Yolanda Howell - Living in the SO

Yolanda Howell about living in the
Sea Organization

The ill-effects of scientology on my family were devastating and permanent. When we joined scientology we were generally a loving and happy family. We had just built an upscale house in the suburbs with all the amenities. My husband and I sought to provide our family with the stability and caring that they required. I was only 21, and had three children, ages four months, one year and three years.

Within one year after joining scientology we were divorced and had moved the children four times. My children and I were living in squalor in the Sea Org.

I joined scientology staff at the local mission. This quickly drove my husband crazy. He came to the mission to kill everyone and threatened to blow his head off with a shotgun. I acquired sole legal custody after the incident. Someone at the mission "handled" him and he went on staff, too. He could not pay child support.

I joined the Sea Org after being told by a Flag recruiter that we would be given a "lovely" apartment. My children, over my protests, were taken from me and sent to live at the Cadet Org several blocks away. I was given training which I later had to pay back as a freeloader's debt. The promises of a wonderful environment -- the most ethical on the planet -- were lies. The slum in my home city did not even approximate the vile conditions to which we were subjected in scientology. My children were kept filthy -- their toys and clothing were distributed throughout the Cadet Org. No one owned anything.

My husband spread the rumor that I was starving my children when the Cadet Org did not feed them properly. When I protested the conditions of the Cadet Org and said I needed to route out of the Sea Org to support them or get some welfare, I was told it was unethical to use welfare and I could not route out. I sent my children to live with my parents while I attempted to route out of the Sea Org. My husband, aided by his auditor and girl friend, stole them.

The Acting ED of the mission and my husband (who worked there) had spread lies about me. So after I routed out, got back to the mission and attempted to retrieve my children, no one would speak to me. They gave no thought to the welfare of my children or the fact that I had legal custody. "Wog" laws don't matter in scientology. My ex worked on staff all day and night. So, from a very early age, my oldest daughter was left to baby sit the younger children, including neighbors'. He married a woman who believed Hubbard's idea that it was better if the real parents did not raise their own kids -- mutual engrams, you know. So, they proceeded to neglect my children, causing my oldest daughter to become unstable and criminal, and my five year old son to get hit -- and killed - - by a car as he played, unsupervised, in a busy street. They swore he was "protected by postulates."

I was ostracized by people at the mission and I was not allowed input regarding my children's upbringing. But, at least I could see my children occasionally. I had been forbidden to criticize their upbringing. I feared loss -- yet again -- of my children, if I spoke up.

Although I had said I was done with scientology, I was told I could never see my children again unless I came up with the money for auditing and my freeloaders debt. I was also told that I would be declared (Suppressive) if I told anyone what they had done with my children. The Acting ED said that he intended to lie and say I had blown the Sea Org so no one would listen to me, anyway. They paid no attention to the harm they were doing to my children by abruptly depriving them of their mother. I had been their major supporting parent since their births.

When my daughter was five, she put razor blades in her step mother's purse to "get even." My son clung to anyone with long dark hair (like mine) and my second daughter was also hit by a car. She was not killed. Her eye, however, was permanently damaged when she was two. Another scientology child of eight was left to baby sit her and five other children. The scientologist whose house they were using was a beautician and had left her supplies lying about. My daughter had rubbed hair dye into her eye.

I baby sat other staff members' children and really loved them. One thing was common in all families (most had one or more divorces): the children were all deprived of a normal, secure upbringing. In the Sea Org, many exec families had me baby sit during my "enhancement time" because the conditions in the Cadet Org were so bad. Later they all were ordered to send their children to the Cadet Org, anyway. Several children got in legal trouble for roaming the streets of Los Angeles, unsupervised. Their parents got in trouble for not handling their kids, in spite of the fact that they were given no time to do so. Sea Org activities demanded the children and parents were deprived of each others' company. The children were deprived of adequate love and guidance. Instead they were given Hubbard's trite phrases with which to guide their lives. They were never taught to think or reason beyond using a "Hubbardism."

One little baby I knew in the Sea Org got herpes during a Cadet Org epidemic. A 14 year old girl disclosed to me how she and a few other little girls were leaving the Cadet Org in the daytime and performing sexual services for one of the girl's uncles in exchange for money. A man who worked in the Cadet Org admitted he was sexually molesting the children. Although these incidents were written up, as far as I know they were never "handled."

I saw one staff member's child, who had been declared a Suppressive Person at age 12, turned out onto the street with no means of support. When he tried to sneak into the galley line to get some food, he was physically jumped by two adults who forced him outside again.

One woman's baby became very ill -- thin and colicky -- after using the Hubbard's "baby formula." We were not allowed to say it was bad, however. How I respected her for saying that it was hurting her baby and she was going to give him formula! He then recovered fully.

Another family always delivered their children at home and never reported the births. If their children ever want to join society, there will be no record of them. I knew of another baby who died during a home birth with the cord wrapped around its neck -- a simple procedure with adequate hospital care. But scientologists don't believe in that sort of thing.

My children, those who managed to survive a scientology upbringing, are ill adjusted and have all sorts of social problems. My middle daughter, who rejected scientology as the thing that "broke up her family," has managed to graduate from college through hard work and scholarships. Her family made a lot of money, but it was dedicated to the "bridge." She does not really want a career, however. She says all she wants is a stable family where she can share love -- something she never had growing up.

The atrocities that have been committed against children by individuals using scientology "technology" are reprehensible enough to provide cause to place the cult in government receivership. But if government agencies cannot or will not do anything, then we must. We must speak out via pamphlets, books, films, videos, interviews and any other media. Only by joining together and speaking out publicly can we protect other children from the horrors to which our own were subjected.

Yolanda Howell

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