Sandy Holman was an idealistic young woman in college when she first heard of Scientology. She heard from her brother word of a group of dedicated people working to improve the lives of people and save the world which in 1970, just as now, was in dire need of saving.
Besides these altruistic impulses Sandy also had a very personal goal; to become, “Clear.” At this time, before Hubbard dreamed up his “OT” or Operating Thetan levels, being clear was everything to a Scientologist. It meant getting rid of your, “reactive mind,” which was a repository of past failures and misunderstandings. The reward for this was tremendous. Hubbard had promised in his book, “Dianetics,” that you would have a perfect memory and freedom past life trauma. Diseases ranging from arthritis to leukemia could be cured. Even the wearing of glasses would be obsolete. These were but a few of the promised benefits of becoming clear; no wonder Scientologists wanted to reach that level very badly.
Sandy soon became an ardent Scientologist and enlisted in Hubbard’s Sea Org, the somewhat paramilitary group who delivered his, “tech” and at that time, sailed his ships. Hubbard had worn out his welcome in England and desired to practice his “science” free from all restraint. So in February of 1971 she found herself on his flagship the, “Apollo,” which was then in Tangiers, Morocco.
Life aboard ship under the gaze of the Commodore himself was some heady stuff back in those days but it was no bed of roses by any stretch of the imagination. Hubbard had the quaint notion that people really didn’t need much in the way of training for the jobs that they were assigned. After all, they had all done this work in previous lifetimes so they should be able to do this now. The results were predictable. One day you would be doing a highly important job; the next, as a punishment for failure you would be cleaning the ship’s bilges. Long hours day after day were common; sometimes working three or four days in a row without sleep was required. It was at this time that she met and fell in love with another Sea Org member, Roger Barnes, who she married while on board the ship.
When Hubbard had enough of sailing the ocean blue he came ashore and set up shop in Clearwater, Florida, in 1975 much to the displeasure of the populace. Sandy and her husband at this time were diligently working their way up the ladder in the Sea Org. Her son was born in 1979. Then this couple was assigned to work at one of the larger Scientology organizations in California; they both were given positions of responsibility and authority, all the while being paid a meager twenty-five dollars a week pay while Hubbard’s empire was taking in millions every month. Hubbard was not much on sharing wealth.
During the early 1980’s Scientology was racked by internal disputes; this was the first real crack in the Scientology monolith. Scientologists were being purged, others were quitting in droves. Sandy and her husband were both given the Order of the Boot by the young rulers. Hubbard himself was in deep hiding from the IRS and the lawyers of former members; David Miscavige was at this time first making a name for himself.
Scientology treated Sandy with the same contempt as others who were expelled. She was shoved out the door with almost no money, no bank account, no credit card with little more than the clothes on her back and a young son in her arms. Her husband got the same treatment.
This story is a cautionary tale about belief and betrayal. Does Scientology still treat it’s members like cattle? Just read about the death of Lisa McPherson and decide for yourself.
Project Normandy was the plan to take over Clearwater. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Normandy