Saving the World (part 3)

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


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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.


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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.


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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…


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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)


Spring… at Last!

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After a long but not so brutal winter – and I am thankful I did not live in New England this winter! – it would appear that spring is arriving.

And just like the feline character, Pete, in Heinlein’s the Door into Summer, our cat did not object when I opened the door to let him out this morning. He looked up at me as if to say “Finally! You got it right!”

Unfortunately, it also ushers in the time to get out and start working in the yard. Which means considerably less time spent at my computer, writing. But that is the price we must pay for the seasons we enjoy so much.

The yard is not a complete mess after the winter, but soon the grass will be growing again and there’s crops and flowers to get into the ground to make our space look civilized and to get food on the table.

I hope most of you are also getting the spring fever. Hibernation time is over.

It seems a shame that it also coincides with the “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time.

That is an idea that has long outlasted it’s usefulness. And as I get older, I am becoming far more accustomed to the natural rhythms of life.

Throwing a monkey wrench into the mix is not required.

Trying Something Different…

Having written a couple of volumes in the “Fountable Series”, and received some good feedback – though only one review – I have decided to start doing a little more on the marketing end rather than just writing the next volume in the series.

It would certainly appear to be what you would call a “no-brainer” but it is not my task of choice… no, I would rather be writing. I guess that’s why I am a writer and not a marketer, huh? Go figure.

The Martian Publishing website has been up and running for over a year and the Facebook page was started in April and almost as quickly started gathering dust. Even trying to think of what to do or say there was a strain.

Then my wife came along and said, “Why not just make it fun?”

And so, the Facebook page is dusted off and growing, one bad joke at a time. It seems a very enjoyable way to end the day, post a few jokes and innocuous thoughts for others to get a chuckle.

We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.

It hasn’t sold any books yet but it certainly is a heckuva lot more entertaining than trying to “market” anything.

a Brand New Year

Well, 2013 is finally here and I can imagine there’s quite a few people who were surprised to see the calendar roll over to this year.

And it looks pretty much like 2012 did, actually. The news sources have pulp to fill the feeding troughs and the politicians have the usual problems to overcome. And there is a new M. Night Shyamalan film coming out this summer to look forward to. Well, that is if you like that sort of thing.

And there is more to be written, and I am coming close to the conclusion of the third volume in the Fountable series. While working on it, plot threads have been extended to become the groundwork for volumes four and five in the series, but I really haven’t done much to develop those tales yet. I am trying to concentrate on this ONE volume first.

Hopefully, I can get it done before springtime turns my fancy to outdoor activities.

I’m not much of a winter person. I love the snow but through the window from the warm comfort of my armchair. And we have had quite a bit of snow already this year, a little bit everyday since Christmas Eve, it seems.

But, enough of the day dreaming…

Back to work.


On the Horizon

I keep dropping little teasers here and there about the coming volumes in the series but I have not gone too deeply into any of it.

That is, until now.

Fountable III has gone into final edit and it completes the originally planned three volumes (though as I mentioned before, not anything like the original outline from the 70’s). Volume four of the series has already been started and is called The Rings of Ojeelah. Perhaps I just got tired of naming each successive book with a number, or it could be because in the original outline, volume four was called that name, though the source of the rings was completely different in that earlier version.

In volume four, the group has finished setting up their teleportation business and moved off to do further research on their next endeavor.

What they cannot imagine is that anyone would take exception to their success… but, of course, someone does and the teleportation hub at Ojeelah is disrupted as the ring-gates are sabotaged.

Furzana immediately suspects her brother has some part in it but she still harbors a grudge against him for what happened in volume one, and she is not ready to let him off the hook as easily as Tervan seems to have.

Prince Acoordes will be exonerated from any complicity as they investigate the attack. What they discover – eventually – is far more shocking than any mere imperial plot or any slighted business competitor. It seems they have stepped on the toes of one too many scientist on their way to reconfiguring the laws of the universe.

And the most heinous crime was not getting any of it peer-reviewed.


That is, of course, a thumbnail sketch of the forthcoming adventure and it may change in several details before arriving at the finish line, but that is the present outline. More background details will be brought up about several different members of the group and some will be more involved than in previous volumes whereas others will see less activity. They are each developing their own lives to live as well.

In volume five, as yet untitled and far from being completely outlined, we will see the young boy, Hasitha, who recalled saving Tervan’s life in a previous life, returns again to make good on his earlier prophecy, saving Tervan’s life. Which will, by the questions it brings up, push their scientific inquiry into yet another realm.


Other volumes in the series are even more tentative in outline form and will probably only become further developed as the need arises. If the series loses readership, it will probably disappear before the last volume currently anticipated (#12, if you must know).

But we shall see what the future brings.

One thing I will mention, however, is that the end of the original trilogy was Tervan’s death. But as he was being murdered, his soul was transferred into a mechanized body.

Whether or not I will include that plot-line in this latest incarnation is still up in the air. If I do, it will certainly be nothing on the order as in the original – political intense – plot-line.

For the present, I am having too much fun with Tervan – as he is – to worry about killing him – or anyone else – off.