Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chapter Six: Back to Flag

Willemstadt, Curacao, 1975. The Apollo is in the background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The Commodore wants to know…"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After seven years, I was going home.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chapter Five: Crash and Burn

The Sea Org's European Station Ship Athena, 1971

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me and Tina - happier days

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

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

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

"Captain Bill" Robertson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is it?" I asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ship had moved – across the Atlantic.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chapter Four: Moving Up

The Apollo, Flagship of the Sea Organization

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

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

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

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

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

The Apollo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My mother with Gwennie

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

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

Gwennie explores the org in her walker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Jeff Hawkins – Commanding Officer Pubs Denmark"

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

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

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

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

I was going to be the Sea Org Commanding Officer of Pubs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chapter Three: Thistle Street Lane

Seventeen Northeast Thistle Street Lane
Publications Org Worldwide, 1968

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We were puzzled. "You work weekends?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me - at work designing Scientology promotion at Pubs Org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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