Mike Goldstein was in the ranks of those who knew and worked with Hubbard on the ship Apollo and then followed him ashore when the Sea Org crept into Clearwater, Florida, in 1976. Mike was a finance officer who knew about as much about Hubbard’s empire as any man living. His story takes place over a span of years that included, and I guess you could say, terminated, when the new rulers of Scientology consolidated their grip on the group during the early and mid 1980’s. This was the period in which Hubbard, acting through intermediaries, ruthlessly sacked his own Scientology mission (franchise) system extorting millions of dollars from the mission holders. This was a short-term bonanza in cash; ultimately it paved the way for the eventual downward trend in membership that continues till this day. I cannot do justice to Mike’s story in a few paragraphs but let me share with you one of his more interesting observations.
It is also important to note some other things with regards to power in Scientology. (1) Where Hubbard went, so did the power, and (2) Those who were with Hubbard had a standing and a power over anyone else in the Scientology organization. This may answer questions that many people have asked of how insignificant people like David Miscavige and Pat Broeker were able to assume power. But I want to continue with my thoughts about Hubbard’s backing off the lines.
When the Apollo was sold and Flag management was relocated in Clearwater, a location in the public eye, Hubbard backed off once more. Once again he took an entourage and set up Special Unit. But this time, even more mystery was added. Previously on the Apollo, the rest of the Scientology world didn’t know its location, but who was on board and their posts were known. Not only was the location of Special Unit confidential, but the personnel as well as their posts were unknown to the rest of the Scientology world.
Dispatches orders, etc. were stamped, not signed. It wasn’t unusual to see an order stamped, “WDC” (which stood for Watchdog Committee). A stamped order such as this was clouded in mystery and enigma. A recipient might have had questions like, “Who is on this committee?” or “Am I under the microscope of a anonymous group of people?” When, in actual fact, there was an individual on a specific post at Special Unit who was sending that order. This individual was just stamping it with a “WDC”, thereby disguising himself in a generality.
It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Special Unit was in California, and that Hubbard had backed off from there with a smaller entourage, composed of individuals such as David Miscavige and Pat and Annie Broeker. As Hubbard got sick and more incapacitated, those who had last been with him were taking the reins of power.
To read Mike’s story go here: http://www.lermanet.com/mikegoldstein/
For an overview of this period read this chapter in John Atack’s book, A Piece of Blue Sky.
Here is Mike Goldstein in Secret Lives, which is one of the most interesting documentaries of L. Ron Hubbard ever done.