The Cheryl S Story
The Phone Bill Fiasco
The following month (5/86), the org finally moved into one large building in North Hollywood. We were helped by a Scientologist by the name of Phil. The ED Valley had sent me "downtown" (to the Scientology complex in Hollywood) to get the move approved. The Sea Org member in charge of such approvals did not approve of the move to the North Hollywood location because of a variety of reasons but somehow the Valley Org ended up moving there anyway.
It was a horrible building, at 10335 Magnolia Boulevard, formerly a film development laboratory. The counseling rooms were so tiny they were almost useless. There were no windows and only a front door and two back doors.
I was the person in charge of getting the phones turned on. The org was supposed to have moved 3 months earlier, but because of different reasons, the move was delayed. Not long after we moved in, the 3-month-old phone bill went "red" (i.e., the red colored notice that gives a drop dead deadline to pay up or be disconnected). I knew the day it was due and relying on past dealings with the phone company, I knew that we had until 5:00 p.m. that day to get the money to the phone company.
As explained above, the org has a weekly bookkeeping cycle. The weekly deadline is Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. On Thursday nights, the Advisory Council (AC) has to determine how to allocate the weekly income. These meeting were always smokey and if I said anything about the smoke, I was generally ignored or told to "stop nattering." (Natter=a British term redefined by Hubbard to mean a symptom of having overts (bad deeds committed by the natterer).) Did this mean I had overts on cigarettes? Oh well, since Scientologists generally don't read the news (because Scientology tells them it is bad and reporters are "merchants of chaos," I guess they haven't heard that second hand smoke kills.)
There was the usual gossip over org-related things. This particular AC meeting I had to skip because I had become ill. (I had unknowingly contracted chronic mononucleosis but kept going for more months before I collapsed.) I did, however, submit all required paperwork for the week, including the purchase order to pay the phone bill, but, as usual, there was not enough money to pay the phone bill that week, along with other things.
At this time, the org's finances were in a "financial dictatorship." Steve's boss, the FBO WUS (Finance Banking Officer, Western United States), held Valley Org's checkbook and the weekly allocation and any rushes had to be approved by that person. (If there wasn't enough money to pay a bill the prior week and it became due before the next weekly financial planning (F.P.) session, the money had to be made by the org and then a check "rushed." Which meant I had to drive "downtown" to get the purchase order approved and the check cut.
So at approximately 12:10 p.m. on that fateful day, I was leaving the org to go downtown to rush a check through to pay the phone bill. "The girl" was holding the receptionist post at that time. (As mentioned above, as senior over that post if no one else was available, she had to cover it, and Valley Org was severely undermanned during those days.) As I left, she handed me a phone message which she had taken around 9:30 a.m. that morning which stated that a phone company representative had called and said that the check had to be delivered to their office by noon.
I became angry with "the girl" because she had not informed me. She said, "you're not usually here during the morning." This was no defense because my senior, the OES (Organization Executive Secretary) was routinely there in the mornings and, if I wasnt' there, the message should have been given to the OES. Anyone with any common sense would not park a message like that. But we weren't dealing with common sense here.
I immediately got on the phone to the phone company but the contact person had already gone to lunch. I raced downtown, moved a few mountains, and got the check approved and cut, and raced it to the phone company...but I was too late. The phone company had already disconnected the phones and would not be able to get them back on until the next day. (Personally, I think the phone company changed its tactics because it was sick and tired of having to jump through hoops to get its money.)
The lesson I learned, however, is that if you want to stop Scientology dead in their tracks, turn off their phones. All the call-in personnel had to go to pay phones to conduct their business (with their own money) and that day's stats crashed.
So I was in trouble. BIG trouble. However, I didn't blow. I just went on about my business and showed up to the next AC meeting. "The girl" had the chutzpah to snidely comment: "Well, at least she didn't run." I bit my tongue because she was an Exec Sec, but I was beginning to wonder when anyone was going to figure out that maybe she was an SP.
The org's phones were out for less than 24 hours but this was a horrible crime. The whole mindset was "the Treasury Secretary is responsible for paying the bills." However, the registrars are the people responsible for making the money. How can anyone expect any Treasury Secretary to get the bills paid if the money isn't there? My statistics were based on bills being paid and there wasn't much I could do to control my statistic unless I went out and "regged," but regging was not my job. And believe me, I had plenty of my own work to do. So for all the weeks the registrars did not bring in any money, I could not get bills paid so, therefore, my stats were down, and there was nothing I could do about it. So, no matter how hard I worked, I was always "downstat." And "Ron" said Scientology is a game where everyone wins. I think not!
And to add insult to injury, "the girl's" carelessness created the whole flap. I believe she was trying to get me declared so Steve would have to divorce me. No other motive made any sense. For her to not route that very important phone message was tantamount to "not wearing her hat" as receptionist. And to not wear your hat (do your job) is a crime. But she got away with it! And I was crucified for something I was not guilty of.
Somewhere in this time period, it was "the girl's" birthday. There was a party for her somewhere and Steve was going to it. I objected to his going (for obvious reasons), but he basically blew me off and left with Joe (who was about 6 years old at the time). This threw me into a helpless rage and I threw some bookcases over I was so incensed. Anger just kept building over the outrageous actions that I could not do anything about. Talk about being the "effect" of all of this. Of course, he was chasing "the girl," obviously forgetting that he had once told me that "love was a reactive mind thing." Of course, he was Clear, therefore, he didn't have a reactive mind. Yeah, right.
While I was "downtown" one day, a Sea Org personnel recruiter by the name of Francisco Sanz Polo tried to recruit me. I didn't know he was a recruiter and he offered to show me the LRH Library which was currently at CLO (Continental Liasion Office) at the Los Angeles complex. Once inside he locked the door. I asked why he had to do that and he said "security." We toured the library and then he tried to get me to sign a Sea Org "billion year contract." I did not want to. He persisted. I still did not want to. After an hour or more I told him I really had to leave because I had a doctor appointment. He still would not let me leave. He kept trying to get me to sign. Finally, I signed. But as I was signing I said something like "You know I am only signing this so I can leave. I have no intention of joining the Sea Org." He just laughed and told me I could work it out in ethics. I just laughed back and told him to go, well, you know.
One day not long after the phone bill incident, the person who had helped Valley Org move from Sherman Oaks to North Hollywood (Phil) called and spoke with me. He told me that it was important for him to contact the FBO WUS and he didn't happen to have the number with him and could I provide him with it. I did. I had no idea that this person was in hot water with the finance office, so I unwittingly gave him the number.
This was the straw that broke the camel's back. My name was already mud over the phone fiasco. The order came down to "comm ev" me.