Monday, 1st April, 2002 03:26:33pm
Name or Alias:
Training and/or processing level:
OT5 (audited NOTs), old Class 4/XDn auditor, HPCSC Supervisor and Interne Supervisor
Org or location:
AOLA, Guardian's Office, Author Services Inc. (ASI), International Training Org (ITO), Office of Special Affairs (OSA)
Time involved in the Church of Scientology:
January 1975 - July 1989
Recommended Website - www.lisatrust.net
- 1. How did you first become acquainted with the Church of
- When I was 23, I happened to sit at a table in a crowded restaurant in Atlanta one night with two Scientologists. They found my 'ruin,' meaning they asked me enough questions about myself to determine what area of my life I was having trouble with. I was trying to launch a writing career at the time and was not having much success. They suggested that Scientology could give me some basic communication tools to help me. All I had to do was to attend a series of four free lectures. There was nothing about what they said to make me suspicious. What could it hurt to attend a few free one-hour lectures? So I did. The lecturer talked about simple communication concepts, nothing at all shocking, just very basic, plausible ideas about how to improve one's communication skills. The next step was to take an inexpensive short course. What could it hurt? I signed up. And that was how it began for me.
- 2. What initially appealed to you about scientology?
- I was led to believe that my involvement in Scientology would help me get my life in better control. I hoped it would somehow enable me to jump-start my career. By the time I realized that my life was going in a very different direction from what I had intended, it was too late. All of my friends were Scientologists, I was cut off from my family and old friends -- my whole world was Scientology and it did not seem possible to me that I could make it outside of that world.
- 3. Were there problems in your life that you thought
scientology would address?
- As I said, I was having trouble with my writing career -- that was my 'ruin' at the time -- and the Scientologists were able to 'push my button' to get me to take the bait. Scientologists drill 'finding someone's ruin' -- basically getting the person to talk about what is causing them problems and then using whatever that is to convince the person that Scientology will solve that problem. I'm afraid I fell for it.
- 4. Did you see, experience, or hear about things that didn't
seem right while you were in the Church of Scientology? What were
they, and what convinced you to set aside your feelings?
- There were many things that didn't seem right, almost from the very beginning. In general, the picture of Scientology that I was getting from what I was reading on my courses was not the same as what I was seeing people do all around me. From what I was reading, everyone should have been behaving very rationally and ethically, kind of the way the characters behaved in Star Trek. It was supposed to be some kind of Utopian world, where everything functioned according to ultimate rational thought. What was actually happening was anything but that. I first got into Scientology at the Atlanta mission in 1975. There was rampant sexual harassment of the women by the mission holder, Peter Greene. He locked me in his office and grabbed me, and I punched him on the lip and got out of there, furious. I wrote a report about what had happened and ended up being investigated myself for 'spreading entheta about an upstat.' But I thought the people at the mission level just didn't get what Scientology was really all about. I decided to join the Sea Org, where the people would follow policy and act like Scientologists were supposed to act. Of course, when I arrived in Los Angeles to join the Sea Org, I immediately encountered far worse abuse, bias, and unfair treatment than anything I had ever experienced in Atlanta. The living conditions were appalling in the big blue building, known as the Complex. I was accused of being a 'potential trouble source,' or PTS, because I objected to the degraded living conditions. I was labeled 'PTS to the Middle Class,' meaning that I was clinging to 'wog' standards instead of throwing myself wholeheartedly into being a part of the Sea Org, the group that was going to Clear the Planet.
- 5. Why did you choose to stay in the Church of
- I stayed as long as I believed that Scientology actually existed. What I mean by that is that every time I encountered people or situations that were not what I considered Scientology to be all about, I justified the situation by thinking that I needed to move higher up in the Scientology hierarchy to a level where I could work with other people like myself who truly understood the ideals of Scientology. When I joined the Sea Org in Los Angeles I worked at the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles, or AOLA, as a review auditor and later as the Interne Supervisor. My career as a Scientologist consisted mainly of my getting in trouble for objecting to various unfair situations that I encountered. Every time it happened I justified it by thinking that I hadn't yet reached the level in the hierarchy where I could work with other people who understood Scientology like I did. So I kept getting myself promoted to higher and higher levels. From AOLA I got promoted to the Guardian's Office, thinking that would be the place I would find real Scientology. What a nightmare that was! I was in the Public Relations Bureau. Unbeknownst to me, Hubbard and his wife, Mary Sue, as well as a number of other Guardian's Office executives, were engaged in the illegal coverup of all the government office break-ins (the details of which finally came out in the Stipulation of Evidence that the guilty parties signed to avoid a public jury trial). The paranoia and suspicion was so high that it was impossible to get anything done at all. When the CMO took over the Guardian's Office in 1981, I thought that finally sanity would be restored. In the beginning of 1982 I was promoted to Author Services, Inc., or ASI, where I would work directly with David Miscavige, the head of Scientology, the man who answered directly to L. Ron Hubbard. Finally, I thought, I would be able to function as a true Scientologist, concentrating on creating a world without crime, without insanity and without war, just the way LRH said we should do. Instead, I found that at the very top of the Scientology hierarchy the leadership dropped all pretence of adhering to Scientology policy. Miscavige and his lieutenants had nothing but utter contempt for the public Scientologists who gave all their money to the Church, and for the staff who put up with degraded living conditions, rice and beans for food, no time off, no time to see their children, no time to see their families, and virtually no pay at all, no medical care, no dental care, no retirement plan, nothing. The leadership laughed at these fools who were sacrificing everything for Scientology. I discovered that at the heart of Scientology was nothing but greed and ruthlessness. And it was not Miscavige who set that standard. It was L. Ron Hubbard himself. I saw many orders from LRH that were vicious, paranoid, contemptuous of Scientology, and utterly ruthless. All he wanted was to milk the Scientology orgs of as much money as Miscavige and the others at ASI could possibly get away with. The statistics at ASI had to do with how much money each of the staff made for LRH every week. If the stats were down, the highest level staff would sit down and work out how much money they needed to get the stats up and then figure out a way to get that much money out of all the orgs. It was appalling to me and shattered by illusions about Scientology irreparably. That was in 1982. I wanted to leave at that point but my husband, Vaughn, was still a true believer, and I was unwilling to leave without him. I was assigned to the RPF after refusing to work with Miscavige. I got through it by doing what I was told and convincing Miscavige that I was willing to behave myself again.
- 6. Were you staff or public? If staff, was it at a mission or
an org? Were you ever in the Sea Org or OSA? Which unit? If not on
staff, did you ever volunteer to 'help out'?
- I've answered this in Question 5.
- 7. Why did you leave the Church of Scientology? Was there a
- As I said in Question 5, my illusions were shattered when I worked directly with Miscavige at ASI and discovered that not even L. Ron Hubbard himself believed that Scientology was real. It was just an elaborate hoax created to make as much money as possible and gain as much power as possible. That was the final straw for me, but I wasn't willing to leave without my husband Vaughn. We stayed in the Sea Org for seven more years, until finally at the beginning of 1989, Vaughn was physically beaten very badly by one of Miscavige's lieutenants, Norman Starkey, because he disagreed with the way Norman wanted him to write the copy for one of the Ron magazines. That was the final straw for Vaughn. He was a staff member at ASI at the time. He told his superiors that he wanted to route out of the Sea Org and was immediately taken up to Int for 'handling.' After several months being held at Int on an auditing program, Vaughn finally asked when he was going to start his routing form to leave. He was told that he was never going to be allowed to leave. At that point he realized that his only chance was to convince his superiors that he was 'handled' so that they would allow him to drive his car to Los Angeles to see me. He did this and met me in our berthing room at the Complex. We put some of our clothes in a sheet and tied it up to look like we were going to do our laundry at a laundromat down the street. In this way we were able to get past the security guards and get our clothes in our car. We then escaped and drove across country to see my family in Atlanta. That was in July of 1989.
- 8. Do you think the Church of Scientology needs to change some
of its practices? If so, what should be changed? How did those
practices affect your life?
- I don't think it is possible for Scientology to change. The practices I object to are all under the heading of harassment and intimidation of critics. There is no criticism allowed within the Church, and there is no criticism allowed outside of it either. There is no recourse for injustice. There is no compassion or mercy. There is no regard for human rights or civil rights. In my answer to Question 9 I'll go into more detail about this.
- 9. If the items you listed in the previous question were
changed, would you consider rejoining or staying in the Church of
Scientology? If so, why?
- First of all, I would never consider rejoining the Church of Scientology because I no longer believe that the model of the mind that Hubbard created has any validity whatsoever. I also believe that the totalitarianism and repression I experienced while I was in Scientology are the true nature of the organization, and if this is the case, then it is not possible to change these things. Since I left Scientology I have spent many years trying to get the leadership of Scientology to change. I have done everything I could think of to try to convince them to gain compassion for their own membership, and to be willing to listen to valid criticism of their practices when it is voiced by critics from outside the organization. Nothing has had any effect at all. For my efforts I have been subjected to a level of harassment and psychological terrorism that I would never have believed possible. It is my belief that the Church of Scientology is one of the most corrupt, cynical, and relentlessly ruthless organizations in existence today.
- 10. Any additional comments you would like to make?
- Thanks for making your website available for people to tell their stories. The more people talk about what happened to them, the less it will be possible for the courts and investigatory branches of government to ignore what Scientology is perpetrating on unsuspecting citizens.