Moira Hutchison - My life in Scientology

Part I
January 27, 1997

I gave over two years of my life to working and learning how to run a Scientology Church, because I believed in the technology. My original involvement came about because I was depressed, had no self esteem and did not know where I was going in life. Scn appeared to give me a sense of focus. I am aware that it sheltered me from real life and it caused problems in my family relationships.

Originally I was very well respected by the higher management of Scn, due in particular to my ability to learn and apply new technology, policy etc. I was sent to L.A. to be trained in all of the policies written about running a Scn org, disseminating, training of auditors, communication and so on. This was a fairly brutal training regime. I was there for seven months, I had one day off and spent the rest of the time studying from 8:30am to 11:00pm, we had two 15 minute breaks and two half hour meal breaks. My stay there was supposed to be paid for by the Sea Org in the UK. However, I ended up working in the kitchen four afternoons a week in order to earn my keep.

While in LA, after doing an internship in ASHO I was approached and asked to stand in for one of their officers who had been called away for two weeks. I was there for a total of four weeks.

Attempts were made to recruit me to the upper levels of Scn management. However, although I felt honored to have this type of praise given to me, I insisted on going back to the UK. From what I saw, this level of management was fairly well looked after in comparison to the UK. They were given a weekly allowance, clothing and time off once a week. None of this happened in the UK.

Upon my return to the UK I found that I was to be made the ED in Edinburgh. The org now only comprised of 2 staff and less than 10 clients. Seven months prior to this, when I left Britain, this org consisted of 20 staff and circa 50 clients.

What had happened was that all of these people had 'defected' to form 'splinter groups'. This was slammed by the church, who called all of the people using this technology outside of the church's umbrella 'squirrels'. Members in good standing were forbidden to communicate with any of them.

This heralded the beginning of my struggle to keep an org running in Edinburgh, I was making some money with the sale of basic courses, materials and books. However, I inherited a £ 900.00 phone bill, £ 750.00 rates bill, £ 600.00 electric bill etc etc. The phone was disconnected and I had to use public phone boxes. I had several writs served for non-payment of bills. I was actually successful in talking a Sheriff out of auctioning all of the furniture in the org. All requests for financial help were ignored by the Sea Org. Of course, the money had to still be filtered upwards.

This added fuel to the niggling doubts I had started to have about the church and how it operated. After about a month of being the ED, the current COUK called me down to East Grinstead. This was an attempt to get me to 'confess my transgressions that I must have committed'. You see because I was now supposed to be a hot shot, I was expected to have the statistics of the org turned around and back to the level they had been prior to my departure to LA. One of the key issues here was that I was supposed to make money for the church. It did not matter that all resources were now depleted and any possible solution had to start back at the basics. It was considered not acceptable to hold seminars, workshops etc using the basic Dianetic information. The courses that I was signing people up for at this point ran at a cost of £ 20 - £ 40.

One day I made the mistake of telling one of my superior officers about a wonderful older lady that I had signed up to do a communication course. I was told that I had to sell the whole bridge to her. An officer was sent up from East Grinstead to facilitate this. I was harassed and chased by upper management to do this, they did not care for her well being. They just wanted the money.

Anyways, I was 'busted' as the ED twice. There was a new COUK now (the other one had been 'busted' for having an affair with an underage girl who baby-sat his children. In my first conversation with her she accused me of having destroyed the Org in Edinburgh. Shortly after this I was summoned to the Sea Org HQ in East Grinstead, supposedly for one day, I was kept there for a whole week so that I could complete a program very similar to the RPF where I had to write down all of my transgressions committed against the church and carry out menial physical duties.

I did this program three times in my time in Scn. I had been told I could complete my second one, by the Ethics Officer. The COUK saw that I had completed and she barked out an order to the Ethics Officer that there was no way that I was finished and I had to go back to the program until she felt I was done and my ethics were intact.

The second time I was 'busted' in Edinburgh I did not return to Edinburgh until I was out of the church. The COUK told me I was going to be primed for a top position (actually I would have been level with her in hierarchical terms). In order to prove my worthiness I was to be sent to Plymouth on a fact finding 'mission' with one other officer.

This was my second scn 'mission'; the first one I did was in London. Once I had finished what I was sent out to do, I returned to East Grinstead and gave my debrief. I should mention here also, that every time an officer returns to base from a mission, they have to have a confessional. I always had a problem with these as I would end up having an e-meter read on something out of the confessional listing. The read would be chased and chased until I was exhausted and nothing was ever found.

Anyways, upon my return to base after this mission I was accused of blowing from my duties because I had returned without the appropriate signoff by the COUK. We had called in to say we were done and going to return that day. Needless to say, that brought about an even more in depth confessional procedure followed by another stay in an ethics program.
Once my 'ethics were intact' I was told that I was going to be sent on a "garrison mission" to Plymouth. This is where a Sea Org Officer is sent to an Org, expected to perform miracles with the revenue and other statistics of org performance. It also usually meant that the officer was left there indefinitely.

So I went to Plymouth and did my best, as I always did. I was pregnant when I went to Plymouth. I miscarried in my fourth month (not really surprising due to my very poor diet and the fact that I worked seven days a week 8:00 am- 10:00pm). I wanted to take some time off to recover, the request was denied.

One of the clients of the org in Plymouth was a guy that I quickly became friends with. He was the first scientologist that I felt safe discussing my doubts & opinions with the structure, running and philosophies of the church. I found that he shared a lot of my opinions, although I had been far more exposed to the managerial politics than he. Shortly after my arrival in Plymouth he became a staff member. He wanted to help me make the Plymouth org the thriving, happy place it had once been. (Sounds similar to Edinburgh, doesn't it!?!)

My marriage had broken down right after my miscarriage (I was married to a guy who worked in Saint Hill). I got involved in an affair with this guy in Plymouth. You can imagine what happened when the Sea Org got wind of this. Three Sea Org Officers were sent to Plymouth to interrogate me and make me do yet another confessional!

I did the confessional, wrote up my transgressions, namely having an affair while still legally married to another. I wrote a list of every project I was working on, which client was doing what, who had been promised what. Upon completion of this, I went down a back set of stairs and left the building via the fire escape. This was due to a tacit agreement between my friend and myself that I had to leave.

The church made three attempts to get me to return. (I would have had to report straight to the RPF, of course!). In the third one, I was actually kidnapped to be taken to East Grinstead. I managed to jump off the train at the station before East Grinstead. Luckily I had enough money on me to pay for a train ticket back to Plymouth. Within a month I received a declaration stating that I was now classified as a Suppressive Person.

Reading all of this, you must be wondering what on earth made me so subservient, innocent and gullible. I was 17 when I got involved with the church, 20 when I left. I did like and agree with a lot of the technology itself, and this made me stick with it.

I received very little auditing while in the church, just some basic repair, confessional, word clearing, etc. I did also receive some Dianetic auditing and it did nothing for me. Something a lot of people did not know about me was that I had never read the book Dianetics a Modern Science of Mental Health. I had tried a few times but could never get into it.

I got involved with an auditor, based in Scotland, who delivered all of the upper Scn levels to me (OT 1-7 and L10-L12) after indicating that I was a 'natural clear'.
I can't say that I did not get anything out of the processing I received after leaving the church.

However, none of the levels delivered what all of the church hype wanted you to believe. It took a huge effort and a lot of work for me to rebuild my life after coming out of the church. I was 20, with very low self esteem, I had no real life work skills, I only had the qualifications I had graduated high school with. I had to rekindle all of my relationships with my family. I had to make new friends as the friends I had before Scn were all in Scotland and they had all moved on with their lives.

Ten years have passed since all of this happened. I view Scn with very different eyes now. My life experience in these past years has taught me that there is no one right path to lead us through this life, nor does any one person have the right to dictate a thought system, slandering all others.

The Scn Technology I was taught was focused a lot on freedoms; freedom from control, from self inflicted hang ups and so on. This, in my opinion, is where Scn gets its appeal, as we all want freedom in some form or another. However, in reality there is a large amount of fear in the people who work in the church. An opposing opinion meant an ethics investigation and handling. Depending on the severity of the opposition to the thought system, a person could be declared a Suppressive Person. Whenever this happened, in my experience, the remaining staff/officers would make statements like - "I always suspected he/she was suppressive". I am sure the same was said of me once I was declared.

I have to say that although I admit to having some success with some of the processing, my belief system has changed very much. I have grown up and taken charge of my life. One thing I can say that the whole experience has taught me is to ensure that I explore everything when any type of spiritual or philosophical train of thought or belief system comes my way. I will never allow myself to be involved with an organization which takes people out of the real world.

I feel very strongly that no one should become involved with the Church of Scientology. The setup I was exposed to was a hierarchy to make money. There was very little evidence of true caring for the clients by the management. Staff members become wrapped in a cause. The work hours and rules are so demanding, the real world ceases to exist.

I would like to offer my support to anyone having problems in breaking away from Scn.

Part II
February 5, 1997

I feel that I have started a flood of emotions and feelings that I was not aware of prior to writing my "Testimonial" about my life in Scientology.

I mentioned in my last writing that my belief system had changed very much. This has made me reflect even deeper than before and investigate the true extent of where I am at now.

I have previously discussed in general terms what the extent of my "ethics handlings" were. I am now going to try and go deeper into this, you will have to bear with me on this, it is still a pretty emotional area for me.

I have already explained to you all that I was very young when I went through this. This resulted in my acceptance of a lot of things that went on without questioning them. However, in climbing back into the real world it allows me to look back on my own experiences and those witnessed.

I was appointed to be the Executive Director in Edinburgh upon my return from LA. One month into this appointment, an officer was sent from the Sea Org in East Grinstead. His brief was to find out what suppressive act I was doing that inhibited the making a high level of GI (Gross Income) and having a lot of services being delivered. I was expected to be selling and delivering Scn levels to clients who did not even know what Dianetics were. Not only that, I did not have any staff members qualified to deliver these levels.

I need to digress here and tell you the reason I knew what the brief this officer was sent to Edinburgh with. Some time later, I was at the SO in East Grinstead and the officer in question was being sent to the RPF. He asked to talk to me privately before he left and he informed me of the above. He told me that he felt I was unfairly targeted with some heavy ethics handling.

Anyways, back to my story! It was awful, words can't totally explain what I felt. I was shut in a room with this officer for up to four hours at a time. I was constantly asked with various slants on the question, what CI (counter intention) I had to "clearing the planet", LRH, SCN, and Dianetics. This interrogation left me feeling like I was sitting on the edge of a huge black abyss. I got to the point that I would say anything to avoid being pushed any further.

The result of this interrogation was that I was sent to the SO. This was supposedly for one day, I returned to Edinburgh seven days later. Upon my arrival in the org, I was accused of blowing my ethics handling. This was because the Commanding Officer had not approved my leaving the SO. Rather, it was the Ethics Officer that said I was finished and "let's get me back home to kick some butt!!"

This leads me to another digression!! Wherever I was in the Cof S, I made friends and allies, people who really saw and understood who I was. A decent caring individual that believed in what I was doing - helping people with their "cases". The Ethics Officer was very kind to me and I got the impression he did not feel that I should even be there.

This first trip to my quasi-RPF program, I previously said that I had gone for a one day stay that turned into seven. You can imagine how degraded and dirty I felt. If you are going away for a day, you'd take your shampoo, toothbrush and change of underwear... Right!?! Because I did not understand what this program entailed, I had worn a skirt and heels. I had to spend 5-6 hours a day writing up my transgressions, the rest of my time I was on kitchen and cleaning duty. I was heckled and ordered about by other officers - "eyes to the ground", "run don't walk". Once I was instructed to clean all of the windows inside and out. An officer started to laugh to her colleagues and said "look she is even out-tech when she cleans windows!" LRH even had a policy on how to clean windows!!!

While on this program, I was not allowed to eat at the same time as anyone else, I had to eat any leftovers after mealtimes.

Anyways, back in Edinburgh! I was "permitted" to stay there but I was demoted to being the deputy ED. Something that I and the people who worked with me felt was a gross injustice. We all sent telexes to the higher levels of Scn Management. I did strongly feel that they never got sent out because every transmission had to be vetted by the SO in the UK before they went anywhere.

Things muddled on for a while. I mentioned in my previous article that the Commanding Officer was busted for improper sexual acts. This heralded the appointment of a "garrison mission" from the States. I can truly say that this woman was a power crazy person who did not care who she stood on to look good in the eyes of her own higher ups. In my first conversation with her, I was told that I was the woman that had been sent to LA for the best level of admin training only to return home and "crash the org".

I went to Saint Hill (in East Grinstead) for some sort of new LRH release. I had driven down with some clients and we were intending to share the driving and return to Edinburgh that night. This new Commanding Officer wanted to talk to me. The result? I was ordered to stay for four days on my second quasi-RPF program. Again, totally unprepared to be away from home.

There was another instance where an officer was sent to Edinburgh to investigate me. (This was actually before the one I just mentioned). I was interrogated about my family life - i.e. my life outside the church. This officer felt that it was putting undue pressure on me. The result being that I could not give my whole being the C of S. This is really where I started feeling like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. You see, I had not seen my father and sisters for nine months; my father was angry and did not understand what was taking me away from them. I love my father dearly and I wanted to try and make up for the fact that I had basically disappeared from his life. When I told the officer this, I was told that I had to go and have supper with my family and then cut ties with them because I was obviously a PTS (Potential Trouble Source) and my father was Suppressive to Scn.

You know what the most horrible thing is? I did it. I still had that much blind trust in Scn. I am very proud to be able to say that I now have a very deep and special relationship with my father. He trusted in who I am and waited for me to be part of his life again.

I told you that the "ethics handling" programs I did were only quasi-RPF. In the UK people were sent somewhere to do the RPF program. I have also previously told you that I carried out kitchen duties whilst in LA. This allowed me to see the RPFers there. They would come in to eat after everyone else had left. I found this deeply disturbing. Everyone was dressed in dark blue overalls, they did not walk, they shuffled with their heads always bowed down low, and no-one would utter a word.

I became pretty close with an officer in the ASHO whose husband was on the RPF. I remember her telling me, very excitedly, that she was to be allowed to share her half hour meal breaks with her husband. When she told me this, she had not seen him for a year.
Scary stuff eh!?! In my opinion, the reason this carries on is, obviously fear based; but I feel that the hierarchy of Scn is dominated by people who have never experienced life outside of the church. This is a very dangerous concept particularly when there is so much power bestowed upon these people.

Reviewing all of this makes me feel honoured to have been brought up as a Quaker. Quakerism accepts all types of religion at face value and does not try to convert anyone. I can not say that I now belong to any set faith or religion. I like to think that I have become eclectic. I am open to truth in any form, it just can not walk over people's freedoms and rights.

In closing, I would like to reiterate my sentiment about helping anyone coming to terms with coming out of the CofS or having problems with having come out..... Contact me.

Moira Hutchison