The Young Rulers
In December 1980, the long-dormant post of Executive Director International was resurrected. It had remained vacant since Hubbard's supposed resignation in 1966. Scientologists the world over were aware that Hubbard, the Founder, Commodore and Source, was the real head of their Church, but under the new corporate strategy, it was necessary to conceal Hubbard's control. The new Executive Director International was Bill Franks, and he was to be "ED Int for life." 1 It turned out to be a very short life. Scientologists the world over assumed that Franks was Hubbard's immediate junior, and was being groomed to succeed the Commodore.
Hubbard's legal situation was worsening. Early in 1981, the All Clear Unit was set up at the Commodore's Messenger Organization International ("CMO Int") reporting directly to the Commanding Officer CMO, who was also chairwoman of the Watchdog Committee. The unit's purpose was to make it "All Clear" for Hubbard to come out of hiding.
David Miscavige (right) was a cameraman with the CMO Cine Org in 1977, at the age of seventeen, and had gained a reputation for bulldozing through any resistance. Miscavige could get things done, and had even been known to stand his ground before Hubbard. His parents were Scientologists, and his older brother, Ronnie, was also in the CMO. David Miscavige had trained as an Auditor at Saint Hill at the age of fourteen. He was not a long-term Messenger, but his dogged determination led to rapid promotion
One of Miscavige's former superiors had this to say of "DM" as he is usually known: "When he's under control ... he's a very dynamite character .... He is willing to take on and confront anything." And this despite Miscavige's touchiness about being little over five feet tall and asthmatic.
The Guardian's Office had failed Hubbard. Mary Sue, the Controller, never saw him again after their meeting a few months before his disappearance early in 1980. According to Hubbard, mistakes do not just happen, somebody causes them, always. Mistakes and accidents are the result of deliberate Suppression. A catastrophe as big as the government case against the GO was obviously the result of a very heavyweight Suppressive. Hubbard could not admit that the GO had merely been following his orders, so rather than reforming his views, he set out to reform the GO.
In 1979, Hubbard had issued a so-called "Advice" (an internal directive with limited distribution) stating that when situations really foul-up there is more than one Suppressive Person at work. Further, those who have submitted to the SPs, the SP's "connections," also have to be rooted out. The GO, and all of the "connections" within and around it, had to be purged. Ironically, the GO had finally persuaded Hubbard that his hand must not be seen in the management of Scientology, so the All Clear Unit became Hubbard's instrument. The Suppressive-riddled GO had to be removed completely; but it had to be removed with dexterity, because it was the most powerful force in Scientology. Everyone concerned had to be sure that the orders were coming from Hubbard, but there must be no tangible evidence.
If the GO had believed there was a palace revolution in progress they would have been perfectly capable of destroying the tiny CMO. There were 1,100 GO staff, most of them seasoned, their leaders well known in the Scientology world. There were a score of Messengers at CMO Int, and despite their newly acquired role in management, they were virtually unknown to the vast majority of Scientologists.
The CMO's first task was to remove the Controller. In May 1981, David Miscavige, by now twenty-one, met with Mary Sue Hubbard. He told her that as a convicted criminal her position in the Church was an embarrassment. The attorneys had suggested that as long as she remained in an administrative position her husband was implicated in all Scientology affairs, including the burglaries. Miscavige doubtless reminded her that the appeal of her prison sentence would probably be lost, and that when it was lost the Church's public position would be far better if the Church was seen to have disciplined her. Mary Sue screamed and raged, but Miscavige kept his bulldog grip on the situation. He was immune to tirades, and probably smiled as he dodged the ashtray she hurled at him. For her husband's good, the Controller finally stepped down. Afterwards she decided she had been tricked, and sent letters of complaint to her husband. There was no reply. She thought that her letters to her husband were being censored. They were, but on her husband's order.
Gordon Cook became the new Controller, and the Controller's Aides were replaced. The head of CMO, Diane "DeDe" Voegeding, considered Mary Sue Hubbard her friend. Having spent her teenage years on the ship without her parents, Mary Sue must have seemed almost a mother to her. Voegeding protested and was removed from her position, ostensibly for divulging Hubbard's whereabouts to the Guardian's Office.
Laurel Sullivan had been Hubbard's Personal Public Relations Officer (Pers PRO) for years. She was part of the small Personal Office, and was Armstrong's immediate superior on the biography project, as well as head of the huge financial reorganization, Mission Corporate Category Son-out (MCCS). Sullivan too was a close friend of Mary Sue Hubbard. MCCS was closed, and Laurel Sullivan was removed from her post. Voegeding and Sullivan were both consigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force. They were the first of hundreds of "connections" to be purged. 2
The CMO were responding to the belief, fostered by Hubbard, that the U.S. government was working to smash Scientology. Through the collection of unpaid taxes, the Internal Revenue Service was capable of destroying the parent Church of Scientology of California. There was also a distinct danger that all the subsidiary corporations would be sucked under with it. The Scientology Publications Organization U.S. was re-incorporated as a for-profit corporation, called Bridge Publications. The Publications Organization in Denmark became New Era Publications. A new Legal office was established distinct from, and eventually controlling, the GO Legal Bureau. It was the beginning of a proliferation of allegedly distinct and separate Scientology corporations.
The All Clear Unit (ACU) had to all intents become autonomous under the control of David Miscavige. It was not subject to the CMO, the Watchdog Committee, or any other Scientology entity. Miscavige took his orders only from Pat Broeker, who in turn took his orders only from Hubbard.
In July 1981, ED Int. Bill Franks and a small group of Messengers arrived at the headquarters of the U.S. Guardian's Office in Los Angeles. All GO staff were ordered to join the Sea Org, and a Criminal Handling Unit was established. Franks and his cohorts were there to remove the last real obstacle to CMO control of the Guardian's Office, Jane Kember, the Guardian. Kember had received a prison sentence for her part in the Washington burglaries, but was on bail pending an appeal. Upon hearing of Franks' moves, Mary Sue Hubbard reappointed herself Controller, and rescinded her previous permission for the CMO to investigate the GO. Franks and his team were physically ejected from GO headquarters in Los Angeles. The locks were changed. Mary Sue appointed Jane Kember Temporary Controller.
Franks, as Executive Director International, maintained his occupation of the Controller's office itself, and Kember visited him there with a group of GO heavies. Franks launched into an attack on Mary Sue Hubbard, among other things accusing her of being a "squirrel" who practiced astrology. Ignoring Franks' threats, Kember's crew removed the Controller's files, leaving Franks in an empty office.
The GO took over an office in the former Cedars of Lebanon complex, the home of most of the Scientology Orgs in Los Angeles. There the Controller's files were guarded day and night. Mary Sue made a desperate bid to find her husband, so that he could quash the CMO. For three days the screaming match continued, with David Miscavige and other high-ranking Messengers joining in. They played on Kember's fear of a schism in the Church. Eventually, she was shown an undated Hubbard dispatch which suggested that the GO should be put under the CMO when its senior executives went to prison. Jane Kember and Mary Sue Hubbard admitted defeat.
At the end of July, the new leaders of the Guardian's Office issued "Cracking the Conspiracy" which assured Scientologists, "The GO is now working around the clock to crack the conspiracy in the next six weeks. This is not 'PR' or a 'gimmick.' It is the truth." Ironically, the conspiracy against Scientology seemed to have emanated from the Guardian's Office itself.
The last vestige of resistance to the CMO takeover would come from Guardian's Office headquarters, GO World Wide, at Saint Hill in England. A CMO "Observation Mission" travelled to England, And on August 5 convened a "Committee of Evidence" against leading members of the Guardian's Office. The Committee was made up solely of Messengers, and chaired by Miscavige. The members were found guilty. A CMO unit was established at Saint Hill, and Bill Franks, the Executive Director International, issued a directive explaining that as Hubbard's management successor he was senior in authority to the Guardian's Office.
The Findings and Recommendations of the Committee of Evidence were not published. Senior GO officials were shipped to Gilman Hot Springs where they underwent a "rehabilitation program." Messengers called them "the crims," for criminals. These middle-aged Church executives were made to dig ditches, and wait table for the young rulers. They were awakened in the middle of the night and subjected to a new type of "Confessional." The privacy of the auditing session was abandoned, along with the polite manner of the auditor. A group of Messengers would fire questions, and while the recipient fumbled for an answer, yell accusations at him. Answers were belittled, and the Messengers all yelled at once. The exhausted GO official would be threatened with eternal expulsion from Scientology. The questions were also new. The CMO was convinced that the GO had been infiltrated by "enemy" agencies, so the "crims" were asked, "Who's paying you?" over and over again, and accused of working for the FBI, the AMA or the CIA. This brutal form of interrogation came to be known as "gang sec-checking." It was in total violation of the publicized tenets of Scientology. GO staff began to crack under the pressure. Most of these hardened executives eventually left Gilman willing to do the bidding of their new masters. The Watchdog Committee assigned one of their number to the control of the Guardian's Office. David Gaiman, the former head of GO Public Relations, became the new Guardian upon his return from Gilman Hot Springs.
The great GO machine was grinding to a halt. Members of the Legal Bureau, who understood the weak position of Scientology in many of the increasing number of suits, wanted to settle out of court wherever possible, but were overruled in favor of a fight to the death policy. The stalwarts of the Legal Bureau were dismissed, and their place taken by expensive private law firms. Most of these suits were eventually settled for far larger amounts than GO Legal had negotiated. The CMO was in control of the entire administrative structure of Scientology. Although still in hiding, Hubbard made himself available for comment, but only on matters of Scientology "Tech," in September 1981. 3
While taking over the GO, the CMO had been establishing yet another corporation called Author Services Incorporated (ASI). It was incorporated in California in October 1981 as a for-profit company, and represented the literary interests of L. Ron Hubbard. ASI was not activated for several months. A few final adjustments had to be made to the Scientology corporate structure.
In November, Hubbard ordered the CMO to send him information outlining the entire international position of Scientology. He wanted to know all the "stats." It took two weeks to collect the information, and then it had to be presented in a way which would demonstrate the efficacy of Hubbard's orders to the CMO to take over Church management. Hubbard had trained Messengers to censor information going to him to shield him from upsetting news. After the huge ritual of information gathering, the CMO remained in power, so Hubbard was obviously happy with what he received.
The various pans of the Organization continued to function, largely unaware of the drastic changes that were taking place at the top. During Hubbard's absence from direct management in 1980, the prices had been cut, and moves were underway to reconcile estranged Scientologists. These measures were still penetrating to the membership, as the new regime brought in stringent changes at the top. It was in this setting, in November 1981, that Scientology Missions International, which monitored the progress of the supposedly independent Mission, or "Franchise," network, called a meeting to try and resolve some of the ongoing conflicts between Mission Holders and the Church.
During the 1970s, several major Mission Holders had been declared Suppressive, and their Franchises given to others. Most had exhausted Scientology's internal justice procedures in an attempt to be reinstated and to retrieve their Missions. A Mission Holder sometimes found himself in the peculiar position of having invested most of his assets into his Mission, but after being declared Suppressive was forced to surrender control to the Church's Mission Office, who would place the mission under new management. The Mission Holder would have no access to his assets, which often amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and found it impossible to work his way back into the good graces of Scientology. Several ousted Mission Holders had initiated civil litigation against the Church.
Hubbard's published policy states that an individual can be declared Suppressive for suing the Church. It was a Catch 22 situation. The November 1981 meeting attempted to resolve this impasse by "open two-way communication." Both the Mission Holders and the Sea Org's Scientology Missions International staff felt progress had been made at the meeting. Both groups had failed to comprehend what was happening at the very top of the Church.
Ray Kemp, a very early supporter of Hubbard and at one time a close confederate, had been declared Suppressive in the mid-1970s, and his California Mission taken from him. Shortly before Kemp and his wife were "declared," a Church of Scientology publication had carried an article boasting about the Kemp Mission in California which said the Mission consisted of five modern buildings in two acres, with a parking lot for 200 cars. Kemp had even managed to persuade the town council to rename the site of his Mission "L. Ron Hubbard Plaza."
Kemp had tried every recourse within the Church to retrieve his Mission, but his efforts were to no avail. Eventually Kemp reluctantly started civil legal proceedings against the Church, but only after alleged physical abuse by members of the Guardian's Office. As a result of the first Mission Holders' meeting, Kemp and his wife were restored to "good standing." A Board of Review was established to investigate similar cases. Another meeting was scheduled to take place a few weeks later.
Peter Greene, who had been a Mission Holder, made a tape in 1982 describing the events of these meetings, and the background to them. The Guardian's Office had grown increasingly worried that a series of moves by U.S. government agencies might put the Church out of business. The FBI had acquired a huge quantity of incriminating material, and the IRS suits might eventually bankrupt Scientology. Greene alleges that since the mid-1970s there had been a Guardian's Office Program to take over the Missions, which were separate corporations, if the worst happened. The leading Mission Holders had been expelled, and replaced with new people who would be less willing to resist the GO.
Shortly after the first Mission Holders' meeting, yet another corporation came into being: the Church of Scientology International. It was to become the "Mother Church," replacing the Church of Scientology of California. The old lines of command had to be obscured by giving new titles to departments; for example, Hubbard's Personal Office became the Product Development Office International. 4
The second Mission Holders' meeting was held at the Flag Land Base in Florida in December 1981, in the Scientology owned Sandcastle Hotel. The meeting was scheduled to last for two days, and fifty people arrived for the first day. The swell of excitement took hold, the meeting continued for five days, and by the time it was broken up, about two hundred people had attended. 5
The meeting was chaired by Mission Holder Dean Stokes. Most of the Holders of larger Missions, and some of those deprived of their Missions, were in attendance. Quite a few GO staff were also there, and the meeting turned into a mass confessional, as those present gradually admitted the plans and actions taken secretly in the past. Greene described the exhilaration as the Mission Holders, the Guardian's Office, and Mission Office staff came back into touch with one another.
One executive was noticeably absent: Bill Franks, the Executive Director International, who had called the meeting. The Mission Holders had heard by now that the anonymous Watchdog Committee were Franks' superiors, despite the Hubbard Policy Letter saying Franks was head of the Church. They demanded Franks' presence. He arrived accompanied by a CMO missionaire.
One of the Mission Holders, Brown McKee, said he was assigning the lowest of Hubbard's Ethics Conditions, "Confusion," to the Watchdog Committee. The formula for completion of this Condition is simple: "Find out where you are." The confusion was that WDC was ostensibly running the Church, in contradiction to the Executive Director International Policy Letter, and without any apparent authority. The Watchdog Committee was seen by the Mission Holders as part of a mutinous takeover. Paradoxically, this was exactly how the Watchdog Committee saw the Mission Holders.
The Mission Holders demanded the presence of the Watchdog Committee. Mission Holder Bent Corydon, whose Riverside Mission had just been returned to him, has joked that the Mission Holders were quite ready to fly out to Gilman Hot Springs, and explain matters to the WDC "with baseball bats." Before this could happen, representatives of the WDC arrived to quell the "Mutiny." 6
Senior Case Supervisor International David Mayo was there, and rather lamely started giving a pep talk on new "Technical" research. Mayo did not get very far. Norman Starkey, who had arrived with the WDC, and was actually in charge of the Church's new non-GO legal bureau, tried to read a Hubbard article about tolerance and forgiveness called "What Is Greatness?" He did not get very far either. David Miscavige looked on, as the meeting broke up into smaller groups, with the Mission Holders trying to explain their actions to the WDC representatives. Their attempts were unsuccessful.
Unbeknownst to most of those at the meeting, there really was a plan to wrest control from the Watchdog Committee. A small group of Scientologists, including a few Mission Holders and veteran Sea Org members, took part in this plot. It fell apart when one of their number reported their secret discussions.
Hubbard was given the CMO account of events, and started to send dispatches to senior executives at Gilman describing the Mission Holders' "mutiny," and an infiltration by enemy agents. Hubbard raged about Don Purcell and the early days, when "vested interests" had tried to prise Dianetics from his control. 7
Swift action was taken to counter the "mutiny." On December 23, 1981, a Policy Letter was issued entitled "International Watchdog Committee." Perhaps only a few people noticed that it was not signed by L. Ron Hubbard, but by the International Watchdog Committee. It stated, quite simply: "The International Watchdog Committee is the most senior body for management in the Church of Scientology International."
Four days later, Executive Director International "for life" Bill Franks was replaced. The coup was very nearly complete. In the midst of this frantic activity, a redefinition of the revered state of Clear was issued over Hubbard's name. All earlier definitions involving perfect recall, a complete absence of psychosomatic ailments and the like, although true were no longer valid. The new definition was a wonderful piece of circular reasoning, beautifully self-perpetuating in its illogic: "A Clear is a being who no longer has his own reactive mind." 8
If one accepts the hypothesis of the reactive mind, then a Clear does not have it. The definition does, however, imply that he could have the reactive minds of others (Body Thetans?), and be as incapable as ever. No scientific experiment could defeat this new definition. Dianetics would continue to pretend itself a science, but remain beyond verification. It could neither be proven nor disproven, having been moved squarely into the realm of faith.
Additional sources: correspondence with a former CMO executive; interview with former Guardian's Office executive; Peter Green, taped talk, 23 June 1982
1. HCOPL, "The Executive Director International," 11 December 1980
2. Sullivan in vol. 19A of transcript of Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong, Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, case no. C 420153, pp.3144f
3. David Mayo letter, 8 December 1983
4. Litt in Armstrong vol. 28, p.4734
5. McKee, vol. 4 of transcript of Clearwater Hearings, 1982, pp.397ff
6. Bent Corydon, taped talk, July 1983
7. Mayo letter 8 December 1983
8. HCOB, "The State of Clear," 14 December 1981