Memories, 27: The Origins of the RPF

[Relinquishing for now the chronological memoir of times with LRH at Saint Hill Manor. It might resume in the future. This new item is about the RPF and how it started in 1973 when we were on the Apollo.]

 

How the RPF came to be, and how it was when it began….

After I posted a piece on this blog some months ago about Jesse Prince’s book, a minor rumble took place on “Facebook” about the RPF, encompassing both how horrible the RPF is and how bad I am — since, because I started it, I’m responsible for everything that it has become. Some information was provided on “Facebook” by Janis Gillham Grady– which, truth to tell, she’d got from me in earlier, private e-mails. Janis asserted that “[Ken] swears up and down that…” and, without further attribution, quoted me more-or-less verbatim. I have no issue with being quoted, with or without attribution, but the “swearing up and down” is Janis’ expression, one perhaps induced by my earlier insistence to her on my version of events. Generally, if my account of a happening differs from another’s and I have confidence in my memory, I merely restate mine or let it go. Meanwhile, there is no slightest quarrel with Janis and her choice of words.

When Janis posted her account, I decided to let the sleeping dog lie, partly because I’m tired of telling the story and partly because there didn’t seem to be much to add to what Janis wrote. A suggestion that I publish the story of how the RPF began wouldn’t in itself have moved me to do it, even though I didn’t formally close off the request. But since the “Facebook” fuss there has been a quiet rumble at the back of my mind about the scene that existed at the time the RPF came into being, and what exploration of that scene might tell us and be of interest. At any rate, I’m now putting my impressions of the scene on the record, even if only to get out of my head persistent thoughts about the context then current when I dreamed up the RPF one idle evening, context that will never see the light of day if I don’t write it down. Whether it needs to see the light of day is another question; those who comment freely on the RPF and how it began don’t generally seem to think about any context beyond that of their own impulses.

Scene-setting for the event is that LRH was confining himself to his private cabin on the A-deck of the Apollo, suffering greatly with injuries from his bike crash. The messengers were bearing the brunt of looking after him, and a terrible ordeal it must have been for the young girls. We others of LRH’s personal staff – the Commodore’s Aides, responsible for corporate Scientology affairs, and members of his Personal Office – were peculiarly distant from the agonized victim. Nobody conferred on how to address the fact that our leader was disabled. His powerful presence still dominated all our thoughts – firstly because he declined to let go of his authority, and secondly because he kept his messengers running about among us as he maintained his usual aggressive managerial stance despite the injuries. We on his staff did not get together to work out some particular way to help him. I’d say that we all buckled down and tried our best to handle as much as we possibly could so that he was minimally bothered – this being our normal mode of operation, but now more so.

It was as though we were collectively sighing to ourselves, “Oh, please. We signed on to support an active group leader. He is now playing this game of being an injured hero instead of allowing a doctor to put him right. We are heavily burdened with straightforward work as it is. We are all sleep-deprived. He wants us to get excited because he’s putting us through this drama?” I say “It was as though we were collectively sighing to ourselves…” because nobody discussed the situation with me and I didn’t hear of any others bringing it up between them. We never did speak to each other about how we personally felt about any of LRH’s behavior.

As his Personal Communicator I was directly in the line of fire had LRH chosen to confront us on our apparent lack of concern for him. I expected the hand grenades to land in my lap by way of a messenger or six, but they didn’t come. I waited for his wife, Mary Sue, to light a fire under me on behalf of her husband, but she didn’t. I waited for Diana, his daughter and a distinguished Aide, to make noises at me, but she didn’t. It was as though we all waited for him to get his act together like a good Operating Thetan. Meanwhile, we went about our business with unexpressed sympathy for his plight and withheld embarrassment at how he was not-dealing with it.

He did make one sign of his dissatisfaction with us: He sent one of his messengers to each of his Aides and to say, “The Commodore says his officers are not backing him up!” This in itself didn’t order action, and since the messenger didn’t wait for anybody to say anything in reply, the reprimand was not only ineffective, it showed up a lack of actual authority. It backfired rather spectacularly when the messenger came to Mary Sue, who was the last of the Aides to get it. Sitting in my own office, I heard the messenger’s voice give the message to Mary Sue, followed by the sound of a slap. “Good for you, Mary Sue,” I said to myself. “I wish we all had such bols.” But we were not married to the man.

In this climate of some alienation and frustration on our side and much of the same on LRH’s, a harbour-related upset with us arose in the port where the ship was docked. These “shore flaps” were not uncommon, and rather regularly they landed on LRH’s plate as emergencies for him to directly take care of. This would be either because the flap became so noisy so quickly that it came to his attention before anybody could do much to contain it, or because he heard about it and decided it was much more serious than anyone had been sensible enough to recognize it as. LRH would energetically “handle the hell” out of it; he was extremely sensitive to the fact that a Harbour Master was indeed the Master and could cause any ship terrible trouble, even seize her or order the captain to leave at once.

[LRH was extremely good at handling these flaps, whether they were faux flaps or genuine looming disasters. There seemed to be no bull whose horns he could not grasp if he felt inclined or forced to challenge it. He deserves a lot of respect for it.]

I recall nothing of this particular shore flap except that LRH got it cooled off. Then he ordered the fellow in charge of the ship’s department running the office that dealt with the shore officials and other people to thoroughly examine what had happened, how it had happened, and to propose what he felt necessary to avoid any recurrence. Very shortly thereafter, the report and proposal came to me to forward to LRH. It was part of my work to coordinate all submissions to him and so to lighten his load in dealing with them (98% of his interactions with officers and crew were in writing, excluding messenger runs; the latter were almost invariably verbal).

This submission seemed all right to me so I included it in the daily folder of submissions. The folder came back to me, as usual, after LRH had dealt with it. He had approved the submission to do with the shore flap, and so the actions included in the submission now had the force of authorized orders and had to be carried out.

Now, in examining the situation, the director of the department had found out that the responsible individual who’d failed to carry out a routine duty (leading to the upset in the harbour) excused himself on the basis that he was tired. This information was in the report to LRH. Nobody who signed off on the report took too much notice of this detail. We were all tired all the time; we had to run just to keep in place. We grew extra legs and extra arms to try to avoid a failure that would cause extra work for our leader and bring down his wrath on us. Too bad for us that we couldn’t grow extra brains or create extra hours to sleep in.

Tired was part of our daily life. We woke up to it, worked through it, and went to bed with it. We rarely mentioned it among ourselves, never complained about it. We accepted it as part of life around L. Ron Hubbard on his ship. When we read that this fellow had been extra tired and had failed to take note of exactly what the harbour person had said to him, we all knew exactly what he meant.

LRH, however, took great exception to this excuse of tiredness. He was tired too, but he never moaned about it nor let it stop him doing what he saw as his job – and, as far as he was concerned, he just did not goof, ever. He had a general term for excuse-making of any kind: he called it “case on post”, ‘case’ being the big bag of complaints and excuses, fears, defeats, aches and pains, and all the stuff that one carries around – and hides behind to explain or excuse or justify a failure. Allowing case to interfere with job performance was not acceptable in the Sea Org; all Sea Org members were Sea Org members because they were tough. Sleep deprivation was a mere incidental detail.

Seeing this attempt at excusing a clear lapse of duty that had led to hard work on LRH’s part (he having to do the tired person’s work for him in the cooling-off of the situation caused by said tired person), LRH took up this blaming of tiredness as a matter of “case on post.” This aspect not having been addressed in the proposals for action, LRH inserted an instruction in his own writing. It ordered that a handling be drawn up for all instances of “case on post” throughout the ship – LRH being prone to believing that much of the crew would be goofing off just because he couldn’t be all over the ship at once, cajoling, commanding, or scaring them into being busy. One of his favourite sayings (shared only with confidants, never with the mice) was: “When the cat’s away the mice do play”.

The actions on the submission were each assigned to an individual person or post to complete. The submitter, a relative junior, would never have dreamt of assigning one of the actions on his proposal to a senior, especially not to a Commodore’s Staff person. Well, LRH added in this new action, and he assigned it to a Commodore’s Staff person – me. I saw this, of course, when the submission came back to me from LRH on its return to its originator.

I was fine with the target and with it being assigned to me. No sweat. But of course I noticed that this plan, about to be published for all on the ship to read, would have the department head apparently ordering me (much senior to him) to carry out one of his targets. The mimeo issue of the plan simply showed the LRH-added action without noting that he (LRH) had added it. Not wanting to show that I was sensitive to such an error in protocol, I took it in stride but also took note of it. [The only person on the ship who gave me orders was LRH himself; had Mary Sue given me orders in his absence I would have obeyed them unless I had an objection or alternative that I thought MSH might listen to.]

Despite that minor reservation, I had an immediate idea of what I was going to do to fulfill my assigned action, and I knew it would take a few hours of concentrated working-out and writing. This told me that I’d have to start at once and hope that I’d be left alone long enough to get most of it done or perhaps even all of it. If I’d left it for the next day, or the next “quiet period”, it would never have got done properly. I wouldn’t have wanted LRH chasing me for it even at the best of times, but with his moods being what they were, I was letting no grass grow.

Besides, what I had in mind to do would introduce a pretty radical change into the organizational structure on the ship. Observing how things tended to go in the organization, I felt that the faster one gets a new idea out into group circulation and action the more likely it is to impress and interest; delay in announcement tends to communicate insignificance and unimportance and thus invite delay in implementation.

The Devil, watching over me, kept my desk clear. [He evidently wanted an RPF put in place.] I was able to complete the writing that night. Having finished it, my next action would normally have been to write a cover note to LRH telling him that this was my response to his order and recommending that he approve it for issue to the crew and then full implementation. I would have sent this down to LRH in his next day’s “traffic” folders (the flow of papers into his inbox was called “traffic”).

Now, I knew it was a substantial piece of work, and I felt confident that it was good work. I cast my mind forward to his picking up my proposal from his traffic, wondering what his mood would be when he read it… imagining that he’d be picking holes in it here and there, giving directions for a rewrite – directions that might be not quite clear or might be contrary to the spirit I’d put into the thing. At the same time I was mindful of the slight pride-prick I was feeling of being put in the position of being publicly ordered about by the junior (a fellow I had no quarrel with personally and liked). Moreover, I was aware of part of the intention behind LRH’s addition and its assignment to me – he was lobbing a very hot potato into my hands and saying (in part, at least), “If you think you’re so clever, bud, deal with this for me. Let’s see what you can do. If you fail, I’ll really rub your nose in it.”

I made up my mind: “Right,” I thought to myself. “If you’re so clever as to give the assignment to clever me, and moreover to have a junior appear to be ordering me about, clever me is going to issue his new ship-changing development without your prior approval or even telling you he’s done the work. Then let’s see you rub my nose in that if you want to.”

I sent the piece straight down to the Mimeo Section. It was within my authority to have Mimeo issue items either on behalf of LRH when I could see he didn’t need to be bothered with the work of authorising it, or on my own behalf when I wanted to issue something of my own. [Note: Not once did I ever think of issuing something over LRH’s name off my own bat.] Nonetheless, by rights something this big really should have had his signature on it. He was entitled to hit back.

My big several-page Mimeo issue introducing the Rehabilitation Project Force [RPF] came off the presses and was in all the crew communication baskets in the morning. It created quite a stir –although I was in bed. [We on Commodore’s Staff followed his usual schedule; he worked night hours and slept during the morning and some afternoon hours.]

When I got up to my office that afternoon, the issue was on my desk. I read it and was satisfied that I had followed through on my assignment in no uncertain terms. But didn’t send a copy of the issue to LRH in his traffic folders. Let him find out about it when he finds out about it . . . and let him deal with me as he wants.

Up came a Commodore’s Messenger to me, shortly thereafter. “The Commodore wants to know what this new issue is that everybody is talking about.” Ah, it was likely the messengers on duty told him about the buzz. I handed her a copy of the RPF issue without a word. I waited to see what would hit the fan and how much of it: I had flouted his authority by having the item issued without his prior approval and again by not sending an immediate copy for his perusal. Would he let me get away with it? I waited.

Soon, the same messenger ran back up, put the issue on my desk and said, “Well, that’s very well done!” running off again immediately. I heard no more until late in that same evening when he added to my issue that anyone assigned to the RPF had the right of appeal against the assignment. This would have been understood as part of the general group-wide Ethics system, and I was fine with the addition.

Thus, in this creation of the RPF I had claimed a certain amount of autonomy for myself, and he had gone along with it. In actual fact, I had bypassed him by having shown that I did not go along with the idea of his absolute authority. That he did not immediately pick up on this and restore his position with me was unexpected – it wouldn’t have been simply because he was in pain since he’d been energetically dealing with a lot of business in the preceding weeks. In fact, although I didn’t fully appreciate the significance of it at the time, he had capitulated.

A few days later, however, he radically changed the character of the RPF. One young woman, assigned to the RPF for her “case on post”, had protested noisily and physically. LRH looked into it and decided her protest was groundless. To him her protest was nothing more than her insistence on having case on post. His response to this was to create “the RPF’s RPF” in which to put such rebellious people as this young woman. Any reluctant debutant would be virtually imprisoned in isolation, left to consider the position and come to the correct Sea Org conclusion – to let go of her case on post. I could see how LRH would consider this a good idea.

Obviously, LRH liked the RPF as an addition to the Sea Org system so much he had taken ownership of it. I didn’t like the RPF’s RPF but had no way of countering it without getting myself into trouble for my pains, and it would possibly have resulted in my being put into the RPF’s RPF. That didn’t appeal.

What appealed even less was giving LRH the opportunity to kick me off my post. Although he hadn’t acted on my denial of his authority on the RPF issue, it was likely that something would fester from it. Boils can burst.

I should clarify that he and I were not altogether at loggerheads. We worked closely together most of the time. He could be moody, but while we were on the ship he never crossed swords with me, or yelled at me, or criticised me to my face. He could be friendly and gracious, and was so, almost invariably, in the couple of years we were working together up to 1972 when he left the ship to go to New York. However, after his return to the ship in 1973, I did not support him as before, nor he me. I might argue against something he proposed; he almost invariably disputed it and did what he wanted anyway. He never questioned why when I failed to respond with enthusiasm to something he was doing or advocating or considering. If he had asked, I would have told him. I didn’t force him to bring it out into the open, although I did a few other things (stories for another time) that he really should have taken up with me. It seemed that he accepted my stance, though I didn’t know why he didn’t bring it out into the open, something I wasn’t going to do without his lead. His motorbike accident occurred shortly after his return to the ship and my challenge to his authority was my first open claim to some independence from that authority; his acceptance of the claim remains mysterious to me.

There was one thread in the design of the RPF that I regretted putting into it as soon as it had been issued. I’d been thinking of some of the traditions in the Sea Org of dealing with a rebellious individual, but including a part of the tradition in the design of the RPF resulted later in causing more trouble than good. Specifically, the tradition I thought of was to put the individual into the chain locker, where, according to then current written instructions, the person would be fed by means of a bucket lowered down to him or her, said bucket containing food left over from the crew meals. I had no intention of reviving the hateful chain locker imprisonment but used the bucket procedure into the instructions for setting up the RPF meals, inasmuch as I said the RPF were to be fed on leftovers. I meant it as a sop to the Sea Org die-hards, but there was no real need to pay the die-hards and their opinions any attention.

After my instructions were issued, I made amending this meal guidance something I should do very soon, but I never did get to it. In practice it was never followed on the ship. The Chief Steward, responsible for all catering, somehow got his hands on some RPF members to help him in his vastly-undermanned department. He was so happy to have the help, he made sure the RPF ate just as well as the crew. So I didn’t have an urgent reason to take the time to alter the issue, and the matter slipped into the great Pending Basket in the Sky, I’m sorry to say.

The original RPF issue was set out in a “Flag Order”. (The Sea Org ship that carried the Commodore bore his flag and was therefore known as the “Flagship” or “Flag”.) LRH had several different types of Mimeo issues for different purposes, importances, and audiences. One issue type was the “Flag Order”, which carried instructions and so on for matters to do with the running of the Flagship and all aboard her. Each Flag Order had its consecutive number. The RPF Flag Order was #3434. As far as I can tell, the very first RPF issue has been buried or destroyed; it has been revised many times. There doesn’t seem to be a copy of the first edition of FO3434 outside the Church of Scientology [I’d be happy to have one] – and my original issue has been altered beyond all recognition. As have the intention and the management of the RPF.

The spirit in which the RPF was conceived is as follows: Okay, crew member, your seniors say that you’re not pulling your weight and not taking responsibility for that. And indeed, you’re saying that you have this or that excuse. Excuses are not acceptable: we are going to do something about your giving one. We understand and accept that the pace has been a bit too much for you. We’ll put you in this section of the crew where you will keep up certain basic responsibilities for the good of the ship and the crew, but you’ll also have opportunity to use this Scientology technology called training and auditing. Auditing is intended to help people deal with the reasons they can’t work or do their jobs (among other things). We’ll show you how you can learn some of this technology to audit another RPF member, and we’ll show another RPF member how he or she will audit you. The work we’ll give you to do will take half of your day and will consist mostly of cleaning. You will be given some cleaning to do and you will complete that cleaning so it’s done for the day. Whatever cleaning you start you will complete. Half of the RPF crew will be cleaning while the other half is learning how to audit and doing the auditing. Then the first cleaning crew will shift over to the auditing mode, and the first auditing crew will shift over to cleaning mode. When you have learned to perform your cleaning tasks well and have completed all your auditing requirements in auditing others and in receiving your own auditing sessions, you can apply to “graduate” from the RPF. If you have honestly completed all requirements, you will graduate and return to the crew as a regular member. There are certain disciplinary, logistic, and domesticity guidelines for you to follow.

[It seemed to me, and still does, that the introduction of the RPF’s RPF introduced a note of institutional harshness into this spirit, and that a cleaner and kinder handling of the rebel would have been to simply give him or her the choice to leave altogether. I can accept that my allowing the harshness of “leftovers” to remain in my issue contributed to the eventual degradation of the RPF that has so disgusted so many. But I tend to think that the harshness of the RPF’s RPF concept did more damage to the intended spirit of the RPF.]

Thus the RPF was conceived and then run on the ship and at the Clearwater establishment while I was on post as LRH Personal Communicator. I made sure I was the last person on the list to approve every graduation.

I have evidence that the RPF in the Sea Org PAC [for “Pacific”] region (in and near Los Angeles) had the same decent spirit, at least for a while. Of course, since we were all human and imperfect, there were mistakes and misdeeds within and about the RPF. But on the whole, I’d say the RPF in its original practice, did more good than harm. That some people were harmed in some ways, I have to accept, such as those who had needs beyond what anyone on the ship could take care of. I also believe a lot of moaning is by people who moan anyway.

What drastically changed the management of the RPF — changing it in a context that made it impossible for me to intervene — was the purchase of the “Big Blue” building in Los Angeles (the former hospital) and the need to transform it quickly into premises suitable for Sea Org offices and accommodation. LRH ordered the purchase of the building and its renovation by PAC while he was in hiding in California, and he could only ever want something done in a hurry. The senior Sea Org members in PAC seemed to be delirious with excitement because LRH was operating into their area and made themselves more than ready to get everything done in a great tearing hurry. Impressing the Commodore with one’s ability to force things DONE (“to kick ass”, as they say today) was every loyal Sea Org member’s dream.

[The preceding paragraph has been revised to correct an error. The original version stated that LRH ordered the purchase of the big LA building when he was away from the ship (which would have been in 1972-3, obviously incorrect).]

The Big Blue work required labour and plenty of it. That meant using all the new recruits, but soon the excited PAC officers realized that they could rope in their local RPF. I was not kept abreast of what they were doing at PAC with their RPF. Of course, the Sea Org people there had no reason to put me in the loop, because they were dealing almost directly with LRH, who was in hiding out West somewhere (perhaps in Nevada at that time or in California), and he didn’t need me, in Clearwater, Florida, interfering with anything he wanted done in a hurry in Los Angeles. Nobody who was dealing almost directly with LRH would want anybody else on the line; anyone not put there or called upon by LRH was irrelevant. To intervene in an activity urgent and important to LRH was to ask for inevitable public put-down by him.

Furthermore, the operations of the Sea Org – often Byzantine — required that urgent operations be carried out as “Missions” in which two or more selected SO members were sent on specific and detailed orders from the ship or from a senior office on shore (such as the executive stratum at PAC). These missions were managed only by “Mission Operations”. There were missions at PAC involved in making the renovations happen. If I’d attempted to interfere with missions that had decided to take over the local RPF and use it contrary to my founding guidance, I’d cause a lot of fuss and flap that would have been quickly forwarded on to LRH’s plate (he taking a direct interest in these missions), doing any cause of mine no good whatsoever.

Because the PAC people were dedicating themselves to getting done what LRH wanted done, I had no ground on which to stand with regard to regulating what I did hear about their misuse and abuse of the RPF crews. Clearly, their RPF members were being used as slave-labour and denied their auditing activities– the whole RPF concept had been perverted. I wanted to insist that their RPF follow all rules regarding scheduling, for example. But group politics were against me: any attempt to intervene would have caused a loud chorus of eager complaint to LRH that I was trying to stop them doing what he wanted, which was to get the renovations done as quickly as possible. He was always ready to listen to such complaints; when he received them, he had the tendency to empty his gun and then, maybe, ask some questions.

And misuse and abuse the poor RPF the PAC Sea Org certainly did, without restraint or mercy, without any consideration for human decency. The RPF became a mockery and a denial of its original spirit.

The Sea Organization has a secret motto that one learns only over time: “In joining us you put your sanity in jeopardy.” I’m not a bit surprised that people get righteously shocked at the RPF as it became – I share their indignation. I don’t blame anyone for anyone being unaware of how it began and assuming its current state is totally my responsibility.

I don’t accept that by forming the RPF I directly put anybody’s sanity in jeopardy, although I started something that others changed into sanity-jeopardising misbehaviour. But the degradation of the RPF was part of a movement to change all of the Sea Organization and all of corporate Scientology into sanity-jeopardising misbehaviour — which is also partly my responsibility, but not by any means mine alone. At least I did disconnect from that movement. Thirty-six years ago.

As I’ve said, I did include in my RPF design one element of stupidly harsh Sea Org tradition that would have been better omitted – the serving of leftover food. My bad judgment. On the other hand, the RPF was a major change in Sea Org culture, and, on the whole, I’m satisfied that in its original form it was a constructive contribution to that culture. I regret that the Sea Org could not live with what the RPF was actually meant to be and twisted it into an activity repulsive to all decent people.

But then, so much of what was good in Scientology has the Sea Org seemed to be unable to live with and seems to have twisted into activity repulsive to many decent people. Kenneth G. Urquhart

© 2019

Here is a link to one RPFer’s story (the one that tells of good experiences in the earlier PAC RPF):

http://scientolipedia.org/info/Howard_Dickman#My_stint_on_the_RPF

Responding to a Message

This is the text of an e-mail message received privately at the blog e-mail address. This address forwards to my regular e-mail inbox. The originator sent an earlier message last week, to which I replied at once. It was a simple request to know if I was receiving mail at that address or not. Not receiving any reply, I sent a follow-up. Still no reply.

 

Today, the sender sent two messages, one to ask why he hadn’t received a reply to his first, and a second which I’ll paste in a moment. It seems that my e-mail forwarding and response system isn’t working. I’ll try to find out why. There has been no other message received at the blog e-mail address, urqbones@gmx.net, that I know of. I don’t have any problems dealing with messages sent to me via other addresses that forward to my regular e-mail.

 

Since I’m not able to reach the originator of the message and since he/she is asking some slightly challenging questions, I’ll paste the message here and give my answers. Anyone familiar with the C of S scene who reads this will know that the questioner is either anti-Scn or is a loyal member. The signature is a set of initials, but since the message began as a private communication I’ll omit any identification. The message is:

Well Ken Urquhart,
                                   Did you ever complete your RPF assignment ?   and can a person hide forever ?
What should I know about you ?
First of all, I take it that the greeting is at least challenging if not aggessive. Not that I care, either way.
I was assigned to the RPF, yes, and I went there. I was “with” the RPF, I was never IN it, finding that it was too small to contain me. I was removed from RPF activity before I even thought of beginning the process of graduating from it (being in no hurry to get back into the rat-race of ‘normal’ existence as a member of any organization in Clearwater — and I had my private agenda, incomplete, for being with the RPF). They put me on the post of D of P for Interviews in the then-new NOTs HGC, something I was happy to do. Demand for NOTs was high and the need for a second Interviewer urgent.
On that post, I got myself a pretty good reputation among the tech staff and among the public clients. I redid all my technical training up to Class I, including interneships, in my study time, and then trained as a NOTs auditor; two years later I had the highest Well Done Auditing Hours [WDAH] in the NOTs HGC for the year.
I don’t believe my RPF assignment was ever cancelled or completed. It never entered my mind and seems never to have entered anybody else’s until this query today. With that demonstrated production (you cannot fudge high WDAH at any level, far less on NOTs), doing over 40 WDAH a week, week in, week out), who in his right mind (whether in the C of S or not) would have said that I was so down-stat and out-ethics it was wrong to take me out of the RPF and that I really needed to complete its processes?
Can a person hide forever? Any person can consider he/she is hiding, and consider that he/she is hiding ‘forever’. I think we can suppose that the sender of the message is saying that I have never completed my RPF assignment and should go back there to do it. And that by not going back I am hiding, and trying to hide forever, from the RPF experience. Good luck on that one, friend. If you think that you have the right Why for me and my actions and my life, I’d suggest that you redo the Data Series Evaluator Course.
As for what this person or any person should know about me: I have no idea, and couldn’t care less what this writer or anyone else knows about me or doesn’t know about me or cares one way or the other about what there is to know about me or not know about me. Dredge up all you want. There is plenty of dirt to dredge but there is only one beingness to whose authority to judge me I bow.
*     *     *     *
I have published this exchange firstly so I can present the originator with answers to the questions lest he/she assume I am unwilling to reply to a challenge. It’s the only such message received since I opened the blog. I don’t intend to make a habit of pushing entheta; my appetite for taking up challenges of this nature is not large and I won’t assume that anyone reads this blog in order to get a dose of antagonism.
As far as I’m aware, in dealing with this enquiry I’ve respected truth, necessity, and kindness. If not, I will apologise and make amends. Should the originator want to take the thread any further, he/she would have to respect them too. Otherwise, I will ignore the communication.
I also give notice that I will take up or refuse any future similar message entirely at my own discretion and that any refusal on my part has no bearing on whether I can confront the contents or not.
With goodwill towards all–
(c) Kenneth Urquhart 2018.

 

Old Questions…New Answers? 04

OLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS?    04

Old Answers: Last of three IVy Excerpts

 

In the introduction to this new series which I’m calling “Old Friend Questions..New Answers?”, I undertook to look at some basic questions about how Scientology delivered on some of its basic promises. That post posed the questions and concluded by saying that I had already written on matters relevant to the questions and would follow that first post with a “reprint” of an article published back in the early 2000s, before adding some new material.

I have divided the old article into three excerpts for ease of reading. And I have left the text alone except for relatively minor punctuation corrections.

In the title of the old article, quoted below, the words “Inside Scientology” reference the name of the first part of the book under review, A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 edition; I was using that name as the jumping-off point for my article. I should probably also explain that “IVy on the Wall” was the name of the regular column I wrote for the journal. [I’d wanted to call it “IVy off the Wall” but another’s superior judgment prevailed, sad to say.] And in those years, I did live in the USA, although no longer.

 

IVy on the Wall

by Ken Urquhart, USA

Outside “Inside Scientology”, Chapter Five in a consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 book by Jon Atack

 

[Third of three excerpts from the Chapter]

Whose wants are we focusing on?

It was during the late ’70s and ’80s that Jon Atack entered the quicksand of Scientology as practiced by its organizations as they existed then. In this period, all of the above nonsense factors were raging in full dramatization.

Into this mess came Jon. What did he want? For himself, he says: “What I wanted from Scientology was emotional equilibrium so I could win my girlfriend back, make a successful career in the arts, and concentrate on achieving Enlightenment.”

I don’t see anything wrong or difficult or strange about this. I couldn’t have guaranteed Jon that his ex-girl-friend would agree to be won back. But I could have happily committed to helping him to achieve emotional equilibrium, to make a successful career, and to achieve Enlightenment. So could any practicing Scientologist then who actually practiced Scientology – or does so today. So could have – and would have – L. Ron Hubbard himself if Jon had asked him personally and directly.

We would all have said, or say today, “Sure, Jon, no problem! That’s what we’re here for! This is my fee. When do you want to start?” And we could be doing something for Jon whether using “standard” Scientology or something derived from it or from something else.

The Scientologists Jon involved himself with were too busy being good Scientologists to pay any attention to his real needs and wants. They made him cooperate with their needs and wants. That was their way of pleasing their bosses and the little Hitlers – and what they perceived LRH to be. Everyone leaned on everyone else to produce their “statistics”. Jon was statistics fodder. His actual needs and wants were not important as long as he could be made to subjugate them “for the greatest good of the greatest number”, a nebulous but vital component of Scientology life which manifests itself in “up statistics”.

Who is friend to whom?

Unfortunately, Jon allowed himself to be swept up into the nonsense. LRH’s self-promotion had dazzled him as it has so many. He, Jon, compromised his own integrity enough to achieve disappointment and frustration but not enough to suppress his own feelings in the end. The Scientologists took him up the OT levels unprepared for any of them, and they took him for a lot of his money. It is no surprise he wrote his exposé. In their own ethics terms, they were in Enemy to him and they created an enemy out of him. Worse, having invited him to trust them and then by behaving as enemy to him, they betrayed his trust: this they themselves call Treason.

What might have been…

Jon had felt that, as a therapy, Scientology might have a world-changing impact. So did we all! Even though we didn’t regard it as a “therapy”, I don’t think Jon or we were wrong about its potential.

LRH, and we, all together, forced Scientology to become something other than it really is. Perhaps the Axioms of Scientology are the purest summation of what it really is.

We don’t know what Scientology’s impact would have been had we let Scientology agree with its own axioms.

That we couldn’t let it be what it is was probably inevitable. No single human intelligence could envision and design something as revolutionary as Scientology claimed to be [especially here on Planet Earth] – and made serious attempts to be – without including fatal flaws in the vision and design.

Broken Tools

That a person on Earth, L. Ron Hubbard, conceived of the possibility of such a vision and such a design and did so much to make it a reality in spite of its and his own flaws is in itself a triumph, and a worthy one. He did his best to make it be real and he fell foul of his own imperfections. But he tried. He tried! His trying embraced things he was right to do, and things he should never have tried to do.

He tried, and he failed. He “failed” in that he didn’t fully succeed. But in trying he achieved more than the victims of the failure will be able to understand – for a while. And in failing, he caused a lot of damage.

One day at Saint Hill in 1965, as LRH was C/Sing the first Power Processing sessions and training the Power auditors, he got up from his desk, which was loaded with case folders; he had had a tough day. Some auditors were misbehaving in the chair; some cases were being difficult. At that time, many of the pcs receiving Power were executives from large Scientology organizations. LRH was learning things about the ways in which they regarded themselves and life. I had gone into his office to tell him it was time for his dinner. He seemed tired, almost dispirited. As I helped him on with his jacket, he looked at me wryly, and said quietly, with a little grin, “I am mending the world with broken tools”.

Poor fellow; he could never publicly acknowledge that a part of himself was broken. Broken or not, he was never little or cowardly. His size and his courage lent terrible power to his weakness.

Has anyone come close to opening a door so wide, such as the one LRH opened for us in his strength and courage?

What does it take to heal the wounds he caused in his broken way of opening that door?

 

*      *      *     *     *     *

 

Eleven chapters of this IVy series on A Piece of Blue Sky (there are twelve altogether, with the final chapter yet to be written) are available at:

http://www.freezoneearth.org/ivy/bluesky/index.htm

and the IVy website is here: http://home8.inet.tele.dk/ivy/%20

The 2013 edition of A Piece of Blue Sky is offered on Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-sell-these-people-Piece/dp/1482023032/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934644&sr=1-1&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky&dpID=51mkN-pmjwL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

and the original of 1990:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Piece-Blue-Sky-Scientology-Dianetics/dp/081840499X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934644&sr=1-3&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky&dpID=51K%252BRDKLewL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

For amazon.com, the respective links are:

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-sell-these-people-Piece-ebook/dp/B00BF385HG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934906&sr=1-1&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky+jon+atack

https://www.amazon.com/Piece-Blue-Sky-Scientology-Dianetics/dp/081840499X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934994&sr=1-2&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky+jon+atack

N.B. These links are not ‘affiliate’ links and I will in no way profit from any purchase using them.

“Outside ‘Inside Scientology’” is reproduced by kind permission of the IVy publisher, Antony Phillips. Thank you, Antony.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2001, 2018

 

Old Questions…New Answers? 03

OLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS?     03

Old Answers: Second of three IVy Excerpts

 

In the introduction to this new series which I’m calling “Old Questions..New Answers?”, I undertook to look at some basic questions about how Scientology delivered on some of its basic promises. That post posed the questions and concluded by saying that I had already written on matters relevant to the questions and would follow that first post with a “reprint” of an article published back in the early 2000s, before adding some new material.

I have divided the old article into three excerpts for ease of reading. And I have left the text alone except for relatively unimportant changes, mostly punctuation.

In the title of the old article, quoted below, the words “Inside Scientology” reference the name of the first part of the book under review, A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 edition; I was using that name as the jumping-off point for my article. I should probably also explain that “IVy on the Wall” was the name of the regular column I wrote for the journal. [I’d wanted to call it “IVy off the Wall” but another’s superior judgment prevailed, sad to say.] And in those years, I lived in the USA, although no longer.

 

IVy on the Wall

by Ken Urquhart, USA

Outside “Inside Scientology”, Chapter Five in a consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 book by Jon Atack

 

[Second of three excerpts from the Chapter]

LRH Viewed as Source of All

Jon was not alone in not understanding how someone whom he accepted as being exceptional, LRH, could create such a bumbling, autocratic bureaucracy. It seems to have been a fairly common delusion that everything any staff member did was at the express instigation of LRH himself, and that LRH was aware of all that was being done all the time. The truth was that he had little awareness of what was being done in his name and that staff had great freedom to impress on others that the source of their bumbling was LRH himself. From my personal experience of LRH in his dealings with subordinates on the ship, and earlier at Saint Hill, I am certain that had he been on the ground and seen for himself what people were doing in his name and claiming that he was responsible for, he would have been unrestrainedly outraged. He would have torn into those bumblers like a tornado; they wouldn’t have known what had hit them. Unfortunately, he didn’t go there and he didn’t do that.

However, the bumbling was not altogether the bumblers’ fault. A great deal of LRH’s “research into administration” was valid and valuable; some of it was nonsense. Likewise, some of his management style was valid and admirable, and some of it was nonsense. The nonsense enabled the bumbling and autocratic bureaucracy; it empowered the little Hitlers; it institutionalized the bureaucracy and the Hitlers; it gave them ammunition for self-protection.

[NB. Lest it appear that I lay all blame on LRH for the way in which his organizations developed – or deformed, one might say – I should clarify here my opinion that the evolution (or deformation) was a cooperative effort. The sanity in what LRH set out to do in itself triggered people. Any nonsense in his behaviour would have triggered further material. The activity triggered people in the environment. Experience tells us that triggered people working closely together usually trigger each other. These crosscurrents and interactions triggered everybody, including LRH; he responded with some sanity and some further nonsense. And so it went, around and around, up and down, in and out, across, over, under, amongst, and through. He coined two words for it later: over-restimulation and cross-restimulation. The presence and influence of these two factors throughout Scientology – and throughout Planet Earth, indeed – affect all manifestations of sanity within Scientology (and over all of Planet Earth) but reduce or alter any underlying sanity only when we agree that they do so. It is a great sadness that people like Jon Atack see something of the sanity within Scientology and then come to agree that the insanity within the subject utterly overrules the sanity.]

 

Validity vs. Nonsense

I can’t undertake a review here of the policy LRH issued as to what is valid and what is nonsense, and I don’t know that I would be qualified to do that anyway. But as a bumbling insider who had a position both central to but paradoxically mostly external to the nonsense, I have opinions about what was the nonsense in LRH’s management style and how the nonsense helped to pervert what was valid:

  1. LRH seemed to know and trust no other organizational structure than that of the military model – with its rigid verticalities of authority and consequent horizontal infighting over practice and performance. At the top of the structure is the commander-in-chief, whose word is law throughout the structure. The structure owes him instant and exact compliance, without exception. Any disagreement with, or opposition to, or non-compliance with the commander’s word is treasonous.

LRH’s words as commander were many – very many – but not well prioritized. He had a very bad habit of originating one high-priority project after another, so that few could come to completion; the resources allocated to the last urgent handling would soon be ripped off to man up the latest new one. Over the years, a new policy would contradict an older one that would remain in force but perhaps not actively. LRH created volumes of policy that anyone could explore. The bureaucrat could always find in those volumes a line or page or two that supported his/her position and attacked a rival’s; bullying personalities could set themselves up as mirror-image copies of the commander and few would dare to give them the lie. The game in any bureaucracy can become survival within the structure at others’ expense and with minimal expenditure of energy in only the absolutely unavoidable change. The professionals working at the public level, those who knew their jobs and why they were doing them, fought a losing battle with their own side.

The higher up, the more intense this confusion and the infighting which “resolves” it. At the Commodore’s Staff level, close to the commander, the professionals had to do their jobs despite the elbowing for attention and favour, the jealousy, the manipulations and intrigues, the stabs in the back, and the propitiation, of the dedicated courtiers. [Perhaps this phenomenon took place at all levels, in parallel.]

All the same, the core of professionals, the ones who had seen in Scientology something of real value to real life, wanted that real value to reach out into the world. They wanted that for the world’s sake, and they worked very, very hard to bring it about. Had LRH remained true to his earlier intentions, the result of their work would have been a proud and effective, helpful organization.

  1. As he aged, LRH could not tolerate the idea that anyone else could do a good enough job to actually take over from him, despite the obvious fact that he could not go on forever. He overloaded himself in denying others responsible authority to act. He prevented the most able around him from developing into future leaders. He kept his management levels in constant frustration and turmoil. And he ruled them by fear of his wrath. He created incompetence around himself instead of potential leadership. We all got competent as courtiers and bureaucrats.
  2. LRH always knew best, even when the size and scale of the organization removed him from contact with the realities of life in the organizations delivering to the public. The people on the front lines never knew what radical changes would hit them next. They were constantly ordered this way and that as though what they had been doing beforehand was wrong and their fault. He created incompetence in his remote offices and centres.
  3. LRH encouraged staff, despite all the above, to feel that they were part of an elite group with an elite purpose. That the world they dedicated themselves to saving insisted on being uncooperative and ungrateful reinforced their self-perception as elites. It could not occur to them that the world had any right to not want to be saved, or need to be saved, or that they could do nothing to save it without developing real affinity, agreement, communication, and understanding with that world. As “elites”, they scorned any such affinity, agreement, communication, or understanding.
  4. LRH shamelessly and shamefully pushed what he thought were panic buttons to hopefully get people to flood into the orgs to buy lots of services. First it was the Communists, then atomic war, then World War III. With regard to people’s cases, it was the horrors of not getting to OT III and doing it right.
  5. His paranoia has often been remarked on, and sometimes documented. It coloured his view of the world as it related to himself and to the organization he created. He used the Guardian’s Office to protect against his perceived attackers. He gave the GO seniority in the organization, and its activities influenced every aspect of the organization’s life; all staff and public Scientologists were subject to the movements and requirements of the GO. The paranoia and the supremacy of the GO had to be justified by the size and extent of dangers within and without the organization. LRH was at times obsessed with his perceived “opposition” – the SPs, PTSes, R/Sers, and, above all, the associated ogres of government and the psychs. To this extent he reacted with unnecessary force to real barriers, and unnecessarily created many enemies for himself and for Scientology – both within and without.
  6. LRH treated his Sea Org followers as slaves for economic exploitation. He never paid anyone who joined him more than a pittance (exception: some forceful salespeople). From the ’70s he demanded that his people work for money that could not house and feed them decently – let alone their families. For some, this was all part of the exciting game, a proof of an elitism whose rewards would come later. But others became bitter and resentful because it abused them and they knew it.
  7. LRH brought great confusion to the organization’s major product-delivery and income activity – the delivery of Scientology technology. There are arguments today that the technology and its delivery are severely flawed at best. Some say it is all based on LRH’s own case alone and has nothing to do with anyone else’s. Be this as it may, I argue neither for nor against these points: things change; technology good yesterday may not apply today. No matter what the reason, technology that doesn’t help a person is not the right technology for the person, and that’s that. Nonetheless, when someone complains that Scientology didn’t or doesn’t work, we don’t know the truth of the matter until we know what was done, why it didn’t work, and whether it was Scientology or something else.

Nonetheless, the technology was what it was and the organizations had to deliver it. In the late ’70s, the philosophical and technical underpinnings of the State of Clear, the Excalibur by which Scientology lived or died, started to unravel. Hubbard issued more than one “clarification”, each of which confused the issue further. Now the whole organization was operating over uncertainty as to its own integrity; I don’t think it has ever regained its integrity. In losing its integrity, a group loses its soul.

 

This concludes the second of the three excerpts of Chapter Five of the IVy series, “A Consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky” (written in 2001), reprinted here in 2018 on the urqbones blog. In the next and last excerpt, which begins with the subtitle “Whose wants are we focusing on?”, I attempt an objective and, I hope, charitable review of some of the brokenness that so disturbed Jon Atack, and just about everybody who has been seriously involved in Scientology.

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Eleven chapters of this IVy series (there are twelve altogether, with the final chapter yet to be written) are available at:

http://www.freezoneearth.org/ivy/bluesky/index.htm

and the IVy website is here: http://home8.inet.tele.dk/ivy/%20

The 2013 edition of A Piece of Blue Sky is offered on Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-sell-these-people-Piece/dp/1482023032/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934644&sr=1-1&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky&dpID=51mkN-pmjwL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

and the original of 1990:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Piece-Blue-Sky-Scientology-Dianetics/dp/081840499X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934644&sr=1-3&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky&dpID=51K%252BRDKLewL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

For amazon.com, the respective links are:

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-sell-these-people-Piece-ebook/dp/B00BF385HG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934906&sr=1-1&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky+jon+atack

https://www.amazon.com/Piece-Blue-Sky-Scientology-Dianetics/dp/081840499X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934994&sr=1-2&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky+jon+atack

N.B. These links are not ‘affiliate’ links and I will in no way profit from any purchase using

 “Outside ‘Inside Scientology’” is reproduced by kind permission of the IVy publisher, Antony Phillips. Thank you, Antony.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2001, 2018

Old Questions…New Answers? 02

OLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS?    02

Old Answers: First of three IVy Excerpts

 

In the introduction to this new series which I’m calling “Old Questions..New Answers?”, I undertook to look at some basic questions about how Scientology delivered on some of its basic promises. That post posed the questions and concluded by saying that I had already written on matters relevant to the questions and would follow that first post with a “reprint” of an article published back in the early 2000s, before adding some new material.

I have divided the old article into three excerpts for ease of reading. And I have left the text alone except for relatively unimportant changes. In the first excerpt I have added some brief notes and they are inserted in square brackets and printed in italics in a small font.

In the title of the old article, quoted below, the words “Inside Scientology” reference the name of the first part of the book under review, A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 edition; I was using that name as the jumping-off point for my article. I should probably also explain that “IVy on the Wall” was the name of the regular column I wrote for the journal. [I’d wanted to call it “IVy off the Wall” but another’s superior judgment prevailed, sad to say.] And in those years, I lived in the USA, although no longer.

 

IVy on the Wall

by Ken Urquhart, USA

Outside “Inside Scientology”, Chapter Five in a consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky, the 1990 book by Jon Atack

 

[First of three excerpts from the Chapter]

WE HAVE SO FAR [that is, in Chapters One to Four of KU’s response to Atack’s book] considered the externals, the Acknowledgments, the Preface, and the essay “What is Scientology?”, which introduce and begin Jon Atack’s book, A Piece of Blue Sky. We come now to Part One of the book, which bears the title: “Inside Scientology, 1974-1983”. It has four chapters headed, respectively: “My Beginnings;” “Saint Hill”; “On to OT”; “The Seeds of Dissent”.

These chapters outline Jon’s introduction to and involvement with the subject and his departure from it. They include fair summaries of Dianetic engram running, of the basic Training Routines (but here the summary betrays misunderstanding of their purpose), and of the OT Levels. In these chapters we also get some of Jon’s experiences with and observations of the people and practices. They are sharply drawn, interesting, and valuable.

 

In the early days of the organization (or movement, as it was more then), it had an energy and a hope one could personally and freely respond to. I first came into contact with Scientology through a family friend in 1956. Over time the energy and hope became force and franticness. One no longer responded freely and personally either as staff or public; the force and franticness pulled one in or spat one out. The Scientology world had changed completely over the years.

Jon’s Scientology world

The picture Jon paints of the Scientology world he became a loyal member of, starting in 1974, is mostly negative, of course. This is, after all, an exposé. And there is plenty to be negative about. The picture is entirely credible as well as pitiful. Just about everything that Jon says about the Scientology world he experienced rings very true:

  1. Jon went to an official Scientology organization in the North of England to buy training courses so he could get a job at the Birmingham Mission. The registrar at the org was “insistent and belligerent”. And, “he seemed to take an immediate dislike to me”. I have come across such org welcomes myself.
  2. A Saint Hill staff member who lived in the same house as Jon had done OT levels and claimed OT powers – such as being able to pick the winning horse (while living in poverty). Another ate only bananas because he had “heard” that L. Ron Hubbard was researching carbohydrate diets. These are behaviours characteristic of some Scientologists, as I have observed.
  3. Due to a mix-up in court paperwork, Jon received a summons for non-payment of a court fine, a matter apparently easily resolved. He needed the Ethics Officer’s permission to take time off his Saint Hill training course to go take care of it. The Ethics Officer, an “intense and overweight” woman, “wore knee-length boots with her dishevelled Sea Org uniform”. She told him she was removing him from the course because he was a “criminal” and explained that even for a parking ticket she would bar the offender from Scientology courses until it was paid. I remember the person as Jon describes her. I can hear her voice and its tones. I can accept his account of her reaction to his request as authentic.
  4. Quoting Jon: “At Saint Hill, the Ethics Officers were daunting, overworked, and unsmiling. Saint Hill registrars…were a little too sugary and it was obvious they wanted money. The constant and unavoidable discussions with Sea Org recruiters at SH were wearing. Virtually everyone there was too busy trying to save the world to create any genuine friendships.” All this is true.
  5. Jon writes that he had “serious reservations about the increasingly high prices and the incompetence of the organization. I [Jon] simply could not understand how Hubbard’s research into administration had created such a bumbling and autocratic bureaucracy. Although staff worked themselves to a frazzle, they seemed to achieve very little. Then there were the little Hitlers who used their positions to harass anyone who did not fit neatly into their picture of normality.” The monthly price increases were an insanity that LRH originated all by himself. I don’t think LRH had any idea of how bumbling and autocratic was the bureaucracy which infected the organizations; had he been on the site to experience it he would have exploded in fury and shaken everyone up very drastically. Yes, we did work ourselves to a frazzle and usually achieved very little. And Yes, “little Hitler” is a good name for such nuisances, of whom there were far too many. [And a few of them were far from puny.]

 

This concludes the first of the three excerpts of Chapter Five of the IVy series, “A Consideration of A Piece of Blue Sky”, reprinted here in 2018 on the urqbones blog. In the next excerpt, which begins with the subtitle “LRH Viewed as Source of All”, I attempt an analysis of some of LRH’s less successful modes of management.

 

*     *     *     *     *

 

Eleven chapters of this IVy series (there are twelve altogether, with the final chapter yet to be written) are available at:

http://www.freezoneearth.org/ivy/bluesky/index.htm

and the IVy website is here: http://home8.inet.tele.dk/ivy/%20

The 2013 edition of A Piece of Blue Sky is offered on Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-sell-these-people-Piece/dp/1482023032/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934644&sr=1-1&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky&dpID=51mkN-pmjwL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

and the original of 1990:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Piece-Blue-Sky-Scientology-Dianetics/dp/081840499X/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934644&sr=1-3&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky&dpID=51K%252BRDKLewL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

For amazon.com, the respective links are:

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-sell-these-people-Piece-ebook/dp/B00BF385HG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934906&sr=1-1&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky+jon+atack

https://www.amazon.com/Piece-Blue-Sky-Scientology-Dianetics/dp/081840499X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1526934994&sr=1-2&keywords=a+piece+of+blue+sky+jon+atack

N.B. These links are not ‘affiliate’ links and I will in no way profit from any purchase using them.

“Outside ‘Inside Scientology’” is reproduced by kind permission of the IVy publisher, Antony Phillips. Thank you, Antony.

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2001, 2018

Old Questions…New Answers?

NEW BLOG SECTION: 

OLD QUESTIONS…NEW ANSWERS?   01

Introduction

 

In this new section of the urqbones blog I am going to take up some questions concerning the failure of Scientology to deliver on its fundamental promises (which may or may not have been explicitly expressed).

The questions have been put to me by someone I have known for a long time and who is close to me. By way of introduction to his questions I should say that in 1966, when I was either Director of Communications or LRH Communicator SH [“Saint Hill”], I alerted him to the possibility that he could get some auditing for free because of a change in the organization of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course. Students were required to audit on another person the level they’d just been trained in (the Briefing Course covers several sequential levels) in order to demonstrate their proficiency on the level.

The change was that the students were now required to procure their own people to audit (“preclears”); this required them to look outside the Saint Hill [SH] Scientology community, and they were having to scramble because feelings about Scientology locally were mixed. There was, therefore, a bit of a vacuum for would-be preclears. If my friend wanted some auditing—but, being a young family man, had to have it cheap or free—here was his chance.

He arranged at once to come to SH for a week and went into session just about on arrival: there was no shortage of willing auditors, I having made sure the word got around that this preclear would be available. By 1966, the Bridge had been sorted out into the Grades (and other levels), and the Grades auditing consisted of running only the then-current major process for each Grade. My friend went through all his Grades within his week and went home extremely happy. He refers in the quote below to his “four or five floating needles” that week; the standard tech of the moment was to run whatever you were running to the first floating needle and then end the action off. That basis was enough to produce happy gains for him [and for me and many others, although I loved my Expanded Grades as much as any level I’ve had].

My friend, having the needs of a relatively large family to take care of and his immediate environment not disposed to know and respect Scientology, wasn’t able to pursue the subject further after going back home. His Saint Hill adventure took place over fifty years ago. nonetheless, one can see in what I’ve quoted here (below) from his message to me the warmth and respect with which he still regards his treatment at the hands of the students who so gladly found him so willing. Even though technology still had a lot of development to do, it’s clear that the student auditors of the time held their standards high as regards the handling of people as people, and that they handled my friend in exemplary fashion. One wonders, as old people do, if students and auditors have the same standards today?

This old Release, happy in his memories, raises questions that I’ve had at the back of my mind for a long time as issues I’d need to treat sooner or later. Now that he has shoved them under my nose, so to speak, I might as well drag-and-drop them into my crumbling pre-frontal cortex and start kicking them about.

What he wrote to me is, in part:

 

I find myself as disappointed as you that Scn has not brought about the change that it could and should have made.  My week’s experience of four or five floating needles gave me a brief but very real feeling of compassion, heart-centredness and clarity/simplicity of mind, the latter a putting of the mind’s 99% junk, not just actual experiential conditioning but all the unrealistic hopes and thoughts – brain chatter – into an unlocked cupboard.  This, I thought, was the essence of Scio and felt that this would be the reward of all adherents and on to a better world.

I don’t know if you went to the ultimate level of Scio but there is no sign to me that anyone has so is there something wrong with the tech? Is there a missing process?  Does it actually put the 99% of mental junk into a cupboard?  As mentioned that cupboard isn’t locked and it is easy to reconnect with any item and return to a former state of mind but one nevertheless remains aware of the serenity.  It seems to me that Scio has not given its adherents the means to hold or recover that serenity.

 

The questions I see to answer here are:

  1. Could Scientology have given its adherents “real feeling of compassion, heart-centredness, and clarity/simplicity of mind” or (to allow for differences between individuals) some similar kind or range of blessings?
  2. If it could have given all its adherents such blessings, did it?
  3. If not, what might be some reasons why not?
  4. If one agreed that Scientology could give all or some adherents such “serenity” (or similar state), did it fail to give them the means to hold on to or recover it?

 

I am going to take it, right off the bat, that brief answers to these questions are:

  1. The potential was there; it was not uniformly achieved.
  2. No.
  3. To be considered.
  4. Yes and No. Yes, in that it gave several tools adherents could use to maintain their gains, such as: Ethics and Admin Tech for use out of session, and technical tools for use in session. No, in that whatever platform one considers the Church of Scientology [C of S] to have provided adherents since the early 1980’s, what they have provided doesn’t seem to have been conducive to the maintenance of any kind of serenity. Indeed, I can only believe that serenity for an adherent of the C of S would have to consist firstly of a zealot’s blind bliss in his or her devoted compliance to all C of S domination (in and out of session) and secondly of the possession of unlimited supplies of cash and credit to keep paying for the endless and relentless domination.

I can’t imagine that what I (and so many others) have seen of the C of S’s doings since leaving that fold can bring about real feelings of compassion, heart-centredness, and clarity/simplicity of mind in adherents. But this invites a whole range of questions beyond my immediate interest, let alone access to all relevant facts on which to offer any useful answers. I’ll base what I have to say on my personal and direct observations and experiences up to my departure in November, 1982, and in my subsequent wanderings.

I doubt we’d look for the C of S as it seems to have become to provide such things as compassion, heart-centredness, and clarity of mind, in the first place. Therefore, whatever facts and figures anyone might have on what the C of S does to people, such information is superfluous in this discussion if one considers (as I assuredly do) the Tone Scale to be an adequate gauge of what one can expect from an individual or group. A group’s habitual behaviours and style of communicating place the group on the Tone Scale. Do the behaviours of that group draw our eyes to a place on the Tone Scale at which compassion, heart-centredness, and clarity/simplicity of mind also manifest? Who could possibly and absurdly think so??

 

As it happens, I already have on record several addresses to these and other questions, in articles I wrote some fifteen years ago for Antony Phillips’ journal International Viewpoints. Some of what I said then is still valid for me with regard to the questions we’re considering. So rather than repeat myself, I am going to follow this post with the text of one article from that journal series. But since my thoughts have developed in the intervening years, I’ll supplement the old material with fresher bones that will simmer and savour as I go.

 

© Kenneth G. Urquhart, 2018

Memories, 26 Saint Hill, Guest Post

Very happy to share the following addition to our informal Saint Hill history. It comes from a person of distinguished record at Saint Hill who was intimately connected with the Manor for some years after the Hubbards left. I am grateful for the contribution and welcome more. Many thanks to “Dr. Buzzard” for these fascinating recollections.

 

More Tales from the Manor House 

Over the years, Ken and I occupied some of the same posts, and I later worked under him (he was a great boss!!!). Not too long after Ron and the family left to sea, I took over a post whose duties included management of the Manor house and Ron’s personal staff.

 

Ken’s Mrs. and Mr. “Smith” were named Gladys and Denny. Denny only showed up a few hours a week and did odd jobs around the place. His accent was indecipherable. Gradually he came in less and less and then eventually not at all. Sometime later, Gladys also faded into the mist and they both retired. Gladys was extremely grateful to Ron for keeping Denny on at full pay even for the few hours he worked. When they retired, they continued to be paid at full pay.

Ken remarked to me that Gladys must have been lonely after the Hubbard family had gone. There was in fact quite a bit of activity in the Manor over the years. Every year, a troop of gypsies used to arrive and clean the windows inside and out. Gladys would keep everything under lock and key except the room they were working in, keeping an eagle eye out for light fingers.

We had a love-hate relationship with the local district fire department. They knew that portions of the Manor house were being used for “business” but turned a bit of a blind eye. However, once a year they wanted to “exercise” in the building. Gladys would lay out runners on the stair carpets to protect it from the firemen’s boots as they charged up the stairs to the roof.

On the roof, the Manor had a large water tank (the object of the firemen’s interest) and there was another one in the kitchen ceiling. The water pressure was so low in that part of the country that the tanks filled as they could at any hours they could and then the house supply was fed from them. The supply pressure was really bad in the summertime and must have been terrible during the later English droughts.

For congresses and open days, I used to conduct guided tours of the entrance hall, Ron’s office, the Winter Garden and a couple of upstairs rooms. Gladys always watching from the wings.

 

There were also visitors to the Manor for the house staff to manage. Mary Sue made at least two visits that I knew of. Sea Org missions, starting from the very first one that treated Reg Sharpe (one of most prominent figures in Scientology at the time) in such an abominable manner and alienated possibly Ron’s only real, personal friend. Story aside: At the time I first arrived in Saint Hill, there was only one telex machine, and it was situated in, of all places, the reception area. Telexes were left lying around on a desk on the presumption that people couldn’t read upside down. I thought for years everyone could do that…and there was a telex from Mary Sue begging Reg to come back to the fold.

 

Gladys and Irene, Ron’s personal secretary, provided a kindness to my wife (of 50 years next year!) when she was pregnant. Due to complications, she couldn’t be left alone at home and ended up spending the last 8 weeks of her term flat on her back in bed in the hospital. Prior to that, she had to come in to work with me. She was not on staff but worked in the solarium sorting out the mess with the mimeo files that Pubs Org had left when they fled England for Scotland. (The laws of England do not automatically apply in Scotland and there was a real threat that we would be banned. Same reason for the first AO being located in Scotland.) The staff ladies took my wife under their wing and arranged for her to have her afternoon nap up in one of the empty bedrooms.

 

When the OT Liaison (OTL) office to interface Saint Hill with the Sea Org operations was established, they were housed in the Manor as well. This required a cook and some additional staff. Ron’s cook John Henry (who has been mentioned by Ken) came back to the Manor for a while after he left the ship. But he became famous for getting drunk on the cooking brandy and chasing someone out of the kitchen waving a meat cleaver. There were a couple of other cooks that I recall, an elderly lady whose name escapes me and a wonderful New Zealand girl, Margaret.

 

Stories from Ron’s secretary Irene:

 

The chair in Ron’s office was tied by rope to the desk so that no one could sit in it. Ron didn’t like anyone sitting at his desk and could tell instantly if this had occurred. He also complained that he could never get a hot bath because the pipes in the house were so rusty. In the bathroom off the main stairs (the ‘secret door’), there were bottles of Vichy water. The high iron content in the local tap water made Ron nauseous.

 

When Ron first moved to East Grinstead, he bought the big petrol station/garage that was in the centre of town. It was supposed to pay for the running of Saint Hill. Irene says she doesn’t know what the problem was but he sold it because it was not making a profit. He also bought another manor house in the area that had had a fire and was derelict. That was eventually sold off as well.

 

Other stories from around the Manor:

 

There was a horse and stable on the grounds (not to be confused with The Stables, which was housing for some of the Saint Hill staff). Diana had a pony that got left behind when the Hubbards went on board the first Sea Org ship at Southampton. A local girl looked after it for years at no pay, just for the pleasure of it. Diana eventually gave her the horse.

 

Fishermen used to come and ask to fish in the lake. They thought there must be some pretty big fish in there because it hadn’t been fished for years. The Org used to refuse them until I had the idea to charge them a pound and issue them with a Saint Hill fishing certificate.

 

There was a sewage plant on the estate, and the final destination for the effluent after-treatment was the lake. It then flowed into a local stream. The stream would sometimes fail sanitation tests until additional work on the outlet had been done. Ron used to receive nasty letters from the surrounding farmers about the fact that he didn’t participate in the regional drainage plan committee. Regarding Ken’s story of the next-door farmer’s access through a gate by the lake, I saw all the correspondence. LRH’s strategy (of a type often repeated elsewhere) was to deny that any access agreement existed (it obviously did).

 

One time, a horse was witnessed running into the lake, putting its head underwater, and drowning. The vet’s thought was that it got a wasp up its nose. One of the OTL ‘seamen’ had access to some scuba gear and pulled it out.

 

The electrical wiring in the place was a mess. If a fuse ever blew, it could take weeks to find it. A staff member with electrical experience was employed to sort it out. As I recall it took him nine months to trace and label all the wiring and fuses. He got a commendation from Ron.

 

Up in the back corner of the estate was a small house hidden behind hedges that the local council didn’t know about. The OTL took over the building without asking anyone (as was generally the case with the SO) and used it for training. The Saint Hill Choir then also took to using it. Between them, they decided it was too dark inside, so they cut down all the rhododendrons that hid the building. Big fight with me! Luckily, the local council didn’t notice.

 

The Manor staff and LRH’s personal secretary and librarian (Anne) were notionally part of and paid by the Worldwide Org. That was fine until students were blocked from entering the UK and gross income fell out the bottom. Then staff wages dropped via the conditions policies. All the Manor staff were about to depart due to lack of pay. I sent an urgent request and Ron hived them off as being his personal staff (Herbie was not amused!)

 

In the basement were two large safes that were under my care. They mainly held the corporate seals for all the orgs. However, one locked drawer always intrigued me. With the help of a large screwdriver I got it open. Inside were 16 hallmarked, sterling-silver ear bracelets. I wrote and asked about them, and Ron said to sell them (???). From what I was able to find out, the best I could determine was that they had been intended for the first Clearing Course (which wasn’t successful).

 

Then there was the time the Intelligence Office at Worldwide got told there were hidden passages in the Manor house. I had to take Mo Budlong over every inch of the place, including donning overalls and crawling under the house. In the rear courtyard, there was a set of steps leading down into a small room that would have been used as the “cool room” for meat, milk, etc. In the back of the room was an access hole to the area under the house floorboards. We had a great time – “boys own.”

 

There are some other stories worth recording, about other subjects from those times, but for now I hope these bits may add to Ken’s memories of his very much more personal relationships.

© Dr. Buzzard, 2018

 

[A little more information about “The Stables”: This was a collection of farm buildings including the farmhouse. It must have been the ‘home farm’ of the original Saint Hill estate, as well as providing stabling for the Maharaja’s polo ponies. It’s the farm that LRH was prevented from buying. Some time after LRH left Saint Hill, Reg Sharpe, whom Dr. Buzzard refers to, who still lived near the Manor (and just across the road from the farm) and whom LRH had treated badly, as Dr. B. recounts, shrewdly bought the farm. Knowing Reg, I’m sure he bought it partly because it put him one up on LRH and the SO (not that Reg was bitter, he just liked to be smart in taking opportunities he fancied). At any rate, later on again, the SO desperately needed property close to SH and of course Reg was happy to sell the farm to them for a good return on his investment. The farm was used for staff accommodation and, I believe, for staff catering. – ku]

 

Memories, 20 The Boss, Part Two

[Chapter Six]

 

The Boss: Depths and Perspectives

 

Part Two   —   Conversations, Important and Otherwise

 

 

 

No details come to mind of the one-sided conversations we had in those early days. They included: his views on current English politics (Harold Wilson was the Labour Prime Minister) about which LRH was not overly impressed; stories from his younger years; stories from what he said were his past lives, mostly in ‘space opera’ context; new technology he was developing; affairs in and around SH to do with the organization or with the estate and the neighbours. He did not speak too much about my job or about the household, although he would suggest that I do this or that; frequently his suggestions were to do things that I’d already decided to do that day but hadn’t started yet and so his suggestions would irritate me slightly. I could let him know I was on to it already, once or twice, but to repeatedly tell him “Yes, this action is in hand,” though true and perhaps commendable, would be hard to bring off. Constant prompts for approbation can only irritate.

 

Politics not being of great interest to me, his opinions on the subject, not too frequently expressed, went in one ear and out the other. I noticed that his stories of his youth, not numerous, had to do with how impressed with him were the matrons who gave parties at which his good manners shone. I was neither impressed nor unimpressed, although he did demonstrate impeccable manners, always.

 

The tales from his energetic activities in space ships, in which he seemed to enjoy being something of a buccaneer, likewise left me indifferent. Space opera didn’t excite me, and I didn’t relate with his stories, which seemed to me to belong in a comic. It became evident after a while, though, that a repeated element of his space stories was that he was constantly frustrated from going back, after a death, to pick up the treasure he had gathered and hidden away in that former life with the intention of using the money in the next life. He did not dwell on the matter but repeated it often enough for it to stand out as a pattern in his stories and therefore an indicator of something important to him.

 

Early on, I could see that he was very ready to criticize members of the Saint Hill staff. Exasperated with one particular man, he ranted each morning for several days in a row how much trouble the man was causing. I wondered why the big boss was so busy complaining to me, who could do nothing, but not telling me how busy he was in getting the alleged troublemaker turned around, fixed, and with the program. If not upset with one person, he might grumble about this one’s mistake or that fellow’s idiocy. He moaned more about the men than the women. He had all the tools and authority he needed to put things right so he didn’t have to complain, but I did not dare say so.

 

He did not think too much of the man who bought the farm that had been part of the Saint Hill estate when the latter was put on the market and then broken up. I gathered that when LRH bought the Manor he tried to buy the whole estate but was outbid or out-manoeuvred. The farmer had a right of way to drive his cattle across the park in front of the Manor (that is, on the lake side). LRH did not enjoy this. He found out, or imagined, that he had a right of way through the farmer’s yard. One day, he dressed himself up as a sort of outdoorsy fellow, including a large black floppy hat, and drove his tractor (used for mowing the lawns) through the farmyard. What good this did him I didn’t know, but he had a lot less to say about the farmer after that.

 

He told me quite a lot about what he was discovering in the research he was performing on himself, with regard to what he called the Reactive Mind and how it is made up at its roots. This research culminated in the Clearing Course, an outstandingly important development in its day. These exchanges about the basic Reactive Mind I found really interesting and I felt it a huge privilege to be listening to what he shared with me confidentially about such an advanced part of the technology.

 

Now, material from his earlier steps on this same road towards the roots of the Reactive Mind had been published and was taught in its own class on the Saint Hill Briefing Course. I’d become friendly with the woman who supervised this class. I made myself rather obtrusively and officiously important to her by doing her the great favour of passing on to her LRH’s latest developments as he gave them to me in confidence. She, as a result, became confused and I supposed she queried LRH in some distress as to what she was supposed to be teaching or not teaching in her class.

 

LRH said nothing to me, but of course he had to act. He was never slow to act when he had to, and his action usually nailed whatever was going on that he wanted started, stopped or changed. One morning an internal office issue LRH had put out overnight came to my in-basket. It was titled “The Hidden Data Line.” I knew at once that I was the one being nailed, and why. The issue emphasized that the only way he made known to technical staff new material that they were to use and apply were the familiar ones of lectures, books, films, or published bulletins with his by-line issued through a secretarial office under his sole control. Instant was my decision to zip my lips from there on out. I said nothing to the woman I’d confused, nor to the boss I’d bothered (and I figured he’d probably been complaining about me to somebody or other for a good while).

 

Some months later, he was mystified because somebody on staff had been talking about something he (LRH) had mentioned to another in confidence. It may have been something he’d also mentioned to me briefly in his bedroom. He told me one morning that this matter had been spoken about in the offices downstairs. I saw the question coming and dealt with it immediately. “I’m very careful about what I say downstairs,” I asserted with some faint asperity, as though I didn’t need to be told twice on this particular sin. “I know you are,” came the answer. I understood that he had watched out for how I would respond to the “Hidden Data Line” issue, and had confirmed for himself that I’d toed that line. He said no more about the confidentiality breach of the moment.

 

End of Part 2 of Chapter Six, The Boss: Depths and Perspectives

 

 

 

 

 

NEWS of Interest

 

The following link is to a website recently published.

It makes interesting relevant claims.

There is no comment from me on the site’s contents.

 

https://www.lronhubbardrising.com

 

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