On to OT
In September 1977, I started Art college, and did no more Scientology courses for over two years. I did not question the "workability" of Scientology, but had serious reservations about the increasingly high prices and the incompetence of the organization. I simply could not understand how Hubbard's extensive research into administration had created such a bumbling and autocratic bureaucracy which churned out inane advertising. BUY NOW! was a favorite slogan. 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. But I was puzzled rather than embittered.
Like most Scientologists, I presumed that Hubbard was "off the lines," busily involved in "research." The price increases and the failure to attract throngs of new people had to be the fault of the caretaker management. I waited for Hubbard's return to management while my girlfriend and I ran a Scientology group one evening a week from our home.
We heard very little about the July 1977 FBI raids on the Scientology "Guardian's Offices" in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. I had virtually no contact with the Guardian's Office ("GO"). The GO was supposed to deal with all attacks on Scientology, and to create a good public image. The GO was established so that Scientology Orgs would not be distracted from providing Scientology services. Public Relations and Legal were major functions of the GO. If Scientology was sued, the GO would deal with it. Beyond that the Guardian's Office was meant to create socially useful programs such as Narconon to help addicts get off drugs. The GO also campaigned against electric shock treatment and psychiatric brain surgery, as well as for Freedom of Information in Britain.
There was scant mention of the FBI raids in British newspapers and the GO only commented on the subject when forced to do so by the few reports that did emerge. After nearly two years, top Scientology officials admitted to having taken documents from United States government offices. I was uneasy about this, but was told government agencies had failed to release information which should have been available via the Freedom of Information Act. We were told nine GO staff members were being indicted for "theft of photocopy paper." It was argued that they had the right to the information they had copied, but had made the mistake of using government photocopiers, thereby stealing the paper.
l had not even heard of the raids when the new Executive Director of the Manchester Org came to see me in 1979. He was a veteran Sea Org member who had taken Manchester from the verge of collapse, and turned it into a thriving Organization with 38 staff. He listened to my complaints and reservations about the Church and, to my amazement, agreed with me totally. By sheer force of personality he persuaded me to go back "on course."
In 1978, Hubbard decided that people had been "going Clear" on Dianetic auditing. The Scientology "Clearing Course," given only by the few senior Orgs since 1965, was no longer necessary to achieve the state of "Clear." Hubbard also said that some people had never had a Reactive Mind and were "Natural Clears," supposedly an extremely rare occurrence. The number of Clears leapt from less than 7,000 to over 30,000 in two years. I was told I was a Natural Clear. In fact, as I later learned, in order to be judged a Clear, it was only necessary to reword one of the Scientology dictionary definitions of "Clear" into a personal '"realization."
Now I could go almost immediately onto the mysterious "Operating Thetan" (or OT) levels, where I would revive my dormant psychic abilities. All I had to do was earn the money to pay for it, a process which took almost three years.
In November 1979, I learned first-hand how relentlessly Sea Org members work. The Manchester Org was at last moving from its crowded, partially condemned offices into an imposing, five-story building on one of the main streets. I was persuaded to help with its renovation. For four weeks, I worked and slept in the empty building. I would work for twenty-four hours, then sleep for eight. Because I had some experience I became the "Renovations In-Charge." In retrospect, the hours and the conditions were impossible. My workforce consisted largely of tired and inexperienced staff members, who did a twelve hour day before starting work on the building. Fortunately, a few non-staff Scientologist carpenters, a decorator and an electrician volunteered their help. We had to build partitions, completely rewire, put in doors, sand and varnish floors, and decorate the whole place. It was a very large building. Although we were not paid, there was no duress. We did the work willingly. The whole project was undertaken at Scientology's usual breakneck speed. A Sea Org member had been sent to supervise the whole project. He had worked extensively on the building of Saint Hill castle and described various shortcuts taken in its construction. I was horrified, but often had to yield to his use of similar shoddy methods to finish the job on time.
By September 1980, the price of Scientology services had risen far beyond my reach. Auditing, which had been £6 an hour only four years before, was now £100 an hour. The Dianetics Course I bought for £25 had been revised slightly and re-named the "New Era Dianetics" (or NED) Course, and by this time it cost £1,634. Many Scientologists complained bitterly. In October 1980, a new list came out, and the prices had been slashed. The cost of auditing was down to £40 an hour, and the NED Course to £430. These prices still seemed excessive, but at least it was a step in the right direction.
I returned to East Grinstead in May 1982, having handed over about £2,000 for the levels up to OT 3. In March, "OT Eligibility" had been introduced. I had to do a "Confessional" before starting the OT levels, to make sure that I was "ethical." Several "OTs" had apparently given the secret course materials to newspapers in the United States and Holland.
In a Confessional, a list of questions is checked on the E-meter. The questions are supposed to clear away any residual guilt about earlier discreditable activities. Details of a transgression which "reads" on the E-meter are given to the Auditor. If there is no "floating needle," the Auditor asks for "earlier similar" transgressions. This procedure is supposed to bring relief to the Preclear and, especially in "OT Eligibility" Confessionals, to root out any infiltrators or people who might later attack the organization.
I had only three and a half hours of auditing left in my account for "OT Eligibility." I was told I had to buy thirty-seven and a half more auditing hours at an extra cost of about £2,400. I protested and the estimate was reduced to twenty-five hours. I still refused, so, finally, my Confessionals were started. There were a few embarrassing episodes, since my Auditor was a friend's wife. I had received Confessionals at Manchester a short time before and felt the procedure was largely unnecessary. I certainly did not gain anything by it, but I was glad that it took only the three and a half hours I had on account.
At last I was allowed into the "Advanced Organization" (AO), the Holy of Holies, prohibited to all but OTs. The AO course room was rather scruffy, with peg-board partitions and decrepit furniture, but I did not mind. At last I was here, among the gods.
Most of the Operating Thetan levels are "Solo-audited," which requires yet more training. On "Solo part 1" I had already learned how to hold the two tin cans (electrodes) "solo," separated by a piece of plastic, in my left hand, while working the E-meter and keeping session notes with my right. At Saint Hill I did "Solo Part 2": a series of simple auditing procedures by which I "solo-audited."
At last I was starting the OT levels! After nearly seven years in Scientology I was going to discover the hidden secrets of myself. I would be able to "exteriorize" from my body at will, read minds, change conditions purely through my intention, and so much more. I would perceive the truth directly and at last be free of the need to speculate or to rely on belief. But most of all, I would be able to help others to free themselves.
In the 1970s, the Church of Scientology became cagey about the promised results of the OT levels. Nonetheless, references to the "End Phenomena" of the OT levels were not hard to come by. The purported "End Phenomenon" of OT 1 is: "Extroverts a being and brings about an awareness of himself as a thetan in relation to others and the physical universe." 1
Section I of the OT Course was presented to me in a pink cardboard folder. I was instructed not to read anything but the very next "process." I went back to my lodgings in East Grinstead, carrying the folder in a locked bag, a compulsory precaution with all OT material. Shut away in my auditing room I opened the folder. The first OT 1 "process" consisted of walking about counting people until you had a "win" (i.e., felt good). I remember counting somewhere over 600 people before deciding I must have failed to notice the "win." Back at my lodgings, the E-meter seemed to confirm my suspicions.
All of the OT 1 processes are similar. I could not understand the secrecy. No one could hurt themselves doing this. But it was a preparation for OT 2 and OT 3, after all.
The "End Phenomenon" of OT 2 is supposed to be the "Rehabilitation of intention; ability to project intention." Even the Course Supervisor admitted that the materials were confusing. OT 2 is an extension of the "confidential" Grade 6 and the Clearing Course. Since "Dianetic" and "Natural" Clear, few people had done these courses. I had to cross reference to the earlier materials and watch Hubbard's 20-year-old Clearing Course films. These were very poor quality black and white and were barely audible.
According to Hubbard, when an individual is caught up between two opposed possibilities he becomes confused and incapable of decision or action. Long ago, Thetans (spirits) were trapped, and "Implanted'' with contradictory suggestions while being tortured. These contradictions reduced most Thetans to blank apathy. The Implant commands were very simple, and a ready example is provided by Hamlet's famous question, "To be or not to be." As Implant commands the statement would be split into "To be" and "Not to be." Apparently Thetans who have been cowed into inaction in this way are more susceptible to control, more malleable, being next to incapable of making up their minds. Implants are the true foundation of the Reactive Mind.
The OT 2 materials consist of tens, perhaps hundreds, of pages of such Implant commands in Hubbard's writing, forming a wad over an inch thick. My heart dropped at the thought of auditing my way through all of this. It would take months.
Using the E-meter as a guide, the "Pre-OT" is supposed to strip away the "charge" of these Implants. He is instructed to focus on particular areas of his body, read off the next Implant command (which might be as simple as the word "create"), to sense the shock that accompanies the Implant command, and sometimes to "spot the light" which shone simultaneously with the shock.
OT 2 is actually a continuation of the Clearing Course. Originally both were done ten times through. One of my friends did 600 hours of auditing on OT 2 when it was first released in 1966. I was more fortunate. I spent about three days on it and started to feel rotten. I had the suspicion that it was doing precisely nothing. I began to wonder if I was really ready for OT 2. Maybe I had skimped OT 1? Maybe I wasn't really Clear? I did not question the efficacy of the "Technology" itself.
I made an E-metered statement to the Advanced Org's "Director of Processing," a wizened seventy-year-old Sea Org veteran and was taken into session by an OT Review Auditor. He asked whether I had "over-run" (gone past) the end of the process. The needle obviously floated, as the Auditor told me I had indeed "over-run" OT 2. I was never able to pinpoint any tangible benefit from doing OT 2, but for the rest of that day I was as pleased as Punch.
At last I was ready for OT 3. After "Clear," OT3 is the most significant level to Scientologists. In a 1967 tape announcing the release of OT 3 Hubbard had this to say:
I have probably done something on the order of a century of research in the very few years since 1963, and can advise you now that I have completed any and all of the technology required from wog [non-Scientologist] to OT...
The mystery of this universe and this particular area of the universe has been, as far as its track [history] is concerned, completely occluded . . . it is so occluded that if anyone tried to penetrate it, as I am sure many have, they died. The material involved in this sector is so vicious that it is carefully arranged to kill anyone if he discovers the exact truth of it. So, in January and February of this year I became very ill, almost lost this body and somehow or other brought it off, and obtained the material and was able to live through it. I am very sure that I was the first one that ever did live through any attempt to attain that material.
The purported "End Phenomenon" of OT 3 is "Return of full self determinism: freedom from overwhelm." Before being allowed onto the OT 3 Course I had to sign a waiver, to the effect that any damage incurred during the auditing was my own responsibility. The mystique was being poured on with a ladle and I loved every moment of it.
In the Advanced Org course room I signed out the OT 3 folders. Behind a thin partition at the back of the course room I opened the eared, pink cardboard folder. A few pages in I came to a photocopy of the handwritten instructions for OT 3.
The story was fragmented, little more than a series of notes. Hubbard asserted that some 70 million years ago, our planet, then called Teegeeack, had been one of the 76 planets of the Galactic Confederation. The Confederation was badly overpopulated, with hundreds of billions on each planet. Xenu (also called "Xemu" by Hubbard), the president of the Confederation, ruled that the excess population should be sent to Teegeeack, put alongside volcanoes and subjected to nuclear explosions. The spirits, or Thetans, of the victims were then "implanted" with religious and technological images for 36 days. They were then sent to either Hawaii or Las Palmas to be stuck together into clusters. Human beings, so Hubbard said, are actually a collection of Thetans, a cluster of "Body Thetans." Xenu was rounded up six years after the event and imprisoned in a mountain. According to Hubbard, anyone remembering this material would die.
I was reminded of Colin Wilson's novel The Mind Parasites, where invisible creatures from outer space attach themselves to human beings and feed off their emotions. Not that I disbelieved any of it. In seven years, I had come to trust Hubbard implicitly. The proof would come in the auditing, but I felt a tremendous sense of relief. Here at last was the remedy for my problems! My body was inhabited by a mass of "Body Thetans" which had formed into "Clusters" and were influencing my thoughts, my feelings, my behavior. This at last explained why, although I was Clear, I still felt depressed occasionally, lost my temper sometimes, and did not have a perfect memory. It explained my back-ache and my near-sightedness. Body Thetans!
OT3 also addressed an earlier incident of some four quadrillion years ago. This was an implant which was supposedly the gateway to our universe. The unsuspecting Thetan was subjected to a short, high-volume crack, followed by a flood of luminescence, and then saw a chariot followed by a trumpeting cherub. After a loud set of cracks, the Thetan was overwhelmed by darkness.
Back at my lodgings I carefully locked my auditing room door, unlocked my bag, and placed the OT 3 folders on the table. I did not think about the ramifications of what I was doing. I simply wanted to find a Body Thetan. This was done by thinking about parts of the body, and seeing if there was a reaction on the E-meter. Then with "a very narrow attention span" (so as not to upset any other Body Thetans in the vicinity) the Body Thetan would be audited through Incident 2 and then Incident 1, at which point it should unstick and go on its way. If a "Cluster" of Body Thetans (or "BTs") was discovered the incident that made it a Cluster had to be audited, and then the individual BTs that formed it run through the Incidents.
A list of volcanoes was checked to see where the BT had received Incident 2. Although I did not stop to think if this was self-induced schizophrenia, nor to consider the parallels to demon exorcism, I did wonder if I was inventing the whole thing. It suddenly seemed too farfetched. But the E-meter responded, so I put my doubts aside and got on with it.
Originally Scientologists had taken months, even years, of auditing on OT 3, but since the late 1970s the emphasis was on moving on to OT 5 quickly. I finished OT 3 in a week. Again I felt euphoric. I waited to see whether any new and miraculous powers became evident. I expected to "exteriorize" from my body at any moment. Two days after finishing, I felt awful. I was worried that I had "falsely attested," although the Auditor who checked me out had failed to find any more "Body Thetans." Still, I was worried I might have to go back onto OT 3, which would mean paying for the course again. It had cost me £800 earlier that year and by now was considerably more expensive.
I told the Senior Case Supervisor that I was disappointed that I had not achieved anything spectacular on OT 3. To my surprise, he confided that many people did not. I expected to be sent to Ethics for even daring to make such a suggestion, so I was relieved to hear that most people got what they wanted on the New OT 4. This was also known as the "OT Drug Rundown" and was supposed to free one from the cumulative effects of drugs taken in past lives.
At the Senior Case Supervisor's insistence, I borrowed £1,000. On OT 3, I had supposedly rid myself of Body Thetans, so l was dismayed to discover that OT 4 was also solely a matter of Body Thetans. This time it was Body Thetans that had been Clustered through drug incidents.
The Senior Case Supervisor visited me again. I again expressed reservations about the results I had obtained. Now he said that OT 5 did the trick for most people. He had the sort of eccentricity I enjoy and we got on well together. He was living on a diet of nothing but bananas, because he had heard that Hubbard was researching carbohydrate diets. Before Scientology, the Case Supervisor had studied at one of the prestigious Art Colleges, so we had topics of mutual interest. He even asked me to put one of my paintings aside for him. He arrived at midnight one night, with a Scientologist moneylender. I held the £7,000 cheque for several minutes before seeing the insanity of borrowing so much money, especially at over 30 percent per year interest.
A few days later, the Senior CS spent thirteen hours solid with my business partner and I, to convince us to pay for me to have twenty-five hours of OT 5. The Supervisor claimed that when I had completed the auditing, our business would flourish and it would be easy for us to pay back what we had borrowed, and to pay for my partner and my wife to do their OT 5. My whole life would be transformed and everything I touched would turn to gold. It is no secret that Scientology Registrars take courses to learn hard-sell techniques.
OT 5 was called "the living lightning of life itself" in the promotional material. Its "End Phenomenon" was given as "Cause over Life." I borrowed £2,500 and began. When I opened the "indoctrination pack" I was dismayed to find that it too dealt wholly, solely and only with Body Thetans.
I did not do well on OT 5. The sessions are very short, often just ten minutes, so twenty-five hours of auditing took weeks to finish. About three days into the auditing, I developed a pain in my shoulder. You are required to report any aches and pains which "turn on" during auditing and I dutifully did so. For the next several days, we concentrated on Body Thetans in my shoulder. To no avail.
While on OT 5, I was involved in the most insistent Registrar interview I experienced in Scientology. An ex-Sea Org member was working on a "project" to get people onto OT 7 in Florida. She tried to talk me into borrowing about £50,000. I half-heartedly looked into borrowing the money.
I was displeased with the auditing and expressed my reservations to my Auditor. OT 5 had been sold to me with the understanding that the results were nothing short of miraculous. I was given a one-hour lecture, the essence of which was that OT 5 was simply a preparatory action prior to doing the real OT levels. I should not have expected to make any gains. I would have to wait until OT 8 and beyond for that. OT 8 had not yet been released.
I had used the last of my paid hours, so I quietly "routed out" of Saint Hill. I had not hidden anything from the Org about my attitude and it was considered "unethical" to talk about any personal problem or dissatisfaction with Scientology to anyone but the auditing staff of the Org. So I kept quiet. I had more or less decided that it was my own fault. After all, no one I had met who had done OT 5 had complained and their written "success stories" were usually pretty remarkable.
Principal sources: Ron's Journal '67, Section 3 OT course materials
1. Hubbard, Scientology 0-8, p.138