Back in the late ’60s three friends, Jim Keith and Larry Neilson, and myself were publishing a small press science fiction fan magazine [fanzine]. We received an article for our fanzine from an old time science fiction fan and Dianetic “Clear” named Jack Harness (for an understanding of “Clear” read Dianetics: Modern Science of Mental Health) (more on “Clear” below). Jack’s article was entitled Non-fiction and was a discription of incidents that he said he had remembered from 3 billion years worth of his past lives, with connective material of scenes from the Dianetic “auditing” that had allowed him to remember it.
I thought it was all hogwash. I had known Jack for a short while through science fiction “fandom” before receiving his article – we were all members of The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society – and I thought that if he was clear then Clear was something that I very definitely never wanted to be. Poor Jack struck me as being about as clear as mud.
But Jim Keith was intrigued and launched into reading every book on or about L. Ron Hubbard [LRH], Dianetics [Dn] or Scientology [Scn] he could get his hands on. About that time our untitled fanzine died and I went to Klamath Falls [K Falls], Oregon [OR] and Jim Keith went to Kansas City [KC], Missouri [MO].
By the time I saw him again nearly four years later in K Falls, in 1974, he was a devotee of LRH, had been on staff for a while and had had quite a bit of “auditing” (also called “processing” or “pastoral counseling”). Larry Neilson too had gotten into, and out of, Scn.
Jim Keith moved into my place in K Falls. Just about every day he would go on about his great “wins” and the superiority of the “Tech.” At first I was still a scoffer, but eventually he got me reading LRH and soon I was hooked.
Jim, Larry and Jack are all now deceased. Jack recently died of old age, Jim broke his knee at Burning Man and died of a blood clot to the lung a few days later – I am convinced it was medical malpractice and/or a “hit” that did him in. Larry was the first to go and Jim and I held Scientology partially responsible for his death. Scn does not allow its practitioners to use drugs. And they get rather carried away on this point. The most abject example of this is Larry’s. He was an epileptic. He took drugs to curb this problem. Scn doesn’t like drugs, and especially what it considers “psychiatric drugs.” They ordered him to stay off his anti-epileptic drugs. One day while bathing (in 1984, I think) he had a seizure and drowned. If he had been on his medication he might be alive today.
Jerry E. Smith spent ten years in Scientology, much of it in the Sea Org. He gives a detailed account of his time in the cult in his blog. Much of it is similar to other stories of the Sea Borg we have run across in this series. The usual lack of sleep, terrible diet, miserable pay, poverty level living conditions and in general, life in a group where being nice to each other is not considered a virtue. One thing he mentions that has not received as much attention as it should is Scientology’s manipulation of the book market in order to, in the end, gain members.
I once overheard how Bridge Publications, Inc. keeps D:MSMH on the best seller list, and Battlefield Earth too. If either book was not selling particularly well in a given area, BPI sent an order to the local Scn org to have some staff or students go into the B. Dalton’s or Walden’s and buy copies. They then shipped the copies back to BPI who in turn shipped them back to their distributors who in turn restocked it in the B. Dalton’s! Why would they do this, when it certainly would lose a lot of money? Primarily because they know that people are sheep and “best sellers” are best sellers because people have heard about them as best sellers and felt compelled to read them; and Scn wants, at all costs, for people to read Hubbard’s books. As Hubbard said “books are the first line of dissemination.” The primary route into Scn is: a person buys a book, reads it, gets interested, comes in. BPI might lose $5 on a paperback D:MSMH this way but Scn will make thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars on this “book buyer” over the years. Hell, that’s how Jim Keith and I got in! With sales directly to the Scn orgs it gets even wilder. Since book buyers make up a big percentage of new starts, BPI insures books get sold, or that they, at least, get their stat up. It’s called a “cat handling” (cat for catastrophe). When BPI thinks an org doesn’t have enough books on stock, or has not been ordering “enough” recently, they will invoke a “cat handling” and go directly into the bank account of the org, and take out what they want and ship that many books, without asking the org word one about it! More than once while I was there ASHO F could not make some vital payment (like food for the staff or child care payments to the Cadet Org) because BPI had helped itself to ASHO funds.
The ‘Birthday Game” is a big money-maker for Scientology. However, with fewer and fewer members to hound for contributions one wonders where it will all end up.
Each year on Ron’s Birthday the highest stat producers are rewarded with special plaques and Certificates and such. I used to do the calligraphy on many of these. One year the highest stats for any SO Division Six (Public Division) went to ASHO F. At ASHO, the Public Div is actually divided up into three full Divisions, Divs 6A, 6B, & 6C. The Public Executive Secretary [Public Exec Sec or PES] was a guy named Jim Frankel. He was, shall we say, rather creative in how he got his stats reported. All three of his Div 6 Div’s won First Place as the best (highest stats) Div 6’s in the SO. Only, in two of the three there was no one posted! Empty, nobody home!
This could be said for a lot of cult activities. These are the people who intend to run the world, yet they are totally inept.