Hines remembers back to the mid 1990s and the unmistakable sound of Miscavige’s footsteps coming down the hall.
“Where is that m—–f—–?” he heard Miscavige shout.
Hines was in Room 106 of the Del Sol executive offices. A veteran auditor, Hines usually worked at the church’s Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. He said he counseled Nicole Kidman and Kirstie Alley.
But counseling the wife of one of Miscavige’s favorite speech writers had not gone well, and Hines had been called back to the base.
Hines braced himself as the footsteps drew near.
Miscavige poked his head in the office, Hines recalled, and said: “There he is.”
Without another word, Hines said, “He hit me in the head. He just hit me in the head, in the side of the head,” an open-handed blow.
“It did sting and it did knock me back. And then he got right up in my face and was kind of yelling at me. Then he walked out. The next thing I knew, I was on the RPF.”
Scientology bills its Rehabilitation Project Force as an opportunity for wayward Sea Org members to find redemption through manual labor. Some defectors say it can be abused.
Hines said he spent three years on the RPF, on a labor crew that cleared land, painted old mobile homes and built sheds at Happy Valley, a church-owned tract about 10 miles from the base.
Finally authorized to return to the base, he reunited with his wife and their son, who was born in 1984, prior to a church ban on children imposed on Sea Org members. It took all of three weeks for him to land back on the RPF. His offense? He didn’t stand up when Miscavige came into a room.
This time was worse. He lived in an 8-by-10-foot shed and slept on concrete. He couldn’t talk to anyone. He was under constant guard. Letters he wrote his wife were read and returned to him. She divorced him while he toiled in isolation.
Looking back at his six years in the RPF, Hines views it as a mind-control technique.
“In the RPF, they try to get you to take responsibility. You are supposed to confront the evil things you did, and deal with those in auditing. You are there because you are evil.”
“And you are there because you were destructive, and you were destructive because you were acting on your evil purposes. And I, the whole time I was in the RPF, I am trying to convince myself that it was me, it was my own fault.”
In 2001, he was sent to work in the church’s offices in New York City. He was on the roof, chipping tar, when the planes hit the World Trade Center. He went to ground zero and volunteered.
By 2003, Hines had lost interest in Scientology. The rich mix of life in New York, he said, “made this whole military lifestyle of the Sea Org seem kind of ludicrous.”
He made his way by bus to Denver, where he had grown up. He finished college in 2006, with a degree in physics, and this summer completed his master’s in electrical engineering.
The above was in the St. Petersburg Times article, Strength in Numbers.