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kathyOctober 12, 20131 Comment

Know Best

Reading about Laura DeCrescenzo’s life as a Sea Org member on tonyortega.org (The Underground Bunker) today was deeply, deeply troubling.

L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) wrote in DMSMH and Science of Survival that attempted abortion is the act of a would be murderer. How then could a female Scientologist, especially a Sea Org member who is only 17 be pressured by church staff to not only seek an abortion she doesn’t want but go through with it? Despite this being the antithesis of what LRH wrote, the documented evidence is undeniable! And worse, the abortion was characterized to her as being for “the greatest good”! Truly shocking.

This girl had nowhere to turn. Her husband was not prepared to be a father and she didn’t want to get herself into more trouble or pull her unsuspecting family into it so she went along with the game plan. Unfortunately, her loss haunted her.

Sadly, this kind of thing isn’t an anomaly. Several years ago my friend, the Senior C/S at an org, was afraid of losing her relationship with her grandchild. Her son who was in the Sea Org (SO) had divorced his pregnant wife so he could stay in the SO. After a year or so his ex-wife, now out of the SO, was poised to marry someone else who was ready to adopt the child. My friend found herself in the tenuous position of potentially losing the grandchild her son was willing to disown.

When bad things happen within the confines of Scientology they are compartmentalized as isolated incidents caused by a specific someone who has gone off the rails. Additionally, if harm should befall this specific someone it is always his/her own fault. Therefore, Scientology is never organizationally responsible for non-optimum occurrences. The norm for a Scientology executive handling a messy situation is to first protect the organization, then deal with the rest. Hence, the personal carnage.

This kind of thinking is the exact opposite of what LRH states in Keeping Scientology Working: It is the bank that says the group is all and the individual nothing.

Brutality against children and disdain for those who love them will not bring about a more sane society.

Keeping Scientology Working also warns that the downfall of Scientology can only come about from a failure to practice Scientology itself. In short, the CofS is responsible for its own condition.

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kathyOctober 7, 20131 Comment

Who needs drugs any way?

No one has ever gotten off drugs who didn’t personally want to…no one.

In the mid-60s just about the only medical help available for a drug addict was a county hospital emergency room to keep an overdose from being fatal. Methadone clinics came into being but these tended to compound addiction rather than help it. (A dedicated junkie can time his/her methadone doses so heroin will still get her/him high.)

At the time the only people who cared enough about addicts to offer any kind of long-term support were people who’d walked in their shoes but had managed to break free. Synanon, Narconon and other addicts-helping-addicts based groups got started by ex-addicts to help addicts get off drugs for real. Doctors weren’t interested.

In the 70s other enterprising folks began coming up with deadly new drugs like crack cocaine and super cheap meth. In counter-point to this in 1971 the War on Drugs was born.

By the 1980s the world of drugs was all new and more shiny than ever. Benzodiazepines had largely replaced barbiturates. These and other pharmaceuticals began being advertised directly to the public. Underground raves largely fueled by Ecstasy were happening with the regularity of a floating crap game.

Drug addiction was deemed a disease and Medical-based Drug Rehab flourished. The Betty Ford Center opened in 1982 and in answer to a mainly middle class demand, other places where alcoholics had traditionally gone to dry out expanded their services to include medical detox for drug addicts. On the home front “skittles” parties were born: Kids raided their parents’ medicine cabinets, threw everything into one bowl and took “whatever.”

Today “legal” substances like “spice” and a quite deadly concoction called “bath salts” can be bought in most gas stations across the country. Raves, still fueled by ecstasy (or Molly) are no longer underground but have become mainstream. Medical marijuana is nearly passé because marijuana recently became legal in a few states despite the Federal ban.

The War on Drugs is a dismal failure. Libertarians have been promoting the legalization of drugs for decades insisting that this doesn’t mean endorsing drug use… So what’s the deal? Do we want to get rid of drugs or not? This is the real $64 question.

There are still ex-addicts around who can help.

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kathySeptember 11, 201322 Comments

Bye-Bye Miss Scientology Pie

Where did our love go?

In 1970 I found Scientology in San Francisco. It was a vibrantly dynamic organization that helped people become more aware of themselves and what’s really going on in the world. Everyone was welcome. Our only real enemy was the reactive mind, an insidious tooth and claw automatic mechanism, lying beneath the conscious mind of every person on Earth. It’s eradication would be our gift to Mankind.

Written in 1965, the core policy of the organization was Keeping Scientology Working. In it L. Ron Hubbard (LRH) warns that the not-quite-bright often have a button on self-importance, that any trouble for Scientology can only be generated by the group itself failing to safeguard and apply its own known policy and practices and that it is the reactive mind that says the group is all and the individual nothing. This policy demands technical delivery be done by the book and especially condemns any bragging about speed of delivery which is the hallmark of shortchanging the public.

Until his death in 1986, LRH policy forbidding parishioner monetary donations for anything other than Church services was firmly in place. This organizational policy was in line with his personal view that a being is only as valuable as he can serve others. He thought and spoke highly of people who became technically trained as auditors, stating flatly that auditors are the most valuable beings on the planet because they alone are capable of freeing Man.

While LRH was alive membership in the HASI (Hubbard Association of Scientologists International) was encouraged. A lifetime membership was $75. Shortly after he died, the IAS (International Association of Scientologists) was formed. Membership became unavoidable. Initially a lifetime membership was $2000. Now it is $5000. Parishioners are very strongly urged to donate more and more money in order to upgrade their IAS “status” regularly. The array of IAS statuses continues to grow with no end in sight.

In the early 2000s the measure of a person’s worth shifted from how highly trained they were to what their IAS status is. Some years ago I was startled at a weekly graduation to hear people’s IAS status being announced between their name and what course they had just completed. This was dismaying. When Christmas rolled around that year the names of people who had upgraded their IAS status decorated a prominent first floor wall at ASHO. In earlier years the names of people who had completed courses were put onto Christmas ornaments and hung on the tree in LRH’s office. Gone.

The pride in technical training comes from knowing that you as an auditor are applying Standard Tech. Standard Tech is a “thin silver path.” As an auditor you are either “on” or “off” this path. There is no wiggle room.

Over the years there have been certain fads within Scientology that required everyone to do a particular service despite what they had recently done or were about to do. In the early 70s there was Method 1 word clearing + The Primary Rundown which resulted in a person being “Super Literate.” Someone who is Super Literate can simply read something and gain full conceptual understanding of what is written. There were mounting problems with this service and it was wound down and quietly discontinued. People training as auditors nearly always still do receive Method 1 Word Clearing. In doing this they become “Fast Flow” students allowing them to move through their studies faster. In the 80s everyone was to do Key to Life (KTL) which was meant to remove false educational blocks from a person’s ability to communicate. There were mounting problems with KTL and it too has quietly faded away.

In the mid-90s the Golden Age of Tech changed training forever. Apparently all earlier auditor training was for naught. Previously trained auditors were to retrain from the bottom up using newly created drills. These drills were not by LRH. Many technical bulletins written by LRH were now being “updated” according to LRH “notes” which were not available for verification by anyone outside the Sea Organizations’ compilations unit. A number of seasoned auditors were unable to jump through these new hoops and were squeezed out of service. And while newer auditors embraced the promise of the Golden Age of Tech, fewer and fewer of them really gained the necessary skills to audit due to eased requirements in their training. In the mid 2000s “The Basics” replaced the majority of books written by LRH. These new books were touted as being exactly what LRH had intended and wanted but hadn’t gotten from various publishers. Parishioners were directed to buy these new books along with their supporting lectures, some of which were available for the very first time and bring their old books into the organization so they could be shredded. All auditor training was suspended until everyone got through the Basics.

Now we are on the brink of the Golden Age of Tech phase II. Again, there are all new courses and even a new e-meter. The long awaited new Technical and Administrative Dictionary is rumored to be a part of this roll out, as well.

Once again no one has ever learned to audit until now, even those who did the Golden Age of Tech phase I. But no worries because enthusiastic promises are being made that people are now able to train faster than ever as auditors. Also, many levels of auditing have been streamlined and are now being delivered in record time.

The Golden Age of Tech phase II guarantees Keeping Scientology Working 100%!

No, thank you.

It breaks my heart to see professional auditors and their case supervisors (C/Ses) told they don’t know what they are doing even though they have been applying Standard Tech or corrected into doing so by the appropriate people in the Qualifications Division on a daily basis for years on end.

It also grieves me to see parishioners whole-heartedly embrace the elaborate and false promises of this new wave of “must dos.” Some OT VIIIs are eagerly returning to the bottom of the Bridge to co-audit Objectives with the stultifying notion that “there are many wins to be had” and Objectives are “unlimited processes.” However, no LRH reference supports any of this.

To begin with, the Bridge is not circular. No self-respecting C/S would EVER program someone who had honestly risen up the auditing side of the Bridge DOWN the Bridge. The only time a person would correctly be programed to do earlier Grade steps is because they HADN’T MADE THE GRADE from that point on up to where they have now falsely arrived. A person in this predicament is known as a Bypassed Case.

This mass perversion of LRH tech and policy is the opposite of Keeping Scientology Working! Welcome to the Church of Scientology’s version of George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ where “some pigs are more equal than others” and proud of it.

At this point I’d like to apologize to my children and others dear to me for wearing blinders of my own making while they were being subjected to organizationally sanctioned brutality in the name of help. I continued, eyes straight ahead, on my path as though these things had little or nothing to do with me. Yes, I wrote reports and spoke up here and there. But I didn’t throw myself on the grenade. Instead, when it blew up in your faces I was sorry and consoled you as best I could…or went to your funeral,cried and then carried on. Please forgive me for being such a stupid and selfish asshole.

Although the Church of Scientology I joined in 1970 has slipped away, the tech still exists in the old books and Technical Volumes that have survived the library purges even if the practitioners have not.

Oh, by the way, despite popular belief the only reason people leave is not due to their own wrong-doing. Per LRH “When a situation is intolerable, people will leave.” This is the REAL WHY people are staying away from Scientology in droves.

To quote Bob Dylan: “Strike another match. Go start anew. It’s all over now, baby blue.”

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kathyAugust 29, 20136 Comments

Narconon Saves Lives

Drug addiction is a nasty cesspool. Getting hooked is too easy. Getting unhooked is a lot more involved. Ask anyone who’s done it. They won’t lie. For one thing it doesn’t happen over night, so actual work is involved. One good program is Narconon.

The Narconon Program began in the mid-60s when a prison inmate, Willie Benitez, read the book ‘Fundamentals of Thought’ by L. Ron Hubbard. Inspired by the truths he found in this book and with Ron’s blessing he started Narconon (Narcotics none).

Every man in the prison program with Willie was there voluntarily and could opt out at any time but no one did. Each one of them finished the Program and went on to be drug-free for life.

In 1971 the Narconon Program became available to the general public. From that time to the present it has helped thousands of people get off drugs and lead drug-free lives.

Recently a couple of former Narconon employees have been badmouthing the organization. Aside from sour grapes they have something else in common: they both got off drugs on the Narconon Program.

There’s also talk of Narconon really being Scientology. It isn’t. Yes, Narconon uses some fundamentals of Scientology and is properly licensed to do so. But Scientology is a religion with the end goal of a person achieving spiritual freedom and Narconon is a secular activity with the end goal of a person living a drug-free life. They are completely different activities with very different goals.

Who the heck am I to be saying these things? I became a Scientologist in 1970. I’m also a former Narconon employee – retired, not let go. Like most Narconon staff I am a former drug addict. I did not do the Narconon Program because when I got off drugs in 1969/70 Narconon wasn’t available to me. I wish it had been. I would have been there like a shot.

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kathyAugust 13, 2013Leave a comment

What Maisie Knew

What Maisie Knew is probably the best movie I will see all year.

When I saw the trailer for this movie I thought I knew what it was about and pegged it as some mashup of Kramer vs Kramer, The Squid and The Whale and/or possibly Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe. But Maisie’s face was such a note of sweetness in the mix I was compelled to see it despite my misgivings.

Although her mother and father do break up, it is not the real subject matter here. What Maisie Knew is about life adjusting itself around a child for the benefit of all concerned. And in doing so this movie really takes off. It soars above the messiness of life and takes us with it.

It is available on BluRay today.

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kathyMay 26, 2013Leave a comment

Staying the Same

Yesterday was officially my first day as a senior citizen. It began at Ventura beach for sunrise and when daylight ended there at sunset.

In between was a beautiful day starting with a drive along PCH for breakfast at the Paradise Cove Restaurant. I ordered the apple pie pancakes. They are delicious but so rich I defy anyone to eat them alone. After eating about half I found myself in desperate need of protein and lucked out when my daughter gave me some of her wonderful veggie scramble and my grandson generously waved a piece of bacon in my direction. I was saved.

We stayed at Paradise Cove for some family beach fun. My two grandsons were in and out of the surf over and over, the youngest shrieking in delight with each wave. What enthusiasm! I took a walk on the beach with my younger daughter and her cousin. We passed a couple wanting to be alone on our way to find a collection of seaworthy vessels waiting to be hired. I couldn’t quite locate where Jim Rockford’s mobile home might have been parked but so what, it was here some place. On our return the same couple was encroached upon by an older couple sitting on nearby rocks. The older couple acted as if they were alone on the rocks peering out to sea. So rude.

My niece then took us on a tour of other nearby haunts. We greatly admired Malibou Lake during a discreet drive by. (We’re not members.) We visited Paramount Ranch, now a National Park and walked the empty streets of the western town. We were sure a 2012-13 episode of The Mentalist was filmed here! A few fresh horse droppings brought us back to earth. Essentially we were on the back lot of Paramount but it was more than that. We had the place all to ourselves except for the squirrels and a couple of friendly park rangers at the creek bridge on our way back to the parking lot.

We headed for Agoura Hills for lunch at a vegan friendly restaurant. I had the small house salad to get some greens into myself. My grandsons are vegan. They ordered the kid’s mac and cheese and were very excited about this until it arrived. First, it wasn’t macaroni. It was pasta twists sitting in “gravy” with peas with crispy onions on top. This was not what they’d bargained for and they were discontent. Fortunately the actual pasta pieces could be extracted and divested of most of the gravy. They ate the pasta knowing gelato was in their future. Next we discovered Italian pastry heaven at Carrara Pastries. I had a small cannoli and sampled a few other naughty delights. Then we walked to Tifa for gelato. It was extraordinary…my daughter and I shared the pink grapefruit sorbet. It was light and wonderful, allowing us the illusion we were not over indulging. My grandson had the dark chocolate which tasted like the first bite of a perfect truffle. (It really did!) Come to find out Tifa is a family business whose head chef learned to make gelato in Italy. What a find!

We jumped onto the 101 North just in time to find our place in the conga line. Even so, it wasn’t really that bad. Later we met with some of our extended family for Chinese food which was better than pretty good. Following this my daughter got me back to the beach so we could watch the sun set. Google said it would happen at 7:48. Luckily it draged itself out until after 8.

What a day. It was literally one terrific indulgence after another with family and best friends. It reminded me that there is no end to finding new and wonderful things right around the next corner.

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