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Saturday, 22 December 2012
Kendra's Scientology Story PDF Print E-mail
Personal Stories - Born into Scientology

Anyone who has ever been on staff at any org will have a very good idea of what life at CCHR was like. Some of the highlights:

dot.gif Minors who worked at CCHR, myself included, were routinely required to work overtime, sometimes up to 20-hour days, and were not compensated for it. No one complained, of course, because the general attitude was that anyone who complained about little things like pay was "downstat", "counter intention" and "not on board". Anyone who complained or raised protest about the work environment was made to feel guilty and out-ethics. Truth be told, I never considered complaining about it, because hey, the evil psychs were working overtime, and there were thousands of them! There were only a few of us, so we had to work three times as hard to defeat them. Whatever that means.

dot.gif One time, when CCHR was doing fundraising, my friend (also a minor) and I were taken off our normal duties and made to join the rest of the organization in a fundraising drive. We were given a certain quota and told we could not go home until it was met. Other people started going home, but we were asked to stay. We were there until 1AM because though it was too late to call people in Los Angeles, we could still call people in Hawaii. Around 1 or 2AM, we were only $300.00 away from our quota, and my friend finally had to ask her dad to donate the money so that we could both go home. At the time, I felt like I'd really accomplished something good by staying to raise the money.

dot.gif When I started on staff there, I told the Executive Director that I was not a Scientologist, and did not want to do any courses. I was informed in a private meeting between the two of us that that was OK, but I would have to do my Staff Status I and II as part of my job training. I reluctantly consented to that. Myself and everyone else at CCHR was required to go on course during work hours, but also required to work a full 8-hour day. We were not compensated for time on course, because CCHR paid for our courses. This applied whether we wanted to do the courses or not. I was later informed that I would have to do the PTS/SP course after my Staff Status courses, and I suddenly realized that I had been lied to, and that there would always be another course I was required to do as "job training". No one had any intention of letting me be a non-Scientologist. From what I now understand, it is illegal to force employees to do courses in a particular religion, whether it's called "job training" or not.

dot.gifStaff from the research department were routinely pulled off post to do research jobs for OSA. We infiltrated psych meetings, and dug up as much dirt as we could on whichever psychiatrist was the enemy du jour, linking them (however dubiously) to nefarious world-wide conspiracies. I'd rather not get into all the details of this here, but I genuinely hope that no "research" that I so unthinkingly put together was instrumental in destroying anyone's career. Since Scientologists believe that every "psych" is a criminal, we felt that any psych we chose to investigate would definitely have a criminal past. If we couldn't find evidence of any criminal activity, it was generally supposed that it was just because that psych had never been caught, and therefore there was no record of the psych's crimes. Guilty until proven guilty.

dot.gif Members of CCHR put down and ridiculed non-Scientology anti-psych groups as "crazy". Because I was in the research department, I was constantly digging up psych-related data online. One day, I ran across another group of people who considered themselves psych-survivors. Their message was almost identical to ours, and they'd really experienced psych-abuse first hand. I was so excited, I ran and told my senior about it. To my surprise, she already knew about them, but discounted them as "people we didn't want to have anything to do with." I thought that was rather counter productive, but it turned out that the general consensus among CCHR staff was that these people had been too damaged by psychiatry, and were no longer fully sane. I remember thinking that this was a huge outpoint. I mean, here were the people we were trying to help, right? And they already agreed with our message, right? So why weren't we allies? But as I started surfing this other group's webring, I found that almost every page contained a disclaimer stating: "We are not affiliated with CCHR or the Church of Scientology". I remember wondering what exactly we were doing wrong that was prompting these people to disassociate from us. However, I was asked to drop this line of research, so I did.

dot.gifSickness was routinely treated by staff and superiors as the fault of the sick person. When I came down with strep throat, pink eye and a sinus infection on the same day, I figured it would be alright to go home and rest, especially with my nearly perfect attendance record taken into account. My immediate superior was sympathetic, and I was sent to the doctor, and taken home with orders to rest for a week. The next morning, however, I received a call on my private phone line from the HAS, demanding that I return to work immediately. My superior also called and accused me of "out ethics" and "blowing from post". Scared, I got out of bed, got dressed, and went to ask my dad for a ride to work.

He adamantly refused, ordered me to get back in bed, saying that I was in no condition to go to work, and should be resting. I told him I'd been ordered into the org, and he insisted on calling them on my behalf. Of course, when my dad confronted the HAS, the HAS responded "Yes, Mr. Wiseman, of course Mr. Wiseman". But the moment I got back into my room, my own phone began to ring. As I suspected, the HAS called me back to say, "If you want to be treated as an adult, don't you dare have daddy call me!" The rest of the day I received several similar calls from other irate co-workers – one threatening to take ethics action on me because she had discovered that my desk was messy. I didn't tell my parents about these calls for fear of further ethics action. Rather than risk any more hassle, I went to work the following day. I was 16 at the time. Two of my friends who worked there during that time have similar stories, but those are not mine to tell.

dot.gif I was put in two separate treason conditions for losing my keys. The first time I left them in the upstairs bathroom for 1 hour. The second time, they fell down the elevator shaft by accident while I was walking out of the elevator. Even though I fished them out of the elevator shaft with a hanger and a magnet, severe ethics actions were undertaken, because I ran into the org to get the hanger & magnet, thereby leaving my keys "unattended". In the elevator shaft. In the basement. It makes my brain 'splode just thinking about it.

dot.gif The first and last time I ever kissed a woman (with sexy results!) was at a private party held at a friend's house on my day off. Silly me – I kissed her in front of a Sea Org member. A Sea Org member who, predictably, went home and immediately wrote a full-length knowledge report on what she had seen, and sent it to my senior, my parents, and the org. I was disciplined for this at work, and cautioned against this behavior at home. And lemme tell ya, there's nothing more embarrassing than your boss and your dad reading a full blow-by-blow of your one and only lesbian experience. Jesus Christ.

dot.gif While I wore business-casual clothes at work, I was in the happy habit of dressing like a train wreck on my weekends and off time. I'm a firm believer that what I wear when I'm not at work is my business and no one else's. However, someone who knew where I worked saw me out and about one Sunday, and reported my sloppy appearance to the ED. I was disciplined accordingly, and the ED told me that I needed to start dressing like an "upstat" on the weekends.

dot.gif During my time there, I was ordered by the Executive Director over my protests to attend an OSA recruitment meeting during my meal break. I informed her I wouldn't be joining, so there was no point – but it was Wednesday (almost Thursday at 2:00), OSA needed the stat, and I was required to attend. Irate, I marched across the street to the HGB (Hubbard Guarantee Building), and was whisked upstairs into a plush conference room. As in any typical Sea Org recruitment meeting, my life goals were criticized, my current contributions to "wiping out psychiatry" decried as not good enough. "Don't you want to help us clear the planet?" they said. "No," I replied. "I want all religions to have the chance to help people without psychiatric interference, not just Scientology." You shoulda seen their faces.

These complaints, and others I haven't listed here, may seem petty to the casual observer. But what they amounted to was a complete invasion of privacy and dignity as an individual. Sleep deprived, receiving contradictory orders, being demanded to "make it go right" when doing so was actually out of the realm of human possibility, only being as "good as your last up-statistic"… these things can destroy your soul. There are some things that I'm not comfortable revealing because they had to do with the exact nature of the work I did for CCHR, but on a personal and psychological level, those were key factors in my defection.

(Um, not that they're going to appreciate it or anything, but I'd just like to say that Marla and Carrie, if either of you are reading this, I still love the pants off of you.)

In any case, it was the OSA recruitment session, coupled with two other final straws, that ended up breaking the camel's back.

Straw Number One Growing up in Scientology, certain concepts are so pervasive in society that they are taken for granted. One is that kids in public schools are constantly having psychiatric medication rammed down their throats. Two, that you are somehow special, because you have knowledge "other kids don't have". Three is that the OT materials contain the secrets to the universe.

Whether these things are insinuated, implied, or directly told to you by your peers and mentors, they are key elements in the minds of most Scientology youth. At that point, I had managed to make friends with a few public high school students, and none of them were on psych drugs. Most public high school kids also seemed better educated than I was, and better able to socialize with the outside world, so I was fairly certain it was I who was missing out. But disproving the fact that the OT materials would give me the power to levitate and light my own cigarettes just by thinking about it was somewhat more difficult.

I'd read all the Xenu information on Clambake, and of course, I totally disbelieved what I'd read. After all, how could that be? I had been a Scientologist my whole life. My parents were Scientologists, OT7 and OT8. I knew plenty of other OTs. And I had never, *ever*, even heard the word "Xenu" or "body thetan". Besides, I read the materials and I didn't come down with pneumonia and die, so clearly these weren't the real material. Clearly the people on Clambake were nuts, just as I'd been told.

So where to go for real information? I just had to know. On the one hand, if those materials contained the secrets to the universe, I would be willing to put up with any number of abuses, admit I was wrong, and get my ass in session. If there was any chance that I'd be able to make ponies appear out of mid-air by getting back in the good graces of the church, then that's what I would do.

On the other hand, what if I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the next 10 years of my life working up to OTIII only to discover that it was all bullshit? What if, as I have remarked in previous posts, it was just a dangling carrot? By then I would have wasted my youth and my happiness for nothing.

So I waited, and kept my eyes open. One day, and I won't state how and I won't state who and I won't state when, I had an opportunity to sneak a peak at someone's secret OT material's briefcase. That person had left their materials unattended, and I wasted no time cracking that baby open. What I found wasn't much – but there were references to B/Ts, clusters, and whole-track incidents.

I have to tell you – confirmation of the Xenu story was the last thing I expected to see in there. But there it was. I was shocked. I put everything back just as I'd found it, and I knew to keep very quiet about what I had read.

Straw Number Two It was Christmas 1999, and my head was in a sorry state. I'd spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my family, and was aching to see my best friend. My parents headed out to dinner, and I let them know I'd catch up with them later. Instead, I went to my best friend's house. When my dad finally figured out I wouldn't be showing for dinner, he called me understandably angry. I assured him I was fine, and that I'd be home "tomorrow". What he heard, and I think to this day still believes, was that I said "at twelve". In any case, there was a misunderstanding somewhere down the line. So there I am at my friend's place around 1AM, and we've managed to wheedle 4 bottles of beer out of the local convenience store clerk, and we're having a lovely old time listening to Velvet Underground in the basement, when I hear my dad's voice outside.

I'll skip all the nasty bits, but it came down to this: I was told that my behavior would be reported to CCHR and the org the following day. I'd *just* worked my way out of a long treason condition for the keys-down-the-elevator-shaft incident, and before that for kissing a girl, and before that for leaving my keys in the bathroom, and before that for skipping course. (If anyone over at OSA is curious what my crimes were/are, there you have them – go to town. I'd like a mention on the RFW site as "Keydropping Lesbian", please.) The thought of yet another two months living in everyone's bad graces made me shudder. I thought of routing out the right way, but memories of the magical, never-ending sec check quashed that notion.

The camel's back broke.

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