The Story of Angelo V.

AngeloV

Gold Meritorious Patron
Beginnings

A friend of mine introduced me to scientology in 1978. I met him at the gym on MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, FL. We were both into working out and we hung out together at the beach and at the bars. He was a happy, gregarious guy and I looked up to him since he was about 4 years older than I. He told me about scientology and I was pretty skeptical at first but since he was so into it, I thought I’d give it a try. It turned out he had been in the Office of Special Affairs in California when he blew (left without authorization) and enlisted in the Air Force. He was trying to get back into good standing with the church by bringing new people in. (new people were called ‘raw meat’. Nice, huh?)

BTW, for all non-ex-scientologists reading this, I’ll try to give the English translation of scientology words in parentheses when I use them in my story. For me and many others, one of the most important ways to unravel the brainwashing is to immediately and completely stop using any ‘scientologeese’ when communicating. Really, what the f*** is a ‘valence’ anyway?

BTW #2, I will be using swear words in my story so if that offends you then please stop reading now. Thanks. OK, back to the story.

I took the communications course at the Tampa mission on Dale Mabry Blvd. My brainwashing had begun. I took Pro TR’s, the study course, and became a New Era Dianetics (NED) auditor. The Tampa mission had, like I imagine all small missions, a lot of smart, energetic, young people working there. I made lots of friends and it was very gratifying to get applause at the end of every day when I discussed my ‘wins’ (cool things that happened to you or that you accomplished). This is one of the insidious ways that bonds a person to the church and the people in it. I craved getting this positive attention just like a drug. All totaled, I spend every dollar I had saved on courses and auditing to the tune of $5,000. I had about $300 left in my bank account. (Remember this number, you will see it again.)

When I was about to finish my enlistment, I was approached by Sea Organization (SO) officers visiting the mission who convinced me to join much to the dismay of the mission owner who desperately wanted me to work for him. I signed the billion-year contract and took a month off before I reported for SO duty on March 15, 1980 at the Fort Harrison (FH) hotel in downtown Clearwater, FL just across the bay from Tampa. This is also known as the Flag Land Base or Flag for short. My look into the real scientology world was about to begin.

Flag

Flag consisted of several buildings in Clearwater. The FH, the Quality Inn (QI), the West Coast Building (WCB), the Sand Castle hotel, the Citizens Bank building (CB) and a few more whose names I have forgotten long ago. I was given a bunk in a room at the QI located several miles from the FH. I shared this room with 4 other guys. I know, you are probably saying ‘Hey, isn’t the QI an old motel and aren’t the rooms set up for at the most 2 or 3 people? Isn’t that kind of crowded’? Duh! Of course it is. All of the staff rooms that I ever saw at Flag were crammed with people and were a fire and health hazard. The bathrooms were totally gross and the rooms smelled of mildew and body odor. But hey, I was saving the planet so I turned a blind eye to uncomfortable living conditions such as these. What’s that? What other uncomfortable things did I experience? OK for one, how about the guy on the bunk below me who never, ever changed his sheets so that they had turned brown with dirt and body oil? Maybe he was trying to get kicked out by being a pig (it didn’t work). Or how about not being able to date or have a relationship without being scrutinized by the SO officers making sure you are not having sex outside of marriage. What the fuck? Is this the 1800’s?

So I was put into the Estates Project Force (EPF) which is a buildings and grounds maintenance organization that prepares SO newbies to be real honest-to-goodness SO staff members. We took some hatting courses (classes that taught you about the organization and what was expected, etc.) and mostly did cleaning work around the various buildings. No sooner did I start work than I began to see the weird, nutty, crazy behavior that many others on this site have discussed at length. I’ll go into detail about a few of the most bizarre experiences I have ever encountered. First, a couple of tidbits:

1. My pay was supposed to be $16 per week. But the EPF was in a ‘lower’ state because of who-knows-what so I was getting half of half pay. That’s right you mathematicians, that’s $4 per week. I complained that I did not cause the lower state so I should not be punished. So sorry dude, you are screwed. Start using your own money to buy soap, clothes, toothpaste, etc.

2. Bugs. They were everywhere. I don’t think any money was spent on pest control in any of the buildings. You will see this information again below and it is NOT for the squeamish.

3. All new SO members were required to put in a certain number of hours on course work and auditing. This was a rule stated in some LRH bulletin that was NOT to be broken….except when it had to be broken like if some emergency occurred (all the time) or there was an event to be set up, or some SO executive got a bug up his ass about some room not being clean enough.

4. SO staff could not have children. Period. I know I read in another post that it was thought this policy came out at a later time but it was in force in 1980. There were about 100 children under the age of 12 at Flag at this time. Again, you will see this information below.

5. I was working with an OTVII on a building project when he accidently put a nail through his hand. Ding! Didn’t OTs have control of MEST? How could this happen? Hmm.

The following events really took place and caused me to become seriously disillusioned with the SO and eventually with scientology in general.

The Frozen Freezer

A group of us in the EPF began to work at night to clean up public areas that could not be cleaned during the day. One night, we were told to go into the basement of the FH and inventory and clean out the walk-in freezer. This was located below the main kitchen. That sounds simple right? Just open the door, look at the shelves and note down the contents, maybe clean out some old food or trash and be done. This is the SO don’t forget. Bizarre is normal. We opened the door and found that everything was coated in 10 to 12 inches of ice. Weird but OK, no problem, we’ll get some ice picks and chip away. We soon realized it would take forever to get the ice out soooo bring out the pick-axes. After an hour or so of chipping, we uncovered a pile of boxes containing dozens of rolls of camera film. Camera film? What, you think I’m joking? How could I make this up? It’s just too bizarre. What was on the film? Who knows? We were just the grunts cleaning out a freezer that probably had not been opened in years. I filed this in the back of my mind and carried on, the good SO member that I was.

The Rat Brigade

On the night shift again, an SO executive came down and informed our ‘in-charge’ (manager) that the rat problem was getting out of hand and that if we were inspected by the city health department we would fail and the kitchens would be closed. So we ended up crawling around the ceiling pipes and ductwork search for ‘rat highways’. Did we find any? Why yes we did. Lots. And the holes they had chewed in the walls were 6 inches in diameter. Their shit was everywhere. We patched up the holes with wire mesh and plaster, set some large traps and called it a night. Later, I wondered to myself so this is the ‘Mecca of Standard Tech’. Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture? I filed this away too.

Roach Hotel

Stop right here if bug stories give you the creeps. I mean it. You’ve been warned. Again on the night shift, a good-looking SO officer in her pretty officer’s uniform ordered yours truly to take care of the roach problem we were having around the loading dock and kitchen areas. (And I was eating food that was cooked in that kitchen.) If you go into Google maps (246 S Fort Harrison Ave, Clearwater, FL) and look at the front of the FH, to the left of the front door you will see a large garage-like door. That door covers the loading dock and that is where this event took place. I obtained a pump sprayer and filled it with a strong solution of bug killer and began spraying around the baseboards in the kitchen and surrounding halls, eventually ending up on the loading dock. Now the loading dock is adjacent to the garbage bin storage area. These bins were used to throw out all of the kitchen trash and of course contained lots of rotten food bits. As I entered the dock, I noticed that there was a long, flat board about 2 inches thick by 12 inches wide running from the floor to the ceiling. This board looked like it covered a seam in the wall. As I approached it, I noticed some movement in the seam. (Here it comes, last warning) At that moment, the SO officer in her nice clean uniform and clipboard appeared and began to watch what I was doing. I set the sprayer nozzle to emit a straight stream, pumped up the sprayer real good and pressed the trigger on the wand. The poison sprayed directly into the crack and what happened next is straight out of a horror film. Roaches and Palmetto bugs by the THOUSANDS erupted out of the crack and began running/flying everywhere. The walls were covered in bugs in seconds. The air was filled with palmetto bugs flying madly about. The roaches reached my feet and began scampering up my legs. I sprayed that poison everywhere including on my feet and legs to get them the hell off. The Flag Officer totally lost it and sprinted out of the room with a shriek. So much for ‘the ability to confront anything’. Ha! The bugs continued their frantic effort to escape death but I eventually killed most of them. I filed away this episode too.

The Nurseries

While the previous events were kind of funny, this last one really is pretty sick and is indicative of the internal rot of the scientology organization. You don’t fuck with children. Not in my book anyway.

May 23rd, 1980 was the 30th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dianetics’, really the first book of Scientology. A big event/party was planned and the EPF was fully engaged in the setup. From morning until night we worked hard. Then, when the party was about to start and all of the public had arrived, we were told to get the hell out of sight. No way did the executives want the public to see the sweating, dirty, grimy EPF grunts around. Eventually, the party ended and we started the cleanup. It was around midnight when I found myself sitting around a table in the grand ballroom next to ‘Captain’ Bill Robertson, SO member for 13 years at the time. Anyone remember him? He died by the way. Anyways, up comes an SO executive who announces that there is a ‘Hill-10’ and it needs to be handled RIGHT FUCKING NOW! (Hill-10 means an extreme emergency.) All EPF staff had to report to the FH restaurant (can’t remember the name) where we were fed, given vitamins (I’m not kidding) and put on a bus destined for the QI. We were told that an inspector from the Health and Human Services department would be inspecting the nurseries at the QI in the morning. The nurseries had to be up to standards. Why weren’t they up to standards now, I asked myself. Self said ‘because the SO is fucked, that's why'. When I arrived what I found was simply criminal. There is no other way to describe it. In the back of the QI, facing away from the street sat the nurseries; several hotel rooms with sliding glass doors for entry. The furniture was covered with dirt and grime. The carpets were almost black with caked on dirt, vomit, food and who knows what else. The bathrooms where gross beyond belief. I learned later that there was one nanny for every 20 kids. The law was something like 8 children per adult. We are talking about children from 6 months to 5 or 6 years old. This is a crime called child endangerment. Scientology treats children like shit. They are looked down upon because they cannot ‘produce’ statistics. They are a drain on the organization because they eat, need a place to sleep, have to be clothed and go to school but cannot bring money into the church. From what I read on this website, this behavior towards children still exists to this day. It is the reason the church should be shut the fuck down.

The EPF did the kids right that night by cleaning, painting and re-carpeting the rooms. They were shiny and bright the next morning but we weren’t done yet. The church was also not following another law with regards to how many hours a child could stay in day-care. I don’t know the exact number of hours but it is NOT 18 hours, which is what the parents worked. You CANNOT leave your 1-year old with a nanny for 18 hours without picking up the kid after 10 hours or so, having dinner with them and staying with them for a couple of hours before heading back out to work. So that is the procedure the SO put in place for the next couple of weeks (until the threat of inspection went away). The parents of these kids should be put in jail and their kids sent to foster care where kind people could take care of them.
The parents now had to come to the QI to have dinner with their kids so suddenly the kitchen staff quadrupled to feed 150 or so more people than usual. I was staffed as a dishwasher. I finally got to bed at around 2pm (my first and last 33 hour day).

End of a Dream

I began the procedure to ‘route out’ shortly after this. (‘Route out’ is the procedure to leave the SO gracefully). I had had enough of the emergencies, piss-poor living conditions, ill-treatment of children and non-stop idiocy. I started the routing form and got down to the last couple of steps when the form disappeared. Vanished. Who had it? No one knew. I was sent here and there and finally realized that it was gone. The SO staff were overworked (that’s an understatement) and did not want the headache of helping someone leave the organization. I immediately planned my escape. I was being watched so I had to be very careful. I still had my vehicle, a jeep, so I had the means to leave. But I also had all of my scientology library, clothing and what-not that I did not want to leave behind. How could I load up my jeep and not get the attention of the spy? I loaded all of my stuff into the jeep one day and told my roommates that I was moving to the FH to be closer to work. Then, I went to the bank and withdrew that last $300 I had left in my bank account. That night, I unscrewed the light bulb outside of my room at the QI and went to bed. But not really. At around 4am, I quietly got out of bed, put on some shorts and sneaked out of the door. Since there was no light, no one woke up. Of course no one woke up. They had worked 16-18 hours the day before and were dead asleep. I put the jeep in neutral and rolled as far as I could out of the parking log before starting it up and high-tailing it out of there. Out at last. The feeling of freedom that night was fantastic and I have never felt quite that way ever again.

I went back home to my parents house out west. They were very happy to see me. For the next couple of months, I felt alone, empty and somewhat depressed. It took almost a year before I was able to talk about my experience in the SO and figure out what the hell happened to me.

I do have one regret though. I was never declared an SP. So if there are any SO officers out there reading this, would you please email me? I really want that declare so I can burn it. Please?
 

Div6

Crusader
Angelo,

Thanks for this. Some of these incidents read like whole track nightmares a la History of Man. From the way things went from there, I;d say you didn't miss much.
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
Thanks for the story. I remember hosing down the floor of Rats Alley in LA with tens of thousands of palmetto bugs fluttering away on the walls inches above my head as I rolled around prone on a little wheeled cart (ceiling too low to stand up). The state bird of Florida.

Paul
 

Good twin

Floater
Welcome AngeloV. :wave:

I was a staff member in Tampa before you arrived. I remember some of the boys from MacDill.
 

AnonOrange

Gold Meritorious Patron
That was one hell of a story! Has anybody called Child Protection Services on them lately? I wonder how the Sci School is run on LRH way in LA?

What's particularly interesting for me is I lived near Dale Mabry in Tampa in the early 80's and Scientology kept bugging me to go to their events!
 

dontscamme

Patron Meritorious
Great story, AngeloV! Truth is stranger than fiction or, as they say, "you can't make this stuff up." And now an off-the-wall comment inspired by your story: new people were probably called "raw meat" because LRH had not yet had the opportunity to fry their brains.
 

Moomin

Patron
Great story AngeloV and welcome aboard.

Having done the work/study program at the Flag Land Base while I was an Outer Org Trainee there, I know how substandard the buildings are.

I left Flag last summer and remember working at the student motels to fix the roof as several rooms had leaks and got flooded when it had been raining, the roof was f****ed!

As for the Isolation rooms at the Tradewinds, well, I wouldn't even put sick people in them even though that's what they are there for. Dreadful standards.

Glad you are out, top story by the way!!!
:thumbsup:
 

skollie

Silver Meritorious Patron
Welcome Angelo.

The description of the nursery breaks my heart. How the hell do the "most ethical people" on the planet, treat children like this? :no:

There is no other way to describe it. In the back of the QI, facing away from the street sat the nurseries; several hotel rooms with sliding glass doors for entry. The furniture was covered with dirt and grime. The carpets were almost black with caked on dirt, vomit, food and who knows what else. The bathrooms where gross beyond belief. I learned later that there was one nanny for every 20 kids. The law was something like 8 children per adult. We are talking about children from 6 months to 5 or 6 years old. This is a crime called child endangerment. Scientology treats children like shit. They are looked down upon because they cannot ‘produce’ statistics. They are a drain on the organization because they eat, need a place to sleep, have to be clothed and go to school but cannot bring money into the church. From what I read on this website, this behavior towards children still exists to this day. It is the reason the church should be shut the fuck down.
 

Been Done Had

Patron with Honors
Welcome, sir!

Great stories, thanks.

The mistreatment of neglect of children always stuck in my mind too. I saw some of the shocking conditions first hand. And the dirty, almost feral kids around base.

The SO kids had an angry weird entitlement about them. Some of them could just spit the right answer in any situation, sort of a survival mechanism. Those kids grew up without the most basic of skills. Like how to read an address for one.

Sad.
 

Tim Skog

Silver Meritorious Patron
Welcome Angelo and thanks for your story. As an aside, it's too bad that health inspectors, etc., don't just show up unannounced.
 

AngeloV

Gold Meritorious Patron
Thanks for the nice comments, guys and gals.

It was cathartic to relate those stories after all these years. And I'm glad to be here.
 

AngeloV

Gold Meritorious Patron
Welcome AngeloV. :wave:

I was a staff member in Tampa before you arrived. I remember some of the boys from MacDill.
Hey GoodTwin, if you don't mind me asking, when were you at the Tampa mission? When I was there, a couple (Chris and Dan) were running the place. Dan was the ethics officer and Chris ran the classroom. I don't remember their last name.
 
Great Write up Angelo, these are the kind of accounts which should be compiled into a detailed report and sent to the attorney general's office of every state which Scientology has an facility in.

If you don't mind my asking, what happen to your friend who got you into the cult, did he blow too?
 

Nightingale

Patron with Honors
Thanks for the nice comments, guys and gals.

It was cathartic to relate those stories after all these years. And I'm glad to be here.

Thanks for the translations and your story! It's very powerful and difficult to imagine. I'm glad you're out and safe. Where are all the proper authorities, when needed?
 

Good twin

Floater
Hey GoodTwin, if you don't mind me asking, when were you at the Tampa mission? When I was there, a couple (Chris and Dan) were running the place. Dan was the ethics officer and Chris ran the classroom. I don't remember their last name.

That was Chris and Dan Machado. I was already gone when you were there. I know most of the staff though. I had a great time working at that mission. I was there before it moved to Dale Mabry. It was on Kennedy.
 

AngeloV

Gold Meritorious Patron
Great Write up Angelo, these are the kind of accounts which should be compiled into a detailed report and sent to the attorney general's office of every state which Scientology has an facility in.

If you don't mind my asking, what happen to your friend who got you into the cult, did he blow too?
When he finished his enlistment, he blew scio...again. The last time I saw him, we was in a convertible with a new puppy heading for St. Louis.
 
Top