This site is best viewed using a highly standards-compliant browser
We called at the Thistle Street Lane premises of Scientology last night and interviewed Mrs Judy Ziff, deputy director of Scientology's publications organisation in Edinburgh.
The accommodation now occupied there by Scientology comprises former warehouse premises which a have been converted in about five weeks into extensive office accommodation, in which Scientology publications are redistributed to countries in many parts of the world.
At 11.30 p.m., when we left, many members of the staff were still at work.
We put a series of questions to Mrs Ziff. They were:
Are "daily orders" circulated at frequent intervals (three or four times a day) showing up-gradings and down-gradings of the staff?
No. This happens only once a day.
Are these prepared by "ethics officers?"
No. The grading is decided by the senior member of staff in the area concerned. The ethics officers look after the welfare of the staff. If a member of the staff thinks he or she has been wrongly graded and should be in another grade, they can go to the ethics officer who has power to re-grade them.
If an employee is dismissed or leaves after not conforming with the system, are all other employees asked to write out five times on a sheet of paper— "I disconnect with (the person's name)?"
No. We disconnect ourselves from people we consider are alienated from us.
We would not want to connect with these people. Our staff can write out: "I disconnect with that person," if they want to. Carbon copies might be taken for administrative purposes. No-one is forced to write this out.
Do members of staff have a hat folder outlining their duties?
Yes. These folders contain information relating to the post held by that particular member of staff. Everyone has a hat folder.
Does this hat folder contain gradings and penalties and are employees not supposed to take them out of the building?
This does not contain gradings and penalties. Employees are not supposed to take them out of the building because if they went ill the person taking over their job would require the folder."
Is the term hat folder based on the Americanism "Wear your own hat, do your own job"?
Is it stated in the folder that persons in default with or behind in their work are expected to work during the night In order to complete it?
When an employee joins the organisation is he or she graded as "non existence"? Are there gradings upward from non existence, and do the highest two receive material rewards?
When someone joins our staff they are in "non existence" but they are expected to get out of this state within a few hours. We apply the technology of scientology to the administration of our staff. The grades above "non existence" are "danger," "emergency," "normal," "affluence," and "power" in that order.
If a member of staff is graded "affluence" they are entitled to 20 per cent. of their pay extra and £3 10s clothing allowance. If they are graded "power" they are entitled to an extra 33 per cent, above their pay. They can also ask for a pay rise.
Are there grades downwards from "non-existence" such as "liability," "doubt," "treason," "enemy," and nothing?"
Yes. I myself found out about a mistake I made three weeks ago, and so I put myself into liability and am wearing an armband to show this.
Who decides whether the person should be in "liability?"
The directors decide this. I am in a position where if I make a mistake or do something which might cause delay to our work, I have to put myself into "liability." No one above me can order me to do so.
Are certain "defaulting" grades not allowed to speak to anyone or be spoken to?
If a person is in "doubt" that person is left on his own for a short period of a few hours. He is not "sent to Coventry." He will not want to speak to anyone when he is in "doubt."
Is it a fact there was a dagger or knife stuck in a notice board here
Yes. It is still in one of the notice boards.
Are security tests carried out on the staff? Is an E-meter used?
All new members of staff have to go through a test when they are asked certain questions. An E-meter is used. It is not a "lie detector," but can show truth. The tests are carried out to make sure we do not get undesirable people in here.
Do you ask such questions as "Are the Police after you?" Have you stolen anything?"
Yes. Obviously we want to weed out undesirable people. We don't want Communists or people like that.
Is it a fact that on a notice board or pillar the names and gradings of the staff are displayed?
How many persons do you employ in Edinburgh?
We employ 78 persons here and we are expanding. Our publication department employed only 12 people last September when we were in East Grinstead. Publications have now moved here.
How many are under the age of 16?
Only about three or so.
If employees have not finished their work in their normal working day do they have to stay late to complete it?
Our members of staff are expected to do a certain amount of work and they are expected to finish this each day. If they have not completed it by 6 p.m. they are expected to stay on to do so.
What are the hours the under-16 are permitted to work per day?
They are expected to complete their work for that day.
Is it not unfair to expect teenagers to stay later in order to complete work which they may not have finished in time because they were not capable of doing it rather than because of negligence?
You underestimate the capabilities of people of this age. We are paying them £9 a week at the age of 15. If they do not like the job or if they do not like it here they can leave.
Is it true that employees spend all night on the premises and sleep there?
Our Scottish staff have never slept the night here. Other members of our staff have. If I work up to 4 a.m. there is no point in going home so I just lie down here for a few hours.
Are certain employees under penalty not allowed to leave the building until they are regraded and does this mean meals have to be brought in for them?
If they are in "non-existence" they are expected to get out of that condition within four hours. If they are put into "non-existence" at 2 p.m. they should be out of it by 6 p.m.
Is it the case that you are more interested in the work undertaken than in the members of staff themselves?
As scientologists we are interested in people and the service of people. We care about the people here.
[Picture / Caption: A Scientology E-meter of the type referred to in Edinburgh.]
[Picture / Caption: The entrance to the Scientoligists' "Publications Organisation, World Wide," in Queen Street. On the wall is a box and on it a poster saying: "Come in for I.Q. and personality testing today."]
[Picture / Caption: The back entrance in North East Thistle Street Lane to the Scientologists' publications organisation.]