Counterfeit Dreams - Jeff Hawkins's story

Discussion in 'Staff "War Stories"' started by Free to shine, Jun 14, 2008.

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  1. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    I asked Jeff if I could post his amazing story here. It's from his website : http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/04/chapter-one-going-home.html

    His experience is vast and I feel the more people that read it, the better. See his site for the photos that go with the story too. The chapters are long, apologies for the scrollers and I will update as new chapters are published. Thankyou Jeff! :)

    Grab a coffee and settle in for a good read....
    _______________

    Chapter One - Going Home


    I woke up in the dark, the grim reality of my life seeping into my consciousness like a poison. Around me, I could sense the forms huddled on rough-hewn makeshift bunk beds, softly breathing. I could feel the mass of them around me, vaguely see their clothes and towels hanging from the bunks, smell the unwashed bodies.

    I couldn’t sit up, as I would hit my head on the bunk close above me, so I slid silently out of bed. The others had their own work schedule, getting up an hour after I did and returning after I was asleep. That was fine with me ­- I had developed a taste for solitude.

    There were six of us sleeping in the tiny room. No closets, just one chair, a desk, and a broken down dresser. I found my jeans and a clean T-shirt where I had left them, neatly folded on top of the dresser, ready for morning. I pulled on thick socks and my big workboots, and found my heavy hooded coat under the bunk bed, where I’d stashed it. I shook it out to dislodge any spiders - what we lacked in storage space we seemed to make up for in insects. I dressed quietly in the dark and went out into the hall and down the creaking staircase. The old house was dark and quiet, except for the squish of my steps as I went down the stairs, still damp from last night’s rainfall. The stairs were cluttered with every bucket and pan I had been able to find, each now full of water, with the ceiling still sporadically dripping.

    It was March in the high desert, and the nights were still bitterly cold. Outside, a feeble light was starting to break through the cloud cover. I could see the black tangled silhouettes of trees against the grey dawn, and the long, matted dry grass that surrounded the house. Somewhere, I could hear a few birds starting to wake up.

    The house was called Old Gilman House, or “OGH” - a big two-story ramshackle house built in the 1920’s. Decrepit beyond repair, it now served as a detention center for those of us beyond redemption, the “non-persons” slated for “offload” from the Church of Scientology’s Sea Organization. The three or four acre compound surrounding the house was completely surrounded by a razor wire fence, with lights and motion sensors every few feet. Aside from the five buildings on the property, there were several storage trailers. Security cameras and round-the clock guards kept an eye on us to make sure we didn’t try to escape.

    The OGH compound was at the northeastern corner of a 200-acre property in San Jacinto, California, known to the locals as “Golden Era Productions,” but known by its staff as the “Int Base” – the international headquarters of the Church of Scientology, where I had worked for the past fifteen years. And now it was my prison.

    Karsten, the night Security Guard, was on the porch. He gave me a nod as I came out. A hawk-faced German with short, close-cropped blond hair, Karsten kept watch during the night and handed out the work orders in the morning.

    “I found these in your room yesterday,” he said, reaching into a box and producing two magazines, a Newsweek and an Entertainment Weekly, several months old. “Why do you read such trash” he asked me, in his thick German accent. “So you can masturbate to the pictures?” He indicated the photograph of a pretty actress on the cover.

    “I like to know what’s going on in the world,” I replied. The outside world I’ll soon be a part of.

    “I don’t need to know what’s going on,” he replied. “All I need to know is that it’s bad out there in the wog world and Scientology has the solutions. That’s what L. Ron Hubbard says and that’s all I need to know. People laugh at me because I don’t know who the President of the United States is,” he added. “I don’t need to know that.” He threw the magazines back in the box. “You don’t need this garbage.”

    Karsten was in many ways the “ideal” Sea Org worker. He lived in a small room on the OGH compound with a single cot and no visible possessions. He wore the same faded brown Security uniform every day, which he would carefully wash in a broken-down washing machine in a back room of the Gilman House. Every time the machine went on its spin cycle it would shake the old building like a passing freight train. Karsten wasn’t married and seemingly had no interest in women. The only thing I ever saw him read was a folded piece of paper he carried in his pocket with the Scientology Axioms printed on it, which he would pore over for hours, his lips moving slightly as he struggled to memorize them.

    Karsten gave me the work order for the day, clearing brush around the perimeter fence, and I left the porch. Around the Old Gilman House were a group of run-down, one-story buildings that served as staff housing. Most of the Base staff lived in Hemet, at an apartment complex rented by the Church. But some senior staff were not allowed to live in town so were required to live on the Base in these houses. Behind one of these was a lean-to shack, crammed with staff luggage and belongings, and, in the back, an old refrigerator, where I found some granola and yogurt, which I ate out of a Styrofoam cup. I washed out the cup and put it back on top of the refrigerator for future use.

    Picking up a shovel and rake from the tool shed, I headed for the perimeter fence. I liked to be out and working well before any of the “regular staff” got up. I was, after all, a criminal, an “untouchable.” Weeks ago, early in my incarceration, I had made the mistake of taking a shower in the morning in one of the staff houses, the only house with a shower or bath, and, coming out, ran into a woman who then screamed at me and ordered me to clean the bathroom from top to bottom with alcohol before she would deign to use it. “You are filth!” she screamed in my face.

    The encounter left me stinging with shame and humiliation. In the eyes of the other staff I was a degraded criminal. Hubbard said that people only want to leave the Sea Organization because they have crimes, so it was important to prove me a criminal and prove Hubbard right. In my daily Security Checks, I would sit for hours, holding on to the “cans” of the e-meter, while an auditor asked me over and over about what crimes I had, what were my evil acts. It went on and on. I just wanted it to be over, so I confessed to anything – treasonous thoughts, hidden vices, secret hatreds. And all of it was then announced publicly at staff “musters” – more and more proof of my criminality and my unworthiness to be a part of the “elite” Sea Organization.

    Once, I would have burned with righteous anger. I would have challenged every accusation, demanded to be heard, demanded justice. But no more. I was done, finished. I felt hollow, emptied out. I had reached the end of the line. After 35 years working for the Church of Scientology, I had become an untouchable, a non-person, a Suppressive Person scheduled for “offload.” You are filth.

    So I avoided other staff; lived in my own world, a sort of hurricane’s eye, my calm refuge in the midst of the chaos around me. Now I showered at dinnertime, when no one was around. Mornings, it was straight to work. There, clearing brush, clearing away dead trees, carting away rubbish, I could just be alone, and think.

    It wasn’t being kicked out of Scientology into the outside world that frightened me, even though I had no idea where I would go, or what I would do. My greatest fear, my greatest nightmare, was being suddenly called back to duty. It had happened three times before. I had been banished, “offloaded” to a distant work camp, never to return, only to be mysteriously and inexplicably brought back, seemingly because they could not find anyone else to do the work I was skilled at. Three times. Back from exile to the hell of life at the Int Base – the sleepless nights, the threats, the intimidation, the bullying, the beatings, the degradation. The stuff of nightmares.

    No more. I wasn’t going back. Not ever.

    Late one night, about three in the morning, I had been rousted out of my narrow bunk bed by one of the Security Guards, Matt, who was acting as my “handler.” He took me to a room in the old house for an interview. It was lit by a bare bulb and reeking of mildewed carpet from the leaks in the roof. There were no chairs, so we stood.

    “So, how are you doing?” he asked me, in a casual tone that belied his true intent. “Have you made any progress on your Conditions?” The “Conditions” were Hubbard’s coded, rote formulas for dealing with situations in life. During the evenings, I was supposed to be “working on my conditions,” applying the formulas for “Treason” and “Enemy” so I could work back into the group’s good graces. I knew he hadn’t woken me up in the middle of the night to make small talk. I’d been through this before – the inquiries about one’s “progress” meant only one thing - he had been sent by some executive to find out if I was “ready to go back on post.” I think he expected me to be remorseful, chastened, propitiative, ready to go back and serve the cause again.

    “I’m not doing any conditions,” I replied.

    I might as well have slapped him. He was silent for a moment, absorbing my treasonous statement. “If I was you,” he warned me, “I’d be begging on my knees to be sent to the RPF.”

    I’d never been sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force, but I’d worked with them daily during one of my forced exiles from the Base. It was a group of probably 150 to 200 people, all working in the lower reaches of the “Big Blue Building” in Los Angeles, and all dressed in identical grey T-shirts and black jeans. Out of sight of the public Scientologists, they lived and worked in the basement corridors, sleeping in squalid dormitories, packed 20 or 30 to a room. They worked in the wood shop every day, making furniture for the “orgs” – the Scientology Organizations. They received a few dollars a week pocket money, if that, and were not allowed to speak to anyone outside the group. No phone calls, no radios, no magazines, no internet, no contact with the outside world. They never left the building. Some of them, like my friend Caroline, had been there for three years or more. It was a virtual slave colony.

    “I’m not going to the RPF,” I told Matt “And I’m not going back on post.”

    “Then you’ll be offloaded out of the Sea Organization,” he told me. “Out of Scientology. You’ll be declared Suppressive.”

    “Fine,” I told him. “Then do it.”

    Now, as I methodically cleared the brush around the perimeter fence, I had plenty of time to think about the future. The brush was thick, and I tore it out by the handfuls, piling it up and carting it off to a compost pile. It was important to clear a wide swath next to the fence so the Security Guards on motorcycles - the “Rovers” - would have good visibility and could race along the perimeter to intercept any breach in the fence – in or out. I had to be careful not to set off the motion sensors. Once I had inadvertently touched the fence with a tree branch and soon heard the roar of a motorcycle as the “Rover” came to see what was up.

    The mindless work was my sanctuary. I relished my solitary hours. After months of sleepless nights and constant abuse, to just be alone in nature, with no one else around, was calming. I became interested in every detail of my little world. Once, after I’d taken down a small tree that was too near the security fence, I was looking at the cross-section of the trunk and saw that the pattern of rings was beautiful. I took my saw and sliced off a thin section of the trunk and kept it. I still have it to this day.

    One day I was weeding one of the garden patches and discovered a nest of baby rabbits. They were so amazing, so small. That night in the dormitory I violated my rule of silence and mentioned the baby rabbits I’d seen. One of my fellow inmates, Darius, became incensed.

    “Here we are about to be offloaded from the Sea Organization," he wailed, "and all you can talk about is baby rabbits?” Darius was desperate not to be offloaded – his father, Greg Wilhere – was a top exec. He spent his evenings writing petitions to be allowed to stay. But I was in a different place. In my mind I was already gone. And other things were important to me now – the cross-section patterns in a tree, a nest of baby rabbits, the wheel of the stars at night, the way the sun bathes the hills in warm light in the morning.

    A line from the Janis Joplin Song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” kept going through my mind. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose. It was true. I had nothing left to lose. They had taken it all. So there was nothing more they could threaten me with, hold over my head. They no longer had any power over me, and, in an odd way, I was free of them at last.

    I looked out across the valley. The OGH compound was on a slight rise, at the bottom of the foothills that rise north of the Base. I could see all the way to the highway that wound down out of Lamb’s Canyon. In the dawn light I could see headlights, and I thought about being out there, driving up that road, going anywhere, anywhere but here. A thought formed in my mind: I want to go home.

    But where was home? I had worked for the Church of Scientology for 35 years, since 1968. I had been all over the world – Edinburgh, Copenhagen, North Africa, the Caribbean, Florida. My mother, who lived in Santa Barbara, had passed away in 1999. I had lost contact with my daughter and didn’t know where she was. My brother was my only living relative. And I wouldn’t be able to talk to him, as he was still in Scientology, a “public Scientologist” receiving Scientology services. According to Scientology’s disconnection policy, as a “Suppressive Person,” I was forbidden to talk to him.

    And my wife Cathy? She was lost to me forever. She would remain in the Sea Org. She had stood by me through three previous offloads from the Base, believed in me despite constant pressure to leave me. But this time it was too much. I was being offloaded from Scientology, a Suppressive Person. She gave in to the pressure finally and filed for divorce. Or so I was told. One day the Security Guards showed up with the divorce papers, and made me sign them. Maybe she’s been coerced to sign as well. But what else could she do? The last night we spent together, before I was sent out to the OGH compound, we had held hands in the darkness, knowing what was coming, looking at the emptiness ahead, the loneliness. I hadn’t spoken to her since.

    I chopped away at the weeds, blinking back tears.

    I want to go home.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  2. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Two - The Canyon

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/04/chapter-two-canyon.html

    "Man, wait till you hear about this!"

    Jerry, his mop of red hair flying, burst in on my quiet Sunday afternoon.

    "Hear about what?’ I asked, looking up from my book. I was lounging in my favorite piece of furniture, an old barber’s chair from the 1920’s that I’d found at an antique store and installed in my living room. It had a padded leather seat and fancy grillwork, and, by pushing a few levers, one could adjust it to a reclining position. I uncoiled myself from the chair.

    I’d known Jerry since we were kids. Now I was living with his sister, Dixie, and we let Jerry live in the spare bedroom of our rented house in Sierra Madre Canyon. With Jerry around, life was never dull, and today was no exception.

    "Scientology," said Jerry. "I was just over at Doug’s house, and there were a couple of guys up from LA talking about it."

    It was the first time I’d ever heard the word.

    It was fall, 1967. Fresh out of art school, I was striking out on my own at last, working in LA as a commercial artist and renting a house in The Canyon, a quirky, colorful collection of tiny summer houses tucked up in the foothills about 30 miles northeast of LA. A stream ran through the Canyon in a concrete wash, and it was spanned by wooden footbridges. This was home to a motley collection of artists, intellectuals, and nonconformists, and over the last few years had seen an invasion of long-haired kids – hippies. I enjoyed the freewheeling friendliness of Canyon life.

    My mother lived just a few minutes away in suburban Arcadia, and I visited her often. She had been widowed since 1960, and was now all alone as both my brother and sister were away at college.

    The Summer of Love had come and gone, and the dream of peace and love had, for me, started to get a bit stale. I was prime draft age, and I knew it was only a matter of time before I was called up and sent to Vietnam.

    I was very much involved in the anti-war movement. When Lyndon Johnson came to LA and stayed at the Century Plaza Hotel, I joined about 20,000 others in an anti-war demonstration outside the hotel. We were met by thousands of LA cops, who waded in to the demonstrators, striking anyone they could reach with their clubs. I remember seeing one young girl, she couldn’t have been more than twelve, with blood streaming down her face. Jerry, enraged, had picked up an unopened soda can and was about to launch it at the nearest cop when I grabbed his arm and held him back. More violence wasn’t the answer.

    But what was the answer? It wasn’t drugs - I had given them up six months earlier, after a bad acid trip. That was a dead-end street. I was looking for another answer, and weekends like this one would often find me poring over books on yoga, meditation, psychocybernetics, hypnotism, anything I could get my hands on. Like most of the kids in the Canyon, I was looking for something. So Jerry had my attention.

    "So what is Scientology?" I asked. "What were they saying about it?"

    "They said it’s scientific," Jerry tried to explain. "It’s a sort of scientific way to reach spiritual enlightenment. They said that they had a way to clear away the things that keep you from your potentials."

    Jerry’s enthusiasm, as usual, was infectious. We decided to go down to the "Scientology place" in LA the next night and check it out.

    The "Org," short for Organization – we would soon get familiar with all the jargon - was down on 9th Street, near McArthur Park, in a big old house. As we entered the lobby, I saw it was packed with people, talking, laughing, smiling. And what amazed me was that they were all ages and types. Old grey haired people talking animatedly with young long-haired kids. The "generation gap" seemed to be suspended.

    The Los Angeles Org on 9th Street

    The lecture hall was large, and there were about 100 people in the audience. Jerry and I found seats in the back. A young man with dark hair and movie-star good looks came out and introduced himself as Seaton Thomas, and proceeded to give us a lecture about Scientology. He was an electrifying speaker – intense, funny, eloquent. He talked about a part of the mind called the Reactive Mind, which stores up all of the painful things that happen to you, and then throws them back at you at moments of stress, causing you to think and do things you don’t want to – to "not be yourself."

    He interrupted the lecture in several places to show a black and white film of the Founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard seemed to be a pleasant guy, humorous and outspoken. He was a colorful character – the lecturer told us he’d been an explorer, a sailor, he’d led expeditions and studied many different races. Of course this was many years before Indiana Jones, but he seemed to have some of that aura of maverick panache. And he seemed to be a bit of an anti-establishment rebel, something that, of course, appealed to me. Everyone referred to him as "Ron."

    Seaton ended by describing the State of Clear – what a person would be like without the Reactive Mind – vibrant, sane, intelligent, rational, dynamic. He seemed to fix each one of us with his electric gaze as he concluded the lecture:

    "I’m Clear. You can be too."

    I was hooked. I headed straight for the bookstore. I bought three of Hubbard’s books, Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, The Problems of Work, and Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science. I spent the next weekend reading, plowing through all three books in two days. The next Monday, I was down at the Org again, signing up for the Communications Course, a week long course to teach you how to communicate better. I certainly wanted to do that – I had always considered myself to be shy, awkward around girls, hesitant to speak up in a group. If I could get more confident, that would be great.

    The course consisted of "TRs" or Training Regimens, a series of drills, we were told, that were used to train Scientology auditors. The drills were printed on long foolscap pages in red ink, with an impressive heading stating they were "Technical Bulletins." We weren’t just studying someone’s vague theories, no – this was a technology. It was scientific. We drilled and drilled, and I was exhilarated to find myself talking easily to my "twin" (drill partner) – a very pretty girl.

    At one point, a feeling of peace came over me, and I seemed to be outside my body. When I told the Supervisor about this I was told that yes, this is a usual experience in Scientology, called "exteriorization." You are not your body, I was told, and as you gain more and more awareness through Scientology, you gain the ability to leave and return to your body at will.

    Wow. Leaving your body. I went to the bookstore again, this time looking for something wilder. I saw a book on the top shelf called A History of Man with a picture of a big spiral galaxy on the cover. "I want that one," I said.

    "Er..that’s a very advanced book," the Bookstore Officer said. "Maybe you’d like to start with something more basic?"

    "No," I replied, "that’s the one I want." I spent the next few days poring through it. Space Opera. Past Lives. It all seemed so amazing – I was completely electrified. At one point, I felt sick and went to the bathroom and threw up. "Wow," I thought, "if a book can cause that effect on me – it must contain some real meat!"

    My girlfriend Dixie was less than enthusiastic about Scientology. She didn’t share my enthusiasm and wanted no part of it. Down at the Org they told me about "Suppressive Persons" or "SPs" who didn’t want people to get better and so would try to stop them from pursuing any betterment activity. Maybe my girlfriend was like that, they suggested – maybe she just didn’t want me to get any better. I began to resent Dixie’s criticisms of Scientology – I felt like she was attacking me personally. We began arguing more and more, and finally it came to a head.

    "It’s either me or Scientology," she yelled.

    "Well, I’m not going to give up Scientology," I told her. "It’s too important.

    That was it – she moved out. A few days later she came with her new boyfriend and got her furniture.

    But I was too into my new life to get too hung up in it. Many others from the Canyon were getting involved in Scientology, and we started to hang out together.

    One weekend, Jerry and I went hiking with some others from the Canyon, climbing up a ravine in back of the houses. One of the girls who was with us, Linda, had trained as a Scientology auditor. Jerry and I got into a swordfight with a couple of old tree branches, and by the end of it, the branches were in splinters and my right hand was covered in blood from a zillion tiny cuts. Linda took me to the stream, washed my hand in the cold water, and then proceeded to do what she called a "touch assist," touching my hand over and over and telling me to "feel her finger." Well, it was a magical moment, enhanced by the fact that Linda was rather pretty and I was enjoying her company and her touch. When she finished, I looked my hand over and couldn’t see a scratch on it. That impressed me.

    "How did you do that?" I asked.

    She smiled. "That’s Scientology." I determined that I wanted to be an auditor.

    That Christmas, my brother Kimball came home from Arizona State University.

    "I’ve got something to tell you about!" he said excitedly.

    "No, shut up," I said, I’ve got something to tell you that’s more important!"

    We went back and forth like this for a few minutes until we realized we were both talking about the same thing - Scientology. He’d been introduced to it by his girlfriend, Cathy Mullins, who worked at the Tempe Scientology "franchise."

    He ended up staying in LA, moved into the house with me and began working at the Scientology Org. They could only pay him a few dollars a week, so I ended up supporting him as I was making decent money as a commercial artist. But I figured that was my contribution to "the cause."

    And that’s how we started to look at it. As a cause. In April, Martin Luther King was assassinated, and South Central erupted in violence. The Vietnam War was still raging and I was due to be called up for service any day. The anti-war rallies seemed futile – they weren’t going to change anything. We had to get rid of people’s Reactive Minds! Then they would see that war and violence were wrong, that it was not sane. They would become rational and ethical and sane. This was the answer. We had to Clear the Planet.

    My brother and I started auditor training on Academy Level 0, which taught you how to audit someone on the subject of communication. To graduate, I had to find someone to audit, so I found a girl who wanted auditing, and ran the processes on her. I was nervous as hell, and I think she was too. At the end she was thrilled with the results, and I was just as pleased. I was on my way.

    I had a new girlfriend, Crystal, a beautiful green-eyed blonde. She was part of the crowd that showed up in the Canyon on weekends, wanting to be part of the hippie life. She would come up from Orange County on weekends, and our time together was intense.

    Then, midweek, she showed up at my house in a taxi, which I had to pay for. She said that her parents had put her in a mental institution, and she had escaped by climbing a wall. Of course, I had already been instructed by the Scientologists at the Org on the evils of psychiatry, so her story really got me going. With my newfound confidence, I decided to take the bull by the horns, and I drove her back to her parents house in Orange County – Jeff the auditor on a mission of mercy! I sat and talked with her parents for about an hour and finally convinced them to not send her back to the mental institution, but to allow her to study Scientology. I was amazed at my own pluck – I had saved Crystal!

    I told my mom I was going to marry Crystal. She gave me a wry look that seemed to encompass all of my crazy girlfriends and romantic notions. "Just wait a while before you make any decisions like that," she wisely advised. On the subject of Scientology, she was reserved but tolerant. "I don’t know anything about it," she told me, "but if you kids are into it, it must be OK."

    Finally, the inevitable happened. I received a letter from my Draft Board ordering me to a pre-induction physical examination. I was being drafted into the army.

    I was getting auditing at the time, and this came up in my sessions as what they call a "present time problem." My auditor, an older guy I looked up to, tried to calm me down.

    "Look," he said, "a pre-induction physical really isn’t a physical examination at all. They’re trying to see if you’ll fit into a group, if you’re a follower who won’t make trouble" He advised me to do the opposite of everything they asked me to do. "If they tell you to have your form in your right hand, have it in your left. And stay away from the other inductees – be a loner. I guarantee you’ll end up in a psych interview."

    Handling the "psych," he told me, was a piece of cake. "Just introduce a ‘comm lag’ – a communication lag – into everything you say. When he asks you a question, wait ten or fifteen seconds, then answer him."

    Was it really that simple? I went to the physical exam, shaking with nervousness, and followed his advice. Amazingly, I did end up being interviewed by a shrink, and even more amazingly, walked out with a temporary deferment. I was elated.

    But it was only temporary – my auditor advised me to take the "Minister’s Course" and get ordained as soon as possible.

    I started volunteering down at the Org what I wasn’t on course. I had started receiving their magazines, which were very poorly designed and laid out. I thought since I was a commercial artist, I could help them to make it look better. I went down one evening and the Dissemination Secretary took me into a back room where there was a drawing board. He pulled out some sheets of photo paper.

    "These are the ‘shooting boards’ that we receive from World Wide," he told me. "We just fill in the local information."

    Right away I could see that was where the problem was. The "shooting boards" (which was what they called the camera-ready layouts) were very poorly done. I began to think that to really contribute, I would have to go there.

    "What’s World Wide?" I asked.

    "That’s the world headquarters of Scientology," he explained. "It’s located at Saint Hill Manor in England."

    Wow, England, I thought. That would be a cool place to live. I had traveled throughout Europe as a student and had loved England.

    Kim and I started talking over the idea, and the more we talked about it, the more we wanted to go. To be at the center of Scientology, to live in England, to be able to do design work for them – that had to be the best of all possible worlds. And to be far away from my draft board. Jerry got excited about the idea, and his friend Zane wanted to come too. It was the future, and it was good.

    We started selling off or giving away everything we owned, and packing up what little we would need for our new life. I said goodbye to Crystal and we made vague plans for her to join me later. I put together a portfolio of my design work to show the people in England. And by mid-June, 1968, the four of us were boarding a plane at LAX, bound for London.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  3. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Three - Thistle Street Lane

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/05/chapter-three-thistle-street-lane.html

    I could hear the rattle of the old elevator door, then the whine of its ancient motor as it climbed to the second floor. It came to a shuddering stop just a few feet away from where I was lying, and I could hear the night watchman fumbling to open the iron gate, then shuffling out into the open space.

    "Wakey, wakey!" he intoned. He was an old Scot, not a Scientologist, and had been hired to watch the building at night and, on mornings like this, to wake up the staff who had spent the night sleeping on the concrete floor or among the book stocks.

    Around me, huddled forms began to move and stretch. I wandered downstairs to see if the morning pastry cart had arrived. It was there, just inside the entryway of the building on Thistle Street Lane, and I could feel the biting cold of an Edinburgh winter coming in through the front door as I got a cup of tea and a pastry for my breakfast.

    Things had gotten rough since the Sea Org Missionaire, Doreen Casey, had arrived. She had been sent from the Apollo, sent by L. Ron Hubbard himself, she told us, to take over Scientology’s Publications Organization and get it on the rails – that is, selling more books and making more money. And if we didn’t meet our targets, she would forbid us to leave – the whole staff had to spend the night sleeping on the concrete floor. Nights like that had become increasingly common.

    I hoped the woman would leave soon, and things could go back to the way they were. Before her arrival, I had enjoyed working at "Pubs," as we called it, and had made a lot of new friends.

    Kim, Zane and I had arrived at London’s Heathrow airport in June. Jerry didn’t make it through customs – he had some Scientology books with him and they turned him back. Scientology was the subject of a British Home Office inquiry at that time, and all Scientology students were being turned back. We’d been tipped off that this would happen, so we presented ourselves as tourists there for a holiday. With our long hair and scruffy appearance, we looked just like the thousands of other young people arriving that summer to explore the country of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. So we slipped under the radar of "the SPs" who were "trying to destroy Scientology."

    We took a train down to East Grinstead, in Sussex, and from the train station took a local taxi to Saint Hill Manor. This had been L. Ron Hubbard’s home, and was now the worldwide center for Scientology. The place was a beehive of activity, with hundreds of students and staff crowded into the Manor’s outbuildings. A new building, which looked like a castle, was under construction. It housed the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, which was then the highest training that one could receive in Scientology’s technology. Hubbard had given daily lectures to the Briefing Course students during the early 1960’s, but, we were told, no longer lived at Saint Hill. He was doing "upper level research" aboard a large yacht, the Royal Scotman, which was in a confidential location somewhere in the Mediterranean.

    We were directed to one of the small outbuildings and told to see the Receptionist. Inside, the place seemed crowded and chaotic, with filing cabinets, baskets and piles of paper everywhere. We told the receptionist, an elderly woman, that we were there to join staff at the Publications Organization Worldwide. We were sent to the "Hubbard Communications Office Secretary" who interviewed us and tried to get us to sign a staff contract at Saint Hill. He wouldn’t tell us where the Publications Organization was, only that they had moved and were no longer at Saint Hill. He insisted we should join staff there.

    Finally, we politely but firmly declined, and went in search of someone who could tell us something about the Publications Organization. Asking around, we were finally directed to the Manor itself, the location of the Worldwide Organization. There we found a pretty redhead, severely dressed in a naval officer’s uniform. She introduced herself as Peggy. Once we had explained what we were trying to do, she told us that the Publications Organization Worldwide had recently moved to Scotland. She got them on the phone right away, and we were told to get on the next train to Edinburgh.

    The Publications Organization turned out to be located in an alley off of an alley. First we found Queen Street, which fronted onto a park, and was lined with posh townhouses – one of these contained HAPI Scotland (Hubbard Academy of Personal Independence), the local Scientology Organization. Behind Queen Street was an alley, Thistle Street, and off this alley was an even smaller alley, Thistle Street Lane. Stepping into the narrow, cobbled street was like stepping into another century. It wasn’t unusual for horse-drawn carts to come clop-clopping along. Halfway down the alley was a large wooden door with a sign over it, "Publications Organization World Wide."

    I had the idea we would be applying for a job, and would go through an interview and screening. I had my design portfolio at the ready. But no one seemed interested. We were greeted immediately by the HCO Area Secretary, or HAS, a big bearded guy named Al Seligman.

    "You’re Scientologists?" he said incredulously, "and you want to work here? Great – welcome!"

    He gave us a tour of the place. It was four stories high. The first two floors contained the book stocks, so they would be close to the shipping doors on the alley. The executive, HCO and Treasury areas were on the third floor, and the design, editorial and production areas were on the top floor. That was where Kim and I would be working. Zane was assigned to Treasury. (He would work there for a few months before he had enough and returned to the US.)

    As it was Friday, Kim and I assumed we wouldn’t be needed until Monday, and spent the weekend exploring Edinburgh and finding an apartment to rent. But when we showed up bright and early Monday morning, we got our first introduction to Scientology staff schedules.

    "Where have you guys been?" demanded the HAS. "After you didn’t show up for two days we thought you had decided against working here."

    We were puzzled. "You work weekends?"

    "Oh yes," he explained. "Seven days a week, with a day off every other week. We don’t work a wog schedule here – we have a planet to clear."

    "Wog" was the general all-purpose derogatory term for all things not Scientology. Outside the confines of Scientology was the "wog world" where they had "wog ideas," "wog justice," "wog science," "wog considerations," and so on. Anything not Scientology was looked down on as inferior, and "wog schedules" was one of those things, as we learned. Scientologists were tough and dedicated, and didn’t punch time clocks like wog dilletantes. We worked day and night, and weekends, to get the job done.

    Since I was a designer, I was assigned to Division Two, which was called "Planning and Preparations." This was where the promotional items and literature were prepared and written. The Publications Organization supplied promotion to all Scientology Organizations all over the world. I was excited to be at the center of things, able to use my talents to forward international Scientology.

    My senior, the "Preparations Secretary" was Christina, or Tina. She was a dark-haired beauty in her early 20s, with a wry sense of humor. And about five months pregnant. Her former boyfriend, I found out, had deserted her and gone to the Apollo, where he was working as L. Ron Hubbard’s artist, designing covers for the books. She seemed peacefully resigned to the idea of having the child and raising it on her own.

    Tina and I hit it off right away, and fell into a sort of joking banter that went on most of the day as we worked. Once I banged my knee on an open drawer and she commented sardonically, "you pulled it in" – referring to Scientology’s belief that anything bad that happens to you traces back to something bad you did to another. You "pull in a motivator" because of your own transgression, or "overt act."

    "No," I countered. "I pulled it out. I bumped my leg on it because I pulled the drawer out." She laughed.

    Most of the staff were young, in their early 20’s, and most had long, shaggy hair like Kim and I, so we felt like we were among kindred spirits. The executives were older – in their 30’s or 40’s. The head of Pubs Org was an American, David Ziff, who looked more like a college professor than an executive. He ran the organization with a sort of bemused aloofness. His wife, Judy, was Australian, and was the HCO Executive Secretary. The Organization Executive Secretary was Carole Biggs, whose husband Ron was the editor of the Auditor magazine – which was the international magazine for Scientologists at the time. Carole and Ron were English. The Public Executive Secretary was another Aussie, Sandra Johnson. I was impressed with how many nationalities were represented at Pubs. And there were some "old timers" there as well, notably John Sanborn, who had been with Ron Hubbard since the 1950’s. There were also a number of local Scottish kids, not Scientologists, who worked in the Shipping Department. Despite the often grueling schedule, the atmosphere seemed friendly and freewheeling.

    Kim and I shared a flat with a half dozen other staff members on Torphichen Street, at the western end of Princes Street. Kim, with his affinity for small, Hobbit-like spaces, set up his bedroom in the pantry. The mornings were bitterly cold, and he’s jump out of bed, turn all the stovetop gas jets on full, put on the coffee, and go back to bed. When the kitchen was nice and warm, and there was a full pot of coffee, he’d wake everyone in the flat, and we’d groggily wander in to the kitchen and wrap our hands around steaming mugs. Then we’d trek through the cold Edinburgh morning to get to work.

    We ate lunch and dinner in local restaurants, where we would take over a group of tables and laugh and talk. The locals were bemused by this crowd of "Americans."

    At night, after work, we’d gather in the kitchen back at Torphichen Street and talk. I befriended one of the Pubs staff, Graham, who was a Scot, a local. He would sometimes bring his Scottish friends over and we’d tell them about Scientology. Sometimes they were interested, sometimes they would just tell us it was a load of rubbish, and the conversation would rapidly degenerate into an argument.

    Once Graham took me on a traditional Edinburgh "pub crawl" along Rose Street, where the public houses were congregated. The idea was to have a pint at every pub from one end of Rose Street to the other – but we didn’t make it more than halfway.

    Me - at work designing Scientology promotion at Pubs Org

    But most of our time was spent at work. I had to rapidly learn all of the voluminous "HCO Policy Letters" written by Hubbard that dictated exactly how promotion was to be put together. Any promotion had to be approved by the "LRH Communicator" who acted as Hubbard’s representative in the Org. This was Rosemary Delderfield, and she was a stickler for the exact application of Hubbard’s policies. Her husband was a well-known Scientology executive, Ken Delderfield. He had been the "LRH Communicator World Wide" and was currently on the ship with Hubbard.

    I was excited about Scientology, and wanted to tell people about it in the promotion and literature. I wanted to explain Scientology. But Rosemary had me study a lot of Policy Letters to show me how Hubbard wanted it done. In one, called Dissemination, Hubbard said he didn’t want people explaining Scientology to new public, he just wanted them to "audit" them with the promotion and literature – put them "in session" by directing them to their own "ruins" – their failings or things they wanted to improve. He urged Scientologists to "penetrate, don’t explain."
    No one was to try to explain Scientology. They were, instead, just to tell people to get a book and read it. Then Hubbard himself would explain it to them.

    He called for the use of "hard sell." "Hard sell means insistence that people buy," he wrote. In promotion, he instructed,"You tell him that he is going to sign up right now and he is going to take it right now." According to Hubbard, the reason it's done this way is that, "...people are in a more or less hypnotic daze in their aberrated state, and they respond to direct commands in literature and ads."

    So this was the reason for the odd "ads" they were producing – big headlines that said literally, "Buy this Book!" or "Get Auditing" or "Get Training." These were "hard sell commands" and were a part of Hubbard’s system.

    The public, Hubbard felt, did not have the capacity to make up their own minds. In one Policy Letter called Handling the Public Individual, he said, "We have learned the hard way that an individual from the public must never be asked to DECIDE or CHOOSE." You just tell them that Scientology can handle their troubles and BUY this book or TAKE this course.

    This was all very new to me, and I tried to adjust my designs and writing to this new way of doing things. But still, I thought, wouldn’t it be good to actually explain to people what it was all about?

    In August, the Executive Director, David, went to the ship, which had been renamed the Apollo, for a briefing. When he returned, he could not tell us anything about it as it was "confidential" and had to do with the upper-level materials of OT III (Operating Thetan Level Three). All he could tell us is that we would soon have special pictures and symbols printed on the book covers that were drawn from the materials of OT III and would act subconsciously on the public, compelling them to pick up and buy the books. I was dying to find out more about this "upper level stuff" but David would not tell us any more. I would finally hear the "Marseilles Conference" ten years later, when I reached OT III myself.

    New staff continued to arrive, and many weren’t even Scientologists. The HCO Area Secretary, Al, liked to go out on the street, find some hippie with a backpack, and talk him into joining staff. One day he returned with a strange looking young man, with long black hair and a long beard, wearing a black overcoat and a black, flat-brimmed western hat. He looked like something out of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. His name was Foster, and, although I didn’t know it at the time, he and I would be close friends for the next 35 years.

    In October, Tina went on a six-week maternity leave, and I suddenly found myself taking over her position as the Preparations Secretary, the head of a division. I was completely overwhelmed.

    "I’m an artist," I complained to my senior, Judy. "I don’t know anything about being an executive!"

    "Don’t worry," she told me reassuringly. "You’ll do fine, and I’ll help you."

    Things went from bad to worse. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing, and finally pleaded with Judy to go back to my earlier post as a designer. That was what I knew how to do – that was what I had been hired for, I thought. Judy said she’d handle it. The next thing I knew there was a sheet of golden yellow paper on my desk – they called the color "goldenrod," saying that I was called before a Committtee of Evidence. This was my first introduction to the Scientology Justice System.

    "What is this?" I asked Judy. "It says here that I’m charged with crimes."

    "Don’t worry," she said. "It’s just a formality. I can’t remove you from post without a Comm Ev."

    Formality or not, I soon found myself doing "lower conditions," a series of steps Hubbard had prescribed for Scientologists who wander from the straight and narrow and don’t do their assigned duties.

    As the city of Edinburgh darkened into winter, the atmosphere in the Org also seemed to get darker and more serious by the day. In early November, Hubbard issued a directive from the Apollo laying out the parameters of the "war" we were fighting and the nature of the enemy. "We have located and are directly attacking the only enemy we had on this planet," he revealed, "the World Federation of Mental Health."

    Then one night, a ripple of panic went through the org.

    "Everyone – drop what you are doing and report to HCO NOW for a briefing! Move!"

    We rushed downstairs as fast as we could and crowded into HCO. I craned my head to see what was happening and saw a female Sea Org Officer, in full naval dress uniform, sitting at a desk at the front. She had probably once been pretty, but her face had filled out and she wore heavy makeup. When everyone was there, she began talking – or rather screaming, in a grating Cockney accent.

    "We’re in the middle of a war, and this organization has been slack, slack, slack," she screamed. "That’s ending right now. I have been sent by the Commodore to take over this organization and get it back on the rails." She had just been on a Sea Org Mission called "Mission International Books" where she had been getting staff all over the world to go out and force Hubbard’s books into local bookstores. That mission had only fallen down, she said, because Pubs had failed to deliver the needed books.

    The Ziffs, we were told, were being sent to the ship for "ethics handling." She was taking over Pubs Org as Commanding Officer. We were to address her as "Sir" and comply with her orders immediately and without hesitation.

    "Either you are one hundred percent with me or you are against me," she threatened, "and you will be dealt with accordingly." Then she told us that she would not tolerate a "hippie" atmosphere, and we had one hour to get our hair cut short and return to the org.

    We flew out of there and ran all the way to Torphichen Street, where Kim and I gave each other the worst haircuts we had ever had. Then we ran back to the org. This was my introduction to Warrant Officer Doreen Casey.

    From that point, things became more and more draconian by the day. Any "non-compliance" with her orders was treated harshly, with "condition assignments." If you were assigned a "Condition of Liability" it meant you had sabotaged the group’s efforts and were not to be trusted. Anyone in Liability had to wear a blue boiler suit and a dirty grey rag around their arm. They were assigned to menial tasks like scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush. Those who were assigned a "Condition of Enemy" – for "betraying the group" had to wear the boiler suit with a rusty length of chain around their wrist. And the worst offenders were assigned a "Condition of Treason." These were ushered into the elevator and taken to a small space at the bottom of the elevator shaft where they were imprisoned until they had come to their senses and completed Hubbard’s obscure "formula" for Treason – "find out that you are." To get "upgraded" from any of these conditions, you had to complete a series of steps that were laid out in Hubbard’s writings. The formula for Liability required that you petition each member of the group individually to be allowed to rejoin the group.

    Whenever we didn’t meet our targets or otherwise displeased Doreen, we were restricted to the premises and not allowed to go home. People would sleep on the stock shelves, on the floor, anywhere they could find a flat surface. Then after a couple of days of this, we’d be allowed to go home for one night and bathe. The Torphichen Street flat only had one bathtub, so we’d use it in shifts, each person waking up the next in line. Invariably, someone would fall asleep in the tub, and the rest in line would get no bath that night.

    We had heard stories of "overboarding" on the Apollo. Students and crew who didn’t perform their duties or toe the line were literally thrown off the side of the ship into the harbor. This was an early morning ritual aboard the ship where crew would be mustered on deck and the offending staff or students thrown over the rail.

    Doreen soon developed her own version of "overboarding." The offending staff would be taken to a small courtyard out the back of the building and put up against a brick wall. A "firing squad" of staff would be armed with buckets of water and the staff member would be drenched with five or six buckets of water. As this was in the winter in Scotland, it was not a mild punishment. Once I was part of the "firing squad" and as I watched the subject of the "overboarding," a young girl, shivering and crying afterwards, I felt a hot flush of guilt and shame at having been a part of what had been done to her.

    This wasn’t Scientology. Hubbard wrote about good communication and affinity and treating others with respect, and this Doreen Casey was not applying any of that. But I felt powerless to challenge her. My hatred for her grew, but I just waited for the day when she would leave, and we could return to what I thought of as a Scientology environment of communication and respect.

    One day, another Sea Org Officer arrived, a big, florid man named Bill Robertson, or "Captain Bill." No one knew what he was up to; it was "confidential." After a few days, suddenly all of the Scottish kids working in the Shipping Department were fired. Captain Bill gave us a briefing that all of these kids had been in the pay of the "World Federation of Mental Health," or "Smersh" as he called it (after the shadowy evil organization in the James Bond novels). They had been hired by a local "Psych" to come into the Pubs Org and sabotage the shipping lines.

    Just like in a James Bond novel. Right. The whole thing sounded weirdly implausible and paranoid to me, but we duly applauded Captain Bill for his heroics. That was my first encounter with the wild and wonderful world of Bill Robertson.

    To strike back at the "psychs," he sent us out one dark night on a "raid" of what we were told was the local headquarters of the WFMH. We rushed through the building, putting up lurid posters that Hubbard had sent from the ship, depicting psychiatrists as leering deaths-head skulls, terrorizing innocent citizens. It seemed to me more like a college prank. Captain Bill then left, having struck a crippling blow against the enemy!

    About this time, Tina returned with her baby. She had a basket for the baby which she set next to her desk. It was a girl, and she had named her Gwendolyn. I was entranced. I had never been that close to a baby, and loved the way she would hold my finger and stare into my eyes, as if we had known each other for years.

    The dynamics between Tina and I also shifted in a subtle way. No longer pregnant, Tina was fetchingly slim, and our playful banter took on a flirtatious edge. At Christmas, we had the day off, and Tina and I spent the day together, with other friends. And that night we spent our first night together.

    Limited as it was, our time together became a refuge from the increasing pressure and stress of working at Pubs Org. I soon moved into Tina’s flat, and before long I was changing diapers and helping to care for the baby. White spit-up stains appeared on the shoulders of my shirts and jackets. I was a "dad" for the first time, and I loved it. Tina and I spoke about getting married when time allowed.

    But once again our lives were to be interrupted. One day in early February, 1969, the cry of "muster!" was heard throughout the org. We rushed downstairs to the executive area. The CO, Doreen, had received orders from Flag – from the Apollo where Hubbard was. The British Home Office (under the influence of the psychs of course) had been conducting an inquiry into Scientology. It was thought that they would attempt to seize all of the book stocks as they had in Australia. So we had to get all of the book stocks out of the UK immediately. They were going to be sent to Denmark, where the government was supposedly friendlier to Scientology. And once the book stocks were transferred to Copenhagen, the rest of the org would follow. We were all going to Denmark.

    Shipping all of those books, which filled two floors of the building on floor-to-ceiling shelves, was a massive undertaking. All of the books - which were mostly in smaller boxes or just wrapped in paper – had to be packed into larger boxes, carried downstairs and loaded into huge shipping containers. Five of these huge containers were procured and were lined up along Thistle Street Lane.

    We began packing the books right away. I wasn’t used to hard physical labor, and was soon exhausted. After about six straight hours of hard labor, I could barely move. After another six hours, I could no longer feel my body or my aching muscles, and just kept on working like an automaton.

    We went on like that for five straight days without sleep, and with only minimal meal breaks. After all, the future of Scientology hung in the balance, and it was up to us to spirit the book stocks out of the country before the government had time to act. We thought of ourselves as self-sacrificing heroes, pulling off the impossible. "The supreme test of a thetan," Hubbard told us, "is his ability to make things go right." So we were "making things go right" in a major way.
    No one was allowed to go out to dinner, instead, one person would be assigned to go out to a local restaurant and get takeout. I recall being assigned as the dinner guy one night, and leaving Pubs with a pocketful of bills and a long list of who had ordered what and how much they had paid. On the way back from the restaurant, carrying a big stack of take-out boxes, the list blew out of my hand and went spinning down the snowy street. I panicked – that was the only record of all the orders! – so I set down the boxes and chased the list down the street. Luckily, I caught it within a few blocks – and no one stole the food!

    After five days, we could barely function. It was routine to find someone slumped over a box, asleep, or even fallen into a box. Once I fell asleep while carrying a box and only woke up when I reached the wall at the end of the hallway. Kim had cut his hand when he accidentally put his hand through a glass window, and was mercifully allowed to sleep. But the rest of us went on and on. I had the sensation that the world had been reduced to a small circle in front of me, like I was looking through the wrong end of a telescope. By concentrating on that little circle, I could make out enough details to function, just barely.

    Finally, it was done. We were allowed to get a night’s sleep, then came the job of packing up the rest of the org, all of the equipment, desks and files. These filled the sixth and final container. Ironically, in the middle of packing up the org, someone came across the back courtyard from the Scientology Org on Queen Street, HAPI Scotland. They weren’t supposed to know we were moving – it was "confidential." They needed a copy of Dianetics for their bookstore, and the Receptionist told them we were "out of stock" and sent them away. Amazingly, they believed that the International Publications Organization would be out of stock of its mainline book.

    With the entire org now in containers, heading for Denmark, it was time for us to go. Tina and I packed up everything we owned – which wasn’t much – bundled up Gwennie, now four months old, and got on a flight for Copenhagen, Denmark.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  4. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Four - Moving Up

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/05/chapter-four-moving-up.html

    Casablanca wasn’t anything like the Bogart/Bergman movie. It was crowded, noisy and dirty. White blocks of modern apartments jostled with ancient mosques and crumbling old buildings. Both cars and mule-drawn carts made their way through the narrow streets, past the colorful market stalls selling bright fabrics, fruit and ornate carpets.

    I was traveling with Lance Davis, another Pubs staff member, and Marcus Lanciai, who used to work at Pubs but was now staff at the Stockholm Org. When we took off from Copenhagen airport, we had no idea what our final destination would be – it was confidential. We had flown into Madrid, where we were greeted by an American, Geary Titus, who ran the Spanish offices of the "Operation and Transport Company," the cover name for the Sea Org Liaison Office in Madrid. It was all very cloak and dagger. Geary put us on a Moroccan prop plane that would take us across the Straits of Gibraltar for a stopover in Tangier, then on to Casablanca. And before we stepped on the plane, he gave us the instructions to reach our final destination – Safi, Morocco.

    So here we were, the colorful din and confusion of Casablanca all around us. We asked around for the bus to Safi – which had no airport – and were finally directed to a small, crowded bus. The seats were bare metal, and our fellow passengers included several chickens. Our luggage was thrown onto a rack on top, where a number of passengers had also clambered.

    The hundred-odd mile trek to Safi took hours, as we wound through hills and arid farmland. It seemed that we stopped at every little village, where some people would leap off the top of the bus and others would leap on, with various kinds of livestock in tow. If the bus had ever had shocks, they were long gone, and the metal seats pounded us mercilessly. There was a storm rolling in, and we could hear the roll of thunder and see the flash of lightning on the horizon.

    Finally, late in the afternoon, as the clouds were darkening, we rolled into Safi, a fishing town on the coast of Morocco. The town seemed to have no plan – a jumble of houses and buildings like sand-colored blocks spilled from a child’s toy box. Palm trees lined the main street, and we passed the ancient walls of an old fort. The bus stopped near the port, and, carrying our suitcases, we wound our way through the dockside fish market. Then, through a gap between two warehouses, I saw it, tied up to the dock, white and gleaming.

    The Apollo.

    It was February, 1971. Lance, Marcus and I had traveled to the ship to be part of the Flag Executive Briefing Course – a special training course for Scientology executives from all over the world. Tina was already aboard – she had come in January. Lance and I would complete the three-man executive team slated to take over the Publications Organization. Marcus was to head up the Stockholm Org.

    Why was I there? After all, I was an artist, a designer, not an executive. I guess you could say it was "dedication" or "taking responsibility," but for me, it was more of a stubborn, bull-headed determination to repair the damage caused to Pubs Org by Doreen Casey.

    After our move to Copenhagen in early 1969, Doreen had stayed for another six months, with conditions getting worse and worse. Pubs had moved into an old warehouse building down by the docks, on Toldbodgade, or "Toll-house Street." We occupied the entirety of the third floor, which was divided lengthwise by a wall. On the left side, we put all of the administrative offices, design, production and editorial offices. On the right hand side were the book stocks, the shipping area, tape copying and e-meter repair. The executive offices were at the front, facing the street.

    A search for cheap housing for the staff in Copenhagen had come up with nothing, given the short notice, so we ended up renting an old farmhouse on the north coast of Sjaelland, in the sleepy fishing village of Gilleleje. The commute was over fifty miles, so a large old van was procured to transport the staff to and from the farmhouse. Getting the van started on cold winter mornings was always an adventure – the guys would push the van down the road until it started, slipping and sliding on the icy highway.

    Tina and I got married soon after we arrived. We found the local Justice of the Peace and arranged a civil ceremony in a nearby farmhouse. Then we followed it with a Scientology wedding ceremony at the new Denmark Org. Ron Biggs was the minister, and Kim was my best man. Following the ceremony, we went back to the farmhouse and splurged on a big feast and party. Our "honeymoon" consisted of going in to the local town to see a movie.

    The wedding: Left to right: John Sanborn, Marcus Lanciai, Foster Tompkins, Marcus' girlfriend (whose name I forget), Sandra Johnson, Ron Biggs, Tina, me, brother Kimball, and Kim's girlfriend Cathy Buckner.

    Tina and I settled into a large room on the ground floor of the farmhouse, with a small crib for Gwennie. It was comfortable, and one advantage of the long commute was that we ended up with more private time. Sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday we would just stay out at the farm. One day Tina and I sat up in the barn loft and daydreamed about the future, a future where we would have a house and a more "normal" life.

    The drawback of living way out in the country was that we were not getting paid a lot, and sometimes would run out of food. There was one weekend when we were stuck out at the farmhouse, and there was literally nothing there to eat.

    "Wait a minute," I said to Kim, "This used to be a farm, right? There must be something to eat out there!" We started foraging in the gardens. The girls found some berries and collected a bunch of those. Kim and I found some potato plants, and digging them up we found tiny new potatoes, lots of them. We thin-sliced them and fried them in butter, and gorged ourselves on a feast of fried potatoes and berries.

    Doreen Casey, meanwhile, ensconced herself in the SAS Royal Hotel, the most expensive hotel in Copenhagen. After we had driven into town in our freezing bus and gotten set up for the day’s work, Doreen would come breezing in with her full-dress uniform, and begin screaming out the production demands for the day. She smoked expensive cigarettes, which of course none of us could afford, and it became a standing gag for someone to follow closely behind her or stand next to her and try to get a whiff. The rest of us would work hard to suppress a laugh.

    Doreen knew only one way to get things done, and that was by brute force and threats. Unfortunately this was also the tactic she used to get the Scientology organizations to buy books and pay their bills. Her telexes summoned the full power of her status as a Sea Org Missionaire and threatened dire consequences if the Orgs did not comply with her wishes. Once she had amassed money in this way, she had the gall to send out a telex informing the Orgs that Pubs Org was now in the Condition of Power, and the Organizations therefore had to "flow power to Pubs." One can only imagine how that went over.

    But she had no clue how to manage the finances. And Pubs went deeper and deeper into debt. Her only solution was to yell and scream louder. By the time she finally left, Pubs had gone from having a cash reserve of over $50,000 before she arrived to over $50,000 in debt - which was a lot of money in those days.

    Did Doreen return to the ship as a conquering hero, or did she return in disgrace? We never found out. But she left, and that was all that mattered. She was replaced with two executives sent from Worldwide – Richard Lacey, who became the ED, and Joan Schnehage, who became the HCO Executive Secretary. They were both South African, and ran the Org with a lackadaisical, laissez-faire attitude that was a direct contrast to Doreen Casey.

    Denmark was the focus of Sea Org attention that year. Following Pubs arrival, a Sea Org vessel, the Athena, arrived at Helsingor. This was to be the "Station Ship," establishing a Sea Org presence in Europe. In April, a Danish Advanced Organization was set up in Abellund, a village not far from where we lived in north Sjelland. It seemed like Denmark was to be a major location for Sea Org operations.

    About this time, Kim left – "blew" as they called it, even though he was not under any contract. He went back to Los Angeles. I wanted to go back too – I was tired of the stresses and privations of life at Pubs – and I wasn’t under any contract either. I had been assigned to a post I hated – in charge of getting Orgs to place books in their local bookstores. Marcus Lanciai had been doing this function, but he had returned to Sweden. Orgs had no clue how to place books in their local stores, and neither did I. I even went around to local Copenhagen bookshops and tried to get them to take Scientology books. They looked at me as if I was from Mars. Obviously that wasn’t the way to do it. But how was it done? This was something I would eventually solve twelve years later in LA.

    I was tired, worn out and frustrated. It seemed my friends were all leaving – Kim was gone, Marcus was in Stockholm, Foster had joined the Sea Org and gone to the Apollo. I wanted to go leave Europe, go back to the US, train as a Scientology auditor and meanwhile pursue a career in Commercial Art. Tina, however, was of a different mind. She was committed to Pubs and wanted to stay. Finally I sought out the advice of my senior at the time, Sandra Johnson. Sandra was also a good friend and I trusted her level-headed judgment. I vented my frustration - the poverty, the conditions, and most of all my frustration at not being able to pursue my creative goals.

    "Listen, we’ve all been frustrated," Sandra told me. "Things have been rough. But suppose we all left? What would happen to Pubs? What would happen to the supply of books to international Scientology."

    She talked to me in terms of the Scientology dynamics, the eight parts of life that Hubbard had enumerated: self, family, groups, mankind, all living things, the physical universe, spirits, and the Supreme Being. My personal goals were First Dynamic, concerned with self. What about the other dynamics? What about the group? What about the fate of mankind if Scientology didn’t make it?

    I felt chagrinned. Maybe I was just being selfish, thinking only of myself, of my own comfort and goals.

    "Sure you could pursue your own artistic goals," she pointed out. "But if Scientology fails, you’d be condemning generations of future artists to a life of enslavement where they couldn’t pursue any goals at all."

    There were two ways you could deal with any problem, she pointed out, echoing Hubbard’s teachings again. "You can be effect, or you can be cause. Sure you could run away, but why not become cause, and actually do something to change the conditions of Pubs Org?"

    She sold me. I told her I would stay and work to get Pubs back on its feet again.

    About this time, the post of Production Secretary became available, and I volunteered for the position. It would mean running a large division, but I felt I was up to it now. If I was going to start taking an active role in bringing Pubs Org around, I needed to start somewhere, and a Division head post would give me that chance.

    The Production Division included the areas of book production, editorial, tape copying, E-Meter manufacture and repair, and film production. It was a lot to learn about. I had a small staff, one person who ran the tape copying, a guy who took care of the E-Meters, a Shipping Officer and a few others. John Sanborn, the old timer who had been with Hubbard since 1950, was in charge of the Editorial area, and he and I became good friends. He would tell me hilarious stories about the early days with Ron.

    Tina, meanwhile, had been appointed to the Qualifications Secretary post, also head of a division. The Qual Division was in charge of the Scientology training and auditing of the staff, and also the quality of the products.

    But while the work got harder, and we were busier than ever, the state of the Org continued to decline, under the lackadaisical leadership of the two South Africans, Richard and Joan. Soon we could not even afford to live in the farmhouse any more, or run the van back and forth every day. No one was getting paid. So most of the staff just moved into the org, staking out an empty corner of the stock shelves to stash their meager possessions and sleep at night. We began calling it the "Dexion Hotel" after the brand name of the metal shelving. We bathed using the sinks in the communal bathrooms.

    Meals became grim. I recall one lunch where the "onion soup" was literally an onion boiled in a pot of water – for 20 people.

    At this point, another Sea Org Mission arrived to replace Richard and Joan – but this one was as different from Doreen’s mission as night and day. It consisted of Tony and Kima Dunleavy, an attractive, dynamic pair who could have been a poster couple for Sea Org recruitment. Tony was a well-known veteran Sea Org officer, an Aussie, with a trim black beard and rugged good looks. Kima was a knockout – a gorgeous brunette. Both of them exuded an air of quiet confidence and good humor. Tina and I became fast friends with them right away.
    They instituted some common-sense financial measures, and soon things started to turn around.

    We could afford to rent apartments again, and Tina and I went in with a number of other staff to rent a large house south of Copenhagen on the coast, at a place called Greve Strand. A bus line ran directly from the road in front of the house to the center of the city, so transportation was simple.

    My mother came to visit us when we lived there. At that time she was working for a company called International Schools, who placed teachers in English and American schools abroad. She was on a two-year assignment to Paris, and she loved living and working there. She spent about a week with us, and when Tina and I had to work, she happily took Gwennie on a tour of Copenhagen, seeing Tivoli Gardens and other sights.

    My mother with Gwennie

    Later that year, Tina and I managed to get a week off and took Gwennie on a train down to Paris, where we stayed with my mom, sleeping on a mattress in her living room, and touring the city with her during the day. For us, it was a dream vacation.

    Gwennie came with us into the org every day, and became the darling of Pubs. She had a little walker, and soon learned how to zoom around the org in it, visiting each staff member in turn. Everyone loved her and kept an eye out for her as she explored the org, took books off the bookshelves, and posed for the staff photographer. She took her first steps in the middle of a staff muster.

    Gwennie explores the org in her walker

    In late 1970, L. Ron Hubbard announced that there would be a new program on the Apollo to train Scientology Executives. This was his plan to boom Scientology internationally. Every Org was to select three candidates for this training – not necessarily the current execs, but bright up-and-coming staff who could be trained to be the new generation of Scientology executives. Hubbard would personally train them in some brand new administrative technology he had developed, and they would receive auditing on some new upper-level rundowns. This new program was the buzz of the Scientology world at the time.

    Tony and Kima decided that they would send Tina right away. She was to be trained to become the new Executive Director Pubs Org. She left for the ship in January 1971. Then they decided that myself and Lance Davis would be sent to round out the team of three. Kima would take care of Gwennie for the months we were gone. Arrangements were made for our trip – we would be traveling with the Executive Director candidate for Stockholm Org, my old friend Marcus Lanciai. On the day we were set to leave, Marcus arrived in the org and screamed across the org to me "We’re going to Flag!!" I ran over to him and we hugged and then jumped up and down like a couple of manic idiots. We were going to Flag!

    And that’s how I ended up on the dock in the Moroccan town of Safi, looking up at the glistening white bulk of the Apollo. As I stared up at the gangplank, a familiar gangly figure emerged, David Ziff, my old boss at Pubs Edinburgh. He was grinning from ear to ear. "Welcome aboard!" he shouted. He directed us onboard and to a lounge area where Tina was waiting.

    The first thing I had to do was an "Orientation Checklist" to get me familiar with the ship. The Apollo was a 3200 ton former cattle ship, used for troop transport during World War II. Huge "cattle doors" opened out from the ship at dock level, but were usually kept closed. The large superstructure amidships housed cabins, dining rooms, and offices, and was topped with two huge stacks, each with the letters "LRH" emblazoned on them in curly script.

    A "buddy" was assigned to me, and since by this time it was dark and the storm clouds were starting to drizzle rain, we took the tour at a dead run, up stairs and down stairs, across decks, inside and out. As we went, he would shout out things like "there’s the Bridge wing, and there’s the Bridge, and this is the Prom Deck, and those are lifeboats, and there’s the Commodore’s Research Room…"

    We ran past a lit porthole. The red curtain was ajar and with a shock I saw the red hair of a man that I had only seen in pictures and films, whose voice I had heard on countless taped lectures…

    "…and there’s the Commodore…" shouted my frantic guide.

    The students of the Flag Executive Briefing Course (FEBC) were treated like VIPs. We were, after all, the hope of Scientology’s future. Tina and I were assigned to an A Deck cabin. We ate in the main dining room, where the Sea Org officers and executives ate. The Captain of the Apollo, Norman Starkey, had a table to one side with his top officers. The general crew had dining facilities aft, in what was colloquially referred to as the "Doggie Diner." We got to know the other students, and they were literally from all over the world, from every org.

    I had hoped to see Foster, but found out he had been sent on a Sea Org Mission to establish a Publications Org in the US. There had been difficulties in getting enough books into the US from Europe, so a local Pubs operation would supply the US books. Foster would be running the US Pubs Org while Tina and I ran the EU Pubs – one of the strange ways that our lives would parallel each others during our long friendship.

    The schedule was tight. We would rise early every morning, grab a fast breakfast, and then descend to Lower Hold Two, which had been fitted out as a courseroom. I had heard that Hubbard himself would be giving the lectures, but it turned out that he had already given the planned series of lectures and there would be no more. But we had recordings of the lectures to listen to and study.

    Before we could start on the Flag Executive Briefing Course, we were required to do the Organization Executive Course, a comprehensive study of L. Ron Hubbard’s voluminous "Policy Letters." These were printed in green ink and were known as the "green on white" issues. These covered every aspect of the running of an organization, down to the most minute details. He laid out exactly how to invoice and bank money, how to manage finances and do financial planning, how to write promotion and lay out advertising, how to get new people into Scientology, how to keep Scientologists "moving up the Bridge" (taking more services). There were hundreds of these Policy Letters, all listed out in a "checksheet." There were also practical drills to do, taped lectures to listen to, and "clay demonstrations" to do (Hubbard’s method of demonstrating key concepts in clay to see that the student understood).

    The Apollo spent part of the time in port, and part of the time at sea, sailing up and down to Moroccan coast, north to Casablanca, then south to Agadir. It was exhilarating to be up on deck as the ship cut through the Atlantic swells. Sometimes dolphins would chase the ship, jumping out of the crest of one wave and into the next. I soon got my "sea legs" and felt no more seasickness. Being down in Lower Hold Two during a voyage was quite an experience – one moment you would be looking down at the person opposite you, then you’d be looking up at them as the ship rocked. My clay demonstration models kept falling over, so I got in the habit of making my little clay men with huge, flat feet.

    Bob Harvey, from LA, was sort of the class cutup. He was twinning with Tina and their laughter caused more than one reprimand from the Supervisor. Once he was making a clay demonstration of the "gradients of ethics" all the way from "commenting on an outness" to "expulsion from the Church." When he got to the final demo he made a model of the Ethics Officer with a huge cannon, and way across the room he made a model of the hapless victim, splattered against the bulkhead.

    We rarely saw "the Commodore," L. Ron Hubbard. Once when I was racing to get back to class, I had to run up to our room on A Deck to get something. The entrance to A Deck was right at the foot of the stairs leading up to Hubbard’s Research Room. As I burst in the door, running helter skelter, suddenly there was the Commodore, talking to a group of Aides. I screeched to a halt and stammered, "H-h-hello Sir!"

    I was surprised at how big he looked. He seemed to be over six feet tall, and everything about him was larger than life, his big barrel chest, his large round head. His face creased with a big wide smile. "Well, hello there!" he boomed, and laughed. His Aides stared at me – none of them were smiling. But I didn’t care. I rushed on, with a grin plastered on my own face. I had been addressed by the man himself!

    Tina and I became friends with our future senior, a lady named Robin Roos, who was part of the Commodore’s Staff. She was the Commodores Staff 2, in charge of all dissemination activities. The Pubs Orgs were under her. Occasionally the students were allowed to have some time off and see the local port, and on one such occasion Robin and her boyfriend, Ron Strauss, took Tina and me to a local seafood restaurant in Agadir where we had a lovely, long dinner.

    After the OEC, the Organization Executive Course, we graduated to the FEBC, the Flag Executive Briefing Course. We listened to Hubbard’s FEBC lectures and learned about the management "technology" he had devised, called the "Product Officer-Org Officer System." In a nutshell, the Product Officer just concentrated on getting people to produce. He just demanded production and got it done. He didn’t care about people’s limitations or "reasons why." He didn’t care if they were trained or not. He just single-mindedly demanded production. The "Organizing Officer" was the one who ran ahead of the Product Officer, seeing that people had training, supplies, and anything else needed to "get the product." It was also the Org Officer’s job to handle what Hubbard called HE&R – "Human Emotion and Reaction" – which he cited as the "primary barrier to production." In other words, people might get upset by being constantly hammered for products. The Org Officer would handle them, using Hubbard’s "Tone Scale" of emotions. The third member of the Executive Team was the HAS (later the Establishment Officer) who would put the org there with recruiting and "hatting" (job training). This was touted as the ne plus ultra of management technology, far in advance of anything the "wogs" had.

    At the same time as we were studying, we were also being audited by Class XII Auditors, the highest trained auditors in the world – all personally trained by Hubbard. My auditor was Otto Roos, an old-time Scientology executive from Holland. He had a reputation of being somewhat of a rough character, but he and I got along great. Hubbard had just developed some new rundowns, called the "L" rundowns, supposed to make a super-executive. We were the pilot guinea pigs for these new rundowns, and Hubbard was personally supervising our cases – the session folders would go to him every day.

    It was wild stuff – mostly running "overt acts" on the whole track, that is, transgressions we had committed in our past lives – hundreds, thousands, millions and even billions of years ago. So I was running a lot of "space opera" incidents – things that had happened on other planets and so on.

    There was something exhilarating about doing this. Once you get the idea that you have lived countless lifetimes before, that you have been all kinds of things from space pirates to emperors to soldiers, you start to see your current life as just a blip on the screen, and think of the game as much bigger than just one life, one planet.

    There was a story that was current on the Apollo when I was there. An Apollo crew member was on the bridge, and the Commodore pointed to him and said "You’re the navigator."

    "But Sir," the hapless crew member said, "I’ve never navigated before."

    Hubbard gave him a look. "The hell you haven’t," he said.

    That was the "Sea Org Attitude." There was nothing you hadn’t done, nothing you hadn’t already been, nothing you weren’t capable of. It was a powerful idea, very empowering. Soon I found myself filled with an electrifying confidence. Sure, I could be an executive. Why not? I had probably ruled planets before!

    One by one, the FEBC students began joining the Sea Organization. Then one day I was called into the office of the HAS Flag, a lady named Sue Pomeroy. She asked me just one question:

    "What are your plans for the next billion years?"

    I thought about all of the crazy incidents I was running with Otto, all of those strange Space Opera adventures.

    "Well, I guess I don’t really have any plans," I admitted.

    Moments later, I was signing my billion year contract. I was a member of the Sea Organization.
    Before long, every single student on board had joined the Sea Org. The sense of camaraderie and shared purpose intensified. We were an elite cadre of Sea Org executives destined to go out and Save the Planet.

    Finally, Tina, Lance and I had all completed our courses and our L Rundowns and we were prepared to "fire back" to Pubs. As we were Sea Org members, we were to be sent back as a Sea Org Mission.

    I had assumed from the beginning that Tina was to be the Executive Director. She was sent off first to the ship with that stated purpose, and she had more executive experience than I had.
    We went into "Mission Briefing" and the Briefing Officer, Maria Starkey – who was Captain Starkey’s wife – handed us our Mission Orders. The top line read:

    "Jeff Hawkins – Commanding Officer Pubs Denmark"

    "I’m going to be the Commanding Officer?" I gulped, experiencing a sudden dizzy feeling of vertigo.

    Maria gave me a sharp look. "Do you have a problem with that?"

    I recovered quickly. "No, uh, we had always called it Executive Director. But I get it - as we’re Sea Org, it’s Commanding Officer."

    She stared at me for just a beat longer, then looked back at her papers and continued the briefing. I could feel my heart pounding.

    I was going to be the Sea Org Commanding Officer of Pubs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  5. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Five - Crash and Burn

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/05/chapter-four-crash-and-burn.html

    A single work light hung on the railing above us, illuminating the side of the ship and the misting rain that was falling around us. But it didn’t seem to penetrate the cold, black water of Copenhagen’s harbor, swirling underneath our small boat. We were pitching up and down alarmingly, making it difficult for me to get a purchase on the side of the hull with the power wirebrush. Every time I tried to press the sander to the hull, the boat would slide away backwards.

    Marcus and I had a simple task to complete. All we had to do was sand one side of the Athena’s hull, getting rid of any rust spots, and then paint the hull, first with the rust-preventing primer, then with white paint. Our deadline, or "time machine" in Sea Org parlance, was to have it done by dawn. Captain Bill was holding a special training exercise for all Sea Org staff from the AO, and the ship had to be ready. It was about two in the morning, and we had to hustle.

    "This is getting nowhere," I told Marcus. I sat down on the gunwale of the small boat, my back to the Athena’s hull. "Here, hold on to my legs."

    With Marcus holding my legs, I bent backwards over the gunwale, with the wirebrush over my head. Coming at the hull from underneath, I could just keep enough pressure on the side of the ship. I worked away at the rust doggedly.

    It was summer, 1972. Marcus and I had been on the Athena’s Deck Project Force for about six weeks. I had spent a little over a year as Commanding Office of Pubs Denmark, and it had been a disaster, a nightmare of stress and pressure. I was glad to have the break, working at mindless tasks as a part of the Athena’s deck force.

    There was no Rehabilitation Project Force in 1972, only a Deck Project Force. Here, "failed executives" like me and Marcus would mingle with new Sea Org recruits, all of us working together and studying Scientology in the evenings in a course room below decks.

    Ironically, thirty-two years later, in 2004, when I was being proposed to be Books Executive International at the Int Base, a review would be done of my record as an executive, and I would be told that my stint as Commanding Officer Pubs was considered to be a success. I would express disbelief, as I remembered it as a complete nightmare. Not so, they would inform me. I had handled the debts incurred by Doreen Casey, and had amassed decent financial reserves for the Org. I had stabilized the place, and had increased the income slowly and steadily.

    Well, that may have been, but "slowly" and "steadily" were not terms that were to be applied to Flag Executive Briefing Course graduates. We were the whiz kids, the wunderkind. When we arrived on the scene, statistics were supposed to rocket up vertically and keep climbing to astronomical new levels. Anything less than that was just not acceptable. Our heroes, our role models, were people like Alex Sibirsky, Kerry Gleeson and Bill Franks. Sibirsky in fact had spoken to the FEBC students while I was there. They had "boomed Boston Org" and were heroes. Stories abounded about their "take-no-prisoners" attitude – demanding production at any cost, keeping staff up day and night to meet targets, locking public into rooms until they wrote a check for their next service. Being "unreasonable" was considered a compliment – it meant you didn’t buy into any "reasons" for non-production. Executives who listened to staff "excuses" or cut them any slack were condemned as "worker-oriented" – a crime in Hubbard’s playbook.

    When Tina, Lance and I arrived back in the Org in June, 1971, I thought maybe I could be that kind of tough, unreasonable executive. After all, we were trained in the latest Hubbard technology and audited on the confidential "L" Rundowns. We had been transformed into super-executives. We could rocket the stats just by force of will, by running roughshod over anyone who got in our way.

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t wired that way. I’ve never been good at dominating people, or threatening them, or intimidating them. In the zeitgeist of the time, where such behavior was considered a strength, I began to think of my own inability to behave that way as a weakness. Maybe I wasn’t really strong or ruthless enough to be an exec.

    When we first hit the org I tried to play the part. But all it took was a lifted eyebrow or a slight smile from Tina, and I would feel like a pompous fool. That wasn’t my style, that wasn’t me. I decided I would just be myself and run the org in my own way, and if that wasn’t good enough – well, I would have given it my best shot.

    When we arrived, there were still some staff living in the "Dexion Hotel." We made sure they were getting enough pay and found them apartments to live in. Tina was great on finance lines, and put in some sensible financial policies that she administered with an iron fist. We sent two staff off on a recruitment tour to get more people on staff, and set about training the ones we had. We got the Address list cleaned up and put in order, then started sending out some sensible promotional mailings. It was nothing heroic; all just basic measures that we knew would improve the scene.

    Me and Tina - happier days

    But these were all measures that would take time to bear fruit. It was like helming a large ship – you give the rudder a few degrees, and then you wait and wait, and nothing seems to happen. Gradually the ship responds. And I knew the org would respond. But we were being watched. We had to report our "stats" every week, and the expectation was that the stats would begin rocketing up the minute we arrived. When that didn’t happen – and weeks went by without that dramatic stat miracle - the telexes became more and more demanding. My seniors had no qualms about being "unreasonable" with me.

    And it seemed I had two seniors. The Sea Org had established a European Liaison Office in Copenhagen, headed up by Bill Robertson and his wife, Joan. "Captain Bill" as he was always referred to, was already famous in Scientology. He was known as Hubbard’s go-to guy whenever there was a challenging Sea Org Mission or an Org that needed a strong Commanding Officer. His mission as CO EULO was to expand Scientology into all of Europe.

    Bill and I never quite meshed. We were, in many ways, polar opposites. He was a big, blustery man with close-cropped hair and a military bearing, while I was thin and long-haired. He got things done by force of personality – and he had plenty of both force and personality. Where I tended to be quiet and unassuming, he dominated the environment with his size and booming laugh.

    "Captain Bill" Robertson

    And yet, there was something about that laugh, that almost fanatically intense persona, that had an edge of madness in it. He loved to talk about Marcab, the Galactic Confederation, and all the rest of Scientology’s "whole track" mythos. Many years later, of course, he would split off from the Church of Scientology and form his own "Ron’s Orgs," heavily based on his own "whole track" visions. But that was in the future. Now he was the golden boy, and if he was mad, it was a very acceptable kind of madness in the world of Scientology, and staff hung on his every word.

    He loved to tell a story about the early days of the Sea Org, when Ron himself had been teaching them celestial navigation one night on the deck of the Avon River (later to be the Athena). After the lesson, he paused, staring out at the stars, his eyes narrowing as if he could see far beyond this small planet.

    "This is not the first time we have been together," he intoned.

    Bill ate that sort of thing up, and so did his staff. It wasn’t just a job; it was a whole track, intergalactic adventure.

    As Pubs was in Copenhagen, Bill considered that we were under him. But I had been briefed by CS-2, before leaving the Apollo, that we were under her, not under EULO – as we were international. This led to rather strained relations between me and Captain Bill right from the start. Whenever he came over for an "executive inspection," which was once a week or so, we edged around each other in a polite dance. He would "make suggestions" as to things that he thought should be done and I would tell him what a good idea it was and that I would take it up with CS-2 right away. As a man used to direct action – and used to being obeyed – I am sure my attitude frustrated and annoyed him.

    About this time I got to know another well-known Sea Org Officer, Ken Delderfield, or "Deld" as he was commonly called. He had been fired on a mission to Europe to "make Policy broadly available." Policy, in this case, referred to Hubbard’s issues, printed in green ink, laying out all of his administrative and management "technology."

    Ken, I was to learn, was a maverick, and the closest thing to an entrepreneur in the otherwise top-down, heavily authoritarian Sea Org structure. He did things his own way. He was supposed to make Policy available, so he devised a scheme whereby he would publish them in hard cover books. This would require a whole editorial, typesetting and publishing operation, so he set about establishing one. He recruited a number of staff, including his wife Rosemary, who had been the LRH Communicator Pubs. To fund this unit, he actually went around selling staff members the future books. Those who "got in on the ground floor," as he put it, would get them at a fraction of the final price. I bought a set of the volumes, as did a lot of other staff, and with these funds, he purchased IBM typesetting equipment – the kind where you had to hand-code the formatting as you typed. He set up his whole operation in the back of Pubs. He kept "The Commodore" briefed on what he was doing, and the "Old Man" was pleased as punch.

    Tina and I continued our struggle to get the stats up. We were making some progress, but it was slow. There was no sudden vertical boom. One day I came into our Exec Offices and saw Tina reading the Flag "Orders of the Day." Since we were Sea Org Members on "Garrison Mission," the ship would send us the OODs, as they were called, which gave us an idea what was going on at Flag. We had to keep them confidential. All of a sudden Tina turned white and said, "Oh, my god."

    "What is it?" I asked.

    She showed me the item, something Hubbard had written in his "Command" section of the OODs:

    "I saw that Action Bureau was about to send a mission to Pubs Denmark," he wrote, "however when I checked their stats, they were up. It’s important to always check the stats before firing a mission."

    I went cold – and raced to check the stats. They were, thankfully, still up. But I realized what a razor’s edge we were living on – any serious dip in stats and we could find a Sea Org Mission on our doorstep. We were on a very short leash. Life became a week-to-week nightmare. Our stats – as with every Scientology Organization – were calculated every Thursday at 2pm. That was the "cutoff." The stats had to be up by then, so on Wednesday nights, we were often there late.

    But outside of Wednesday nights, we didn’t work the crew around the clock. We made sure they went home and got sleep, and that they had time for their training. One day, after a very good week, Tina and I let the crew have a day off. We decided to see if we could run the whole org by ourselves, just the two of us. We had a ball, starting out in the morning invoicing the orders, packing them up and getting them shipped.

    The Sea Org station ship Athena had moved from Helsingør and was now docked in Copenhagen harbor. As Sea Org Members, Tina and I were sometimes invited to go on weekend cruises on the Athena, where we would do drilling with other Sea Org Members from the Advanced Org.
    The AO had also moved into town, so that it could be centrally located for public coming in by air or train. They were now both and Advanced Org (delivering the OT Levels) and a Saint Hill Org (delivering the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course). They were called Advanced Organization Saint Hill Europe – or AOSHEU for short - and had taken over the upper floors of a building on Jernbanegade, just off Town Hall Square and close to Copenhagen’s famous "Walking Street." When the second floor of that same building became available, we jumped at the chance to move Pubs out of its dockside warehouse and into the center of the city, close to the AO and the Athena.

    Tina and I inspected our future premises, and they were a mess. The place had been a night club, and the walls were painted black, with graffiti-like squiggles in neon colors painted on them. Strange backdrops and props littered the space, looking like a bizarre circus from a drug nightmare.

    We set about cleaning out the place over a weekend, leaving a skeleton crew to man the org delivery lines. We brought in two large roll-offs and stationed them in the building’s central courtyard. Then we just started tearing out all the weird furniture and backdrops, breaking them up and tossing them into the roll-offs. Then when the entire place was emptied out, we painted the walls white and laid down grey carpeting throughout the space. On Monday, the landlord arrived and we showed him what we had done – he was impressed, and we had a friend and ally. We then moved all of the book stocks, desks and equipment over, and got set up for business in our new home. Deld staked out a section in the back for his Policy book operation, and we set up our exec offices in the front, near the key dissemination and sales areas.

    And that is where our attention was increasingly focused. The stats were slowly, slowly rising, but it wasn’t enough. We needed to create a boom. We needed to make more money, sell more books. My attention became increasingly riveted on the sales staff who were making daily calls to the orgs to get them to buy more books. I was always trying to figure out how to sell more books. I remember walking over to EULO, head down, not even seeing the city around me, just thinking and worrying and figuring about how could I sell more before Thursday at 2pm. Day by day I got more depressed, more desperate. My "ethics handlings" at EULO didn’t seem to provide an answer; they just increased the pressure, the desperation. Tina was feeling the pressure too, and more and more we were bringing our work and our worries home with us, spending out private time together talking about the org. The stress was taking its toll on our marriage.

    Finally a Flag Mission arrived. The senior Missionaire was Tina’s brother Fred, an old-time Sea Org Officer. The other Missionaire was Sandy Stevens, an attractive young woman who was also an auditor. They tried to rally Tina and me and get us to take some strong actions to get the org going, but we were, by then, burned out. Both of us confessed privately to the Missionaires that we no longer wanted our posts.

    The next morning, we dragged ourselves into the org to find a muster already in progress. Ken Delderfield was at the front, addressing the crew as the new Commanding Officer. We were hustled out of the org by the Missionaires and over to the Athena, where we were assigned to the Deck Project Force.

    My friend Marcus Lanciai was already there, busted off of CO Stockholm. We had gone to the ship together, trained together, and now here we were, busted together. But after the constant nail-biting pressure of Pubs, being on the Athena was great. It was summer, we were working out in the sun, sanding, caulking decks, painting and varnishing. At that time, there was no RPF, it had not been invented yet. There was just the Deck Project Force, and we were all there together, failed execs and raw new recruits. It got a bit surreal at times – I was still signatory on the Pubs accounts, so once a week, I’d hear the click-click-click of heels across the deck as some Treasury staff member brought me the checks to sign, and I’d sit there on the deck, asking questions and signing checks. I’m sure the new recruits were wondering why a deckhand was signing checks!

    I got tan and grew a beard. I learned how to operate the steam winch, and loaded and unloaded cargo and stores. On weekends, we took the ship out for cruises up the coast, and I learned how to helm the ship. Once on a warm summer day we dropped the anchor somewhere in the North Sea and dived overboard for a swim. The water was icy cold.

    I enjoyed the present, and tried not to think about the future. I didn’t want to be an exec; I felt shame at having failed as an FEBC graduate. It seemed like I had betrayed the Org, my fellow FEBC students, and the Commodore.

    Another casualty was my marriage to Tina. The mutual stress had taken its toll, and Tina wanted a divorce. I was in no mood to fight it.

    I was informed that I would be posted as the Flag Banking Officer of AOSH EU. They had me studying finance Policy Letters. I had no idea who had decided this, but it seemed insane. I was an artist, a designer, and here they wanted to put me in Finance? It sounded like pure torture to me, crunching numbers all day.

    Deld came to the rescue. He negotiated with EULO and convinced them to return me to Pubs Org, where he put be back on my old post of Production Secretary.

    "I couldn’t see wasting your talents in Finance," he told me with a wink.

    I moved into a dormitory in the staff house, which was about 20 minutes walk from the org, on Sankt Knuds Vej. Although we were divorced, Tina and I remained friends, and I would still see Gwennie every day. I would walk home for dinner, and when I got about half a block from the staff house, I would see Gwennie running out to meet me and give me a big hug. It was the high point of my day.

    I immersed myself in my work. As Production Secretary, I ran a print shop which produced course packs and booklets. I had a printer, Tony, and a Dutch guy, Dirk, who did binding, but I learned all the machinery myself so I could do anything needed. The tape copying area was also under me, run by a tall Englishman named John Waterworth, and I was also over the Shipping Department, which was handled by a Scot, Neil Lumsden.

    I handled Printer Liaison myself – "held from above" as they termed it. I liked that part of my job, because it allowed me to get out of the Org. I would go see printers all over town, traveling by bicycle. There was a freedom about cruising through the streets, the wind blowing in my hair, breathing the crisp, cold air.

    One of my suppliers was Anderson Printing. Mrs. Anderson, an older Danish lady, had taken over the business when her husband died, and was having a terrible time trying to keep it afloat – she didn’t know the first thing about business. That became obvious the first time she submitted a quote to me – it was way too low. I sat with her and reworked the quote, showing her how to do it. She told me years later that if it hadn’t been for my patience with her, the business probably would have folded. She returned the favor –when I’d fall asleep in one of her chairs after a series of "all-nighters," she’d just let me sleep, and I’d find a hot cup of Danish coffee sitting there when I woke up.

    One of my main printers was Mr. Permild. He had a very large shop and I did most of the book printing with him. He liked me to come over on Sunday and we’d sit around in his empty shop over Tuborg beer and pastry and plan out the next week’s printing.

    The Translations Unit moved from Tangier in late 1972 and became a part of Pubs, so that function fell under me as well. It was headed up by a young Swedish woman, Anna. We had an on-and-off secret affair over the next few years – she shared a room with another woman and whenever the other woman was gone, I’d visit Anna. In those days, affairs between unmarried staff weren’t punishable by RPF assignment, as they later became. They were tolerated if you weren’t too obvious about it – other staff tended to wink at it.

    But I was really adrift, just carrying on, day after day. The work was challenging, I was learning a lot about printing and production, but personally I was just drifting, marking time. Where did I go from here? What did I want to do with my life? I didn’t want to stay in Europe forever, and I didn’t want to just dead-end in a mid-level job at Pubs. The winters were long, cold and brutal, with snowdrifts piling up on the streets and the icy wind blowing into the city from across the Sound. In midwinter, you never saw the sun – it was dark around the clock. The summers were brief and warm, and in June the sun never set – you could go out at 3 in the morning (as I often ended up doing), and the deserted streets were bright as day. The Danes enjoyed their summers with a frantic abandon, and the parks and beaches were crammed with sunbathers – the women going topless. But before long, the cold winds were blowing again, and we were in for another long, grey winter.

    We continued to hear about the terrific expansion in Europe. Captain Bill was sending missions out all over Europe and establishing new organizations. These were the heady, gonzo days of "anything goes" to get the stats up. "Postulate checks" became the rage, where a registrar would get a public to write a check for their services with no money to cover the check – based on the "postulate" that they would have the money in place before the check cleared. Of course, the checks bounced, but that was someone else’s problem – the executive or Registrar had already reported the "up stats" and was already a hero.

    It was in this atmosphere, in early 1974, that two Missionaires arrived from Flag, with orders to boom Pubs by selling books to the rapidly expanding orgs in Europe. Frankie Freedman, the head Missionaire, was a real wheeler-dealer type, and his Second, Bruce Wilson, also seemed to be a fast-talker. They got onto the phones, and soon we were hearing about "big book deals" that were in the works, like 20,000 books or more. As Production Secretary, I was given a "heavy traffic warning" to gear up for massive book production that would have to be pulled off in record time.

    I notified my printers to get ready for some large orders. They told me that paper was going to be the main problem as it could take weeks to get that much paper in. I was panicked – that kind of delay would not be tolerated. I told them to go ahead and get the needed paper in now.
    The orders started to come in – 40,000 copies of The Fundamentals of Thought in German, 20,000 copies of Evolution of a Science in French and so on. I started the presses rolling. The org was in a state of frenzied excitement. I was up day and night getting the books printed and stacked on the shelves ready for the massive orders that were on their way.

    And then, just as soon as it started, it was over. Frankie Freedman disappeared, back to Flag for "ethics handling." No money was coming through. The "big book deals" were mostly hot air. I was left with several tons of paper on the floor of various printers – none of it covered by purchase order. In other words, I was personally liable for it. So for the next few weeks, I became a paper salesman, getting rid of all "my" paper!

    Bruce Wilson stayed. He ended up marrying Tina and he and I became good friends.

    With the completion of his Policy books, now called the Organization Executive Course (OEC) Volumes, Deld had gone back to Flag, and a new Commanding Officer arrived from the ship, an old friend from the Edinburgh days, Judy Ziff. She was now divorced from David and was calling herself Judy Graham. She was a practical, no-nonsense leader who genuinely cared for the staff and the org.

    With the printing I’d done for the "big book deals," we were now heavily overstocked on translated books. Judy decided to put me on as Dissem Sec, to put some steam behind our promotional and sales actions. I began producing a volume of promotion. I was a one-man band, acting as designer, copywriter, photographer, illustrator, platemaker and printer. I even supervised the Wednesday night stuffing parties to get the mail out every Thursday before the 2:00 pm "stat deadline."

    I befriended a Dutch guy, Stefan, who was a photographer. I was training him up to be the Editor of the Auditor Magazine, which was also under me. On one of our days off, he and I traveled out to the country, Stefan with his camera and me with a sketch pad. We found an old farmhouse and he photographed it from many angles while I sat and did a sketch of it. Later that day I did a painting from my sketches. When I brought the painting in to the org the next day, Judy loved it and bought it from me straight away.

    I still had no girlfriend. The affair with Anna was long over. A brief, torrid affair with a fetching Scottish girl, Helen, had ended badly the previous year. Stefan and I decided to remedy our mutual problem of lack of girlfriends, and went to a party for area staff hosted by the Advanced Org. There I met a Danish girl named Elin. She worked for the Guardians Office Europe. We hit it off right away, and I ended up spending the night at her apartment. A few days later, I moved out of the staff dormitory and into her flat. In those days you could still do things like that in the Sea Org.

    It was an interesting relationship – neither of us could pronounce the other’s name. I called her "Ellen" (she insisted it was pronounced "ay-leen"), and she called me "Yeff." Sometimes at night I would stop by the GO offices to pick her up, and I started talking to the Deputy Guardian Europe, Alan Juvonen, about possibly joining the Guardians Office. The fact was, I was bored stiff at Pubs. I wanted to do something different, go somewhere else, maybe even back to the US. Maybe the GO was my ticket out.

    But that was not to be. One day in mid-1975, Judy called me into her office.

    "Look at this," she said, handing me a copy of the Flag Orders of the Day and pointing to the "Command" section.

    I read the entry. Hubbard talked about forming up a dissemination unit on the ship, and, at the end, specifically said to "get Hawkins from Pubs Denmark." I felt a thrill run through my body. The Old Man had called for me personally. This was the ticket out I’d been waiting for.

    "Obviously, it will take some time to replace you," Judy said. I could hear the hesitation in her voice. She wanted to stall for time, try to keep me there.

    "I don’t think so," I said quickly, and named a possible replacement. "I can have him trained in a week." Judy grudgingly agreed to my plan.

    It was hard telling Elin, but she understood. One didn’t ignore a personal summons from LRH. I suggested she come to the ship too, but I could see that wasn’t what she wanted to do. She was Danish, and this was her home.

    A week later, I was at EULO, being briefed on my journey to the ship’s confidential location.

    "Will we be going through Madrid?" I asked.

    "No," said the officer. "You’ll be going via New York."

    The ship had moved – across the Atlantic.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  6. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Six - Back to Flag

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/05/chapter-six-back-to-flag.html

    "Dissem Bureau crew – we’re to report to the Research Room right away for a conference with the Commodore?"

    It was the voice of Jim Vannier, the Flag Dissem Aide and my new senior. I stood up from my tiny desk, jammed up against the bulkhead. A conference with the Commodore? Was this what life aboard the Apollo was to be like? Regular meetings with the Old Man himself?

    I joined the rest of the Dissem Bureau staff – about ten of us – as we rapidly made our way along the Tweendecks area towards the stairway. Jim sent someone running down to the get the guys who were working at the small printing machine in the hold. We ran up the stairs and congregated on A deck at the foot of the stairs leading up to the Commodore’s inner sanctum.

    "Is everyone here?" one of the Commodore’s Messengers yelled down from the top of the stairs. Like all of the Messengers, she was a blonde teenager, provocatively dressed in white stack heels, white shorts, and a white shirt tied in front – exposing an expanse of midriff. Wherever they went, male eyes followed them – but they were strictly off-limits.
    "We’re just waiting for the printers," Jim replied. Just then the door to A deck burst open, and the came tumbling in. One was my friend Steve Boyd, whom I’d worked with at Pubs. The other was a young kid, who brought with him the strong, rank stench of body odor. With the ship docked in Curacao – right on the equator – and no air conditioning, the lower holds were like ovens. We all looked at each other in a panic – he couldn’t go into the Research Room smelling like that! But it was too late. The Messenger was impatiently motioning us to get up the stairs now.

    We entered the Research Room. The Commodore was behind his desk, situated to the right as you came in. Between the desk and the door a dozen chairs had been hastily set up. The room was rich with a sort of maritime opulence – polished brass and varnished wood. At the left was a carved wood fireplace with a mirror mounted above it. On the mantel was a detailed replica of the Cutty Sark.

    Given his famous sensitivity to smells, he was gracious about the odor that had just entered his space.

    Leave the door open," he instructed a Messenger.
    We all sat down, and I got my first closeup look at L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of Scientology and Commodore of the Sea Organization. He seemed heavier than he had when I’d last seen him, in 1971. His reddish hair was starting to grey, and was thinning on top. My attention was riveted on a large fatty tumor on the top of his head, only partially obscured by the thinning hairs combed over it. What is that? I found myself thinking. I found myself wondering, absurdly, if that was some manifestation of his "OT powers." There had recently been a series of Advance magazines – the magazine of the Advanced Organizations – that had talked about a new Hubbard book, Hymn of Asia, where he claimed to be Metteya, the reincarnation of Gautama Buddha. The articles had created a sensation in Denmark. The luridly colored pictures on the cover showed "LRH as Buddha," dressed in Indian robes, with a curious knot of red hair on the top of his head. The pictures of Buddha in the same issue showed him with the same sort of knot. Was this curious tumescence a part of the whole Metteya thing, I wondered?

    Hubbard looked down at the papers scattered about his desk. He was wearing an open-necked white shirt with a light blue ascot. When we were settled, he looked up and surveyed the motley crew seated in front of him.

    "I didn’t want you to think I was mad at you," he began, flashing us one of his trademark fleshy grins. "I know things have been a bit rough, but I thought it was time I gave you a bit of a briefing, to let you know where we’re headed."

    He was, he informed us, no stranger to the graphic arts. He entertained us with a long story about his college days at George Washington University, and how he used to get the student newspaper together, back in the days of hot metal type, galley proofs and letterpress. No question about it, the man knew how to tell a story, and how to hold an audience. He relayed his experiences with the printing world, producing books at Manneys, a printer in Kansas, his introduction to photolitho printing and so on. We listened with rapt attention, convinced by the time he was halfway through his talk, that we were talking to a man well-versed in the world of promotion and printing.

    We were already familiar with his many writings on the subject of art. As a pulp writer in the 1930s and 40s, an amateur photographer, a sometime poet, and a philosopher, he considered himself qualified to pronounce upon the true nature of art. In 1960, he had grandly issued his definition of art: "the quality of communication." He had followed this with a series of writings on what made art good or bad. He had also been issuing us a series of instructions on the exact steps to get a piece of promotion from the "idea" stage through to a printed product – what he called the "Assembly Line" for promotion. That was what we were supposed to operate on - to the letter.

    He also had another project going. He had established a Photo Shoot Org, a group of staff who would help him shoot a series of photographs for Scientology promotion. They would go out and find a location on whatever island we happened to be visiting, and set up hastily assembled backdrops and props, according to "photo shoot scripts" they had been issued by Hubbard. Every day, Hubbard would show up, dressed in his khaki safari outfit – he loved costumes – and direct a series of photographs. These, he explained, were to be converted to photo brochures, which got across the entire message with photographs and brief captions.

    "The world is becoming more and more illiterate in this TV age," he told us. Drugs and modern education – all part of the "psych" plan to destroy the world – had made people unable to read. These brochures would bypass that, with pictures. And we would design them.

    "What I am trying to do," he summarized, "is, through the quality of communication alone, expand Scientology by ten, twenty, thirty times. That’s why you’re here."
    We had our marching orders.

    I had arrived in Curacao six weeks earlier, in June. Looking at the activity onboard from dockside, I had been struck by the difference between the Apollo as it had been in 1971 and the way it was now. Then it had seemed snap and pop, with the crew uniformed and serious. Now it looked like a bohemian colony. The forward well deck was stacked with theatrical sets and props. On the aft well deck, a group of colorfully costumed dancers was practicing a routine, while thumping rock music emanated from a group of musicians. The crew were long-haired and casually dressed – I could see men in Bermuda shorts and T-shirts, women in bikini tops and shorts. I suddenly felt over-dressed and over-serious.

    I was assigned berthing in the aft men’s dormitory, which was crowded with bunks and insufferably hot. Many of the crew, I discovered, simply slept on deck where they could at least have a bit of a breeze. I eventually got used to the place – even routinely pulling back the covers before retiring and sweeping the cockroaches off the bed. We had our meals in the aft dining room, colorfully named the "Doggie Diner."

    On arrival, I had been assigned to a new unit called the "Literature Unit," which consisted of me and Ken Delderfield. Our task was to create literature for Scientology, like brochures and fliers. That assignment lasted about a week, then we were both reassigned to the newly forming Dissemination Bureau, under Dissem Aide Jim Vannier.

    David Ziff was already part of the unit. He was the Editor of Advance Magazine – the "OT" magazine of Scientology which contained articles about "Man's Spiritual History" as well as "OT Phenomenon" success stories, where OTs wrote about having "remote vision" and other "OT Powers." David’s new wife Mary, a wiry, spunky little Aussie, did the typesetting. Carol Titus did the "Rough Layout," which meant planning out the layouts. Annie McGinley did the layouts, and Deld was assigned as Printer Liaison. And there were two "LRH Artists" who did the paintings and illustrations – a Frenchman, Andre Clavel, and LRH’s son, Arthur Hubbard. Steve Boyd, whom I’d known from Pubs, handled the internal printing.

    We never had another conference with Hubbard, but his Commodore’s Messengers were frequent visitors. They either relayed his instructions verbally, or presented large colored cards upon which the Old Man had written his orders or comments in his unmistakable handwriting. As I was doing the designing, I would sometimes get five or six message runs a day as the details of a piece were hammered out. And I even had message runs at night. The Messengers were instructed to wake a person by gently putting a hand on their chest, so they wouldn’t suddenly sit up and bang their head on the bunk above. I would feel this little hand stealing over my chest, then a voice in my ear:

    "The Commodore wants to know…"

    You had to come out of a dead sleep and up to speed in a matter of seconds.

    Once I got to go on a photo shoot, when we were in Jamaica. The crew had staked out an area of land and had set up about ten or twelve "scenes" with crude backdrops and improvised furniture and props. Here was one meant to represent a doctors office, and, next to it, someone’s home. Of course they looked nothing like what they were supposed to – when you had just a few hours to create and set up ten scenes, it was pretty slap-dash.

    The costumes were equally make-do. They had racks of old clothes, and it was a matter of finding something that was appropriate for the character and that more or less fit. I was cast as a radio announcer, so was put in a slightly oversized suit. It was agonizingly hot, and I began to sweat profusely. We all took our places in front of the set walls, and then the Commodore arrived with his entourage of Messengers. The Messengers would set up the camera for the first shot, he would look through the viewfinder, fiddle with the aperture and focus, and then start barking out orders to the actors as to where to stand and what to do. He moved rapidly from one set to the next, photographing them all in a few hours. Then he was back to the ship.

    Of course, the resulting photos were awful. The shoddy sets, strange costumes and corny poses all combined to make photos that were truly cringe-worthy. Yet while everyone knew it, it was never stated aloud. Anything the Commodore did was brilliant and creative and perfect, and one kept any other opinion strictly to oneself. Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, no one wanted to be the first to admit that they didn’t see the Commodore’s genius in every shot.

    And the photographs themselves were treated like precious gems. One never touched a transparency, they had to be handled only with cotton gloves. They were put in plastic sleeves and between board covers. I had to handle the photograph frequently as I was using them to design, and my hands were always shaking. Once I got so rattled that I dropped a transparency on the floor – hastily stooping to grab it and checking to make sure no one had seen.

    The messages I received were generally constructive and encouraging, and the Messengers were unfailingly polite to me. Sometimes if I missed something they would take on a chiding tone or send me to "Cramming" – a crash study of something you’d missed. One day a Messenger handed me a card and it said "Cram on Comm Formula." The Communication Formula was Hubbard’s basic rules for human communication, something you learn on your first Scientology course. I was chagrinned. Why would he want me to restudy something so basic. The Messenger pointed to the back of the promotion piece. I had omitted an address for the person to reply to.
    I designed brochure after brochure, with Hubbard checking every detail. One of them was a brochure for the local synagogue in Curacao – the oldest in the Western Hemisphere – consisting of photos that Hubbard had taken. It was being done for "port public relations."
    The Synagogue Guidebook - photos by LRH

    Another project I got involved with was an "Industrial Brochure" for the Port of Curacao. The ship had earlier done a "Tourist Brochure" for Curacao, featuring shots by Hubbard and promoting tourism for the island. That some of the same photos were also used for a "Come to Flag" brochure for Scientologists was beside the point. I studied up on the port – which is the largest deep-water port in the Western Hemisphere – and wrote the copy, and then took meetings with the local Curacao Chamber of Commerce. I didn’t own a suit, so I borrowed one from the guy who had the bunk above me – an Australian kid named Mike Rinder.

    Mike was the Communicator for the Commanding Officer of the Flag Bureaux, Kerry Gleeson. Tall and sandy-haired, Kerry was one of those "anything-to-get-the-stats-up" executives whose major form of persuasion was screaming at staff, with a liberal use of profanity. I tried to steer clear of him as much as possible. His wife, Jill, was the Staff Captain, over all of the Commodore’s Staff Aides. There was one for each of the seven divisions of a Scientology Organization. CS2, over all Dissemination Divisions, was my old senior from Pubs, Robin Roos. CS6, over all the Public Divisions (in charge of getting new people into Scientology) was Hubbard’s daughter, Diana.

    While I never heard the Old Man yelling or screaming – at least not when I was within earshot – the ship seemed to be in a constant state of quasi-panic. Tensions and tempers were tightly strung as seniors put the screws on juniors to get their targets done on time and get their stats up. Even in the somewhat more laid back world of Dissem, there was no leeway for a missed deadline or a botched job. And while the Commodore’s rejects were mild in tone, my handlings at the hand of seniors was not. Once, after a reject, I stayed up all night cramming on the color wheel, to get a submission up the next day.

    Sometimes on dinner breaks, I’d walk down the dock a ways and look back at the ship. It was soothing to just sit there for a moment, away from the madness.

    One day, I perceived a shift in the ship’s tone, a subtle change of gear. I could see executives rushing around and rushing into meetings, but people were silent about what was going on. When pressed, it was "confidential," the standard answer for any knowledge above your pay grade. But something was afoot.

    Preparations were made to sail. Our destination was announced as South America – down the coast to Brazil. But that didn’t add up. We completed our "readiness for sea" preparations, getting everything lashed down, and soon we were underway.

    Only after we had cleared the port was our real destination announced. We were going to the Bahamas. From there, a major evolution would be launched to move the entire ship to a land base. The final location was a secret – but it was in the United States.

    After seven years, I was going home.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  7. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Seven - The Land Base

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/06/chapter-seven-land-base.html

    I could see them from two blocks away – the protesters, holding their signs above their heads in the Florida sun. They were clustered on the sidewalk outside the Fort Harrison Hotel, where I was headed for lunch. So I would have to run the gauntlet. I felt a mix of emotions – anger at the protesters, embarrassment and awkwardness at having to walk past them, frustration that we were disliked by the locals.

    We were instructed to just ignore them. It was the job of the Guardians Office to handle "the enemy," and that included these protesters. We were to just carry on doing our jobs, "Clearing the Planet." The GO would handle everything, so they told us. The only problem was, their handlings didn’t seem to be improving the scene. And some of their their tactics seemed to me to be boneheaded – like the time they decided to march on the local newspaper offices, the Clearwater Sun, dressed in Nazi uniforms. They were trying to say that the Sun was being Nazi-like. But for Clearwater residents, many of whom were retirees who had survived WW II, many of whom were Jewish, some of whom were Holocaust survivors, the appearance of Nazi uniforms on the streets of Clearwater was just upsetting. I found such attempts at "PR" to be just embarrassing.

    But still, I had to walk past the protesters. I just wanted to get to the staff dining room, have lunch, and get back to work. And here they were, in my path. Who were they, I wondered? We had been briefed that they were local rednecks who had been riled up against Scientology by corrupt Clearwater politicians.

    As I edged past them, a young guy, who looked like he could be a ringleader, leaned towards me.
    "Is Dianetics working today?" he sneered. I felt an angry retort boiling up inside me, but I tamped it down. I just kept walking, eyes straight ahead. Don’t let him get to you, I told myself.

    I found myself tense and scowling as I entered the cool of the lobby and climbed up the stairs to the staff dining room. I breathed deeply, tried to relax and enjoy my brief lunch break.

    It had all started after we arrived in Clearwater at the end of 1975. After the Apollo docked in the Bahamas, more than a dozen missions had been fired from the ship, each one handling a different facet of the move to shore, and all of them, we were told, personally run by the Commodore.

    A temporary "staging area" was established in Daytona Beach, Florida. There, in a big motel, the Neptune, delivery of Flag training and auditing continued, with Flag’s paying public living in the upper floors of the motel, and course rooms and offices set up on the ground floor. Hubbard checked into another hotel just down the road, and supervised operations from there.

    There was a huge demand for Flag auditing, now exploding with the move to a Land Base. On the ship, the number of public who could come for training and auditing was severely limited. But with a Land Base, there were no limits on how many could come. After all, these were the highest trained Scientology auditors in the world, the Class XIIs, personally trained by Ron. And all of the sessions were supervised by LRH personally. "We can crack any case that walks up the walk," bragged Hubbard.

    Four of us from the Dissem Bureau were sent to Daytona to continue putting out the Advance magazine – vital to Advanced Org stats. David Ziff was in charge as Editor, I was the designer, Annie Allcock handled typesetting and layout, and Andre Clavel was sent with us to do any needed artwork. We set up operations in one of the rooms, and Annie and I, both inveterate swimmers, managed a swim every day at noon in the cold Atlantic.

    Meanwhile, there was a bustle of comings and goings as the permanent land base was readied in a confidential location. But nothing stays confidential for long, particularly if you’re alert. One day I heard a couple of Missionaires talking, and one of them mentioned that the city where the new facility was being set up was "appropriately named." A few minutes with a Florida map and I had it – Clearwater.

    At the beginning of December, the entire Daytona facility moved across Florida to the new location – in just a few hours – with delivery of Flag services continuing uninterrupted. The public literally got up that morning in Daytona, were driven to Clearwater, and had their auditing sessions for that day.

    We were briefed before we arrived that we were not to mention Scientology on the streets of Clearwater. No one was to know that we were Scientology. If asked, we were to say that we were with "United Churches of Florida" – a Hubbard brainstorm – supposedly a pan-denominational group setting up the hotel for training and conferences.

    We were used to keeping our real identity secret, as we had to do it on the Apollo. Then, we were the "Operation and Transport Company." We had to remain "fabian," the Commodore has said, referring to the Roman general Fabius Maximus, who advocated victory by delay and harassment rather than by a decisive battle. Sea Org operations had to remain confidential, so that "the enemy" would not get wind of our locations and plans. Hubbard frequently used military terms to describe our ongoing struggle with the enemy – the psychs and the government agencies who were after us. In fact, our daily "to-do" lists were referred to as "Battle Plans."

    I settled in to life in Clearwater. Florida was hot and muggy. It seemed to be a city that had stopped moving in time, preserved from an earlier decade, but preserved without refrigeration, so everything seemed to be in moldering decay – the cheap, boxy buildings, the aging cars, the elderly citizens.

    But with all that, I was glad to be back in the US and enjoy simple things on my off-time like getting a decent hamburger or visiting the mall. The Fort Harrison Hotel had a swimming pool in the back, and a group of us spent our lunch hours swimming. We would run up to our rooms, change, and race down to the pool. Then when it was almost time to go back on post, we’d dash up and change, then race through the kitchen and grab some fruit so we wouldn’t starve. I heard later that the locals’ picture of Scientologists was "people with wet hair running through the streets carrying fruit."

    Jeff at work in the Dissemination Bureau


    In Clearwater, we were of course not allowed to wear any Sea Org naval uniforms; we had to dress in "wog clothes" so we would blend in – as if hundreds of oddly-behaving strangers suddenly descending on a sleepy Florida town could ever blend in.

    I didn’t have any "wog clothes" so went to the local clothing store and got a nice white summer suit. We were supposed to dress as "upstat" (successful) business people – no jeans and t-shirts. When we first arrived, we were supposed to wear ties – that didn’t last long once the weather started warming up.

    The Church had purchased five buildings in Clearwater. There was the Fort Harrison Hotel, an old eleven-story structure built in 1924. That was allocated to public service delivery as well as accommodations for both public and some crew. Two motels were purchased to handle the rest of crew berthing – the Heart of Clearwater motel on Cleveland Street, and an old Quality Inn, about eight miles from downtown. The Clearwater Bank Building, or "CB," on the corner of Cleveland and Fort Harrison Streets, and the West Coast Building, or "WB," housed the Flag Bureaux. We had, in essence, taken over downtown Clearwater, a fact which was not appreciated by the locals, especially when they inevitably learned that both "United Churches of Florida" and "Southern Land Development" (the company that had originally purchased the properties), were both fronts for the Church of Scientology.

    It was hard not to notice the local hostility towards the Church. After our front groups were exposed, negative articles started appearing in the Saint Petersburg Times (gleefully dubbed "SP Times" by the GO) and the Clearwater Sun. A citizens’ group, led by Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cezares, was critical of Scientology’s attempted takeover of the town, and soon there were protests, with crowds of locals picketing in front of the Fort Harrison.

    We’d been briefed on the demonstrations, on why they were occurring. The reason for the local attacks, we were told, was that the Mafia, in collusion with corrupt city officials, had planned to depress property values in downtown Clearwater, buy up all the property, then set up gambling casinos. When we bought the Fort Harrison and started fixing it up, that thwarted their evil plan. We were the good guys. But the politicians were stirring up the local citizens with lies about us. It was all part of the enemy cabal against Scientology.

    At least, that’s what the Guardian’s Office told us. And they were the ones dealing with it. They discouraged us from reading the local newspapers. They were just full of "entheta" they said. "Entheta was a Scientology term, short for "entubulated theta." Theta was the word for the life force or spirit, and when that life force was disturbed, it was called "entheta." Colloquially in Scientology, the term referred to anything that was critical of Scientology.

    We weren’t allowed to watch TV either. An order had come from the Commodore, who at that time was living a few miles up the coast in Dunedin, that staff were not to watch television. "An unproven why of crew disinterest in their posts is that what we’ve got is TV zombies who are not interested in life," he proclaimed. All of the staff television sets were immediately removed from rooms and put into storage. From that point on, we were cut off from the zombifying effects of TV – and also, incidentally, from any possible negative news broadcasts.

    After we arrived, I went back to the post I had had on the ship, designing and writing promotion. In March, 1976, the Photo Shoot Org became Universal Media Productions, or "Unimed," and started making films as well as doing still photography. It was planned that they would do some promotional films to get more Scientologists to come to the Flag Land Base, as it was now called, for service.

    Even though we were now on land, the location was still confidential. But we were allowed to tell our families that we were in the U.S. I eagerly called my mom, who had returned from Paris and was now living in Stockton, California. She was elated that I was now so close, and I told her I would get a leave and come visit.

    There was another reason I wanted to visit. My sister, Susan, had been diagnosed with cervical cancer, and my mother was caring for her. Susan had followed me and Kim into Scientology, and had ended up marrying a Scientologist, Bob Blanchard, who ran a mission in Hayward, California. She had reached OT III, but then had been diagnosed with cancer. Her Case Supervisor at the Advanced Org had advised some therapies that were only available in Mexico involving massive vitamin dosages.

    I got my leave approved and flew to LA, where I met up with Kim. After he had left Copenhagen, Kim had joined the Sea Org in LA and was now staff at the Advanced Organization, which at that time was on Bonnie Brae in downtown Los Angeles, just a few blocks from LA Org, where Kim and I had first contacted Scientology. Kim had gotten an OK for a leave too, but was afraid it would be revoked at any second, so we got out of LA as fast as we could, feeling like a couple of kids playing hookey. We drove up 101 to Sacramento, driving through the night in the rain to get there.

    It was great to spend a week with family, although Susan was in a lot of pain, but was happy to see us. Mom was trying to make things as comfortable for her as possible. Kim and I ended up taking apart his carburetor, spreading the parts out all over Mom’s living room on newspapers.

    It was over all too soon. An image that remains in my mind is Mom and Susan standing out in front of the house as Kim and I drove off, waving frantically. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the image of my sister, growing smaller and smaller as we drove away.

    Two weeks later, back at the Fort Harrison Hotel, I was checking my mail box to see if I had any letters. There was a scrap of paper there, printed on one side. The printing made no sense. I turned it over, and there, scrawled in the childish handwriting of the Receptionist, was one short sentence:

    "Your sister has died."

    I called Mom right away. We cried together on the phone. I asked if I should come back out, she said no. My brother Kim raced up from LA to help her.

    There was nothing else to do but carry on. And there was lots to do. The location of Flag was no longer confidential, and Hubbard had launched tours to LA, New York and Europe to get more people to Flag. Each tour had a Class VII as main speaker, and a salesman-type, a "Registrar" as they were called in Scientology Orgs. They held huge events and promoted Flag auditing. And people started flooding in.

    And if things had been tense on the ship, they were even more so within the office buildings of the Flag Bureaux. Kerry Gleeson, the Commanding Officer of the FB, continued to run the org by harangues, criticism, and threat. We had crew musters twice a day, and often specific staff would be called out and dressed down for their failings. Gleeson swore like a sailor, and soon his rough language spread to other execs and staff, and the level of profanity commonly used rose to a high that I had never experienced before, with female officers (who we also had to address as "Sir") vying with their male counterparts in the use of four-letter words – particularly when dressing down their juniors.

    Gleeson was notorious for what was known as a "stat push." That meant doing anything and everything to "get the stats up." Unfortunately that usually meant doing things the easy way, which often consisted of just putting more and more pressure on existing Scientologists to pay more and more money, rather than putting time and effort into attracting new members. The stat-push mentality discouraged any longer range planning and fixated attention on immediate emergencies, superficial handlings, and the right-now actions of getting this week’s stats up. The pervading atmosphere was one of week-to-week panic, with dire consequences for those who did not "make it go right" to get their stats up that week.

    The stress only intensified in early 1977 when staff began disappearing suddenly. The MAA (Master at Arms) would tap them on the shoulder, and they would be escorted away, not to return. We were told that they were "List One R/Sers."

    "List One" was an auditing assessment list that included the top names in Scientology, like L. Ron Hubbard, Mary Sue Hubbard, and top execs. The person would be put on an e-meter, where he would be holding the electrode cans, and this list would be read to him. If the e-meter needle erratically slammed back and forth across the dial, it was referred to as a "Rock Slam," and it meant that the person had evil purposes towards the principal figures of Scientology. They were to be immediately sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force – no questions, no appeal.

    One day, the MAA walked into the Dissem Bureau offices. It was like the Spectre of Death arriving. Everyone watched with dread as he walked across the room, hoping that he wasn’t coming for them. He walked up behind David Ziff and tapped him on the shoulder. David turned and saw him, and his face went white. He rose without a word and walked out with the MAA.

    That’s how I became the Advance Magazine Editor.

    I had to do some fast study to learn how to put one of these magazines together. There were some key recorded briefings from Hubbard and I listened to these. In addition to an article by Hubbard in each issue (edited from one of his recorded lectures), there was always to be an article about "Man’s Spiritual History." Hubbard laid out exactly how these were to be written. You took a spiritual subject, like divination, ghosts, alchemy, tarot cards, or a religious subject, like Sufism, Gnosticism or whatever, and researched the subject, then wrote an article about it, laying out what they believed. Then you summed up the article with a statement that "these people were searching for the truth about life, and they would be gratified to find that their long search for answers has at last culminated in the truths of Scientology." It was a formula, every article ending more or less the same. I would spend days at the Clearwater Library researching the article, then pound it out on a little Brother portable typewriter.

    In addition to a lot of ads for books and lectures and the "OT Levels," there was something called "OT Phenomena Success Stories," which were stories from OTs about the abilities that they had gained on their OT Levels and how they had exercised their "OT abilities." These were solicited from the Advanced Orgs. A lot of them were things like finding a parking place with extrasensory perception, or sending a "theta" communication to a loved one over a long distance, and then having that person suddenly call. They were wild and weird, and very popular with Advance readers. Some I received were so bizarre I couldn’t even publish them, like one "OT" who claimed to have gone exterior one afternoon while sitting in an easy chair, gone to a distant planet, and Cleared it all by himself! I had to draw the line somewhere.

    I wasn’t OT myself, so I shared with Advance readers the sense of mystery about these levels. And that probably helped me to build an aura of awe and wonder in the Advance magazines. Meanwhile I arranged to get onto the Solo Auditors Course so I could progress to OT. This was the course where you learned how to audit yourself. I eventually made it up to Clear, then went on to OT III at Flag, reading all about the evil galactic overlord Xenu and the creation of the "body thetans" in a courseroom in the Fort Harrison Hotel. So that was the big mystery, the "secret incident from 75 million years ago" that I had been writing about. Of course it was far-fetched – but in a way I expected it to be something that wild. I audited the materials and, frankly, didn’t feel all that different. But I figured my "OT abilities" would manifest themselves over time as I got used to my new state of being.

    Working on Advance Magazine at last gave me the chance to create artistically, and I really enjoyed it. I did virtually everything on the magazine – illustrations, hand lettering, cartoons, as well as making props and directing the photo shoots with Unimed. Sometimes I’d spend an entire day just executing an illustration. I bought an airbrush and taught myself how to use it.

    I was also running the publication lines for getting the magazine produced and distributed. To do this, I had Assistant Editors at every AO. As my brother Kim was the Director of Promotion at the Advanced Organization in Los Angeles, AOLA. He was my Assistant Editor there, and I depended on him to get me photographs, success stories and other items from AOLA, and he also got it printed. So we corresponded frequently – even if it was all business. He had just gotten married to his second wife, Deborah, who worked at Celebrity Centre. We talked about them moving to Flag – but it never happened.

    In July, an alarming story spread through the Base like a panic. They were saying that the FBI had raided the Guardian’s Offices in LA and Washington D.C. Everyone was buzzing with the news but details were sketchy. No one seemed to know exactly what had happened. Finally we got a briefing of sorts – the raids were illegal, we were taking legal action, all the GO had done was "steal some paper" from government offices. It was all a tempest in a teapot, they assured us, and would soon be handled victoriously.

    I was concerned that this negative press would get to Mom and that she would be worried or upset, so I wrote her long letters, explaining how we were only being attacked as we were "exposing their crimes," and that what they were saying was "all lies." It felt odd to write to Mom this way, but these were the things we had been told. Even to my ears it sounded strident, defensive.

    In August, Mom came to Clearwater for a visit. After returning from Paris, she had been teaching in Idyllwild, California – ironically just a few miles from the future Int Base in Hemet. But she had another job offer from International Schools, this time in Tehran, Iran. She decided to drive across the country to bring me her car, which I would care for while she was abroad. As luck would have it, my daughter Gwennie was just returning to Copenhagen after a visit with Tina’s mother, so they decided to drive across country together to see me. I was elated – I hadn’t seen Gwennie for two years – since I’d left Copenhagen.

    Mom and Gwennie visit Jeff at the Fort Harrison Hotel

    She was eight years old now. I was able to get time off and we had a wonderful time together, went to the beach and saw the local sights. Then they flew together to Copenhagen, and my mom went on to Tehran and her new job. She was to stay there for two years – and become one of the last Americans to leave the country, six months after the Khomeini takeover.

    In late 1977, Unimed left the Flag Land Base and moved to the confidential location where Hubbard was. Years later I would learn that this was at La Quinta, near Palm Springs in California, but at the time we just referred to it as "over the rainbow." They became a film production company, Source Productions, later renamed Golden Era Productions.

    Hubbard was always releasing new auditing rundowns and procedures, and these would then be promoted broadly to get more and more people coming in for services. The "Sweat Out Program" was one of these. It was supposed to be a way to sweat out toxins and drugs with a regimen of vitamins and exercise. The original pilot program had us running out the causeway towards Clearwater Beach in rubberized sweatsuits. I refused to wear one. I said that if the purpose was to generate sweat, then I was already sweating at maximum, just by running in the Florida sun.

    One advantage of the program was that I got in great shape. At first I couldn’t run more than a block without wheezing, but I gradually built up my stamina until I could run all the way to the beach. Even after the program was finished, I kept on running, rising early and jogging out to the beach before breakfast – a four mile run. Gradually I worked it up to eight miles a day. Late at night after post, a bunch of us would put music on in the main auditorium and do disco line dancing for an hour. It was the ‘70s after all.

    Between the running, dancing and swimming, I got in great shape. I started "dating" again, although at Flag in those days it was strictly platonic. Necking or kissing could get you in big trouble, even an RPF assignment! But I managed to spend my days off with one girl or another, going up the coast to Tarpon Springs, down the coast to Sarasota, or just to the beach. I had my mom’s old Dodge, so I was able to get around.

    In mid-1978, "entheta" once again struck. Eleven Guardian’s Office staff, including Mary Sue Hubbard, were convicted of burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. Again, few details were forthcoming from the Guardian’s Office. We heard vaguely that the GO had been "infiltrated" and "set up" to fail in its mission to protect the Church, that those involved were "purged" from the Church, and that, after all, they "had done nothing more serious than steal photocopier paper." It was all fine, in other words, was under control, and the GO was handling it. It was all starting to sound a bit thin – it was pretty obvious that the GO wasn’t handling anything and was just making matters worse. The conviction was followed by a rash of "bad press" on Scientology. Again, I wrote to Mom reassuring her that it was all lies, that everything was OK. But it was pretty obvious everything was not OK.

    In 1979, Bruce, Tina and Gwen came to the Flag Land Base from Copenhagen. Gwennie was ten by then, and it was great to be able to see her all the time. I was still on great terms with Tina, and Bruce was a good friend. I spend Christmas 1979 with them, and it was like being with family in a way.

    Bruce became the Dissem Aide, so was my senior. We often talked about how great it would be to launch a big public dissemination campaign to counter all of the GO "entheta" and let people know what Scientology was really like. I was studying "wog" textbooks on advertising and marketing, trying to learn all I could about the subjects. After post time, some of us would gather in the Lemon Tree Café in the Fort Harrison - the staff after-hours hangout - and have long bull sessions about the big public campaigns that we should be doing.

    But it was all just talk. In reality, no one was interested in broad public dissemination of Scientology. It required resources – staff and money that would be taken away from the right-now push for the weekly stats. It would take time to plan, launch, and ramp up a real campaign – time that no one had with the day-by-day emergencies. I became increasingly frustrated and sick at heart.

    In late 1980, I found a new romantic interest, Nancy Pierce. She worked in the research and survey area of the Dissem Bureau, and was sharp and funny – a sort of blonde Carol Burnett. We began hanging out in our off-time – one of our first "dates" was going down to a jazz festival at Coachman Park over a dinner hour. Nancy could get me laughing like no one else – and she shared my passion for public dissemination of Scientology and my hatred of the Gleeson "stat push" mentality. We found we had a lot in common and became fast friends.

    Soon we were sharing other passions – sneaking off after post to find a secluded spot. Of course, we couldn’t take it too far without getting in trouble, so we decided to get married. I called Mom and gave her the news, and she said she’d come out for the wedding, which we set for New Years Eve. Nancy’s mom, Eva, came down from Pennsylvania and the two moms had a great time. The wedding was lavish, held in the Chapel of the Fort Harrison. Deld was the minister, Bruce was best man, and Gwennie was the flower girl.


    The wedding, with Maid-of Honor Brigitte, Nancy's mom Eva, Nancy, me, Mom, and Best Man Bruce.

    We settled into married life, moving out to the Quality Inn, about eight miles from downtown, and driving back and forth in the old Dodge, now named "Lizzie." We continued to work at the daily grind in the Dissem Bureau, daydreaming in our off-time about someday running a big public campaign to promote Scientology, someday when we would be free of Gleeson.

    In late 1981, the chance came. The Guardian’s Office had finally been dismantled. Mary Sue Hubbard and ten other Guardian’s Office staff had gone to prison. The Commodore’s Messenger Organization, located at a confidential location in California, had taken over all of management, including the functions previously handled by the GO. They had set up a "Watchdog Committee" (WDC) to monitor all of Scientology. Bill Franks had been appointed as Executive Director International, and had a council of executives, the "Senior Executive Strata," to directly plan and carry out Scientology expansion. It was a new era, a new leaf.

    Part of the GO functions now taken over by WDC and Exec Strata was Church public relations. It was time to mend the "bad PR" generated by the GO. There was to be a mission sent to LA to find and hire a professional PR firm which would then be retained by the Church. Annie Allcock and I were named as the Missionaires.

    I told Nancy I was going, and added, for her ears only,

    "Pack up everything we own and put it in storage. Be ready to come to LA when I call for you."

    She looked at me quizzically.

    "I’m not coming back," I told her.

    It was time to revolt.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  8. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Eight - Revolution

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/06/chapter-eight-revolution.html


    It was well after midnight and the Tampa airport terminal was almost empty. Just a few late-night travelers sitting on the benches, reading, trying to sleep or, like me, watching the movie on the screen hanging above the waiting area. They were showing Pancho Villa, the 1972 Eugenio Martin film with Telly Savalas as Villa. I was identifying with Villa – his betrayal and imprisonment, his escape, his revolt against his enemy, Huerta. I could feel Villa’s hot outrage. ¡Viva la revolución!

    I had a couple of hours before my flight back to LA, so I was killing time, keeping one eye on the entrances, half expecting someone from Flag to come and escort me back to the Base.

    No, I hadn’t blown the Sea Organization. But I had left Flag after receiving specific orders from Kerry Gleeson, now Scientology’s Executive Director International, to remain at Flag. Kerry wanted me to do things his way. But I knew his short-sighted ways wouldn’t work. Not for what I had in mind. What I was planning had to be done thoroughly and without shortcuts for it to work.

    I was returning to Los Angeles, whether Gleeson wanted it or not. I was going to continue the project Nancy and I had started. For once, I was going to do things my way.

    I had first escaped from Clearwater in mid-1981, when Annie Allcock and I had been fired on a mission to locate and hire a public relations firm for the Church of Scientology. Military terminology permeated the Sea Org, so when a Sea Org member was sent to do something, they were "fired on a mission." It gave the activity a sense of precision and purpose.

    "Big Blue" - The Scientology PAC Complex

    Annie and I went directly from the airport to the "big blue building," the former Cedars of Lebanon hospital, which had been purchased by the Church four years earlier. It was a mixed collection of buildings – the original hospital was a hulking V-shaped relic from the 20’s with ornate deco trim, while the newer additions were 50s "modern" - bland blocks of stucco and glass. The entire thing had been painted a hideous shade of bright blue, apparently on Hubbard’s orders – since the color blue was associated with the spirit. Inside, it was bustling with Scientology activity.

    The building complex was known within the Sea Org as the Pacific Area Command – again, the military frame of reference - or PAC for short, and housed the Los Angeles Organization (moved up from 9th Street), the American Saint Hill Organization, the Advanced Organization Los Angeles, as well as the Sea Org’s Continental Liaison Office for the Western US. The idea was to have the "entire Bridge" in one place – that is, all of Scientology’s levels from beginning public services all the way to the OT Levels and advanced training, as well as the continental management office.

    The new Executive Director International, Bill Franks, had set up his offices in the penthouse of Lebanon Hall, a towering deco structure jutting up from the center of the building complex. It served as staff apartments. The penthouse was spacious, with cluttered desks placed throughout the large main room. A balcony looked out over the grey haze of Los Angeles.

    Franks had just been appointed as Executive Director, a position last held by Hubbard himself in the 1960’s, and resurrected as part of the "new management" of the Church. In theory, he was the top dog. In fact, he answered to the Commodore’s Messenger Organization. He was taking his new position seriously, and the office was a hive of frantic activity. Franks sat us down at a long conference table, and briefed us on our mission, which was to locate a public relations firm that could be hired by the Church to repair its damaged public image.

    Annie and I set up offices in one of the lower floors of the Main Building, and started calling around and setting up appointments. We got ourselves outfitted with proper business suits and got a couple of briefcases so we’d look the part.


    Jeff in LA

    For the next three or four weeks we went around LA, meeting with a list of PR firms, from some of the best-known A-list firms to lesser-known companies. At night, we compiled reports about each firm – what they had said, a summary of their firm, and a client list (to make sure they were not retained by drug companies, government agencies or psychs – the enemy!).

    Then one day we got called up to Franks’ office. We were to collect together all of our information and turn it in – he was firing us on a different mission altogether, something that had become urgent. He briefed us that a Scientology celebrity, Cathy Lee Crosby, co-host of TV’s "That’s Incredible," was putting on an anti drug TV special called "Get High on Yourself." It would include Scientologists like John Travolta as well as non-Scientologists like rocker Ted Nugent. Cathy Lee wanted the Church to launch a big Purification Rundown promotional campaign coincident with the airing of the show. Her assistant, Cathy Wasserman, also a Scientologist, was organizing the whole "Get High on Yourself" program and was the one coordinating with Bill Franks (later the allegation was made that she and Bill were involved in more than "coordinating").

    But the catch was this: the TV special was set to air in three weeks. We had three weeks to put together a complete and professional TV Campaign.

    I was torn. On the one hand, this was exactly what I wanted to do – launch big public campaigns for Scientology. On the downside, this was more of the same panic mentality that was destructive of any proper planning or preparation. The excitement of actually doing a big campaign won out, and I went for it.

    I figured I had a little leverage at this point, so I insisted on a third missionaire, someone trained in market research and surveying – my wife Nancy. She was on the next plane. At least that part of my plan was in place.

    We commandeered an office on the second floor of LA Org, and arranged for some desks and a conference table where we could have meetings. We contacted a Scientologist, Don Spector, who had worked as Creative Director for both BBDO West and Foote, Cone and Belding, and he agreed to work with us. We also had two more people added to our project, Steve Heard and Jack Dirmann. They were supposed to handle public relations. Steve was a former GO staffer, a very smart, very funny guy, and Steve, Nancy and I had each other in stitches half the time.

    Steve had a clever idea to promote the Purification Rundown, which was to start a Foundation which would do scientific studies of the Rundown and thereby prove its effectiveness. He and Jack brainstormed the whole thing – it would validate the Purification Rundown, then go on to validate Hubbard’s "Study Technology." They decided to call it "The Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Education" or FASE. They actually did get it established, and it still exists to this day. If you look at their website you’d never know they started in that little office above LA Org as a bright idea to promote the Purification Rundown.

    Meanwhile, Nancy and I did some fast research and surveys and assembled a campaign, with TV ads, print ads, and a surveyed slogan, which was, as I remember, "Bring them back to life." It was aimed at parents whose children were addicted to drugs. I ended up presenting the whole campaign to three executives: Bill Franks, Kerry Gleeson (who was still CO Flag Bureaux and visiting from Clearwater), and John Nelson, the Commanding Officer of CMO International. I felt like I was giving the presentation to three department store mannequins. None of them moved or changed expression throughout the presentation, which went on for an hour. There were no smiles, no nods, no questions. It was eerie. At the end of it, they got up and left.

    And that was the end of the Purification Campaign. It was never mentioned again. Probably they had other things on their minds, as I was soon to discover.

    One afternoon in December 1981, I got a call from Bruce Wilson in Clearwater. He was all excited about a meeting that had just happened there between management and the Mission holders. Not to be confused with Sea Org "Missions," these were people who owned and operated Scientology’s franchises. Scientology had used the term Franchise for many years, but in an effort to pump up "religious image," they had been renamed "Missions." These were smaller organizations, privately owned, that delivered basic Scientology courses and auditing. They had long been at odds with the GO, and some complained that their missions had been illegally taken away from them. A few had even sued the Church to try to get their missions back. With the collapse of the GO, the Mission holders saw a chance to right some of these old wrongs, and wanted a dialog with management. They were looking to the new Executive Director International, Bill Franks, to put it all right. After all, he was Hubbard’s successor and could do something about it. Franks, however, arrived to the conference under CMO Int escort. It was clear that they were really pulling the strings, not Franks. The Mission holders just saw this as more shenanigans, and demanded answers. They challenged the executives who were present.
    Bruce was enthusiastic about the meeting. He felt it was part of a bright new era for the Church, where ordinary Scientologists could have a voice in Church operations and a dialog with management.

    I called Kim and told him about it. By this time, he was out of the Sea Org and was a "public Scientologist." With three small children to care for, including a newborn baby, Kim and his wife Deborah had found it impossible to live with the limited time and money they had in the Sea Org, so had routed out and were now living in the Valley. Kim had worked his way back into good standing with the Church. He was happy to hear that there might be some reforms. He had had his own bad experiences on staff.

    But the "powers that be," the CMO Int hierarchy, saw the Mission Holders conference differently. They saw it as a mutiny against their authority. Scientology, after all, wasn’t a democracy, where people could publicly air their grievances, it was a top-down authoritarian rule, and one did not question those in power. Within weeks, Bill Franks was off post, under guard, and Kerry Gleeson, still in Clearwater, had been appointed as his successor.

    For me, all of these internal politics and power plays were a distraction. If we really were to put the past behind us and begin a new era for Scientology, then we had to get out into the public eye and make the subject known to people. That was what was ultimately important.

    Jeff and Nancy - loose cannons in LA

    Nancy and I discussed what we should do next, and we decided to make our move. I wrote a long petition to the CO CMO Int, laying out a plan to once and for all get a major public campaign for Scientology launched. I laid out the exact steps, which included exhaustive marketing research, isolation of publics, surveys, studies to find the most effective media, research into the book market, and so on. I estimated it would take six months to a year. Amazingly, the petition was approved, and Nancy and I launched the Market Research and Advertising Project.

    We started systematically, working with Don Spector, the Scientologist adman. My first question was: what kind of people would be most likely to get interested in Scientology? So we started with a survey of existing Scientologists to find common demographics at the time they had gotten into Scientology – age, education, income, many other factors. And we started surveying broadly for current public attitudes towards Scientology – attitudes we would have to overcome and change. And at the same time, we began researching religious and spiritual trends in society that might work for us. I kept senior executives briefed with weekly newsletters. I knew that unless I kept up a constant flow of valuable information, my project could be cancelled in an instant. As it was, we began to be known and our work valued.

    It was all off the cuff. We had the office over LA Org that we had been using, so we just kept that. We had no authorization, we were essentially squatters. The head of Bridge Publications, the Scientology publishing firm that handles all of Hubbard’s books, was a friend of mine, Edy Lundeen. I briefed her on the project and got her support. With that, I was able to slip her Purchase Orders and get a little funding for operating expenses. I managed to get our food and berthing covered from the Continental Liaison Office. So with a bit of scrabbling and negotiating, we managed to stay afloat.

    Getting staff was another matter. One day, a girl named Linda walked into the office.

    "I heard you’re going to be doing a big raw public campaign," she said. I told her that was right.
    "I’d really like to work on that," she said hopefully.

    "Great!" I said. "Sit down there, that’s your desk. Nancy will train you on how to do surveys."

    A few days later, Linda’s senior showed up.

    "I’m looking for Linda," he said. "She’s my staff."

    "She’s working here now," I told him. Amazingly, he left, and I never heard another word about it.

    Staff continued to wander in, and I would put them to work. Soon there were five of us. I let Nancy run them as a survey team, and spent most of my time researching publics, trends, and the ins and outs of the book industry. Gradually, the bones of a campaign began to take shape.

    I never paid much attention to "organizing." I just worked out what needed to be done and then had people do it. But "organizing" things and putting everything on elaborate org charts was an obsession in Scientology, and particularly with Hubbard. At the beginning of 1982, management attention began to swing in the direction of marketing activities, and the first thing that had to be worked out by management was "how to organize it."

    Hubbard had started mentioning this problem in a series of communications to John Nelson, the CO CMO Int. He stated that while he had always been able to do "seat of the pants" marketing for Scientology – putting out new courses and auditing rundowns when income needed a boost – real formal marketing required an investment of people, time and money. He seemed to be echoing what I had been saying. He told Nelson how to go about setting up a central marketing unit for the Church. He said to first start a small unit, without touching any existing units, train that unit in "wog" marketing tech, and then gradually pull all other units under that seed unit. It seemed like a simple plan. The only problem was that it actually required setting up and training a starter unit – and no one was willing to put the time or effort into actually doing that.

    So the confusion about "how to set up a central marketing unit" rolled forward, getting more and more confusing and complex the more everyone avoided that first step.

    Finally, in desperation, Nelson called for a conference at Flag to settle the matter. All of the heads of the existing marketing units would attend – me, the Dissem Aide Flag Bureau, the marketing people from "Golden Era Productions" and others. I flew to Clearwater for the conference, bringing Don Spector along as a professional advertising guy who had worked in agencies and might be able to throw some light on how to organize up a central marketing unit.

    The conference soon degenerated into utter chaos. No one could agree on anything. I tried to present what I considered some sane ideas for setting up a marketing function, only to have them shouted down. For every suggestion I made, there were a dozen insane ones. I finally left the conference room in disgust, and sent Spector back to LA. It had been a colossal waste of time. I wanted to get back to work.

    It was not to be. I was ordered to Kerry Gleeson’s office in the West Coast Building. He lit into me right away.

    "Your project is a failure," he said. "You’re a failed Missionaire. You will never, never, get a campaign launched that way."

    When I was still working at Flag under Gleeson, I would have caved under this kind of pressure, and agreed to whatever he wanted. But I was still frustrated and angry from the insanity of the "marketing conference." I was in no mood to agree with Gleeson, or to go along with any more crackpot ideas of how marketing ought to be done.

    "You’re wrong," I said, surprising myself a little. "What I’m doing, real research and planning, is the only way to get an effective campaign going."

    He looked at me oddly, shocked that I had dared to challenge him. "You’ve changed," he said, narrowing his eyes. "There’s something different about you…"

    "You’re not going back to LA," he told me flatly. "You’re going to remain here as my Marketing Executive International. If you want to launch a big campaign, fine, you can do it via the Continental Liaison Offices to the Orgs."

    That, I knew, was the sure route to disaster. The CLOs and the Orgs were caught up in Gleeson’s week-to-week stat machine. They would never, never devote the time and resources to running such a campaign that didn’t show immediate weekly stat results. No, the campaign needed to be centrally conceived and centrally funded and run – direct to the public.

    "I’m not staying," I told Gleeson. "I’m going back to LA to do my campaign."

    He was furious. "You are not to leave Flag. I demand a solution from you before you go anywhere. If you won’t be Marketing Exec Int, then who will? You’d better have a solution by tomorrow!" With that he dismissed me.

    I left his office, seething. Factually, Gleeson couldn’t recall me – I was under CMO Int, not ED Int. I headed for the Dissem Bureau offices. I knew that I had friends there, and that one of them, Charlie Updegrove, had a car.

    It was after midnight, but I could see lights still on. I banged on the door and peeked through the blinds. There were about five staff in there, staring at the door in a frozen tableau of fear. "Open up!" I shouted, "it’s me, Jeff." Finally they let me in.

    "Charlie, I need a ride to the airport," I told him. Graciously, he didn’t ask any questions. We collected my luggage and headed out to Tampa International Airport. I booked the next flight to LA, an early morning flight.

    Back in LA, Nancy and I set about consolidating our position. A new organization had been formed at the end of 1981 called Author Services. They were officially not a part of the Church, but were supposed to be L. Ron Hubbard’s literary agency. In fact, like everything else in Scientology, they were run from the top. As my future campaign would involve selling Scientology books, and that would mean royalties to Hubbard, they took an interest in what we were doing, and in fact began running us directly. I sent my weekly reports to Fran Harris, and she started having weekly meetings with us to go over project. She would report on our campaign progress to Hubbard, and would let us know what he said back. He seemed to be pleased with the progress we were making.

    Gleeson made one final attempt to stop us. He had been spreading it all over Flag that I was "blown" and sent two missionaries, Debbie Vincent and Aledia Warren, with instructions to take over our market research project and reorganize it. When they arrived and briefed me on what they were going to do, I was furious. I tried to reason with them, but they were determined not to listen to me.

    Somehow, I lured them into a supply closet, on the pretext that there was something important in there to inspect. I then closed the door on them and locked it, went to a nearby desk and called Frannie at ASI. I briefed her on what was happening.

    "Don’t worry," she said. "I’ll call you right back."

    I waited, listening to the pounding and muffled curses coming from the closet. Ten minutes later, the phone rang.

    "It’s handled," Frannie said. "They’ve been recalled."

    I unlocked the door and let the two furious women out.

    "You’ve been recalled," I told them. "Now get the fuck out of my office."

    And so we carried on, the surveys and research data piling up. I was getting a pretty good idea of who we should be marketing to and what their attitudes and needs were. It seemed that those most likely to be interested in Scientology were young and well-educated. They were people who were looking for change in their lives. I called them "seekers."

    One afternoon, I went to the local drugstore to pick something up, and ran into Bill Franks. He looked hollow, tired. He was, I gathered, out of Scientology altogether by then. We talked for a minute, and I told him what I was doing. He wished me luck. That was the last time I saw him.

    Then in April 1982, several things came together at once, like planets aligning. My old friend Foster Tompkins arrived on a mission to Bridge Publications, the Scientology publishing house for Hubbard’s books. There was going to be a major book convention in June in Anaheim, the American Booksellers Association Convention. This was a yearly national convention where publishers showed their wares and made deals with the book chains and distributors. Foster was to arrange for Bridge Publications to have a booth at this fair and sell Hubbard’s books.

    Meanwhile, Bruce Wilson had started a new activity at Flag called the Library Donation Project. Its aim was to get Scientologists to buy books which would then be donated to public libraries. The profits were to go to major book campaigns.

    At the same time, Hubbard had written a long memo to the CO CMO Int called "Planetary Dissemination" (later issued as a Policy Letter). In it, he stated that Scientology Organizations would continue to be small and static if they only sold to their existing public of Scientologists. In order to really expand, we had to reach out to new people, and the way to do that was with books. He called for a big book campaign to be launched.

    The path ahead seemed clear to Foster and I. We would join forces, along with Bruce, in one overall project. That the three of us were good friends, and that all of us tended to be mavericks, only increased the appeal. I would handle the market research, advertising and media; Foster would handle the book trade sales, and Bruce would handle the funding. We would launch the biggest public book campaign anyone had seen.

    We discussed what to call the combined project. "Book Marketing Unit" seemed obvious, but I could see an immediate problem.

    "If we call ourselves the Book Marketing Unit," I told Foster, "then pretty soon they’ll have us running the orgs’ week-to-week book sales, and that’s all we’ll end up doing."

    "Well, that’s tactical," Foster pointed out. "We don’t do tactical; we do strategy."

    So the Strategic Book Marketing Unit was born.

    And over the next four and a half years, the SBMU would reach a level of success none of us had envisioned.
     
  9. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Nine - Going my Way

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/06/chapter-nine-going-my-way.html

    Foster and I were in a state of semi-panic as we waited for Julia to get off the phone. We were in an isolated corridor in the American Saint Hill Organization, part of the Scientology Complex – the big blue building in LA. Julia, my de facto senior at Author Services, was huddled in one of the public phone booths, talking quietly, her back to us. Foster and I kept a respectful distance across the corridor, where we looked down at the courtyard below.

    “Well, if it’s not approved, we can always jump out the window,” I joked. Foster gave me a nervous smile. We had stuck our necks way out on this one. But that wasn’t unusual for us.

    Our preparations for the Dianetics Campaign were almost complete. The last piece of the puzzle was television ads. Scripts had been submitted weeks before, through Julia at Author Services International and up to the Old Man himself, L. Ron Hubbard. We were awaiting approval – but hadn’t heard anything back. Now was the last possible moment. As of 4 AM the next morning, a huge film crew would be moving out, driving 90 miles north to a location in Ojai. Cancelling the ad shoot at this point would be expensive, if not impossible. We had prevailed on Julia to please, please, make a phone call. Now she was talking with someone close to Hubbard – we didn’t know who.

    We heard the phone click as Julia hung up the phone. Our hearts leapt into our throats.

    “They’re approved,” she said.

    The last five months had been a rocket ride, preparing everything needed to launch a huge marketing campaign for Dianetics – the biggest such campaign ever done by the Church of Scientology. And I had learned a lot in the process.

    At the same time, it had been fun. At last I was doing what I wanted to do, and I was doing it my way – thoroughly and professionally. I was virtually autonomous, operating loosely under Author Services International. ASI was officially L. Ron Hubbard’s literary agency, with supposedly no connection to the Church. In fact, they were running everything. But I liked the people I was dealing with. They gave me great air cover and very few orders. I was mostly left to get on with it. Nancy and I kept decent hours, got enough sleep, and managed to get in our “study time.” I was mostly studying marketing and advertising.

    We enjoyed being in LA after years in Florida. A Sea Org Member is supposed to get a day off every two weeks, called a “liberty” in the usual pseudo-military parlance. Nancy and I managed to actually take those days off, and saw the sights in LA – movies, the Universal City Walk, museums, or out to Venice Beach to see the crazy street performers. We often went to see my brother Kim and his growing family – my niece and two nephews. And Mom was living up in Santa Barbara – we’d go up and see her or she’d come into town. Thanksgiving and Christmas were once again family affairs.

    Brother Kimball raises a family

    But most of our attention was on getting the campaign launched. Nancy had her team of researchers and surveyors who were out every day. We had added a Public Relations member to the team, a young lady named Beth, who was working out how to get out publicity releases on Dianetics when the time came. She also got roped into a “confidential” proofreading project, which turned out to be Hubbard’s Mission Earth manuscript. He had completed Battlefield Earth, which was being prepared for publication, and this was his next work, a massive ten-volume science fiction series. Beth helped on the proofreading several hours a day at ASI, and came back increasingly disturbed. She was shocked by the graphic, and repeated, descriptions of gay oral sex in the book, and was appalled that such writing was coming from the Founder of a religion. She didn’t last long, and in fact soon decided to leave staff.

    One did not criticize Hubbard.

    One day, I got a strange phone call. After I picked up the phone and said hello, a strident and intense male voice came on the line.

    “If I hear another report of any of your staff nattering about LRH Tech Films, they, and you, will be immediately sent to the RPF. Have you got that?”

    I managed to stammer “Yes, Sir.” There was a click on the other end.

    I had just had my first conversation with David Miscavige.

    The “Tech Films” were Hubbard’s Technical Training Films. He had scripted a series of short, 20 to 30 minute films teaching various points of Scientology “technology,” from how to operate an E-Meter, to how to conduct an auditing session. Each film had a story line – characters who went through some drama to illustrate a point of technology. He had then directed the filming of a number of these scripts himself at his confidential location. Like his earlier photo shoots on the ship, they were strictly amateur hour. The sets were hastily thrown together, something a high school drama department would be ashamed of. The actors were all amateurs – staff thrown into costume for the occasion – and they would stumble their way through Hubbard’s overcooked dialogue.

    But of course it was like the Emperor’s New Clothes all over again. No one wanted to admit that they didn’t see Hubbard’s genius in every detail. It was obvious to anyone with two eyes that they were pathetically amateur, but no one was willing to say so. One of my staff, Linda, had been so impolitic as to make a disparaging comment about the quality of the films within earshot of some other staff. The resulting “Knowledge Reports” had gotten to Miscavige, who took it as a personal affront. After all, he had been the “cameraman” on many of these early films. Hence the call. I took Linda aside and explained the facts of life to her. If one expected to survive in the world of Scientology, one did not say anything negative about the films, no matter how obvious their flaws.

    We had enough to do without getting embroiled in politics.

    For one thing, I had absolutely no idea how to get books into bookstores. But that was an advantage, too. At least I wasn’t under some delusion that I had all the answers.

    One of the first things Foster and I did when we began the Strategic Book Marketing Unit in April, 1982, was to contact the sales staff at Bridge Publications to see what they knew about getting books into public bookstores. The guy in charge of sales was Don Arnow. He had been trying to learn what he could about selling to “the trade” and had talked to the manager of the B. Dalton Bookseller store on Hollywood Boulevard, a guy named Jim Levinson. Jim was a heavy, bearded man with a droll sense of humor. He and I would become good friends years later when he was the West Coast Rep for Publishers Weekly magazine.

    “If you want to learn about marketing books to the trade,” Jim told Don, “talk to Len Foreman.” He gave Don a phone number. Jim would often remind me later, with a twinkle in his eye, that he had actually “started” the Dianetics campaign by linking us up with Foreman.

    Don, Foster and I went out to see Foreman at his office in Brentwood. Len was a handsome, white-haired gentleman, friendly and courteous. He combined polished East Coast manners with a West Coast tan and smile, to great effect. The women in my unit would later refer to him as “the silver fox.” He had formerly been VP Marketing at Simon and Schuster in New York, and knew the business inside and out. And he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. Foster and I rapidly took over the meeting and peppered him with questions, which he answered with a wealth of information. Foster and I started meeting with Len several times a week, and talked Bridge into putting him on a retainer as a consultant.


    Foster and Jeff plotting over a beer, with Bev Witter, our PR lady

    He laid out for us in detail how one got books into bookstores as a publisher. He told us about the large book chains, at that time B. Dalton and Waldenbooks, and who their national buyers were. And he knew them all personally. He knew all of the major distributors who kept the independent bookstores supplied, and the “IDs” – independent distributors - who got books into drugstores, supermarkets and all the other “non-book outlets.” He told us that we must never bypass the IDs and try to get books directly into drugstores and supermarkets, as some of the Orgs had tried to do. “These guys are Mafia,” he casually explained. “They’ll just throw your books out.” He advised schmoozing the IDs, buying pizza for their delivery guys and so forth.

    Bridge had tried to talk to the buyers of the national book chains, but they had routinely refused to carry Hubbard’s books. They had had some very negative experiences, from the days of Doreen Casey’s “Mission International Books,” when she had sent staff in to local bookstores demanding that they take Hubbard’s books. As they had been under “do-or-die” pressure, the staff had been pushy and overbearing with the bookstores, and the book chains had had complaints. They had also promised the bookstores big promotion campaigns, which never materialized, and the books had moldered on their shelves. They wanted nothing more to do with Dianetics or Scientology.

    But Len smoothed it all over. “That’s all changed,” he would tell his contacts in the book industry. “This is a different group, and they are serious about launching a major campaign.” If they still balked, he’d turn on the charm. “Come on, you know me. You know I wouldn’t bring you anything flaky. These guys are serious.” Bit by bit they came around.

    Foster and I started having weekly Dianetics Campaign meetings at Author Services International, attended by all of the senior execs of Scientology. David Miscavige, the Chairman of the Board of ASI, would sit scowling at the head of the table, and all of the CMO Int Execs, as well as ED Int and his executives, would be ranked along the sides. All of the key ASI execs would also attend. On paper, ASI was Hubbard’s literary agency, and was not connected to the Church. In fact, Miscavige was running all of Scientology from his position at ASI, through regular meetings with all senior Church executives - like the weekly book campaign meetings.

    In the beginning, these turned into briefings, and Foster and I prepared charts showing how the book industry worked. We brought Len to the meetings as well, and he explained the ins and outs of the publishing business. He briefed the assembled execs on the problems that had been caused by Scientologists randomly going in to bookstores and badgering them, and urged that the Scientology Organizations not contact any of their local bookstores. That order did in fact go out.

    Foster and I had no love for Kerry Gleeson, since the days that he was the CO of Flag Bureaux. He attended the meetings, and had to listen politely to what we were briefing on. But he was still trying for some measure of control over a campaign that was, by then, way out of his control. He insisted, in the meeting, that Foster and I meet with his Division Six (new public) Executive, Peter Warren (whose wife I had once locked in a closet). Foster said we weren’t interested in meeting with Peter.

    “I don’t understand why,” Gleeson complained, “Why won’t you meet with Peter Warren?”

    Foster leaned forward until his face was a few inches from Gleeson’s, and enunciated slowly: “Because Peter Warren is a Suppressive Person.”

    It was one of those moments that stay with you, just because of their sheer cheek. But I knew at that moment that Gleeson and his execs had lost any power to interfere.

    It wasn’t long after that that we heard that Gleeson had been removed from post. He was replaced by an up-and-coming exec from Europe, Guillaume Lesevre. Guillaume stopped by to see me on his way to the Int Base and asked me to have lunch with him. He wanted me to come to Int with him and be his Marketing Exec International. I declined, explaining that I had a campaign to launch. But the man impressed me with his kind, intelligent demeanor.

    Len knew people who did book cover designs, and we set them to work on the covers for some of Hubbard’s basic books – Self Analysis, Fundamentals of Thought, Problems of Work. They produced some attractive, commercial covers that I somehow managed to get approved. We needed some great covers to display at the American Booksellers Association Convention, which was going to be held in June at the Anaheim Convention Center. We had a lot to prepare by then, including an entire booth design.

    ASI also wanted us to design a cover for the upcoming biography of L. Ron Hubbard, which we were assured was immanent. Omar Garrison, a writer who had done books for Scientology before, was at work on it. We prepared a cover design for that book as well.

    We had decided to launch two books – the paperback Dianetics, and Self Analysis in the larger “trade paperback” size. There had been some pressure to release the books in hardback – Hubbard notoriously despised paperbacks as cheap, shoddy substitutes for “real” books – but I had successfully argued that if the objective was to interest lots of people in Scientology, then volume was key, and volume meant paperback.

    On Len’s advice, I had set the launch date for September, as he said that this was when a lot of book campaigns were launched. The books were “sold in” to the book chains and distributors through the summer, beginning with the ABA Convention in June, and then the campaign launched in the fall to sell them through the bookstores to the public – that was called “sell-through.”

    But this schedule didn’t accord with Hubbard’s plans. His new science fiction book, Battlefield Earth, was set for release that fall as well. It was going to be published by St. Martins Press. Hubbard had a strategy, which was to follow the pattern of 1950. At that time, he was a well-known science fiction writer, and it was his original article about Dianetics in Astounding Science Fiction magazine that first sparked off the 1950 sales of Dianetics. Many of his fans at the time – those who read his fiction – became the early Dianeticists. Hubbard wanted to repeat the pattern, re-establishing his reputation as a science fiction writer and then re-promoting Dianetics into that “fertile ground.” For that reason, he wanted to launch Dianetics later. But I knew it couldn’t be too much later. The books would be in the stores in the fall, and we had to deliver the promised campaign – the stores had already been burned by Scientology’s past failures to deliver a campaign, we couldn’t let it happen again. After some negotiation with ASI, it was agreed that Battlefield Earth would launch in September, and Dianetics (with Self Analysis) would launch in October.

    At this point, I happened to see an ad for Dianetics that Hubbard had written. He had sent it to the Division Six Executive International, Peter Warren, who was ED International’s assistant for public dissemination. The ad included the phrase “Get rid of your Reactive Mind,” which Hubbard claimed was a very deep, pervasive “button” and would cause people to buy the book on a stimulus-response basis. Foster and I were discussing this ad once in a meeting with Len Foreman.

    “Sounds like a good thing,” he said.

    “What does?” I asked.

    “The Reactive Mind. It sounds like something valuable, you know, it allows you to quickly react to situations…”

    Foster and I looked at each other, dumbfounded. We were so used to the insider terminology that we hadn’t even thought about the impression that phrase might have on someone in the public, someone not familiar with Scientology’s lingo. I organized some fast surveys.

    The surveys were very revealing. People did think that the “Reactive Mind” would be something valuable, and thought that if you “got rid of it” you would be a zombie. I went over the results with Frannie at ASI, and she asked me to do up a report right away.

    A few days later, Hubbard wrote back that he was very pleased with the surveys, and said that they confirmed “something he already knew since 1950,” that people find the Reactive Mind very valuable. He called for a few more surveys to be done, which we rapidly carried out, and he determined at the end of this that the button should be “Learn to control your reactive mind.” He commended me for the surveys, and I thought nothing further about it. Little did I know that this minor incident would play a major part in my eventual demise, twenty years later.

    As work on the campaign progressed, I started working more and more with Len. He knew people in publishing, marketing and advertising, and we would often race around town seeing different professionals –inevitably stopping for lunch at Len's favorite restaurant, Canters, where he would regale me with his vast store of Jewish jokes.

    Len introduced me to a media company, Ed Libov & Associates in Marina Del Rey, and we began meeting with them to figure out how best to promote the books. And that depended on my isolating our “target demographic,” which I was getting rapidly worked out with a series of studies and surveys. I was able to get an OK to take our Scientology mailing list and run it through a demographic database. This resulted in a lot of tables, color-coded maps, pie and bar charts that I found fascinating. The best prospects for Scientology were young (25 to 35), some college education, urban, middle income. Men rated slightly higher as prospects, 60% to 40%. There was a lot of other information which I devoured, parsed and analyzed. We then started doing a lot of surveys, pre-qualifying the people we surveyed to make sure they were in the target demographic. Every day I would send the survey team out to do another survey. At night we’d tabulate the results and study them, then out they would go the next day with more questions. Pretty soon I was starting to know these people like they were family.

    As part of my research, I studied every Dianetics campaign that had ever been done, from the first release of the book in 1950 to the present. They ranged from the mundane to the bizarre. I found out that, just over the past year, an abortive pilot campaign has been run in San Diego by marketing people from the Int Base – and apparently Hubbard had been calling the shots. They had made some TV ads on a space opera motif, with men in white space suits and helmets. Apparently the rationale was the same as when Hubbard had put such whole track symbols on the books – to manipulate the “wogs” with symbols from the OT III “Xenu” incident. They had also tried to sell hardback books. The results were apparently so embarrassing that the campaign had disappeared without a trace.

    But I found one disturbing fact: everyone who had ever successfully run a big campaign for Dianetics had been destroyed – kicked off staff, declared Suppressive, and in one case, Diane Colletto, shot. She had run a campaign in 1979 that had gotten Dianetics on to the Ingrams West Coast bestseller list. She was killed by her husband in front of the Bridge Publications building on matters apparently unrelated to selling Dianetics. But this fact struck me as odd, and eerie. Why had every one of them been attacked? I resolved to keep my eyes open, and, while pushing ahead with the campaign, keeping my eyes open to see if anyone took a shot at me, and if so, where the shots came from.

    But I found out some other things, too. Past campaigns, going back to 1950, had been successful when they narrowly targeted a certain public, what they call “niche marketing” these days. Conventional wisdom at that time was that you couldn’t sell books on television. This was 1982. No one had ever done it successfully. But I started thinking about it. Television was expensive, but in terms of cost-per-thousand (CPM), it was the cheapest medium. The problem was, it was a broad shoot, like a shotgun. You blared your message out to a lot of people who would never buy your product. That was what made it expensive. But suppose there was a way to hone in on your target public, to “narrowcast” the message?

    I worked with my rep at the media firm, an older lady named Nancy. She educated me in such things as “gross rating points” and “target points.” I studied various types of media buys. It all seemed too expensive, too wasteful. The penny dropped one day when I was looking over a proposed media buy and saw Saturday morning cartoons listed.

    “What’s this doing here?” I asked.

    “Well, that gets you a lot of target points. There are a large number of your target demographics that are watching those programs.”

    “But…” I tried to vocalize what was bugging me, “I don’t want to talk to people who watch Saturday morning cartoons!”

    Well, which viewers of which programs would I be interested in talking to? I started going through programming lists. Soap operas, no. Old classic movies, yes. Stock car racing, no. Old Twilight Zone reruns, yes. It was all very subjective and not very scientific, but it was based on a lot of knowledge I had soaked up about our target demographic and what they liked. They weren’t followers. They didn’t watch what everyone else did. They were mavericks, iconoclasts, mold-breakers. They liked the odd, the intriguing, the quirky. They liked… well, the kinds of things that I liked, that most Scientologists I knew liked.

    I had a lot of arguments with the media firm, because some of my choices went against traditional media wisdom. They fought me tooth and nail, but I managed to cobble together some kind of a media strategy that I knew would reach the kind of people I was interested in talking to – people who would be intrigued by Scientology.

    The ABA Convention went well. We had everything ready – a big booth with huge transparencies of the new covers, literature and catalogs, and media schedules for the fall campaign. The reception from the book trade was lukewarm, but Len was able to pump it up. Walking around the floor of the ABA Convention with him was amazing – he seemed to know everyone. Every couple of feet someone would call out “Lenny!” By the end of the convention, we had “sold in” 250,000 books – most of that to a national distributor, Ingrams, who had warehouses all over the US and supplied most of the bookstores. Waldenbooks and B. Dalton declined to order, but said they would watch the sales and order from Ingrams. It was a start, a foot in the door.

    In July, Foster was called up to the Int Base, and was briefed on a new project he would be doing – the computerization of all of Scientology management. I was crestfallen – I had thought that he and I and Bruce Wilson would do the Dianetics Campaign together – the three Musketeers taking on all odds. But Foster didn’t feel that this was a project he could turn down. He assured me he’d be located right there in the Complex and he still considered the Dianetics Campaign to be his project as well. He was as good as his word, and in the coming months and years we met often, and he helped me out many times – unofficially. I was also able to help him a bit – designing a logo for his new enterprise, the International Network of Computer Organized Management, or INCOMM.

    Another blow came when I heard that Bruce and Tina had blown the Sea Organization – left “without authorization.” They had taken Gwennie, now 12 years old, with them and fled to the US Virgin Islands, where Bruce’s family lived. According to the rules of Scientology, they would be “declared Suppressive” and I would not be able to talk to them or Gwennie. As it turned out, I was able to bend the rules somewhat, convincing various Ethics Officers that Gwennie had only been 12 when she left, and was therefore “not Suppressive.” In that way I was able to keep in touch with her over the years with infrequent letters.

    So with Foster on his new project, and Bruce blown, I was on my own as the Strategic Book Marketing Unit I/C, the SBMU I/C, which was to be my post for the next four and a half years. I had plenty to do getting the campaign ready for launch. After the ABA sales, the pressure was on to get a campaign together. Don Spector was writing TV ads. He had been Creative Director for BBDO West and Foote, Cone and Belding, and seemed to know how to go about it. He studied the demographics and surveys and wrote three ads. They were in a testimonial format – one was a marathon runner, one a businessman, and one was an airplane pilot. Each ad ended up saying that they owed their success to Dianetics. They seemed straightforward and competently done, so I submitted them to Julia Watson at Author Services, who had taken over as my de facto senior from Frannie, and she forwarded them to Hubbard.

    Hubbard hit the roof. They were awful, he said. He took particular exception to the ending of one ad where a businessman threw a wadded up ball of paper and hit a wastebasket clear across the room – a sort of slam-dunk. Hubbard said that you never end an ad with something being thrown away as it says to the viewer, subliminally, that they should throw the product away. He tended to look at all advertising as a series of subliminal messages and these, he said, were sending the wrong subliminal message.

    He proceeded to rewrite them, dictating exactly how the ads were supposed to go. After Julia showed me the dispatch, I called Don and had him meet me. As it was late, I told him to meet me at Sarnos, a restaurant up Vermont Street. Julia and I met him there and went over the ads with him. It was not going well – Don was a veteran Creative Director and for him to have his work rejected like this was unusual. In the middle of the meeting, Julia had to go take a call, and when she came back, she was white. She pulled me aside and said that I had to fire Don, we could not work with him. I protested, but she was firm – that was the order from on high. I somehow managed to talk to Don, tried to soften the blow, but he was crestfallen and stormed out. I never saw him again.

    We had to find someone new, and fast. Our projected launch date was just a few months away. Len Foreman made a few calls, and recommended an ad producer named Jim Kellahan. Julia and I drove out to see him. We showed him the Hubbard ads, but he said he did not work that way, he scripted his own ads. Julia got the OK for him to write new ads, and he wrote four – two for Dianetics and two for Self Analysis. Julia sent the ads up to Hubbard for OK.

    The ads had to be shot right away, and so Kellahin assembled a crew and set a date for filming. But weeks went by, and still we had heard nothing back on the ads. It finally came right down to the wire and that fateful afternoon in the corridors of ASHO. The last minute approval of the ads was the last piece of the puzzle that had to fall into place.

    Nancy and I went on the ad shoot, along with Len Foreman. The first ad was about two mountain climbers. One of the mountain climbers slips, and the other one, the girl, rappels down and rescues him. Then they ascend to the top. The shoot took place on a remote mountain road in Ojai, and the stunt work was done on the side of a cliff next to the road. At the end of the day, a helicopter arrived and did the final, sweeping shot of the couple on the top of the mountain. It was impressive.

    That night, Nancy and I snuck away and had dinner with my Mom, who was living in Santa Barbara. The next day we got on a boat and went out to the Channel Islands, where the second ad would be filmed. It was about a “marine biologist” who was studying the seals on the island and, of course, recommends Dianetics. On the long trip, I got to know the cinematographer, Laslo Kovacs, who told me an amazing story about escaping from Hungary with rolls of exposed film of Communist atrocities wrapped around his body. Kovacs had filmed such classics as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, and Paper Moon.

    Once back in LA, Kellahin and crew filmed two simple testimonial ads for Self Analysis, our second release.

    The ads were all masterfully filmed and edited, and were instantly approved for use. By October, we had everything in place – the books were in the stores, thanks to Ingrams, the ads were ready to go, the media strategy was set. At the end of October, we would push the button, and the largest campaign for Dianetics ever done would be underway.

    And with it would come the largest boom ever for the Church of Scientology, a boom that would mask, for a while, the grim fact that the Church was beginning to fall apart at the seams.

    Just prior to the launch of the campaign, on October 17th 1982, a Mission Holders Conference was held in San Francisco by David Miscavige. It was a bloodbath. He and other ASI and CMO International execs berated the Mission Holders for hours, calling them criminals. They were not allowed to leave the room. Anyone who objected was declared on the spot.

    These were many of the top figures in Scientology at the time, men and women who owned and operated Scientology’s franchise operations. Many of them owned whole chains of Missions themselves. They were responsible for funneling thousands of new people into Scientology weekly. Their names were almost legendary within Scientology – Kingsley Wimbush, Martin Samuels, Bent Corydon, Brown McKee. Yet they were all declared, their missions seized. Even those not declared were assessed extortionate fines, and if they refused, were given “gang bang” Security Checks, where they would be put on an E-Meter and a group of executives would shout accusations at them.

    Some of this filtered down to us. Some on the rumor line, some the “official line.” We were told that the Mission Holders were criminals, and were “robbing the Church” and trying to take over Scientology. We were told that the key Mission Holders were Suppressives, and they had to be dealt with very forcefully. Miscavige was asserting his authority and “saving the Church from SPs.”

    The whole thing made me sick. How could those people all be Suppressive if they were responsible for bringing so many people into the Church? I didn’t know who was right and who was wrong. To me, it was another thing to add to my growing list of mysteries. Why had every person who had ever run a Dianetics Campaign been destroyed? Why had most of the highly productive Mission Holders been declared? It made no sense.

    I thought that the campaign would, in some almost magical way, help to resolve all this - sort of like taking an old car out on the freeway and just blowing all the crud out of the engine. It seemed that getting a huge inflow of new people would help to blow the petty politics and infighting out of Scientology and get everyone on track.

    And I was about to hit the accelerator.
     
  10. number 6

    number 6 Patron

    I hope he posts moar. I'm hooked.
     
  11. DartSmohen

    DartSmohen Silver Meritorious Patron

    Very well thought through and presented in a cogent manner.

    It joins up several of the dots for an area I had not been involved in.

    Good to read about Tina (old friend from St Hill days).

    I look forward to reading the rest of the story.

    DS
     
  12. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter 10: Rolling at Last

    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/06/chapter-ten-rolling-at-last.html
    Chapter 10: Rolling at Last

    It was a warm August day in 1986. I was in my office on the third floor of the main building in the PAC Scientology complex in LA – "Big Blue." We had the windows open and the fans running, to try to suck in any vestige of a breeze that we could. Out the open window, I could see Fountain Avenue below me, and across the street, New York George’s, where I sometimes had a bowl of chili. A simmering haze hung over the jumble of two-story apartments to the south – mostly Armenian and Vietnamese neighborhoods.

    But my attention was on the stat graph on the wall next to the window. Since mid-June, the sales of Dianetics had been climbing vertically. I had already added several extensions onto the graph, making it climb up the wall. Of course I could have re-scaled it, but it was more fun to just tack on the extensions so it got taller and taller. The numbers were amazing – we had gone from selling 3,000 books a week through the major chains to over 6,000 a week.

    And this was real sales, too. Later, people would say it was all "Scientologists going out and buying the books." No, not on my watch. That’s not the way I did things.

    Not that it hadn’t been suggested to me. They had done it for the launch of Hubbard’s fiction book, Battlefield Earth, in 1982. They mobilized Scientologists to go in and buy multiple copies to push up the numbers on the launch week, to try to get it on the bestseller lists. But I wasn’t interested in doing things that way. I was trying to get new people in to Scientology, I reasoned. So why on earth have Scientologists buy Dianetics books? They already have the book. Who are we trying to fool?

    I knew the reasoning behind it. Anything and everything to push the stats up, to get on the bestseller lists. It was that "stat push" attitude I had been fighting for years. Because in the final analysis, it was all fluff. It made you look good for a week, or a few weeks, and then reality caught up with you. I wasn’t interested. I was in for the long haul.

    So I did it the hard way, with advertising and PR. I guess that was manipulative enough in its own way, but at least no more so than Coca-Cola or any other advertising. And at least it was real books getting into the hands of real people. And people were buying Dianetics – by the thousands every week. I was able to get actual weekly cash register sales from the two largest bookstore chains in the country, B. Dalton Bookseller and Waldenbooks, and from the largest independent distributor in the country, Ingrams. I compiled these together and used that as my primary statistic. It represented about a third of the national sales, so if we were selling 6,000 books a week through Waldens, B. Daltons and Ingrams, it meant we were selling something like 18,000 books a week nationally.

    The only question now was how to keep it going. And that was what I was trying to figure out.

    Across the office, a phone was ringing. Where was everybody? I hated it when people just let a phone ring on and on. Finally I went across the room and picked it up.

    "What?" I said irritably.

    "Have you heard?" It was the voice of my PR Officer, Joanne Milan.

    "Heard what?" I asked. My attention was elsewhere.

    "We made the list," she said excitedly.

    My mind was trying to cope with this information. What was she talking about?

    "Are you still there?" she said. "The list, the New York Times Bestseller list. Dianetics is on the list!"

    Finally my brain processed the information and the news washed over me like a hot flash. The New York Times bestseller list – the Pulitzer Prize, the Oscar, the Holy Grail of bookselling. And finally we’d made it.

    It hadn’t been easy. A lot of research. A lot of testing. A lot of trying things out and seeing what happened. A lot of falling on our faces. But finally, finally, it was all paying off big time.

    It had taken four years. When we first launched the campaign in October of 1982, the results hadn’t been spectacular. In that first week, we sold something like 500 books. But Hubbard, bless him, came to the rescue. He pointed out that campaigns of this sort have to be continued over time. They aren’t a flash in the pan. They have to build and build. "You have a winning horse here that is not being fed enough oats," he said in a dispatch to management.

    In these heady days, I thought of Hubbard as my ally against the legions of stat pushers, an inspired leader who could see past the weekly stat graphs; who could see the bigger picture, the massive dissemination of Scientology through books, the booming Scientology Orgs, the broad acceptance in society as Scientology went mainstream. Sure, he stood to gain personally through the royalties on all the book sales. Sure he was not paying for all of this expensive promotion himself – it was being done at Church expense. But that wasn’t why he was supporting the campaign, was it? Certainly as the visionary Founder of Scientology, he was looking to the broader picture, the main game of Planetary Dissemination.

    But whatever the reason, my Strategic Book Marketing Unit had broad air cover and we were left to get on with it. And no one was panicking or calling for my head if the stats dipped for a week. I got a clearance to attend weekly meetings at Scientology’s International Base – in a "confidential location." My old friend Ken Delderfield, now working at ASI, drove me up there the first time, and I remember driving on and on through winding desert roads and finally coming to a rather run down former hot springs resort in San Jacinto, California, near Hemet. For years, we had weekly meetings there where I would brief Scientology’s senior executives on my current strategy and actions.

    So we continued to pour it on. And gradually the sales improved. Soon Dianetics was on the Ingrams bestseller list - that meant that the book stores were selling Dianetics and then reordering from the distributor. Then the book appeared on the bestseller lists of Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Bookseller, the two largest chains. We were rolling.

    Len Foreman was hired on as a permanent publishing consultant. His contract was negotiated by ASI, and included a six-figure annual income. He was appointed as "President" of Bridge Publications, a title that was all but meaningless internally, but that gave him clout with the publishing industry – and gave Bridge a very credible public face. Len was given an office near to the building’s entrance where he could receive visitors. At this time, Bridge was on the west side of the "Big Blue" complex, fronting on Catalina Street. The front-lines "public areas" were poshed up to give Bridge a public façade.

    Len advised that Bridge put together a sales force to handle the book trade. Don Arnow had been appointed the Trade Sales Manager, but he was a long-term Sea Org staffer and had no real experience as a salesman. Len wanted to hire a real publishing sales rep, and he recommended a guy named Bob Erdmann.

    Bob fit the part. With his easy smile, his thin mustache, and his receding hairline, he could have been a salesman out of Central Casting. He always had a joke to tell. Bob had worked in the industry for years, and knew most of the buyers for the large book chains. He set to work right away negotiating with the chains to close big orders.

    Len and Bob recommended that we work out a major re-launch of the Dianetics Campaign for the fall of 1983. This was to become a pattern – about every three months we’d introduce something new – a new ad, a new campaign, a new book cover – to keep the trade excited and buying. Every fall was a major new campaign, and we would hype the book trade on it at the American Booksellers Association Convention in June and take their fall orders.

    In early 1983, I was visited by a Scientologist, Lon Tinney, who said he was a film director and would like to work on some new Dianetics ads. Lon seemed to be enthusiastic, and the idea of working with a Scientologist appealed to me at the time. With his blond hair and beard, he looked like an aging surfer, and he had a bit of a slacker-genius vibe about him. His claim to fame was that he had worked in some capacity on the original Star Wars film, and this gave him some cachet as a "Scientology celebrity." We became friends, and started working out ad concepts.

    For one of the ads I wanted to feature a well-known Scientologist – a celebrity. We began negotiating with John Brodie, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who was probably the biggest Scientology celebrity at the time. John graciously agreed to do an ad. For a second ad, we decided to do an anonymous dancer who would promote Dianetics, and for the third ad, we resurrected the marathon runner ad – one of the original ads that Hubbard had seen and rewritten.

    Lon and I went up to San Francisco and filmed Brodie in an empty Candlestick Park. Brodie impressed me as a genuinely nice guy, and he and I sat in a rental car and worked over his success story until we were both happy with it, then drilled it over and over until he could remember it all. After a number of takes, he got through the whole thing smoothly – and he looked great on film.

    ...Continued
     
  13. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter 10 continued

    The second ad turned into a debacle. The movie Flashdance had just come out and Lon’s idea was to do a testimonial story that would capture some of that dancing excitement. It started out as a dance rehearsal and then faded into the actual performance at the end, with flashy costumes and lights. We rented a big studio space in Hollywood to set it up. This was when breakdancing was big and the finale was supposed to be some sort of breakdance move, with the dancer flipping around on the floor, but the dancer couldn’t do it smoothly and just looked clumsy. Julia, my de facto senior at ASI, was at the filming and was soon a nervous wreck – she could see it wasn’t going well. Lon shot it over and over – then said he could "handle it in editing" – a phrase I later learned was director’s code for "it looks terrible and can’t be fixed." We ended up scrapping the ad.

    We filmed the third ad, the marathon runner, in Griffith Park – in the midst of a real marathon. It was strictly a guerrilla operation – no permits. We shot the tracking dolly shots out the back of a moving car, and otherwise grabbed shots on the fly. For all that, it ended up looking pretty good.

    So we had two new ads to put into the mix, and we played the ads against each other and watched the results in sales. The most effective one was the John Brodie ad, which we ended up playing for several years – until he finally left Scientology after a disagreement with management.

    Meanwhile I kept building up the unit. After changing offices several times, we finally ended up on the 3rd floor of the main building, in a spacious office in the southwest wing – the proverbial "corner office." We had two large rooms – plenty of space. Nancy became my "Organizing Officer" and handled all the internal matters such as staffing, training, and finance.

    I considered public relations a key part of the campaign, so got a PR Officer, Joanne Milan. Joann was a pale, thin, nervous lady with a bright mind and a knack for press agentry. She and I would cook up ideas for press releases and then take them to the "LRH Public Relations Bureau" to get articles placed and interviews scheduled. The LRH PR Bureau had been set up to handle Hubbard’s public relations, and they had offices all over the world. The central office was in LA. I argued that there was no more important action for Hubbard’s PR unit to be doing than getting his books on the bestseller lists, and pretty soon, Joanne and I were virtually running the PR Office, even hiring additional people to get on the phones, place stories, and book interviews with Scientology celebs or spokespeople. Soon they were placing hundreds of stories about Dianetics every week. Joann and I would write the releases and they’d get them out. My favorite was the "flying grandmother" who had, at 82, "cured her arthritis" with Dianetics and had then become the oldest person in the US to get a private pilots license. People loved that story.

    The LRH PR Bureau also hired a small PR firm – Dateline Communications, run by Bill and Bev Widder. Bill was an old-time PR man and a joy to work with, always coming up with great ideas to get the word out. He wasn’t a Scientologist, but liked working with us. He had even met Hubbard in the early 1950’s.

    My researcher was a bright young woman named Joanne Hawkins. She was no relation, but it became a standing joke in the office when people would say to her "Oh, are you married to Jeff?" She’d smile brightly and say "No, he’s my dad!" She looked young enough to pull it off. For years after that, even when we no longer worked together, I’d call her "daughter" and she’d call me "dad." When she joined the unit, I told her we already had a Joann and she’d have to choose another name. I was halfway serious – it’s confusing when two people in a small office have the same name. She said she had once had the nickname Josie, so from then on she was Josie. Linda Sukkestad, the surveyor who had worked with us from the beginning, worked under Josie.

    And there was a Canadian couple who joined the unit – Phil and Diane Anderson. Phil was a fast talker and a bit of a scamp – we took to calling him "Eddie Haskell" after Wally Cleaver’s smart-ass best friend in the TV series "Leave It to Beaver" – whom he resembled. His wife was a sweet lady, a former ballerina, and very bright. Phil took over as my "Project Manager" – mainly running the sales and distribution lines – while Diane took over the finance lines under Nancy.

    And then there was the office cat. Nancy had found a bedraggled kitten in the Complex basement and had cleaned it up and adopted it. She called him Nougie, after his nougat-colored coat. He became an endless source of entertainment. He was convinced that he was a dog and would play fetch with me for 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

    There were others who came and went, but this was the basic team over the years. I later added two designers and a Media Director – all Scientologists who were professional in those fields, but not Sea Org. They were paid regular wages. The unit was fairly stable at 10 or 11 people.
    But our influence was wider. Joanne Milan was running half a dozen people in the LRH PR Office who were sending out press releases and booking interviews for Dianetics full time. She was also directing a Bill and Bev Widder in their actions. Phil was directing the Bridge Publications trade sales force. Josie was running an ad hoc network of surveyors all over the US. I was running a media firm, Ed Libov and Associates, with several hundred staff. So we were really directing the actions of hundreds of people, who in turn were reaching thousands of bookstores, TV stations, radio stations, magazines and newspapers all over the US. It grew into quite an operation.

    Nancy worked out a bonus system, based on sales, and got it approved. This enabled us to get a bit of extra money, which we stashed away, and soon Nancy and I could afford a car, an old used Honda we bought for $2000 cash. That made getting around town a lot easier.

    I never paid much attention to organizing things – at least not with the obsessive zeal that most Scientology executives demonstrated. The usual procedure when starting an activity was to write an extensive project, detailing every single thing that was to be done in great and meticulous detail. This project was then to be followed to the letter with absolutely no deviation. I considered this a grand waste of time for several reasons – one of them being that one never knows what one is going to run into, so one has to stay very flexible to succeed. It’s like in a battle – they say any battle planning goes out the window the minute the first shot is fired. You can’t set everything down in concrete before you’ve even started work and expect that you’ve covered every contingency. It led to rigidity and stupidity. I recall someone from the Commodore’s Messenger Org writing to us and asking for "a copy of our program." Nancy dashed something off and we sent it to them – but it had little relation to what we were actually doing – which was a lot of testing, improvising and trying things out.

    ...continued
     
  14. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter 10 continued

    Another point was "Organizing Boards." Hubbard was obsessive about drawing up elaborate organization charts and claimed to have made breakthroughs in the area that turned an ordinary org chart into a "philosophical machine" that would assure success. As a result, Scientology executives labored for hours over these ornate org charts, and they would eventually appear on large formica boards with lots of dymotape and colored lines. I didn’t have time for that – everyone in the unit knew what they were supposed to do and who they answered to, so I kept it loose and light.

    But the idea of an overall "Planetary Dissemination Organization" that would encompass all of the various Church marketing units had never died. Hubbard had written to the CO CMO International in 1981 on the subject, and that dispatch was still floating around, never "complied to." In mid-1983, there was another attempt to pull all of the marketing units together under one umbrella organization. It was short-lived.

    I, for one, had definite ideas about how to conduct the Dianetics campaign, and wasn’t about to let anyone interfere with my unit’s operation. This tended to put me at odds with any "CO Planetary Dissem Org" who attempted to come in, with no real knowledge or familiarity, and order my staff or tell me what to do.

    And, with our success and our air cover, it was too easy to do an end run around such interference. At one point, I was actually "removed from post" by an overzealous CO PDO, a guy named Mike Eves. As I often did when I got mad, I went and saw my friend Foster Tompkins, who at this time was running INCOMM, the Church computer operation. I fumed and stomped around, and Foster calmed me down and we worked out a plan. He set me up with a computer and a telephone in a back office in INCOMM, a sort of secret headquarters from which I ran my unit covertly. I sent a report right away to the CO CMO International, Marc Yager, and within a few days was put "back on post." Meanwhile, there had not even been a hiccup in our operations.
    Through my friends at ASI, I found out that Hubbard was very pleased with the campaign, and in late 1983, he wrote:

    "All those personnel engaged in the promotion, sales and marketing which has led to the tremendous success of the National DMSMH Campaign (U.S.) are highly commended. These personnel, after 33 years, have created an affluence in the sales of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. This is a tremendous accomplishment. I have no doubt that this will continue into the future and we will achieve our goal of a cleared planet."

    In 1984, I got interested in computer animation, which was the buzz in the LA film industry. Tron had come out in 1982, and everyone was speculating about the possibilities. I got the idea to do a computer animated ad for Dianetics, including an exploding volcano. I got approval to do it, and began work with one of the first computer graphics firms. They had one of the original Cray computers, a thing that filled a whole room and looked like a big circular airport lounge seat. It came with its own humans – guys in suits with buzz haircuts and black, rubber-soled shoes. The guys who did the graphics, on the other hand, wore plaid workshirts and had unkempt beards. The ad was simple – the camera zoomed through a scary-looking maze and then emerged from the maze as a volcano explodes and then morphs into the Dianetics book. It’s the sort of thing that today a 16 year old could make on his laptop in an hour or so, but then it was a big deal. It took eight weeks of designing, programming and rendering. The result was, for that time, pretty amazing and got a lot of attention.

    Gradually, we learned the ebb and flow of the publishing industry. Sales always peaked at Christmas, but I found I could get even higher sales in January by punching the advertising. The ads were cheap at the beginning of the year, but the store traffic was still high. Spring was always a down period, but picked up in the summer with vacation reading. New titles were released in the fall, and sales would gradually increase to the end of the year. I also learned how to pulse the TV ads for maximum effect – on for four weeks and then off for three. By the time the sales started tailing off, I’d hit it again hard.

    Soon, the campaign started having an obvious effect on overall Church of Scientology statistics. The income of Churches around the US started to rise significantly. One of our actions as part of the campaign was to collect More Information Cards (or "MICs" – everything in Scientology has to have an acronym). These were cards that were slipped into the Dianetics books and were then sent in by people to request more information about Dianetics. I calculated at one time that about five percent of Dianetics book buyers sent in the cards. It was a seemingly small percentage, but with 10,000 or 15,000 books being sold every week, that amounted to 500 to 750 cards every week – people who had actually reached to find out about the subject. The cards were sent to the nearest Org, and they followed up on them. I was told by many Org "Public Divisions" staff that this was their main source of new prospects. It was the cards that were driving the boom.

    This fact was well known by management at the time. Once I was talking to Mark Ingber, who at the time was the CMO Watchdog Committee member in charge of the Sea Org’s Financial Reserves. I was asking about the possibility of increasing the advertising budget. He leaned towards me confidentially.

    "Frankly, your budgets are a drop in the bucket," he confided. "This campaign is making us a lot of money."

    So the unit was protected, and we were allowed to run the campaign pretty much as we saw fit. In fact, we were all allowed to stay on post when the rest of Scientology took off to Portland in May of 1985 for the Portland Crusade. A former Scientologist, Julie Christofferson, had sued the Church of Scientology for fraud, and had been awarded $39 million in damages, $20 million of that against Hubbard personally. David Miscavige, by that time running the Church, mobilized virtually the entirety of Scientology to handle this "flap," chartering planes and buses to take Scientologists to Portland for a massive "Religious Freedom Crusade." The PAC Scientology Complex seemed empty, as every spare staff member was sent up there, even the RPF. Skeleton crews were kept at the service organizations to keep delivering Scientology training and processing (and making money). And we kept the Dianetics Campaign going. We got our chance to march later, in 1986, when the Wollersheim trial came to Los Angeles. We spent a few hours at the LA "Religious Freedom Crusade" marching around the courthouse downtown.

    For about a year, Nancy left the unit and became Marketing Executive International, working as the senior Church marketing executive under the Executive Director International. She worked at the Int Base near Hemet, and we saw each other rarely, but as I had clearance for the Base, I would sometimes drive up on a weekend and spirit her off to a fancy hotel in San Diego.

    ...continued
     
  15. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter 10 continued

    In 1985, we started branching out internationally. Len and I went over to Europe for the Paris Bookfair, and also visited my old org, the Scientology Publications Organization in Copenhagen, now called New Era Publications International, or NEPI. There, I started a "Strategic Book Marketing Unit Europe" and found an In Charge for the unit, Andy Kunzli, who had been the Director of Promotion for the Advanced Organization there and was chomping at the bit to get into broad public campaigns. I also met the man in charge of book trade sales at NEPI, Michel Moatty, who would be a good friend for many years.

    Len and I also traveled to the south of France to meet an old publishing contact of Len’s, Oswald Boxer. He was the man, Len told me, responsible for introducing paperback books to Europe just after the war. We wanted to hire Oswald to be the publishing consultant for Europe. He happened to be vacationing in Nice, so Len and I had to go through the ordeal of spending three days on the French Riviera. Oswald was a wonderful old man, and he agreed to consult for NEPI. Our Copenhagen arm soon began running their own campaigns based on the one we were running in the U.S.

    In 1986, I met another Scientologist film director, Mitch Brisker. Mitch had done some TV ads, and was eager to do work for the Church. He and I hit it off right away, he was funny and smart. His family was Russian Jewish, and he showed me the best Russian restaurants downtown. He and I also shared a passion for the new Apple Macintosh computers. In those days, they were slow and had a tiny screen, but were lots of fun. As Mitch put it, "why spend an hour doing something when you can spend three hours and do it on the Mac."

    Mitch and I decided to do the "Stunt Pilot" ad – one of the original 1982 ads that had been rejected by Hubbard and rewritten by him. We hired a stunt pilot and an old biplane, and rented a helicopter. Interestingly enough, we filmed the final scene, of the pilot holding the book, from a camera fixed to the wing as he flew. When we looked at the footage, it looked fake - like it had been shot on the ground. So we ended up shooting it on the ground, with the cameraman weaving and bobbing, and the propeller blowing everything around. It looked realistic.
    In the middle of that shoot, I collapsed, and was rushed to the doctor – Gene Denk’s local clinic where there were Scientologist doctors. They found I had a collapsed lung. I was bedridden for a couple of weeks and the Marketing Exec Int at the time, Caroline Mustard, came to LA to finish the ad shoot and help run the unit in my absence. I recovered fine, and took back over the unit.

    In early 1986, we had shocking news. We were all ushered over to the Hollywood Palladium on Hollywood Boulevard for a "special briefing." No one could be absent. Scientology public were also required to attend. Whatever it was, it was important – and serious. I wondered if there had been another FBI raid.

    We were ushered in to the Palladium, which was eerily quiet as the audience filed to their seats. A cheesy graphic of a golden bridge and a large OT symbol had been hastily erected on stage. The lights dimmed, and a tiny figure walked out on stage and up to the microphone.

    "Hello," he said, "My name is David Miscavige."

    Miscavige had arrogated for himself the position of Master of Ceremonies, something he was to do consistently in the coming years. I think he realized the inherent power of that position – after all, it was the Master of Ceremonies who brought others on and off the stage.

    He began to describe Hubbard’s OT research, how he was charting the upper OT levels. "Two weeks ago," he explained, "LRH completed his research. He has now moved on to the next level of OT research beyond anything we can imagine. At this level, the human body is nothing more that an impediment. Therefore, on Friday, the 24th of January, AD 36, L. Ron Hubbard discarded his body." ("AD" was "after Dianetics," which had been published in 1950.)

    Miscavige told us that we should not feel grief, but I found myself tearing up nonetheless. Like most Scientologists, I had considered Hubbard a friend and mentor. I knew nothing of the reality of Hubbard’s final years, of his decline into madness and illness. The impression I had was that he had been lucid and in control to the end. Now Miscavige was saying that he had voluntarily "moved on" to the next level – a sort of suicide – to continue his "OT research."

    The rest of the event went by in a strange blur. The Scientology lawyer, Earle Cooley, went into great detail about how the body had been handled, and repeated that Hubbard had been in control to the end. He told us that Hubbard had great confidence that "the Church was in good hands." Then Pat Broeker spoke, the man who had been with Hubbard for the last few years, and again repeated that it was Hubbard’s "causative decision" to leave the body. It was a strange event, and the cheers and applause bothered me. I wouldn’t discover for many years why that event seemed so strange – it was a complete fabrication. Hubbard had died in madness and pain, what was left of his mind addled by drugs, with Broker and Miscavige fighting over the scraps of his religion. But I knew nothing of this, I only knew that the Old Man was dead, and it was now up to us.

    I redoubled my dedication. I determined that in 1986, I wanted to do a major re-launch of the Dianetics campaign. The book trade was getting complacent, and the sales had leveled. I needed something new, a whole new approach. At that time I got to know a Scientologist, Rick Rogers, who had worked in the ad business, at Chiat Day. I hired him to work with me and we began brainstorming a new campaign.

    I wanted, somehow, to get people interested in what was in the book. Not just flash slogans and images at them, but pique their curiosity. I sketched out a print ad that had a picture of the book with a bunch of questions around it, like "Why do you lose self respect?" and "What makes people unhappy?" and so on. Each question had a page reference saying what page to find the answer on.

    Rick liked the idea. "Why don’t we do it as a TV ad?" he suggested. We storyboarded it out. It was idiotically simple. A series of three questions appeared, white type on a black field. Each one listed a page number – but didn’t say what book. Finally, the announcer said, "The book? Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard." At that point we inserted the animated volcano from my "Maze" ad, and it morphed into the book. It was so moronically simple that people I showed it to didn’t get it. "That’s not a TV ad," they’d say.

    Of course, since then, everyone has done white letters on black, and it’s become a cliché, but in those days no one had done it. We were, as far as I know, the first. And people just didn’t get it.
    "Let’s just make the ad," I told Rick finally. "It will cost us nothing to put together, and then people can see it."

    I hired two Scientologist musicians to do the background music, Geoff Levin and Chris Many. I had been listening to an electronic music group called Tangerine Dream, and told Geoff and Chris that I wanted something like that – something staccato and edgy. They made me the perfect piece – something that would get viewers wondering "what’s that?"

    For the announcer, I hired a talented voice artist named Greg Burson. He asked me what kind of voice I wanted, and I said "The Voice of God." He nailed it, with a James Earl Jones basso rumble that dripped with Authority.

    The final ad was just what I wanted – dark, edgy, mysterious. Something that would stand out amid the frothy TV clutter of the mid-1980’s, with its banal songs, color and glitter. This was minimalist and arresting. And when I showed it to executives, they finally got it – this would get attention.

    I made another connection in 1986, a Scientologist who was a professional media buyer, Jan Gildersleeve. She had done a lot of work for Ron Popiel – the "Ronco" infomercial wizard – and knew a lot about direct response advertising. I explained to her my ongoing battle with my media firm, Ed Libov and Associates, how they wanted to just robotically total up Gross Rating Points, and I wanted to target niche audiences with specific programming. She got it right away. After a couple of meetings with Libov, she advised that we get a new firm, which we did, the International Communications Group, or ICG. Jan set about putting together the kind of media buy I had always wanted to do.

    Ever since the beginning of the campaign in 1982, we had run what they call "spot buys" – individual cities. We ran anywhere from 10 to 20 cities at one time. We had never run a truly national campaign. One day, Jan came to me with some information about a new kind of television we could test out - cable. Of course, cable TV had been around in some form since the beginning of television, but 1984 deregulation had made it attractive to set up big commercial cable networks, and a lot of major players had jumped into the pool.

    "It’s still very cheap," Jan told me, "because it’s not rated by Nielsen, and no one knows what kind of numbers it’s going to do. But the demographics of the cable viewer match our demographics exactly – young, educated, predominantly male. And it’s national."

    I studied the programming. It was exactly what I was looking for. The demographics and the programming matched our target perfectly.

    "Let’s do it," I told her.

    "You want me to set up a pilot?" she asked.

    "No, I just want to go with it," I told her. "The whole budget."

    It was a gamble, but not a very risky one. The research said it was perfect. And I knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance. In six months to a year, cable would be too expensive. But we could do it cheaply if we acted now.

    I pulled all the other ads and just went with the new "Questions" ads. I was going all out.
    And it paid off. The minute we launched in June, the sales went vertical. I couldn’t believe the figures. And they just kept climbing and climbing. Four years of experience, four years of trial and error, was now paying off big time. Dianetics popped onto every major bestseller list, and in August 1986, went onto the New York Times Bestseller List – the prime list for the publishing world. It was to stay on that list for more than a year.

    We rolled in to the Christmas buying season like a freight train, with over 30,000 Dianetics books selling every single week. It was a phenomenon. Churches were affluent and flooded with new, interested people. It looked like we were on the verge of making it – Scientology going mainstream.

    I looked back on the past four years, and remembered my early trepidation about launching the campaign. I remembered my discovery that every single person who had ever run such a campaign in the past had been annihilated, shot from guns, blacklisted. It seemed I had not only escaped that curse, but had finally achieved the success that they had worked for. The future looked bright.

    Little did I know that there was a bullet headed straight for my head.

    And this time, I would have no way to dodge it.
     
  16. Dulloldfart

    Dulloldfart Squirrel Extraordinaire

    What you might call a cliffhanger. :)

    Good stuff. Thanks, FTS.

    Paul
     
  17. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    I haven't copied over all the photos though - please check the original blog, they are worth seeing. :)
     
  18. Wisened One

    Wisened One Crusader

    Gahhhh, next, next!!?? :drama:
     
  19. Good twin

    Good twin Floater

    OMG I am so there. I used to sell sometimes 50 books a week during that campaign. Those were "glory years" in many ways. I ran a course in my living room and sold books door to door targeting people who had cable TV. That's how good the ads were. It was so easy to get stats up, it was easy to ignore the crumbling of sanity in management. I have a feeling we'll be hearing about this very soon......
    :yes:
     
  20. Free to shine

    Free to shine Shiny & Free

    Chapter Eleven

    Chapter Eleven : Planetary Dissemination
    http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/2008/07/chapter-eleven-planetary-dissemination.html

    "You wanted to see me, Sir?"

    I poked my head into the office of the new Commanding Officer of the Planetary Dissemination Organization, Ronnie Miscavige.

    "Yes, come in Jeff." He indicated the chair across the desk from his deputy, Bill Dendiu, and I sat down. They both looked very serious.

    It was early January, 1987. Ronnie and Bill had arrived unexpectedly that morning. They had briefed the staff of my Strategic Book Marketing Unit that they were sent by the Chairman of the Board RTC, David Miscavige, to establish a new Planetary Dissemination Organization, which was to include my unit. Ronnie was to be the new CO of this org, and Bill was his Deputy CO for Production.

    I didn’t know much about them. I knew Ronnie was David Miscavige’s brother, and I could see the family resemblance. Ronnie was taller and had blond hair and he seemed more easygoing, more laid back than his intense younger brother. Dendiu, I knew, had been a major figure in the Portland Crusade, and was known as a go-to guy who could get the impossible done. He bore a certain resemblance to the actor Michael Keaton, and had, in the distant past, done standup comedy in Hollywood. I would get to know Bill very well in the coming years, and would discover that conversations with him tended to be a one-way monologue. He could be very funny. He could also be cruel and abusive, and it was that side of him that I saw first.

    "You’ve been ripping off the Church," he began.

    "I beg your pardon?" The last thing I expected was an attack.

    "That bonus system of yours – you and your staff have been ripping off thousands of dollars of Church money," Dendiu spat out. His face was flushed red with anger.

    "Wait a minute – that bonus system was approved by the Int Finance Office…" I stammered.

    "You think that gives you the right to make more than any other Sea Org Member?" He challenged.

    "We’ve been selling more books than anyone ever has in the history of Scientology," I countered. "We have it on every major bestseller list…"

    "You’re making more money than the Chairman of the Board RTC!" he screamed. Of course that was a lie. At that time, Miscavige was paying himself over $85,000 a year, and our bonuses were a few thousand dollars a year. And I’d spent my savings on a second-hand car I was using to do my job!

    Bill was not to be deterred, and it went from bad to worse, with accusation after accusation. "You’ve been sleeping with Jan Gildersleeve, haven’t you?" he screamed.

    The thought was ludicrous. I was very happily married to Nancy. Jan, my Media Director, was brilliant, plain and practical.

    I tried to appeal to Ronnie. "Can I speak to you privately?" I asked. Something was very wrong here – I needed to find out what. He shook his head, and sat placidly watching. Obviously this was part of their orders, to viciously attack me – but why?

    The accusations went on and on, for more than an hour. I was screamed at, accused of every crime under the sun, and finally assigned a "lowered condition." I finally left, broken and very confused. We had just ended the biggest book sales year in the history of Scientology. I had been responsible for the sales of millions of books. Dianetics was on all the major bestseller lists. Why was I the subject of a vicious personal attack? It made no sense. And there was no explanation forthcoming, other than that I was "out-ethics."

    Ronnie and Bill set up their office across the hall from my corner office on the 3rd floor of the Main Building. They began emptying out all of the offices on that wing of the building – this was to be the new Planetary Dissemination Org. They began running me and my unit with daily "Product Conferences" and inspections.

    By February, Dianetics book sales had started to drop – as they did every year at that time. In fact, every publisher in the United States was experiencing the same drop, it was called "seasonal variation." But Dendiu was having none of it. After all, Hubbard never mentioned "sales curves" or "seasonal variations," so they didn’t exist. According to Hubbard, there was only one thing to look at, and that was the weekly line on the graph. If it was up, the person was OK, if it was down, the person was "downstat" and "out-ethics." "Don’t get reasonable about down statistics," Hubbard preached. "They are down because they are down…Any duress leveled by ethics should be reserved for down statistics."

    Never mind that even with the slight February dip, we were still selling more books than anyone had ever done in Scientology’s history. I was "down stat" and that called for duress. And Dendiu was willing to supply that duress. He began talking publicly and noisily about how "incompetent" I was and how I was a failure at running the campaign. This was repeated over and over until I half believed it myself. He announced that he was "taking over the campaign" from his position as D/CO Production. This is what Hubbard called "bypass." When statistics go down, it is expected that the senior declare a "Danger Condition," bypass and handle the situation directly, ignoring the junior.

    Of course, Bill had absolutely no idea of what to do. He had, literally, no clue as to where to start to handle the campaign. He fell back on another bit of Hubbard "tech," the "Power Change Violation Repair Formula." This is supposed to be done when a "Power Condition" (the highest condition there is, when statistics are going up, up, up) was violated as new incumbents lost touch with earlier "successful actions." He never acknowledged that my campaign had been in a Power Condition, but did the formula anyway.

    He had me draw up a long list of the "successful actions" that had gotten the stats up. So I did. He then turned this into a program, a series of targets to be accomplished, and called it "Program X." Then he would call meetings of all concerned and call off these targets and demand "is that DONE?" and if not, the person had hell to pay.

    Of course, this had nothing whatsoever to do with what had been successful. What had created the sales was a lot of teamwork and initiative, good research and analysis, and good creative solutions by everyone on the team. To replace that with these top-down, authoritarian meetings, full of threat and bombast, was a travesty. And, of course, it didn’t work.

    ...continued
     

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