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.


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)