August 30, 1989
I read of your plight in the Free Spirit. I, too have a Scientology horror story to relate. I, also, would seek some sort of recompense (if it were possible to replace the lost lives, dreams, relationships, income potential, etc.) but have not known where to turn as I was told my "statute of limitations" was up. I was in such a state of shock I couldn't even talk about it for the period of the statute of limitations!
In a nutshell, as I believe you need these statements to be brief, I will relate my tale as follows:
1. In May of 1973, at 21 years of age, I joined the Church of Scientology, Mission of Salt Lake City, Utah.
2. In November 1973, after unsatisfactory (and very strange) "marriage counseling," I divorced my husband of five years. I had three children, aged 4, 2, and 9 months. We sold our two-year-old house and all of our possessions and my ex took all of the money so he could get "audited."
3. In June of 1974 I was convinced to join the Sea Organization at AOLA, in Los Angeles, where I would be "trained as an auditor in the most ethical organization on earth, receive at least $5 an hour (good wages back then!) after I was trained, receive a very nice apartment for myself and my children to live in, and be supplied with clothing and food for myself and my children. My children would attend school in "a very upstat nursery." I quit a college accounting program I was on to pursue this situation that seemed designed for a single mother.
4. After one night in a one-room "apartment," my children were taken away from me and put in the Cadet Org which, at that time, was a filthy, poorly managed, nursery for Sea Org Members' children. I was escorted to the Excalibur where I received my Product 0 training. I returned two weeks later to find all of my personal belongings had been rifled, things stolen, and I was to sleep on a couch without blankets in a foyer of the staff house.
5. In addition to my own schedule of 22 hours a night (we had "all-hands" every night) it became apparent that my children were not being fed, occasionally, at the Cadet Org. I approached the HAS to see about my getting on Welfare to ensure my children got fed, and I was reprimanded. I became so totally exhausted physically and mentally, that I hallucinated (I have never done any hallucinogenic drugs -- I smoked marijuana a little in 1972). I felt my mental health suffered greatly during this time.
6. My parents came to visit, saw the conditions, and talked me into leaving the Sea Org, which I did during a rare weekend off that I had been given to prove to my parents how "normal" everything was in the Sea Org. We got to my Uncle's in Nevada and I panicked: I thought that if I blew and got declared "SP" I would die as a being and be unable to care for my children. I told my parents to take my children back to Salt Lake City, and I would return to AOLA and properly route out. I told them I thought this probably took about three days.
7. For several days I attempted to see the MAA or HAS to route out, and was put off. I finally got to see the HAS and, essentially, he put me off and sent me back to post. I thought he was "working" on it. This went on for three weeks. I was in a terrible condition of grief from missing my children, confusion at the things I was exposed to in the organization, and despair at ever being allowed to "properly route out." I was terrified of the MAA (Margaret George). She screamed almost incessantly, calling people "SP's", and soon I didn't know how so many good Scientologists could also be considered "SP." I finally got to see her and she yelled at me; she told me I had finally gotten what I wanted. I asked what she meant and she said that I had never wanted my children anyway.
8. Meantime, my ex-husband called (we had been on very good terms when I left for the Sea Org. I have known him since I was 12 years old and he had never deceived me before) and told me that my parents had told him that they had to get back to work and could not watch my children anymore. He offered to watch the children until I got back. (Eleven years later, when I could finally talk about the occurrences, my parents informed me that this was not true: they had hired a permanent baby-sitter for my children during the day while they worked. They said that my ex-husband had called them and said that I had told him he could have the kids! They had repeatedly been unable to contact me by phone, and I was disallowed from private conversations with them except for one time).
9. After six weeks I was taken into "session," caused to rockslam, and told I was being routed out for evil intentions. I flew back to Salt Lake City with a ticket my mother had left at the airport for me.
10. When I returned to Salt Lake City, I immediately called my ex-husband to let him know I was back. He seemed very cool and aloof on the phone. I went to the mission thinking- my ex-husband had the children there, or something. I had no idea anything was amiss. I was physically grabbed and forced by the Ethics Officer, the minute I walked through the door, into an inner office, where the Deputy Executive Director (David West) acted as a "mediator" while my ex-husband threatened me physically with a raised chair to "cave my head in." I was still physically and mentally exhausted, and this next situation threw me into total shock. As I said, my ex-husband and I had been on good terms, and suddenly was threatening to kill me in front of witnesses! I asked him what was wrong and he said that he didn't want me back in town because he was getting married and he was afraid that he still loved me. Attempting to appease him, I congratulated him and reassured him: I had only come to get my children.
11. He then informed me that I could not have them back (I had legal custody). I was numb and could barely argue. I couldn't believe this was happening. I was told by Dave West that I have been so third-parried while I was gone that he didn't want any Scientologist talking to me. In fact, he didn't even want me on the same street as Scientologists (SLC is not a very large town, and I lived a short distance from the mission. One day I was spotted drinking an orange soda at Dee's restaurant and I received a vicious call from Dave West telling me not to be on 2nd South -- a main street in Salt Lake City!)
12. I pleaded with Dave and my ex to let me at least see my children. Dave West and my ex-husband then told me to come up with $1,500 for auditing and then I could see my kids. (Just this year my youngest daughter told me that her father once told her that he once had been very much in love with me, but that was before Dave West, his auditor, set him "straight" on me! Apparently the whole incident was designed and guided by Dave West, the Deputy Director! As my ex-husband was being trained to be the registrar, I suppose he saw it as a good way to start his career.)
13. I was instructed not to tell anyone of what they had said, or I would be declared an SP and would not ever get to see my children!
14. To get the money, I badgered family members, causing my once close family to separate from me, and begged in Sugarhouse Park from total strangers for, not a few dollars, but the full amount! Finally, my mother loaned it to me, although she still did not understand what was going on. I was then allowed to see my children, once. I was not allowed back at the mission, however, because, after they had my money, I was told I needed $1,600 more to pay off my Sea Org freeloader debt!!!!
I talked about this only in session for years, and never was any ethics action called by an auditor on David West or my ex. The entire topic was never actually directly addressed in session! In spite of the fact that I did every ethics condition assigned to me to try to get my kids back and suffered every demeaning blow to my ego they hurled, underwent auditing for 10 years to find out what I did to "pull this in," I was never allowed to get my kids back, or even to talk about it.
I later found out from Phil Parks of the Salt Lake Missions that David West had told everyone I had blown the Sea Org (and thus was declared an SP so they weren't to talk to me). Phil Parks, and the others, to this day still believe the slander that was spread by my ex and Dave West. For up to seven years I ran into people I didn't even know in Scientology who had "heard" about me. When I asked them what they had heard, invariably they couldn't remember, but it was "bad," or heard I abandoned my children and was starving them to death and my ex-husband had to go get them from me, etc., etc. Four of these people were Sue Cooper-Kimball Piper, Dee Barber, Gina Godwin, and Annie McGregor. I was so slandered and so affected by the loss of my children that my income-producing potential suffered (it is very hard to explain to non-Scientologists, especially in Utah where a lot of value is placed on the family, that your children do not live with you. I was deeply ashamed of this, but could not tell anyone what had happened. The question about children invariably came up in job interviews and I am certain that both my emotional responses to this area of questioning and my debilitated operational level because of this situation decreased certain chances for advancement. I felt that I had to try to make Scientology look good, no matter what. I had to be an excellent Scientologist, or I never would get my kids back!)
The slander was so complete and I was so devastated, that I have never recovered. My son, my baby, is dead now, hit by a car at five years of age while crossing a busy street "protected by postulates." My son never knew I was his mother. He just thought I was some strange lady that came to visit that everybody called "Mom."
When I was in high school, I was in the upper 3% in the nation for SAT scores. My IQ has always tested high -- 122 to 144. I had a lot of potential and willingness. Unfortunately, I also had an equal measure of naivety. Scientology took advantage of my better nature, convinced me I was a totally worthless person, and destroyed my family life. There is more to this story, but, after 15 years I still can hardly stand to recall it, in spite of my being "OT."
David West was, as last I knew, the Senior CS for NOTs, AOLA.
I wish you the best, Margery Wakefield.