Mimi Faust’s Mother, Olaiya Odufunke: Her Life in Scientology’s Secret Service
From Village Voice Blogs, 8/3/12 by Tony Ortega. For the full story follow this link: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/08/scientology_olaiya_odufunke_mimi_faust.php
Monday night, Mimi Faust revealed on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta that she had been abandoned at 13 by a mother who chose Scientology over her own children. By Tuesday morning, we had identified Mimi’s mother, Olaiya Odufunke, who died in 2003.
And now, we have a photograph of Olaiya (on the left, above, with Joyce Earl, another Scientology employee) that was given to us by someone who worked with her and can now tell us what kind of work the woman did that was more important than holding on to Mimi. Olaiya (who also apparently went by “Gloria”) was a member of Scientology’s “Sea Organization” or Sea Org, the hardcore elite of employees who sign billion-year contracts and promise to work for the church lifetime after lifetime.
And inside the Sea Org, there’s a department Olaiya was assigned to known as the Office of Special Affairs — it’s the church’s intelligence, public relations, and covert operations wing.
In other words, Olaiya worked in what many consider Scientology’s secret service.
All Sea Org members — whether they’re in OSA or not — work long hours for little pay. We’ve talked to former members who worked 100-hour weeks, grabbing only a few hours of sleep a night as they were pushed to extreme limits while living with no privacy and often on meager provisions.
In that kind of work environment, there’s little time for anything outside Scientology work — no television, no reading of non-Scientology materials, no days off. And that’s why we hear about Sea Org parents essentially abandoning their kids — they simply have no time for them.
That’s the situation Mimi Faust was in as a 13-year-old. On Monday night’s show, she said that she was asked to “sign a contract” and work for the church, but refused. (Children of Scientologists are pressured to join the Sea Org and sign its contract at a very young age.) At the time, her mother Olaiya was based at Scientology’s administrative headquarters in Los Angeles, a former hospital painted blue that is known as PAC Base, for Pacific Area Command.
But later in her life, from 2000 to 2003, Olaiya was with OSA in Clearwater, Florida.
“Her last post in Clearwater was the Clearance in Charge,” says Kirsi Ojamo, a former OSA employee who worked with Olaiya in Florida. “She would look into the quals of prospective parishioners and say OK or not for services.”
Kirsi left Scientology in 2007. She’s from Finland and today lives in France. And she not only worked with Olaiya in Clearwater, she had the same job: clearing church members for services. (She sent me the photo of Olaiya and Joyce Earl. I then confirmed their identities with their former boss, Mike Rinder, who ran OSA during these years.)
I asked Kirsi to describe the job that she and Olaiya were doing.
Scientology is a very security-conscious organization. Not only is the church constantly on the lookout for outsiders trying to infiltrate it, it also constantly interrogates its own members to sniff out anyone who might be tempted to speak to the press or to law enforcement. Also, it wants to know when a member has secrets which might compromise them. If they’re hiding something, they are not allowed to get access to the church’s counseling, called “auditing.”
It was Kirsi and Olaiya’s job to get those secrets from church members coming to Clearwater — Scientology’s spiritual mecca.
“Let me assure you first that there was no priest-penitent privileged information. I would have access to anything I felt I needed from the PC or OT folder which was not technically confidential and above my level of processing,” Kirsi says. “The case supervisor would supply reports she felt [contained] relevant security data and submit the PC folder for my review.”
In other words, anything that a Scientologist had revealed in previous supposedly confidential counseling sessions — whether they were a lower level “Pre-Clear” or higher level “Operating Thetan” — was fair game for OSA.
“I would look into ethics folder data, and if I felt a sec check was needed, it got done before accepting for services,” she says. (A “sec check” — short for “security check” — is an intense interrogation done while a subject is holding the sensors of an e-meter, which Scientologists believe can detect when they’re holding back secrets.)
I asked Kirsi what sorts of things would disqualify a Scientologist from getting the services he had come to Florida for.
“Tax evasion is one. A criminal history — ‘Type B,’ in that lingo. Evidence of a family member or relative attacking the church. Yes, it didn’t matter if you were flying in from Iceland for your OT levels,” she says, meaning that how far you’d come didn’t matter — you had to get past Kirsi and Olaiya’s tough screening process.
Like other Sea Org members working at Flag, Olaiya was bused in from a nearby apartment complex, the Hacienda Gardens. Typically, workers there have little privacy and share space with multiple roommates.
In 2003, Kirsi says, Olaiya was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was sent to City of Hope in LA for treatment. “Unfortunately, she perished after eight months in their care. I held a service for her in Clearwater, and I also met Mimi there when she came to pick up some of her mom’s belongings.”
I asked Kirsi if Olaiya had spoken about her children. She said that Olaiya did talk about them, particularly Mimi, and “it was obvious she loved her,” Kirsi says.
“That was my impression, that she was not indifferent about her family to be sure.”
We’ve contacted Mimi’s representatives, and hope to be speaking to her soon.
UPDATE: It turns out Olaiya was a longtime member of OSA, and not just at the end of her life. We just heard from Simi Valley, a veteran Scientologist who recently defected and declared her independence from the church.
Here’s what she told us about Olaiya:
I knew her when she and I were both working at OSA US (based in LA) in 1988-89. At the time she was using the name “Olaiya Olayinka” and was posted in the Treasury Division. Olaiya was tough as nails and totally serious about her job in the Sea Org. I recall one time she was sitting at lunch talking about someone who had irked her and she said, “I KR’ed her ass,” meaning “I wrote a knowledge report on her.”
A lot of the OSA staff walked around with a chip on their shoulder and were really bitchy at each other, so her remark was typical of the mood they were usually in.
No commentarly is needed on the about; we don’t really need any more testimony on how Sea Org parents neglect their children.
There are more and more stories showing up on YouTube all the time; here is one of them.