Moira Hutchison's experiences in Scientology.
January 27, 1997
I gave over two years of my life to working and learning how to run a
Scientology Church, because I believed in the technology. My
original involvement came about because I was depressed, had no self
esteem and did not know where I was going in life. Scn appeared to
give me a sense of focus. I am aware that it sheltered me from real
life and it caused problems in my family relationships.
Originally I was very well respected by the higher management of Scn,
due in particular to my ability to learn and apply new technology,
policy etc. I was sent to L.A. to be trained in all of the policies
written about running a Scn org, disseminating, training of auditors,
communication and so on. This was a fairly brutal training regime.
I was there for seven months, I had one day off and spent the rest of
the time studying from 8:30am to 11:00pm, we had two 15 minute breaks
and two half hour meal breaks. My stay there was supposed to be paid
for by the Sea Org in the UK. However, I ended up working in the
kitchen four afternoons a week in order to earn my keep.
While in LA, after doing an internship in ASHO I was approached and
asked to stand in for one of their officers who had been called away
for two weeks. I was there for a total of four weeks.
Attempts were made to recruit me to the upper levels of Scn
management. However, although I felt honored to have this type of
praise given to me, I insisted on going back to the UK. From what I
saw, this level of management was fairly well looked after in
comparison to the UK. They were given a weekly allowance, clothing
and time off once a week. None of this happened in the UK.
Upon my return to the UK I found that I was to be made the ED in
Edinburgh. The org now only comprised of 2 staff and less than 10
clients. Seven months prior to this, when I left Britain, this org
consisted of 20 staff and circa 50 clients.
What had happened was that all of these people had 'defected' to form
'splinter groups'. This was slammed by the church, who called all of
the people using this technology outside of the church's umbrella
'squirrels'. Members in good standing were forbidden to communicate
with any of them.
This heralded the beginning of my struggle to keep an org running in
Edinburgh, I was making some money with the sale of basic courses,
materials and books. However, I inherited a £900.00 phone bill, £
750.00 rates bill, £600.00 electric bill etc etc. The phone was
disconnected and I had to use public phone boxes. I had several
writs served for non-payment of bills. I was actually successful in
talking a Sheriff out of auctioning all of the furniture in the org.
All requests for financial help were ignored by the Sea Org. Of
course, the money had to still be filtered upwards.
This added fuel to the niggling doubts I had started to have about the
church and how it operated. After about a month of being the ED, the
current COUK called me down to East Grinstead. This was an attempt
to get me to 'confess my transgressions that I must have committed'.
You see because I was now supposed to be a hot shot, I was expected to
have the statistics of the org turned around and back to the level
they had been prior to my departure to LA. One of the key issues
here was that I was supposed to make money for the church. It did
not matter that all resources were now depleted and any possible
solution had to start back at the basics. It was considered not
acceptable to hold seminars, workshops etc using the basic Dianetic
information. The courses that I was signing people up for at this
point ran at a cost of £20 - £40.
One day I made the mistake of telling one of my superior officers
about a wonderful older lady that I had signed up to do a
communication course. I was told that I had to sell the whole bridge
to her. An officer was sent up from East Grinstead to facilitate
this. I was harassed and chased by upper management to do this, they
did not care for her well being. They just wanted the money.
Anyways, I was 'busted' as the ED twice. There was a new COUK now
(the other one had been 'busted' for having an affair with an
underage girl who baby-sat his children. In my first conversation
with her she accused me of having destroyed the Org in Edinburgh.
Shortly after this I was summoned to the Sea Org HQ in East Grinstead,
supposedly for one day, I was kept there for a whole week so that I
could complete a program very similar to the RPF where I had to write
down all of my transgressions committed against the church and carry
out menial physical duties.
I did this program three times in my time in Scn. I had been told I
could complete my second one, by the Ethics Officer. The COUK saw
that I had completed and she barked out an order to the Ethics Officer
that there was no way that I was finished and I had to go back to the
program until she felt I was done and my ethics were intact.
The second time I was 'busted' in Edinburgh I did not return to
Edinburgh until I was out of the church. The COUK told me I was
going to be primed for a top position (actually I would have been
level with her in hierarchical terms). In order to prove my
worthiness I was to be sent to Plymouth on a fact finding 'mission'
with one other officer.
This was my second scn 'mission'; the first one I did was in London.
Once I had finished what I was sent out to do, I returned to East
Grinstead and gave my debrief. I should mention here also, that
every time an officer returns to base from a mission, they have to
have a confessional. I always had a problem with these as I would
end up having an e-meter read on something out of the confessional
listing. The read would be chased and chased until I was exhausted
and nothing was ever found.
Anyways, upon my return to base after this mission I was accused of
blowing from my duties because I had returned without the appropriate
signoff by the COUK. We had called in to say we were done and going
to return that day. Needless to say, that brought about an even more
in depth confessional procedure followed by another stay in an ethics
Once my 'ethics were intact' I was told that I was going to be sent on
a "garrison mission" to Plymouth. This is where a Sea Org Officer is
sent to an Org, expected to perform miracles with the revenue and
other statistics of org performance. It also usually meant that the
officer was left there indefinitely.
So I went to Plymouth and did my best, as I always did. I was
pregnant when I went to Plymouth. I miscarried in my fourth month
(not really surprising due to my very poor diet and the fact that I
worked seven days a week 8:00 am- 10:00pm). I wanted to take some
time off to recover, the request was denied.
One of the clients of the org in Plymouth was a guy that I quickly
became friends with. He was the first scientologist that I felt safe
discussing my doubts & opinions with the structure, running and
philosophies of the church. I found that he shared a lot of my
opinions, although I had been far more exposed to the managerial
politics than he.
Shortly after my arrival in Plymouth he became a staff member. He
wanted to help me make the Plymouth org the thriving, happy place it
had once been. (Sounds similar to Edinburgh, doesn't it!?!)
My marriage had broken down right after my miscarriage (I was married
to a guy who worked in Saint Hill). I got involved in an affair with
this guy in Plymouth. You can imagine what happened when the Sea Org
got wind of this. Three Sea Org Officers were sent to Plymouth to
interrogate me and make me do yet another confessional!
I did the confessional, wrote up my transgressions, namely having an
affair while still legally married to another. I wrote a list of
every project I was working on, which client was doing what, who had
been promised what. Upon completion of this, I went down a back set
of stairs and left the building via the fire escape. This was due to
a tacit agreement between my friend and myself that I had to leave.
The church made three attempts to get me to return. (I would have
had to report straight to the RPF, of course!). In the third one, I
was actually kidnapped to be taken to East Grinstead. I managed to
jump off the train at the station before East Grinstead. Luckily I
had enough money on me to pay for a train ticket back to Plymouth.
Within a month I received a declaration stating that I was now
classified as a Suppressive Person
Reading all of this, you must be wondering what on earth made me so
subservient, innocent and gullible. I was 17 when I got involved
with the church, 20 when I left. I did like and agree with a lot of
the technology itself, and this made me stick with it.
I received very little auditing while in the church, just some basic
repair, confessional, word clearing, etc. I did also receive some
Dianetic auditing and it did nothing for me. Something a lot of
people did not know about me was that I had never read the book
Dianetics a Modern Science of Mental Health. I had tried a few times
but could never get into it.
I got involved with an auditor, based in Scotland, who delivered all
of the upper Scn levels to me (OT 1-7 and L10-L12) after indicating
that I was a 'natural clear'.
I can't say that I did not get anything out of the processing I
received after leaving the church. However, none of the levels
delivered what all of the church hype wanted you to believe. It took
a huge effort and a lot of work for me to rebuild my life after coming
out of the church. I was 20, with very low self esteem, I had no
real life work skills, I only had the qualifications I had graduated
high school with. I had to rekindle all of my relationships with my
family. I had to make new friends as the friends I had before Scn
were all in Scotland and they had all moved on with their lives.
Ten years have passed since all of this happened. I view Scn with
very different eyes now. My life experience in these past years has
taught me that there is no one right path to lead us through this
life, nor does any one person have the right to dictate a thought
system, slandering all others.
The Scn Technology I was taught was focused a lot on freedoms;
freedom from control, from self inflicted hang ups and so on. This,
in my opinion, is where Scn gets its appeal, as we all want freedom in
some form or another. However, in reality there is a large amount of
fear in the people who work in the church. An opposing opinion meant
an ethics investigation and handling. Depending on the severity of
the opposition to the thought system, a person could be declared a
Suppressive Person. Whenever this happened, in my experience, the
remaining staff/officers would make statements like - "I always
suspected he/she was suppressive". I am sure the same was said of me
once I was declared.
I have to say that although I admit to having some success with some
of the processing, my belief system has changed very much. I have
grown up and taken charge of my life. One thing I can say that the
whole experience has taught me is to ensure that I explore everything
when any type of spiritual or philosophical train of thought or belief
system comes my way. I will never allow myself to be involved with
an organization which takes people out of the real world.
I feel very strongly that no one should become involved with the
Church of Scientology. The setup I was exposed to was a hierarchy to
make money. There was very little evidence of true caring for the
clients by the management. Staff members become wrapped in a cause.
The work hours and rules are so demanding, the real world ceases to
I would like to offer my support to anyone having problems in breaking
away from Scn.