Transcript of the second Howie Siegel talkshow on Scientology, CJVI, AM900.
Well, it took longer than I expected, but this is the final
and complete transcript. Again, I've just webbed it at:
And everything after "*******************" is the new stuff.
There's some excellent material in here from Gerry, and Howie
did an outstanding job. I did not contribute much to this one,
and I'm glad of that, as I didn't want to interrupt the interview
This reads almost like a biography of Gerry's life in the cult;
fascinating stuff on the Apollo, Hubbard, Miscavige, and more.
Of course, it was intended for a general audience, and we discussed
making it simple and sweet and not getting too far into abstractions
and obscure terminology before the show, but still there's things
here even for veteran Scientology ars Scientology observers. Greg
Owen and Paul (Merchant of Chaos, email@example.com) also had interesting
material to contribute about the cult. Howie is great, though; quite
willing and able to look directly at the most difficult issues
surrounding Scientology. He is quite knowledgeable about the topic.
Some of the comments in here from the participants stand out as
great quotes all on their own...for me, this show was much more
interesting than the first one, as we got into areas, albeit
briefly, that were not explored at first.
"And what I've found from many people who talk about their
experiences with cults is that it's not really a reflection
of intelligence. Somehow, those of us who have avoided the
experience - we think of ourselves as somehow smarter, but I
don't think that's it at all." - this was Howie, near the end.
He's a very caring person who speaks from his heart about the
issues and has a quick and delightful mind. There was a great
deal of humour in here, and I've inserted the occasional
laugh, but during each break...well, it was a pleasure doing
this show with Neil, Howie, and Gerry; witty and intelligent
and skeptical and thoughtful and fine people, all.
Neil Kelly: Producer
Howie Siegel: Host
Gerry Armstrong: Studio Guest
Richard: 1st caller
Greg owen: Phone-in guest; Humanist Association of Canada
Paul Grosswald: Phone-in guest; New Jersey Cult Information Service
Martin Hunt: Studio Guest
Mary: 2nd caller
Neil Kelly: Good afternoon; it's AM 900, 384-0900 Siegel, and Howie,
who do we have on today?
Howie Siegel: Well, we have you on, Neil. Neil Kelly, as always;
and thank God for Neil. Folks, a few weeks ago we did our only serious
show; it was on Scientology, and without a doubt, as best as I
can judge these things, it was the most sensationally received show.
People are still talking about it. The entire transcript went on
the Internet, courtesy of Martin Hunt who's in the studio with us
today. Later on we're going to be talking to Greg Owen of the
Humanist Association of Canada, and Paul Grosswald from the Cult
Information Service in New Jersey. This is the follow-up to that
show that we did on Scientology. A few weeks ago we brought
Scientologists on the air and we talked with them about their
beliefs, and then we contrasted those beliefs with others who
were disenamoured of Scientology and we tried to get a dialogue
going. We tried to bring some light and some air to the situation.
At the end of that show, in fact for several years now, I've
considered Scientology to be a very dangerous endeavour. I believe
it is a cult; I believe the people who do practice it are brainwashed.
Now, these are very indefinite terms, very difficult to define.
But what I mean to say mostly is that the thousands of ex-practitioners
of Scientology seem to walk around haunted, intimidated, frightened,
and certainly impoverished by their experiences with Scientology.
Now these are my beliefs. I've brought into the studio today two
gentlemen who have had real experiences with Scientology; Martin
Hunt, the aforementioned Martin Hunt living in Victoria now was a
Scientologist in 1988 and 1989. Martin's expertise is the Internet
now; he conducts a fulsome, spirited and wonderful battle against
Scientology on the Internet; and, all the way from Vancouver,
ex-Scientologist Gerry Armstrong. Gerry Armstrong was born in
Chilliwack, and he is one of the, Scientologist's greatest enemies,
at least that is how he is perceived by Scientology as a great
enemy, he is an ex-Scientologist. Gerry, thank you for coming over
from the Mainland.
Gerry Armstrong: My pleasure.
Howie Siegel: I'm glad you're here; and Gerry, I really think this
is going to be your show.
Gerry Armstrong: OK.
Howie Siegel: So, let's just start from the very beginning. You're
from Chilliwack, and you're about my age, you're a baby boomer. You're
in good shape; you told me you're a runner now. I expected to see a
much more elderly gentleman, and then I realized of course you're
much younger than me. Tell us about you're experiences with Scientology.
Gerry Armstrong: I really takes...there are two major sections to it.
First is my 12 1/2 years inside the organization, and then it's been
some 16 years outside the organization. I got involved in 1969 in
Vancouver, and soon after that I flew to Los Angeles and joined what
was called the Sea Organization.
Howie Siegel: Let's go a little slower.
Gerry Armstrong: OK.
Howie Siegel: You're walking down the street in Vancouver in 1969.
Gerry Armstrong: Well, actually a friend in Chilliwack came back with
stories of the wonders of Scientology, and I talked to him for a
couple of weeks, hung out with him a lot, read a couple of books,
and then walked into the, what we called then a franchise, Scientology
Little Mountain in Vancouver on Main Street. So then I did some
courses, worked for little a bit, moved from Chilliwack down to
Vancouver, got a job in a cheese factory, made a few bucks, plunked
down my money and bought some auditing, bought some courses in
Scientology, and then...
Howie Siegel: When you say auditing and courses in Scientology, at
least in the very, very early stages more like psychological tests,
personality profiles, that kind of stuff? Give us an example for
people who are absolutely unaware of Scientology. What would be the
Gerry Armstrong: The initial course, which I took, was what's called
a Communication Course, and I was a young guy at the time and having
trouble with communication, and that's what they sell: you can have
the ability to communicate with people; you can get a better job, have
a great life, that sort of thing. It's a sales pitch in communication,
and so that initially was a mere $40, perhaps, and went on for, I
guess, three weeks, a couple nights a week, and you sit and look at
someone else, and then you learn how to deliver a communication to
someone else, and you learn how to acknowledge that communication,
and then you learn how to not be thrown off with comments that are
made to you, derogatory comments or efforts to make you laugh, and
then you have learned in the course of doing this over a period of
time the basic what's called the auditor's comm cycle, the communication
cycle of Scientology which is basic to all Scientology psychotherapy;
auditing is really psychotherapy. It's a branch of psychology; they
call it a religion but it is in fact a branch and perhaps the worst
of all the branches of psychology. You're primed, in this initial
course, for then going on to the processing or auditing - psychological
processing of Scientology which all Scientologists go through.
Howie Siegel: Now, not withstanding the fact that these people may
not be qualified to psychoanalyze anybody, much less you, much less
their dog...there's no science-fiction at this point, there are no
concepts that are too far...difficult to swallow. It's pretty standard
psychological stuff at this stage?
Gerry Armstrong: What you're involved in is pretty psychological
standard stuff; however there is a science-fiction undercurrent to
the whole operation. You are promised great powers; at Clear you
will be at cause over matter, energy, space and time. You will
reach a height of human ability beyond anything conceivable - anything
that had ever been attained before. And, you will encounter people
who claim to have these great abilities, and you read material, you
read success stories in Scientology of people who can do these
wonderful things with these fantastic abilities. So that is there;
it underlies all of Scientology from the beginning.
Howie Siegel: OK; very clear. We're talking to Gerry Armstrong, an
ex-Scientologist, considered now to be one of Scientology's greatest
enemies, and Gerry is talking about his early experiences in 1969
when he first became attracted to Scientology in Chilliwack. At
this point, you travelled to Los Angeles?
Gerry Armstrong: Right. I was recruited into what's called the
Sea Organization, which still exists to day, and the recruits are
required to sign, of all things, a billion-year contract. So that
by the time that I left Vancouver at the beginning of 1971, I had
essentially bought the whole package, and I had sold my soul to
Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.
Howie Siegel: But this was after two years?
Gerry Armstrong: This was after a little over a year and a half.
Howie Siegel: Would that be unusual that you would go into what
they call the Sea Organization which was were Hubbard actually ran
Scientology, correct? From a fleet of ships?
Gerry Armstrong: Right.
Howie Siegel: Would that be unusual that you would be recruited
after a year and a half to go up to the highest organization?
Gerry Armstrong: No, it wasn't particularly unusual, because
people were being recruited all the time. It may have been unusual
in that shortly after my arrival in Los Angeles, where we had, where
the Sea org had one ship, the Bolivar, called a station ship, I
was flown to Europe and joined the flagship, where Hubbard was on
board, the Apollo, and at that time we were in Tangiers, Morocco.
Howie Siegel: Now, Gerry; why you? Was there anything particular
about you that would have attracted them? Were you just an average
schmo in Scientology, or were you showing certain promise?
Gerry Armstrong: I think that was average in every way, and it was
in large part I think, as it turned out, great good fortune on my
part that I went that route; both good fortune and bad fortune.
Howie Siegel: So you actually wound up going to Europe, within
a year and a half of joining Scientology you're now on your way to
Hubbard's mothership, L. Ron Hubbard the founder of Scientology?
Gerry Armstrong: Right. He ran Scientology from on board, and I
was on board from the beginning of 1971 through the Fall of 1975.
Howie Siegel: Tell me about your feelings when you approached the
Gerry Armstrong: Well, I was very green, and very uncertain, and I
was a young man then, and, as I say, I had bought the package, so
I did not show at all the fear which was very deep and inside me,
but there definitely was, there was some trepidation, but I
performed my function admirably; I arrived on board, and I was a
model Sea Org member - extremely hard working, extremely dedicated,
never doing anything which would reflect poorly on Scientology or
Howie Siegel: What kind of duties were you assigned?
Gerry Armstrong: Initially, I was the dishwasher on board; we then
had 400 people on board - all of Scientology was run by Hubbard from
on board the ship. Shortly after that, I became the storesman; short
time after that I became the driver of the car that we had on board,
so I provided the transportation in the ports that we visited for
all the ship's crew.
Howie Siegel: When we come back from the traffic, we're going to
come back and pick up Gerry Armstrong's story, his relationship
Neil Kelly: Back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: This is the follow-up show to Scientology. Later on
in the show we're going to be speaking with Greg Owen from the
Humanist Association of Canada; Paul Grosswald from the Cult
Information Service in New Jersey; here in the studio we have
Martin Hunt, a Victorian, ex-Scientologist, conducting an Internet
battle against Scientology, and Gerry Armstrong. Before the break,
we were listening to Gerry's experiences. In 1969 he joined
Scientology out of Chilliwack. Within a year and a half he was
on the mothership; L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology,
an erstwhile science-fiction writer started the movement in the
early 50s, and by 1971 Gerry Armstrong found himself on the ship
in Europe that Hubbard was running the organization from. Now, at
this point you were inducted into Scientology; were you taking their
courses, their schooling?
Gerry Armstrong: Every day you were required to attend courses, and
study was required of everyone on board.
Howie Siegel: Now, what was the nature of the study?
Gerry Armstrong: Really, you studied whatever was required to do your
particular post, your job on board; that was the number one requirement.
Beyond that, there was occasionally time for you to get into the study
of auditing - the psychotherapy - although that was generally just
people who were designated auditors, psychotherapists, who would do
that. So it really was your job on board. When I was the driver, I
studied the transportation hat. Hat was your job, your post, what
you were required to do in order to perform your job. A short time
after, within a year of coming on board, I was assigned to what was
called the Port Captain's office, the divisions of which had the
Public Relations, Legal, and Intelligence Units of the Ship Organization,
and I was assigned to the Legal Officer or Legal Office, and became
the Legal Officer shortly after that, or Ship's Representative we
Howie Siegel: But Gerry, you became involved in Scientology and were so
enamoured with Scientology because it promised you this vast human
potential; and yet, once you joined Hubbard's Sea Organization and
came aboard the ship, seemingly you stopped taking the Scientology
courses that would enable you to reach that potential. Was there
a contradiction there?
Gerry Armstrong: That was, I viewed it at the time as a sacrifice
that had to be made so that Scientology could accomplish its sky-high
Howie Siegel: Which were?
Gerry Armstrong: Which were essentially the saving of mankind from
destruction. We called it various things, "clearing the planet",
"getting in ethics on the planet", but it was essentially a
totalitarian goal of complete domination in order to save mankind.
Howie Siegel: From what?
Gerry Armstrong: From the threats of nuclear holocaust. From the
threats of the "Merchants of Chaos"; the enemies of Scientology,
those who would bring about the destruction of Mankind. Hubbard
viewed that there was some two and a half percent of the population
that he called "Suppressive Persons" who were truly dangerous, and
who were the source of all the difficulties of mankind. Those were
the enemies that the Sea Org was there to control and "put ethics
Howie Siegel: So, Scientologists see themselves as saviours of the
Gerry Armstrong: Absolutely.
Howie Siegel: You know what seems so hypocritical is that Scientologists
use what they call "auditing", which you have defined as psychoanalysis,
psychotherapy, and yet they have routinely alleged that the World
Health Organization, that the forces of psychology on Earth, and
psychotherapy, are the greatest enemies of mankind. Doesn't that seem
Gerry Armstrong: There are many contradictions like that in Scientology.
An important aspect to understand Scientology is the recognition that
it is replete with contradictions.
Howie Siegel: Do Scientologists laugh?
Gerry Armstrong: Yeah; they can. And they, you know, Scientology
tries its best, the organization and the hierarchy of Scientology
tries its best, really, to completely dominate and control the
people underneath them in the organization. But it really does
not, ultimately, achieve that goal; people really do not lose their
spirits, really do not lose their souls, to Scientology. And
that's why there's so many that get in and get out; and for some
it's a long process, and for some it's a short process. But in
that sense, Scientology in its efforts to control individuals and
control minds and destroy souls is really not effective.
Howie Siegel: They mean well. They mean well, and in their own
hearts they're not evil.
Gerry Armstrong: The people at the top at the top of the organization
do not mean well.
Howie Siegel: Oh, well, we're going to get into that, definitely
get into that, but let's go back to 1979. You're now on the ship
with Hubbard. Your job is getting better and better; where are
you now? A what point in the organization now? You're part of the
legal apparatus, you said?
Gerry Armstrong: Yeah; I dealt with immigration and customs and the
Howie Siegel: Oh, as the ship travelled around Europe?
Gerry Armstrong: Right; at that time we were mainly in Portugal and
Spain, and the little Atlantic islands, in the Canaries and Madeira.
And a lot of my work was done ashore. When we would enter a port, I
would go ashore and I would deal with the Port Authority and with
the ship's agent and with the chandler and taking care of the ship's
business - the things that any ship would need going into port. We
were undercover at that time; we claimed to be...and our cover was
that of "Operation and Transport Corporation Limited of Panama",
a business management corporation. No one could admit, on board,
that we were Scientology; no one could admit that Scientology was
operated from on board. If someone took a Scientology book and was
caught ashore with a Scientology book or was seen above deck with
a Scientology book or Scientology papers, that was a condition of
Treason, because that was out-security. Security was a huge part of
the cover, and it was really an intelligence operation that was
going on on-board.
Howie Siegel: You're listening to Gerry Armstrong, ex-Scientologist;
his experiences aboard the Sea Org, which was L. Ron Hubbard's
mothership, and when we come back from the newsbreak, we're going
to continue with Gerry's Odyssey.
Neil Kelly: AM 900, 384-0900 to join in; it's Siegel time.
Howie Siegel: Scientology; later on in the show Greg Owen from the
Humanist Association of Canada; Paul Grosswald from the Cult
Information Service in New Jersey; here in the studio Martin Hunt
a Victorian who was a Scientologist in 1988 and 1989. His
expertise is now on the Internet and the battle against Scientology.
We're talking with Gerry Armstrong; Gerry Armstrong is from Chilliwack,
he joined Scientology in 1969, and from 1971 to 1975 he was on the
mothership that L. Ron Hubbard ran personally in the Atlantic around
Spain and Portugal. Gerry's duties included liaison with shore, legal
problems, customs problems; he was married on board the ship in 1974,
so he was on board for 5 years with Hubbard. Gerry, what was the work
regimen like on board?
Gerry Armstrong: For everyone, it was truly endless; I worked every
day for two and a half years without one day off, and I worked many
many times around the clock, and I existed on practically no sleep
for all of those years - I truly was a zombie.
Howie Siegel: Was that typical of the other people aboard Hubbard's
ship? Hubbard was the founder of Scientology, by the way, and the
boss until he died. Was that typical of the people on board?
Gerry Armstrong: I think that it was typical of some, perhaps people
who were in a position like I was; I really had to do it just to be
able to function because the ship was operating around the clock
and I had to pretty well operate around the clock. It wasn't always
like this, and for a lot of people I think they were in positions
which did not require that, but it was also not uncommon.
Howie Siegel: Well, I guess my real question is was it forced or not,
or was it something you did voluntarily?
Gerry Armstrong: Well, I would say that there is a voluntariness to
it in that you initially make the decision to join the Sea Organization,
but once you make that decision, then until you leave you are absolutely
and completely under the domination of the organization, and there is
a system of punishment for anyone who does not carry out any order that
he is given within the organization.
Howie Siegel: Before I ask you about that punishment and that system
of punishment...at this time you were working very hard; for 2 1/2
years you didn't have a day off. But I guess you must have felt blessed
that you were close to your god, Hubbard, and you must have felt very
positive about what you were doing at the time.
Gerry Armstrong: I believe that that's true; I believe that there was
an aspect of rationalization going on, because now, to look at it,
I was truly nuts to have subjected myself and to have allowed an
organization that truly did not have my best interests at heart to
subject me to that.
Howie Siegel: What happened in 1976 with the Rehabilitation Project
Force, and please define that term.
Gerry Armstrong: The Rehabilitation Project Force is commonly known
by its initials, RPF, is really the Scientology or Sea Org prison
system. It is a system of punishment and lock up and cheap labour
source for the Sea Organization. Prior to my being assigned, and I
was assigned by L. Ron Hubbard himself, I was making $17.20 per
Howie Siegel: Seventeen dollars and twenty cents?
Gerry Armstrong: Right. And when you're assigned to the RPF, those
wages - if you'd call them that - are cut to a quarter. So I ended
up making four dollars and thirty cents a week. But in the RPF,
and I was assigned as I say on Hubbard's order, he said for
"insubordination"; essentially I had told Mary Sue Hubbard's,
Mary Sue his wife was in charge of the Guardian's Office, which is
another story in Scientology, but I had gotten in a bit of a scrap
with Mary Sue Hubbard's secretary and had told her where to get off,
and for that I was assigned to the RPF, and spend the next 17 months
inside. You, in the RPF you must run everywhere, you are required
to wear a black boiler suit, you may not speak to any crew member
in the organization unless spoken to, as I said you get one quarter
Howie Siegel: $4 per week.
Gerry Armstrong: Correct.
Neil Kelly: Was there a sense of punishment if you did speak to
somebody that you didn't speak to or didn't run?
Gerry Armstrong: Oh, absolutely; you could be assigned extra time,
you could even be assigned to the RPF's RPF, which is far beyond
what the RPF is. In the RPF's RPF you may not even speak to an
RPF member unless spoken to, and there was no study for someone
assigned to the RPF's RPF. You, as I say, you were required to
run everywhere, but for a slight infraction like not saying "sir"
to someone, you could be given laps.
Howie Siegel: Was there any physical punishment?
Gerry Armstrong: People were locked up, against their will, and
held. No one was physically beaten, that I knew of.
Howie Siegel: At any time during this ordeal, could you walk off
the ship? Assuming it was in port!
Gerry Armstrong: Actually, no; no in that you did not have your
passport. Your passport was taken from you as soon as you came on
board. So you were in a foreign country, and you would have had to
go to a foreign embassy or a foreign consulate in a foreign land
to get a passport to be able to travel. There were many times when
I was in the organization in the Port Captain's office where we
staked out a consulate or embassy knowing that a person had to show
up there in order to retrieve them before they approached the
Howie Siegel: Gerry Armstrong, you're telling me that you were a part
of Shanghai gangs that physically grabbed recalcitrant Scientologists
and brought them back to the Sea Org, back to the ship?
Gerry Armstrong: Yes; many times.
Howie Siegel: Against their will?
Gerry Armstrong: Yes; many times.
Neil Kelly: Which countries?
Gerry Armstrong: In Portugal, and then again a number of times
in Clearwater itself, in Florida.
Howie Siegel: I see. That's where they, Scientologists, have set
up an organization in Clearwater, in the seventies, that's still
going strong today.
Gerry Armstrong: Right; people who would leave the RPF...
Howie Siegel: The RPF was the Rehabilitation Project Force; it was
the punitive wing of Scientology.
Gerry Armstrong: Correct. People who would leave without authorization
we would consider "blown", and we had a grid for the city of
Clearwater, and we would send out groups of people to cover all
the grids to get them back.
Howie Siegel: We're talking to Gerry Armstrong, an ex-Scientologist,
about his experiences in Scientology. You went into the Rehabilitation
Project Force, into punishment, in 1976, and you spent 17 months
doing these menial chores at $4 per week.
Gerry Armstrong: Correct. After you arrive at a certain point, you
are given a gold armband after you've accomplished certain things
and proven to them that you are indeed a dedicated Scientologist
and a dedicated Sea Org member that you're willing to toe the line
and your will has been completely broken then you get half pay again.
Howie Siegel: But Gerry, it seems to be all arbitrary if somebody
decides that you're a good boy they give you the armband. If they
ignore you, you could go on for another two years.
Gerry Armstrong: All of Scientology is completely arbitrary.
Howie Siegel: So, at some point now, you've now gotten out of
the Rehabilitation Project Force, you're now rehabilitated,
you've got your golden armband, you became L. Ron Hubbard's
biographer; how did that happen?
Gerry Armstrong: Well, the years went by...
Howie Siegel: You were a dutiful worker in Florida, organizing for
Gerry Armstrong: No. I left the, I got out of the RPF in Florida, and
then went to California, and beginning in 1978, I spent the next
several months shooting movies with Hubbard in the desert in
Howie Siegel: At Gilman Hot Springs?
Gerry Armstrong: No; this was at La Quinta. We had a base of operations
at La Quinta, and then I was again assigned...
Howie Siegel: Were these propaganda films?
Gerry Armstrong: He called them training films. There was an aspect
of propaganda to them; it covered really both things. Propaganda,
he called it PR, Public Relations, and training films, these were
the technical aspects of Scientology...
Howie Siegel: So, seemingly, you were forgiven for your 17 months
in solitary, so to speak?
Gerry Armstrong: Well, in a sense. I had worked my way back to be
able to be there and...
Howie Siegel: At the great man's foot?
Gerry Armstrong: Exactly.
Howie Siegel: And, of course, the closer you got to Hubbard, the
more brownie points it was all about?
Gerry Armstrong: That's an aspect of Scientology.
Howie Siegel: He was a god to his parishioners?
Gerry Armstrong: In truth, they see him like that.
Howie Siegel: So, what year is this now that you're shooting films
with Hubbard in California?
Gerry Armstrong: '78.
Howie Siegel: So, take us now.
Gerry Armstrong: OK. In '78, he again assigned me to the RPF, and this
Howie Siegel: Oh, forgive me, Gerry, but I'm going to interrupt; I
apologize. But we're going to go to Neil with the break, and then
when we come back we'll pick up the reins of the story, OK?
Gerry Armstrong: OK.
Howie Siegel: OK; I apologize.
Neil Kelly: Back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: When we left, we left Gerry Armstrong, Scientologist,
in 1978 filming training films with L. Ron Hubbard in California.
Gerry Armstrong: And then again one day, he assigned me to the RPF,
this time for joking. He considered that I had joked about his movies.
I hadn't, but there was no recourse, and so I spent the next 8 months,
first in La Quinta, and then we moved that operation because the cover
was blown there, we moved to Gilman Hot Springs, and again we were
undercover, this time first of all as the Scottish Highland Quietude
Howie Siegel: [laughs] There was a sense of humour there, Gerry.
Gerry Armstrong: Yeah; I though you'd like that one.
Howie Siegel: By the way, I spent time at Gilman Hot Springs, when
I was a kid, when it was a kind of Jewish resort somewhere outside
of Palm Springs, you know, in the desert. And I had very wonderful
memories of it; that's where I read _Somebody Up There Likes Me_...
Gerry Armstrong: Uh-huh.
Howie Siegel: By Lucky Graziano. I wanted to ask you...
Gerry Armstrong: Ken Norton had a training camp there; I think it
was Ken Norton.
Howie Siegel: Yeah, Gilman...and then the Scientologists took it
over, of course, in the late '70s. La Quinta was the same sort of
operation, was it a taken-over resort?
Gerry Armstrong: Yeah; La Quinta was a number of houses...
Howie Siegel: OK. And then you moved to Gilman Hot Springs...again
you've gone into punishment, into RPF.
Gerry Armstrong: Right.
Howie Siegel: It's your second term of punishment. Did he catch you...
that's why I asked you if laughing was allowed because an ex-Scientologist
once told me that smiling was preferred, but that laughing was some sort
of a suppressive action.
Gerry Armstrong: Well, if he said it was a suppressive action, then
it was a suppressive action.
Howie Siegel: Hubbard?
Neil Kelly: It was OK for him to laugh.
Howie Siegel: For Hubbard. Was Hubbard a laughable guy? What kind
of a guy was Hubbard?
Gerry Armstrong: He could be; he could be charming. He could also be
extremely ruthless, he could be belligerent, he could be incredibly
vain, he could be stupid.
Howie Siegel: Yeah. Well listen, we're going to find out what
happened to you, but we've got a caller named Richard...
Gerry Armstrong: OK.
Howie Siegel: From Victoria. So, what do you think, Gerry; do you
want to take a call?
Gerry Armstrong: If you want, that's fine.
Howie Siegel: OK, let's go. Richard?
Howie Siegel: Hi. What's on your mind?
Richard: Well, I'd just like to voice an experience; I'll be quick
about it. I never did actually join, but I remember 23 years ago
out of curiosity I entered an office where they gave you a test,
a 3 or 4 page test, you test your personality and blah blah blah,
where you're at. And I handed it in, a guy goes "Oh, geez, you're
in big trouble; I think you should get started immediately on our
course here", and I go "Well, I don't think so", and I virtually
had to...it was hard to get out of that establishment...
Howie Siegel: Richard.
Richard: ...back onto the street.
Howie Siegel: Richard, did you get any coffee and doughnuts?
Richard: Not a one, Howie.
Howie Siegel: Sounds like you got ripped off.
Richard: I did. But they hounded me all the way back to Ottawa; I
got hand-written letters using actual...swearing at me and that
I should get onto the program and that I'm in big trouble, and
somebody eventually did come to my door from wherever, whether it
was necessarily Toronto or whether they had people out of Ottawa,
and my mother was home at the time and they announced they came
to get me, and my mother, I had let her know about these letters
I had been getting, so she was aware of what was up. She pretty
well slammed the door in their face, and that's the last I heard
from them, but they're quite aggressive.
Howie Siegel: Richard, Richard, Richard, Scientologists can do
Richard: Yeah. (laughs)
Howie Siegel: We were told that L. Ron Hubbard could astral travel...
Howie Siegel: ...that he had the universe in the palm of his hand.
Howie Siegel: There was just one thing...
Howie Siegel: ...that L. Ron Hubbard was incapable of doing: getting
you off the mailing list!
Howie Siegel: So, I think you experienced that. Thank you for calling.
Richard: Yeah, exactly.
Howie Siegel: See you.
Richard: Good show, Howie.
Howie Siegel: Thanks, pal.
Richard: Keep up the good work, guys.
Howie Siegel: Thanks a lot. We're talking with Gerry Armstrong. Gerry
joined Scientology in 1969 in Chilliwack; by 1978 he back in the
Rehabilitation Project Force, which was the punitive wing of Scientology,
after falling from Hubbard's favour. Once again, Hubbard was the founder
of the movement. Let's pick up the reins then, Gerry; we've got about
two and a half minutes before the break.
Gerry Armstrong: By 1979 I was again out of the RPF and I was in charge
actually of Hubbard's Household Unit on the Gilman Hot Springs property.
We had renovated a house for Hubbard, and it was his intention to come
live at the property; however, he was also in hiding because of his
threat, his fear of being served on-going civil cases and in perhaps
the IRS case against Scientology at that time. So he was really not
able to come to the property except under very deep cover, and it
was in the course of this, when I was in charge of his Household Unit,
that there was the threat of a raid by law enforcement - we were
never told who, but this was announced by Hubbard's Messengers.
Right at the beginning of 1980, end of 1979, beginning of 1980, and
as a result, we were required to destroy all documents on the property
in our possession which showed Hubbard's intention to live at the
property, that he had been to the property, that he was in charge
of Scientology, that he was in charge of Scientology finances.
Howie Siegel: This was an IRS action?
Gerry Armstrong: We were never told. There was just a raid threat.
This is not the first one; the FBI had raided the organization in
1977, so we were quite prepared for this, and it was in the course
of this raid threat when we were going through documents on the
Gilman Hot Springs property, that one of my juniors, a girl by the
name of Brenda Black, brought to me a box which contained in it
very old records of L. Ron Hubbard, and she asked me if they should
be shredded, and I looked at them and saw that most of these pre-dated
Dianetics and Scientology, and saw that there was no security threat
to Hubbard, and that they had great historical, biographical, and
collectable value, and I told her that they should not be saved, and
then a quick search was made and came up with another 20 boxes of
this stuff, and that formed the basis of a biography which was to
be done, and those were the materials that I had in my possession
for the next two years as the researcher for the preparation of a
Howie Siegel: So, when we come back from the news, we're going to
find out what Gerry Armstrong did with those documents from the
annals of Scientology.
Neil Kelly: Back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: We've been listening to Gerry Armstrong in this
very very odd Odyssey through the intricacies of Scientology, right
up into the Sea Org, which was the mother ship. L. Ron Hubbard, the
founder of Scientology, ran the organization from a ship, and
Gerry found himself in detention a few times in what they call
the Rehabilitation Project Force, which was punishment, but
nonetheless he came out of that, seemingly a better Scientologist.
At this point in the adventure, it's now around 1979, and he's
in Gilman Hot Springs, which is just outside of Palm Springs in
California, and he has discovered boxes and boxes of archival
information, the very beginning of Scientology, and now I'm going
to let him tell the story. Gerry?
Gerry Armstrong: I had the possession of these materials for the next
two years, and not only those, but I collected up quite a massive
archive concerning L. Ron Hubbard's personal life. They were majorly
his personal documents, but I also bought collections of documents
from other people, I did a genealogy study of Hubbard, I interviewed
friends and family, and I went to the UK and the Mid-West, and up
and down the Western coast.
Howie Siegel: And you collaborated in a biography of Hubbard.
Gerry Armstrong: The organization contracted with an outside writer,
a non-Scientologist by the name of Omar Garrison, and I worked with
Garrison for the next year and a half while inside and subsequently
also while outside. I copied the materials which I had, and provided
them to him, and we spent many hours talking about these materials.
Howie Siegel: What did you learn?
Gerry Armstrong: An important part of my getting in to Scientology and
being kept in Scientology was the life of L. Ron Hubbard. It was the
myth of the man, it was the statements which the organization has made
about him - the representations about his academic credentials; being a
nuclear physicist; about his family; about his past, his accomplishments;
and about the research which had gone into Dianetics and Scientology;
that he had cured himself of physical illnesses, physical ailments,
injuries, with Dianetics; that he was a war hero, a much-decorated
war hero; and during the course of studying these materials, copying
these materials, providing them to the writer Omar Garrison and really
digesting all of this stuff, it became very clear to me that he had
consistently lied about his past and lied about his education, lied
about intentions, and that was what really, ultimately, both drove
me out of Scientology, and made it possible for, in my mind, to be
able to leave.
Howie Siegel: So, it was discovering that Hubbard was a fraud?
Gerry Armstrong: Absolutely. He was a fraud, and his organization's
representations about him, and also its representations about the
promises, really, of Scientology - they are also fraudulent.
Howie Siegel: How far in the organization did you go? How many
gradients up? Were you ever cleared?
Gerry Armstrong: Yeah, I was a clear and I was, I achieved a level called
OT III, Operating Thetan three. So I had gone through a thousand hours
Howie Siegel: Psychoanalysis.
Gerry Armstrong: At least. And, as an aside, Hubbard promises that
Scientology auditing increases IQ a point per hour, and by that time
I had something over a thousand hours.
Howie Siegel: You were finally smart enough to get out!
Gerry Armstrong: I was smart enough to get out; you got it.
Howie Siegel: So, Gerry Armstrong, you were in Scientology from
1969 through 1981; 12 years out of the middle of your life. But thank
God you got out, and now I would like to turn to some of the other
guests we've invited to participate; we're going to hear ultimately
from Martin Hunt and Paul Grosswald, but right now on the line from
the Humanist Association of Canada - he's been listening to your
testimonies - is Greg Owen.
Greg Owen: Hello.
Howie Siegel: Yes; thank you for your patience.
Greg Owen: Yeah (chuckles). I don't know...let me see...I guess I'd
like to maybe widen the consideration here. I think the one thing I
can say is that it really is a shame that our children in the schools
are not taught critical thinking, which would sort of be a vaccination
against this kind of transcendental temptation. That there are dozens,
hundreds and thousands, probably, of cults and political movements and
so on, all peddling the same kind of nonsense in a very seductive way,
and if the children are not taught in the schools critical thinking...
it's really quite simple to learn the skill of BS detection, being
able to spot this kind of fraud. We're all told simply that if it
sounds too good to be true it probably is not true (chuckle).
Howie Siegel: Well, Greg Owen, Greg Owen from the Humanist Association
of Canada, how do we spot the difference between a cult and a
Greg Owen: (Laughs) Well, you're asking the wrong person; I don't
know that there is a big difference between...what is a legitimate
ideology? There are the facts in the world, you know, we have the
data before us and the facts of the way things work, and we have
Hypotheses, proposed explanations, for how things work.
Howie Siegel: Well let me ask...
Greg Owen: Yeah.
Howie Siegel: First of all I should, first of all we haven't talked
Greg Owen: No.
Howie Siegel: So I really don't know...you're a humanist so...when
you're speaking now, when you say "that facts in the world", are
you speaking from a position that would deny God? Do you look at
God and Scientology as being equivalent?
Greg Owen: In many ways, yes.
Howie Siegel: I see. So, would you consider Scientologists and orthodox
Jews or Catholics to be in the same indoctrinate boat?
Greg Owen: In the more extreme forms when you...if you look at the people,
if you look at the people the orthodox Jews at the Wailing Wall who
are throwing stones at conservative Jews who want to worship in their
way at the Wailing Wall with men and women praying together, and they're
being stoned by orthodox Jews who consider that that's a horrible sin
against God. If you look at the Church which closed ranks and - the
Catholic Church - say at Mount Kashel, closed ranks and did its best
to hide pedophilic priests and lay brothers from the police, and
managed to do so for 20 years and they've paid out millions of dollars
in hush money to conceal what's going on...I don't think that that's
what is conventionally though of as a Christian way to behave.
Howie Siegel: Well...
Greg Owen: This kind of behaviour is all too easy for people who
think that God is on their side to slip into. You know, whether its
God on your side or the dialectical forces of history, or whatever
else - these kind of delusions of grandeur just seem to feed on
themselves. It's something that all human beings are subject to,
you know, wishful thinking and fantasies like that.
Howie Siegel: Well, Greg, you know, your arguments are difficult to
refute offhand. However, I'm not really sure what you're suggesting.
If, in other words, you're suggesting that our children be brought
up to worship God in a moderate way?
Greg Owen: Well, I believe, and the Humanist Association entirely
supports freedom of and freedom from religion; everybody has the
right to decide for themselves what they wish to believe and how
they wish to practice...
Howie Siegel: Well, that's...
Greg Owen: ...that belief.
Howie Siegel: Greg, that's exactly the problem, as freedom-lovers,
we, in no way can we make the Scientology...can we outlaw Scientology,
or belief in any ideology.
Greg Owen: Mmm-hmm.
Howie Siegel: And yet, at the same time we want to protect ourselves
from what we consider to be cultic abuse. The difference between
believing in a...ultimately a beneficial ideology, something that
will enhance mankind and advance humanity as against something like
Scientology which Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Hunt and myself perceive as
being evil. And that is the difficulty in a free society.
Greg Owen: In a free society, you're right, we'd never suggest that
any sort of belief be outlawed. However, the Church of Scientology,
as an organization, as a corporation, has committed numerous criminal
acts, and I think has fulfilled every definition of the Criminal
Code section on conspiracy to commit criminal acts. So, in that
sense, if any organization, religious or otherwise, decides to go
into something that fulfills, you know, they have plotted to
criminally harass people...
Howie Siegel: Yes.
Greg Owen: ...they've plotted murder in some cases...
Howie Siegel: Yeah.
Greg Owen: ...and they've certainly committed fraud.
Howie Siegel: I understand, Mr. Owen; and then it becomes the
difficultly about whether you're going to prosecute an organization
or the individuals within the organization.
Greg Owen: Mmm-Hmm.
Howie Siegel: Much like the example of the pedophilic priest that
you brought up.
Greg Owen: Yeah.
Howie Siegel: Is the Church responsible, or its practitioners? In
any case, thank you very much for participating with us.
Greg Owen: Well, thank you very much for having me on.
Howie Siegel: You're welcome, Mr. Owen; Greg Owen from the Humanist
Association of Canada, and Neil Kelly from the traffic association
Neil Kelly: [traffic report]
Neil Kelly: Back on Siegel, AM 900; 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: Fascinating journey of Gerry Armstrong, Scientologist,
spend 12 years in the cult. Gerry's been talking about his experiences;
he's barely scratched the surface. We're going to get back to Gerry,
and we're going to do a little bit of a wrap-up before we end the
show, but we've already asked him to come back and to talk more
specifically and in more detail about what happened with Scientology
when in fact he left the cult in 1981. I'll invite you to call;
384-0900, talk to Gerry Armstrong. Martin Hunt is also in here;
he's going to be contributing in a little while. Ask these gentlemen
specifically about their experiences in Scientology; both of then have
undergone a lot of recriminations and a lot of problems because of
their anti-Scientology stance, and that's basically what I want to
really talk to Gerry about, ultimately, is what he's paid, what kind
of a price he's paid, and what the cult has done to him since he's
renounced them. Before we do that, I want to go to New Jersey now,
to the Cult Information Service, and standing by is Paul Grosswald,
who I hope will assist us, teaching us that how we can distinguish
between a legitimate ideology and a cult.
Paul Grosswald: OK; how are you doing, Howie?
Howie Siegel: Is that asking too much, Paul?
Paul Grosswald: Well, I think you're phrasing the question wrong;
it's, we're not trying to distinguish between a legitimate ideology
and a cult. What we're trying to distinguish between is a destructive
organization and a non-destructive organization.
Howie Siegel: Help us to...
Paul Grosswald: Any ideology can be used for good purposes or
any ideology can be used for bad purposes; the question is, is
the organization itself hurting people. So, let me give you some
things to watch out for: a destructive organization or a cult is
an organization that uses deceit in recruitment. For instance,
with the case of Scientology I was recruited into Scientology
through a front organization called the L. Ron Hubbard Dianetics
Foundation which did not announce to me that it was tied to
Scientology; there's deception in recruitment. Legitimate religions
tell you up front who they are - they don't deceive you. Another
characteristic of a destructive cult or a destructive organization
is that it destroys the family unit. In my case, Scientology has
a disconnection policy; I was told that my parents were suppressive,
messages from my parents were being intercepted; they tried to
separate me from my family, whereas a non-destructive organization
encourages family units to stay together and work together, so that's
another thing to watch out for. Another characteristic of a destructive
organization is that they use mind control techniques such as
hypnosis. Gerry Armstrong described the communication techniques
that Scientology uses where you're staring at another person for
hours at a time, you go into a hypnotic trance, you become highly
suggestible, highly susceptible to their manipulation. Legitimate
organizations do not put people through that kind of abusive, mind-
altering techniques. Another aspect of a destructive organization
is that they try to intimidate their critics; they discourage
critical though. Scientology has a Fair Game policy, as you said
you were going to have Gerry describe that in a few minutes, how
they try to silence their critics with threats and harassment.
Legitimate organizations don't do that. A destructive organization
puts the leader up on a pedestal; L. Ron Hubbard is considered
Source with a capital "S". You know, we give him standing ovations
when we were in Scientology, and we think of him almost like a
God, whereas in a legitimate organization it's much more democratic.
You elect your leaders; your leaders are viewed as human and
fallible, and it's much more down to earth. No questions are
allowed in a destructive organization, whereas legitimate organizations
encourage critical thinking and encourage questions. In my case,
when I was in Scientology, I was scolded for asking questions about,
you know, what about health care? When they tried to get me to join
the Sea Organization and I signed a billion-year contract, I was
asking what'll I do if I get sick? I'm only getting paid $35 a week,
which is what I was getting paid. I was getting paid a little more
than Gerry, because I was involved ten years later. I was getting
paid $35 per week, and I was concerned how am I going to pay for
health care if I get sick. I was scolded for even considering such
a thing - how dare you ask such a question, whereas a legitimate
organization wants you to ask questions, and is more than happy
to give you the answers. So that's just some of the things that
you can watch out for. And if anybody has any doubts, or if anyone
is unsure if an organization they are involved in is destructive
or non-destructive, I just want everyone to know that there are
organizations that they can go to for help. For instance, Cult
Information Service, which services the New York area, is an
organization that people can contact with questions abut cult groups
or organizations; the number is 201-833-1212. If you're in the
Montreal area, there's a group called Info-Cult; the phone number
is 514-274-2333; In Toronto there's a cult hot-line at 416-410-2858,
and I'm sure there are many other cult organizations out there,
or anti-cult organizations out there who can help people determine
whether an organization is safe or not safe.
Howie Siegel: Paul Grosswald from the Cult Information Service; how
destructive is Scientology?
Paul Grosswald: Well, I think it depends on the individual. I was
very fortunate; I was only in the organization for six months. My
parents were very determined to get me out, and they were able to get
me out by doing an intervention, and so I was fortunate. Now, if I
had stayed in the organization for 20 years, I wouldn't be so lucky.
I was able...I actually dropped out of college to pursue Scientology;
when I got out of it I went back to college, and my life resumed, you
know, its normal pace. If I was in it for 20 years, and then I tried
to go back to college or if I tried to get a job, you know, how do
you put a resume together after 20 years or being in Scientology?
It's very difficult. So, in that case, it's much more destructive.
I would suggest that the potential for Scientology to be destructive
is very real. And let me just give you an analogy; you saw what
happened with Heaven's Gate where 39 people committed suicide,
actually 40 people committed suicide because another person killed
themselves a few weeks later. The killed themselves because they
followed the orders of the group leader. Now, in the case of Scientology,
Scientology's belief is very similar to the belief of Heaven's Gate;
they believe that L. Ron Hubbard had gone up as high as he could
on the Scientology bridge to total freedom; he had achieved a level
called OT 8, and in order to go OT 9, he had to drop his body. Because
L. Ron Hubbard died from a stroke in the mid 80s, but they can't admit
that their founder died because that contradicts the fact that
Scientology is meant to help you live forever, so the explanation
for Hubbard's death is that he actually went OT 9, dropped his body
to go OT 9. So all the other Scientologists now believe that best way
to advance spiritually is to drop your body and go OT 9. And if the
current leaders ever decided that they were being, you know, intimidated
by law enforcement or if they were afraid to go to jail for some of
their crimes, they might easily just try to avoid prosecution by
handing out some poison apple sauce or poison Kool Aid, and...
Howie Siegel: Paul Grosswald.
Paul Grosswald: ...and go OT 9.
Howie Siegel: Paul Grosswald, from the Cult Information Service; we
are going to drop your body and go to the news.
Paul Grosswald: Thank you.
Howie Siegel: (chuckles)
Neil Kelly: Welcome back to Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: You're listening to Neil Kelly, and I'm Howie
Siegel. Our number, as Neil told you, is 384-0900 if you wish to
speak to our guests in studio, Gerry Armstrong who we've been
listening to for the past hour and a half; Gerry's an ex-Scientologist,
and designated as one of Scientology's greatest enemies. And also
in the studio is Martin Hunt, who we have yet to hear from; Martin
was a Scientologist for two years in 1988 and 1989, he lives in
Victoria, and he's been battling Scientology on the internet.
Martin Hunt: Hi, Howie. Yeah; the internet has been a big part of
the spreading of information about Scientology. There are now
about a hundred pages out there by a hundred different individuals;
a hundred webpages that just deal with Scientology, and try to
explore the aspects of it that the cult would like to keep secret.
The cult themselves also have a large webpage up with 30,000
pages on one site, but they don't tend to...it's rather a whitewash
of what they're really about. They won't talk about Hubbard's
education, for example, but if you go out to one of these other
webpages, there will be an entire exploration: his college
transcripts and so on and so forth, so there's a great deal of
information out there on the cult.
Howie Siegel: So, if somebody was interested in debunking Scientology,
where would they turn to on the internet?
Martin Hunt: Well, for those who understand how to use the internet,
all they have to do is go to a search engine and plug in the word
"Scientology", as a general rule. Some of the search engines, like
Altavista is one of these search engines on the internet, will
return hundreds of Scientology pages from the official Scientology
site, but in between those there will be a few of these - what I
might call critical pages or information pages, and those pages
are all being linked together into a webring.
Howie Siegel: Now, you were listening to Gerry Armstrong's testimony
for the last hour and a half; what are your feelings?
Martin Hunt: It's been very interesting listening to Gerry Armstrong;
because he has been the source of a lot of the information in some
of the books that have been written about Scientology, such as
Russell Miller's _Bare-Faced Messiah_ which is a biography of Hubbard,
was based on information that Gerry found. So, I'd like to ask Gerry
a question, if I may, about overboarding, if he ever saw overboarding
on the Apollo ship, on Hubbard's ship?
Howie Siegel: OK, let's start, Hubbard was the founder of Scientology.
Martin Hunt: Right.
Howie Siegel: He was a science-fiction writer.
Martin Hunt: Right.
Howie Siegel: Is it true, let me just ask you parenthetically, was he
a disciple of Aleister Crowley's?
Gerry Armstrong: He was involved with the same organization that
Crowley founded; a fellow by the name of John W. Parsons in Pasadena
and Hubbard were both involved in what has come to be known as
black magic. They considered it just magic itself, but it was
essentially black magic.
Howie Siegel: Because on the internet site that I went to, it
compared Scientology's symbol...Aleister Crowley, by the way,
was a satanist and an evil man who didn't even deny practising
murder, infanticide, in fact. In any case, Crowley's symbol
for his church of Satan and the Scientology symbol seem to
be very similar.
Martin Hunt: Well, Hubbard, it is speculated, modelled his cross
on Crowley's cross. Hubbard did say on one of his tapes that
he thought of Crowley as his very good friend, he called him his
very good friend.
Howie Siegel: Yeah. Because what I had read about his life, Hubbard's
life, was that they ran into each other in the late 40s in Los
Angeles, and that he was actually practicing with Crowley.
Martin Hunt: Yeah, he was in what's called the OTO church, the
Ordo Templi Orientis, which was a faction of Crowley's church.
Howie Siegel: OK. But let me get back to your question, Martin;
you mentioned overboarding, and that is an aspect of the...that
L. Ron Hubbard used on his ship?
Gerry Armstrong: Before I came on board, as I understand it, in
the late 60s, overboarding was quite common, and it was a punishment
where people were actually thrown overboard. And then there was
a period of time, my first couple of years on board, when
overboards did not happen, and then it was reinstituted. So I
have seen a number of people who were literally picked up and
thrown overboard; don't get this wrong, we were not at sea when
this happened. This was always in port, and it was as much
symbolic as anything else; the people who I saw thrown over
either could swim, or there were enough people around to make
sure that they did not drown. It was symbolic of actually being
thrown overboard at sea.
Howie Siegel: Oh; well, that was a false start. (chuckles)
Neil Kelly: Well, what was the point?
Gerry Armstrong: Punishment.
Martin Hunt: In one case, reported in Russell Miller's _Bare-Faced
Messiah_ a person was thrown overboard and hit his arm on the
rubbing strake. Remember, this was a large ship; and was thrown
overboard and hit the rubbing strake at the water line and broke
his arm on the fall.
Howie Siegel: We're listening to Martin Hunt, a Scientologist
from Victoria, and if you want to ask Martin any questions or
Gerry any questions...I guess Neil wants to ask some questions.
Neil Kelly: Yeah, I mean, as punishment, being thrown over the side;
were they ostracized, where they out of the organization, were they
welcomed back in afterwards, or did they just "Oh; you've got us mad",
you know, "keelhaul him!"
Gerry Armstrong: It really depended on the situation. Certain people
were completely ostracized, certain people were off loaded. Off
loading was vastly more punishment, considered more punishment,
than the rather instantaneous couple of minutes of over boarding.
Howie Siegel: Gerry, in the beginning of the conversation, I
submitted that in my estimation Scientologists were True Believers
who really did believe in their hearts that they were trying to
save the Earth, save mankind, and that they were doing their best
to effectuate that. You disagreed with me; you said that the
leadership was in fact duplicitous, that they were not, really,
good-hearted, and I didn't allow you to pursue that. Would you
like to pick up those reins now?
Gerry Armstrong: My perception is that the person at the top and
the people close to him at the top are very cynical. They really
have no allegiance, no respect for the philosophy, even the rules
and the policies of Scientology. Those things are used to their
advantage and they are arbitrary, and they violate those things
continually. They have no respect for the creed of Scientology
that they expect Scientologists to live by.
Howie Siegel: Now David Miscarriage...
Gerry Armstrong: Miscavige.
Howie Siegel: Miscavige. Excuse me; David Miscavige is L. Ron Hubbard's
heir. Did you have knowledge of him? Personal knowledge?
Gerry Armstrong: Yes.
Howie Siegel: Tell us about him.
Gerry Armstrong: I first met him in 1976; he was a young kid who
joined the Commodore's Messenger Organization. The Messengers were
generally young kids who worked directly for Hubbard, and ran
messages for him. I watched as Miscavige made his way up the
organizational ladder until he assumed a position of considerable
control inside the organization. He did it by a combination of
ruthlessness, belligerence, and dishonesty.
Howie Siegel: Sounds like (laughs) sounds like a real swell...sounds
like a real devotee. And that's, I don't know what to say, you know.
It's somehow in my mind the idea that L. Ron Hubbard even as, even
believed what he was saying, that he really thought that in his
heart he was being true to his code. Am I kidding myself?
Gerry Armstrong: I think that...it's a very complex issue. But I
believe that Hubbard knew, in his heart, that he was being dishonest
and that he knew that he had done things to his mind to rid himself
of his conscience, and that David Miscavige has done the same thing
to eliminate his conscience. And that was a conscious effort on
Hubbard's part, and also on Miscavige's part.
Howie Siegel: And Miscavige is the present leader of the cult of
Scientology, and on the line for Martin Hunt is Mary. Hi, Mary?
Howie Siegel: Hi.
Mary: I've got a question here for Martin.
Howie Siegel: Please.
Martin Hunt: Hello.
Mary: Did you ever suffer any kind of physical punishment or mental
punishment by the Scientologists?
Martin Hunt: In one case I was put on an amends project for doing
something that's called "out-tech"; I did something which violated
their set of principles, in their minds, that came up during one
of these therapy sessions or auditing sessions. I was put on what's
called an amends project; it went on for about three weeks, and it
mostly entailed long hours of scrubbing walls and physical labour,
manual labour. But physical punishment in the sense of beatings
and so forth? No; those are very rare or non-existent in Scientology.
Mary: Thank you.
Martin Hunt: All right.
Howie Siegel: You know Mary, I'm glad you called. And I think the
reason why I'm doing these shows, well, aside from getting ratings,
of course, and providing a certain form of entertainment is because
I had friends that became involved with Scientology in the 60s,
and I saw those fellows become progressively more involved to the
point where they cut off their associations with me and I thought
I had lost them as friends. And thank God they came back - they
came back to their senses, and in the late 70s we re-established
communication, and now we still call ourselves friends, and I'm
able to speak to them about their experiences in Scientology. And
to a *man*, they regard it negatively. And, to a man, for whatever
reasons they gave me, whatever rationalizations they offered, they
did not come on the air with me. They all congratulated me for
going on the air. They were proud that we're trying to warn people,
and perhaps save other people's children from falling into this
cult, but they would not come on the air with me 20 years later
after disassociating themselves from Scientology, they still had
reasons why they couldn't participate, and I find that to be very
telling and very chilling. And for something even more threatening:
Neil Kelly: Back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: Wrapping up the show on Scientology, we heard from
Martin Hunt. Martin Hunt is a Victorian, his expertise is the
internet; he's conducting the battle against Scientology on the
internet, and if you wish to contact him, his email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com. The majority of the
show has been devoted to the extraordinary travail and honesty
of ex-Scientologist Gerry Armstrong. He was a Scientologist for
12 years; he finally disassociated himself from the cult in
1981...what's happened to you since then?
Gerry Armstrong: Immediately I left the organization, I became a
major enemy in their minds, in the minds of the people at the top.
I was sued, I was spied on, they hired private investigators to
harass me, they harassed my wife and myself for months, they've
tried probably 12 times now to have me jailed on false criminal
charges, they sued me five times, they have published what Hubbard
called black propaganda about me around the world - mountains of
material - much of which is false, all of which is derogatory, and
all of it is designed to destroy my character, my credibility, my
Howie Siegel: Have they destroyed your character?
Gerry Armstrong: No; that's one...they cannot do that, and their
efforts to destroy people's character only reflects back on themselves;
it destroys their character.
Howie Siegel: I feel that you're a hero. I admire you. I wish I
had your courage, your strength, your fortitude to have the guts
to walk into a radio station and talk so fulsomely, so honestly,
about your personal experiences which after all reflect, well,
reflect poorly upon your past life. For 12 years you were a
zombie for a bunch of cultists.
Gerry Armstrong: That's true, and what you say is very kind.
Howie Siegel: And what I've found from many people who talk about
their experiences with cults is that it's not really a reflection
of intelligence. Somehow, those of us who have avoided the
experience - we think of ourselves as somehow smarter, but I
don't think that's it at all.
Gerry Armstrong: No - if you're a carpenter and you're in a cult,
you devote your carpenter skills to helping the cult; if you're
a baker, you devote your baking skills; if you're intelligent,
you devote your intellectual skills; if you have a strong back,
you devote your strong back. The cult uses whatever resources
Howie Siegel: Gerry Armstrong, are you scared of the Scientologists
and what they could still do to you?
Gerry Armstrong: I am very concerned. I have, in fact, arrived back
in Canada in order to be free, in a sense, to communicate what I
have to communicate, and to escape some of the threat which they
represent to me if I were to stay in the States.
Howie Siegel: What can they do to you here in Canada?
Gerry Armstrong: I believe that what they can do is something physical
to me, and I take certain precautions, and I'm very conscious of the
fact that that could happen. So far, and I'm quite sure that they
know where I am, I feel that one of the precautions that I take
is to speak out, is to become visible, and to raise my profile, and
to let them know that I am not going to be silenced, and I think
that this is important for everyone who's in a situation similar
to what I'm in. If everyone who left Scientology were to speak out
and tell their experiences, Scientology would not be a threat to
Howie Siegel: Is the cult going downhill, or are they getting
Gerry Armstrong: In a sense, they have solidified their gains;
they have vast wealth, and they have an army of professionals -
lawyers, private investigators - to carry out their misdeeds
and to harass and intimidate and harm people. On the other hand,
I think that they have been exposed, and I think that the truth
will win out, and I think that their days are numbered.
Howie Siegel: How do we deal with them in a free society?
Gerry Armstrong: I think that by programs such as this, by the free
flow of information which occurs on the internet, by the media having
the courage to take on Scientology, by government getting involved
and not hiding behind the facade of religiosity which Scientology
presents to them, and not being afraid to criticize an organization
like Scientology. And, not succumbing to their threats, and not
succumbing to the wealth they have.
Howie Siegel: Well, I have to thank you. Gerry, it was a fascinating
two hours; I feel like I could sit here for another two hours and
another two hours and another two hours, so I've already extended
to you an invitation to come back, and there's a whole story that we
haven't gotten to folks about Gerry's...the detailed tribulations,
the detailed retribution that he suffered from the Scientologists
when he left the cult, and so at your leisure you'll come back and
we can talk about that. Martin Hunt; you're vigilant, you're great;
keep up the good work. Mr. Kelly, anti-cult...Neil's against everything,
so we don't have to worry about joining anything. Neil didn't even
want to come on the show. And I want to thank Paul Grosswald from
the Cult Information Service and Greg Owen from the Humanist
Association of Canada for joining us. On tomorrow's show we'll talk
to Jamie Kelly on videos, Bruce Lauther...oh yes, and Steve,
well, we didn't get to Steve Kent, but thank you anyway for his
contributions in the past. Bruce Lauther will be on tomorrow,
as will David Bender, the author of _The Confessions of OJ_, Stanley
Ralph Ross and Kent Colours, and we'll see you tomorrow, and thanks
Cogito, ergo sum. http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/1332
"People who would aspire to transform the world should start by
transforming their own life and let it serve as an inspiration for
others. Hubbard wrote best about what he most needed to learn."
- Joe Harrington <firstname.lastname@example.org>