Monday, 31st May, 2010 07:29:21am
Name or Alias:
Training and/or processing level:
BSM, Purif, SSII
Org or location:
CLO Canada (Sea Org Base), Toronto
Time involved in the Church of Scientology:
Recommended Website - Ex-Scientologist Message Board
- 1. How did you first become acquainted with the Church of
- I was born into a scientology family. As I grew up, my father gradually introduced me to the concepts contained in scientology. I was quite young, so I accepted the concepts to be true.
- 2. What initially appealed to you about scientology?
- The appeal is in the promise of restored immortality, and supernatural ability to succeed in life. By comparison, the abilities I thought I could attain would exceed those portrayed by the Jedi Knights in the movie Star Wars. Equally important was the idea that you were able to help other people regain these abilities.
- 3. Were there problems in your life that you thought
scientology would address?
- When I was recruited into the Sea Organization in Toronto, I had finished high school, but hadn't been motivated to get good marks. I had doubts about what I wanted to do in life, and whether I could succeed in college or university. I planned to 'go OT' regardless of my career path, so joining the Sea Org seemed to make it simpler to reach that goal. I also had a friend in high school who was prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric drugs. Because I was indoctrinated that psychiatry is evil, I blamed his condition on psychiatry, and I strongly wanted to help scientology in their battle against psychiatry.
- 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 is way too much focus on money:
In July 2007 was the evening of the big event in Florida where they unveiled the $3,500 'Basics' book and lectures package to scientologists. When word of the event arrived, staff went around shouting and cheering to each other that 'Flag made 4 million dollars from the event!!!' For the next year or so, the majority of the Sea Org members were heavily involved in this sales campaign. Each time a sale was made, music would play over the P.A., and the sale was announced, followed by cheering and clapping. Some Sea Org members, even with an 18-hour work day, were only spending 2-3 hours on their management duties, while the rest of the time was dedicated to Basics sales.
We weren't really helping people:
Every week that I was a Sea Org member at CLO Canada, the most emphasized goal was to make $50,000 for the coming week. All discussion was in terms of dollars. Nobody ever spoke in terms of how many people we ought to help. Sea Org members were frequently assigned to call public scientologists to begin the process of selling a package. It was heartbreaking to go through the calling lists, because I often ran into cases where the person had been called once or twice every day for the preceding month, and they were very upset at the volume of calls. I avoided calling as much as possible. It doesn't help that the training given to callers included phrases like 'don't hang up without a credit card number!'
The OT levels won't give you 'Jedi powers':
I have seen an OT8 blow - took a plane to the other side of America - just because his OT3 senior yelled at him during a phone call. I thought that OT Sea Org members should make things easier with postulates (ie base crew wouldn't have to push heavy furnitiure around anymore, just make stuff float around wherever you want it to go) but nobody at any level of the Bridge demonstrated any advantage over a regular Joe. The only way they get things done is the same way everybody else does it: hard work, plain and simple.
The rules and lifestyle in the Sea Organization are designed to eradicate your individuality:
I only realized this because I witnessed it happen to somebody else in my second year at CLO Canada. She was just a kid, a 13-year-old new CMO recruit, but eventually I detected something wrong: her personality started being 'wiped' as time went by, until she was completely withdrawn as a person. Before she started to change, she would usually greet people with a cheerful 'Hi!' and a smile. But whatever training or ethics she was engaged in, it was destroying her. The last thing she ever said to me was 'I'm not at liberty to talk', nearly in tears. Her mother was a Sea Org member, too. A friend of mine. Eventually I found out that this little girl wasn't 'at liberty' to talk with her own mom either - the explanation was something to do with 'security rules.'
It wasn't until months later that I would realize that I had also been 'wiped' more or less, but didn't notice. I guess CMO is much more ruthless with their dealings, and by comparison, I was subjected to fairly subtle conditioning.
Leadership in Management rules by force:
I spent a short time at the Hollywood Guarantee Building, where upper-middle management is housed. That is where I encountered one of the highest-ranked Sea Org members: an RTC Representative. Known as Mr.Z, she is one of the angriest persons I have ever met. Whatever training she did, I don't know, but she can stir fear with a simple look, at 100 feet away. Now it is my solid belief that those who are at the top will behave as their predecessor did: therefore they serve as an example of how L Ron Hubbard would run the show. I never met him, but the movies and stories I have read illustrate a very smart, caring and generous man. The leadership in LA and the CMO Executives in Canada paint a much darker picture. Maybe sometime after he passed, they deviated from his kind way of dealing with people, or maybe that's the way he actually behaved himself - in either case, the image being presented to the public is completely opposite of how things really work in management. And it's being hidden for a good reason.
As a Sea Org member, there is a tendancy to disconnect you from your family and friends - just by virtue of being there.
In December 2008, I wanted to visit my family for a week during Christmas. a couple of weeks prior to my planned time off, I was shocked to discover another young man had not seen his family for Christmas in 6 years! His job was a critical 'post' and he couldn't leave it without someone to fill in over Christmas. I told him that I would cover for him while he visited his family. He did. I subsequently asked for a week off in January, so I could have my share of family time. My senior would not sign the authorization to allow me to go, because I had not sold any packages yet!
- 5. Why did you choose to stay in the Church of
- There is a quote by L Ron Hubbard that says the supreme test of a thetan (spirit) is to make things go right. I knew that this sales program was being run in a blunt, cold-hearted and destructive manner. But Sea Org members were taught to believe we could fix any situation, no matter how messed-up it was. Yes, a good chunk of the Sea Organization worldwide was tied up in this insane push for income, but it was a short term problem, I thought, and I could fix it so we could go back to helping people. And yes, it seemed that the personnel department was operating by creating fear in the staff, but again, that could be fixed, I thought.
On my very last day in the CLO, I was working in the files room on a mundane project to tidy it up. But those last few hours revealed that the Sea Org would not likely change: I discovered that hundreds of 'sales' compaigns were planned and run just like this one, and the papers were dated all the way from the 70's until now. I discovered that it has always been about sales. The Sea Organization can't 'go back' to helping people - it never did.
- 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'?
- Sea Org. In 2007 I spent most of the time on various projects related to the Basics sales. I went to LA for two months, where I did more related projects. In February 2008 I spent a month as a night-shift security guard during the initial phase of the Anonymous protests. Later that year, I was posted as the Director of Communications, CLO Canada. I remained on that post until I found out that I was not allowed to see my family in January 2009.
- 7. Why did you leave the Church of Scientology? Was there a
- I witnessed that Ethics is ultimately 'Control by Fear':
When I wrote to my superiors stating that I was going to take a week off with my family - whether they authorized it or not - I discovered just how extreme it can get. The night before my planned week off, I was brought into a room by two Ethics staff, and I was screamed at for wanting to see my family. A large scientology dictionary was thrown before me onto a table, making a loud bang. All at once, they were screaming that I was being suppressive, and that I would be declared a Suppressive Person if I did go for the week. I was told that I would be re-captured and brought back to the base if I did make it to my father's house. And in my head, I knew that this was the kind of treatment being recieved by that little girl. This was what was ruining her.
Despite my personal strength and confidence, even I was scared by that interrogation. It didn't end until 2am, 5 hours later. But they failed to assume control over me - I went anyway. It gave me time to think about what was really going on in there. Once I figured out that this was really all about control, I wasn't afraid anymore. The deception was over: they had tricked me, and now I felt deeply betrayed.
- 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?
- As of January 2009, CLO Canada operates a computerized telemarketing centre, designed to make sales as fast as possible. Unless they are planning to start selling windows and doors, this cold-blooded sales pattern needs to be abandoned, or they soon won't have any people to call.
Don't make false promises about OT levels. The fine print says it like it is: you are promised nothing from the services. Leave it at that; don't exaggerate.
Children should not drop school to join the Sea Organization. Short-cutting their Education isn't ok. If completing their Education leads them away from the Sea Org, then maybe it's time to change. Just because drop-outs are less likely to question things doesn't mean everything is ok, it just means they haven't figured it out yet.
Follow The Way to Happiness: treat your subordinates as you would like to be treated. I am sure that those two Ethics staff would not like to be prevented from seeing their family. And they definitely wouldn't appreciate being screamed at just because they miss their parents.
Sea Org members must not be confined to base. Freedom of mobility is a fundamental right in developed nations; don't thwart it. If somebody wants to go: let them.
Threatening to declare people as a form of control definitely isn't a good operating basis. It needs to stop.
Declaring people who honestly speak of these injustices is only another injustice. Listen to them - and heed their advice - they know what they are talking about!
Percieving that they have enemies, when really they are dealing with former members, only aggravates the situation. There are no enemies to scientology - the only reason they have a conflict at all is due to their stubborn refusal to correct their behaviour.
- 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?
- Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...
- 10. Any additional comments you would like to make?
- There is one thing I am proud of here: I had the guts to commit myself entirely to helping other people - for the rest of my life. And I when I agreed to that, I sincerely meant it. I may have left scientology, but I don't intend to back out of that commitment. I'll just have to discover ways that I can actually make a difference in the community.