Mike Henderson left the cult with some 35 family members still involved. This gave new meaning to the term “disconnection.” Otherwise this is all pretty much self explanatory. For the full “Through the Open Door” interview go here: http://www.xenu-directory.net/accounts/henderson20070321.html
Training and/or processing level?
Flag trained Cl. IV, OT 8, IAS Patron
Org or location?
Time involved in the Church of Scientology?
1. How did you first become acquainted with the Church of Scientology?
I took the Communication Course at Arden Way Mission in Sacramento in 1971, August. My sister Chel was on staff. She is now President LA ORG, the highest non-SO post in Scn.
2. What initially appealed to you about scientology?
TRs, the thought of going OT someday, the group was friendly, and it was socially nice. Chel’s mother in law let me stay at her house and within a week I was balling her. This helped.
3. Were there problems in your life that you thought scientology would address?
Yeah, the standard ruins, lack of confidence, due to a really tall, skinny body with acne, etc. I also had seen UFOs on two occasions, always with other people who saw the same thing, and had naturally good ESP (theta perception) and wanted to work on it. I came in originally to get my sister Chel out of the ‘cult’ but started the Comm Course that same night! I had wins on it, and all the way up the Bridge, and do not fault the tech at all.
4. Did you see, experience, or hear about things that didn’t seem right while you were in the Church of Scientology? What were they, and what convinced you to set aside your feelings?
Disconnection is #1 with me. From 2001, November, when my Dad was declared SP with his second wife, because she was ‘contacting the spirits of dead loved ones’, an admittedly offbeat practice. I did not speak to him for 4 years, until 3 months after I had left the Sea Org in July of 2005. He has not heard from his other son or four daughters, or any of their kids (22 grandkids) since then. It is emotional slow torture for him. He has esophageal cancer and does not have long to live. He will likely die without hearing from any of them. Way to go, Scientology!!!
I also am estranged from my daughter, due to my overts, and ripping her brother off who later joined staff and then the SO at ASHO. She can’t talk to her own brother whom she loves very much. I can’t talk to my own mother, as I am declared SP. (for leaving the SO on short notice, technically a ‘blow’.) She was taken off OT 7 due to her connection to me. My son cannot speak to me.
2. Staff conditions in the Sea Org. It blows, really. It is so insane you have to pinch yourself. Close order drilling daily. (right face, left face, about face) Crap food, not enough sleep, 110 hours a week ‘schedule’. Can you say ‘slave labor’ boys and girls? I knew that you could.
3. Screaming in somebody’s face is not tolerated in the world, generally. In the real world, people say fuck off and quit. And if you touch somebody, oh gawd, lawsuit city. Not in the Sea Org. Prepare yourself if you must go in, you will wish you hadn’t. If your kid starts talking about going in, have him/her read the internet until they no longer think it’s a great idea, and pat yourself on the back. Nice save, well done.
4. OK, now this will sound petty, but bear with me. If you smoke, you may not get this at all. In the SO, they can’t smoke anywhere except the mess hall, as it is ‘out-PR’ to smoke publicly. So, the mess hall is CHOKED with second-hand smoke after a few minutes of the start of a meal. I hated that part. I considered it an invasion of my space and health.
5. I renovated my room at the Hacienda before we moved in, with the help of several RPFers, some of whom I knew. Pat Harney’s husband Mike, Dave Englehard and others. I felt for those guys. I saw Chris Sheehy and asked about Rick, her husband, one of the nicest guys you could ever know, and one of the best auditors I ever had. They had been in the RPF for awhile, and she couldn’t say anything, except pass my regards to Rick. She did not look well. Poor food, little sleep, lack of medical and dental attention over a long time and the lifers look like meth freaks. Poor skin color, missing teeth. Ugly scene, man and here is the result: I could no longer reconcile my belief in LRH, and the scene before me. The staff are NOT going up the Bridge. They are for the most part unsessionable.
Staff at Tampa and Flag mostly get assists, PTS handlings, L1C lists, disagreement checks, sec checks for leaves and return from leaves, and very little actual grade chart progress. So, if the Bridge is so important, why don’t the staff get up it? Where is Super Power, which was written up in 1978? Where is OT 9 and 10, finished in 1988? Don’t listen, look. Go look at the org board plainly posted in any SO or Class IV org. The case level of staff is shown. You will not believe how LOW it is for people who have been in the SO for 20, 30 years!!!
5. Why did you choose to stay in the Church of Scientology?
I left after a short stint in the SO, after 34 years in Scientology and achieving OT 8. I also did all 3 L rundowns [Ls], total 200 hours of L’s. I stayed because of family, and peer pressure. I spent a half a million dollars on myself and 1st wife. I left because it really is too expensive, you are encouraged to borrow, and this places you at risk, and it got me into a bad sit with my mother who loaned me a bundle. She had run up cards to stay on OT 7 and it blew up in her face. She is not the only one that has happened to.
6. Were you staff or public? If staff, was it at a mission or an org? Were you ever in the Sea Org or OSA? Which unit? If not on staff, did you ever volunteer to ‘help out’?
Public mostly, twice in SO, once 7 months on the Apollo as a telex operator in 1974, and again in the TTC at Flag in early to mid 2005. I met LRH briefly, but he was pretty removed from most staff.
7. Why did you leave the Church of Scientology? Was there a “final straw”?
My wife and I talked it over (suppressive act to talk over leaving) and agreed we were not going to be in this crazy nuthouse any more. After we had left, and read extensively on the internet, a lot of things became more clear. Our perceptions were correct, it is nutso in there.
8. Do you think the Church of Scientology needs to change some of its practices? If so, what should be changed? How did those practices affect your life?
Yes. Schedules are insane . If people worked 10 hours a day there would be lots of time for co-audits, etc. Feed everybody better. We were doing 2 and a half million a week in July 2005, and spending less than $50 thousand on food for the whole base including outer org trainees. My friends were wearing worn out, broken heeled shoes. Pathetic. The stories about how DM treats staff are too many to be false. He needs to be replaced with someone more humane. Get a dental budget that includes more than temporary filings and extractions (true story). If staff were happy, they would stay longer, and get more done.