Memories, 25 SH Episodes: Bed-Making, Appendix

Here, for possible interest, are photos of the report I sent LRH on the withhold-pulling along with the “session report.” Below the images is some discussion of discrepancies between what I’ve written and what the images show.

P1060173

"Mrs. Smith" Auditor's Report, 5 April, 1965
Upper portion of report; lower portion follows below.

P1060175

This record shows up discrepancies, such as:

  1. I wrote in the last post that Mrs. Smith and I were not in session. If I formally started a session, I’ve forgotten it. The dominating memory is that it was a rather breathless affair–the sooner got through the better–and not a formal session.
  2. I wrote that I used the Murder Routine. It isn’t mentioned in the documents here. I am sure I used it, if briefly, as I remember Mrs. Smith’s face when I suggested some crime to her, and wondering if I’d clumsily overdone it. I don’t recall having any reason at all to exclude the fact from the report to LRH.
  3. I started off with a different process than the cleaning of withholds since, as a matter of fact, I wasn’t trained yet to take up withholds.
  4. I should have asked LRH for written instructions suitable for my level of training. I didn’t. One tended to do things off-the-cuff in those days. Later on, he would have reprimanded me for not having the written instructions.
  5. In an earlier post, I said that soon after I went to SH in 1963, he promoted me to Household Officer. Yet in this memo to him dated April 1964, I’m writing him from the Butler position. I must have misremembered when the promotion took place.
  6. In another earlier post, I told how LRH had invited me to call him “Ron” soon after my arrival at SH, but again, here I am in April 1964, still addressing him as “Dr. Hubbard.” My memory isn’t trustworthy as regards times, date, and figures.
  7. In the second part of this Episode, I wrote that Mrs. Smith made off as soon as we had finished, but the report I made at the time says that she hung around and was chatty! The report has to take precedence.
  8. I’ve said that Mrs. Smith pronounced it “Sinee-ology”. The 1965 report says it was “Sinology” that she said. Better take the report as the accurate account.
  9. The biggest discrepancy of all is that neither LRH nor I followed up on the action; as long as I was in the Household, Mrs. Smith had no other auditing, and no briefing on what “Sinology” was all about. This is bad and sad.

 

Apologies for textual discrepancies. Will be mindful of the tendency in future.

[How I come to still possess these and some other items that passed between LRH and me is in itself an interesting little story about LRH and the Sea Org and me, for future telling.]

(c) Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2018.

Memories, 24 The Bed-Making Situation: Meter Required! (II)

[Chapter Seven, Episode One, (II)]

The Bed-Making Situation: E-Meter Required!

Part Two of Two

 

The story told here begins with LRH’s mysterious decision that he needed another place to sleep. In the crush of activity nearly always present around him, the reason for this change whizzed by me. A single bed (U.S.: twin bed) was set up for him on the top floor of the Manor. However, he continued to use his bedroom for his morning ritual of chocolate, Kools, conversation, and toilet.

He was not happy with the way Mrs. Smith was making up his new bed. He had told her, he said to me after a few days of the new arrangement, how he wanted it. The next day, he told me she was still getting it wrong. But he didn’t say any more about it and he changed the subject, thus not putting me directly on to the matter. So I left him to it. One more day, and he was getting cross with Mrs. Smith. It was something to do with how she tucked in the bedclothes or didn’t tuck them in; LRH wasn’t making it easy for me to follow what was going on. If he wanted to deal with Mrs. Smith himself, fine with me. If he wanted me to deal with Mrs. Smith on the question, he had only to tell me, fair and square.

In characteristically masterful fashion, he took action to end his dilemma. He told me, fair and square, and what he told me took me by surprise. One would have expected him to show me what he wanted on his bed and require me to pass this on to Mrs. Smith and make sure that she got it. No. L. Ron Hubbard, in this instance, wasn’t doing anything fair and square. “She has withholds”, he pronounced. “You are doing your auditor training. Get your meter and pull them.” I had no answer for this and went off in some dread of how this caper could turn out, but not thinking of shirking the task, much as I’d have liked to.

I knew Mrs. Smith would not like it one bit, and I was right. She saw me coming with my meter and the cans, and she set off in the opposite direction. I followed her and in due course trapped her in a bathroom, I nearest its door. I made her take the cans and I started in on her. She had no faintest idea of what I wanted but was thoroughly scared, cheerfulness obviously ineffective. I insisted on knowing what it was that she was not telling Dr. Hubbard. She, understanding at last what we were after, insisted she had no secrets from him whatever.

All trained auditors and some people who’ve received auditing know about the Murder Routine. This routine is Plan B when the person subjected to questioning declines to cooperate with the auditor who is asking for things not being talked about. When required by the rules governing auditing to get whatever the recipient of the auditing is withholding, the auditor is under orders to persuade the recipient to divulge the information (for the recipient’s own sake), but in a manner that preserves the recipient’s self-respect.  [When the auditor does the work of helping the recipient clean up withholds well, the recipient experiences much relief. In fact, it is work of high mercy.]

Having asked our recipient to reveal a secret, and not getting the truth, the auditor uses the Murder Routine to get around the recipient’s reluctance to speak out. In this routine, the auditor suggests to the person that he or she is actually hiding a terrible crime (such as murder—hence the routine’s name). The “victim” is thoroughly relieved to be able to deny any such dreadful thing, and in a little while begins to see that rather than be suspected of felonies, he or she had better spit out whatever petty thing which sits there not being talked about.

So it was with Mrs. Smith. She was utterly astonished by the awful deeds I was suggesting she might be hiding. The routine did its job, and she spat it out. Since she and I were not “in session” (had we been, I’d be bound by the Auditor’s Code not to reveal what she told me), and since she is long gone, and since it is hardly a historical turning point, I will report her Big Secret.

“I don’t know what this Sinee-ology is all about,” she wailed in her country-woman accent, her fearful false teeth flashing pitifully. Along with that little speech came a movement downwards on the meter’s controls and a needle response which told me I had got all I would get for the moment. Satisfied, I allowed Mrs. Smith to make her escape.

Also relieved that I had a little substance with which to respond to my orders, I sent a report to LRH at once, describing how the action had gone. He returned this report to me with the notation: “You’re an auditor!” That was good of him in a way, but it didn’t have much impact on me or my assessment of myself as an auditor. The whole thing was surreal, and I felt I’d actually done Mrs. Smith a real disservice by suddenly yanking her into the Scientology world without warning in the face of her long-established and hitherto agreed-upon position on the other side of the room from us Scientologists.

Whether Mrs. Smith was now able to make her master’s bed as he wished, I never knew. I heard not one word more on the matter. Whether Mrs. Smith’s not knowing what this Sinee-ology was all about prevented her from making LRH’s bed to his satisfaction is, I take it, a moot point. My personal opinion is that in their conversations about the bed, she was so busy not pissing her pants in nervousness he could well have taken her confusion and corresponding fumbling of her sentences under his irritated gaze as some kind of obstinate obstruction due to “withholds.” Not able to look him directly in the face, she could appear to not want to face him at all. What she didn’t want to face was a big man bullying her.

Not long after, LRH went back to sleeping in his regular bedroom.

 

LRH was never slow to believe that a subordinate had hidden intentions to thwart or prevent his great work, and he could blind himself to the subordinate’s actual feelings, both in his initial evaluation of the perceived “opposition” and in the consequent treatment of the supposedly erring staff member.

It’s a regret, as I look back, that I didn’t intervene earlier to help Mrs. Smith sort out what our boss really wanted so she could provide it without further fuss. I was at fault in keeping my distance, and to that degree I let her down when she deserved better. It wouldn’t be the last time I forewent the opportunity to stand up to LRH on behalf of an associate, although there were times that I did take that stand.

It’s part of the unhappy history of L. Ron Hubbard and of his Church that so few of us around him had the good sense to speak out to him when he needed it most. We didn’t speak out to him about the culture he nurtured silently in his group as he aged–‘silently’ because he had directed us otherwise in his published materials.

In the culture he came to prefer around him in the Sea Organization [SO] and which we in the SO came to accept out of admiration for his so-evident brilliance, we came to agree that we should be wary of speaking out to him of all people. Brave was the executive that spilled his or her heart to contradict L. Ron Hubbard.

We silenced our hearts and our consciences in buying into his SO culture; how easily we could have changed things had we simply asked him to explain why never questioning his judgement was so smart. Being able to ask such questions is one of the desirable results of Scientology auditing and training. Had we questioned his judgement we might have had less Sea Organization but we would have had more Scientology: we’d have been focusing on what was kind, true, and necessary to Life rather than to what LRH had become.

(c) Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2018

 

Memories, 23     Saint Hill Episodes: The Bed-Making Situation (I)

[Chapter Seven]

 

Saint Hill Episodes: The Bed-Making Situation

 

Part One of Two

 

 

A local woman acted as the Hubbard’s housekeeper. She had been with them for years, since long before I joined them, well established in her position in the household and in her close relationship with Mary Sue. I believe she was in considerable awe of “Dr. Hubbard”, as he was then formally known. Anybody might be in awe of such a formidable mountain of a personality around whom the winds could roar and the storms would blow.

I’ll call her “Mrs. Smith”, which is not her real name, because I don’t want to feel that I’m invading her privacy. She is long gone and although anyone is free to write about another, I don’t have a good reason to glue the memory of her to the notoriety assigned by many to her employers. She deserves to be left in peace. At the same time, she is part of a story showing how her employer dealt with an episode that reveals more about him than about her.

The duties of this housekeeper, Mrs. Smith, consisted mostly of doing the daily maid-work in the house; she also did the shopping for the kitchen and for anything Mary Sue might need her to get locally. She handled her accounts directly with Mary Sue. Another local woman came to the Manor a couple of days a week to see to the laundry; this woman reported to Mrs. Smith, and together they managed the Hubbards’ laundry needs.

Mrs. Smith was definitely a local person. She looked to me to have been a farmer’s daughter, brought up in the farmhouse. She might have been a farm labourer’s daughter, for all I know, but she carried herself with an assertiveness and alertness that showed she had no reservations about where she had come from and felt unquestionably entitled to her fair share of respect within her circle. I had no idea of her history and didn’t ask her about it, but I never questioned my assumption that she was altogether a countrywoman, quite distinct from a townswoman.

Mrs. Smith was small of stature, not thin, but solid and tending to wiriness. She strode purposefully, always. On duty, she wore a dark-blue polyester or nylon house coat, sensible shoes, stockings, and a remarkably—even aggressively—plain white blouse buttoned to the neck. Her hair was of an ordinary, dull-grey colour, clean and tidy, combed but never seen attentively dressed. One didn’t come across her with a hat except for the practical needs of rain or cold. For rain she wore a plain plastic pleated hood tied under her chin, and for the cold, a woollen cap.

Her face was round. Its striking feature, to my eyes, was the jutting lower jaw with its masterful chin and decidedly firm set of mouth. So straight was the mouth that it’s hard to recall her lips. They tightly and tautly shut out any sign of softness or tenderness, although, aside from her fond friendship with Mary Sue and her cheery relations with the children (and with most people around her), I was never in a position to see her in intimate moments.

I think most people, knowing her and her quiet, gentle old husband, a slow, stooping, elderly fellow, a labourer in the Saint Hill estate department, would take it that in their domesticity the wife wore the trousers with iron fists, and that any tenderness he might get he would have to earn and would win only after hard work. Neither of them looked as though he did that work too often. One could believe, though, that once she had established her tyranny and was allowed to maintain it, she would generally exercise it in kindly fashion.

She did not give the impression of being a bully, just of being a naturally dominating woman wise enough to pick boundaries according to her resources and her aims. Her aims seem to prefer a minimum of avoidable friction. At work in the Manor and, I would certainly suppose, in association with the other women in her life, she would cooperate cheerfully enough; once she had grasped what was needed from her she would set about producing it, needing no prodding. She would assuredly have definite opinions about what might be going on amongst her outside women associates, but Mrs. Smith would keep her considerations to herself whilst in their friendly company, perhaps having plenty to say to a confidante, later. I always assumed she had plenty to say away from the Manor about me and about my performance as her immediate superior but didn’t bother myself too much about it. She was not a gossip.

 

The other striking feature in her face was its look of constant alertness. She was seemingly very careful to evaluate her position in the interchange of the moment. It was important to her to see what was coming and to know whether what was coming was to be good or bad for her. This in itself can be important to all of us from time to time; constant alertness to possibilities and consequences are part of life. For Mrs. Smith, it was as though a large and heavy hand was permanently raised in front of her, a hand that had been hitting her too hard until she’d learned how to put on the act that pacified its owner. And in the script I’m writing for her (with no basis but my own subjective impressions), that act consisted of adopting some suitable immediate cheeriness for the purpose of transforming the gathering storm into something sunnier—so the hand would relax. But Mrs. Smith lived forever in the shadow of that hand.

Thus, behind her cheery alertness was a vulnerability to which, for some reason, I found myself sensitive. I wanted not to invade it. I respected the courage with which this human being had found her way to keep a threat at bay, a process that fulfilled and affirmed her self-respect.  Further, it succeeded in limiting the damage threatened by the older person to herself and to himself (it felt like a heavy male hand) and to the family. She had learned to face a demon and had borne the cost to her peace of mind.

One of the saddest aspects of human existence can be the ignorance of the abusive adult as to the depth and range of disturbance brought to the totality of the life of the abused child. And one of the most serious aspects, too:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
[The New Testament, Matthew 18:2-6 King James Version]

All of this detail about Mrs. Smith is partly a tribute to her and partly to introduce the episode of the Situation involving her good self and the bed and the e-meter (the last wielded by me). Before proceeding with this episode I need to add to the detail some particulars of how she and I related personally.

I had come to the Manor already a committed Scientologist to whom L. Ron Hubbard was Supreme Leader in every way. As a Scientologist I was extremely privileged by my closeness to Ron (as he was universally known in those days within the group), and conscious of my privilege. Mrs. Smith was in the Manor entirely as a non-Scientologist; her presence and her work in the Manor had nothing to do with Scientology at all. As far as she was concerned, her employers’ involvement with that group was incidental. She was in awe of Dr. Hubbard and devoted to Mrs. Hubbard as people, not as Scientologists, let alone as the two seniormost Scientologists of all.

The work for herself and for her husband must have been a boon to her at their ages. It provided good money, perhaps to supplement their state pensions (she looked quite old enough to be getting one, and he certainly was) and to add to whatever nest-egg Mrs. Smith was sitting on. She was not about to throw away such a great blessing.

 

The difference between us, I have to confess, encouraged me to put myself on one level in the household, relative to the Hubbards, and Mrs Smith on quite a lower level. To tell the awful truth, I allowed myself to tolerate Mrs. Smith. I tolerated her because she did her best to do a good job and in doing so she satisfied our employers. There was no need for me to intervene in any aspect of her performance. Could I have been more grateful and acknowledging of her than I was? Most certainly. Could I have gone out of my way to be constantly socially pleasant, as Mary Sue could do? Yes, but I didn’t, although I was never unpleasant to her that I can recall. All the same, I did stoutly maintain a distance that could not have been pleasing to her. She must have seen that I did not relish personal closeness, even though I felt I was as supportive to her in her job as she herself called on me to be.

I held a distance from Mrs. Smith partly because she was so far away from me in terms of Scientology. She was a non-believer, deliberately ignoring the subject and purpose of her employers’ existence. I didn’t look down on her for this but she put herself on the other side of the room, so to speak. It wasn’t my place to persuade her over to our side of the room; if she made no move, neither would I.

There were other dissonances between us. Mrs. Smith had a rather shrill voice which she could throw at one with a fair bit of energy, as though enforcing the cheerfulness she considered a necessary part of living. Unfortunately, the shrillness, the volume, and the “cheerful” energy hit over-sensitive nerves in my ears that were uncomfortable with the impact. I could usually manage a polite face but I could not encourage conversation past a certain point. I just didn’t have it in me.

There was a certain aesthetic about the Hubbards themselves and about their lovely home. It appealed to me greatly. Had Mrs. Smith gone about her duties without talking to me, and talking quietly to others in my hearing, she would not have interfered with what I valued about the aesthetics. Alas, she pointed up that the Hubbards’ giving her an important place in their home had encouraged her in her belief in noisy and insistent good cheer. She made herself look and sound a bit vulgar. Well, quite vulgar. I was snobbish enough to notice it, and to notice it much too often. After a while, I began to blanket out Mrs. Smith’s cheerful but grating noise.

And so, to some degree, I blanketed out my responsibility to offer Mrs. Smith help with any difficulty she might have in serving our master to the best of her ability, and for her own peace of mind and satisfaction as well as for his. I’ll show in the next post, in which Mrs. Smith gets on the wrong side of The Boss, how in the end he got me involved with her—not with any good sense I might have, but with my e-meter.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2018

Memories, 22 The Boss, Part Four

[Chapter Six]

 

The Boss: Depths and Perspectives

 

Part Four   —   Adult Reality, Childish Hardball

 

The cook that came to work for the Hubbards at Saint Hill one week after I arrived there had to leave within a couple of months because her mother’s health had deteriorated. This quiet, modest, reliable young woman, no stranger to consistent work, had proved herself a decided asset in the household and a major pillar of support for me as I went about establishing myself in my new position as butler to L. Ron Hubbard, once able to leave the kitchen entirely to her. Mary Sue had appreciated her warmly. We knew we would miss her, but thoroughly supported her as a daughter. I don’t know that she was outstanding as a cook, or highly trained as one, but she was obviously equal to all the ordinary demands that were made on her by a family that did not look for more than rather ordinary meals. The cleanliness and tidiness of her kitchen were exemplary. There were no complaints against her. That Mary Sue was personally happy with her showed that her work was well received.

 

We had a succession of cooks over the next several months, none of whom lasted very long, and I believe (memory not being too clear) that most of them left of their own accord. A couple were temporary, in any case. After our third or so replacement, I was about to look for another when LRH gave me an interesting instruction: “Ask them if they like eating.” I supposed he’d had some food on his plate that made him wonder what the provider’s intention might be.

 

Most of the applicants came to us through a London agency. I used the agency because I didn’t have time to go looking or advertising, since the cooking for the household devolved back on to me if there was no cook in the kitchen. I had, or felt I had, to keep all of my other duties going as well as I could despite being tied to the stove and the meal schedule, so a day off to go cook-hunting on my own was not feasible.

 

The house was not over-generous in its wages. Whoever had got hold of that first cook had struck gold. It took us just more than a year to find as good a cook, as hard-working, and one as able to fit in with the working environment in that kitchen.

 

Thus, being in between cooks was not a happy time for me. Each new one seemed to be nervous about coming, nervous about staying, and soon eager to go. I had to hire the least-unlikely of the lot so as not to let backlogs in my own work build up. I’d start the new cook and get back to my own duties feeling that here was another one not going to last very long. In the end, John Henry came to us and came to my rescue. An older man from St. Helena, he managed his situation in the Saint Hill kitchen with great aplomb, and soon fell under MSH’s potent spell, she being by nature a thoroughly charming woman when relaxed. If encouraged by a welcoming response she would throw over the new acquaintance a happy cloak of cheery bonhomie. John Henry came to adore her and later followed the Hubbards to the big Scientology ship where he continued to serve them for at least a couple of years until he retired to sail back to his remote island home.

 

At the Manor, John Henry would spend his weekly day off in London, as I had when I first went to Saint Hill. One day, I happened to read the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph (not a regular habit of mine) and my eye fell on a small paragraph. In those days, in the sixties, the practice of homosexuality was still a crime. Men who cruised public places looking for male partners were arrested when caught by the police. The papers would report such arrests briefly and refer to the ‘crime’ as “soliciting” or “importuning.” This particular paragraph reported that a John Henry had been arrested for soliciting in a public lavatory and it happened on our John Henry’s day off.

 

There was no mention of Saint Hill in the paper, much to my relief. I couldn’t know if it was in fact our John Henry but was quite prepared to ask him about the report, should LRH advise or require it. John Henry had already given me an idea that he had some sort of connection with that orientation by virtue of some (harmless) stories that he had told me and the manner in which he had told them. These were stories of others he had known, and he spoke of them in homosexual relationships. The subject had some fascination for him but I couldn’t say that he’d ever gone farther than fascination. The report said not a word about what had actually happened to bring about the arrest. [There had been another recent story about an elderly senior cleric in the Church of England who’d been arrested on the same charge. The poor unsuspecting and innocent old fellow had a nervous tic that the zealous undercover policeman had completely misunderstood as he prowled that public lavatory.]

 

Of course, I reported this “John Henry” development to LRH at once, who appeared not concerned. He gave me no startling instructions, a little to my surprise, given how unsympathetic towards homosexuality he’d shown himself to be in one of his books [Science of Survival]. As John Henry had settled down in our kitchen, was performing very well, and had become one of the household, I was very all right with not losing him. There seemed to be no need to induce great concern over the two young boys in the family, Quentin and Arthur. Neither of them spent any time in the kitchen nor had made friends with John Henry, nor had he shown signs of wanting to closely befriend them (or anyone else, for that matter; his happiness in MSH was a given). This state of affairs between him and the two boys continued as before. Moreover, John Henry’s demeanour in the house had never given any indication of hidden intentions towards any part of the family.

 

 

[And that’s as far as that story goes. This little detour into cookery-procurement and into John Henry (with which I’ve entertained myself), has taken me well ahead of the tale I’m about to relate. It’s by way of explaining why I was so disappointed in LRH’s telling me, long before John Henry, to give the then-current cook a month’s wages in lieu of letting the man, newly employed, work out the notice he had given me the day before. This little scene, in which Hubbard tore off one of his veils, follows now. ]

 

 

Several weeks after the unhappy brush over the unlocked back door of the Manor and my supposedly bad thoughts about a possible invasion of the children’s quarters, I had again to quickly replace a cook. The cook in question was an older man who had come to us for a month’s trial from the London agency only a week before. His bona fides were fine. One could easily be taken aback by the way he presented himself. He was slightly swarthy, stocky and powerfully built, with a slight stoop. The abundant hair on his head and his bushy eyebrows were almost demonically black (but you wouldn’t think to look at him that he was a man who would think of dyeing his hair). He had a heavy black beard but did not shave closely. Unhappinesses had taken over his eyes and mouth, brooding there as though ready to erupt in sudden violent protest. The master of the house did not come into the kitchen to meet him but he may well have seen him or heard the children’s or their mother’s impressions of him.

 

But the reality I found in working with this new cook was that he was a sweet, gentle, dignified old man regardless of his unusually ruffian, pirate-like appearance. His work was all right but he, not being happy at the Manor, soon gave notice. I immediately informed LRH and told him I would get a new person in. The following day, LRH told me it would be better to give the man his month’s wages and to let him go at once. I reeled, not happy to have the cooking to do again, and so soon, along with the stress of recruiting yet another new cook.

 

LRH noticed my reservation, of course, and he proceeded to enlighten me as to his reasons—in his own way of enlightening. He said he had his concerns about the man, remarking that said concerns entailed something difficult for most people to confront. I took that to mean that since I didn’t know what he was talking about, I was the “most people” having difficulty in confronting whatever it was that LRH hadn’t yet made clear, for the reasons that he was not only so brilliantly clever to think about it but also so good in confronting such dreadful possibilities. Also understood was that dumb me didn’t know what was going on. Dumb me could see, nonetheless, that he wanted to get on with the enlightenment: his vastly superior understanding of the state of affairs demanded that he make himself, at last, understandable, no matter the cost to me.

 

“It’s the children”, he explained heavily, and with just a suspicion of quiet triumph.

 

Again, he shocked me to my core, and for the second time over this same subject, but this time completely reversing the reality of our previous roles. In the prior instance, I’d brought something to his attention he was not minded to take seriously in that moment. Evidently, though, the question had buzzed about in his mind; he’d recognized that a point had been made (the possibility of an attack on his children), the making of which had put him on the back foot.

 

His solution to this unwelcome stance, I assumed, was to take over the whole thing as being of his own initiation rather than admit that another (me) had prompted him into self-examination and adjustment of view. Yet I was that other and I’d forgotten nothing, particularly that accusation to the executives that I’d somehow willed harm on the children. The unwillingness of the new and nasty-looking cook to stay, and the chance that he was harbouring some resentment about the family, gave the master the perfect chance to put me on my back foot with a bit of my own medicine. He could imply that since I hadn’t thought the nice old man capable of horrible crime, the possibility was something I was not able to confront.

 

But in actual fact, what was not easy to confront here was the perceived petty sleight of mind with which the Boss, a man highly respected by Scientologists all over the world for personal integrity and empathic acumen, had persuaded himself that he could now turn the tables on me to his own imagined advantage. At the same time, he blanked out from his awareness (normally so keen) that since I was party to the first encounter on the matter I could easily figure out what he was doing. I understood clearly. I was speechless. And very angry with him.

 

I bowed my head slightly to acknowledge my understanding of his instructions and went my way, accepting what would be of no use to resist, and to reflect on how I would deal with this insight into one of L. Ron Hubbard’s trouble-making thought patterns. I gave the cook his wages and off he went. Back to the stove went I.

 

 

The volte-face on my boss’s part of delivering a slap in my face when he might have given the slap to himself, was my first clear indication of how dangerous association with L. Ron Hubbard could be and of how thin the ice around him. Accordingly, I developed a thought process of my own that helped me navigate my relationship with him…

 

Take care; take nothing for granted; watch both his steps and your own; by no means ever give him reason to suppose you’re trying to trip him up—not that you’d want to but if he got that idea into his head, no knowing what he’d do; he is evidently familiar with that mode of behaviour. When he’s operating on vanity, reason is absent. [There, but for the grace of God, go we all.]

 

For sure an unpleasant development, it didn’t push me to consider either having a go at challenging his vanity (a non-starter, really, always) or leaving him. Although I was more watchful around him, my respect for the better side of him and for his work remained. If he as demi-god had a human side, well, he had a human side. No surprise there; the unpleasant surprises were firstly in how low, relatively, he allowed himself to stoop in human-ness, and, secondly, in how easily he persuaded himself that I wouldn’t have eyes with which to see what he was doing so openly to me and to himself.

 

 

At school, I’d read about the Earl of Strafford, a man of high principle (but, like so many men of that kind, also heavy-handed and partisan, making powerful enemies for himself), who had supported Charles I in the latter’s deadly struggles with the English Parliament (for domination and money) prior to the English Civil War in the mid-1600s. Strafford was executed at the insistence of his enemies in Parliament in one of their moves against the King. The warrant for his execution had to be signed by Charles, and Charles signed it; he’s said to have stated, as he reluctantly did so (having personally promised the Earl that he would come to no harm), that the Earl’s fate was happier than his own. In his turn, Strafford is said to have grimly declared, on receiving the news that the King had signed the warrant, “Put not your trust in Princes.” For some reason, that injunction struck a chord within me when I first read it as a boy. I felt I knew what it meant. Twelve years later, as a young man, I suddenly had a deeper and clearer understanding of the adult reality of the position: Around L. Ron Hubbard, my head, figuratively speaking, would be no safer than Strafford’s.

 

It was a lesson I never forgot throughout my years close to Hubbard, even though, as the months went by, his treatment of me at Saint Hill was, on the whole, without question remarkably friendly, cheerful, and kind. He looked after me, in fact, so generously, as one human to another, that to this day, I remember his Saint Hill persona fondly and with great gratitude. This, I believe, was part of his basic and true nature.

 

 

End of Chapter Six, Part Four, The Rending of a Veil

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2018