That's my story and I'm sticking with it
I've been thinking about writing this story for a long time. I don't know if there's any benefit in one more story -- not that they're all the same, but what can you learn from yet another detailing of the insanity? Perhaps the key is just to get it out, spill it, let it go once and for all. Well, here goes.
My mom introduced me to scientology in the summer of 1967, right after I offered her some LSD. She politely refused and said she was happy with what she was doing. I had to ask, "What?" Thus began my journey into the dark and crazy. I went down to the Phoenix franchise (before they were called missions, they were 'franchises' -- sounds kind of like a business, doesn't it?) and signed up for the communications course. I liked it. So I signed up for the dianetics auditor course. I even had an old Mark V emeter, the one made out of wood. I don't recall ever being trained how to actually use it, but it sat on my desk while I "audited" my "preclears." I got all my friends to agree to be audited. They liked it enough to get further into it. God, forgive me.
Back in the '60s there was something called "quickie grades." This means that the lower levels of the 'bridge' were being done in a quick and incomplete way. Hubbard later issued a bulletin making it a high crime to deliver "quickie grades." I zoomed through Grades 0 - IV in a few months -- totally nuts. By December I was at St. Hill doing the clearing course.
There were posters around talking about the Sea Organization and about how Hubbard needed strong, dedicated people to help him clear the planet. Hey, I wasn't doing anything, what the heck? I went home and sold everything I owned and bought a one-way plane ticket to Barcelona, Spain. It was early 1968.
Oh. My. God. See, this is what happens when you do a lot of drugs and have no future and then think someone else has a better idea of what to do with your life than you do. The first Advanced Org was in Alicante, so I took a bus to Alicante. What a beautiful place -- the city, not the org. Since I had never been on staff before, all the activities and functions were foreign to me. In fact, the only job I'd had was pumping gas. I'd never seen one of those ridiculous organizing boards before and I'd never heard of HCO Policy Letters. It didn't really matter. No one cared what you did or didn't know about how things were run. They were just glad of another warm body. I did something clerical for a while and then was told I was being assigned to the Royal Scotman (later named the Apollo).
I have to go now. This is the beginning of the story. There will be more, but I'm still dithering about putting it all out there.
I left out some things from my time at the Phoenix franchise: Heber Jentzsch was a newbie in scientology at that time and would sing for us, long-haired folk singer that he was. Also present was Peter Gillham -- before he was with Yvonne. After Henry Schlicting passed away, Peter and Doran Greene ran the franchise with their daughter Lauri.
My mom was one of the first "clears" from the Phoenix area. She and the other clears would have a little get-together once a month and tell their stories of St. Hill. My mom had met John McMasters and told about him. I'd forgotten that among the members of the "clear club" was a couple -- two men who were pretty openly gay. No one seemed to think anything of it -- they were not ostracized, in fact, they were the life of the party.
So, picking up where I left off...I actually signed that crazy billion year contract at the AO in Alicante. Since I was a recent druggie, the nuttiness of it didn't truly sink in. I was just going with the flow *facepalm*. After writing the first part of this story, I tried to remember what it felt like and, honestly, I cannot get even a shred of the feelings that certainly must have been happening. I was in a fog.
IIRC, I boarded the Royal Scotman in Alicante -- it might have been someplace else, who knows? Again, I can't conjure up what my reaction was at the moment I saw the ship or when I stepped aboard or when they showed me to my bunk -- well, here I do have a pretty strong reaction, mostly nausea -- it was so disgusting. And I was scared: What had I gotten myself into?
I put my meager belongings under my bunk, changed into a boiler suit thing and was assigned my first post: dishwasher.
Glorious and fun? I must have missed that part. In looking back and attempting to analyze the situation (through a haze of time and limited attention), I've realized that the "commodore" was not playing with a full deck. I mean, come on, a pretend Navy??? Not to mention the horrible conditions, truly evil punishments, bat-sh*t crazy people in charge. The one who comes to mind first is Baron Berez -- a man on a mission to demean, demoralize and terrify any and all who crossed his path (and a few who didn't). And I do not believe for one second that Hubbard did not know every little tiny thing that was going on. For years that was what I told myself: he must not have known, otherwise how could the horrific treatment of human beings that was the norm, go on as it did?
The galley was hot and chaotic. I washed dishes and pots all day. When I finally got finished I crashed in my bunk. After maybe an hour, the galley chief was pulling on my arm and telling me to get up. Apparently I'd missed some food on a plate or something -- I scrubbed the wooden floor boards and the floor underneath until morning. Then I washed dishes for another day. Sometime in the first week a woman came into the galley and asked me if I could type. I said yes and within two days I was typing the Orders of the Day and miscellaneous other paperwork. I had been transferred to HCO and was working for Baron Berez.
Most of you have heard of the policy about musical chairs and how bad that is for an org. Well, there certainly cannot be an org anywhere on the planet that did it worse than the Royal Scotman. I was only around for a year but must have been assigned to a dozen different posts. And each one ended in disaster, lower conditions, and once, a Flag Order saying I was never to be promoted above the rank of Petty Officer. I've thought about this aspect of my experience and have decided that it's probably the worst part of it. I was never allowed to get good at anything. When I screwed up on the job de jour, I was yanked off it, given some insane task for amends and then plunked down in something completely new. I didn't realize it at the time, but what a great joy it would have been if I could have had the opportunity to really learn a post and do it well. Looking back I understand that, very likely, almost everyone there was having the same trials and tribulations. People like Otto Roos or Diana Hubbard only did one thing and they knew what they were doing and they knew they were good at it and believe me, NO ONE messed with them. How did the rest of us peons have any hope of rising out of the slime if we were never given the chance to make a mistake, correct it, learn from it, and get better at our jobs?
The posts I had (that I remember): Bosun's mate, Ship Org LRH Communicator, Cook (Avon River), Commodore Staff Steward, Commodore Steward, deckie, dishwasher, typist.
There are stories associated with each job I had. The "when" is up for grabs -- the whole year is a jumble (and please, those of you who think there is a "tech" explanation and solution for this, don't chime in). I will definitely get to all those stories.
I had no training in tech (I don't count the dianetics course because I truly didn't get it), admin, ethics, etc. None. I was brand new and had gone as far as OT I (1967 version). While on the RS, I did further OT levels under the supervision of Guy Eltringham -- what a good man. I distinctly remember how I felt when I read the OT III BS. My mouth would not close, it just hung open and my eyes were wide with disbelief. All I could think was, "Are you kidding me? This is a joke, right?" I told Guy how I felt and I've told many, many auditors since then. Not one of them helped me understand. But I digress.
Part of my story, and here I'm jumping ahead 30+ years, is that I left scientology TWICE. Yup, got in, got out, years passed, got in again and got out again. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? That too will be answered, in time.
So here are a couple little anecdotes about the "Commodore." As his steward, it was my responsibility to clean his big office every morning before he started work. Every surface was wiped clean. The top of the desk was tidied. The windows had to be open, but no breeze could cross the desk. Hmmm...That was a time-consuming puzzle every day. In the bottom right-hand drawer of the desk were 10 packs of Kool menthol cigarettes. If I had to add one or two packs, I had to make sure that the newest ones were on the bottom -- rotate the stock so to speak. He said he knew if the cigs were too old. Hubbard drank his coffee from a big glass bowl. He claimed he could tell if the coffee was made with cold water to start or hot water. The hat write-up for the post of Commodore Steward was written by Mary Sue, of course. It was the size of a biiiiig book and I never read it all -- talk about minutiae. I think my undoing on that post was the incorrect washing of his underwear. I was never actually told what I'd done wrong to get busted down to deckie. Arghhh.
I want to give credit to the folks who frequent the blog "Leaving Scientology." I've lurked there for about a year and have been fascinated, inspired and rejuvenated as a result of their discussions. If you want to enjoy another place for lively discussion, I recommend it -- particularly the post "The Bridge to Nowhere." I have also been affected and impressed by Just Bill over at Ask the Scientologist.
The information on these sites was not new or startling, it was the discourse, the community, the openness. I've become a very isolated person since leaving scientology (the second time) and want to trust other people again. I didn't even realize that I wasn't trusting other people until I started to read these discussions.
I intend to keep adding to my story, bits and pieces as they occur to me. All of the encouragement and the thank yous help a lot. It IS fun and it IS therapeutic. Thanks.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah, commodore's steward. Before I was given that job, I was the steward for the commodore's staff (except Mary Sue). So, CS1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. I cleaned their cabins, served their meals, did their laundry. I don't remember who was who, except of course Diana was CS6. The names of the big mucky-mucks that were around at that time were Otto Roos, Alex Sibersky, the Dunleavys, Hana Eltringham, the Jessups and Baron Berez. I was woken up in the middle of the night and told that I had been promoted to Commodore's Steward and that I had to get busy and learn what was expected of me before the old man woke up (which wasn't until about 11 a.m.). It turns out that the person who had been his steward had suddenly disappeared from the ship. Her name was Julia Migenes. We were in Italy and she took off to sing opera. I never knew the true story -- some said hubbard had given permission, others said she blew. Interesting that her picture is on one of those awful IAS posters that feature celebrities -- I saw it in 2004 at AOLA. I'm pretty sure she doesn't associate herself with scientology in any way.
My first job was to be ready with tomato juice to take into his cabin when he "called" for it. His "call" was a red light that would go on in the hallway. The light went on, I fetched the juice, and in I went. *gulp* He seemed surprised that Julia wasn't bringing his juice and asked where she was. I said I didn't know. At this point in my story, I'd been on board for a while and had been in and out of lots and lots of trouble. Of course, he'd known about most of the problems -- one way or another he was connected to all of them. That morning he put his hand on my shoulder and said, in a very kind way, "You've had a rough time of it, haven't you? Well, you're going to be okay."
Not so much.
Thanks EP for the video of Julia. She sang for us a few times on the ship -- beautiful and effortless.
No, AnonyMary, Hubbard never yelled at me, but I heard plenty of his screaming, including some hollering about me. I had been on the ship for a short time and in that absolutely wonderful way they have of dropping you in the boiling pot and telling you to "make it go right," I was told to take the helm. No training, no practicing, no one behind me to give me pointers. Oh. My. God. Well, I guess it goes without saying that I made a balls-up of it. Turns out you have to be very patient when steering that much mass around the ocean. When you rotate the wheel, it takes quite a while for there to be any response. But I didn't know that. So when I didn't see any change in direction, I turned it some more. We went barreling through the Mediterranean like a giant snake -- first one way and then the other. Seems that Hubbard was trying to audit while all this was going on. He stormed up to the bridge, screaming bloody murder. He took it out on the Officer of the Deck (or Watch, or whatever), who turned to someone else, who yelled at someone else, until I felt a light tap on my shoulder and was told to get out. I waited outside for a few minutes and was told I could be a lookout. Oh sh*t. What does that mean? Look out for what? Eventually, after many tries at various aspects of seamanship, I got pretty good at it. When I was on the Avon River, which is quite a bit smaller than the RS, I had no trouble steering or looking out or even following charts. I never did learn anything about sextants and stars and so on. Oh well. I could splice heavy metal line and 3" nylon rope, I could operate a winch, I could throw a monkey's fist to the dock.
During the time I was Commodore Steward, there came to pass a particularly puzzling and unpleasant event. It was my job to serve Hubbard his meals. I didn't cook the meals, I just carried them from his galley to his table. He had his own cook, who had his own little galley, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the ship. This cook was a truly odd duck -- maybe someone remembers his name -- he was from the Caribbean and had a heavy accent and a mean streak. On the evening in question, I picked up the commodore's dinner, took it to him and removed the plate cover. IIRC, a few people around the table appeared concerned about what was on his dinner plate. I just stepped back and kept my head down. Much later, after I had gone to bed, two thugs showed up at my cabin. It was 3 a.m. and they said someone needed to see me on the aft well deck. Any logical, thinking, sane, rational person would have said, "WTF?! It's 3 in the morning, tell 'em to come back!." But no. Not me. I went with them. As soon as we got to the well deck I knew something was very very wrong. On the harbor side of the deck were two other thugs who were opening the gate. Thugs 1 and 2 each took one of my arms and frog marched me to the gate and unceremoniously tossed me into the harbor. We were in Malta at the time, although I suspect all harbors are disgusting. Dead rats, excrement, and other garbage floated by me as I struggled to keep my head up. I swam around the ship, climbed onto the dock, asked permission to board and went back to my cabin for some much needed sleep. Was I ever told what was wrong with the dinner? Be serious. I guess mind-reading is another skill I should have had but didn't.
I've been reading some other threads discussing TRs and was reminded of the comm course I took in Phoenix.
On TR2, we were instructed that there were 5, and only 5, acknowledgments that could be used: good, fine, OK, thank you and all right.
I had a very hard time getting over that when I did the Pro TRs 30 years later.
I have more stories -- putting together Christmas dinner for 35 people on the Avon River; having a B of I called because I had too much sex; hiding a piece of bridge equipment because I ruined it and didn't have the nerve to tell anyone. And more as they occur to me.
My name is Cathy Mullins. I'd be interested if anyone here knows me from the Royal Scotman or the Avon River (1968), San Diego Org (2002-05), Flag or AOLA (the first one in the old house or the second one at Pac Base). My memory is not so good when it comes to names so I'm hoping someone with a better memory will get in touch.
My favorite time in the SO was being the cook on the Avon River. I was pretty much autonomous -- there are three people you don't mess with on a ship: the cook, the payclerk (we didn't really have one of those) and the captain. So I was left to my own devices. It was a challenge to plan, shop for and cook three meals a day for 35 people. The cold stuff was kept in a huge metal-lined ice chest on the deck. Produce was stashed in baskets outside, above the galley. Once, when we were at sea, I was making baked pork chops. The pitch and roll eventually splashed grease out of the pan and it caught on fire! Yikes. Luckily, I had a fire extinguisher, but of course it meant the dinner was ruined. I made coffee by boiling water in a huge pot, dumping in the coffee grinds and then adding egg shells to settle the grinds. The coffee was then ladled into pitchers for the two tables -- the officer's mess and the crew mess. The dining tables had rails around them to keep the dishes from sliding into people's laps. There were plenty of people who couldn't handle being at sea -- they'd get really sick and have to keep a bucket around their necks. They weren't welcome in the mess.
So Christmas came around and I needed to come up with a big, luscious meal. I ordered a turkey from the chandler, which, in itself, was a feat -- language problems, measurement issues (what's a kilogram?) and so on. I had only ever seen Butterball turkeys, the kind with a little pop-out thingie that tells you when it's done. It's all clean and shiny and ready for tucking in the oven and basting. Well, the chandler shows up with a dead turkey. It's head had been cut off and the feathers were plucked. But that was all. The innards were still inside and there sure as hell was no pop-out thingie. The cook before me was Andrea Sibersky. She had left behind an excellent cook book, which explained exactly what to do to clean out the bird, making sure no foul juices got loose and spoiled it. It was a life-saver. That meal took me three days to prepare. It included two legs of lamb, lots of veggies, salads and bread. I don't think there was any dessert. And I didn't get ANY of it -- I was busy finishing the cooking, dishing it up, serving it. *sigh*
RPX, perhaps the captain, Amos Jessup, said something about a great meal, but otherwise, nope.
The Avon River was really pretty fun, in part because the commodore wasn't there. We went to the island of Sardinia, the port of Cagliari. It was beautiful. There were some Italian navy ships docked there and the sailors would come around and ogle the female "sailors." One guy in particular was interested in me. He somehow got permission to come on board and the next thing I knew, he was following me around. He talked to me and smiled; I just smiled back. I actually went on a date with him, although how that came about is now a mystery to me. We went to a movie, which of course was in Italian -- Bora, Bora, Bora, I think. Afterward we had pizza covered in anchovies. yuck. And then...well, he was supposed to be guarding a warehouse that night. He took me to the warehouse, where he'd made up a cot. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. This little get-together was kind of a big deal because if we'd been caught, he would have been severely disciplined -- maybe even kicked out of the navy. This little escapade, coupled with my rejection of the harbor master, would figure prominently in the B of I that was instigated later. Seems that one of our young engineers was pissed because I was sleeping with other guys, but not him. His boss, the chief engineer John O'Keefe, finally demanded that SOMETHING MUST DONE ABOUT IT!
BTW, John O'Keefe was married to one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen -- I think she was from Denmark.
Thanks, AnonyMary for the link to DartSmohen -- yes, I'd read some of it but will read the rest. And yes, I did go to some protests here in Portland. I also went with a group from San Diego to protest at Int Base -- that was quite a while ago. I met Graham Berry and Nathan Baca (who gave me his card to give to Jeff Hawkins, so he could do a story about him).
Thanks, AD. I'm glad to be here. And perhaps you're right about it working out to be a good thing that I never got good at anything.
While I was working for the Bosun (don't know, but maybe his name was Len), I was cleaning and sprucing up the bridge. There was a beautiful brass cover that went over the compass. It had some small dents in it and I decided it would look better if it was all smoothed out. Hmmm.... but how to do it? I took it up to the bosun's locker and found a ball peen hammer. Oops. I didn't realize until it was waaaaay too late that I chosen the exact wrong tool. Now, instead of a few small dents, there were hundreds of little pimples. I foolishly tried sanding those down. No help. It just got worse and worse. So I finally stuffed it under some ropes that looked unused and never said another word about it. This was toward the end of my time on the ship.
All during the year I was on the RS and Avon river, I would write to the commodore and ask for permission to leave. Of course I always wrote when I was in a boatload of trouble. Hubbard would write back and ask me if I would wait a while and see if I still wanted to leave. The answer I was hoping for came after I'd been assigned to be the liaison between a Greek crew installing some new navigation equipment and the ship. The chief of the Greek installers spoke English. He'd tell me what he wanted to accomplish, where they'd need to work, etc. My job was to coordinate with all the people affected -- get them out of their offices for the required period. The project was going well so I wrote again for permission to leave. This time the answer was "Yes, take a year off." One night I was walking on the Promenade deck and the commodore came out on deck. He seemed surprised to see me and asked, "Didn't I give you permission to go home?" I said I needed to stay to get the equipment installed. That made him smile and I got my second pat on the back.
As it turned out, I didn't get to stay to complete the project. We were told, in no uncertain terms, to GTFO of Greece -- we had 24 hours to vacate the premises.
Back to the story...we were just leaving Greece
Many, many years later I read the truth about why we were booted out of Greece. Of course we weren't told anything when it happened. There we were, with 24 hours to secure the ship and hit the "road." I knew it was time for me to leave, but in such a short time??? Arghhh. Everyone I needed to see to get off the ship was up to their asses in alligators and my wanting a signature on a routing form was not going to go over well. It truly was chaos. The amazing thing is, I did it. I got my few belongings together and walked off the ship in Corfu. There was a mission leaving for LA at the same time so I tagged along with them to Athens. I had $5 to get from Greece to Phoenix. I used my money to call my mom. (When I left Phoenix with a one-way ticket to Spain to join the SO, my mom had wished me well. I knew I could call her for help.) I told her I needed a plane ticket from Athens to Phoenix. She said, "I assume you don't mean Athens, Georgia." lol We talked about what to do and finally it was decided that she would pay for a ticket in Phoenix in my name and I'd pick it up in Athens. What we didn't talk about was which airline. D'oh!
In Athens I slept on the floor of the hotel room where the mission was staying. That night we went to the movies and saw Gone With the Wind. I'd never seen it before. Here's the weird part: the movie started and there were subtitles, so I "knew" I couldn't understand it, right? If there's subtitles, it must be in a foreign language. It took me a minute to switch my ears back on and listen. The next day I ran back and forth between TWA and the other major international airline offices, asking for a ticket in my name. Back and forth, back and forth, getting more frantic every trip. The mission was going to be checking out of the hotel and I had no money and no way to get any money. Finally, the guy at TWA said he had my ticket. But I had almost no time to get to the airport. I raced to the hotel, grabbed my stuff, borrowed bus fare and made it to the airport. Whew!
After the long flight to NY, I was pooped and really looking forward to getting back to my mom's house. My ticket was student stand-by from NY to Phx. I checked at the desk and asked for a flight to meet. I waited at 4 or 5 gates, but they were all full. Back at the desk, the guy said the next flight would be in the morning. No way. I was NOT spending the night on a chair in the airport. I asked the guy if I could see his list of flights. Chutzpah is my middle name. I saw there was a flight leaving in about 2 hours from a different airport. That looked good to me. But how to get there?? How much would a taxi cost? Maybe $10? Well, there was nothing for it but to ask him for the money. Which I did and he opened his petty cash box and gave it to me. I got to do one of those jump-in-the-cab-and-say-go-faster things like in the movies. Fun.
I made it. I got home to Phoenix and my mom that night. I'd been away a year and had seen some really horrible things. I saw people confined to a ballast tank, fed left-overs (or nothing); I saw people thrown into the harbor who were terrified (one of them clung to a pipe coming out of the side of hull, it was a toilet pipe); I saw pettiness, jealousy, fear, betrayal, lust, but I did NOT see the sane, brilliant, ARC-full environment I had expected.
I was exhausted.
I didn't stay long at my mom's house. It was the weirdest thing -- it was like everyone was moving and talking through molasses. It was like watching a movie in slow motion. After a while, I just couldn't handle it anymore, so I hopped on a bus and went to LA. I walked into the AO and said I was ready to get back to work. I forgot about my year's leave and the year I'd spent in hell -- just put them right out of my mind. That would be another "D'oh!" (Someone's keeping track, right?) I was the Tech Admin. People on their upper levels came to me for materials. It was a very loose operation as I recall. I know the file cabinet with the material was locked, but seriously, I don't think there was much security going on.
There was this guy, Doc Thibedeau, who would bring me fresh carrot juice every morning and massage my neck. He was great.
The MAA loved to play a little game that was all about catching me out of the office with the file cabinet unlocked. He eventually did and had a great time assigning me various conditions.
Here's some names of people I remember being there at that time (early 1969, AOLA on Bonnie Brae, I think): Neil Safarti, David Light, Ira and Sue Chaleff, Scottie Douglas (he was the chaplain) and maybe Kima Douglas. I remember a tall, black-haired woman who befriended me.
I got some auditing for some reason and had a really, really, really bad time afterward. I walked out of the session completely confused and disoriented. I had no idea where I was, what day it was, who I was, nothing. I wandered around until I saw a beautiful green neon sign. It was calling to me. I went inside the building with the sign, got in the elevator, rode to the 3rd floor, went into the women's room and fell asleep for 2 1/2 hours. Can you get that comfortable on the toilet?
When I woke up, I was pretty sure everything wasn't okay. It seemed like I was supposed to be somewhere, but it just wasn't coming to me. I thought of Scottie and called him (curiously, I'd been friends with Scottie back in Arizona and was responsible for him getting into scientology). He was very calm and sweet and helped me get my bearings. I went through some condition bullshit, didn't get another session and life went on.
I went on a date with a public and we ended up in his bed. A few months later I found out I was pregnant. I told him and said I was keeping the baby. The next week he showed up with some legal documents he wanted me to sign (he's a lawyer). These documents said that I would never say who the father of my baby was and I'd never ask him for any money. The most ethical people on the planet, huh?! I tore up the papers and looked him in the eyes and told him I felt sorry for him. That's the best you can do, creep?
Being pregnant and living in a house with about 30 other people is not a good combination. And, to add insult to injury, the couple who were cooking for us were two of the laziest slobs ever put on this earth. The kitchen was foul, the food was nasty and the stench permeated the house. I had morning sickness, usually on the stairs as I was going to the org. During this time, I had a day off and went with some of the other crew to a public's house on the beach. We had a terrific party, I got wasted and slept on the beach. When I woke up, I went for a swim. The undertow got hold of me and I honestly thought I was going to drown. But I did the "just relax and go with it" thing and was deposited safely on the shore.
As I got more pregnant, it got harder to work 80 hours a week, get no sleep and be fed garbage. Once, I took all the money I had and went to a local diner and ate liver. I was craving stuff and couldn't get it. Naturally I wanted to go home. Again. I had told my mom I was pregnant and wanted to be at home, but she had no way of knowing that I couldn't just get on the bus whenever I felt like it. It came to a head when my sister walked in the door one morning and announced that she and her boyfriend had just driven over from Phoenix to take me home. Oops. My office mates' eyes got very wide and their mouths dropped open. Let me see, I thought to myself, how can I spin this??? I asked my sister if she wouldn't mind waiting outside and I'd come as soon as I could. Well, what a day that turned out to be. At lunch time, someone told the Supercargo (whatever the hell that is) that I was going to split, like go AWOL. The Supercargo -- I'm pretty sure it was Sue Chaleff -- sat me down in the MAA's office and told me I was an enemy. She put handcuffs on my left wrist and locked me in the basement. Yup, that's what I said: LOCKED ME IN THE BASEMENT.
I've never had such clarity. I've never been more lucid as I was in that next hour, sitting on the steps, listening to the boiler. I just sat there and went through everything that was happening. I scripted what would happen next, every word, her's and mine. I envisioned her leading me out to the old garage in back to work all night in addresso. When I had the scenario perfect, I knocked on the door and asked to be let out. It went down precisely as I'd imagined it. In a matter of moments I was elevated to liability, had my grey rag, and was given a front row seat at the impossible addresso project. There was a young kid working at the same table and a very old man running the mimeo machine on the other side of the garage. I pretended to do some work for a while and then said to the kid, "Nancy needs to see you right now." He didn't ask a single question, just got up and went away. I wasn't worried about the old man. He could barely see or hear. I walked out of the garage, around the side of the house, jumped in my sister's car and said, "Take me home." She and her boyfriend had waited all day. We didn't bother going by the disgusting house for my belongings, I just wanted to get out of there. I slept on the back seat. Somewhere in the middle of the night, we stopped at a Denny's. I had to go in wearing my ridiculous uniform (much worse than the vampire outfits on the other thread): white turtle neck shirt, white mini (very mini) skirt and SILVER BOOTS.
My mom took good care of me and let me sleep as much as I wanted. People from the SO started calling the next morning, assuring me that coming back to them was the right thing and we'd work it all out. blah blah blah. I wasn't having any. Not at that point anyway.
When I was about 8 months pregnant, I went to LA to attempt a reconciliation with the CoS. I dropped by the local GO's office and asked them if we could just be friends. Nope. No deal. I was an enemy -- again. *sigh*
I stayed at my mom's for the next couple of years. My daughter was born in early 1970, I went back to college, and the CoS sent me notices through a collection agency for $15,000 (give or take a few $$). I have a recollection of something that may not have happened, but it might have. I think I got a call from Paulette Cooper during this time. I think she was asking me if I wanted to talk about my experiences. Maybe that's what happened and maybe I told her I was not willing to say anything. How did I know there was a risk in speaking out? I didn't have any information about that, but I went with my instincts. I did, however, talk to a reporter (with the promise of no names used) from San Diego about the awfulness of the CoS. I worried and worried about what would happen when his article came out. Turned out his editor DID have information about what could befall a whistle blower and nixed the article.
Occasionally I did some newsletter layouts for the Phoenix franchise, but otherwise scientology faded from my life. My mom was done with it too, so it never really became an issue. We both just went on with life, and except for the lovely baby now in our lives, it was as if it never occurred.
In 1978, after the Jonestown disaster, I was asked to speak to a sociology class at Arizona State University about charismatic leaders. It was the first time I tried to sort out my thoughts about what had overcome me so completely that I was willing to sign my life over to someone I didn't even know. I did not have the smarts to figure it out and I wasn't aware of anyone like Steve Hassan. I guess I lived in a different kind of bubble at that point. I told the students in that class that it was easy to fall for some else's idea of what to do with your life -- if you had not made any plans for yourself. I heard the words coming out of my mouth and was stunned to discover that that was EXACTLY what had happened -- I had never made any plans for myself. Never. Years later I had the realization, while attending Incest Survivor meetings, that I had only been able to plan a day at a time. My concern as a child was immediate survival -- there was no room for "future planning." I was the perfect target for scientology.
From 1970 to 1993, I was free of scientology. I didn't get to marry my sweetheart (not then anyway) because of it, but I was out of it (lol, in more ways than one).
Everything changed on October 6, 1993 when I married my darling -- a devout scientologist.
To read the rest of Cathy's story go here: