The Seeds of Dissent
During 1982, a stream of "Suppressive Person Declares" poured out from Church management. 1 Labelling someone a "Suppressive Person" (SP) is Scientology's ultimate condemnation. According to Hubbard, SPs make up about two and a half percent of the world's population. Unlike other people, SPs are intent upon the destruction of everything good, valuable or useful. In Hubbard's philosophy, association with SPs is the ultimate explanation for all illness and failure. Hubbard also called SPs "merchants of chaos" and "anti-social personalities." They are synonymous with anti-Scientologists, of course. I had been involved in Scientology for eight years, and although occasionally I heard of people being "Declared SP," no-one I knew was among them. In 1983, however, a close friend with whom I was working was Declared. I was summoned to the Ethics Office at Saint Hill, and shown a Scientology Policy Directive which reintroduced the practice of "Disconnection."
Hubbard had introduced the policy of Disconnection in 1965. Once someone was labelled Suppressive, no Scientologist was allowed to communicate with that person in any way. This policy had caused problems with several governments, and in 1968 Hubbard had acquiesced to demands that the policy be cancelled.
Now the policy was back. 2 I was told not to communicate with my friend. I did not have the choice, my friend was still a "good" Scientologist, and insisted that I disconnect.
Losing my friend was not the only cause for concern; monthly price rises were re-introduced in January 1983. At the same time, a newsletter was broadly distributed, which contained extracts from a conference held in October 1982, at the San Francisco Hilton. For the first time we heard of David Miscavige, who seemed to hold a high position in the Sea Org. The newsletter announced the "get-tough attitude of the 'new blood in management.' " It also introduced the "International Finance Dictator."
Inside Scientology, complaints must only be addressed to the relevant section of the Organization, and mentioning dissatisfaction to anyone else is frowned upon. I wrote letters complaining about the ridiculous prices and the Declare of my friend and, by inference, all other recent Declares. After each evasive reply, I wrote to the person on the next rung of the organizational ladder. The curious titles of these Scientology officials say a great deal: the "Special Unit Mission In-Charge," the "International Justice Chief," the "Executive Director International." It took me seven months to climb all the way to the "Standing Order Number One Line."
The Church of Scientology routinely reprinted "Standing Order Number One." It gave the idea that anyone could write to Ron Hubbard, and receive a reply from him. Although I did not believe this, it was nevertheless the last recourse in Scientology. So I wrote to "Ron," fastidiously enclosing my earlier petition to the Executive Director International, and a copy of his reply.
At first I believed that my references to the violations of Hubbard's Policy Letters would suffice, and that the Organization would automatically correct itself. By this time I was not so sure. It was rumored that Scientology had been taken over by young Sea Org members. I thought I was witnessing an overreaction to an internal plot on the part of some of those who had been "Declared." But I was amazed at the genuine fear expressed by some Scientologists I knew, who privately said it was pointless to complain.
In September 1983, I visited a friend who had been in Scientology for 20 years. She showed me a letter from David Mayo that had just been broadly circulated among Scientologists. Mayo had been the "Senior Case Supervisor International," and Hubbard's heir apparent. Mayo had been declared "Suppressive" earlier that year. With the reintroduction of Disconnection, Scientologists were not supposed to read his letter. Even so, many did.
Mayo described his background in Scientology from his first involvement in 1957. He had been a staff-member from that time, joining the Sea Org in 1968, shortly after its inception. He had been trained by Hubbard personally, and was one of a handful of top-grade "Class 12" Auditors. From the early 1970s Mayo had supervised Hubbard's own auditing. He had worked with Hubbard on OT 5, 6 and 7 (NOTs and Solo NOTs) and was Hubbard's Auditor in 1978. He was one of the very few people privy to the many as yet unreleased OT levels.
Mayo claimed that Hubbard had appointed him his successor in a "long and detailed letter" in April 1982. Hubbard had said he was going to "drop the body" (his expression for dying). Mayo would be responsible for the "Technology" of Scientology until Hubbard's next incarnation.
Mayo wrote that a group of young Sea Org members had cut his line to Hubbard, who was in seclusion by this time, and that "after all my efforts to rectify matters internally, I left in February 1983." He had started an independent Scientology group called the "Advanced Ability Center" in Santa Barbara, California.
Mayo's letter had a tremendous impact on me. My complaints to the management were getting nowhere, so I decided to have a straight talk with a Sea Org member I knew well, who had just returned from Scientology's Florida headquarters. He enthused about his experiences there and assured me that Scientology management was in better shape than ever before. He had worked briefly in the Ethics Office at the Florida "Flag Land Base" and, to my surprise, said that resignations from the Church were pouring in. He said this in an attempt to reassure me that the Church was aware of the situation. I was far from reassured. I had only heard of one resignation, an Australian. John Mace, who lived in East Grinstead. Pouring in?
How could David Mayo, who had worked so closely with Hubbard for so many years, suddenly turn out to be "Suppressive"? Surely, Hubbard should be pretty good at spotting Suppressives. Why had it taken him twenty years to spot Mayo?
I asked my Sea Org friend to tell me who was actually running Scientology, having heard about a mysterious group called the "Watchdog Committee" for some time. He said they ran the Church, but although he was a long-term Sea Org member, he had no idea who was on the Watchdog Committee. Worse yet, he did not care. I grew heated and said I was not willing to be ordered to Disconnect from friends, least of all by these anonymous people. I wanted to know who they were. I told him that I would write to my "Declared" friend if the reply I received from "Ron" was unsatisfactory. I had followed "Policy" to the letter and my genuine grievances were being ignored. I was unwilling to lose a close friend because of the whims of bureaucrats.
The following day I received my reply from "Ron." It was as evasive as the earlier replies. I was completely dismayed. Again my request had been ignored. It did not matter that Hubbard's published Policy was being flaunted. I could do nothing more inside the Church: the "highest authority" had denied my request. The next day I wrote to my Declared friend, who had been a senior Church executive, and expressed my lack of confidence in the new management. I asked him what was really going on.
A few days later I received a copy of a Church "Executive Directive" called "The Story of a Squirrel: David Mayo." "Squirrel" is one of the most disparaging terms in the Scientology vocabulary. It means someone who alters Scientology in some way, the most heinous of crimes. Squirrels are profiteers who pervert Scientology because of their inability to correctly apply it.
"The Story of a Squirrel" was written by Mayo's replacement, the new Senior Case Supervisor International, Ray Mithoff. It was full of fatuous statements, many of which were attributed to Hubbard:
Mayo was simply a bird-dog. The definition of a bird-dog is: "Somebody sent in by an enemy to mess things up." (LRH) [sic] . . . The actual situation is that you had a bird dog right in the middle of the control room: David Mayo. He was sabotaging execs [executives] by wrecking their cases [destroying their psychological well-being]. None of this was by accident or incompetence. Of all the crazy, cockeyed sabotage I've ever seen, man, he was at it. He was not doing Dianetics and Scientology. He was just calling it that and using the patter. His obvious intention was to wreck all cases of persons who could help others.
What shocked me most was the carping tone of the issue. It seemed to be the product of a deranged mind. It gave me the distinct idea that the faceless "Watchdog Committee" was a self-interested power group, intent upon destroying the Church, and all that I thought the Church stood for.
I was suffering from a severe bout of influenza and went to Saint Hill for a counselling "assist." Instead, I was interrogated about my, at that time non-existent, connections with people who had resigned from the Church of Scientology, most especially John Mace.
The following afternoon I was summoned back to Saint Hill. Having denied all of the supposed connections, and bearing in mind my physical condition, I expected to receive counselling. To my surprise, I was subjected to an Ethics interview. I sat there for over an hour, with a raging temperature, trying to keep my distance so that no-one would catch the virus, and besieged by a series of half-smiling, half-menacing justifications of the excesses of Scientology management. All the Ethics Officer unwittingly persuaded me to do was to ignore the taboo, and ask questions of those who might know: the "Suppressives."
The next day I phoned John Mace. The Church was clearly frightened of him and its insistent criticism determined me to hear his story. Mace said I would probably be "Declared" for seeing him. I did not care, I wanted to know the truth and to assert my right to communicate with whomsoever I chose. Mace probably thought I was a Church agent. He said later that several copies of tapes had disappeared during visits from people ostensibly upset with the Church. The tapes were by various Declared Scientologists and described events leading up to an alleged take-over by Miscavige and his cronies.
I listened to tapes and read newsletters and resignations that had been passing from hand to hand in the Scientology world. The message was clear. The Church had been taken over. Hubbard was dead or incapacitated. The new rulers were fanatics intent on completely taking over all power within the Church. To do this they had "Declared" hundreds of people suppressive.
When John Mace left for Australia a few weeks later, I found myself at the center of the burgeoning English Independent Scientology movement. I helped to establish the first Independent group to deliver auditing, but mostly concentrated on finding out what had caused the schism and on persuading people either to make their complaints against the Church thoroughly known, or to leave and help to create an Independent movement.
People I had known for years suddenly stopped talking to me. I came under pressure from the Church's new Guardian's Office, redubbed the "Office of Special Affairs." I was followed by Private Investigators, who snapped photos of me in the street. I became the target of a whispering campaign. A Scientologist who once worked for me called my friends and acquaintances and told them lies about me; for example, claiming that I had undergone electric shock treatment.
For months, I was inundated with calls and visits by frightened and confused Scientologists. I devoted all of my time to helping them escape the clutches and some of the conditioning of the Church. During this time in November 1983, a friend left me 700 pages of material relating to Hubbard and the Church.
In that mass of documents were affidavits by former members of Hubbard's personal staff; affidavits by ex-Guardian's Office staff about their criminal activities while working for the Church; and 100 pages about Hubbard's past, including his college reports, an abstract of his naval record and letters answering enquiries about his supposed achievements. Each and every Hubbard claim about his past seemed to have been false.
One of the affidavits was by Anne Rosenblum, who joined the Sea Org in June, 1973. By the end of 1976, she was in the "Commodore's Messenger Organization." The following spring she was finally assigned to Hubbard's personal retinue at his California hide-out. This is Rosenblum's description of Hubbard (she calls him "LRH"):
He had long reddish-grayish hair down past his shoulders, rotting teeth, a really fat gut... He didn't look anything like his pictures ....
The Messengers went everywhere with LRH. We chauffeured him, we followed him around carrying his ashtray and cigarette lighter, and we also lit his cigarettes for him. LRH would explode if he had to light his own cigarette.
I found LRH was very moody, and had a temper like a volcano. He would yell at anybody for something he didn't like, and he seemed mad at one thing or another 50% of the time. He was a fanatic about dust and laundry. The Messengers, at the time I was there, were also doing his laundry. There was hardly a day that he wouldn't scream about how someone used too much soap in the laundry, and his shins smelled like soap, or how terrible the soap was that someone used (though it was the same soap used the day before), so someone must have changed the soap . . . I was petrified of doing the laundry.
He is also a fanatic about cleanliness. Even after his office had just been dusted top to bottom, he would come in screaming about the dust and how "you are all trying to kill me!" That was one of his favorite lines - like if dinner didn't taste right - "You are trying to kill me!"
In another affidavit, former Hubbard aide Gerald Armstrong alleged that Hubbard had received millions of dollars from Scientology, despite his public protestations to the contrary. 3
My idea of Hubbard as a compassionate philosopher-scientist, a man of great honesty and integrity, was shaken to the core. Even so, for several months I retained my belief in the "Technology," or auditing procedures, of Scientology. I started a newsletter called Reconnection, which was read by thousands of Scientologists, but my belief was evaporating. I finally realized that I had taken much of this "Science" on trust.
By the summer of 1984, I had drifted away from the "Tech." but was still caught up in the quest for the truth about Hubbard and his organization. What follows is the fruit of that quest.
1. Sea Org Executive Directive 2192 Int, "Re: List of Declared Suppressive Persons", 27 January 83.
2. Scientology Policy Directive 28 "Suppressive Act - Dealing with a Declared Suppressive Person" 13 August 82.
3. Gerald Armstrong affidavit, 19 October 1982.