The Expert Witness: My Life at the Top of Scientology by Jesse Prince [2018]

[This book is available through Amazon.]

 

In this compelling read, Jesse tells of his experiences in the Scientology universe, from the circumstances of his introduction to the subject, then by way of his rapid climb to the top of the organization’s corporate maze (in the early 80’s), to his unhappy exit (in the late nineties) – followed by aspects of his life thereafter, focusing on the nastiness of the fights he got into with that maze and its leader and his then henchmen.

I’ve read few of the books produced by former members, because I’m not terribly interested in what people have to say about an organization which was already a wreck before I left it in 1982. The writing was on the wall forty years ago as clear as day. Who wants to keep staring at a wall, over and over? One could say that many have walked alongside this particular wall, taking their time to read it, some of them then taking time to tell us what they have been through. “See! See what the writing on the wall, which we did not heed, has wrought!” Nothing wrong with that. If it interests people, it interests them.

None of it, that I know of, has so far made much difference to anything. We have revelations about misbehaviours within the C of S [Church of Scientology] towards its staff and its members, we have revelations about the misbehaviours and insanities of L. Ron Hubbard, and we have almost endless commentary about the endless gossip concerning all these misbehaviours and what they mean.

Jesse’s book, which I have read once and quickly, swims in the same waters but is a different kettle of fish. Jesse, whom I knew slightly in Clearwater, was an independent, never a zealot, never a robot. His heavy-lidded eyes were always his own; although relaxed, he was watchful; although friendly, he was tough; although conscientious, he was not a simple true-believer. He had a ready wit and a ready laugh. His tongue could be sharp without being unkind.

I remember one time of his attending to me when he was a Cramming Officer. I, an auditor, was with him to explore some auditing sin I had committed in a recent session. By that time, LRH had ordered that when an auditor was sent to Cramming because of an alleged error in a session, the Cramming Officer had to “fly the rudiments” on the auditor as the first action in the Cramming procedure. “Rudiments” in this context are questions asked about basic upsets or concerns a person might have in the moment; to fly them means to clear up any such issues so they’re no longer distracting the possessor from the main action (correction of auditing errors) about to happen. Each question in the set of rudiments that is taken up is explored until the possessor’s needle floats on the question on the meter; hence the term “fly” – but don’t ask me why it’s “fly” and not some other word.

“Rudiments” include questions about matters which the person whose rudiments [ruds] are being “flown” would rather not bring into the light of day, such as misdeeds or secrets. With this kind of ruds question, if focusing solely on misdeeds or secrets, we used to say we “pull” them rather than fly them, whereas for the whole set of ruds we fly them. It comes to the same thing; again, the usage is obscure and don’t ask me.

So, Jesse is getting ready to fly my ruds so he and I can get into and complete my Cramming thing; this one’s not going to be a long affair. Once a Cramming Order is issued, the auditor has to go to Cramming to get it looked into, with corrective actions undergone as found necessary by the Cramming Officer. The auditor does not return to auditing until cleared by the Cramming Officer after the corrective action. In the office with us is a young Latina woman who is also an auditor and also has a Cramming Order to carry out. She, aggressively anxious to get it all over with so she can get back “in the chair” (that is, in the auditor’s chair delivering auditing to the organization’s customers) is insisting that her ruds be flown. All she is doing in fact is interfering with Jesse’s performance of his job with me so he can get to her.

He tells her politely a couple of times that Yes, he will fly her ruds just as soon as he’s finished with me. She continues her nagging. With a slight edge to his voice, but in total control of his enunciation, and a mischievous glint in his eye, he tells her “All right, my dear! I will pull your rudiments.” She then fell silent and left the room. [Probably not too much of a joke for some, but it tickled me, simple as I am. If any explanation needed: Jesse was telling the young lady that in his eyes, the ruds he’d have to handle with her were going to be – because of her obnoxious attitude – of the misdeed/secret category. Not exactly kind, but she was asking for it.]

Jesse stood out not just because of his dark-brown skin. As in any close-knit community where there is jockeying for promotion, favour, and so on, internal politics can break out in ugly rashes. Many people learned to keep their mouths shut and to cover their rear ends carefully. Anyone with eyes to see saw it. Jesse was one who watched what he said, but you could see he had no fear of expressing himself regardless of the politics. Moreover, he looked as though he could speak his mind eloquently enough to hold his ground and gain respect.

 

After Jesse left Clearwater, I became aware that he’d quickly gained promotion in the hierarchy over at wherever he had gone. This meant little to me since I was already on my road out of the organization. I wasn’t surprised that he’d been picked out in the newly-dominant management culture, with its emphasis on what would come to be called the kick-ass approach. If that approach appealed to Jesse, he’d fit right in. I left a few months later, having never had ambition of the kick-ass type. In the years that followed, I’d think about Jesse now and then, wondering how he was getting on in that environment, particularly how he might be managing his relationships with his seniors and associates. If he was staying with the program, he would be dancing skilfully, I felt. But I wondered how far he would go with it.  

Through the years, I heard, of course, of his public opposition to his former colleagues and of his connection with Bob Minton. I think we exchanged a brief greeting on some digital platform, but our paths haven’t otherwise met or crossed. [I have never considered brute force to be effective with people like Miscavige, and I have never had any resources with which to deal with him.] When I heard that Jesse had written his book, I looked for it, got it, and read it through in one sitting.

Two immediate comments: Firstly, the book is by a committed representative of the anti-Scientology, anti-C of S, anti-Miscavige, anti-Hubbard industry. By this, I mean the community of people who know with full certainty that because something about Scientology is bad, all of Scientology is bad; because many things about the C of S are bad, everything to do with the C of S is bad; because a lot of what Miscavige is accused of is really bad, he is all bad; and because Hubbard became in some respects insane and evil, the totality of his being and living was and always has been nothing but insane and evil. This is a harsh, filtered, one-eyed view and not one I agree with; I can accept that there was insanity and egregious misbehaviour. Can I ignore what I see was, on the contrary, positive? No way. More on that later.

Secondly, the book is by someone who was part of the topmost management of the C of S corporate conglomerate and, as I’ve pointed out, his own person with his own eyes. He has first-hand experience that he can describe, and he can do it with independent intelligence and insight. Jesse talks of relationships and events at a level unique in what I’ll refer to as the ‘anti industry’. And although you would have to think he regards Miscavige as at best an enemy, and LRH at best a fraudster, his narrative is not loaded with bitterness or hatred, nor with disguised propaganda (that I could see).

With regard to propaganda, Jesse does direct suspicion towards Miscavige in respect of possible forgery of Hubbard’s signature and of possible involvement in the violent death of someone close to him (to Miscavige) whose existence threatened Miscavige’s position at the top of the organization. Jesse also adds fuel to the accusatory fire beloved in the anti industry about possible obfuscation by Miscavige of truth concerning the circumstances of LRH’s passing and of his will.

Concerning propaganda against LRH, Jesse points towards evidence that LRH was an alcoholic but is clearly careful of drawing any certain conclusion on that subject. On the other hand, Jesse allows one of the reviews of his book (included in the Foreword) to state unambiguously that LRH was an alcoholic in terms that are bombastic but not backed up with fact.

 

Jesse’s observations of LRH’s behaviour and state of mind are of great interest. Just about all that he reports of these I can believe. Without trying to sound all-knowing, he tells me that which I (and others) saw coming when I decided I couldn’t follow LRH on the path he began to take in the mid-70’s. Thus, Jesse’s words ring as very likely true. This being said, it is extremely sad to hear just how far and in what way LRH’s mental and spiritual condition degraded, and to know that he was not well cared for in his last days – notwithstanding the fact that LRH had made for himself the bed he was lying on, and had held close to him the people who accepted the responsibility of caring for him.

[There is some comfort in having an idea of how LRH’s sanity shook as he drew close to the end of his life; the knowledge helps me feel less stupid about how my sanity slipped away as my days within the church drew to their end, and about how long it took me to get myself back on an even keel after returning to the real world. In fact, that process still continues. And I’m grateful that it does.]  

Jesse describes Miscavige’s final humiliation of Mary Sue Hubbard, a ritual sacrifice in which Jesse participated as a witness and Miscavige supporter. To Jesse’s credit he expresses regret about that horrible event and his part in it. Consequently, I for one will not hold his complicity against him, should my doing so or not ever be important. The rest of the mob that Miscavige dragged with him for that ritual can join him in hell forever as far as I’m concerned. Mary Sue was not perfect, but she had been loyal; in no way did she deserve that treatment. In this Miscavige performance in Mary Sue’s own home he bullied her into signing away her rights as widow despite the fact that much of the wealth he was diverting from her hands existed because of her life’s work for the organization – quite apart from anything she was due from LRH’s will or entitled to in the absence of a will, as his widow.

 

Interesting to note that a factor in Jesse’s initial acceptance of and entry into Scientology had to do with out-of-body experiences [OOB]; he tells us that he mentioned in his first visit to the organization that he had had many OOB experiences and was interested in knowing more about the subject; they assured him he’d come to the right place. It’s interesting because part of Jon Atack’s initial experience [described in his book A Piece of Blue Sky] had to do with the promise of “going exterior”, otherwise known as OOB. Atack’s book (which Jesse recommends) is part of the same anti industry.

An important aspect of the history of the degradation of Scientology is the role played by the part of the organization devoted to getting people to purchase services and to continue to buy them. In 1968, not long after the Sea Organization [“the SO”] began its interference with the international Scientology network of organizations (which the SO had avowedly left to the Scientology World-Wide headquarters at Saint Hill [known as “WW”]), reports began coming into WW, where I was an executive [and not part of the SO], of marked increases in the amounts of money being taken in by far-flung organizations. The SO people involved were insisting on large increases in income from week to week at each org, and in most instances the increases occurred. As a WW executive, I was greatly concerned that we did not know what it was that these organizations were now selling – and therefore promising to deliver. It’s a disgrace on my part that I didn’t pursue this concern; why I didn’t is another story.

I’m digressing from discussion of Jesse’s book here only to give the book some context I think has relevant importance: both Jon Atack and Jesse were attracted into the grip of the Scientology organization by promises of spiritual candy. Whatever else they learned on the path by which they came to find that the candy had a bitter taste, they share the view that they had been misled fraudulently. In view of the promises they were sold on, they are not mistaken, in my opinion. However, in their disillusion they are busy dealing with a set of problems that would never have existed had the staff who sold them the candy been properly and honestly trained and supervised as regards what they were leading people to expect by way of results. The promise of exteriorization was explicitly forbidden in policy LRH wrote himself. In pushing the organizations to ignore that policy, the C of S upper management (in reality, LRH and the SO) created a hornet’s nest of problems for itself. Making the receipt of money more important than the spiritual health of the paying customer is bad enough; taking that money and putting the customer in harm’s way creates the kind of energy that results in the anti industry.

While off on this tack, I should add that just after the death of L. Ron Hubbard there was a time when the Lords Muck-a-Muck of corporate Scientology were agog to have access to the “OT” levels that LRH had left behind. These Lords, according to Jesse (who was one of them), thought that these esoteric, advanced materials could make them masters of the manipulation of matter, energy, space, and time. Evidently, their eyes were greedy for that great prize. In due course, they found that the materials would do no such thing. But the commentator can notice that from the inception of the “OT” levels, the levels have carried with them the implied promise of abilities far beyond the human. Those who went into the OT levels with open eyes could find value in them without expecting anything more than what they could get. Unfortunately, the implied promises spoke loudly to those seeking the fools’ gold of extraordinary powers in order to increase not their abilities to live good lives in good community with family, neighbours, and fellows, but their abilities to bully the totality of family, neighbours, fellows, Planet Earth, and The Universe – and, presumably, all other bullying OT’s too. A moment’s reflection would have shown them that if a number of individuals become free to autonomously change the arrangement of matter, energy, space, and time in which the cosmos holds together, then chaos would quickly result, ending all games, good or unworthy.

In these two ways at least, in promising the candy of OOB and the fools’ gold of cosmic mastery to all who could be tempted to pay for it, the C of S set itself up for the attacks of the bitterly disillusioned against its arrogance and stupidity in making insane promises. Alas, the C of S set up the technology to be tarred with the same brushes. The technology is not perfect but it is too good for what the C of S made of itself. Whatever about that technology is pure remains pure.

 

Much of what Jesse says we must take at face value. It is worth noting, though, that the main persona in one of Jesse’s stories of his time within the organization does dispute some of Jesse’s stated facts. This is Robin Scott, the British man who, having left the Sea Org, impersonated a Sea Org officer and got his hands on the most advanced and valuable technical materials the organization possessed. Jesse recounts how he got the better of Robin; Robin has a different story. Part of that story, according to Jesse, is the belief that David Mayo wanted and got copies of that precious material. I can dispute this up to a point, in some support of Robin’s position. I was with David Mayo at the time in question (but left shortly thereafter) and can attest that David was not only horrified at the theft but vehemently against anyone connected with him having any copies of that stolen material. David could possibly have changed his mind later, but I doubt it because, in that period, he was defending himself against brutal attacks from Miscavige and Jesse.

Jesse also has remarks about the materials David Mayo wrote up for his own use at his own centre for the level the stolen materials covered. The documents making up the C of S package were originally signed by LRH, whereas it was clear to anyone familiar with the respective styles that some of the issues in that package were transcripts of LRH recordings (of briefings he had given David himself) on the subject, and the rest were mostly written by David either on behalf of LRH or with his approval. I believe that David, after he’d set up his own independent centre, was rewriting in his own words for his own independent use what he had written for LRH to sign for C of S use. Jesse claims that what David wrote is nonsensical and unworthy. All the auditors at David’s centre read his version and found it workable.

Jesse reports this thing and that from intelligence reports he was receiving from C of S spies infiltrated into David Mayo’s group. I’ll believe all of these things once they are fact-checked. I suspect that Jesse likely accepted reports from spies who were saying that which they thought it was good to say and for their masters to hear. It’s a bit late to fact-check these things; nonetheless, I believe that in what Jesse saw with his own eyes, heard with his own ears, and figured out with his own judgment, he is a reliable witness. Do we know that he tells all that he might tell, and all that is relevant? We can never know that about any story.

Jesse can be rightly proud of the prominent position he earned – high in this wealthy organization clutched by dedicated and ruthless dominators. Here, he demonstrated not only his ability to get things done, itself a distinction, but also his presence of mind in manoeuvring the bogs of bullshit necessary to keep the dominators cool and collected – and away from his throat. To what extent do we admire him for these accomplishments, as we’re invited to by their recitation? One’s admiration would have to be tempered by one’s evaluation of his masters.

Admiration is also tempered by mindfulness of the horrible conditions in which ‘ordinary’ members of the SO and of the C of S had to live, and the disgraceful way in which SO children were housed, not educated, and otherwise treated. Jesse’s successes insulated him from those realities and allowed him to enjoy such things as his expensive motorbike, a toy also favoured by Miscavige, and, one could think, purchased and ridden to show him (Jesse) a member of the elite.

Jesse, although, as I say, his own person, evidently hardened himself to some human feelings as he took on difficult projects for his master, Miscavige. For example, he describes how he was given the repulsive task of obtaining from Diana Hubbard something all others had failed to get – her signature on documents resigning her rights over her daughter, Roanne. The documents were required because LRH had decided he wanted Roanne to live close to him, while Diana had moved away. Until Jesse went to see her for the signatures, she had adamantly refused to hand over her daughter.

Jesse did succeed, although we can’t be quite sure how it came about; his story is that he asked Diana for her signatures and she gave them without demur – although not without tears. Jesse does tell us that he felt Diana’s pain as she signed the documents, and he gives us to understand that he did not enjoy what he was doing. Hard to fathom, then, is the coolness with which Jesse relates that shortly after he returned to headquarters and had delivered the signed documents, LRH paid him a reward or bonus of $500 or $700. Jesse is entitled to his own view of his actions. I myself find it hard to understand how he can be so callous about taking the money for separating the mother and her child. He may have his reasons for remembering the money with equanimity, but one can consider it unworthy to do such a deed and then take money for it.

Another personal observation on one minor aspect of Jesse’s story: He refers to a man with whom he worked, a lawyer, a man who deposed me twice. His name was Joe Yanny. Jesse obviously liked and enjoyed this man, calling him a “good person” with a striking sense of humour. As I say, I met Joe Yanny twice, and of course in a quite different context from Jesse’s association with him. Jesse and Yanny were involved in the C of S suit against David Mayo. As a former member of David’s independent group, I was involved, had testimony, and was summoned twice by Yanny for deposition in Miami, where I lived. So I had several hours of questioning from him and had that opportunity to observe him and his behaviour.

Joe Yanny struck me as being a young man on the make (as in ‘ferocious self-promotion’) and highly pleased with himself at his success so far. He did not strike me as fearsome in his treatment of me, although, not unexpectedly, he did look down his nose at me a lot, and quite smoothly, too. In return, I looked down mine at him. I didn’t offer him any pleasantries and would have been offended had he tried to offer me any. His skin shone as though covering layers of butter (although he was quite trim), his dark eyes comfortable and happy in their security. He seemed delighted with his own perfection. The relations between Jesse and this man may have been thoroughly open, honest, and straightforward; my opinion is that it’s likely that Joe covered Jesse with lots of butter.

When Jesse tells us that Joe Yanny was “a good person”, he does so in the context of a story he’s telling about working with Yanny on a case and spending off-duty time with the man. I would like to have known if Jesse considered Yanny a good man for what Yanny did for the C of S in its lawsuits against its perceived enemies, or for – what?

I’m making the point that, as always, another’s story can have holes picked in it, just as my story can have. Self-congratulation is all very well but is an ingredient that requires the greatest degree of judgment in the simmering of one’s soup. What Jesse doesn’t include in his story is that even though Yanny was involved in the success of the C of S suit against David Mayo, the latter eventually won his counter-suit against the C of S – although by that time, Yanny must have been long separated from the C of S pots of gold. In fact, Yanny, despite having received (by report, not verified by me) auditing sessions from the C of S, ended up opposing the C of S and involved in lawsuits against them. And he is on record as saying some extremely harsh things about the C of S and its methods of conducting lawsuits [as can be found on a web search].

Jesse makes it clear that it was not he that ordered and managed the conduct of lawsuits that outraged Yanny (and others); however, one has to wonder how it is that Jesse, in describing them, does not forthrightly condemn the lawsuits for the mischief that they were, or have any considerations now about his earlier support for and use of that conduct.

So, as with every telling of every tale, we need to be alert to the possibility that this or that is missing or that the telling might be biased one way or another. This is by no means a criticism directly aimed at Jesse but a reservation necessary in every reading of any author. As I’ve said, in what Jesse says of what he saw and heard and evaluated by himself, I think we can trust his word; at the same time, though, we have to recognise: firstly that his story seems to involve a serious element of self-congratulation (and lack a serious element of self-reflection); secondly that he does himself no favours as an author in not having someone go over his text. It is a bit staggering that presumably not one of the people who read his text before publication pointed out that the way to spell “days” is not “daze” [as happens twice] or let stand other simple textual errors – such as we all can make and shouldn’t be too proud to have another correct for us. Possibly, somebody did point this out to Jesse and he chose to gloss over them. One could admire that chutzpah while rejecting it as contrary to basic and expected author friendliness towards the reader. The book shows (in my opinion) the need for mature editing in both style and substance.

 

The anti industry is doing its job well. It focuses attention on the misbehaviours of Miscavige towards staff and members and towards the products of Scientology technology seemingly degraded at his hands. The industry repeatedly calls into question LRH’s integrity and motives, not to mention his sanity. It lumps all this negativity together, be it real or imagined – and builds its own big wall. On that wall it writes large: “Scientology is all bad!” “Hubbard is all bad!” When the world speaks of “Scientology” these days, what it means is the collected misbehaviours of the C of S and its leader – along with the horror and outrage we surely must feel for such evil. Any truth in the technology LRH put together must die.

I have only one disagreement with this message on the anti wall. I do agree that all the bad behaviour is all bad. I agree that the insanity is insane. What I never accept is the message: It was always and ever this way from the very beginning.

Bah. What utter, childish nonsense.

The message is just not true. But the people who have been involved in the organization since the early 80’s – that is, those who were already members and who remained members and those who joined up after that time – and have become disenchanted with it and upset with it assume that all the bad that they know of the organization and of Hubbard is all there is to know about them. They do not recognize the possibility that at some earlier time things were different and better, and that things changed through time, becoming worse and worse – but started from a very much better place than they ever knew.

I can’t and don’t blame people for assuming what they assume; assuming is, it seems, an essential human activity. We are riddled with biases of one kind or another, all of us. It can be difficult to grasp that we don’t know what we don’t know. We shy away from examining our assumptions and the biases we base them on. For example, that LRH changed for the worse over his later years is nothing new or strange for old people. Who is the bigger fool: the one who makes something neither strange nor new a big deal or the one who agrees that it is?

Those who, like me, were around LRH as he changed beyond control failed to help him rethink what he was doing. Thus, we, and I, did our part in helping bring about the conditions which energise this dratted anti industry. The energy creates a thick black curtain over all that took place prior to the culture that has dominated the C of S since the early 80’s (having existed within it, in one manifestation or another, for many years prior). Jesse plays his part in solidifying the curtain. The purity of Scientology as a subject is buried in piles of ordurous mischief.

 

Jesse tells us that he suffered harshly at the hands of his former masters after he turned against them. He became deathly ill after they made his life a hell for him. We are supposed to assume, I guess – if we are loyal members of the industry – that his illness was a direct result of the harm that Miscavige and his agents did him. We who do not employ ourselves in the industry can keep an open mind on that point, but I’m happy that Jesse had the strength and courage to overcome his extremely serious illness and to produce his book. I’m glad he did that, and I for one thank him for it.

Well worth reading, even if it’s about events that shouldn’t have happened and which can only sadden us. Read with open eyes. Read everything with open eyes.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart 2018

 

A Bigger Perspective

First, a Slightly Bigger Perspective

I was going to write in this post about the remark, mentioned in the last post, that L. Ron Hubbard could not tolerate “big” people around him, and to say something in his defense, the observation not being wholly accurate in my view. Better to remember that there is no end of opinion about Hubbard that could call for defense, and plenty of behaviour on his part impossible to defend. One can get the feeling that 90% of the people who condemn Hubbard for this and that, along with 98% of those who listen, have closed their minds to any other way of speaking of him. Best to leave those alone to get on with what they consider their work.

 

Some clarification is in order with regard to how we go about evaluating Hubbard, his behaviour, his work, or any of their aspects. We humans are apt to get a glimpse of how a person is in a given moment in a particular situation, or to hear a report of such a glimpse, and in the glimpse or report perceive an aspect of the observed individual which strikes us as negative. If the perception is accurate and the conclusion sound, all well and good. But all too many of us find it easy to decide that this one quick impression of the observed person confirms a bias we already hold and do not care to examine. Not only that, we can “know” unchangingly that we see the totality of that personhood for all of eternity. This conclusion so quickly come to can be the product of fatally flawed perception in the first place and of omitted rationality in the second, when the initial impression is “processed” in what passes for a mind. What is the value of this nonsense, when it occurs? To whom can it be valuable?

Any human being is a complexity, and often of greatest complexity when the human being comes with outstanding gifts, and has lively sensitivities. I believe Hubbard was truly a genius in his own way and in his own right, and I have seen for myself how sensitive (that is, capable of strong feelings and empathies) he could be. Everyone familiar with his work through study, training, and auditing can see he had brilliance and could be deeply sensitive and compassionate. We lose nothing in allowing Hubbard to be a complexity. It’s been said that he was larger than life. I’d say that he was so large his largeness is beyond the conception of anyone who didn’t experience him directly or hasn’t received and given first-class training and auditing. That adds up to a mere 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999% or so of humanity.

Some of my happiest memories of L. Ron Hubbard are the moments when he and his space shone golden, radiating unrestrained happy energy, happy in the experience of simply being true to himself in that moment. However, he was not always so high-toned, and was in fact quite free in his travels up and down the Tone Scale according to how people and happenings around him could suddenly shift his attention. Some of these travels of his were entirely under his control, and some were knee-jerk reactive.

We have to accept that in the various roles he played over his life, Hubbard did and said many things, large and small, that were either untrue, or unnecessary, or unkind, or some combination. In view of the responsibilities he took on in the way of ethics, technology, and administration, and of the total work he put himself to, it should be easy to understand that he could be unsteady at times, rough with his temper, temperamental, even hysterical, anxious, resentful, frustrated, and so on and on. Hubbard did go up and down the Tone Scale from hour to hour, day to day, year to year, decade through decade. How big a deal can we make of this fact in the face of vast amounts of human misbehaviour day in, day out, that pass without condemnation?

It is easy to maintain that if he claimed the position of supreme Scientologist, he should have behaved accordingly all the time, that is, always high on the Tone Scale. Well, yes. But who else stood up to actively and actually face—and start unravelling—what we call the Reactive Mind, and by so doing invited all Reactive Minds to stand up and energetically scream at him to get lost? Who even thought about that challenge? The Parliament of the UK, maybe, or Congress over there in the US? General Motors? Hollywood? The Mafia? Sure thing, bro. Any time. Just say the word and we’re right on it.

Hubbard had some interesting personality traits, all very human, and we can look closer at them later. He was, as we all are, subject to the conditioning he received from the family and from elements of the culture he was born into. Of the last we can note that the culture was paternalistic and homophobic in general, and militaristic in particular (his father being in the Navy), and further influenced by what the movies of the time also directed people to do and think.  His traits and his conditionings, both positive and negative, played themselves out as he went up and down the Tone Scale in his different roles and in the various periods of his life and according to the challenges of the moment.

Hubbard’s physical health was generally not bad. Twice when I was with him at Saint Hill, he was laid up in bed for some days with bronchitis, but other than that I don’t recall him as acutely ill. However: he was overweight, he didn’t do exercise, his physical activity was walking about, he smoked, he drank sugary soda. His meals were regular meat-and-potatoes stuff. He dosed himself with testosterone when I was at Saint Hill. In those days, testosterone supplements were synthetic. I have read that the two such supplements available in the sixties could each have quite serious side-effects such as mood swings (e.g., increased aggression) and heart difficulties; Hubbard had both in later years, although I’m not asserting that the synthetic testosterone caused them or were their single cause. I mention physical health because I believe that it affects performance in the brain (such as mood swings) which in turn affects perception and thought process.

I know nothing of his case, never having nor wanting access to his auditing folders or authority over his sessions. He solo-audited daily on the ship and we understood that he was researching new levels of “Operating Thetan”. After his daily auditing, he would come up to his office to begin his day’s work; sometimes, but not too frequently, one could see in his face that the session had been really rough for him. As an observer, one had to wonder how well he handled the inevitable day-to-day charge (what auditors call “the rudiments”) that must have weighed on him as he started his sessions, and which, not fully addressed, would have disturbed the sessions greatly. And I also had some concern about possible errors in his earlier research auditing which had not yet been corrected. These too could have influenced his general equilibrium seriously.

 

These, then, as I see it, are some of the cross-currents and counter-currents running through L. Ron Hubbard’s mental, emotional, and spiritual spaces during the time I knew him. These currents produced behaviours that invite justifiable criticism which I can share. They were not the only currents that influenced him: in response to other energies within him, he took on work in a world that largely denied, stridently, that it needed and wanted any such work while actually behaving as though it needed it desperately. And that was before things got seriously bad for humankind.

By 1963, when I went to Saint Hill Manor, he had matured greatly from what we hear, sometimes luridly, of his earlier behaviours. He was pretty much a settled family man in a happy marriage, proprietor of a small estate with a jewel of a country house to match. He was completing research that readied the Clearing Course for its first students in 1964. And he was about to begin 1965 with a period of astonishing brilliance: the Awareness Levels, the Organization Board, and the Power Processes. In this period, mid 1963 to end of 1965, I had conversations with him every day that he was at home, and although I might have had reservations about a few of the things I saw and heard, I don’t recall that he brought about in me any strong moral or ethical disapproval. He was notably decent and we became friends. In 1966, though, Hubbard’s life was seriously unsettled: he lost his residency rights in the UK, he took to the seas, and he started some big fights he wasn’t going to win.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Success and Failure #4: Big Boys at Play?

Looking at Failure and Success #4: Big Boys at Play?

In the last post of this series, I ended by stating that Scientology’s leaders betrayed its members’ trust and led the group to its grave [I meant “spiritual grave”, and have revised that post accordingly]. This post will start the attempt to answer questions raised by my statement.

The period under consideration is from the mid-sixties to the early seventies. In these years, L. Ron Hubbard [LRH] gradually changed his orientation from Solution to Problem, although we recognize that he had, like every one of us, some of each orientation throughout his life. As he changed, so did the organization, naturally.

The “leadership” of Scientology was always L. Ron Hubbard since the early fifties, after he had survived the early incubation period for the organizational form and structure. Mary Sue Hubbard [MSH], his wife since 1952, was always his second-in-command. MSH was his principal, most constant and loyal supporter, and would have remained so had things turned out better for the couple. [N.B. In 1974, LRH began to distance himself from his wife as regards her work for him and this inevitably led to a breakdown in the partnership; they lived apart (for legal and security purposes) from the mid or late seventies, after coming ashore in 1974. Some of those close to LRH then used their chance to engage in office politics, playing on his tendency to believe the worst of those close to him. They succeeded in eliminating her authority with him and in the organization. One has to wonder if she played her cards as well and as ethically as she might have, in that fight.]

I’m not in a position to assert that MSH did or did not at any time deliberately influence the direction her husband took with regard to Scientology, or made the attempt to, or even that she thought about it. Of course, each influenced the other, as married couples do. But I didn’t get the impression that MSH was one to sit her husband down and earnestly debate with him on where he was taking or should take the group. When she became head of the Guardian’s Office [GO], and when the GO was at the height of its power, she would alert him to opportunities and threats. At any rate, I believe she was primarily a follower and a bulwark, dedicated to giving LRH what he needed from a second-in-command. As such, Mary Sue was a long-time heavyweight player at least until she allowed herself to be trapped by the office politics, late in life.

I’ll add that I see her work for him and for the ‘family firm’ for over three decades as vital to its continued existence and growth both technical and organizational; without her support, he would have achieved but half of what he did. We might wish that he’d achieved something different to what became of Scientology the organization. Nonetheless, the growth of the organization was extraordinary; what was good about Scientology owes a great deal to Mary Sue Hubbard, as well as some of the not-so-good.

 

Other people worked closely with LRH or MSH or both during the years under consideration; they came and went. As to why they went, this is matter for discussion at another time. I don’t recall them all and I don’t think, at this time of writing, that any of the individuals require consideration for the purpose of this series of posts. One of those comers-and-goers just happens to be me, though, and I can promise to give me the best possible treatment, since it’s me that’s simmering my bones. Those with bones are welcome to simmer them and to tell us all about it.

My two opportunities to be one of those close to LRH on a daily basis came firstly in 1963, when I went to his house at Saint Hill Manor to be his ‘butler’. Shortly thereafter he gave me full responsibility for the domestic domain (except for the children, who were always firmly in their mother’s hands). Eighteen months later, I asked for transfer to administration, being tired of domesticity but not of LRH or any part of the family. Later, at the end of 1968, he called me to the ship and soon thereafter put me on his immediate Staff and then made me his principal executive aide. From early 1969 until we left the ship in 1974, I monitored all the traffic or mail that went to or left his desk, and provided him with executive backup to the best of my ability. In 1975, after we had come ashore from the ship and settled in Florida, he left suddenly – the Press had found him – and although I stayed in Florida and retained my executive title I never saw him again and others then took care of his immediate executive needs.

So, I played my part in his leadership of the organization, along with all the others who helped him with local and international management and communication. Whatever LRH did as leader that was not right during my years with him are things that I did not talk him out of. One didn’t do that to L. Ron Hubbard in those days. He would consult with me and with others, but he made all the big decisions. The farthest I went was to make evident to him, from 1973, that I would no longer support him in his increasingly autocratic behaviour. I didn’t overtly refuse to; I waited for him to challenge me on my gentle rebellion, ready to have it out with him, but he never did pick up on it. Not even when I’d given him good cause to sack me!

But this was in our latter years together, after late 1973. By then, he had made himself even more demanding, requiring those around him to bully their juniors into immediate and exact compliance with his requirements. I’d gone along with this only far enough to know that I could do no more of it outside of the hitherto generally accepted level of top-down pressure usual in our hierarchical arrangements and rampant on the ship, under LRH’s militaristic example. And I also knew I had had quite enough of dishing out the top-down-pressure. No interest in that game any more: it’s not my thing. One result of my change of position is that he turned to building up his Commodore’s Messengers[1] into a unit that would focus on exerting his will over others’. I saw this as it happened and understood that he was bypassing me, that he was saying: “You are not big enough for ME”. I didn’t care to fight it. I’d always kept out of any office politics as a matter of principal, and here he was, playing office politics with me. Closeness closing itself off.

 

The increasing domination/autocracy became necessary in LRH’s judgment by his urgent need to strengthen his position in the world – ideally so that he could persuade a government somewhere to give him a safe space under its protection, a space from which he could inject Scientology into that country and from there, a place on the grand global stage. By 1973, body age stared him in the face: time was against him and his global ambitions. But this increased energy was a release of a bundle of energies that had been present in him all along. One can see its beginnings and its effects on the organization in Derek Stephens’ account of the earliest years of the London Scientology establishment. [See http://www.antology.info/index-8.html  — and thanks to Ant Phillips for finding this material and for posting it. ]

Now, all kinds of people have had all kinds of experiences with L. Ron Hubbard as a person and as the leader of Scientology. And he with all those around him. He once said to me at Saint Hill, “Life around me may be difficult, but it is never dull”, and he spoke as a wry and mischievous smile played about his mouth. His gaze, as usual, seemed as though coming from a vast distance away, focusing precisely on me, perhaps to closely gauge my response to the statement; I simply gave him a nod, to indicate that I understood and had no problem with his being difficult or with not being dull. My unasked question, “Who are you talking about?” hovered between us but he gave no information. He seemed to be in a state of loving patience allied with deep fondness along with some soft sadness; I wondered if he was thinking of Mary Sue, if of anyone.

What he said was truth; everyone around him had to deal with the difficulties and the sudden changes of tone, emotion, energy, direction, purpose, and so on. Some could, some couldn’t. Some of those people he could deal with, some of them he couldn’t. A woman who had worked on staff and closely with LRH in the fifties is said to have observed: “Ron can’t tolerate big people around him.”

This interesting view is worth examining, and I will give it a good wash in the next post.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart 2017

[1] The Commodore’s Messengers: LRH styled himself The Commodore because he was the highest officer of the fleet of Sea Org vessels. He had Messengers stand watch with him; the Messenger would carry messages to crew members and bring back the responses. LRH almost never used a phone in management. Messengers were young people, mostly teenagers to begin with, and mostly girls. He trained up half a dozen or so to operate as he needed them to. Messengers got his questions answered, gathered intelligence for him, got people to do what he had ordered. Messengers on duty were understood to be directly representing the Commodore. Crew addressed by a Messenger on duty responded as though interacting directly with him. In 1973 he increased the number of Messengers until there were four of them on duty together while he was on deck. One at least of his reasons for building up this resource was, as I am saying, to have more wherewithal to enforce his will, directly and immediately. After a while, he had the Messengers take over management of some units on the ship. For some information on how the Messengers’ role expanded after my time, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore’s_Messenger_Organization . [accuracy not guaranteed]

Looking at Failure and Success #3: Truth or Dare?

Truth or Dare?

The idea that we should heed truth in our lives within and without is as ancient as recorded thought, and must have been present long before the writing of it. Just as old are the complaints of the aged men whining that the world has gone to the dogs and won’t recover. Having a foot in each camp, I believe that as a result of our laziness towards truth, we, humankind, are throwing ourselves over the cliff into a chasm of societal and environmental collapse. It will hit a near generation of humankind with shocks possibly so great that the species may not survive.

Famine and drought due to climate change and social conflict will drive desperate people to seize violently basic life-resources from owners less able to defend themselves. Such desperation and such tactics will enable the testosterone-driven, macho, gangster-minded superman to gather followers, promising them the security they crave in return for their service in extending his domains. Superman will fight superman and so it will go. We will get off lightly if our scene is only as bad as Orwell depicts in his 1984. When the supermen bloody-minded bandits get their hands on stocks of nuclear weapons we can expect nuclear ‘proliferation’ in earnest.

This of course is only how I see it, and I see it with pessimistic eyes. It could well be that other eyes see extremely positive signs of rescue and recovery, and I pray they’d be right.

The collapse will come in two phases, not necessarily contemporaneous. One phase is the social, and it has already begun. Populations large and small move into others’ territories in search of relief from the unbearable insanities of oppressive local and global “government”. The majority of these people will jump from the frying pan into the fire, as we are seeing. Resulting inter-societal stresses will build.

Widespread societal breakdown will increase when climate changes redistribute survival resources such as water and land. Law enforcement will lose control. Human standards of civilized behaviour, already under pressure, will dissipate. In the free-for-all, Might will be right, and Might will in due course use weapons of mass destruction.

The other phase is the collapse of the physical environment. Whatever else happens, the continuing melting of polar ice will add immense volume and weight to the oceans [in addition to unknowable shifts in currents and resulting weather]. This disturbance of equilibium will bring about movement in the tectonic plates. It’s all too easy to imagine earthquakes beyond the resources of what remains of government to deal with, and also volcanic eruptions which blow enough ash to blot out the sun and perhaps for long enough that most life on Earth ends. If this doesn’t happen, Nature in her outrage at humanity’s butchering of her children, her creations, and her self-respect will find an equally devastating way to puncture mankind’s swelling self-satisfaction.

These are the two great external dangers now facing humankind as I see it.

But there is also a moral danger and it is by far, in my view, more tragic in its consequences than the others. This third danger is that the vast majority of humankind — the decent, good, responsible, aware, and caring people — will not wake up in time to the external dangers. Immediate action could certainly restrain the mischief-makers and evildoers who will otherwise take advantage of the confusion for their own ends, causing societal chaos. In the absence of societal chaos, solutions can be found; in the midst of societal chaos there is likely only unending and unsolvable Problem. Immediate action could help reduce the likely effects of climate change while preparing for the inevitable survival emergencies.

Empathy, sanity, and intelligence (along with all virtues) combine for unlimited solution potential. Greed, selfishness, and bullying (and all vices) combine for unlimited problem potential. Truth or Dare, hey?

 

What is the likelihood of an awakening to the dangers humanity faces? Would the awakening give rise to the amount and quality of energy required to completely change world outlook and behaviour? To answer these questions positively would be to ask for two gigantic miracles. Who can say that miracles can’t ever happen? “God helps them as help themselves,” the old saying goes. We can help ourselves.

We don’t have to believe in concepts of “God” conveyed to us by other human beings although there is nothing intrinsically wrong in believing in what one believes in. One can believe that Solution is always possible, or one can believe that Problem is unavoidable and unresolvable; one can be somewhere in between. A person believing that Problem holds sway and can’t be dealt with will of course lead a life in which Problem holds sway and he or she won’t be inclined to work much to overcome the problems that Life so generously showers us with. This is a sad situation. A brief look at some of the nonsense that human beings put up with, day in, day out, confirms that many don’t think of pushing back — and some perhaps believe, as they push back, that they are dealing with real problems when often they’re using up valuable energy merely getting around confused thinking by authority or the disguised tricks of the dishonest. [Not to mention confused thinking by the dishonest and the disguised tricks of authority.]

If there is to be a miraculous Solution, then, it will come about because enough human beings believe with certainty that a solution will make itself known, and, once it is known, will work hard enough to make it happen.

Now, a person who believes that Solution is possible is a person who is inclined to do and say that which is true, necessary, and kind; when word or action is true, necessary, and kind it leads to Solution, or at very least to non-addition of yet more Problem. Without action that is truthful, necessary, and kind, nothing will change for the better.

I say a solution “will make itself known” because I don’t believe any human being or small group thereof has the depth of awareness and might of intelligence to figure out what has to be done and in what order; I wouldn’t want one person or a group to have the authority to assert exclusive ownership for themselves of any solution. That’s the Earth leadership style. Look where it has whipped us to — to the brink of species suicide. No, I’m talking about a solution that arises out of the spontaneous truth, necessity, and kindness of many, and a solution freely owned by all.

A person embraces an extent of Life in which he or she cares to manifest truth, necessity, and kindness. For example, I can manifest these things with regard to my body, my possessions, and a little more besides, like art or onions or you-name-it. I can manifest them concerning my family, my friends, my neighbours, my community, my workplace. I can manifest them about my race or all of humankind, for any or all living creatures, and for the natural world. No reason why I can’t look to manifest them for all of life everywhere, including the entire universe I exist in. Being human, I won’t always succeed, but will learn from my failures and keep trying; I am free to extend the amount of life I’m willing to be honest, relevant, and kind towards.

The point I’m building up to is that the more we work on being true, necessary, and kind towards more of the Life around us, the more likely Solution is to work among us and through us and the more likely that Solution will help us take care of the most fundamental situations, such as the survival of humankind on Earth.[1] In fact, we could discipline ourselves in adhering to truth, necessity, and kindness in every waking moment of every day. And we could do it with the conviction that with the work we all do every day together — whether coordinated or not — we will enable an unstoppable world-wide energy true, necessary and kind. Nobody has to comply with any bully. Adherence to truth, necessity, and kindness disarm the bully. We live in a universe that freely allows bullying; the universe is not stopping us from getting the bullies under kindly control.

What matters is not how or where a person gets more in touch with his or her truth. All one has to do is to start out on the task, or to get back to it, or to carry on with it. One’s own desire to live in truth is the best guide; it may put one on a painful path or a pleasant path, but it will always put one on the perfect path. If one has strayed far from one’s truth, the direct path back to one’s truth is likely to be tough going.

Those who know and have practiced core Scientology can see that anyone who adheres to truth, necessity, and kindness adheres also to much if not all of basic Scientology. A knowledge of basic Scientology can speed one immensely on the path towards truth but even without that knowledge, the desire for truth will find its path. Nonetheless we can wish that all could know, understand, and use the best of basic Scientology. It is, as L. Ron Hubbard correctly claimed in his earlier days, simply common sense about Life that he was smart enough to uncover and express for us all.

We might take a look next at how Scientology as an organized, authority-led activity veered away from common sense and how its leaders thus fatally wounded the group’s spontaneity.  More than that, in veering away from the essential spirit of what had promised to be a grass-roots movement, the group’s leadership betrayed the members’ initial glad trust; the leadership could be said to have guided the group into its spiritual grave — in parallel with what humanity in general seems intent on doing with itself and its home.

The Scientology leadership, in fact, began to focus on much that was not true, not necessary, and not kind.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2017

[Grateful thanks to Marilyn Abrahamian for support in the form of meticulous, repeated, and valuable copy-editing. Also to Kate Bornstein for serendipitous stimulation of viewpoint shifts, an art she takes to new heights, as all who know her and her work are aware.]

 

[1] For the sake of brevity I have not expanded on this concept within its paragraph  but for the sake of clarity I need to add that I see “Solution” as an energy imbuing all of Existence (just as “Problem” imbues it too). And that the energy of “Solution” emanates from the source of a Beneficence that underlies Existence, permitting Existence to be and to continue. The Beneficence is impersonal but it responds always and reliably to our requests for its support. Beneficence operates only in truth, necessity, and kindness, and responds to invitations to cooperate with us only in our truth, necessity, and kindness; however, it has its impersonal view on what is kind and it can leave us in pain or increase our pain as, so to speak, very “tough love”. As to how “Problem” also exists as an energy in Existence, this will have to wait for an entirely different day. Sufficient for now is that, as I see it, Solution energy is always senior to Problem energy.

Some more illustrious career information

 

There was no keel-hauling on the ship; she was docked in Corfu. I didn’t meet with LRH for a week or two. There was no indication that I was in his bad books, as the telex made me imagine. When I did bump into him, he welcomed me warmly. At once the old friendship glow came to life. Up till then I hadn’t settled with myself if I would stay or go back to Britain. Reservations about remaining on board receded and soon my continued presence signaled that I was all right with being one of the crew.

He shortly made me “LRH Communicator Apollo” [his representative in the sub-group of people responsible for operating the ship Apollo as a ship and running Scientology services for the crew] but in late 1969 he created the position of “LRH Personal Communicator” and put me on it. As such, I was a principal executive aide; after 1973, I began to feel unable to follow LRH on the path he was taking. Even so, I remained on the post until 1978,  when I had the pleasure of going to the Rehabilitation Project Force (“RPF”) at the new Scn HQ in Clearwater, Florida. In those days the RPF did a lot of good. I know that for a fact because I designed and set it up on the ship in order for it to do good. And it did me good when I went through it. Later, others changed it and thus achieved for it a gloriously bad reputation. From the RPF I went into the department at Clearwater that delivered the most advanced levels of Scientology to the public.

In that same period, I made it known that I was reviewing what I would do with the rest of my life. The authorities already knew me as one not too keen on remaining with the group that had changed so much from what I had originally given my loyalty to. Subsequently, in 1982, my seniors and betters kicked me out on to the street in Clearwater nastily [a goon spat in my face] and noisily. I’d thought to slip out of the door quietly so as not to disturb the equanimity of anyone okay with staying and for whom I’d been a comrade. I felt that people should make up their own minds and not be swayed by my action. Proud recipient of two Suppressive Person Declares, both rubbish. No ambition to return; they got tired of asking me to go “back on the team.”

I was in pieces after this ending to what had been my life. A number of friends helped me get back on my feet and to them I’m forever grateful. In 1983, I went to David Mayo’s new independent centre in Santa Barbara, California; there I worked for several months before setting out on my own practice as a travelling auditor. This I did for many years, along with some projects here and there, mostly within the US. The idea that I would return to Scotland, where I’d lived for some happy years in childhood, was always at the back of my mind for “when I get old.”. A few years ago I found myself living again in Scotland, and having to acknowledge, with some surprise, that I had indeed become “old”. It’s good to take a break from having to keep telling people how to spell and pronounce my name. Thank you, Scotland. Also very happy to be close again to my big brother, Alastair. He always knows how to keep me in line.

I have retired from auditing but enjoy doing Book One, a very basic level. Now I have this blog to develop.

[Thanks to a friend, I corrected the date I went to David Mayo’s centre in Santa Barbara. It was in 1983, not 1984 as I first stated.]

Next, I’ll state what I think I’m doing with the blog.

Introduction, brief…

Hello, and Thank You for visiting.

My name: Kenneth G. Urquhart.

Brief bio: Born in South Wales, UK, in 1938, to a family as Scottish as could be.

A Theosophy friend of my father’s introduced me to Scientology at the London organization in 1957. I went to Saint Hill Manor in 1963 to work as L. Ron Hubbard’s “butler”. In early 1965 I became LRH Communicator [his agent or representative] in the Saint Hill Organization; had various executive positions in that organization or in the World Wide Organization that administered the international Scientology network. In 1968, LRH called me to the ship.

“SEND URQ TO FLAG QUIETLY”, read the telexed order. “Flag” was the big boat LRH was sailing about in, no-one knew where. I didn’t have plans to go to the ship, but off I went. Two things drove me: firstly, the implication of “quietly” fascinated me – was he going to keel-haul and dispose of me, out to sea, with no evidence to show that I’d ever been aboard? I just had to know what he intended. Secondly, curiosity awakened: it would be good to know what he was about generally and what he would do next with his life. He’d said to me one day, in his bedroom in the Manor, with a wry smile, “Life around me may be difficult, but it is never dull.” How true.

Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard have been by far the most dominant parts of my life. Between them, they have brought me my highest and some of the lowest points. Now, over 40 years after I parted company with the Church of Scientology in 1982, I think it’s time I came to terms with what it all means to me. For although I am an insignificant footnote in this history of  LRH and Scientology, I was a witness to certain things, things I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears, noted to myself with whatever discernment I had. It is as well to leave a sincerely reflected-on testimony as honest as I can make it. [And so, I believe, should all whose eyes saw what they saw and whose ears heard what they heard, noting what they noted. Please.]

 

Some more information on my Scientology history after going to the ship is in the next post. It may not be easy reading for anyone not familiar with Scientology and its general history. It will not suffer by being ignored.