The Cheryl S Story
In March of 1981, Steve's five-year staff contract was up and we moved back to Los Angeles. For about six months we rented a room at Alison's house. Being free of staff responsibilities, Steve promised me that he would work a normal day job and make money so that I could return to school and train to become a nurse. He also agreed to not sign another staff contract with Scientology without discussing it with me first.
That agreement lasted a few weeks until one of his friend's from the Valley Org got hold of him. He signed another five-year contract without discussing it with me first. I was very upset by his breach of our agreement, but he unilaterally decided that I did not have the right to be upset. After all, Scientology was more important than my life goals, or his keeping promises. The matter was dropped by him. I never dropped it but knew better than to try to argue with him. Scientology was more important than any goal I could ever have. Scientology claims it helps you reach your goals. Again, reality was different. As I found out, your "goals" have to be the same as Scientology's goals or in some way benefit Scientology for them to be taken seriously.
Steve went onto the Technical Training Corp ("TTC") which is how the Scientology organizations train their auditors (counselors) and executives. By now the missions had been upgraded to Class IV Orgs, the difference being that missions could offer courses and auditing up through Dianetics, whereas orgs could offer courses and auditing up through Class IV auditor training (and ASHO up to Class VI auditor training and the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, AO could offer all lower training plus the OT levels through OT VII, with Flag being the highest level org. The Freewinds ship was the only place where OT VIII and above are delivered).
Steve was very idealistic and very much wanted to be an auditor. He didn't finish it at this time, being pulled off for a "more important" post, and it took nearly 15 years for him to get back to it.
Around that time (1981), I did the Purification Rundown, which was a tedious routine of five hours a day, consisting of exercise, vitamins, oil and sweating in a sauna. It took about two weeks for me to finish it, though I had heard from some people first-hand that it was taking months for them to complete it. I was thoroughly sick of the Purif and it was exhausting me to the point of debilitation. I had to quit a job because I was not functional. I had had enough, so I "originated" that I was done, and sure enough, I was routed through to the examiner to "attest" that I was done. Another satisfied customer. (And my suspicion confirmed again that a satisfied customer was more important than a real product.) I later learned that if "hours in the box" statistic were down, I probably wouldn't have completed that week. But that week completions ("comps") were needed, so I was allowed to complete and route onto my next step.
That next step was another tedious course called the "Survival Rundown." It was just a rehash of the communication skills and objective processes that I had received back in 1977-1978. I was taken off of this course to receive "professional" auditing. I was told that I could not train until I received more auditing because my "case" was keeping me from training. (And, of course, auditing was much more expensive and the only way to keep the stats up was to sell a lot of it.)
The only things getting in my way of studying Scientology were lack of interest in the subject matter and being exhausted by the insane schedule. (Interesting to note that I had completed nearly two years of college and never had any problems completing studies there! With no effort, I easily received As and Bs. I even completed 11 units of college courses, worked full time and was pregnant with my second child with no problem. The difference being: I was in control of my schedule and getting enough sleep and eating property and was interested in what I was studying.)
It wasn't until Steve's brother came to California in 1981 that we finally got our very own apartment, after two years of marriage. Tom lived with us for about four years. Those were the best years (and the only years that our family didn't have to put up with a non-family Scientologists renting a room from us).
Steve's tenure on the TTC, as mentioned above, didn't last too long. Since he had been Treasury Secretary at the Santa Barbara Org, he was pulled off to do Valley Org's financial audits when the backlog became a "Hill 10" (a big problem), probably because the org was going to be audited by the IRS). He was paid $200 per week to do them. For Scientology staff, this was phenomenal pay.
I had long since run out of paid-for counseling and courses. In March of 1983, we moved to Sun Valley, California. In June of 1983, our second child was born. I learned quick. I used a reputable M.D. and delivered Vinnie in a hospital.
I had been sick while pregnant with him, and at the time of his birth did not know I had bronchitis. He was born with an infection and he had to stay in the hospital 10 days while he received intravenous antibiotics. I had to stay in the hospital an extra three days and receive antibiotics too. I cringe to think what would have happened if I had given in to the pressure to have him at home.
During this time, I was running a fever. Scientology has several procedures called "assists" which purportedly help you get well faster.
Steve was an "auditor-in-training" and I asked him for a fever assist. I was in the hospital at this time running a stubborn 102 degree fever. He responded with: "I'd rather be auditing Lu because she's a staff member." He then left, leaving me stunned. I had just delivered our second child but he would rather audit the org nanny than help me get well.
This reaction was the rule rather than the exception when it came to getting any help from him. Yet he had dedicated his life working for Scientology "to help save the world." Well, he hasn't "saved the world" yet, but his family shattered into pieces. How can you save the world when you can't even save your own family?
A comment on assists--the most common assist is a "touch assist". A sick person sits in a chair with his eyes closed and the auditor says "Feel my finger" and the sick person acknowledges that the finger was felt. This continues, finger alternating left and right sides of the sick person's body on the legs, arms, spine and head.
Personally, I never liked them. I became dizzy sitting for so long with my eyes closed and can't remember an assist every making me feel better. I do remember getting one while in an auditing session. I was in such bad shape I fell asleep for five hours. And the auditor robotically continued, all the while the meter was running.
Actually, I must have acquired quite an endurance skill of holding my body upright in a chair while running a fever or suffering from diarrhea or nausea while someone robotically repeated "Feel my finger."
But, of course, when you have been involved with Scientology long enough, you know better than to say "This sucks!" or "That didn't do anything for me." You will either be sent to expensive review or to ethics or to the word clearer or all three. And if you disagree long enough, you will be declared SP. And that translates into all Scientologists (who include your family and and most, if not all, of your friends) never being able to speak with you again. So you can see why anyone would be fearful of getting declared. I would have lost my family. And you see, I loved my family very much. Even crazy, misguided Steve.
In October, 1983, Steve's boss, Russ Loomis, died unexpectedly. He went into surgery for a biopsy and was discovered to be a hemophiliac. He died on the operating table. I was shocked at the news. Russ had been a Scientologist and Steve spewed more of the same Scientological propaganda of "see what happens if you don't move up the bridge and do your OT levels." Steve did not appear very upset by the sudden death of his boss and friend. His reaction to Russ's death was disturbing. There was a dispute over the money left on Russ's account with the church. I heard his wife, Sharon, had trouble getting it refunded.
At the end of October, 1983, we moved from Sun Valley, California to Van Nuys, California. It was a rainy weekend. The house was larger but quite rundown. In the middle of the move, one of our old junk Datsun's gave up the ghost and, with one final gasp, died. We went back and forth moving stuff in our one remaining junk Datsun.
In the early afternoon, in the middle of the move, Jim Nicastro, the Finance Banking Officer (FBO) of Valley Org, showed up at our door. Steve had been "named" to replace Jim. There was some kind of upset occurring at the complex (Scientology's headquarters in Los Angeles, at the old Cedars of Lebanon Hospital site). This upset concerned someone trying to back out purchasing a large package of Scientology services which had already been sold.
Steve just up and went with Jim in the middle of the move to help handle the problem. He left me, a 3-year-old child and a 4-month-old baby stranded at the house with no food, no lights or heat (and it was raining), no car, and no diapers for the baby, with half our possessions at the other house, no beds to sleep on, etc. He did not return until well after midnight.
He made no apology for his actions. In his mind it was the only thing he could have done. Families are second class citizens in the "religion" of Scientology.
In November, 1994, I decided to have undergo a tubal ligation. Life was rough in Scientology and it was for that precise reason that I decided against any more children. The tubal ligation was done on an out-patient basis. Steve picked me up on his dinner break and took me home. It was raining and lightning had struck a transformer somewhere and the house was without electricity. Steve left me at home without lights, drugged, with a 5-month- old and a 3-year-old and went back to the org.
During 1984, Steve and I received a lot of "pre-approved" credit card applications in the mail. After we received them, most of those cards were "max'd out" for Scientology services.