The Cheryl S Story
Carl Barney and the SCS Missions
It was near the end of 1977. Elvis had died a few months earlier and I had recently broken up with my boyfriend. I had just turned 23 and was living alone in Glendale, California, not far from my parents. To say the least, I was feeling a little lonely, a little depressed.
One November day, something called an "Oxford Capacity Analysis" arrived in the mail. This "OCA" consisted of 200 questions and instructed the reader to answer all the questions and mail it in right away for a free personality analysis. I nearly threw it away three times, but something piqued my curiosity so I filled it out and mailed it in to a place called the "Dianetics Center" in Pasadena, California.
I had never heard of Dianetics before. Within a day or so of mailing it in, I was contacted by telephone and pressured to come in right away for the free analysis. I couldn't go right away and declined but I was besieged with calls until I finally agreed just to get them to stop bothering me. I figured that I would go in, hear what they had to say and leave. That was Mistake No. 1.
Upon arriving at what I later found out was the Pasadena Mission of the Church of Scientology (though the sign said "DIANETICS"), the free analysis was administered. I was told that the test results indicated that I was in bad shape, couldn't communicate, was critical, not appreciative enough, and the like, mostly negative, bottom-of-the-graph results. I agreed with the "couldn't communicate" part but not much else. The cure for everything was the communication course, so I signed up for the "Personal Communication Workshop" or "PCW" as it was known at that time.
This "workshop" lasted for several weeks (evenings and weekends) and I had to endure sitting in a chair staring at a lady across from me who obviously was enduring the same thing. We talked at breaks and couldn't figure out what it was we were trying to achieve, except to stay awake. It was intensely boring. But I thought the course supervisor was cute, so I stayed and finished the silly course, hoping that maybe something would happen: either I would learn to communicate or I would get a date. Or maybe both.
During the time that I was enrolled on the PCW I had to have a lot of dental work done. I called in to the course supervisor one night and reported that I would not be in that night for class because the dental work had caused a fever and I was taking medication for the pain. The course supervisor said it was not okay for me to miss class and that I must come in immediately. This amazed me. Thinking that he must not have understood what I had just told him, I explained again, in greater detail. He still refused permission to be off course. I said "too bad" and hung up. I was besieged with no less than ten phone calls that evening from the course supervisor demanding that I come in immediately. I refused. Finally I stopped taking the calls.
When I returned to course the next day, I was treated to my first trip to the "ethics" officer. He insisted that I was not really sick because of a tooth infection, but instead was suffering from something called "PTSness". This disease, as I now understand it, is something the Church of Scientology suffers from. It is a curious form of paranoia, wherein anyone who participates in Scientology who contracts an illness is automatically suspected of being connected to a "suppressive person" and, thus, a "potential source of trouble" for the organization. They do not believe in the "germ theory" of illnesses. Of course, if there are no such things as germs, why did vaccinations stop the spread of polio, rubella, mumps, measles, rabies, tetanus, etc.?
I suffered through the ethics "handling" and continued on with the PCW. At its conclusion, Greg Cook, the Executive Director of the Dianetics Center in Pasadena, California, called me into his office and spoke to me of "a state of beingness" called Clear. I liked what I heard and said I would like to be Clear. He sold me a book called "Dianetics, The Modern Science of Mental Health®" ("DMSMH"). I took it home and read the first three chapters before I fell asleep that night. The book described Clear as Greg had explained it to me. Greg was Clear and it sounded like a good thing to become a well and happy human being, have my IQ improved, and so on, plus he seemed to be a satisfied customer himself. However, at the age of 23, I did not understand what peer reviews were and how none of the information presented in DMSMH and other books written by L. Ron Hubbard had ever been peer reviewed or verified in any way as to its validity or efficacy, despite the abundance of the word "scientific" that was peppered throughout the Dianetics book.
The next day, I was routed to the registrar (a Scientology salesman) to get signed up for auditing (which is Dianetics®/Scientology® counseling that allegedly makes you "clear").
The first counseling step was called "Life Repair." The price tag for "Life Repair" (which for me consisted of approximately 60 hours of counseling) was $6,000. I was making approximately $1,200 per month at that time (in 1978), so $6,000 was a fortune. I told the registrar that I would like to get the auditing, but there was no way I could come up with $6,000. He then proceeded to pressure me into attempting to borrow the money from friends or family. I did not even try, because I knew it would not happen. No one I knew had that kind of money.
When the registrar determined that I could not find the money, he sent me to a different location (in Burbank) to see a fellow by the name of Steve Van Stone. His title was "Financial Consultant." He basically had me fill out a financial statement and told me that he knew of a place where I could borrow the money. I didn't really believe that I would qualify for such a large amount, nor did I want to borrow that kind of money, but the pressure was intense so I went. I still clung to the belief that they would see it was impossible and just give up.
I went to the American Pacific State Bank building (by the 101 and 405 freeways in the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley area). It was in one of those offices that I met a man named Jim. He represented a company called "Nationwide Acceptance Corporation" ("NAC"). I felt rather uneasy with it all. Jim brought out a loan agreement form which was already mostly filled out, although this was the first time I had ever met him. It was obvious that my "friends" at Scientology had called over my personal information to him. He asked me what I had in the way of collateral. I didn't have much, just some household furnishings. He listed those items on the loan agreement form and had me sign the loan papers. He then presented me with a check for $6,000.
It was all so easy. Too easy. Years later, I found out that NAC was a scam that ousted missionholder Carl Barney had implemented to get customers. Carl was the holder of four Dianetics franchises: Pasadena, Burbank, Valley and Santa Barbara missions, corporately at that time "The Church of Scientology of Los Angeles." His corporate headquarters was in Burbank (on Riverside Drive, a different location than the Burbank mission, which was in the Burbank Mall), and was known as "Scientology Coordinated Services" or "SCS."
SCS monies backed the loans that were run through NAC, which was why it had been so easy to get the loan. If a lendee defaulted, SCS had already paid the bill. I'm not sure of the exact mechanics involved, but a year or so later when Carl Barney was ousted and declared suppressive NAC was shut down quickly. It was a huge embarrassment that was given top priority to sort out and cover up. However, before the NAC scandal was fully closed out, I had to pay off the balance I owed when Scientology staff in charge of the NAC sort out (GO/OSA) was tipped off by my ex-husband about a car accident settlement I was getting (either late 1987 or 1988).
Back to April, 1978. I received my Life Repair auditing, which went okay. My auditor's name was Bruce Dodds, a skeletal, intensely ascetic man. Unfortunately, the rest of my auditing never went as smooth and I never felt as good about it as I did in the beginning.
After I completed Life Repair counseling, I still had about 8 hours of auditing left over, so I was put onto the next auditing step, called "Objectives." I did not like doing these counseling processes; I thought they were ridiculous. The auditor would point to a table across the tiny auditing room and say: "Look at that bottle." I'd look. He'd say "Thank you." Then he'd say "Walk over to that bottle." I'd walk over to it, with him at my side and he would say "Thank you. Touch that bottle." I'd comply. He would say: "Thank you. What is its color?" I would say "green." He would say "Thank you. What is its weight?" I'd take a guess. He'd say, "Thank you. What is its temperature?" I'd take a guess. He'd say, "Thank you. Turn around." I'd turn around. He'd say, "Thank you." Then he'd direct my attention to the other side of the room at another table, with another bottle on it and he would repeat the same dialogue ("patter" in Scientologese). After about an hour of this nonsense, I informed the auditor politely that I did not wish to continue this process. He said that we had to continue. I said that I was the customer and that I most certainly did not have to continue. He argued with me how I had to continue. I tried to leave the room. He would not let me. I tried to reason with him that I did not want to waste my extremely expensive auditing time doing stupid things. He still refused to let me leave the auditing room and blocked the door (and all the while the meter was ticking). So I sat down and refused to cooperate. He eventually capitulated and left the room to get advice. Finally, he came back and ended the session and let me go.
My remaining paid-for hours were converted into the "Hubbard Qualified Scientologist Course" ("HQS"). I don't remember much about it, except doing more of the same communication drills that I had already done on the PCW and making a pencil out of clay and labeling its component parts. It was boring and my interest in Dianetics and Scientology was beginning to lag.
Before I finished this course, I joined staff at SCS Management Center in Burbank. Someone I knew at the Pasadena Dianetics Center was on staff there and she recruited me, using very strong affinity flows. It is hard to say no to someone who seems to like you so much. You begin to believe that they really are doing things out of a selfless interest in you. It was much later that I finally realized the truth. You cannot leave post without a replacement. And Isela Munoz very much wanted off staff. Enough to misrepresent staff life to me to induce me to join.
SCS Management Center is where the four missions had their centralized administration: accounting, printing, marketing, management, computer center, etc. I became the receptionist/ typist. This is where I met my future husband, Steve.
Carl Barney was the missionholder--the franchise owner of the four missions: His top executives were: Ike Kezsbom, Technical Manager; Mike Scheer, Operations Manager; Ed Marsh, Marketing Manager; Jerry Watson, Attorney; Liz Sabine, Public Relations, Pam Novath, Treasury Secretary; Richard Scott, Director of Records, Assets & Materiels; Cris Criswell, Personnel Manager; and Steve Sola, Advertising Manager. Terrie Arnold was Carl's "communicator" (assistant, secretary, gopher, etc.). Arleen Valentin (later Dawson) was Ed's communicator (she died sometime in or around the time she was getting NOTs auditing, I believe). Scott Jacob's was Ike's communicator. Scotty was great. He was the epitome of what was good in Scientology. Everyone liked Scotty. Arlene Rich was Cris's communicator. I was the receptionist/typist. There were also two computer programmers. Dave Joseph, was the printer and Steve Van Stone was the financial consultant. This was the "Management Center" for Scientology Coordinated Services ("SCS").
Sometime during that year, I received some student auditing called "Method One Word Clearing." Steve's cousin Dave delivered it as a requirement to complete his course. The alleged end result was "recovery of one's past education." I still can't do algebra. In fact, I did not recover any past education. Just looked up and 'cleared" some words.
After I completed M-1 Word Clearing, I received some "review" auditing (when things aren't going well in your life, you get review auditing to find out what needs to be fixed. It is usually debit invoiced, meaning you get it on credit. It is more expensive than the normally expensive normal auditing). I spent the majority of my auditing "in review." This short span of auditing ended with me being sent to an upper organization (the American Saint Hill Organization or "ASHO") to see if I had attained the state of Clear. According to the master plan of Scientology auditing and training (the "Hubbard Gradation and Classification Chart," a/k/a the "Bridge to Total Freedom"), I should not have been anywhere near ready to get a Clear check.
This Clear check was a new auditing procedure called the "Dianetic Clear Special Intensive" (or "DCSI" for short). It was only a five-hour procedure. It was called "special intensive" because a normal "intensive" of auditing is 12 hours. It resolved with ASHO adjudicating that I was not Clear. I became quite upset with this adjudication considering the sum of money I had paid to receive it. I communicated my upset to the Examiner and after some more DCSI auditing ASHO reversed its prior adjudication and declared that I was, indeed, Clear. What was really becoming "clear" was that there was something more powerful than "standard tech." That something was called a "dissatisfied customer"!
Steve and I were married on August 19, 1979. Steve attested to Clear three days before and I attested to Clear three days after we were married. We then moved to Santa Barbara because Steve had been posted as the Treasury Secretary Santa Barbara Mission.
Just prior to the DCSI auditing, crazy things were happening at SCS. We were told that Carl Barney had been trying to operate independent of the mother church (Mission Office World Wide in England or colloquially known as "MOWW" ) and one day MOWW put the four missions (SCS collectively) into receivership because allegedly Carl Barney had been playing games with the non-profit corporation by doing unlawful things such as having the non-profit corporation pay for his Lincoln Town Car, a cabin at Big Bear, and his pension, using NAC as a money pool for loans, and such.
Kingsley Wimbush (Mission Holder of the Stevens Creek Mission, later to be declared a suppressive person or "SP" and expelled from the church during the purge of 1982) headed a team sent in to "sort SCS out." It resembled the Gestapo moving in and taking over. All the staff was ordered to do intensive studying of L. Ron Hubbard ("LRH") policies and it took an incredibly long time to finish. We were watched as if we were prisoners. And we were not allowed to leave until they said we could. It was frightening. I tried to leave but they would not let me. I was forced to endure extremely long hours of studying Hubbard's tedious policies, even while sick. We had to Method 9 Word Clear all the policies. This consisted of teaming up with another person and one person reading to the other. If the reader stumbled while reading, the coach had to spot check the reader on definitions of words until the the misunderstood word ("MU") was found and cleared. This took forever. I have never had the ability to keep late hours. Past 10:00 p.m. I start getting sleepy and disoriented. We were forced to study at least until 3 a.m. When I would assert I was too tired, I would be forced to look harder for the MU, and I was never allowed to leave until I was "granted permission." To leave without permission in Scientology is called "blowing" and can get you into ethics trouble and/or get you declared an SP.
Alison, a non-staff Scientologist friend of mine at the time, had a wedding shower for me a week before Steve and I were married. No one from the mission showed up because of the rigors of being thrown into receivership. Unfortunately, by this time, all my friends (except Alison) were Scientology staff members.
On August 23, 1979, Steve and I moved to Santa Barbara where Steve became the Treasury Secretary (executive in charge of the mission's finances) of the Santa Barbara Mission. I got a "wog" job doing data entry in the evening for the County. The staff of the Santa Barbara Mission was dirt poor. I was only making $5.35 an hour as a data entry operator working out in the "wog" world, but we were rich comparatively. (Wog is a racist Scientology term which literally means "worthy oriental gentleman" and was defined by Scientology as "a garden-variety humanoid" and used generally to mean someone or something that is non-Scientology).
I was posted as Director of Communications ("Dir Comm") of the Santa Barbara Mission. One of my job duties as Director of Communications was to get the mail to the post office. Even when I became pregnant with our first child I had to carry heavy boxes of bulk mail to the post office up until just a few weeks before the baby was born. There is no mercy if you are pregnant and on staff. You are expected to do your job anyway.
The Santa Barbara Mission was a very old, decrepit hotel at 20 W. De La Guerra Street, just off of State Street. The front portion of the building was used for courses and counseling. In the back part hotel rooms were rented out to staff and public. Steve and I lived in one room, shared a bathroom with our neighbor, and had to endure sharing a cockroach-infested community kitchen with everyone. I hated it there.