This is my first post here, so I guess I should tell my tale.
I moved to San Francisco with buddy Frank Kuhl in January1972. Took up living in a communal house in Noe Valley for 3 months, doing drugs daily until the money I had saved ran out. Had a falling out with Frank when I found out he had been stealing from me. I moved out.
A girlfriend got me a gig watching the house of this rich Psychiatrist in Palo Alto named Frank Gerbode. The Gerbode family was away at some place called the Saint Hill Academy in Sussex, England. I read some of the books in their library and what I read seemed cool (I had never seen small hard bound books like these). These books were marked with arcane looking symbols, and discussed a subject called Scientology. Being raised as a Christian, I did have concerns, but when I read “The Creed of the Church” and “The Code of Honor”, my fears were allayed. After all, the book said “it was against the laws of God to destroy or enslave another’s soul”. The book defined “truth” as what works with the idea that if it works for you, its true.
Shortly after moving, I broke up with that girlfriend and found myself alone, living in a strange town. The only people I knew were drug dealers in the East Palo Alto ghetto war zone. One night at a party, I was the only white guy there and I was offered some heroin. I snorted a couple lines and scared myself silly. I liked it! I realized that I had reached a crossroads. I could turn back now, or keep heading forward on the same oblivion express that had consumed all of my icons (Jimi Hendrix, Janice Joplin, & Jim Morrison).
I bailed on that scene. I stopped doing drugs, cold turkey. Needless to say, I felt like crap, raving and paranoid. I recall walking around the streets of Palo Alto, just knowing that people were watching me and talking about me behind my back. When the Gerbodes returned, I went to Frank ( whom everyone called “Sarge”) for help in getting over my problems. He agreed to give me some counseling, but insisted on a thing called exchange. I began taking care of his garden as well as other chores around the place.
Instead of taking me to his office, Sarge took me to a small room upstairs in a small office building in downtown Palo Alto. He put some cans in my hand and asked a bunch of questions. After that, he introduced me to Mary, the registrar. She signed me up for a Communications Course, which cost $50.00. She let me put $20.00 down (all I had) and was taken to the course room.
There I was introduced to the Scientology “small bite” method of learning. You read a page, you demo with clay, you get “checked out” by your supervisor. Even us reformed hippies with our damaged short term memories could get through courses that way.
After reading a bit of bulletins we got into the drills called “TR’s” and we got paired up with another student to sit and stare at each other. I was on the course at the same time as Kurt Feshbach and another girl names Lidda. The supervisor was Penny Silber, wife of Marc Silber who was an auditor at the time. The mission was owned by Phil Spickler.
I found a job at a local plumbing store and within a few months had earned enough to buy a bicyle and pay for my next course, which was called the HQS course. I believe that course cost $150.00 and included the Student Hat course. I was attending course every day. Since I had nothing else going on in my life, I didn’t mind the commitment.
Toward the end of ’72 I moved into a communal house in Palo Alto with Steve and Kathy Hutchins & I continued the HQS Course which also included co-auditing all of the objectives. I was paired with Steve Longbotham for quite a bit of the time. Both of us tended to go into glee during the tedium of hours of objective processing. Other people I knew there were Mary Ribero, Barbara Slatkin, Davina Rubin, Patricia and Denny Reyling, as well as Debbie White. I also met Kurt Feshbach’s older brothers: Matt and Joe. A good number of the mission clientele lived in Atherton, a wealthy town north of Palo Alto, where the minimum lot size was one acre, with property values beginning at a million dollars an acre just for the lot.
During this time, the Palo Alto Mission moved to its upscale new location in an old mansion on Middlefield Road. The course room was the former living room, with beautiful French windows. Upstairs, was the HGC where Sarge, Gerald French and Marc audited under the C/Sing of Mimi Spickler (later Mimi Rogers who was 16 at the time.) During this time, numerous celebrities were in and out. The most notables being 49ers star QB, John Brodie and Dr. Hal Putoff of SRI. Mary, the registrar was very helpful. She pointed out that there were two ways to get up the bridge (Hubbard’s path to enlightenment). The first was the Auditing route which was fast but expensive (Auditing was $35.00 an hour). The second was the training route where you co-audit as part of your training. Considering my economics, I chose the training route.
Somewhere in this time I finally had enough money to buy an old VW van, which I fixed up and drove. I took up with a girl named Penny Commons. I moved into a house with her and two of her girlfriends. That lasted a month, since the owner was a fundamentalist Christian who considered our living arrangement sinful. Penny & I broke up and I lived in my van for a while.
In Spring of 1973 I got my own apartment. It was old and tiny. I fixed up the place and built a loft bed. By this time I had finished my co-audit of the objectives and had enough to kick out $500 for the Dianetics Course.
Note that at this time, the Palo Alto mission was really a nice place to be. Everyone was friendly. Needless to say, the mest was upstat. The building was beautiful and well maintained. Phil drove a beautiful Tran-Am that John Brodie had given him. Phil gave Sunday lectures every Sunday evening and there would be music. I recall hearing Amanda Ambrose perform. Frequently, the center (as it was called) would hold parties, which were catered affairs with champagne and hors doeuvres. It was obvious that there was a certain class structure, based on ones income & education, but all seemed welcome, none the less.
We also went to events. I recall that a group of us went to an event in San Francisco where we heard a talk by LRH’s son Quentin. The talk was filled with references to space ships and recent galactic history. The sci-fi buff in me ate this stuff up.
I met Betsy Withers(now Betsy White) at one of the parties held at the mission and we immediately hit it off. We began dating. Her mother didn’t like me because I didn’t quite fit into the strata of society that she felt she and her daughter did( I wasn’t rich.) But, Betsy and I had fun and sang together. We performed for Sunday Services on several occasions, and even once went and played at the Los Gatos mission one Sunday evening.
My co-auditing with Steve continued as well as a few other students. One lady (Gisselle McDonald, I believe) that I audited had tremendous wins and thanked me so profusely that I thought that this is something that I might want to do for a living. I was thoroughly indoctrinated now into the goal of a civilization without war and insanity. Hey! This stuff worked! One of the things that every course stressed was that an auditor was the most valuable being on the planet. I took the ministers course and went up to the San Francisco Org to be ordained. I recall the high of walking around the streets of San Francisco in my minister get up.
I completed my Dianetics and attested to case completion, as well. It was at this point that I had to make a decision. My next step on the training route was the Dianetic Internship and the Academy Levels. The price of these courses added up to about $1800 and was well beyond my means. However, Mary worked out a loan from an HGC PC named Eva Lauk that I could repay by auditing her kids grades, when I got back from my training. About that time I lost my job at the plumbing store (a whole other story). So I went off to the org for training.
My first impression of the org was “What a dump”. They had 2 floors of the building on McCallister and it was old and buggy. There was a huge picture of Hubbard in the courseroom and each day the staff and students would stand and applaud this picture. The people there weren’t as friendly as the mission people, either. At one point I recall getting called into ethics for spreading “verbal tech.” I had been talking with someone about some of the stories Quenin Hubbard had said, and a staff member overheard.
But, I enjoyed auditing. I managed to survive my time on course. Statistics were pushed more here than in the mission, but I soon adapted to the routine. The internships were awkward, due to the availability of preclears to audit. If I had begun my Scientology in this bleak and unfriendly a place, I doubt that I would have stayed, but I learned the ropes and I finally completed my training and routed off. My goal was to go be an HGC auditor. Betsy and I moved into an apartment together in Mountain View.
By now it was early 1975. I was a brand new Interned Class IV Auditor and I talked to Phil about a job working in his HGC. He didn’t need me (I knew it was that class thing again, but I didn’t push it). Instead he sent me to Stevens Creek mission to talk to the mission holder Kinsley Wimbush. The place was not as posh and impressive as the Palo Alto mission, but it was bigger, more youthful and energetic. Kingsley, an older Australian fellow, allowed the mission to be run by a young couple. The ED was Clay Primrose and the Senior C/S was his wife Eli. I fit right in with the people there and I began to audit. Shortly thereafter Betsy and I moved into an apartment right across the street from the mission and I hung my certs in my own auditing room. Betsy routed onto staff as a tech services staff.
People had fun then! After hours we would sit around and sing songs. Holidays were celebrated with parties. One of the high points was when Michael Silverman, the traveling reg for AOLA, would show up. He performed card tricks and illusions that astounded everyone. Auditing was still reasonably priced and pre-clears were plentiful. In addition to paying public it was policy for staff to get auditing. I had numerous pcs then. I audited staff members Cheryl Horan and Dave Langley. I audited public pcs like Rick Schott and Milla Perry. There were other people I knew at the time, ranging from Kingsley’s mum Eileen Wimbush, his brother Bernie Wimbush and his wife Coralie to Patricia and Mike Toth.
The only problem, if any, was the pay system. Instead of hours, each person turned in “units”. After all of the expenses were subtracted, including sending huge amounts of money uplines, the remainder was divided by the total number of units. That gave the value of the unit. Ideally a unit =a dollar (or more!) Usually, it was the other way. Betsy’s mom wasn’t happy about our situation and she began to pressure Betsy.
Somewhere in that time period, I got into a game to audit 100 hours in a week. With planning on the DTS part, and back up staff pcs, I managed to pull it off. Of course, the unit that week was only 2.5, so I ended up making $250.00. I was underwhelmed. Not much of a reward for a “most valuable being on the planet” to get.
I was however getting a reputation as a good auditor, so the mission sent me off to LA to get case cracker training. I was sent to ASHO(pre-Cedars) to get the new XDN training and internship. Here I ran into my first taste of Sea Org life. This place was another dump. The place seemed to be a converted warehouse with no air conditioning. It was filthy and the staff there reeked. I witnessed staff sleeping on the sofas in the pc waiting area. The auditing rooms were little fiberboard cubicles, with no soundproofing. The training went okay, but the internship was another story. Most of the pcs were not ready for XDN on the grade chart. I spent a lot of time doing reviews or other actions. These cases were in awful shape. Some were sea org folk with horrible tales of what it was like. Some were psychotic. At one point, I was finally given a public pc that actally needed XDN actions (meaning that they had rockslams in their folder) . Considering the nature of the case, this action was entirely out gradient, and to make matters worse, the C/S insisted that I tape the session. This pc went psychotic in session and refused to continue. The pc left without going to exams afterward. The C/S went ballistic and threatened me with a retrain from the ground up. As it turned out, I was in cramming for two weeks after that fiasco.
Here is also where I learned about the “changing nature” of standard tech. First of all, nothing in the tech was ever indexed until the Tech Volumes were printed. It was all arranged in chronological order in binders. If one didn’t know the date of something, or the date of the bulletin that cancelled or amended it, one was out of luck. Certain case supervisors, had penchants for certain aspects of the tech, and would cram until auditors got with their style. After a while, most auditors got to loathing any change of C/S. To make matters worse, the sea org C/Ss were more brutal than the worst org C/S I had. I recall one day when I was given a cram for doing something that I knew I had been trained to do. I searched the Qual library for several hours, but could not find the reference, so, once again, I accepted that I was wrong and did the cram. After a while, I learned that it was easier to just go along with the flow. I was a high ARC auditor, and since I was somewhat empathic, I tended to operate on my feelings more and more. I found that the record keeping system, very often did not convey what was accurately going on in session, as it was difficult to translate the mood of the pc into “indicators”. I often found myself at odds with the C/S over the proper way to handle the pc, but considering the brutal nature of cramming, I eventually just went along with the program and gave the C/S what they needed to see.
It was here that I now realize that my viewpoint had been shifted from the promised “Whats true, is what works for you,” to “If it doesn’t work, I must have a misunderstood.” The danger of this shift of viewpoint was that this made LRH 100% right about everything. Of course, at the time I was “proud to be on source!”
In addition, during the time that I was away, John & Claire Woodruff returned from their advanced training at the new Flag Land Base. They brought that hard core-“ been around the Sea Org” level of dedicated unfriendliness back to the mission with them. John replaced Clay as ED. Claire replaced Eli as senior C/S and proceeded to make the entire HGC staff miserable with huge cramming orders and general unpleasantness. Eventually, Betsy (who was also friendly and genuinely helpful) got yelled at and crammed enough that she gave up and routed off staff. Betsy got a wog job. Anything non-scientology was considered “wog.” Hubbard used the term, which was actually a 19th Century British racist term for anything non-white.
After I returned, I went back to auditing. Life was getting tough. I spent a lot of time in cramming, getting used to Claire’s out arc C/Sing style, which meant my auding hours were low. The unit was in the dumper, on top of that, and bills began piling up. Betsy and I talked about our finances. We decided that I should get a job in the wog world too.
I talked around with contacts in my former field and lined up a really well paying job in plumbing sales. I was accepted for the position, depite the fact that job was in another city.
Here is where the proverbial “do-do hit the fan”. I gave my notice, just like I would in any normal job. I was told that that “wasn’t policy”. Policy said that to route off, I had to find my own replacement. It was an impossibility that I was going to find someone with my training in that short a time, so I balked. I continued to go in and work, with the intention of finishing the preclears that I was currently auditing. I certainly didn’t want my leaving to affect their cases. After all, I believed in the “Auditor’s Code. Of course the DTS kept assigning me new pcs despite my protests. I was sent to cramming by the C/S for “refusing pc’s.” I still protested. .” I made it clear that I was to start my other job on a certain date, regardless.
Eventually, I was sent to the San Francisco Org to see the Ethics Officer. John Woodruff was there, along with the Org MAA. They were both shouting at me that I was blowing staff, which was a suppressive act, and that I was PTS to my girlfriend who was PTS to her mom. I was threatened with being declared, if I didn’t break up with Betsy and stay on staff.
I was shocked! Suppressive act? Me? One of the “most valuable beings on the planet?” Here I had given up several years of my life, doing something that I believed helped people. This is where I officially compromised with my own reality. I caved under the threat of being declared, and went along with the program. This was the first time I set aside my personal needs for the “good of the group.” I will never forget the sickly feeling I had during my drive home from the org.
I let Betsy know that I was disconnecting from her. She broke down in tears and went home to her mother’s. I felt about two feet tall for doing that. Eventually, Betsy handled her mom and got a job as receptionist at Palo Alto mission. I passed up the job opening and remained on staff. My reward for my show of loyalty to the group was to be put on the list for advanced training.
Initially I stayed with my friends, Jim and Mary Jo Hyland. They were both div 6 regges, and owned their own home. I stayed with them until my brief affair with Jan Welda. After Jan & I broke up, I moved into a Scientologist commune house with Paul Chalupski and Jon Perry.
Six months or so after I sent Betsy away, I started seeing her again. We were still really in love and since working back in the high ARC environment of the Palo Alto mission, Betsy was okay with me being on staff. We made plans to marry when I was sent to LA for my Briefing Course. Early in 1977, that took place. John Woodruff came down and performed the wedding ceremony at my Mother’s house in Monrovia. Betsy and I found an apartment in the Hollywood hills and I routed onto the Briefing Course still at the old ASHO building (still Pre Cedars).
The Briefing Course itself consisted of listening to hours of LRH lectures on big Reel to Reel Tape Recorders. Since keeping stats up were an important part of our training, most of us soon learned that a bit of scotch tape on the tape drive wheel, made the tapes run a wee bit faster. LRH’s voice was a bit higher pitched, but still was easily understood.
Not like there was much to miss; most of the tapes were filled with his off-topic useless expositions about every subject known to man. Of course this level of training was touted as the equivalent of a masters level of education, we were supposed to get LRH’s viewpoint on the tech. What I ended up with was getting LRH’s viewpoint on every subject he could speak about, from art to Zulus. I heard his tales of the evil suppressive persons that kicked him out of Rhodesia, and how this spurred him to new technical discoveries. I listened to the man’s racism and distrust of any groups other than his own. I listened to his paranoia and his supposed persecution by everyone from a “cartel of international bankers” to the “criminal organization INTERPOL.” I learned how and why the sea org was founded and I absorbed it all, like a mindless sponge. This was a man with a vision. This man had dedicated his life to saving humanity. Ron was the savior of mankind, and we were fortunate that he left this collection of recordings to instruct us. I found it easy now to stand and applaud the omnipresent photo of LRH.
I was so gung ho that I could overlook the living hell that life in the Sea Org encompassed.
At the completion of each course, one step of the course completion routing form was to visit the Sea Org Recruiter. Here, tremendous pressure is exerted to get people to join. Even contracted mission and org staff were not immune to the pressure. Fortunately, I had learned long before to just smile and tell them that I had taken LSD. They immediately just signed me off and sent me on my way. People who had taken LSD (“the psychiatrist’s gift to man” per LRH) were ineligible to join the sea org.
The Briefing Course consisted of quite a few checksheets, and each one was considered a course completion, which meant that the last part of the course completion checksheet, was the obligatory “success story” and exam. In the beginning I would actually write what I perceived to be wins on these “success stories,” but after a while for the sake of expedience (and the fact that everywhere I turned another form was stuck in front of me), I eventually got to the point of scribbling a smiley-face or some other “happy thought.” God forbid that you didn’t do one, and God forbid that you didn’t FN at the exam that followed. (Of course, an “ARC break needle” looks like a float, and as long as you have a smile, they can’t tell that you are ARC broken.)
I finished my BC and routed onto the internship, just as ASHO moved into the newly refurbished Cedars complex. This was going to be quick and easy, so I sent Betsy back to get things set up in Santa Clara. I moved into the cheap hotel near ASHO, and Betsy got an apartment and a job back in Santa Clara. Needless to say, she chose a pretty nice place.
The internship did not go smoothly. There were virtually no pcs that needed class VI auditors. Most staff were on dianetics, or were too busy to be audited. There were very few public pcs , and most of them were on repairs of some sort. I recall, running most of the grades processes from correction lists. The internship took 3 months to complete.
I returned and began auditing at Stevens Creek again around Fall of ’78. Betsy and I had drifted apart. She had a life of her own, and my work at the mission took most of my time. I grew to resent her demands on the little free time I had remaining. At one point, our discussion brought up my contract with Stevens Creek mission. When she found out that I had signed 5 years of my life away in exchange for the BC, she totally freaked out. Right after Christmas, she announced that she was leaving me for some guy at her work. I was so upset that didn’t protest. Later, I got an ARC break session at the mission. There was no reason to patch things up from the group’s point of view, so no pressure to save the marriage was imposed. Betsy and I divorced and she moved to Maryland.
I got back into my auditing with a vengeance. I used my leverage as a class six to specialize in being a repair auditor. I asked for the tough cases, and got a reputation as a “case cracker.” I proudly hung my BC cert on the wall of my auditing room. Of course, as time went on, I was auditing more staff than public. It was around this time that the policy on price raises began to go into effect. Each month was to be 5% higher than the last to encourage people to pay in advance. It worked on me. I went and borrowed $3,000 from my mother and plunked it down for the OT package (CC-OTVIII, I believe.)
This was a time of great change in Scientology. The entire grade chart was revamped. The Purification Rundown was added to the bridge, and all staff and public were required to do it, so, being the good little Scientologist that I was, I did it. I ran until my knees nearly gave out. I sat in the Sauna until I was nicely baked. Fortunately, I was still moderately healthy and suffered no long term damage from the mega-doses of vitamins and niacin. I used the “PURIF”(as it was called)” as an excuse to quit smoking. I hated the taste of cal-mag. I likened it to the TV commercial for a feminine hygiene product that said, “Its vinegar and water. The kind doctors recommend.”
It was also during this time that New Era Dianetics came out. This added another couple of mandatory steps on the grade chart that needed to be done (or re-done) by everyone. This included people, such as myself that had previously attested to dianetics case completion. As a result, there were numerous people upset. Most of us reformed hippies had to re-do our drug rundowns. But first we had to get trained in NED (as it was called.)
All auditors were required to retrain on this revised approach to Dianetics. We could do the course at our missions, but the internship was mandated: Flag, only. I was sent off to Florida for my NED internship. Needless to say, there was a certain mystique about being sent to Flag, the “Mecca of Technical Perfection.” When I got there, any illusions I had about the place were shattered. I was coming as staff, not public, so, the living accommodations were pretty dank. 8 people had to share a room. At least ours had a working shower. Some of the ones I saw didn’t. I understand that the accommodations for Org Staff were worse and Sea Org Staff were beyond worse. While the lobby and most public areas were quite nice, the rest of the place was squalid. Very little air conditioning, meant that the high humidity kept everything damp. There were bugs everywhere. Of course, like all other scientology orgs, everyone smoked, everywhere, so the place reeked. I had not noticed this before, having been a smoker, myself.
Since I was staff, I ate with the Sea Org people. There was a separate dining area for paying public that actually had menus. Here we ate cafeteria style with little or no choice of food. I saw the RPF people in jumpsuits with their gray rags and was told not to talk to them. They got to eat after we did. Nobody told me that they only got to eat what we left. Like a good little Scientologist, I assumed that this was all being done for the best interests of the group and didn’t give it a second thought.
The NED internship was fraught with problems! First off, this was around the time that “Dianetic Clear” came out. Because of this, and the fact that they had hundreds of people doing the NED internship, there was a shortage of dianetic pcs at Flag. There were, however, a backlog of pcs needing repairs and correction lists. The C/S at flag (a class XII, Ray Mitoff,I believe) insisted that anybody auditing in his HGC had to be trained on the level they audited at flag, so despite the fact I was an interned Class VI auditor, I couldn’t apply my skills until I had been checked out by the supervisor at Flag. I was sent to the course room and was quickly walked through the levels procedures so that I had permission do correction lists at Flag. Of course one or two items on correction lists involved running dianetics. Those were the sessions I taped, and that is how I did my “NED Internship at Flag,” running correction lists on upset cases.
I got back and there were lots of pcs that needed dianetics, now that the grade chart was redone. Of course, many people were upset with the fact that they had to redo things they felt they had already done, and, to add insult to injury, the price of auditing was climing through the roof. Cases started crashing everywhere. Stats were crashing. Nobody was heading to higher orgs. Cases were getting bogged. It was difficult auditing during this time period, because preclears would be coming into sessions, worried that they wouldn’t have enough auditing hours paid for to achieve their goal. The more they worried, the more correction lists needed to be done, which ate up more time. It was a vicious cycle that produced very little case gain.
Suddenly, Dianetic clear was announced. This solved everything as far as pc flow to the advanced orgs. Everybody and their brother (including me) was suddenly attesting to clear. That meant a brief trip to the San Francisco Org to get the state “rehabbed.” I attested to the “state of clear” on 22 December 1978. I was clear number 12,129. It was nice to know that “I was no longer mocking up my reactive mind.” Of course I never do recall gaining all of the other abilities one is supposed to get when they are clear, like perfect memory and never getting ill, but I felt pretty good at the time.
Of course, since I already had my OT levels paid for, there was now pressure to get them delivered. Since things were slow in the HGC, I went off to LA, again, to do my OT levels. Hoo boy! I was so excited. Even when I had to buy a couple hours of OT preps. OT preps were basically confessionals to protect the “secrecy” of the OT levels. It didn’t take long to convince them that I was OK, since I was an “on-purpose” staff member (having basically thrown the rest of my life in the dumper for the good of the group.)
The whole affair was done with the greatest amount of melodrama I was ushered to the door where I knocked and was admitted. I signed out a copy of the solo course materials and locked them in my briefcase, which was chained to my wrist. I went across to the secure course-room and knocked. The supervisor admitted me. The level of secrecy and the security measures made things exciting. Since I was an experience auditor, the solo course went quick. I routed onto OT1. Ooh! The contents of OT 1 were a disappointment. I did the drills and had a win. Next I routed onto OT 2. This took a couple of days to audit, consisting of reading off lists of items from the R6 Bank and running the ones that read on the meter. I did experience some relief on this level. The pressure was building… I was about to crack the “wall of fire!”
Let me take some time as an aside, right here. I was always a fan of science fiction. I had read everything from Asimov to Zelazney. I even enjoyed the pulp works by E.E.Doc Smith and several of the British authors, such as John Wyndham. I had read some of Hubbard’s early pulp stuff and found it acceptable. Nothing prepared me for the shock that was OT3. I read the pack. It was a cheesy Sci-fi story handwritten by Ron and badly Xeroxed. My first impression was, “And this is a big deal?” Perhaps I had read too much science fiction, but I wasn’t that stunned by the news of being covered with clusters of dead thetans. I really missed the point that that was what this level (and the rest of the bridge) was all about.
However, I did the drills. Like everything else, I was conditioned to base my judgment on the adage, “What works, is what works for you.” The stuff produced meter reads when I addressed parts of the body and produced floating needles when they seemed to be handled, so I bought it. Eventually I couldn’t find any more BT’s so I attested.
After that I went through OT4, which I actually don’t recall very much of. Keep in mind that these were the “Old OT” levels. All of the abilities gained for these levels were listed in the book 0-8, The book of basics, though they were no longer posted on the grade chart. I stumbled through OT5 and then did OT6 which was supposed to leave me “stably exterior.” (Yeah! right!) I did the drills. I never got anyone to send me a postcard, but I did pop out of my head briefly enough to attest. Then I did OT7 which was just a rehash of OT1, from an “exterior” viewpoint. Since OT8 wasn’t released, I still had it paid for when it was (Leaving $800 on account at AOLA). I had gone as far as the grade chart allowed. I felt great. I went home where I could be a living example that this tech worked!
When I got back to the mission, they had a new/old receptionist, Teri Grant. She was a former staff member from the early 70’s who was back after a long hiatus. She was attracted to long haired musician types and we hit it off quite well. Toward the end of the year we moved in together in a house along with Brian and Jean Bergantz.
By now, life as an HGC auditor was getting difficult. The high cost of auditing had severely cut into the number of pc’s available. This was also a time when there were a lot of people on “persistent F/Ns. Needless to say hours were down. Here I was, an OT who was having a difficult time finding people to audit. Something was wrong. I recall many hours of sessions, where I was trying to spot why I was pulling all this in. Never really came to any conclusions. It seemed that this was happening to everyone at the mission. We all wrote up our overts and withholds until our pens ran out of ink, but conditions didn’t really improve.
During this time my romance with Teri got serious and we married in the summer of 1980. Friends at the time included John & Linda Berryman, Darlene & Paul Friccero, Mark & Scott Chambers, Mike Scandling, John & Milla Perry, Marion & Dan Fumento, Marta Epp, Jim Keller, Ed Paulson, Dave Mowbray, and John & Linda Allender.
The following Spring, Teri gave birth to my son, Derek. This is when things got really rough! There were virtually no PC’s to audit. Few staff members had their ethics conditions high enough to allow them to get auditing. I took a day job, as an inspector in an electronics factory. John Woodruff suggested that I take the causative approach and go work in div 2 as a registrar. I was expected to use the tech to close sales, since I knew what the pc’s would need.
My training for the post consisted of someone handing me a Les Dane book of closing techniques (the same book car salesmen read). Of course the other regges got to keep most of their regular prospects. I was required to scour the course room and call people who had bought books. I managed to sell a few things, but I seemed to lack the correct “go for the throat” instinct needed to get people to write counter checks when they had no money, or call the bank to raise the limit on their, already over extended, credit cards. I did witness a guy who was coerced to sell his house for a loss (in a booming real estate market) just so the sale would come in by 2pm on Thursday. (I was the guy that ended up auditing him on the upset, using the hours he had just paid for.)
To make matters worse, the house, that Teri & I were renting, was sold to a new owner that wanted to live in it, so, we were all evicted. Teri and I lined up the only place that we could afford on my meager pay. It was a hovel in the barrio that was owned by a Vietnamese family. This was around the time when Derek was sick, his face covered with violent red blotches. That had to have been the worst Christmas season I ever spent!
Then I heard that the Palo Alto Mission was looking for Auditors. Phil Spickler had sold the mission to Sarge Gerbode. Sarge had gone and purchased an old Mormon church and remodeled it into a really cool center. He and I talked about it, and we ended up working out a deal where he bought my contract from Steven’s Creek Mission for about $10,000, if I remember correctly. The best pert of the deal for me, was that Sarge guaranteed his auditors a living wage. Teri & I moved to Palo Alto and rented a modest condo, near the mission. Life was good again.
Months later, I recall seeing Sarge one day. He looked upset. In fact he was looking quite gray. He had just come back from the infamous mission holder’s conference in San Francisco. At the time, he was not allowed to talk about it, but I could tell that something was wrong. This was shortly before people began hearing about a Successful program that Kingsley Wimbush had discovered. Word of his discovery had begun spreading like wildfire amongst the mission network. The program was called de-dinging and it was used to get the staff and public fired up and back on purpose. The main point of de-dinging was discovered during an eval Kingsley had done. He had found a thing creeping around Scientology that he referred to as “subtle internal suppression”. The very “out-arc” that we all had noticed, but could do nothing about, was the barrier. Stevens Creek Mission’s stats soared and when the word got out, other mission holders tried it too, with great success. It was obvious that the correct why had been found.
How did the church take this? This was treated like the highest form of heresy! Kingsley and most of his staff were expelled from the church. The church sent out sea org members to all of the missions. They called themselves the Finance Police, and they carried the power to expel anyone who did not comply with their orders immediately. The first thing they did that affected me was to put all of the mission staff payroll back on policy. The subsidy stopped. The mission accounts were seized. My pay dropped by 95% overnight. We could no longer afford our condo rent, so we moved into a two room cabana (can you say, shack) in the back yard of Van & Kathy Wilheit. I lined up another day job and only audited at night.
After a couple of miserable months, Teri lined up another place for us to stay. We ended up doing house sitting for her friends, Eric and Kathy Weaver, but our relationship was beginning to suffer from the deprivation. Besides the fact that I was never at home, Teri and I fought a lot about money during this time. I had promised Teri before Derek was born, that she could be a stay at home mom. I hadn’t been able to keep my promise. Things kept going from bad to worse and I was not dealing with things very well. I felt trapped by my circumstances and angry. Being an OT, meant that the only place I could go for case handling was AOLA, and I had no money for that. I kept getting angrier, and because of our case level difference, I had no one to confide in. Eventually, Teri got so frustrated with me and upset that she left.
The day I got my paycheck for $9.75 for a weeks work, I quit staff entirely. I moved into a rooming house owned by a Scientologist. I will not mention their name, because this is where I began to find information that differed with the official church story. Somewhere in this period, I listened to the first Zegal tape. This had a lot of info on it about some of the major changes going on in the church. It also described the church’s secret base in Hemet, California, complete with it’s half million dollar ship replica built by sea org slave labor, as well as telling the tale of David Mayo’s expulsion and his subsequent founding of the Advanced Ability Center.
About this time I learned that my Ex-wife Betsy was back on lines at Stevens Creek mission, having divorced the guy she moved to Maryland with. She had recently attested to Dianetic Clear and was ready to go do her OT levels. Betsy wanted to borrow my E-meter so that she could do her solo levels. Since I wasn’t using it, I agreed. I attended a family get together with her and the Reylings. Sitting around talking, the discussion led to the subject of dissatisfaction with the church. I started spouting info that I had heard from some of the Zegal tapes. Everyone seemed interested so I told them all about it. This was a mistake, I later found out.
One holiday weekend, I decided to take a road trip to check things out for myself. With my son in his baby seat beside me,I drove south to Hemet. Having lived in Riverside County many years in the past, I was somewhat familiar with the area. I drove up the main highway that goes through the church property and was astounded to see the masts of a schooner ship rising over part of a fenced off area. I stopped and snapped a picture of it. I drove on a bit and saw a gate with a guard-house. The sign said, ”Golden Era Studios.” I stopped my car to take another picture.
At this point a fellow on a 3 wheeled motor scooter pulls up. He has a pistol on his belt. He asks me what I am doing there. I told him checking out what I had heard. He asked if I was a Scientologist. I said yes. He told me that this area was top secret and that I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it. He asked who I heard about it from and I made up a name and gave it to him. He told me to leave, so I did. I drove up the road a mile or so. Then I turned around and came back, snapping photos as I drove by.
I drove back north, but I came up the coast and stopped in Santa Barbara. I looked up the address of the AAC, and found it. I found a small, but busy center. I talked to David Mayo. He certainly didn’t seem to be a raving SP. In fact, I found him quite personable and genuinely concerned about getting the maximum amount of case gain for the greatest number of people. They had the entire bridge available at pre-price-raise prices. I loaded up on literature to bring back with me. As I was walking down the driveway to leave, I looked up and I saw Sarge Gerbode and his wife. He had come down to check things out too.
Shortly, thereafter I received a letter from Betsy, saying that she was disconnecting from me. Apparently, things that I had said, came up in her OT preps. She also informed me that she was keeping the E-meter, since I was now on ethics lines.
This was the last straw I needed to conclude that the church was in suppressive hands. I contacted the regges at AOLA, and demanded my advance payment back. I also informed Betsy that her keeping the meter was theft. Since she was on line at AOLA, her simplest solution was pay me off. She mailed me a check to pay for the meter and I was instructed to go to Steven’s Creek Mission/org to get my refund. This was March of 1984.
I cruised in and they had an arc break session waiting for me. I declined the session, saying that I wasn’t arc broken, and I was given the warning, “You know that by accepting the repayment, you will be losing all your friends, don’t you?” I played the sincere “but I really need the money” approach and stuck to my guns. They got me to sign some bullshit release forms and handed me a check. I raced out and cashed it as quickly as possible.