to train and receive auditing.

Well, back to the sales pitches! While I was waiting for a response to the petition, I had secured a low-paying, entry-level job with the federal government, so I at least had the funds to route onto the “Ups and Downs in Life” course. A few of the more hard-core members sniffed their disapproval!

Since they believed that ALL government agencies were “crawling” with SP’s and that I should find another job. In the meantime, I was still struggling at the bottom of the bridge. I did a few more basic courses (the Student Hat was probably the one I enjoyed the most), but I was also constantly being pressured to drop out of school and to borrow money from every single human being I came in contact with and to sell my saxophone, flute and extensive record collection to pay for services. (That was one thing I NEVER succumbed to. My music and finishing school was just too important to my sanity, though I was slowed down considerably.) During this time of course, I was told that I was not making progress due to having overts and withholds, so I had quite a few ethic cycles.

During that time, I first witnessed how isolated most full-time staff were from the rest of the world. There was a black gentleman I was on course with, and we began chatting about Apartheid and Nelson Mandela before roll call. The course supe caught part of our conversation and she stated she had never heard about either of those things. This really surprised me, as there was really a lot of activity in the anti-apartheid movement at that time. However, it did not take me long to realize how out of touch most Scientologists were, and this too was a key element in my eventually leaving since I never bought into their demands to stop watching TV and not to read newspapers or magazines.

Like a lot of people who get involved with cults (I knew nothing about cult phenomenon or Scientology’s status as a cult at the time), I was at a low point in my life, had just made a major shift in my life with the move north, and had a lot of hurt and pain about family and relationships. One way or another, I was looking for answers and a way to heal and move on with my life (I was 27 at the time).

I was born and raised as a Jew, though my family was not particularly observant and I spent a few months as a Christian in 1973 due to the influence of a !

Then-next-door neighbor who was a fire-breathing fundamentalist. By the time I graduated high school, I was convinced that ALL religion was evil bull shit and that every Christian and every Jew I met was a hypocrite (I know in retrospect that is a harsh viewpoint, but that is how I felt at the time). I had also developed a deep distrust of politics, organized religion, organized medicine and big business by that time (I was as bitterly opposed to Reagan’s presidency then as I am to George W. Bush’s now). So although I was not cognizant of it at the time, I was easily susceptible to Hubbard’s paranoid rantings. (THIS is the part that I hope some people will see in themselves or relate to in some way. I was far from the only person who was convinced that the majority of the country and even the world’s major institutions were failing or crumbling. Many of the conditions that Scientology inveighed against are REAL, but their “solutions” are NOT!!)

His presenting himself as a persecuted humanitarian initially resonated with me as well, as our country does have an unfortunate record of silencing those who speak truth to power, but of course it would be years later before I realized the depth of his lies.

The absurd amount of money involved in crossing “The Bridge to Total Freedom” seemed excessive even in the first months of my involvement. I reluctantly swallowed it as they claimed that this was part of their doctrine of “exchange”, and more importantly, it was needed to stave off constant battles with psychiatry, organized medicine, big business and big government. Although I never completely accepted their wholesale demonization of psychiatry, I had witnessed firsthand examples of psychiatric abuse, so this helped placate those objections.

By now (late 1986, the petition cycle took about two years), my approval finally came through to start the Purification Rundown, and approval to train and audit to Clear.

But the C/S also stipulated that I had to get a notarized agreement to send uplines that I would never sue Scientology, or sue or harm a Scientologist. I did not understand the need for this, but since I paid my money and was ready to go on this cycle, I went ahead with it. (I later learned that they were so freaked out about the psych history, that I would have to petition Flag to be allowed to set foot there, and only when I was ready to route onto OT VI.) It was virtually demanded that I stop taking any medicinal drugs, as I was taking Phenobarbital for epilepsy. This actually did not concern me that much, since I don’t have gran mall seizures that often, and I was sick of the side effects from that drug or Dilantin. Plus, the registrar assured me that epilepsy is “handled” on OT III, and if not, then FOR SURE on OT V. I was also pressured into joining the Sea Org, but was also classified “out-qual” since I had taken LSD. (I would only realize much later, that this policy did me a HUGE favor!).  I have to admit, that I did feel better when I completed the Purification, but then got into a dispute over having to pay for the Objectives, as that was supposed to have been a part of the HQS, but I was not allowed at that time to do them, pending approval of the petition.  But even AFTER approval, the “illegal PC” hung around my neck like a scarlet letter. The majority of my Scientology experiences involved training, very little auditing.

By spring 1987, after I completed the Purification Rundown, I was short on funds, since I did not have a well paying job, and I already had two loans out. I was being pressured to buy an E-Meter, and managed to find a used one (a Mark V for $500) being sold by another public terminal. (During that cycle, I found out how hard CoS discourages outside materials sales, as it “undercuts” the org). I was still becoming more frustrated, as I had had some Dianetics auditing on and off, with no gains, release, cognitions, etc. I was told I had an “occluded” case, which would have to be handled by a Class VIII auditor (again, something WAY out of my price range). Meantime, I paid for an hour of FESing (Folder Error Summary), to make sure an auditor had not bypassed something. Since money was too tight to lie out for another course, I was pressured into taking the Dissemination course, which I started, but never finished (I just could not bring myself to “sell” Scientology to every human being I met, as I was having more and more doubts about its effectiveness). Plus I did one extension course.

Then came the pressure to pay for IAS membership, an E-meter, books, tapes, etc. This got to be overwhelming, but hearing about course “wins” kept me intrigued. But there seemed to be so many contradictions early on, like the fact that every public terminal was always being prodded to make more money, and even though I was working, since it was for the feds, this ALSO added to my “illegal PC” status, since the federal government is “crawling” with SPs, and needed to find a new, better paying job.

About two years later, I met the woman I shortly after became engaged to. They wanted her too, of course, but when they found out she worked for the IRS, BOOM, she was an SP and I became PTS. So of course, I had to do the PTS/SP course, and they kept telling me I needed to break up with her. We DID eventually break up, but this was due to the fact that my primary source of enturbulation was my still working for the Federal government. The ethics officer talked me into quitting my job and flying from San Francisco to Hollywood to work as a painter for Sipro on the Hollywood Blvd and Gower building they were renovating to become the new Scientology west coast HQ.  Before I knew it, was landing in Burbank Airport, and whisked away to my temporary “home” on Hollywood and Mcadden, above the Scientology testing center. I shared a small room with two other male Scientologists. There were some Sea Org members living in that building as well. We worked all day, got our breakfast and lunch free, and then were paid each Friday evening, and of course, lo and behold, there was a Sea Org registrar handing out our pay, and trying to get us to spend all of it on services. In the meantime, I was introduced to a new FSM, and routed on to the PTS/SP course at AO. Talk about a steep jump in gradient! You got a 2-second “comm lag”, before they would flunk you on a word, and then you HAD to RUN EVERYWHERE! Every second is production! After 3 months being in L.A., I decided to resign before the building was completed, as I’d had quite enough, was not able to complete the course, and wanted to make things better between my fiancée and I. But after 3 months of working there and being on course at ASHO, she dumped me the day I got back home.

From early 1989 to early 1991, I worked at a number of low-paying jobs, mostly working for Scientologists. One of them was a photo-copy business owned and operated by Scientologists. (My favorite story from this period was one of the managers actually read Dianetics to a broken copy machine to rid it of its engrams!) He was a complete asshole to his employees, always had a shitty attitude and paid us chump change. After I had been there for about 3 months working my ass off, he came in one day, tapped me on the shoulder, told me the stats were down and to go home. That was his way of firing me, no other explanation or showing any sense of appreciation. PLUS, when I got my final check, there were 3 hours that fell outside of my second to last pay period, so instead of bundling the remaining hours for the final paycheck like most employers, I actually had to wait two weeks and travel across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco to get a measly $20 check!! I only bring this up to point out that Scientology employers tended to be the worst motherfuckers on the planet to work for. Does this surprise anyone? Probably not!

In 1989, I managed to borrow $5,000 to pay for training. Less than 48 hours after it posted to my account, half of the money was diverted, without my knowledge or consent, to ASHO. This not only pissed me off since I was not living in L.A., but it was used for the Tech Volumes (minus vol. 8, which I never received), and some other materials I did not order. Even though the Tech Volumes were needed on course, without the courses actually being paid for, which is why I borrowed the money to begin with, I, of course, could not actually use them. When I complained to the ED, he told me that ASHO is a senior org, and can do whatever they want with a student’s money. AGAIN, a stop! PLUS, before I left for the last time, I was told I would have to dump the old tech volume series and buy the entire “new” series in its entirety before I could route onto any of the auditor courses. MAJOR BS STOP!!!

And in the late ‘80’s, someone started a campaign for students and PC’s who did not own homes or have mega-credit lines to go out and find someone and convince them to take a second or third mortgage on their homes. The rationale, of course, was that if you were REALLY a friend or you REALLY cared about me as a son, daughter, niece, nephew, whatever, you would care that I go up the bridge and help me in trying to create a better world, etc. This turned out to be one of their biggest PR nightmares and biggest pre-internet foot bullets. The backlash was ENORMOUS and my org never brought it up again, and moved on to other schemes.

Also around this time, an ASHO reg tried bullying me into selling EVERYTHING I own except my bed and clothes. He sternly admonished me “are your possessions making you saner or a better person?” I said no, so he said “GOOD! START!” as in begin cycle. But I walked away thinking “Hell, no!” My bridge progress was still important to me, but not SO important I was going to get rid of what I DID have and worked HARD for!

In late 1990, I met a new girl friend who agreed a few weeks later to loan me half of the approximately $20,000 she was getting for re-enlisting in the army reserves. An outgoing deadbeat roommate “3rd partied” this cycle, but not before the registrar caught wind of this and talked me into writing a “postulate check” for $11,000 to pay for a class V training package and a couple of auditing intensives. My girl friend disappeared for a few weeks, and since I had no way of making good on that kind of money, the Flag FBO at the org took over the cycle, and she was flat out the single biggest bitch at the org, whom NOBODY could stand, staff or public alike.

She claimed I was a financial criminal and an SP, and since I worked for the federal government for more than 3 years, she also claimed that I was stealing money since there were always down time on this job so she wanted me to write O/W’s for EVERY DAY of the 3 ½ years I worked there. When I looked at her in stunned amazement, she just said “end of comm.”, walked away and said I was an insignificant flea who was going to be expelled and declared no matter what I said or did.

I fell into a deep and profound depression since I felt at that time that my eternity had been robbed from me since I still wanted to go Clear and OT. The start of 1991 was an intensely painful period in my life, as my father was dying of cancer, my new girlfriend found out she had ovarian cancer, I lost my job due to corporate downsizing, and had no less than four roommates from hell in a row. Did a single person at the org try and find out how I was doing, or get more than simply a one-sided story from a psychotic bitch? Hell, no! All I got was standard promo in the mail, not even a letter from the EO. The one bright spot in ’91 was that I got involved with Nichiren Buddhism, which I am still involved with to this day. (I recall, among other things, Hubbard’s “Hymn of Asia”, which was among the attempts to link Scientology as the modern heirs to Buddhism). Would that it could be so. The people I met when I got involved in Buddhism were the type of people Scientology would LIKE for people to think they are like!

However, I still felt I had some unfinished business with Scientology, and went into the org in 1995, demanding a refund for the money I spent. Luckily, I talked with the org Chaplain (Jack Spears), who was a very nice old man and much less harsh or punitive as the Ethics Officer. Although he told me a refund was impossible, he did tell me the FBO and her husband, who was the day org Executive Director, were no longer on staff. (Even though they were both guilty of financial crimes, they were never comm eved or brought up on charges since they were both high stat terminals). I decided I wanted to get back on course on a limited basis, and did an exchange by working in the Central Files cleaning up and arranging the folders for $10.00 an hour in exchange for courses. I did this on a very limited basis, working on the files when I could while I finished the remaining classes I needed for my AA degree at a local community college. Anyway, when I got back on course, I was being pressured to re-do the purif, (which I never did do, thank God! I’m dealing with a damaged liver from the niacin overdoses from the first time on it as it is) and I was told since I had been away for four years, I HAD to do retreads on the Student Hat and the PTS/SP course. Now mind you, the only other major courses I had completed the last time around besides these two was the HQS (Hubbard Qualified Scientologist) course and the Hubbard Personal Ethics and Integrity Course (and remember what I said previously about Hubbard naming EVERYTHING after himself?). So after ten-plus years, I was getting more and more perturbed about my lack of bridge progress by having to do two courses I already completed.

But about three years later, the exchange policy of non-staff working in the org for course time was cancelled (they of course wanted money only for courses). This REALLY pissed me off, since I was NOT interested any more of paying for these ever-escalating costs for courses. (Even the cost of the course packs escalated from $20 to $125). I came to the org less and less and finally said to hell with it in 1999. A LARGE part of me leaving for good the second time with NO intention of EVER returning was surfing the internet, and finding critical sites, ESPECIALLY Operation Clambake!

Even though I was getting more and more disgusted (long before I returned to the org in 1995) with so many damn stops, escalating course costs and abusive staff members, it was the promise of OT kept me coming back. I had been on the AOLA mailing list for a number of years at that point and had even found someone in LA who sent me some Advance magazine back issues, and I just could not get over how AMAZING these OT wins were!

But since NO ONE ever posted their real names, just their initials, before I left I began to wonder if these were not ALL lies! And if so, who was writing them? OSA, another division, WHO? Or were these just delusions from people who THOUGHT they experienced these things? I mean if they were churning out all these OT’s then WHY were conditions not improving in the world? We still had illiteracy, crime, poverty, war, etc. etc.

In the meantime, I was also becoming more disgusted at the way they treated their staff members (a few had been on staff for almost twenty years, and STILL had not reached Clear), the less than safe and clean conditions in the basement where Central Files were kept and staff muster was held; the VERY unsanitary conditions in their make-shift “nursery” for the staff who had children, and the endless PR about how psychiatry was evil incarnate.

I never had a major “blow” when I left. I just walked away, changed my phone number and ignored the junk mail and mass-letter writing campaigns from the academy, BEGGING me to come back and get some more major “wins”.  During my inquisition and healing period (1999-2001) I found a lot of info online in addition to OCB. This included making a phone call to Tory since I was still quite paranoid at that point of cult retaliation (Thanks for putting my mind to ease Tory!). I think the final nail in the coffin was a few days after 9/11. Even though I had not been in the org for about two years, something told

me to call them and get their take on the terrorist attacks. SURPRISE, it was psychiatry again! I just told myself FUCK THIS SHIT!! With Scientology it’s ALWAYS the same old crap!

Oh yeah, and when the 10-volume Mission Earth books came out, every Scientologist was expected to read all of them. I was never particularly impressed with Hubbard’s fiction writing, and never bought any of them. But at least one staff Scio tried convincing me that the books were not just fiction, but “hatting actions”, and I needed to buy and read them to help me handle life. This was another indicator of just how brainwashed some of these people had become. For whatever reason or reasons, I just never 100% bought into all of Hubbard’s “solutions”, and thus it was not a particularly wrenching decision for me when I finally told myself I had had enough. I realize that everyone who WAS in had their own reasons and their own cognitions and “moments of truth” or clarity that led them to leave. I am just VERY glad that we ARE out and not only would never dream of returning, but do what we can to make sure others do not make the same mistake.

Which leads me to something that happened just a few months ago: I was on the bus on the way to work and someone I see every day and always speak to told me she was considering checking Scientology out. I told her I used to be in and it would NOT be a good idea, then gave OCB URL and told her to decide for herself. She was already a bit wary, so it did not take much convincing, but I am just glad I was there to share some experiences with her.

Finally, I had a real spiritual high and personal breakthrough one night in 2003, which is a bit too complicated to go into at this moment, but at the end of that night, I thought to myself “and I did this WITHOUT Scientology!”, and LITERALLY fell of the couch laughing my ass off!

REAL FREEDOM comes with being able to make your OWN decisions and follow your OWN path. It does NOT include regging, ethics cycles, sec checks, listening to

boring lectures from a madman high on speed or disconnecting from family and friends. The more people realize this, the better off we will be as a species.

Larry (4truth2)

Comments are closed.