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

 

 

 

 

 

A New Series of Posts

Here is a different series of posts. This series will share some memories, mostly concerning my relationship with L. Ron Hubbard, with whom I had work and personal connections over a period of several years. There was daily interaction with him, six days a week, for most of the time between mid-1963 and the end of 1965, at Saint Hill Manor. From then until November, 1968, I had administrative posts at Saint Hill with a few direct personal interactions with him in 1966, and a certain amount of written exchange throughout.

In November 1968, he ordered me to the big Scientology ship, then at Corfu. Shortly thereafter, I became one of his staff aides and soon, his LRH Personal Communicator. As such, I had daily contact with him until he left his assembled organizations in Clearwater, Florida, to go into seclusion, in 1975.

Further and Deeper Perspective

Further and Deeper Perspective

We are not quite finished with Hubbard and bigness of being, and we’re not quite ready to examine how come he went to sea—not a small man’s move—nor the big fights he got himself into. As we consider what we can know about LRH, we are still looking at something of a patchwork of concepts, following one colour or pattern at a time as it repeats over the whole. All we human beings, I believe, are patchworks of a sort: Hubbard, being an extraordinarily large human being (as charismatic personality, that is, and as thinker and doer) is a dauntingly large patchwork on which no quick look can do honest work.

We bear in mind also that our looking is always much affected by the passage of time; there is the liability that memory doesn’t usually improve with age—but we do have the advantage of time in which to reflect. We pray that our considered reflection is on subject matter that we accurately remember out of decently competent perception in the first place, with awareness of what biases we held at the time of perception and have acquired—or lost— since.

In the last post, I suggested a number of strands in Hubbard’s life and conditioning which I see as contributing to aspects of his attitudes and behaviours. The list is partial and relatively superficial but I think for the purposes of a blog we can let it lie for now. This post will start to point out some of what I see as major aspects of Hubbard’s extensive palette of personality. I accept that he was not entirely whole or rational in expressing his personality, and at times severely irrational (with serious consequences for himself and others), but I don’t ever spend any time in sticking psychological or psychiatric labels on him (or anybody else). Although I wouldn’t dream of supporting the Scientology establishment’s dogmatic disgust of psychs, I find the vagueness of the psych definitions of states hard to work with—due, no doubt, to the psych-defined states anyone can label me with.

On a deeper level than we looked at in the last post, and now—as though peering through a patchwork in three dimensions—I am going to identify major strands in Hubbard’s personality mix as I observed them first-hand as well as seeing them through the benefit of hindsight. Let me emphasize that this is my personal view of the facets of LRH as a person, and offered only as such; additionally, that what we can express with words is often much less than the complexity, richness, and range of what we’re describing.

As we begin to look closely at our patchwork, we begin to see that it is more of a three-dimensional tapestry, with strands of intertwining energies rather than of static threads: a living and dynamic mixture of purposes, tendencies, urges, aims, needs, appetites, values, and so on, all looking for cohesive human expression. Such intertwinings are we all; as such, we will remember how difficult it is for us to make our living a cohesive expression of the completeness of who we are in our large or small roles in the world. No human being, whether ‘large’ or ‘small’ as a personality, ever has an easy lot in a merciless world seemingly designed to teem with personal difficulties always commensurate with the ‘size’ of the personality. Mindful of the holes we fall into ourselves, we might offer L. Ron Hubbard some commensurate understanding.

A graphic illustration should help as an initial explication of what I see as the specific strands of energies in Hubbard’s living; we bear in mind that schematic representation has to be something of an optimistic over-simplification and—above all—that this one reflects just one incomplete and imperfect view of him [rare indeed is the human being that can divine the fullest range of another’s potential for either good or bad; we are not adept at the God viewpoint]:

Clear Boxes: Inclined to that which is true, necessary, and kind; contributing, universal in scope, brilliant.
Shaded Boxes: Tending to what might be untrue, unnecessary and/or unkind; bullying, self-serving, cunning.

 

Patchworks Schematic

 

Here is a link to the schematic in much larger format:

https://ln.sync.com/dl/693ebbda0/z6suursb-58izmdbp-x29uczq3-h8wwqxz3

What might be useful at this point is for readers who care to comment or to pursue any questions that this schematic brings up, to say or ask so I can respond. There are several matters here that call for further posts and if there is a particular slant that is important for any reader, I’d be happy to do my best to parallel that interest or a mix of interests. [Since comments are usually shared (at my discretion as current tenant of this pulpit), someone who prefers to keep his/her offered response private needs to let me know about that.]

Thanks in advance…..

© Kenneth G. Urquhart 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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]

Here We Go: Looking at Failure and Success. #1

L.Ron Hubbard produced Dianetics and Scientology and the Church of Scientology. As with every single human being, he had success and failure. These articles will consider him both as a success and as a failure. Firstly:

 

What did L. Ron Hubbard principally fail at?

The history of Scientology includes at least one activity of outstanding success: much of the technology, including the discipline of its application, along with some of the organizing necessary to maintain and deliver it. Accompanying this powerful achievement is a monumental failure: the collapse of the Scientology organization’s unity in the early 1980’s and its continued descent into autocracy, elitism, and isolation. Hubbard was responsible for all of this; he had some people helping him in his errors and some who saw error but were not capable of managing it. He had plenty of people happy to support him in applying the technology correctly; in my opinion, had he steadfastly respected the dedication, trust, and love they gave him, there would have been no gross failure. Hubbard, in fact, could have had much of the world at his feet. For some reason, he preferred having much of the world at his throat.

Hubbard began by creating Dianetics and then Scientology with the intention of helping people live better and happier lives in accordance with who and what they really are; he brought that work to a peak of effectiveness; this achieved, he went on to violate the ethical and other tenets of his own philosophy. In the end, he turned his life’s work over to the organization he’d built up, the collected corporate bodies known generally as The Church of Scientology. Like its parent, that organization seems to have learnt little or nothing from his errors.  Human opinion, where it concerns itself with the man, looks down on everything to do with him, feasting on the worst of his behaviours and of what it hears about the organization he left behind. But is this by any means all there is to L. Ron Hubbard? Does the totality of what he left behind consist only of a bad name and a mistrusted organization? Not at all. He gave the world a gift splendid enough to change life on earth forever. Sadly, he could not set up his offering to prosper and flourish as it thoroughly deserved.

Within this story of momentous achievement and rather sordid failure to follow it through is Hubbard’s missed opportunity of universal significance – missed unless some blessed spark will ignite a review and honest re-evaluation, carrying the best of the man’s work back into its rightful sphere as a source of helpful tools humankind can use. What could humanity use these tools to do? To help people resolve urgent planetary problems and then help them become happier with themselves and in their living of life with each other. “Scientology,” he once said, truthfully, and forgot, fatefully, “is the game in which everybody wins.”

Alas, not only did Hubbard not follow through on what he had done, he disrespected his own philosophy as he aged. His descent into relative irrelevance has tempted many into treating his best work with the same disdain with which they view, or think they view, his unworthy actions. But we humans often assert strongly that what we choose to see of a prominent person’s activity is unacceptable – as if he might be the only human being ever to misbehave; we’re then quick to conclude that everything about the man, his life, and his work is disgusting. Is this always rational? Michelangelo, they say, didn’t take off his boots for months at a time. Notice how immense crowds of people rush away from the Sistine Chapel, from Saint Peter’s, Rome, and from all his other works, disgusted by the footy stink that still pervades them.

Hubbard’s misbehaving went a lot further than the not-washing of feet. He hurt a lot of people by promising to help them resolve their problems but instead giving them other and often greater problems including the pain of humiliation and betrayal. He began the practice of “disconnection” that led to the splitting up of families. He tacitly encouraged or at least allowed the salespeople to promise results they could not deliver, and to pull from customers money they could not afford or might not have. He habitually bullied his staff and his organizations; he imposed what could be described as slave labour on loyal followers. He was addicted as a boss to periods of (as it were) spraying staff with gasoline and then throwing lit matches about; he thus could prove himself the only one able to put out the blaze – which he would blame on the staff. We dismiss Michelangelo’s feet when we open ourselves to the marvels he left us; a sense of proportion makes them trivial.  Hubbard left us some marvelous work but enforced on us his weakness, his self-torture. This we can’t and don’t overlook although we might in time come to learn from his mistakes. He was generous with his mistakes.

Next, we’ll look at what might be of value in what Hubbard produced.

 

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.