All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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AFFIDAVIT OF SUSAN SIMMEL
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I became involved in Scientology in 1978. I was attracted to the camaraderie, and impressed with the apparent importance and size of the movement. Like the promotion had stated, I too envisioned a better world without crime, insanity, or war. I was hopeful in improving the state of mankind. I was equally excited by the prospect of becoming a kind of spiritual super-human with abilities that mere mortals have only dreamed about. I was promised that Scientology and its technology had all the answers, and was the only way to achieve total freedom; LRH had mapped the only route. This was all possible because of the genius of LRH; the tech was his great sacrifice and gift to man.
I was urged to join staff, and did so, because staff members were doing a great service and would also get their services for free. I lasted only 3 months because I could not afford the job. I was quick to discover that staff members were not getting their "free" services. Leaving staff was frowned upon by the group.
By this time I had dropped all my former (ordinary) friends, proceeded to alienate my family, looked at all non-Scientologists as I was told to — like stupid, unaware, dramatizing degenerates — and looked at the world through the veil of Scientology.
My new husband and myself moved to L.A. so that he could become a professional auditor which was a much-needed and greatly appreciated job that was looked upon very highly by LRH. An auditor, it was said, would make a lot of money. I thought I had married a guy that was going to be incredibly respected in society, and very well paid in his profession. I worked, and he studied. I was offered a job by the Guardian's Office as a receptionist-plant in an office in San Francisco where I would keep my ears open and relay information back to the Church. As a newlywed, I turned the job down.
We lived for the next seven years in my in-law's basement. We did so because the rapidly rising costs of Scientology services made it impossible to move out. There was a lot of pressure to not spend ANY money on anything except Scientology. My husband's prestigious position as an auditor proved implausible. Any prospects he had were swiftly swayed to receive services elsewhere, like at an Org, and the Church's policy of "field auditing" was changing, making it difficult to work as an auditor. We eventually gave up on the idea of earning a living this way.
Our daughter was born, and I was pressured to obey LRH's preference of no breastfeeding of babies. I went so far as to write him personally and query his position, but he reiterated his preference. Our daughter's front baby teeth were destroyed by LRH's baby formula which required barley water, milk, and corn syrup.
There was a fast and furious rumor line in the Chicago area around that period of time. There were cliques, intense competition between people and their positions in Scientology, and competition between the Mission and the Church. Everyone knew everyone else's business. Amid this atmosphere, I made a grave mistake. In my desire to "keep Scientology working", I wrote-up a local opinion leader due to my doubts about his credibility. Trouble began, people quit talking to me, my husband was forced to leave his business, and the group tried to convince him that I was suppressive. I was publicly humiliated by being forced to answer to their contrived inquisition. My reputation was slow to recover, and was really never the same. I had never known upset greater that at that time. I had never been treated so coldly or judged so harshly. I had entrusted my life, my entire identity to this religious group, yet I was accumulating more grief, loneliness and despair than compassion and/or spiritual awareness. The Church had repeatedly promised to straighten out this mess. I would tell of my plight over and over again to any staff that came into Chicago from any part of the country. This was always humiliating and uncomfortable. Always they would promise to help but under the condition that I buy services. I was talked into flying to the Washington Org out of desperation; they would help me if I bought $21,000 of services. I considered a second mortgage. There was heavy pressure to do this, and I received phone calls from L.A. and Florida well into many nights. When I finally said No, there was great, harsh criticism and make-wrong. I was again ostracized from the group.
A very highly positioned staff member threatened me with expulsion because I was upsetting the Scientology field. He swore at me, screamed at me, called me names, and I was not allowed to leave the ORG until I passed an "end rudes check" proving that I had or had not lied. All of this degradation and humiliation was because I had reported on a well-paying member. This treatment was confusing as I was only obeying LRH and his rules. I spent many sleepless nights, and experienced great upset.
Meanwhile, the prices of SCN had skyrocketed putting the cost of our services well in excess of $100,000 each; an unattainable goal. We knew we could never afford this as those prices increased each month. We complained that the prices were too high, and thus called into the Org for a "roll-back" which was designed to trace down rumors. Not being able to afford our freedom basically meant that we were unable, no good, and would never amount to anything. This was a devastating realization. I began to think the SCN was not for the good of mankind as the average person's income was even less than mine. People could not have spiritual freedom if they did not have a bottomless checkbook. This all made no sense.
Negative stories were surfacing about Scientology. The Church had reorganized, people were thrown out, and the prices were ridiculous. I felt that there was nowhere to turn. I could never be "free", but was told that if I didn't proceed up the Bridge I was doomed, and life would be horrible. I was an emotional wreck, my husband was an unemployed, emotional wreck, there was no future, and life was no fun at all. The thought of leaving the Church and becoming an ordinary person was sickening and unthinkable.
I felt like a misfit though; I didn't fit into Scientology's mold, and didn't fit into society anymore either. I wanted to leave it all behind me but was constantly reminded that the only way to make it in life was through Scientology. It was a never ending dilemma, a brainwashing. As I distanced myself, I became more able to question the things that didn't make sense. Where was the comfort I had sought through my religion? How could a religion cause me so much grief and desperation? Yet, I could not lift that Scientology veil and see the world clearly. I could not because I had been told repeatedly by LRH that there was an advanced level beyond my ability to recognize, OT 3, and I thought that this might be the reason for my disaffection. I felt that once I knew this level I would be able to leave the Church, that is, if I lived through it, because I was not properly prepared. When I read the secret story of OT 3 and did not die, as I had been told, I was on the long road to recovery. I have since read the story of the advanced level OT 8, and did not subsequently spontaneously combust either.
I have spent countless hours analyzing the effects of Scientology and the stories of LRH. My experience with the Church shows the malevolent side of the group. My benevolence was exploited. I am concerned with the repercussions of exposing myself, because I know the Church is a powerful and wealthy organization, but the truth must be made known.