Name Dropper

celebcenter

The Church of Scientology is very big on big names. It was not that way in the early days because Hubbard was THE name that mattered.

Somewhere along the way, the Church in Los Angeles noticed they were attracting a few of the “lights” of nearby Hollywood. Someone got the notion that such people should not have to wait in line like the rest of us especially as the rest of us were staring.

So, a special place was created: very clean, very artsy, and called “the Celebrity Center”. I was fortunate enough to have worked there for a time under Yvonne Gilham, its first director.

The big names we worked with are probably no one you have ever heard of today but Stephen Boyd, Geoffrey Lewis, Chick Correa, Jim McMullan, Helene Ireland, and Amanda Ambrose were all fairly substantial stars at the time.

And one must recall that at that time, John Travolta was finishing high school, Tom Cruise was not even in high school, and the Ribisi twins were not even a dual twinkle in their daddy’s eye.

Speaking of them, I remember the father very well. There were a couple of up and coming rock bands in Scientology at the time. One was Orange Colored Sky and the other was People! The latter group had a #1 hit song called “I Love You” and they were at the height of their fame at that time.

Working at the American Saint Hill Org, I got to meet the band. The Levin brothers seemed to be most people’s favorite as they were the photogenic group. Denny I didn’t get to know too well but the nerdier one of the group, Al Ribisi, I found easier to get along with.

Not that we were best buds or anything but we did talk a bit. I believe his sister, Soo, joined the Sea Org the next year and she was as friendly as Al, and even a bit better looking (no offense, Al).

Al is still in the Church and his three children were raised in Scientology and seem to be doing quite well for themselves.


From the rather small and humble beginnings of encouraging celebrities to try Scientology, we have come to the place where they have become – for better or worse – the public face of the Church.

Still, something about jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch doesn’t make a very sane or solemn impression.

What do you think?


Saving the World (part 3)

My Adventures in La-La Land (the Church of Scientology)
[ – continued – ]


scientology2

In 1978, the Church of Scientology did a little research and it was discovered that the most successful Scientology Mission on the planet per capita was our Flagstaff Mission. Most missions had been established in large urban areas, half-a-million people or more. Flagstaff’s population was 24,000.

Aside from that distinction, it was also the highest mission on the planet, sitting at 7,200 feet above sea level.

Unfortunately, these marvelous distinctions soon garnered the wrong sort of attention.

The Church in Los Angeles launched an investigation into what we were doing and ordered Dad and Mom to the coast to answer some charges. Like we were making that kind of money!

The newly established Church in Phoenix decided to set up their own Mission in Flagstaff and told everyone to avoid the Mission already established.

Trying to understand why we were being attacked, Dad did some checking around and found out that other Mission holders were being similarly treated. Apparently, as Ron had recently gone into seclusion, whoever was running the church did not seem to know anything about organization.

Rather than play the game, Mom and Dad simply renounced the Church, stopped sending in their percentage of receipts, and renamed the office without any further reference to or reverence of the Church on the west coast.

Those members who had gone over to the new Phoenix-established mission severed links as we were excommunicated from the Church. Still quite a few of the “regulars” remained familiar faces around the old homestead.

Evidently, one person in Phoenix was making a big deal about “bringing the Martins to heel” and started investigating everyone who ever had a connection with us, telling them they needed to come in immediately for remedial counseling.

That started a caravan of Phoenicians coming up north to get their counseling with us rather than the Phoenix Org.

Two years later, most of the people in charge of the “witch hunt” were excommunicated from the Church and Mom and Dad were offered re-admission to the Church… as soon as they came to Los Angeles to straighten out a few little details.

Like we were making that kind of money!

In any event, Dad declined the “honor” because he had already began further researches beyond what Scientology had been pushing. He figured since Ron was no longer researching advancing the technology, someone had to. And since what he was doing was not “Scientology” there was no need to reconnect.


*****************

Every few years I get contacted by the Scientology people asking me to get involved again.

When I mention my excommunication, they either claim it has now been removed or that I was never excommunicated in the first place, only my parents.

These people just won’t let up and won’t take a “no” for an answer. I can understand their attitude quite well. I was, after all, on staff at Scientology centers off-and-on for seventeen years. I was raised in the Church and had seen it go through quite a few changes.

Unfortunately, while Ron was alive and actively working to move the technology forward, I saw progress and hope. What has happened since then is rehashing the material, re-writing, editing and re-issuing the same old stuff.

It would take more than some fancy new packaging and slick salesman to convince me…

So I am not convinced to return to La-La Land.

Like Dad, there are many people over the years who left the Church and continued researching and developing new material. This church condemned “heretical material” continues the essence of what Hubbard was doing and is keeping the technology alive, evolving, pertinent.

This is the “independent” Scientology of which John Dalmas was asking. It is the “freezone” of the church in continuation of Hubbard’s technology. His church had over six million followers once and sixty churches around the world. Today, there is likely less than a million active members of the church and only about forty churches worldwide. And I hear the Church in Israel has announced their disconnection from Miscavige’s version. The President of the Church has been missing for years as has Miscavige’s own wife. That seems to be happening a lot in this wunderkind.

The mangled version David Miscavige is peddling over at his “new improved Ideal Church of Scientology” seems very similar to the beginnings of the Christian Church to me. The “orthodox” religion promulgated by Paul – who never met Jesus – won over all the variant forms fostered by the real disciples.

And in both cases: thanks, but I’ll stick with the heretical version.

It seems something closer to me like “saving the world” than the current church which seems unlikely – judging by its current course – to be able to save even itself. It seems to be dissolving faster than Tom Cruise’s marriages.


scientology3