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My Ten Years In Scientology -- Part One


(Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation (For 10 Years))

By Jerry E. Smith 


[This was written over a decade ago and much of the information on prices and organizational structure is probably no longer valid.]



Back in the late '60s three friends, Jim Keith and Larry Neilson, and myself were publishing a small press science fiction fan magazine [fanzine]. We received an article for our fanzine from an old time science fiction fan and Dianetic "Clear" named Jack Harness (for an understanding of "Clear" read Dianetics: Modern Science of Mental Health) (more on "Clear" below). Jack's article was entitled Non-fiction and was a discription of incidents that he said he had remembered from 3 billion years worth of his past lives, with connective material of scenes from the Dianetic "auditing" that had allowed him to remember it.

I thought it was all hogwash. I had known Jack for a short while through science fiction "fandom" before receiving his article – we were all members of The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society – and I thought that if he was clear then Clear was something that I very definitely never wanted to be. Poor Jack struck me as being about as clear as mud.

But Jim Keith was intrigued and launched into reading every book on or about L. Ron Hubbard [LRH], Dianetics [Dn] or Scientology [Scn] he could get his hands on. About that time our untitled fanzine died and I went to Klamath Falls [K Falls], Oregon [OR] and Jim Keith went to Kansas City [KC], Missouri [MO].

By the time I saw him again nearly four years later in K Falls, in 1974, he was a devotee of LRH, had been on staff for a while and had had quite a bit of "auditing" (also called "processing" or "pastoral counseling"). Larry Neilson too had gotten into, and out of, Scn.

Jim Keith moved into my place in K Falls. Just about every day he would go on about his great "wins" and the superiority of the "Tech." At first I was still a scoffer, but eventually he got me reading LRH and soon I was hooked.

Jim, Larry and Jack are all now deceased. Jack recently died of old age, Jim broke his knee at Burning Man and died of a blood clot to the lung a few days later – I am convinced it was medical malpractice and/or a "hit" that did him in. Larry was the first to go and Jim and I held Scientology partially responsible for his death. Scn does not allow its practitioners to use drugs. And they get rather carried away on this point. The most abject example of this is Larry’s. He was an epileptic. He took drugs to curb this problem. Scn doesn't like drugs, and especially what it considers "psychiatric drugs." They ordered him to stay off his anti-epileptic drugs. One day while bathing (in 1984, I think) he had a seizure and drowned. If he had been on his medication he might be alive today.

In reading just the introduction to Dianetics: Modern Science Of Mental Health [D:MSMH or Book One, because it was the first book published on the subject] I realized that if this were true it was the hottest thing to hit the planet since fire. But how do you find out if it's true without spending a fortune on auditing? In those days auditing cost about the same as psychiatry, about $50 per hour, today it is 10 to 20 times that amount!


Shortly after Jim Keith moved in with me I attended a Science Fiction [sf, or sci-fi] Convention [con] in San Francisco [S. F.], July 4th weekend, 1975. While in the Bay Area I stayed with another mutual friend of ours, The Mad Hatter [Hatter]. After the con ended I realized that I should drop in to the local Church of Scientology [C of S] before returning to Southern Oregon (a Scn free zone at that time).

That casual visit resulted in my joining staff there and living in the Bay Area for three horrible months. I came to hate S. F., but that's another story...

Why did I join?

I went in just to see what it was like, literally, to see what Scn looked like.

The Scn Organization [org] was located in the Son's of the Pioneers building just off S. F.'s Theater District. It was an ancient building constructed soon after the big earthquake of 1906. The org was on the third and fifth floors with the Better Business Bureau [BBB] sandwiched in between on the fourth floor. Later I discovered the irony that at that time the C of S was seeing the BBB. The building was crumbling and looked like it was suffering from leprosy. The org’s facilities were mostly make shift. Walls made out of filling cabinets, some desks made out of milk crates and doors, hunks of old carpet almost randomly spread on amazingly lumpy floors...

The staff didn't look all that much better. There were very few smiling faces. There was a kind of hurried, desperate atmosphere about the place. One thing that bothered me about the staff appearance was that they all looked seriously straight, not one long haired male in the group, and in 1975 having short hair was being Big Time lame. There were some awfully pretty girls there though. If any one has the address for a girl who called herself Aurora Firebird...

While I was there that first day, they had me take something called the Oxford Capacity Analysis [OCA] and an IQ [IQ] test, and see a movie while the tests were being graded. The film was an interview between some lame looking dude from Australia and Hubbard. LRH sounded good, he looked good, he was pretty convincing.

Then I got my tests reviewed. The girl going over my test scores (her name was Chris and she was beautiful, single, and about 14 inches taller than me!) found some areas of my personality that I wanted to improve. She said they had a course that would do just that, the Communications Course ([Comm Crs] graduation from which earns one the certificate of Hubbard Apprentice Scientologist [HAS]).

A Word about the Comm Crs: DO IT! I have asked hundreds of Scnists what single action in Scn brought them the most gain, blew them out the most, and the overwhelming majority said the Comm Crs. That is why it is offered first, 'cuz its the best they've got! It is going to really change your life -- and after that you'll be thinking "If just the introductory course can do this, what else is there in Scientology for me?" Go into your local org -- don't give 'em your real name or address! -- do the course and get out -- and stay out!

But the Comm Crs cost $25 then and I only had $7 or so left after attending the con and hanging out in S. F. for a week. So, when I didn't sign up for the course she had me put on the sidewalk.

Well, standing there on the sidewalk I told myself that I had come there to learn about Scientology, not sidewalks! and turned around and went back in. Bad move.

Jim Keith had told me about being on staff and how staff members get their services (training and auditing) for free. So I walked up to the reception desk and said, "I want to find out about joining staff."

The receptionist, one of the sexiest blondes I have ever seen, led me to the Director of Registration [Dir Reg] ("Director" is the title given to the head of a Department within the Scn organizational scheme, there are 21 departments in a standard org).

The Dir Reg has nothing to do with hiring, that's Personnel's job [Personnel is in Division One, The Hubbard Communications Office or HCO or just Div 1] (Each Division as three departments, Personnel is Division 1, Department 1; Registration is Division 2, Dept. 6).

But, the rule in Scn orgs is, if you recruit 'em, you get 'em, and he was anxious to recruit me for his area. As you might imagine, all orgs are chronically understaffed. The basic Scn org board has positions for literally thousands of staff, yet most orgs only have 30 to 80 full time staff.

While they call the physical area, and the division, of the org where students are signed up for new courses Registration, like in regular schools, it is really the sales division.

It is called on the organizing board [org board] Division Two, The Dissemination Division [Dissem Div or Div 2]. In Div 2 is the org's magazine (every org publishes at least one mag); also the org's bookstore where books by LRH and course and auditing materials are sold; Central Files [CF]; and the Registrars [reges or regs], which include the Letter Registrars [letter regs] who get people who have had some contact with the org (such as having bought a book or having attended an introductory service, or some "major service," like an Academy crs or received some auditing) to come in for more service; and the Body Regs who sign up students who are physically in the org.

Dissem covers the re-sign line (students and pre-clears completing a service and being signed up, or "regged," for their next service), while Division Six, The Public Division, covers getting new people into the org. It was in Div 6 that I took the tests and was interviewed, and it would have been in a Div 6 crs room where I would have taken the Comm Crs.

Major courses, like The Academy Levels (Classifications of Auditor training levels 0 through IV, a graduate of which is a Class IV Auditor and receives the Certificate of a Hubbard Advanced Auditor [HAA]) or like The New Era Dianetics Course (Cl. V Auditor, which earns the Hubbard New Era Dianetics Auditor [HNEDA] Certificate) are done in the Technical Division [Tech Div or Div 4] after being signed up in Dissem (and paying in Treasury, Div 3).

Well, the Dir Reg, Dan Smith, interviewed me, and when he was convinced that I was legit he gave me the staff application form. It was 22 pages long! I took it and filled it out. Another bad move.

I was guessing that he couldn't really tell me much about staff until after he determined if, or for what, I was qualified. It took a couple of hours to fill out that form and by the time I finished it was after six o'clock.

SFO, like most big city Scn orgs, is really two completely separate orgs in the same building, the Day Org [SFO Day] which has the facility during the day and the Foundation Org [SFO F, or SFO Fdn] which has it at night and weekends (the Fdn org trains the Day Org's staff, and vice verses, students on full time training attend classes under both orgs.).

I had come in during Day Org's time and finished the form on Fdn hours and Dan, Dir Reg SFO Day, had to get to study. So, he asked me to come back the next day.

Now remember, I wanted to know about joining staff. The next day I waltzed in and Dan's jaw dropped, he was sure he'd never see me again! Not knowing what to do, he said, "This is John Schonenburg, he's the CF Officer and he'll keep you busy for a while."

As soon as he was gone I asked John what a "CF Officer" was. CF is Central Files, and that is where all correspondence between the org and its public is filed, as well as copies of receipts for purchases from the bookstore and routing forms for beginning and ending services. If you have ever received a letter from a Scn org, or mailed something to them, that is were you will find it (or a copy of it). Forever! It is a crime in Scn to discard or destroy CF. "Working" CF is one of the org's principle income sources. That is why once you are on a mailing list you never get off. The only way to get off a Scn mailing list is to threaten to take legal action, or mark your letters "deceased, return to sender." An "Officer" is a section head, the position below Dept. head. Beneath Officers are unit heads called In-Charges [I/Cs].

So, I filed letters all morning. I mean, like I didn't have anything better to do, I was just hanging out on my summer vacation, right?

One wild thing that developed from this morning of filing was that I found the CF file of a musician I was a fan of! I wrote him and a few weeks later went out to visit him. He and his wife and small child were living in Marin. They were nice folks, but very anti-Scn, which I had a hard time with.

A few months before coming to S. F. I had quit my regular job as a bus boy, having burned out on restaurant work. I had been doing farm labor, working in the onion fields with dozens of pretty High School girls! So I had no set date I had to get home, and I really had nothing urging me back to K Falls. I had just gotten over a disastrous love affair and the only person in K Falls I really gave much of a damn about was Jim Keith, and he could wait.

One nagging tug to get home was that I was "running for County Commissioner," but it was mostly a joke. I was an independent candidate with neither party nor campaign funds, and my platform was taken from a cross between Mother Earth News and The Tao De Ching. In fact, my line was not that I was running, but "hitch hiking" for office.

After lunch the Dir Reg called me over to his desk. He's amazed, I'm still there. He filled out something and handed it to me to sign. It is a receipt of some kind for something called Staff Status 0 and it said that I agreed to pay $50 if I didn't sign a staff contract. I hadn't a clue what it was, but I signed anyway – go figure.

Staff Status 0 [SS0] turned out to be a course to orientate new staff to the org. It was fun and took me about 20 minutes (later I discovered it was a 2 hours course and I had just set a record).

When I finished the course the Dir Reg signed me up on another one, Staff Status 1 [SS1], with another of these curious receipts. It was a two day course that I finished that night, setting another record. It was a simple course of the basic rules, or "policies" that Scn orgs operated on and what was considered the fundamental knowledge that a staffer needed to know to do his job. Where SS0 had been a physical orientation -- find the div 4 course room, find the Executive Director [ED]'s office, that sort of thing, SS1 was a sit down read of policy.

When I came in the next morning, my third day "in Scientology," I was routed on to SS2.

Staff Status 2 is required for permanent posting to a position within the org. It is a three month course intended to make a person fully acquainted with the major policies and principles that Scn organizations operated under. I, of course, finished in only two months.

It was late in that third day of this whirlwind of staff training that I realized that I had just signed "staff debit vouchers" for SS0 at $50, SS1 at $250 and SS2 at $500. If I didn't join staff I suddenly owed $800!

Now what do I do? I asked myself. I had no money, I was staying on a friend's couch (who was getting a bit fed up with my prolonging my visit), Jim Keith was living in my house 350 miles away and I had no contact with him and had no idea what the hell was going on there, and somehow, without hardly even realizing it I had just become a Scientologist [Scnist]!

I really was enjoying the data I was learning. I studied four hours a night and for the first two months -- until I finished SS2 -- all day as well. I was studying mostly Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letters ([HCO PLs].

LHR's raps, usually one to four pages long, about how to get this or that done or why this or that screws up, are, for the most part quite brilliant. PLs are the daily record of the thirty plus years of his instructions on how to run his orgs. And considering that Scn is a multi-billion dollar industry today he couldn't have been all wrong. Even now I highly recommend reading PLs, there really is a body wisdom there.

In terms of organizations I was very uneducated. I was only a high school grad and while well read, I had never worked anywhere but in restaurants, I had never been in the military and simply had no idea what a big corporate reality was like.

But I had just come from two years of communal living in K Falls and reading these PLs I was realizing why the several communes I had been involved with had failed and I was really blowing out.

Also, I was beginning to see what was wrong with county government and to realize the magnitude of the task I would have had in correcting these problems, if I had gotten elected.

It occurred to me, after several weeks of reading and studying this material, that even if the auditing technology [The Tech] were a hoax, using just this Administrative Technology [Admin Tech] we could have a sane civilization in, I guessed, maybe 500 years or so.

Another thing that helped to convince me to stay was the I Ching.

I had been using the oracle nearly daily for about 6 years and it really was my religion then. I was convinced that it was perfect and infallible. About my fourth day on staff I asked the I Ching what it thought of Scn. The reading was Progress, changing to Abundance. I took that to mean that the I Ching thought that I had come into contact with a belief system, with a body of wisdom, superior to it and that I should become a Scnist with all haste. That's really what convinced me to stick it out in S. F. No, I don't use the I Ching any more either, wonder why...

And another occurrence that helped convince me to "hang in there" was hearing a very remarkable tape recording of a lecture given by LRH. I had been at SFO about a week when a group of regs from The Advanced Organization of Los Angeles [AOLA] held an event to sell upper level training and processing. The tape they played at this event was called "Principle Events On The Whole Track." The "track" referred to here is the "time track" of history (picking up the idea from movie "sound tracks"), and the Whole Track is the entire history of this Universe, which Hubbard claims is some 76 trillion years old.

In this tape LRH runs down the major events of the last 76 trillion years! Needless to say, as a die hard sci-fi fan I was enthralled. Pure space opera!

Since hearing that tape I have heard much more on the Whole Track and I am afraid I have it all a bit muddled in me head. You can go into any Scn org and ask to listen to a tape; they usually charge $2 to $5 for a two hour "tape play." Some other tapes on the Whole track that are real mind blowing are "The Free Being" and "The Role of Earth." All together there are perhaps thousands of hours of Hubbard's lectures on tape.

As best as I can recall...

Scn says this sector of the galaxy experienced a catastrophe that nearly wiped out all life. The details are vague, and contradictory, and much is kept "confidential" as part of OT III material [OT is "Operating Thetan" -- Thetan is the word Scn uses in place of older words for That Which Is Aware Of Being Aware, i.e. your soul, that which is not your body but that which animates the body and is self aware, i.e. You. An OT is supposed to be able to operate independently of the human body and at a level high above that of Normal Human. OT is the highest level of Scn Processing, of which there are some 15 OT Levels {each fabulously expensive to attain}.].

This catastrophe, as best as I can make it out, is something about a handful of beings who tried to take over the galaxy and designed an "incident" that would lodge in the sub-conscious of all intelligent life in this sector, something having to do will filling volcanoes with people and setting off A-bombs... You may have seen this on South Park

A while later, somewhere around 100 to 300 million years ago "The Old Biological Survey" came by earth and found it virtually a desert and started running up experimental life forms in its orbiting culture vats. This partially "repopulated" the earth after this great disaster. Some of the animals their designers came up with were "jokes," thusly explaining the duck-billed platypus.

Somewhere around this same time another star-going culture decided to use the earth as a rest and relaxation [R & R] shore leave zone, since the earth had no indigenous intelligent life then {personally, I am not convinced it does yet}. They "terraformed" the earth into a big garden and pleasure zone, giving us the incredible variety of life found here today.

Somewhere around 700,000 to 1 million years ago, however, the property (Earth) changed hands. The Markab Confederacy is a government of some 28 planetary systems and a bureaucracy some 1 to 2 million years old. The Markabs have kept their government together so long because it is completely homogenized; no left, no right, no radicals, no geniuses, nothing that could possibly disturb the status quo. Markab operates three planets as prisons where they dump their unwanted: the criminals, the boat rockers, the reformers, etc. They do this by a variety of means, but the individuals arrive on Earth (one of the three prison planets) sans body; often by being dropped from a hovering space ship into the ocean while their Thetan is confined in an ice cube or a small box whose inner surfaces are all mirrors.

If you want to know what Markab is like, watch a movie set in the mid-thirties; Markab supposedly looks just like Middle America, circa 1933, mid-calf dresses, Packards, and all.

And so you see, this really is the best, and worst, of all possible worlds, for we have here among us the greatest artists, geniuses, and criminals of 28 star systems, and life forms gathered from hundreds of worlds as well us many unique to earth. So, of course we have a few intergalactic tourists drop in to check it out (explaining a few of the UFOs seen through the millennia).

Once a Markabian prisoner has arrived on the Earth, life here is so harsh that they never get "destimulated" enough to remember who they are, or what they are. Meanwhile, the Markabian overlords keep the situation on Earth stirred up; wars and all manor of disasters not just playing into their hands but being initiated as needed. Of course, phony organized religions, especially those that deny past lives, are very useful to the Markabs.

Several times, it appears, the Earth has achieved a level of civilization similar to what we have today, only to destroy itself in Markabian stimulated atomic War. The "nuclear winter"s from each of these initiated the Ice Ages.

And if periodic atomic war wasn't enough, when the Markabian prisoners die they have been imprinted with a hypnotic command to report to an "implant station" to have the implants to stay on this planet and report at death re-imprinted, so there can be no "prison break." One of these implant stations is located in the Pyrenees.

There are also disembodied beings, called the "between lives crew" who locate the recently dead and direct them to the implant stations. However, not all the beings in the "between lives zone" are Markabians, nor are they all good guys as some "channellers" would have us believe. Some of the "channeled" entities are real beings, members of this group, unfortunately, most are liars. This message is emphasized, as only Scn Tech trained OTs can handle and survive the between lives zone.

And just to make sure no one gets away, the Markabs have interstellar "gun boats" orbiting Jupiter (these also turn away any attempts by outsiders to contact us; the few who get through (if you believe in UFO contactees) are either lucky or sneaky).

But that's not the half of it! The Markabians had a little problem back a few thousand years ago (at the time of the building of the pyramids). It seems that two other cultures tried to take over this planet.

The Markabs ducked out of sight and let them (Hubbard refers to them as the Fourth and Fifth Invader Forces) fight it out. One group set up on Mars, the other on Venus. One group built a giant space base under – you guessed it – the Great Pyramid. (The pyramids were built in two shifts. By day prisoners worked with standard for the time tools and equipment, but at night the "priests," with the Invader Force high-tech tools did the real work, the prisoners being just a "cover"). The Fourth and Fifth Invaders fought each other to a dead stand still and then retreated, not knowing the other had done the same. When the Fifth Invader Force (the guys on Mars) pulled out, they blew up all their equipment, inadvertently ripping off the planet's atmosphere with the force of the explosion!

You can tell the members of the Fifth Invader Force from normal earth humans (the majority Markabian population) by the fact that they think they have incredibly ugly hands.

Markab continues to operate this planet today, and that is what the majority of UFO sightings are...

The tape, "Principle Events On The Whole Track" heavies up on the Fourth and Fifth Invaders and the building of the pyramids. I was impressed, and I can't imagine why now, but I bought the story as being true.

Or, maybe, I can imagine why. Back in the late '60s I had occasionally gotten "flashes" of past lives, but couldn't really convince myself one way or the other if past lives were true or not. When I realized that Scn insisted that no person can get this "messed up" in one lifetime it "indicated" to me, as Scnists say.

Really, the whole basis of Scn auditing is past lives. Most auditing is undoing the damage of the past, a past millions, billions, trillions of years long. This getting rid of past life trauma to get a this life resurgence is called "negative gain." Of course negative gain only goes so far. The final result of negative gain is the state of Clear, were all the baggage of the past supposedly has been removed from the person. Then begins the road to positive gain, the OT [Operating Thetan] levels where one's abilities as an immortal spirit are supposedly rehabilitated. But you couldn't prove it by me, or any of the OT's I have met. Most of the OTs I know, and I know hundreds, are just as much a chowder head as any other Joe on this planet. And just as generally incompetent. But they sure are sure of themselves and their God-like abilities. Abilities which they cannot, or will not, demonstrate.

Scnists remember much of this stuff under processing {or at least think they do}. One Scn friend of mine claims to be on his third lifetime on this planet, as he had been the Captain of a Markabian patrol ship, but he had mutinied and was shot down by other Markabs and his ship today sets at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

Another friend of mine thinks he has a starship hidden away underneath L. A.'s giant Griffith Park.

I know three Scnists who claim to have been Beethoven...

So far we have covered my first three months in Scn, go to the next page(s) for the rest of the story... http://www.jerryesmith.com/index.php/150


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