Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chapter Twelve: Over the Rainbow

The Int Scientology Base, circa 1989

Scientology’s International Base is located on the sloping foothills at the north end of California’s San Jacinto Valley, about ninety miles east of Los Angeles. When I first moved there in 1989, the valley was still mostly a rural farming community – sheep still grazed on fields near the Base. But the area was being rapidly taken over by LA’s "Inland Empire" suburbs, spreading out east from Riverside like a virus. Nearby Moreno Valley had already achieved the dubious status of "fastest growing city in the US," and cookie-cutter suburbs were starting to spill over the hill.

The San Jacinto Valley hosted two towns: San Jacinto, at the east end of the valley was a sleepy farm community that had maintained its picturesque downtown area, more out of neglect that any attempt at historic restoration. Hemet, located to the south of the valley, was the upstart younger sibling, complete with a row of franchises, mini-malls, and fast food joints along its main drag, Florida Avenue - including a big Wal-Mart.

The little resort community where the Base was located had been known for more than half a century as Gilman Hot Springs. It had been a favorite vacation resort in the 1920’s, and had hosted movie stars, gangsters and socialites who would motor out from LA to relax and soak. I once came across an old deco letterhead for Gilman Hot Springs showing an illustration that looked like something out of the Arabian Nights, all palm trees and exotic-looking buildings. You could still see the shells of the old baths set into the side of the hill – dry as a bone since the 1950s.

In addition to a spa, the Gilman brothers had built a two story hotel, the Hotel Del Sol, and two groups of bungalows, the "Ranchos" and the "200s" (after their room numbers). After Highway 79 was built, bisecting the property, they had put in a restaurant called the Massacre Canyon Inn – commemorating, for some reason, a famous local Indian massacre. Two blocks of rooms were attached to the restaurant – "The Lodges." At the upper eastern end, they had added a swimming pool and a bunch of larger modern apartments, "The Villas." And at the far eastern end of the property were a group of apartments called the "G Units" or "Gs," adjacent to a nine-hole golf course, also part of the property.

The run-down resort had been purchased by the Church of Scientology in 1978 as an alternate secret "summer headquarters" for Hubbard. Old timers still called the place "SHQ" or just "S." Hubbard, then living at a confidential location in La Quinta, California, directed that the property be purchased by another front organization of his invention, the "Scottish Highlands Quietude Club." Hubbard was apparently tickled by the idea that the San Jacinto Valley resembled the Scottish Highlands. He must have only seen the area in the early spring, when the hills were actually green for a few short weeks before turning permanently yellow. Nonetheless, he dictated that all building renovations were to be done in a "Scottish motif." This was done after a fashion - all the buildings were given blue tile roofs, whitewashed walls, and stone veneer detailing. The result was more Disney than Dundee.

At the top of the property, a house had been renovated for Hubbard. It was called Bonnie View, as it commanded a sweeping view of the valley. Hubbard, however, had never lived there.

The "shore story" for the local San Jacinto and Hemet "wogs" was that this facility was Golden Era Productions, a film production company for the Church of Scientology. The locals were not to know that there were any Scientology management organizations or key executives on the property. To bolster the illusion of a film company, the swimming pool had been converted to an approximation of a 19th century clipper ship, with masts, rigging, and decks. The locals were told it was a "movie set," although nothing was ever filmed there. It was called the "Star of California."


The "Star of California

The Sea Organization has never been known for its creativity in naming buildings and places. In fact, they usually take the simplest course of keeping all the old place names, but abbreviating them. Thus, the Massacre Canyon Inn, now the staff cafeteria, or "galley," became "MCI." The Hotel Del Sol, which now housed the Senior Executive Strata and the Commodore’s Messenger Org International, became simply "Del Sol." The Qualifications Division, where staff received their training and auditing, was in "The Spa." RTC was housed "up the hill" in the Villas.

By the time the Planetary Dissemination Organization arrived in January of 1989, the Base was bursting at the seams. There were over 700 staff, and growing every day. Most of Gold’s filmmaking activities were crammed into the Garage, which was a jumble of painted backdrops, costumes, props, and administrative desks. The actual film shooting was done in a miniature sound stage on the south side called, for some obscure reason. "The Gym." The Golden Era Musicians, who did the music for films and events, had a newly-built state-of-the-art Music Studio on the north side, complete with an expensive Massenburg mixing board. Audio production – the duplication and packaging of Hubbard’s lectures on cassettes – was jammed into a building next to the Music Studio. And all of Gold’s executives and administrative staff were crammed into temporary trailers uphill from the Ranchos, awaiting construction of a huge office building on the south side.

Security at the Base was tight. We could not tell anyone, even family, where we were located. The property was fenced in on all sides to keep out intruders, and had a main Security booth near the garage. Every gate had a security lock with a combination, and Security also maintained a mountaintop lookout to the north, called Eagle, manned at all times by a Security Guard with a high-powered telescope and, it was rumored, a high-powered rifle.

As there was no office space for PDO, five trailers, one of them a bathroom, had been hauled in and parked along a rutted dirt road on the northern side of the property. We set up shop in these and began production. With our move to the Base, we began to be referred to as "Central Marketing Unit," or "CMU." The two names, Planetary Dissemination Org and Central Marketing Unit, would change back and forth several times over the years. It was felt that "Central Marketing Unit" was too commercial-sounding for a Church, but here at the Base, amongst us insiders, it served.

At one time, all of the Base staff had lived on the property, in the G Units, the Lodges, the 200s, and various houses scattered about the property. Some senior staff lived in the Villas, including Miscavige. With the influx of new people, there was no way to house everyone on the property, so apartment units were rented in Hemet, about eight miles away - the Kirby Garden Apartments, the Devonshire Apartments, and the Vista Apartments (which were reserved for senior executives).

After living for years at the Big Blue Complex, the Devonshire Apartments seemed like heaven to Nancy and I. At the Complex, we had lived on the fourth floor of the main building in a one-room apartment with a sink and a toilet. To bathe, we had to walk down the hall to one of two big communal showers, one for men and one for women. At the Devonshire, we shared a two bedroom, two bath apartment with another couple, and the place had a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. It seemed like unbelievable luxury.

Staff were transported to and from the Base in several large old school buses, which had been painted white and emblazoned with the "Golden Era Productions" logo. They left early in the morning and returned late at night. Nancy and I still had the old Honda, so we drove in every day, picking up stragglers who’d missed the bus.

As the Director of Advertising and Promotion, I had the middle trailer on the west side, which was full of my artists, writers and magazine editors. The trailer to the north of me housed the Research area, and the trailer to the south was Marketing Execution. Across the road was the PDO executive trailer. At times it seemed like an old Western town – we were always tracking in either dust or mud from the dirt road outside.

I had a good group under me. My Creative Director was a young deaf man named Thomas Bourke. He and I had worked together in the Dissem Bureau in Clearwater and were good friends. He could lip-read flawlessly and operated amazingly well without hearing. Under him were a variety of artists and designers, each with a different talent. Carrie Cook was the most talented and the easiest to work with. She had been a designer in New York and knew what she was doing. Cynthia Coleman was a competent designer, but often temperamental. Kerrie Francis was an accomplished oil painter, but nearly useless on a computer. Betsy Byrne was talented in layout and typography and easy to work with – I started using her for all the public campaigns. These, plus a few writers and magazine editors, made up the team. I ran them with a light touch and strong direction. I knew you could not be heavy-handed with creative people or their work would start to suffer.

As a group, we had a lot of esprit when we first hit the Base, and could get rowdy. I remember having dinner for the first time in MCI. We all sat together, and soon, as usual, we were joking and laughing, and we got pretty loud. I soon noticed that the rest of the dining room was oddly silent, and a lot of faces were turned to see who was making all that noise. It was our first indication that the Base was not as freewheeling as LA had been. There was an atmosphere of caution, of looking over one’s shoulder to see who was watching, an unwillingness to stand out too much or be too conspicuous. At first, this attitude puzzled me. I had expected that at Scientology’s International Base, the "tone level" would be high, the "affinity" and "communication" would be high, and people would be friendly and outgoing. But it seemed to be just the opposite. After I’d been there a while and saw how the Base operated, I began to understand.

One of the basic principles of Scientology is that if a person is critical of another, it is because they have committed an "overt act" (harmful act) against that person. To justify the wrong they have done, they become critical of the other person. Any criticism or "natter" was therefore seen as a sign that the person had committed "overts," or crimes.

Hubbard had further developed this "technology" into what he called the "False Purpose Rundown," which was to handle "Black PR." He defined "Black PR" as "false vilification of a well-intentioned person or group." Hubbard was, of course, "well intentioned," so any vilification of Hubbard fell under this dictum. By extension, Miscavige was, of course, "well intentioned," so any criticism of Miscavige was also "Black PR." And so on down the command chain. It was definitely a top-down datum – obviously, anyone senior on the command chain had "better intentions" than the junior staffer. Therefore a senior being critical of a junior did not fall under "Black PR."

Anyone hearing natter or criticism was required to report it – even if it was your best friend or spouse. Failing to file a "Knowledge Report" after one had heard such criticism was itself an offense.

The first action when "Black PR" was reported was to bring the person in for a "Rollback" interview. The person was questioned as to where they had heard this critical datum. If they had not heard it from anyone else, then they were the originator of it, so it was to one’s advantage to name someone else as the originator.

Once the "Black PR" has been found, the person is given "Security Checking" on an E-Meter in order to unearth the "crimes" which had inspired this calumny. The Sec Checker keeps at it, hour after hour, getting the person to confess to crime after crime until they recant and publicly retract the "Black PR." This was the "end phenomenon" – a "viewpoint shift."

So everyone at the Base was understandably cautious about what they said, and if they had any negative opinions about what was going on, they kept them strictly to themselves.

The orders and directives of the senior executives were referred to as "Command Intention." This was a term that had originated in Hubbard’s time. When a person joins the Sea Org they take an oath, and one of the points is, "I promise to uphold, forward, and carry out Command Intention." Anyone found not energetically carrying out the orders of Command is accused of having "counter-intention," or "CI."

There was one way to respond to an order from a senior, and that was just a "Yes, Sir," and hop to. Questioning the order, asking for clarification, any objection to the order or any back-chat at all was termed "backflash," which Hubbard defined as "any unnecessary response to an order." Anything other than a "Yes Sir" was deemed unnecessary.

And there were plenty of executives around. In the beginning of the Sea Org, ranks had been established based on service and production. One could work up from "Swamper," the lowest, through Petty Officer, Midshipman, Warrant Officer and so on up to Captain. Originally, one was only required to address one’s senior in rank as "Sir." A Petty Officer in a higher organization still had to address a Midshipman as "Sir," even if they worked at a lower echelon. And only officers were addressed as "Sir." This was all covered in "Flag Order 38" one of the first issues of the Sea Org.

All that had changed at the Base. An addendum to Flag Order 38 had come out saying that anyone in a higher organization was senior to anyone in a lower organization and had to be addressed as "Sir" whether they were an officer or not. I had, over the years, advanced to Warrant Officer. Now I found that I had to address even green teenagers as "Sir," if they worked for CMO International or Exec Strata.

And they did. There were legions of what was called "Programs Operators." Every activity on the Base was put into extensive programs, with pages after pages of program targets. It was the job of these Programs Ops, usually young girls, to roam the Base and demand "compliance" to program targets. In order to be able to count a done target on their statistic, they had to have a formal "Compliance Report." So on Thursday Morning just before the stat reporting cutoff of 2pm, one would find hordes of these Programs Ops descending on staff like angry wasps.

I think that teenage girls should never be given drugs, alcohol, or power. Because they become addicted. They would descend on staff and "demand compliance." Any backtalk got a shout of "BACKFLASH!!" and "You’re CI." If they weren’t addressed as "Sir" they would scream "Get your Flag Order 38 IN!" They would threaten to send you to Sec Checking to uncover your "crimes." They became, many of them, holy terrors.

It seemed to me, after I had been at the Base for a while, that for every person who was actually doing something, there were legions of Programs Ops, Inspectors, officious martinets and executives of various echelons, all demanding something from the staff member and threatening dire consequences if not "complied to." It was, in a word, top-heavy to the max. And it was all aimed at making staff "compliant."

All of which led to a sort of arrogant elitism, a Base-wide, rigid caste system that was defined by who had to call who "Sir." RTC looked down on CMO International, CMO Int looked down on Exec Strata. And at the bottom of the heap was Golden Era Productions, looked down on by everyone.

In this atmosphere, the average staff member was somewhat cowed. The safest course was to simply keep one’s mouth shut and do as you were told, try to blend in and keep a low profile. I, of course, had never been much good at that sort of thing. I instantly found myself at odds with the zeitgeist of the Base.

But then, as a marketing group, we were cut a bit of slack. We were expected to be creative, as long as we didn’t color too far outside the lines. We were expected to come up with innovative ideas. Giving marketing presentations to a group of executives was always interesting. The room would be dead silent during the presentation, no one sure how to react until Miscavige had either given it his blessing or censured it – then the assembled executives would jump on the offered bandwagon. The best execs, the real political players, became expert at reading Miscavige’s moods.

CMU’s main job, when we first began working at the Base, was packaging – new book covers, course pack covers and lecture series cassette binders. All of Hubbard’s works were being repackaged and reissued. Apparently, according to what we were told, all of Hubbard’s books and writings had been combed through in exacting detail by LRH Technical Research and Compilation (RTRC) staff, comparing them with the handwritten manuscripts, original lecture recordings and notes. Everything had been verified as "100% On-Source," which meant they were completely verified as being true to his originals – Hubbard, of course, being "Source" of Scientology. This was a big deal with Scientologists – they wanted pure Hubbard, nothing changed. This would be a big sales point for the newly released materials.

Our job was to design the packaging and keep up with the releases. Each product being released – something like 200 in all – had to have packaging and promotional literature. We had to hustle to keep up with the flow of these new materials.

To accommodate this volume of new releases, Miscavige has started to hold six major televised events every year – March 13th (Hubbard’s birthday), May 9th (Celebrating the first publication of Dianetics), the Freewinds Maiden Voyage Anniversary on June 6, Auditors Day in September, the IAS Anniversary in October, and a big event on New Years Eve. Each of these events were videoed by the Golden Era Productions film crew, and then the resulting program was sent out to all of the orgs, who held their own events several weeks later and showed the video.

Earlier in Scientology’s history, Hubbard had held something called "Congresses," usually several times a year. He found these a good way to get Scientologists briefed on the latest "tech," and incidentally boost course enrollments and book sales. After Hubbard ceased doing them, Scientology Orgs took over holding them and soon found that they provided a quick and easy boost to the income. Hubbard eventually had to forbid them, as he found that after each artificial burst, the stats would crash lower than before. "Repeating Congresses" were tearing orgs up. But with Hubbard gone, Miscavige reestablished these frequent events as a way to jack up the sales stats six times a year. He would preside at most of these, acting as Master of Ceremonies, briefing on the latest "expansion news" and releasing the newly packaged Hubbard materials. As to the inevitable dip in stats after each event, he had a ready answer – he had done his job by masterminding the event and the release, but others had failed to follow up on his brilliance. This became his constant litany.

With six events a year now being held, one every two months, and several new releases for each event, our lives became a scramble from one release to the next. Long hours and "all-nighters" became the order of the day, to meet the impossible deadlines.

We had other odd jobs as well. One of them was to produce special course certificates for Tom Cruise. It was an open secret that Cruise was frequently on the Base, doing an intensive program of Scientology training and auditing. Each time he completed a course or an auditing "Rundown," we would prepare a certificate, an ornate, handmade job that would take hours to craft. For "security" purposes, these certificates were made out to "Thomas Mapother," his real name. Every once in a while we’d catch a glimpse of the man himself as he bombed between the trailers in his sports car, raising a cloud of dust. He’d hit the button on the security intercom, shout "Cruise!" and peel off down Highway 79, leaving a star-struck and dust-choked CMU behind.

Once a week, every Saturday, all staff on the Base participated in "Renovations" or "Renos." This went from early morning to dinnertime, with each staff member assigned to some task that would contribute to upgrading the buildings and the grounds. While building contractors were hired to do the major construction work, Sea Org crew did everything else – including framing, drywall, mudding, block wall, stonework, planting and landscaping. I enjoyed getting out once a week and getting some exercise and fun. In letters to my Mom I explained it as "like a kibbutz – we all contribute to building the place."

The expansion plans for the Base were massive. One of my earliest "Renos" jobs was working as part of a team to make a scale model of what the Base was going to look like when finished. We worked from topographical maps and architectural blueprints for accuracy, and ended up with a model about four by six feet. It looked amazing – there were to be buildings for Gold, RTC and CMO International, a big manor house for LRH (for his return!), a film lab, four apartment buildings for staff, access tunnels under the road, and a huge sound stage shaped like a Scottish castle!

MCI, the staff cafeteria, was already under renovation, and so for a few months we ate our meals on the south lawn under a big, windy tent. The crunch of sand in our food became a familiar sensation.

The first new building was to be a big three-story office building on the south side to house the Gold administrative areas and manufacturing facilities – E-Meter manufacturing, audio reproduction (Hubbard’s lectures on cassette), and shipping. Soon we saw the foundations appear and the huge building started to take shape.

Despite the grueling schedule, Nancy and I still managed to get a bit of time off now and then – a "liberty" every second week if our "stats were up." Nancy’s family sent her money to buy a car, and with that and a trade in of the Honda, we managed to get a Mazda RX-7, a car we loved. When we managed to get a day off, it was fun to bomb around in our little sports car. We explored Idyllwild, a mountain resort town in the nearby San Jacinto mountains, and went shopping in Palm Springs.

Nancy with the new car, downtown Hemet

Every Sunday morning, we had until noon to clean our apartment, do laundry, and do some shopping in Hemet – usually at the Wal-Mart. This Sunday morning personal cleaning time was called "CSP," an acronym for "Clean Ship Program," after the original program on the Apollo that had instituted the weekly cleaning time. We had a phone in our apartment and I’d call Mom every Sunday morning.

Nancy worked in the Marketing Execution area, and was responsible for executing the Scientology Campaign that we had devised in LA. The Dianetics Campaign was being run by Caroline Mustard. We weren’t doing car racing anymore, but Bill wasn’t done with sports sponsorships yet. He had hatched a scheme for Dianetics to sponsor Ted Turner’s 1990 Goodwill Games. The Goodwill Games had been devised by Turner in response to the politics and boycotts surrounding the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. The first Goodwill Games had been held in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1986, and Turner had scheduled the second for the summer of 1990. Through our Media Director, Jan Gildersleeve, a sponsorship was arranged.

A new Sea Org recruit was brought in to supervise the effort, Gabrielle Allen. Gab was an attractive lady who had attained the highest OT Level, OT VIII, as a Scientology public. She had been part of the effort to get Dianetics released in both Russia and China, and was seen as something of a PR whiz. Recruiting Gabrielle was considered a feather in CMU’s cap. She began extensive preparations to make the most of the Dianetics sponsorship.

Bill didn’t wait around to see this sponsorship come to fruition. In early 1990, he "blew" – the Sea Org term for someone who just up and leaves – jumps the fence. Ronnie Miscavige, Marketing Executive International and Bill’s senior, called me to his office and said I would have to take over as CO CMU.

I had no burning desire to do so. Having seen and experienced the mindset of the Base, I knew that I would be right in the epicenter of the top-heavy micromanagement. But Ronnie informed me that Bill had been "recovered," which means they had located him and brought him back to the Base. Ronnie said he wanted to put Bill back on as CO CMU, but not until he was "cleaned up." Bill had been assigned to menial work – "mest work" it was called, from the Scientology acronym for matter-energy-space-time. He was put on maintenance of the grounds. It was expected that his cleanup might take a year, and Ronnie asked me to hold the post until then. I reluctantly agreed.

Bill had gotten off easy. Anyone else would have been assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force, the RPF, but Bill was a favorite of the Miscaviges. He was given an easy second chance. I began to see that the application of discipline on the Base had everything to do with whether or not you were in David Miscavige’s good or bad books.

There was no question as to who was running the Base and, by extension, international Scientology. Miscavige presided at management meetings, issued a constant stream of orders, and roamed the Base with an entourage of executives, barking out commands. His only erstwhile rival, Pat Broeker, had mysteriously disappeared several years earlier, and was never spoken of. Following Hubbard’s death, we had assumed that the Broekers would be taking over Scientology. After all, an issue had appeared, supposedly written by Hubbard just before his death, naming Pat and Annie Broeker "Loyal Officers" and, seemingly, his heirs apparent. But in April of 1988, Miscavige had suddenly and mysteriously cancelled the issue, saying it had been forged by Broeker and hadn’t been written by Hubbard after all. No replacement issue from Hubbard was forthcoming to clarify succession – and Miscavige assumed control. Pat Broeker was never seen again. Annie Broeker, now using her maiden name, Tidman, resurfaced, quiet and chastened. She took over as the CO of the "Commodore’s Messenger Org Gold," a special unit of the CMO that supervised Golden Era Productions.

As CO CMU, frequent meetings became part of my routine. Some were presided over by Miscavige, others were not. A key meeting was called "ICC," or International Coordinating Committee. It was composed of the senior execs of CMO International, known as the "Watchdog Committee," and the Senior Executive Strata under ED Int. Too often, these just became a series of demands for things needed from CMU. I would leave each meeting with a long list of things needed by each executive, and knowing there was no way I could get it all done with the existing staff. We had grown slightly, to about 30 people, but were still far short of the 54 we had in LA. And we were doing about ten times the work.

My least favorite meeting, however, was the Int Base Financial Planning Committee, which was to me like going for a three-hour root canal. I hated finance, long meetings and internal politics, and this was a heady dose of all three. It was attended by the heads of various Base Units who relied on Sea Org Collections for funding. Sea Org Collections worked like this: every Scientology Organization in the world would send the bulk of their local income to their Continental Office, keeping only enough to barely cover their weekly operating expenses. The Continental Office then forwarded the funds to the International Finance Office. The bulk of that money went directly into Sea Org Reserves and was untouchable by mere mortals. A portion of it came to the Int Base FP Committee to support the Base organizations. Golden Era Productions was expected to make its own way through the sale of Hubbard’s taped lectures and E-Meters, but all the other units vied for a portion of this SO Collections amount. The main two contenders were Central Marketing and the Office of Special Affairs. OSA was the reincarnation of the old Guardian’s Office, responsible for public relations, legal, and some shadowy intelligence and covert operations functions. They came every week with huge demands for funds for attorneys and private investigators. We were getting maybe $500,000 a week to the Int FP, and OSA’s demands would often take most of that. When it came to a showdown, OSA simply claimed their expenses were "vital to the survival of the Church." End of discussion.

All of which meant less and less funding for the Dianetics Campaign. It was down to half of its earlier budget, with most of that going to promotion for the upcoming Goodwill Games, rather than for what I considered standard promotional actions. Even our TV ads were centered on the Goodwill Games. We had filmed an ad with an Olympic gymnast, Charles Lakes, who was a Scientologist, and had started airing that, promoting the book and the sponsorship. But sales continued to plummet. Much as I might have liked to get out of that sponsorship and back to mainline bookselling, we were committed.

In the middle of 1990, I flew up to Seattle for the opening of the Goodwill Games. Gabrielle had been up there for a week with a team of PRs preparing for the events. When I saw how big the event was, and how little visibility there really was for Dianetics on the ground, I was shocked. Dianetics was almost invisible except for a few banners dwarfed by the venues and by other advertising. We had some receptions for key people from the publishing industry – at one of them, John Travolta showed up to sign autographs. But overall it seemed that Dianetics was just another little voice shouting for attention amidst hundreds of advertisers – including some of the very biggest. How were these sports sponsorships ever supposed to sell books?

Meanwhile, the demand was on to develop more "raw public" campaigns. With Hubbard’s book about the Purification Rundown, Clear Body, Clear Mind, being reissued, Miscavige also wanted to be able to announce to the Scientology public (at an event, of course) that there was going to be a big public campaign for the book. We were given the task of creating it. I had a new CMU staff member, Janadair Swanson, assigned as the "Purification Product Manager." I walked her through the creation of the campaign, and we made a television ad for the book. I was still fascinated with computer graphics, and I had an ad made showing a transparent human body morphing into a river and back into a body, showing how the body got polluted with toxins and clean again.

We had a break in that Kirstie Alley agreed to be the spokesperson for the campaign. She liked the Purification Rundown as she had been helped by it. She was starring in "Cheers" and was at the height of her popularity.

Somehow, Janadair misunderstood how Kirstie’s image was to be used. She produced a poster with Kirstie’s face on it, promoting the book, and this went out to the bookstores for the launch. However, when Kirstie saw one in a bookstore, she blew up, claiming that she never approved a poster. Before I knew it, this "flap" had reached Miscavige, and Janadair was hauled off to the RPF. An error like this should have merited some minor discipline, but Janadair was not liked by Miscavige. And there I was, with a new campaign launched, a tiny budget, and no Marketing Manager to run it.

To cope with the campaign and get it going, I took the researcher who had worked on the campaign, Linda Sukkestad, and put her on as Purification Marketing Manager. Linda was one of my original staff from the Strategic Book Marketing Unit. While not brilliant creatively, she was a reliable hard worker.

Within a few weeks, she too was assigned to the RPF on some minor infraction. I objected to Ronnie, but he said there was nothing he could do.

This was too much for me. How could I run a unit when key staff could just be arbitrarily assigned to the RPF on any pretext? And why was it that anyone attempting to run the Purification Campaign was suddenly railroaded into the RPF? How could someone like Dendiu blow the Base and just get a slap on the wrist, while other staff would have the book thrown at them for a minor infraction? It made no sense, and the more I tried to make sense of it, the crazier I got. And there was no one I could talk to about it – any objection would be deemed to be "natter" and would end me up in a Security Check. I ended up losing it completely, screaming and yelling uncontrollably at an RTC staff member who happened to visit my office at the wrong time.

By the time Dendiu was deemed to be "handled" sufficiently to resume post, I was a train wreck. I was tired of fighting to salvage these campaigns that no one else seemed to have the slightest interest in. I was sick of the craziness, the politics, the endless meetings and visits from Programs Operators.

Bill was re-appointed to the CO CMU post, and Ronnie thanked me for doing a good job holding the post in his absence. Bill, however, was not so generous. The minute he reappeared on the scene, the denigration started again. The plummeting Dianetics stats were all because of my inept management. I was a failure. Of course I felt, at that moment, like an utter failure myself, and that didn’t help. I retreated into a shell, wanting nothing more to do with running CMU. Bill could have it.

Coincident with Bill’s return, it was decided that CMU would become a part of Golden Era Productions. In other words, we were going to the bottom of the food chain. When Bill announced the move to CMU staff, there was silence. It didn’t take a genius to see it for what it was – a slap in the face.

The southside office building had been completed, and, in a demonstration of typical Sea Org naming brilliance, was now known as "Building 36." It contained all of the Gold executives, Treasury, the "Hubbard Communications Office (Communications, Personnel and Ethics functions), as well as manufacturing areas for E-Meters and tape duplication.
The earlier plan was for CMU to occupy a floor of the planned Senior Executive Strata building, but with this change, it was decided to put CMU on the third floor of Building 36, a windowless attic space currently occupied by stock shelves. Plans were started to clean out and renovate the place.

There was no question that CMU was being downgraded as a function, squeezed into another organization’s structure, and shunted off to an out-of-the-way attic space. I didn’t know why this was happening, I just knew that it was.

Why did I stay? Many years later, after I had left Scientology, I would ask myself that question. Why did I carry on despite the denigration, the politics, the craziness? But leaving was never an option in my mind. The overall mission, the overall purpose of Scientology that I was dedicated to always loomed largest in my mind. The daily craziness, the long hours, the abuse, all seemed like temporary distractions, minor bumps and potholes in the larger freeway of Scientology’s mission. There had always been abusive, cruel people in Scientology – Doreen Casey, Kerry Gleeson and others. They had faded away. I had endured. Call it stubbornness, bullheadedness, tenacity. I was determined to carry on and achieve the aims of Scientology as I saw them, despite any bastards that got in my way. If I was beaten down, so what? I would lick my wounds for a while and then get up again. I would prevail, and the ultimate mission of Scientology would prevail – a world without insanity, war and crime. We were looking at the sanity and happiness of future generations. Wasn’t that worth a few privations and late nights? Wasn’t that worth a few hard knocks?

So I stayed. "It can’t get any worse," I reasoned.

I would soon find out how wrong that statement was.

8 comments:

chuckbeatty77 said...

Thanks Jeff Hawkins. Best writing about Int I've read.

I hope, again, this inspires others to write of their time periods at Int.

There are hundreds of Int Base staffers who have come and gone, who I hope will write their histories.

In hindsight, I find greatest fault with Hubbard, the founder of the whole mess.

I find greatest credit goes to those who balanced and played the game so as least to trample on their fellows.

You were one of the best Sea Org members for production records, and what did it get you.

Lots and lots of people who still love you as the great person you are.

Thanks Jeff! I hope your family is proud of you!

And I hope people, I know some of them, like Kerry Gleason, have tried to make apologies for their "roles" as bastards over the years.

I am for forgiving, and the simplicity of just saying I'm sorry, and I hope those that were caught up in the "tough" "hard ass" executive mindset of Gilman Hot Springs are big enough today to apologize to those they trampled on.

You're doing a tremendous good thing writing all this history Jeff!

Chuck Beatty
Pittsburgh
minor ex Scientology staffer
(1975-2003)

crayola said...

It may, or may not, please you to know that Doreen Casey got it back "in spades" when she married LaMont Johnson. After their break-up she would call me, sometimes several times a day, and cry about how badly she had been harmed. Her business was ruined, and she was left used and abused. Pretty much the same way that she treated those who were subjected to her treatment in cos.
I don't recall ever meeting you, but I knew who you were when you were around the PAC area. VWD on getting out with your sanity and integrity intact.

jana (eller) moreillon
Cl8 FEBC

Dagny said...

Thanks for another great piece, Jeff!

StevenCampbell said...

Jeff, congratulations on another amazing chapter, I wait anxiously each day to read your story.

Thanks for sharing.
You are one of many great people informing the world.

Steven.

nefertitiantico$ said...

You keep telling your story with an amazing accuracy and remembrance of names, places, events and atmosphere which makes this writing by far the most detailed and enlightened account of this secret top management base ruled by a ruthless operetta dictator.

The evidence is that you are a writer.

It makes me wonder if i have the courage to write m experience in the SO prior being sent to the RPF at Flag which I already wrote about in The guru's Gulags
Thank you and congratulations.
Nefertiti

nefertitiantico$ said...

oh and by the way could Chuck Beatty leave his e mail adress?
nefertiti

Ian P said...

I grew up in Hemet. Unless, I am misunderstanding the sequence of events you have protrayed, there was no Walmart in Hemet during the times of which you speak. The original Walmart was constructed and opened in 1992.

Fascinating reading.

As adolescents circa 1986/87, we used to ride our bikes out to Golden Era golf-course, and drive the carts around.The then contemporary peoples of Hemet simply thought of the entire operation out there as "the cult." I don't remember ever knowing that it was Scientology-related until many years later, but I do remember being afraid of the entire area with its cameras and creepy security guards. I apologize if I ever shot you with a BB gun. *shrug*

LightPath said...

Dear Mr. Hawkins,

How fascinating and disturbing at the same time. Jeff, thanks for sharing. I'm with Chuck, best writing I've read in a while.

From what I see, organized Scientology is a morally repugnant, shaky pyramid of dubious assumptions resting upon a fractured base of unscientific supposition.

Jeff, how you stuck it out for so many years is beyond me, but heck, we all live and learn. Good luck to you, all around.

One question - I have a lot of family in Florida who recently saw a Scientology-owned property being renovated by what looked like RPF folks in drab uniforms with black, gray and white armbands on their right sleeve.

Did they spot RPF folks? If so, what is the significance of the arm bands?


Thanks,
Konstantin

PS I wonder if Kirstey Alley knows, or even cares that her mini-tantrum had another human being committed to a veritable slave labour camp. I also wonder why the authorities aren't all over this, especially allegations of slavery.