Ex-Scientologist Story #417, Carol Nyburg (Vedder) is OUT.

You come back?  Thanks for warning me, I'll be sure to hide the silverware.

You come back? Thanks for warning me, I’ll be sure to hide the silverware.

After some 26 years in the Sea Org, most of it served running the accommodations at the Ft. Harrison hotel in downtown Clearwater at Flag Land Base this woman decided that she had enough.  It took a lot to drive this completely dedicated woman out of Scientology but David Miscavige and his minions were equal to the task.

Stories of abuse in the Sea Org, the remnants of Hubbard’s bathtub navy who deliver the “tech” to the public members, are easy to come by.  But her story of just how paranoid the cult is about Sea Org members coming into contact with any negative outside influences shows just how the already tight shackles were tightened even more by current Scientology management.  Sea Org members have less rights and human dignity than convicts in a federal penitentiary.  This story again makes the point that Hubbard’s world is not something that most of us would want anything whatsoever to do with.

The excerpts below are taken from an article found in “Scientology Cult,” website.  It was published March, 19, 2013.  Here is the link to the story.  It is a rather involved tale but well worth the time to read it.  http://www.scientology-cult.com/carol-nyburg-vedder-is-out.html

Meeting David Miscavige

First I must tell a story that happened around 1990.  Mr. David Miscavige came to the Fort Harrison to do an inspection of the hotel.  He had several senior execs with him, one of whom was Mike Rinder.  I didn’t know enough to be frightened or on guard.  I was just myself and I was good at my job, I was good running the FH and taking very good care of my guests there.  Anyway, Mr. Miscavige wanted to inspect the Presidential Suite.  It was about 10 am.  I informed him that the guest in that room, who, by the way, lived there year round and was our highest paying guest, slept till noon and did not like to be disturbed till she called down.  The staff were very tuned into her needs and wants.  Our utmost concern was that she would have privacy when asked for and we would service her to the hilt when requested. 

Well, this did not sit well with Mr. Miscavige.  He told Mr. Rinder to tell me that I had caused “counter intention” in his universe and this was just not done. It was unforgivable. I refused to wake our guest.

Mr. Rinder, under DM’s orders, ordered me removed from post till I had confessed my transgressions by writing down 20 pages of them.  I was really shocked but also I was intimidated and one just did not speak up or speak back to senior execs.  I recall the Commanding Officer of the Flag Land Base at that time, was in charge of ensuring I got this done.  I had no idea what to write.  I just started making up stuff just to get through this.  I mean 20 pages!  How does one determine that.  It was crazy.  Anyway, I got through it and was restored to my post. 

The shackles tighten

Again, I had fun. I still had my car.  This is significant because by 1999, the staff were no longer allowed to drive our cars into work.  This apparently came down from David Miscavige, reason that there were “too many cars” taking up valuable spaces in the downtown area of Clearwater.  I really don’t know if that was true.  It was sort of plausible, so ok, I started taking the bus.  Then gates went up at the Quality Inn where I lived and a security guard was posted at the gate so you couldn’t just go shopping when you got home. Suddenly, you couldn’t go anywhere.  You could sometimes get an ok if your need warranted it but often you were turned back. When you got a day off, you could take your car out or on Saturday mornings.  Saturday morning was the time allotted to staff members to clean their rooms, wash clothes, etc.  It was a time to just get your personal life in order. Still, all the staff had to attend a roll call at 9 am in the parking lot to ensure all were present except those with an approval for time off. 

Sometimes one’s liberty only consisted of the cleaning time in the morning.  Meaning they could go do something and did not have to report to muster, but needed to be on post by 1 pm. 

Rooms were inspected and one needed to pass inspection.  These inspections got increasingly crazy as we move into the 2000s. “Crazy” meaning all clothes in your closet must be color coordinated and facing a certain direction, drawers very neat.  About once a month we would need to “de-kludge” (get rid of “unnecessary” belongings). . . .

A list of DO’S AND DON’T’S for Flag staff members came into existence sometime around this time — I don’t recall exactly when. And everyone was expected to abide by these rules.  These do’s and don’ts were not covered in any LRH Policy.  We were told that because we were at the top organization of Sea Org members, we had to abide by extra rules and guidelines for security purposes and to protect us as well.  We could no longer walk between buildings around Clearwater, we had to take a Church bus or van provided by the Church for these purposes.  If your production statistics were up, you could go to Starbucks or a local shop for a sandwich.  Eventually, no one was allowed to visit any local restaurants but Starbucks was still okay.  I used to go to the local vitamin shops whenever I could and I tried to sneak food from places. . .

Well, there were computers at the library, so the Flag security guards would take turns going to the library to stop any Sea Org members from using the computers.  I realized since leaving staff that access to the Internet meant access to email — a lifeline to the outside world.  Our communication lines were intentionally cut and we were kept in the dark. I had no idea of my rights or of the laws against human trafficking that prohibited people from being able to freely come and go. I had no idea how to access the Internet or even send an email. And of course I couldn’t ask anyone. . .

Ratcheting up the punishment

A registrar is the person on staff that gets the public to sign up for a service and gets them to pay for it.  My job was to be a registrar selling hotel accommodations.  We had the nickname of “regges”.  As mentioned before, I did that, and knew a lot of public from all over the world.  People liked coming to accommodations because I was not regging them for services or the IAS, (International Association of Scientologists) or books or anything else.  The public saw a lot of regges while they were there getting the services.  Then when I was made to have quotas to also sell books and then added to that was a quota to get donations for the IAS as well, well I became just like all the other regges.  I could feel the public looking at me like “Et tu Brute?”  I hated it and didn’t want to do it.  There was all kinds of pressure to do this.  I tried to query these quotas on several occasions to no avail.  There were some nights when a very senior SO member would literally sit in the chair next to my desk while I called all over the world trying to sell Basics.  He would just sit there and watch me.  Because he was in an upper group at the Base, I did not dare chit chat with him or try to query any orders.  There was no way I could leave until he said it was okay.  He eluded on occasion that he was not allowed to eat until our quotas in the accommodations section were met.  He was in charge of our group to ensure we were selling Basics.

There were a couple of times that I went to dinner at my designated dinner time and was met by a security guard asking if I had met my quota for that time period yet.  If the answer was no, I was not allowed to eat. For a time I stopped going to dinner and snuck in food from the canteen.  I always paid for it, but staff members were not allowed to go into the canteen for anything until after 10 or 11 pm.  So I had friends in the kitchens put stuff aside for me. 

One thing a staff member was continually threatened with was being sent to “the bilges”. This is a ship term and that is where it came from.  Staff on the ship did “bilge duty” if they had to handle some ethics situation.  As there were no actual bilges at Flag, ethics officers came up with doing pots or dishes after post for an hour, or cleaning out the garbage room where the dumpster was. When one was working already into the night, it was kind of strange.  You would stop around 11 pm, do your bilges then go back to post.  The most gruesome assignment was to clean out port-o-potties.  There were renovations happening across from the Fort Harrison, so there were port-o-potties. I wonder what the construction workers thought about really clean port-o-potties the next morning.  I did whatever I could to get out of these punishments. 

Various projects were worked up for us to do.  I can tell you another bilge experience:  the Sandcastle Hotel staff that were responsible for keeping the hotel filled especially the penthouses, were regularly sent to do dishes after hours if the penthouses were not filled.  This sometimes included me.  I was called upon to fill those rooms on a daily basis.  I didn’t like to do it because it wasn’t what people were coming to Flag and especially to the Sandcastle for. 

I can tell you that when any senior executive at Flag, not just senior execs from Int, were addressing you, if they yelled at you or gave you some order, the only acceptable answer was “Yes sir!”  If you said anything else, there was no telling what might happen to you.  In the extreme, you could be sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) for such an infraction or at least back to do more bilges or an ethics program. You could write something up on it later, but it became increasingly difficult to decide what to do with a write-up.  Where would you send it? Who would really read it or listen? You were more likely to be investigated if you queried an executive order.  I know one hotel staff member that questioned our late hours and lack of sleep.  She started looking up LRH references on sleep and that LRH insisted staff get proper sleep.  He stated on more than one occasion that lack of sleep can make a person start acting stupid.  Once in a while in an emergency it was acceptable to lose some sleep — but not on a regular basis.  As a result, she was removed from post and ended up on the RPF mainly for being mutinous — encouraging other staff to question violations of policy regarding abusive sleep deprivation and off-Policy schedules.  We were told we are spiritual beings or thetans and we are not bodies and we can really endure anything.  We could just make things go right not matter what. 

I remember some Thursdays nearly falling asleep at my desk trying to write up my week-ending report.  I remember this because senior officers or security guards would come around to ensure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing.  My junior was found falling asleep at her desk, and she really go in trouble.  I would sometimes slap my face to stay awake.

Eventually she escapes and gets reunited with her daughter.  So despite all that happened this woman still maintained her inner being against all odds.


Published in: on March 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm  Comments (1)