Friends Long Past – Two


Most of the people I knew in Scientology back then have been gone from the picture for some time.

Many were older at the time and the passage of fifty years is enough to remove them from this plane. Others are probably still around but no longer involved in Scientology.

Ray Kemp ran the Tustin franchise. He was a friend of our family. Ken and Julia Salmen ran the LA Org at the time and they, too, were great friends.

Bill Banka was an old-timer even then as was Gibby Niehus, Scott Paige, Pem and Roz Wall, Fred and Melissa Payer, Ron and Connie Broadbent… so many more I don’t think I can remember them all much less list them all.

And so many of these people were ushered out of the Church about the same time that my parents were excommunicated.

Some went on to found ex-Scientology groups, some simply faded away.

Yet all of them will be sorely missed from the completion of the mission to save the world.

Even if now the mission is to save the world from Scientology…

…and David Miscavige’s reign of terror.

Friends Long Past

asho new

This is the New ASHO Building – I cannot locate an image of the older one on Temple Street

Having spent so much time in the Church of Scientology, I got to know a lot of the people at a lot of the different orgs and centers.

When I worked at A.S.H.O. I was in the Public Divisions and got to help organize several different “congresses” – their annual get-togethers to celebrate the accomplishments of the year passed.

Once, on a Saturday, my boss and his boss, the Public Exec Sec, were both gone for the day as was the Captain of the org (it was operated by the Sea Org* by that time) when a call came in from the Church in Mexico City.

The call was routed to me as I was the senior Public Division person in the building and, as such (as it turned out) I was also the temporary Head of the Church of Scientology for the Western Hemisphere.

The fact surprised the heck out of me (and I think they have changed it since then, thank goodness!) but I was given a problem to solve. I gave them my take on what to do and they asked for a telex confirmation of the order – yes, this was long before email, fax, or any of those things.

On Monday morning, the Public Exec Sec was upset that I had “usurped” her authority but in the midst of her reaming me out, the Captain came in and gave me a letter: a hand-written commendation for taking charge in a situation “above my pay grade” and making everything go right.

He then ordered her to his office.

The shouting could be heard throughout the building.

And she was wearing a gray rag tied around her arm for a couple of days.

As you can imagine, things got really tense in that department after that and the Captain very graciously transferred me to a less hostile division.

Scientology may have the answers in a lot of areas but even back then the organization was home to several rather psychotic managers.

* – explaining what the Sea Org is would take pages and can be easily searched online. Basically it was the elite arm of Scientology dedicated to “clearing” (i.e. saving) the planet.

Fun Times


I may have been an early example of someone raised in the Church of Scientology but my brothers and I were not alone. There were quite a few other teens I knew whose parents had been involved in the Church for several years.

The obvious ones were Hubbard’s kids. I knew Diana, Arthur and Suzette on the Flagship and had corresponded with Quentin for several years before that. But Hubbard had kids before those four. Nibs (LRH Jr – later changed to L Ron DeWolfe) and his sister, Katie, were also around. Her children were also in the Church which would make them third generation Scientologists. I don’t remember the daughter’s name but her son, Lance, was a friend.

Phil Spickler arrived at A.S.H.O. with his wife, Teri, and his daughter, Mimi. And while Phil and Teri were on course, Mimi got a job to work at the Org. She was only fourteen but she turned heads. (Later, she married Tom Cruise after her divorce from Mr. Rogers.) She is still acting, I hear.

Fred and Steve Crivello came with their parents from New Jersey – I think – and then stayed out longer while mom and dad went back home. They became very good friends while they were there. Sadly, I heard that Steve had passed on a couple of years ago… and I believe it was one of those cases where the Church did not look so good.

Speaking of Good, there was the rather large Good/Konkle family as well. Maggie was a marvelous person and had quite a few great kids who I am still in communication with today.

There was one other second-generation kid that came along though I never did meet the fellow. He seemed to make more of himself than of the other kids I knew.

His name was David Miscavige.

Celebrity Spokespersons

There are a lot of enterprises who enlist the aid of celebrities to endorse their products and such. Many of these endorsements do not usually mean that the endorser actually uses the products they pitch.

With Scientology, it is different. These celebrity endorsers come from the ranks of the practitioners. Yes, they actually DO use the stuff.

But how good can it be, really? How many people do you think Tom Cruise has pulled in? Let’s face it, with his three failed marriages one would have to think twice about how successful his life is really going. Sure, he’s got money and fame but not much else!

I should think they would put their time and money on someone with a little less baggage if you know what I mean.

Another thing about these “celebrities”… the original idea to encourage their membership in the Church and to give them “special treatment” was that these people would become “opinion leaders”. I don’t see a lot of that going on. Sure we get that they are famous and they are Scientologists. Other than Cruise’s rant about wanting to outlaw psychiatry I haven’t seen a very large push toward any “opinion leadership” from these people.

Mostly what the Church has gotten from these people is a distraction.

With all the really bad news coming out about the Church and its mis-management, they can point to these bastions of humanity and say, “Hey! These great people are members. How bad can it be?”

And it seems to have worked so far.

Name Dropper


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 – ]


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.


Saving the World (part 2)

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

Ron had been experiencing some troubles (legal) with Britain and the U.S., so he bought a couple of ships and started his own “navy”, the Sea Org. The Flagship of the Sea Org was in the Mediterranean most of the time.

Our family had gone as far as we could go in D.C., we all decided to move to the Flagship for further training. So in 1968 we sold the house in Maryland and flew to join the Flagship in Melilla, Spanish Morocco, on the north coast of Africa.


As we arrived, the ship was preparing to leave and we were separated from one another, assigned to different areas of the ship to help batten down the hatches and prepare for sailing. I ran into Diana Hubbard as well as her younger siblings Arthur and Suzette. Quentin, who was my age, was away on a mission. Having already corresponded with him for several years, I was anxious to meet him.

Around 1am, someone came along calling my name. It seems that something had gone wrong with our being processed on board and we were gathered up and deposited on the dock. Though all the paperwork had supposedly been approved before we left the states, it seems someone forgot to dot all the “I’s”.

After spending a couple of days in Melilla – where the heavily-armed Spanish troops marched through the streets at dawn – we flew back to Spain and stayed a week in Malaga before continuing north to England. If we could not go to the Flagship, Dad reasoned, we could go to Saint Hill and get the training there.

With all the arrangements being made, we boarded a plane and touched down at Heathrow to find there had been an unusual development while we were in the air. Britain had closed the country to Scientologists! We were told to get back on the first plane and leave.

But after several hours of talk between the customs officials and others, we were given week-long visas to visit with the clear understanding that we would not be staying longer to continue our Scientology studies.

We had a pleasant week in England before flying back to the U.S. where we got a car in Maryland and drove across the country to Los Angeles, the senior Scientology org in the country after D.C.

After we arrived at the L.A. org, Ken Salman, the director there, told us we were in luck: since Saint Hill had been closed to Americans, the Church had sent over a team to set up what would become the American Saint Hill Organization (ASHO) and offer all the courses previously only available in Britain.

By the end of the week, the entire family was on staff at ASHO. It was an interesting three years. Especially since ASHO was converted to Sea Org during our time there and most of the staff signed the famous “billion year contract”.

I worked at ASHO, the LA Org, and even a short time with the (now infamous) Guardian’s Office. It was all so very interesting.

In 1971, Dad and Mom (both Class VI auditors and instructors of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course as well as auditors and Case Supervisors) decided to move to Phoenix and start their own mission.

Getting out of the “billion year contract” was problematic on the outset but was easily accomplished as luck would have it. (Another story‚Ķ later, maybe.) And the family continued our adventure a little further to the east.

Trying to set up a mission in Phoenix was, well, a bit trying. The city already had one mission (on the east side of town) so we set up on the west side. After a few months, Dad gave it up and joined the staff of the much longer-established Phoenix Mission.

After three years there, they decided to move north to Flagstaff and start a mission there. They had visited Flagstaff on their honeymoon and had vowed to live there one day, and that day had arrived.

It was as slow as starting the Mission in Phoenix had been. The office space we rented was always empty but for the one or two family members whose turn it was to babysit the place.

Six months – and nothing to show for it – that office was closed and the Mission was moved to our house there.

Soon Dad got a psych professor interested enough to invite him to lecture at Northern Arizona University. And things started happening.

Several people started coming by the house regularly for the lectures, some training, or just to sit and talk about metaphysics over a cup of coffee.

One of these was John Dalmas, the science fiction writer, whose recent email had started this recollection.

(to be continued)

Saving the World (part 1)

My Adventures in La-La Land (the Church of Scientology)

I received an email yesterday from John Dalmas, the award-winning science fiction author, asking if I had heard anything about “Independent” Scientology.

I’m sure most people have heard something about the Church of Scientology either pro or con. Either through the antics of Tom Cruise, John Travolta, or Kirstie Ally, a few of their leading celebrity endorsers.

Why Mister Dalmas wrote me about the cult has an unusual – and twisted – history. It is where we met…


My family got involved in the “space age religion” back in 1956, before there was much of a space age. You could say I was raised in the church but that would not quite be correct. Dad was a research chemist (and agnostic) Mom was a Baptist preacher’s kid and took us four boys in tow every Sunday to the local Southern Baptist Church.

Dad’s search had begun at an early age and this drew him to major in psychology at the University of Texas. He very quickly realized most people involved in the program were trying to figure out what was wrong with themselves, just the same as his personal search. After he realized the psychology professor was in the same boat, Dad figured out psychology must not have the answers. He transferred his major to chemistry and looked for other avenues for his personal research.

I remember some the fascinating books he was reading when I was still too young to understand much of it. Proceedings of the American Society of Paranormal Research, Psycho-Cybernetics, and Twenty Cases in Support of Reincarnation were just a few of the ones I remembered. I recall the names Morrison, Snow, and Korzybski on the books. Don’t ask me what the books were about as I was only seven years old when I noticed such things and did not get too involved.

But soon Dad did involve us in the search. We would go ghost hunting, dowsing, UFO watching and that sort of thing. I figured this was a normal upbringing and everyone went through this intense search for the magical, spiritual world that seemed to overlay the physical world we could see.

Somewhere in his search he came across an ad for the Self Realization Fellowship and he read Paramahansa Yogananda’s works. There is a River by Thomas Sugrue caught his eye and he was off to study Edgar Cayce.

Then he came across the book Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard. Being an avid science fiction reader, Dad was already familiar with the name of the author. Impressed with the book, Dad was soon trying the processes out on us kids. And very quickly it led into the area of past lives.

He communicated with the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C., and began taking correspondence courses from them. At that time, the only Scientology Church was the one in Washington.

In 1961, Dad got accepted for a job with Melpar, a chemical company in Fairfax, Virginia, and we sold the house in West Texas and moved to the East Coast so he could pursue his studies at the Church.

By the time we got there, the job had evaporated and we had to live in a condemned farmhouse just outside of Poolesville, Maryland, for several months. [The house is still there, still occupied, and still as condemned today.]

Fortunately, he got a job with NASA which, thanks to President Kennedy, was expanding. We moved into Bethesda, Maryland, and Dad started his courses at the Church in D.C. Soon, Mom was attending them as well.

They went to a conference at the Mayflower Hotel in 1962 where I met Ron Hubbard. I believe it was the last time he was in the country while he was actively running the Church.

By 1964, all four of us boys had joined in the action and were attending courses as well.

Yes, we were all going to “save the world”… but from what, exactly, I was a tad unsure.

(to be continued)