The Cheryl S Story
Justice a la Scientologie
A Committee of Evidence ("Comm Ev") is part of the Scientology "justice" system. It is a severe ethics action. You do something wrong according to Scientological standards (or someone just doesn't like you), and this is what happens: first, a Bill of Particulars is drawn up. This is a list of the charges against you. Per policy, you are supposed to see the Bill of Particulars prior to the Comm Ev hearing. Second, you meet with the Committee. This is supposed to be done rather rapidly (within a week or so). The committee reads the ethics reports that were written on you and they ask you questions. You have an opportunity to prevent rebuttal evidence. Then they decide if you are guilty or not and recommend any penalties including, if necessary, declaring you a suppressive person and expelling your from the church. (Of course, ethics reports are hearsay evidence, not signed under penalty of perjury, and the writers of the reports do not testify under oath at the hearing either. So Scientology's definition of "evidence" is extremely loose.
My Comm Ev went like this: I was told I was being Comm Ev'd. (That term strikes terror into the heart of any Scientologist--kind of like being told you are going to Orwell's Room 101.) I was never shown the Bill of Particulars. I was "under Comm Ev" for several months (sort of like having your head under a guillotine for several months, it wears on you). When I was finally informed of the hearing, I had to go downtown. It was done in the basement of ASHO. There were three low rank Sea Org personnel comprising my Committee. (It appears a Sea Org janitor has a higher rank than an Org Treasury Secretary.) I informed them that I had not been shown the Bill of Particulars so, therefore, I was not prepared for the hearing. One of the Committee members handed me the Bill and I skimmed it quickly. They did not want to have to reschedule the hearing so it went forward, even though I had not been afforded an opportunity to prepare my defense.
I told them what had happened (as I described it above). (I was being Comm Ev'd for the phone bill fiasco, yet the precipitating event was my giving out the finance office's phone number to Phil. That wasn't even mentioned on the Bill of Particulars.)
I was asked what responsibility I had in the matter. I said I would only accept 50% responsibility (why should I have taken any? It was "the girl's" fault, 100%) because (a) it was not my job to make the org make money (that was the FBO's and the registrar's job), and (b) but for "the girl's" carelessness in not wearing the receptionist hat, the bill could have been paid on time.
They did not like my answer. I was supposed to say that I was 100% responsible so it would make their job easier. (Scientology says you are responsible for your condition so, therefore, if someone messes up or doesn't like you, you are still responsible.) If I had taken 100% responsibility it would have made their job easier because it had become apparent that the Committee had already been told what to recommend, because not one Committee member would consider anything I had to say.
So my "sentence" was that I had to pay the telephone company's reconnect fee of over $1,000 and it was recommended that I be removed from the Treasury Secretary post because I was "PTS." PTS means Potential Trouble Source (a potential source of trouble to Scientology). It means you are connected to a Suppressive Person (a person who does not want you to improve and tries to suppress you.) If I was PTS, guess who I was PTS to!
But I was ecstatic. I hated that post with a passion. And I did not have to find a replacement first. I was free! So the ethics officer, upon reading the recommendations later said in a very disgusted voice, "Get out of here." It was her job to "de-PTS" me. And since I was being removed from post because I was "PTS" she should have, but she didn't bother. So I was dropped. At least until they needed me again. Justice in Scientology is a vehicle to intimidate and harass. It is obviously not applied impartially or according to any kind of standard.
The following month I was diagnosed as having "chronic mononucleosis" (or Epstein-Barr virus"). I was extremely ill for six months. I was awake for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. I could hardly move when I was awake. This lasted for six months. Nearly 13 years later, I still haven't fully recovered.
Towards the end of this illness, "the girl" showed up at my door. The org, she said, needed a Staff Section Officer. This position was in charge of the Department of Personnel Enhancement, in the Qualification Division. (As the HAS, "the girl" had to do personnel recruitment if there wasn't anyone posted as the recruiter.) The girl assured me not once, but many times, that I could do this post on a 3-night-a-week schedule. (I was, unfortunately, still under contract, you see, so I felt obligated to finish the contract or else be labeled a "freeloader" and have to pay a substantial bill for all training and counseling I had received "free" while under staff contract.) I verified with her several times that the post was nothing more than 3 nights per week and explained to her that healthwise I could not handle any more than that. She assured me multiple times that the 3-night-a-week schedule was perfectly fine. So I agreed to do it.
That schedule lasted all of two weeks. Then "the girl" turned into a dragon and told me that I was full time. I was utterly shocked because she knew I was in no condition to pull a full-time schedule. (I had to work full time during the day to make money to pay the rent because Steve didn't bring much money home.) She told me that I was now full time and if I did not comply I would be sent to ethics. The cycle started again.
I was upset and disagreed and she then proceeded to lie to the ethics officer and the Qual Sec. She also called me "1.1" (a derogatory designation in Scientology which means 1.1 on Hubbard's emotional tone scale, an emotional tone level of "covert hostility.") This blew my mind. If anyone was being 1.1, it was the her! (And still, all those "trained" staff in the org could not see this!) Of course, the EO and Qual Sec sided with "the girl" and I was ordered to be on post full time.
Then I found out that there was a policy which said there has to be a full-time SSO on post or the ED loses all his statistics for every day there isn't one. At that point, I realized that "the girl" had known all along and had lied shamelessly to get someone posted and lying to me was a hell of a lot easier than facing the ED. My health was not near as important as "the girl's" butt. It was Nazi-like during those days. It was during that particular ED's regime that the phrase "I just got my face ripped off" became a frequent saying (and practice). I can understand what made her so ruthless. But it was my health she was endangering.
I coped with being the SSO for about 8 months. Steve told me to stop whining. So I stopped talking to him about it altogether and suffered in silence. The last 5 months were spent working a full-time day job and being the SSO nights and weekends. One time, when I relapsed EBV and was running a fever, "the girl" came to my home and stood on my porch and screamed as loud as she could that if I did not "get my ass into the org and on post, she would have me declared a suppressive person." I became angry and told her that she needed to word clear the staff contract because staff were entitled to 2 days off with pay per month for sick leave upon presentation of a doctor's note. She left without me and wrote a KR on me.
At one point the org nanny, Lu Robertson, contracted hepatitis. I was ordered to go audit her. I protested because of the contagiousness of the disease. I was told "you won't get sick if you're not PTS." I still protested. And, of course, the threat of an SP declare was pulled out of someone's back pocket and waved in my face. So I went. Lu told me that she had been told that she did not need to seek medical help. She just needed to be "de-PTSed." I told her that she did need to seek medical help. I do not know if she ever did or not.
I kept on being the SSO as long as I could but I finally collapsed from exhaustion. (Interesting to note, I have always been an "above average" employee at all of my non-Scientology jobs, getting excellent reviews and raises every year, so I don't take the trouble I had on staff as any indication of my abilities or true worth, in case you were wondering.)
After being off post for awhile, I was reeled back in and posted as the FESer (FES stands for "Folder Error Summary" and an FESer is a person with auditor training who goes through counseling folders looking for errors). I didn't last very long at this. First, I had trained through Class IV but had never done an internship so therefore my certificates were expired. Many of the auditing actions in these particular counseling folders were Class V and VI techniques that I had never trained for. Consequently, I was very slow at it. The public person was being charged the same high rate of hundreds of dollars per hour as he would have paid for counseling for my services. He became upset at how long it was taking me (and the resulting cost) and I didn't blame him one bit. Then my senior, the Director of Processing ("D of P") decided to refer the heat and lobbed the disgruntled customer into my court. I tried to explain to him why it took me so long but what could I say really? That they put a totally unqualified person on a post who did the best she could under the circumstances and that he was charged "professional" rates for this? It was fraud, pure and simple.
Also, while on this post I was ordered to cull a former registrar's (Eric Ahlroth) PC folders to find all damaging information I could find on him because he was going to be declared SP. One of his "crimes" was taking aspirin for his persisting headaches for which Scientology would not allow him to seek medical assistance. They kept diagnosing the headeaches as "out-int" (an unflat interiorization rundown, correctable by more auditing, so Scientology case supervisor said).
It think it was during this time period (1986-1987) that a project was conducted wherein all PC folders had to be stamped "Priest-Penitent Confidential." I worked on the project. There were hundreds of dusty, musty PC folders that had to be stamped. PC folders are just legal size manila folders that contain the worksheets made by the auditor during a preclear's (PC) auditing (counseling) session.
Somewhere in this time period, another Mission came to the org. The Mission 1st was a Mr. Yaravslavsky. Steve and I had just completed ethics conditions on the "2D" (second dynamic, the premise being all life has the urge to survive and that there are 8 dynamics involved, survival for self [1st dynamic or 1D], survival through sex and family [2D], survival through groups [3D] and so on) and one of the handlings for our marital woes was that we would have a date on Saturday nights without fail. (Too much staff, not enough family life was playing havoc with our marriage.)
So, of course, a few weeks after this handling was implemented, in rolls another Mission. Steve came home and informed me that a Mission had just been fired into the org and that he had to go back to post, but he was taking Joe with him to use as an excuse to leave. About an hour later, the ED called and wanted to know if Steve had left yet. I told her he had gone back to the org an hour ago and she said he had already arrived, but he was on his way back home to drop off Joe, who was getting in the way.
So Steve walked in the door a few minutes later with a bunch of flowers and asked if I wanted to go to the movies. I told him forget it, the ED had called and I knew he had to go back. I didn't think it was worth getting declared over. Steve got mad and a fight ensued wherein he turned over the kitchen table (and busted the calculator that was on it). The fight kept on and finally got physical. I ended up with a scratched cornea. I burst into tears and he just walked out and went to post.
The next day I was "summoned" before the Mission 1st. Mr. Yaravslavsky inquired as to what happened the night before. I told him. Steve was there. The Mission 1st looked at me with extreme disgust and said "I don't know what condition you're in, but if I ever hear of you putting CI (counter intention) on a staff member's lines again, I'll personally see you declared." He then looked at Steve and said, "You're in treason." You see, Steve had lied to the Mission 1st (to save his butt) and had told him that I had put CI on his [Steve's] lines.
I walked out choking back tears. CI? You have got to be kidding. I was the one who had to told Steve to go back to post when he was going to blow! How much more of this backwards bullshit could I take?
I went to see the temporary ethics officer and told her that I was not going to risk my upper bridge for Steve. She laughed and agreed with me that he wasn't worth it.
A new ED was named to replace the old one. Luckily, I didn't have to interact with him too much because I was working on a special project under the FBO's jurisdiction (establishing the org's addresso [name and address] system on computer). I also think he would not have treated me the way he was treating other staff because Steve (who was the FBO and his peer) was the one person in the org who could (and did) bust him for his abusive ways. Staff were screamed at mercilessly when the stats were down. The ED went on witchhunts searching for "SP's" that were keeping the org's stats down. (Any idiot could see it was the ED's screaming that was driving people away!) This was the era where someone getting the face "ripped off" was a common saying and occurrence. Consequently, many staff started blowing. And it wasn't just the staff. The ED's abusive behavior scared public away too. One night, there was a Michael Lewis event and the ED's screaming could be heard in the lecture and was a major distraction. Michael Lewis, a popular lecturer, was extremely distressed over this. He wanted to know who the "psycho" was that was screaming. Because he was considered a Scientology celebrity, he never saw any of the dark side of Scientology.
At the end of 1987, Steve and I filed for bankruptcy. Yes, a Scientology executive, whose life's crusade was to make the org make money, make more money, could not even manage his own money (really, it was the lack thereof). It was also interesting to note that our personal finances paralleled the org's finances closely.
Just in the nick of time, an accident settlement came through from my car accident of 1985. We didn't go through with the bankruptcy and it was dismissed. I used the money to pay off credit cards and the balance of my NAC loan.
In March of 1990, I was at the org when I suddenly started having intense pain in my abdomen. I told the Case Supervisor ("C/S, person who supervises auditing sessions from an "ivory tower") who happened to be walking by and she gave me a heating pad. I lay on the heating pad, unsure what to do. As the pain worsened, I asked someone walking by to call 911. I was told that wasn't necessary, all I needed was a touch assist.
The pain was becoming unbearable so I limped through the org looking for someone to take me to the emergency room (which was only 5-7 minutes down the road). It was morning and not a lot of people were there.
I found the Director of Technical Services (DTS, Mike Kravitz) and begged him to take me to the hospital as the pain was becoming frightening. He obviously didn't want to but he finally agreed. But I had to wait for him to finish some "important" post cycles.
About 15 minutes later, barely able to walk, we left. He took me to the hospital and dropped me off in the parking lot and left quickly. I was barely able to make it to the emergency room door. Once in, a nurse quickly put me in a wheelchair and started the admitting process. I slipped out of the wheelchair and lay on the floor, unable to sit up any more. An ER nurse walked by and did a double take seeing me laying on the floor in the waiting room. She demanded a table be brought (never had I heard such incredible TONE 40 and she probably doesn't even know what Tone 40 is) and in under 60 seconds I was on a bed being wheeled into a room. I was given Demerol, which did not stop the pain. I was given Morphine, which dulled the pain, but did not stop it.
Soon after, I was wheeled into the operating room. Above my swimming consciousness were the concerned faces of doctors and nurses as they prep'd me for surgery. The surgeon came in and spoke to me in soothing tones, but I could see the same worry in his eyes too. Then the gas mask went on. The surgeon asked me to count backwards from ten. I remember making it to 9 and the lights went out.
I woke up to a nurse shaking me, calling my name loudly. "Cheryl. Wake up! Cheryl! WAKE UP!" I woke up groggily. "Hnuh?" Then she said: "You're fine. You're fine." I mumbled "Good" and went back to sleep.
When I was conscious again, I was told that they had removed an ovarian cyst (benign) larger than life itself (actually, the size of a cantaloupe) and that it had torsioned (twisted). My right ovary was literally on the left side of my body. I was shown pictures of it. It was quite impressive! Nurses stopped by my room wanting to see the mother of the "alien baby."
The surgeon stopped by. He told me that if I had waited much longer to get to the hospital, the cyst could have ruptured and I would have died. He asked if I was married. I said yes. He asked where my husband was. I said I didn't know. Steve was at ITO (International Training Org) on the Flag Executive Briefing Course (FEBC) and unreachable, as usual. But I didn't know how to explain that to the doctor. He looked at me with a mixture of puzzlement and pity. I have no recollection of Steve visiting me in the hospital.
If I had maintained routine gyn checkups, this cyst would not have gotten to crisis proportions. However, having been indoctrinated by Scientology into believing that "medicos" were bad, I had not maintained routine checkups and, thus, a life threatening emergency erupted.
Around this time, I told Steve either he had to get a normal daytime job and help support the family or I would be forced to leave him because his making no money and letting me support the whole family was very out-exchange. He arrogantly told me that I was in no shape to be issuing an ultimatum. He was right, at that time.
I thought about it long and hard. I requested marriage counseling. I was mid-auditing action and unless I could come up with a lot of money to complete it and then pay for the marriage counseling, then I could not get the "marriage counseling." I saw the Chaplains at AOLA and ASHO. I was informed by Mike Howzer, Chaplain AOLA, that since Steve was a staff member, it would be an uphill battle to pull him away from being full-time staff, and I would be viewed as the bad guy. He was compassionate, but that was the reality of the situation.
Nothing changed. No help was forthcoming from Scientology. I reviewed my past history and determined that if I stayed with Steve and stayed in Scientology, there was a good chance that I would be dead at an early age, the way things were going. I decided I had to get away from both.
Seven or eight months later I did leave Steve, and Scientology. On the night of February 1, 1991, a Friday, I moved out. I had given notice at my day job and it had been my last day there. I was starting a new job on Monday. I had already leased an apartment and was moving in that night. Steve had no knowledge of any of this. I was cutting all ties with him and Scientology. I had no intention of giving him or Scientology the chance of coming after me and hard selling or harassing me into coming back.
But there was a fly in the ointment. Steve had picked the kids up from school that day and Joe had gone to spend the night at a new friend's house, and I didn't know where this new friend lived. I couldn't wait. My brother was helping me move and was not available the next day. If I moved out my furniture Friday night and stayed, then Steve would know. So I had to go Friday night. My intention had been to leave with both the kids, but I ended up leaving with only Vinnie. For three days Joe called my dad, asking where I was. I was afraid to break my silence for fear of Steve and Scientology finding out where I was, but in the end, I went back and retrieved Joe. And, of course, Steve would not release Joe to me until he found out where I had moved to.
But I told Steve that if he gave out my address and/or phone number to Scientology, I would move again and he would never see me or the kids again. As far as I know, he never did. And as far as I know, he has never written a KR that I had said that either. (If he had written a KR, the policy was that he had to give me a copy of it, and I never got a copy.)
It is interesting to note that he started working a day job the next business day after I left him, and to this day is still working a day job. But he wouldn't work a day job to keep our marriage from falling apart.
The day after I left him, I went back to the his house when I knew he was at the org and left him a week's groceries so he wouldn't starve.
Soon after I left him, his car was stolen when he parked it in the degraded neighborhood by the Scientology management building in Hollywood. We had just received a tax return of $648. Since he had only paid $14 in taxes that year because of his being on staff, I felt that the tax return was really mine and I could have kept it. However, I gave the entire $648 to him so he could put a down payment on a friend's truck so he could get to work.
Just prior to our divorce being finalized, I tried to put our marriage back together for the sake of the kids, but Steve refused to unless I remained a Scientologist in good standing. I could not return to Scientology because I no longer believed it was what it claimed to be. So our divorce was allowed to became final in September of 1991.
At the time I was trying to put the marriage back together, Steve mentioned that if I didn't come back, he already had someone at the org he was interested in. Steve's new girlfriend was a brand new "raw meat" Scientologist, 17 years his junior. At that time, Joe was living with his dad. When the girlfriend moved in, Joe quickly became a persona non grata. He was 11 years old and left home alone at night so Steve could pursue Scientology. It scared him to be left alone and it was during these lonely nights that he started making up voices for his teddy bears so he had someone to talk to. I was outraged when I found out this was going on, so in early 1993 Joe moved back in with me.
As noted earlier, Joe's birth tragedy was solely the result of heavy "Dianetic" influence. At the time of his birth, considering the trauma of oxygen deprivation to his brain that he had undergone, Dr. Gordon informed us that Joe would suffer from learning disabilities and "other" problems. He didn't elaborate and I think we were too naive to ask.
But Joe seemed normal enough until he was about five years old. Then the problems began. He seemed to have a problem with respecting other people' property. If he liked it he took it. Of course, most little kids have that problem, but they outgrow it. But Joe didn't. It got worse.
Then the behavior problems started. Out of consideration for his feelings, I will not recount more than the bad temper tantrums, fights, lying and such. But there were many more problems, some of which we are still dealing with.
From preschool through fifth grade, Joe attended Scientology schools in the Los Angeles area: Pinecrest Academy, Punkin Preschool, Mace-Kingsley, Ability Plus. Every one of these schools expelled him for "out ethics" and "misunderstood words" They could not handle him at all. This is the L. Ron Hubbard technology that is purportedly going to "clear" the planet of "war, crime and insanity." But it couldn't even diagnose a learning disabled kid, nor could it even offer any kind of solution or referral. Remember, Dianetics purportedly deals with the mind. So why couldn't Joe's mind be fixed? Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that many of the "teachers" were just mothers with no teacher training whatsoever.
Recently, I went to the Valley Org to pick up one of the kids. I met someone I knew there. I said hello to him. He looked at me blankly and mumbled, "I'm so tired" and shuffled past me. I don't think he even knew who I was. In the years I've been gone nothing has changed. If fact, it looks like it has gotten worse.