Bob and Sharon Graham were veteran Scientologists who had quite a tale to tell when they finally got out. Sad to say that I have studied Scientology so long that I can actually follow this word salad of in-group slang. For the sake of brevity I am going to show only two instances of just how Scientology works, the first is on the Scientology slave ship, Freewinds, and secondly, the dangerous farce that plays out when auditing is substituted for real medical care.
On my route to “Total Freedom” there were also expensive side trips like the one which my wife and I were reged to go to the ship in 2004. The reges painted the picture of a Freewinds cruise as a wonderful 2 week vacation where one could relax, tour the Caribbean, take Freewinds specific courses and receive auditing in an atmosphere of total safety and comfort. We were suckers for this pitch because the previous year we had taken a Royal Caribbean cruise and loved it. Well, let’s just say that those who sold us on this Freewinds cruise didn’t know what they were talking about or they were intentionally lying their asses off because this cruise was anything but relaxing and/or fun. After shelling out the money for the “cruise” we arrived at the ship to discover that this was only the beginning of a much larger and more expensive reg cycle. Upon boarding the ship, all of our Identification and passports were taken and locked up for “safe keeping.” At first I objected having our identification removed because it made no sense but finally we acquiesced and handed it over, once informed it was LRH “policy.” I believe that removing one’s identification is actually done so there is no escape, even when the ship is in port. Without an ID and passport we were effectively prisoners and we weren’t going anywhere without permission. We were trapped on that damned ship with no way off!
Once we were far out to sea, I was given the R factor that I had been CSd to do a more advanced course than the one I previously purchased which was thousands of dollars extra. Then, once the reges found out I had reserves, I was fair game and every other day was body routed to reges to buy auditing hours, more courses, food, berthing upgrades, IAS donations, etc. – etc. – etc. I felt there was no choice but do as we were told and try to hold off the IAS bastards from taking all of our money plus any available credit on credit cards. We were also told that our courses would take 5 days full time, but we were there for 5 weeks at their mercy, doing courses from 9 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week. The alternative was to be sent to ethics and/or sec checked until “God knows when.” Besides, it was made perfectly clear that we would NOT be leaving the ship until we had successfully completed our “programs.” On Friday nights, just when we thought we could relax and enjoy a few hours to ourselves, staff would come to our cabin and beat on the doors until we answered. Then, we were marched off to the auditorium to partake of Friday night completions, announcements and Scientology PR while all the exits were guarded by staff so no one could leave.
But, I have to give credit where credit is due. The food on the ship was fantastic. They have some excellent chefs on staff but sometimes I wondered if the crew was eating rice and beans because some of them looked quite pallid and gaunt, along with their over the top, militaristic attitude. In hind sight, maybe they were just hungry! This cruise was the polar opposite of the one we took a year earlier on the Royal Caribbean! There was one time, where I found myself on a short break from course so off I went to the workout room for some exercise, but within 10 minutes, a staff member came in and demanded to know why I wasn’t on course or in session. I explained that I was on a break and getting some badly needed exercise that I hoped would help me sleep at night. She then, proceeded to berate me for being out ethics and told me that I should be contributing to the motion of “clearing the planet,” not being the effect of my body and wasting time exercising. Now, I understood why the exercise room, filed with workout machines, was always empty! In hindsight, I doubt if this were a chance meeting since virtually nothing is left to chance on that ship. My best guess is that there was a reality adjustment intended for me but whatever it was, it missed the mark and only made me think these people on this ship are nuts!
The Freewinds cruise turned into a stressful, month-long ordeal, but it gave us some insight into what it must be like for Sea Org members. I cannot fathom living where every moment of one’s life is planned, structured and lived for the purpose of “clearing the planet.” They all have to know, deep down, it’s nonsense. I wonder how many of those who join the Sea Org, originally sign up because of some personal need for absolute, structure in their lives, then get trapped with no way out. I simply don’t know or understand why someone would desire that life style. But on the positive side, for me, the Freewinds experience started the process of questioning the fact that if all these lies need to be told to get people to do services, then maybe… there was something awfully wrong with the whole damn thing.
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Previous to all this, In 1984 I married a non Scientologist who was open to learn about the subject. Sharon struggled with Scientology right from the beginning, but continued doing courses and receiving auditing on and off for years. Then, in 1991, after major surgery, she developed health issues that mimicked postpartum symptoms with severe body pains. To make a very long story short, she had countless hours of auditing and repairs, trying to handle her “PTS situation” to no avail. She received auditing at AOLA, Celebrity Center, Santa Barbara, Ventura and she even went half way across the country to a mission in Louisiana, each one promising they had the “why” on what was wrong. We were desperate to find out why she was not doing well, so each time we would drink the cool aid and buy services at these Orgs and Missions hoping that they could deliver the “tech” correctly in hopes she would recover and be well again. In retrospect, it seems the staff at these orgs was totally focused on “getting the money” and didn’t really believe there was “standard tech.” I say that because each church would take our money and tell us, “Only, they had the 100% correct tech to handle her condition.” But, In fact, each time she would just get worse. There is a whole other story here that I won’t go into at this time, but after she left Scientology a friend recommended she go to a doctor that specialized in bio identical hormones. After a few weeks of balancing her hormones, Sharon magically became a “well and happy human being” once again. Recently, she told me that before we made the decision to leave Scientology…and all their “cures,” she thought she was going to die. She felt for her own survival, she had to get away from it and find a doctor that knew how to diagnose her condition. She was 100% right and the “tech” almost did her in. Worse yet, every time the “tech” didn’t work, various terminals within Scientology would tell me, that she was “no case gain” and/or PTS, at best. I am sorry to say that Sharon did not get the support from me that she deserved, but that is all behind us now that we are out of the craziness of it all.
To read the rest of this go to Mike Rinder’s blog here: http://www.mikerindersblog.org/bob-sharon-graham/
For more on the Scientology slave ship go here: