The Scientology War
Over the years the Mission Holders had learned to be wary of the Sea Org. They had watched the pageant of faces alternately screaming and smiling; seen the little tyrants rise and fall. In the past, Hubbard had stepped in and put a few "heads on pikes." The Mission Holders also knew that expulsion from the Church of Scientology would effectively ruin their Missions, so all they could do was knuckle under and wait. Lambasted by the leaders of the new order, surrounded by scowling members of the International Finance Police, the Mission Holders tried to stay cool. This time, however, waiting it out would not work. The situation did not blow over, and the usual horrified Hubbard edict denying all knowledge did not appear either.
Martin Samuels was a legend among Scientologists. He ran a chain of five Missions. The Church's magazine Center, devoted to the Mission network, was always heavy with praise for Samuels. A 1975 issue says that in a single year 3,000 new people started the Communication Course in Samuels' Missions. His Missions usually came out at the top in the quarterly Mission statistics, even taken individually. In Center 23, Martin Samuels was "Particularly COMMENDED" for his "brilliant application." Out of the fifty listed, his Sacramento, Portland and Davis Missions were the top three in the Center "Award of Merit" contest for that quarter.
In early 1970s, Samuels started the Delphian Project. It began as a center for research into Alternative Energy, but a school, the Delphian Foundation, was established for the children of Project staff. The school used Hubbard's "Study Technology." It soon generated interest from other Scientologists, so the school became Delphi's main activity. By the time of the Mission Holders' Conference Samuels had twelve schools, with over 600 pupils.
Scientology Missions report various performance statistics to the Church every week. The Mission income figures are listed and distributed to Mission Holders to show which are most successful. For the first week of September 1982, just before the Conference, the total income of the eighty or so Missions throughout the world was $808,435. For the U.S. Missions it was $643,737, and Samuels' Missions made up $172,825 of that. Which is to say they represented over a quarter of the U.S. Missions income, and over a fifth of the worldwide income. Incidentally, Kingsley Wimbush's major Mission made $154,101 that week. So between them Samuels and Wimbush accounted for more than half of the U.S. Missions income. Ten percent of this was paid straight to the Church.
But at the end of the Mission Holders' Conference Samuels spoke out. On top of their normal ten percent tithe to the Scientology Church, the Mission Holders had been ordered to pay five percent for a promotional campaign to Bridge Publications. Samuels explained that he could not pay the additional tithe. His Missions were non-profit, tax-exempt corporations, and Bridge had been separated from the Church and made into a for-profit corporation, and such donations would be illegal. Samuels was taken into a side room by eight members of the International Finance Police, and given a "Gang Sec Check." He was threatened with a "Suppressive declare" if he did not make "personal payments to L. Ron Hubbard." So he handed over $20,000 and a $10,000 wrist watch to a Finance Policeman.
Samuels' access to his Missions' bank accounts was frozen. His wife was warned that she would have to "disconnect" from him if he was declared Suppressive. He was ordered to Flag, in Florida, to undergo more Security Checks, for which he had to pay $300 an hour.
Within a month Martin Samuels had paid $40,000 to the Scientology Church. This still was not enough, and he was ordered to the International Finance Police Ethics Officer at Flag. At the meeting, Samuels was told he had been declared Suppressive, and shown the confession of a Scientology executive who had admitted to being a transvestite with homosexual tendencies. Samuels claims that he was ordered to publicly confess to "acts that were similarly degrading." Otherwise the Church would file both civil and criminal prosecutions against him that would keep him "tied up in court forever." He was also warned that he would be watched and the Church would "keep tabs on him forever."
Samuels refused to demean himself by signing a fictitious confession, even though his Missions were now in the hands of the Church, and he had surrendered control of his personal accounts. The Scientologists now launched their campaign in earnest. Samuels' wife, family, business associates and friends were told he had stolen funds from his Missions, and that he was "insane" and an enemy of the Church of Scientology.
The Suppressive declare was published, and Samuels' wife left him, taking the children with her. She "disconnected" and started divorce proceedings. His children were told he was a "criminal and would probably be going to jail in the near future." Scientologist business associates and friends were ordered to disconnect from him or be declared Suppressive themselves. Even Samuels' stockbroker, who was a Scientologist, was ordered to disconnect, and refused to take instructions to sell stock. As he had been declared, Samuels was told he must leave his sister's house, where he was staying, or she too would be declared Suppressive.
In a few weeks, Samuels had lost the business he had built up over thirteen years, with an annual turnover of millions of dollars. His seventeen year marriage was destroyed, and he was deprived of his possessions. Samuels felt like a college kid again, rolling up penniless on his parents' doorstep. He responded by filing a lawsuit against Hubbard in 1983, claiming damages of $72 million. A jury awarded $30 million, and the Scientologists appealed the decision. The case was finally settled in 1986 with an out of court payment of $500,000 to Samuels.
There were very few of the big Mission Holders left. Among them was Bent Corydon, who held the franchise for Riverside, in southern California. Soon after the Conference, in October 1982, the Finance Police arrived. They demanded, and were paid, $15,000 for their first day. They demanded, and were paid, $15,000 for their second day. At this point Corydon ran out of ready money. Corydon wanted to stay in the Church. He had built the Mission up from nothing, lost it in the 1970s, and finally fought his way back, only to discover that the reserves of nearly a million dollars that he had built up were gone. He could not face losing the Riverside Mission again. In desperation he took his attorney's advice to put the valuable Mission building into a trust before it was seized in lieu of some trumped up "fine."
Corydon's wife was a Class 8 Auditor. The retaliation to the "can't pay" claim was rapid. Mary Corydon's Auditor certificates were cancelled. Corydon wrote:
Without Mary's certificates, we were no longer in a position to operate at all, according to laid-down policy. The Church would have to come to our "rescue." I soon got the call to come down to Los Angeles to the Scientology Missions International Ethics Officer. This could mean only one thing. They would propose that we be turned into an Organization. Orgs are under total domination of management, and they own no property .... This in other words would be the final and total takeover of our Mission.
Corydon had heard that both the Kansas City Org and the Omaha Mission had splintered from the Church. He talked to these "squirrels," and decided that to continue delivering Scientology he too would have to splinter. At the end of 1982 he did just that.
The International Finance Dictator fulfilled a part of his promise, and all of the wealthier Missions were "verified," handing over an undoubtedly enormous sum for the privilege. A year after the Mission Holders' Conference, the Scientology Missions International statistic sheet for the week ending September 29, 1983, shows a sad decline. From $808,435 worldwide in a week, in September 1982, down to $171,356; a seventy-nine percent reduction, and actually less than the earlier combined income of Samuels' five Missions.
After the Mission Holders' Conference another corporate instrument of the new management appeared: The International Hubbard Ecclesiastical League of Pastors (or "I HELP"). Rather than working for Orgs or Missions, some Scientologists simply give individual counselling. They are known as "Field Auditors." The more successful Field Auditors made very good money. In December 1982, I HELP called a meeting in Los Angeles. Several hundred field Auditors attended and were ordered to join this new body. Membership would cost $100 a year, and ten percent of their gross income. The Field Auditors would also have to fill in weekly reports. None of this was too worrying; however, to join they had to waive all previous agreements with the Church, and sign a contract binding them to the decisions of I HELP. Many shied away from signing. The tone of the meeting reflected that of the earlier Mission Holders' Conference, news of which had inevitably travelled to the Scientology "field." Of the hundreds who attended, perhaps a dozen signed contracts that night. Then the bullying began. 1
For many years, Valerie Stansfield ran her own auditing practice. She had been in Scientology for twenty years, and as a Class 9 Auditor was very highly trained. In March 1983, she was telephoned by a Finance Policeman and given half an hour to come to his office. She politely refused, and after a harangue agreed to an appointment that evening. When she and her husband Manfred arrived, she was told that her nutritional counselling was "squirrel." Then the Finance Policeman read a list of accusations, and demanded that she hand over the counselling folders of all her clients immediately. Valerie reluctantly agreed to give the Finance Police the folders, but urged that they wait for a more opportune time to pick them up, as there were clients at her house. 2
Then International Finance Police Ethics Officer Don Larson walked in and started berating Valerie. He screamed abuse at her, and ordered his underlings to remove Manfred Stansfield, who refused to leave. Larson accused them both of "squirreling," and told Manfred he was Suppressive. Manfred returned the insult, to which Larson replied "You're a fucking SP [Suppressive]. Get out."
Shocked by this aggressive treatment, the Stanfields wrote to their friends. The letter was one of the first public statements about the tactics of the new management; it was recopied and distributed to an increasingly bewildered Scientology field. Outlandish fines were imposed on some of the new members of I HELP. One Field Auditor was fined for introducing two of his Preclears who subsequently did business together. This was somehow construed as a breach of ethics. 3
In the 1970s, the "World Institute of Scientology Enterprises" (WISE) came into being to cash in on successful businessmen who were also Scientologists. Ostensibly it existed to offer consultancy services, provide the most up-to-date Hubbard Policy Letters on administration, and train the staff of Scientology businesses in the immense Hubbard Administrative Technology. Practically, WISE gave very little to its members for their tithes. Now the Scientology business community in Los Angeles was invaded by the Finance Dictator's henchmen, and fines were levied for alleged abuses of privilege. Intransigent businessmen were threatened with Suppressive declare. Those who depended upon other Scientologists for the bulk of their business had no choice but to pay up. At least one sizeable business had to send its entire staff to Flag, in Clearwater, to do the Keeping Scientology Working Course, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars. Employees who complained were given Security Checks, at their own expense. The man who had created the business was ostracized for his "squirrel Tech." 4
WISE also altered its contracts with businesses managed by public Scientologists, which now had to pay a $250 annual membership, in addition to a percentage of their income.
The Religious Technology Center, and its International Finance Police, had effectively wrecked the network which had provided Scientology's interface with the public at large. They had also started a massive schism, especially in California where most of these events took place. Whether Hubbard's $85 million Christmas present was delivered we do not know, but Miscavige and company did their damnedest.
The purge of the so-called Executive Strata of the Sea Org had continued. David Mayo and his staff had been removed in August 1982. By the time of the San Francisco Mission Holders' Conference in October, there were seventeen key executives at Gilman awaiting a Committee of Evidence. Among them were the former Executive Director International and his Deputy; the Commanding Officer Canada; the Commanding Officer of Scientology Missions International and his superior, the Church Management Executive over Missions; the Commanding Officer Eastern U.S.; four members of the International Management Organization; the Commanding Officer of the CMO film unit; the two senior Field Executives (whose boss, Hubbard's daughter Diana, had left shortly before); and former Chairman of the Watchdog Committee and Commanding Officer CMO International, John Nelson. 5
Hubbard had organized Scientology in a series of compartments, and with the detention of these executives the CMO had removed all potential major opposition from each compartment of the Organization.
The detainees were moved to a place dubbed "Happy Valley," a remote camp inside an Indian reservation not far from Gilman. Although they were not prevented from leaving, the former Sea Org executives were watched by security guards. They were, however, told that if they left they would be declared Suppressive for all eternity, and never readmitted to the Scientology congregation. It was a dreadful threat to committed Scientologists who had devoted most of their adult lives to the Tech.
The group were subjected to a Committee of Evidence: a Scientology trial, where the Committee act as prosecutors, judges and jury rolled into one. They were charged with thirty-six offences, ranging from somehow employing Scientology to receive sexual favors to being in the pay of the enemies of Scientology. David Mayo was found guilty of "committing" a problem. The Findings and Recommendations of the Committee came to a total of over ninety pages. The major thread of the Findings was the purported plot to overthrow the CMO. It was asserted that Deputy Executive Director International Allen Buchanan, one of the defendants, had been "brainwashed" by former ED Int, Bill Franks. Franks had brought Buchanan to believe that he must protect the Church from senior management. There were very few specifics amongst the bombast.
Although the Findings would usually remain an internal document there are translations of the Scientologese throughout. This suggests that it was composed in part for the benefit of attorneys, should litigation ensue.
The Committee recommended that earlier threats of perpetual excommunication be carried out. Most of the recommended sentences include the assertion that the defendant will never in any lifetime be allowed Scientology services. It also included a perpetual writ of disconnection, forbidding all Scientologists to assist or communicate with the defendants. It further recommended that the Church should look into the possibility of filing criminal charges against the defendants. The investigation was to take into account a list of charges including sabotage and industrial espionage.
The Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center approved the recommendations for seven of the defendants, one of whom was the only party to be exonerated (she had been seized by mistake); the other six had already left Happy Valley in disgust. The ten who remained were informed that the Committee's recommendations would not be carried out if the defendants recanted. Nonetheless, all of their Scientology certificates were cancelled. David Mayo and his wife Merrill were both Class 12s, the highest Auditor class, attained by only a handful of Scientologists. It would have taken at least four years of full-time training for them to regain this status.
Each of the defendants would have to publish a witnessed statement confessing their evil motives. The Inspector General ended his statement by speaking about the benevolence of his decisions.
The Happy Valley story was not over. During the summer of 1982, Hubbard had tested out a new idea with Mayo's help. Executives were becoming exhausted, so rather than shortening their eighteen-hour day, Hubbard had issued the Running Program. Executives were to run around a fixed point for about an hour a day, and take huge quantities of mineral supplements. For the Happy Valley detainees the time was extended. They were to run, in desert heat, for five hours a day, round and round a tree.
Perhaps because of his especially potent contaminating effect, Mayo was separated from the rest of the group, given a pole to run around (and even ordered to paint it red). The runners took the affair as lightly as possible. Only one guard was assigned to them, so Mayo and those at the tree would take turns to sit down, and the guard would have to trek between them to goad them back into action. 6
The Running Program took its toll. Mayo, a slight man, lost twenty-five pounds. Whether through the program, or the general lack of medical care within the Sea Org, Mayo's teeth and gums also suffered badly. In February 1983, convinced that he could do nothing to change the attitude of management, he accepted his Suppressive Person declare and left.
Sources: Complaint in Martin Samuels vs. Hubbard, Circuit Court, Oregon State, Multnomah County, case no. A8311 07227, November 1983; Bent Corydon, taped talk, July 1983, and interview in Copenhagen Corner, 11; Religious Technology Center Conditions Order 1-3.
1. Jon Zegel taped talk, June 1983
2. Stansfields, "Knowledge Report," 14 March 1983
3. Zegel talk, June 1983
4. Interview, former employee
5. RTC Conditions Order 1-3
6. Interview with David Mayo