Scientology Apostate Part II: Life In the Org

Categories: internets
scientologychurchsf.jpg
Ethicstrouble sounds off on life in the San Francisco org
Yesterday, we posted documents purportedly smuggled out of a trash bin of San Francisco's Church of Scientology by ethicstrouble, a self-proclaimed church member who has decided Scientology is a money-sucking farce and wants out. Two prominent ex-Scientologists agreed the statistics looked legit, even though the San Francisco church's president claims they aren't. 

There's no denying that ethicstrouble can speak frankly and intimately about life inside the San Francisco org, to a degree that would make this an incredible hoax if they were making this up. (We refer to ethicstrouble as a genderless "they.")

We've made minor edits to ethicstrouble's answers for clarity and brevity.

SFW: Can you tell us about the setup of the San Francisco org? How many people are actually on staff at the church?


ET: There's a day organization Monday through Friday and a foundation organization that's nights and weekends. It's less than 80 people for each org -- I don't have the specifics in front of me. There's a few that have inheritance [they can live off of] .... Ninety-eight percent do have a second job. Some people are barely getting by with their second job. I know of three people who've taken out a mortgage and filed for bankruptcy a few years later. All their money went to Scientology.

One of the most upsetting things for me is the [Scientology] events where they're getting money from people and the way they just push people. I've seen them go until 2 in the morning pushing people, and a staff member will call the credit card company and get their credit limit raised so they can donate. It's disgusting.

SFW: According to the stats you sent us, there's very few people taking courses or new members coming in the door. How does the church afford that fancy historic building on Columbus? 

ET: They own it. They paid it off in the last year or two.  The org survives only because of deep pockets. Now almost all the events take place in the org because there's no money. In the old days, they were in a hotel.

SFW: Can you tell us about the layout of the basement of the org?

ET: The basement is the purification program and the auditing. At the bottom of the stairs to the right is the administration room. There's 18 to 20 auditing rooms. They're empty most of the time. Past that, you go down a hallway and they have a good-size sauna, a shower for the men and one for the women, that's where people do the purification and take the niacin. 

There's a small lounge area and seven treadmills to do the exercise before go into the saunas -- you have to run for 20 minutes before going into the sauna. We're expected to do [purification] five hours a day, seven days a week.

SFW: Does the org talk about the celebrities in Scientology a lot?  

ET: Not at all. It's not a big thing at all. It's a big thing for upper management probably, but not for the ordinary guy or gal in the church.

SFW: So how do Scientologists feel about the internet? 

ET: Anything anti-Scientology is not talked about in the org. None of the computers in the org are connected to the Internet. You can do anything you want on the Internet [on your own time], you just can't look at sites that are anti-Scientology. For so many years I so believed and was told never to look on the Internet [for anti-Scientology websites], and I never did. You get in so much trouble if you look on the Internet. They make you do ammends and you're just tormented so you never do it, because you're afraid to.

Still, there are people getting busted doing it all the time. [People who are caught] have ethics interviews, they bring them in and show them the "true data." They say you're giving power to the enemy by putting a hit on their site. So if they have all these pageviews then that's giving them power.

SFW: How do people have to make amends if they are busted looking at an anti-Scientology site?

ET: People come up with weird ideas. They can hand out 1,000 pieces of Scientology promo, like hand out '1,000 Ways To Happiness' brochures. Or call up 1,000 Scientologists and make sure they're still in good standing, or do a security check to "clean myself up to make sure I won't do it again." People could say, "I wrote on the their anti-Scientology website that I was a Scientologist and I know the truth and the website was all lies."

SFW: So are the people constantly handing out Scientology brochures outside Old Navy at Fourth and Market doing penance for having done something wrong?

ET: Frequently. We also have staff that do that, but frequently, absolutely. Or they try to sell Dianetics at flea markets.

Tomorrow we'll talk to ethicstrouble about how they decided, little by little, that Scientology was a crock. And yes, Anonymous did play a part.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly



My Voice Nation Help
43 comments
Seeking4know
Seeking4know

The stats are legit. I wonder who ET is??? I know a few of the people on staff.

robert
robert

It could be anyone.  It could even be EVERYONE.  

While we only hear from ET, ET is just a sampling of what must be going on in people's minds in orgs across the world.  You can't chain the mind and it will go where it wills.  And most are going out the door.

Jonathan van der Berg
Jonathan van der Berg

All this is interesting. My mum did a skint at the SF org before she blew a few years back. These people need to be held accountable - but above all - the higher management.

greebly
greebly

Don't forget to sign this petition for the US Govt. to investigate the Church of Scientology.wh dot gov/4Os1370 sigs so far

Old OT7
Old OT7

I have and I encourage everyone else to do so too.

Yeppir
Yeppir

Keep digging, Lauren! We need coast-to-coast bookends handling the Co$. And any reporters in middle America willing to take up the fight, please step up!

Matt Green
Matt Green

Hey Lauren!  This reporting on Ethics Trouble is great. I thought Scientology was some harmless Hollywood cult until I read your SF Weekly cover story a few years back. Since then I have kept my eye out for things. I read Lawrence Wright's article on Paul Haggis, and read Janet Reitman's book after you wrote about her. 

Reading about ET it struck me Scientology doesn't look much like a church. "Bodies In Shop" - more like a high-pressure business. And now today with ET talking about getting punished for browsing the internet WTF?

It's like some Eastern Communist regime from the 1950s time-warped to SF.

Those protesters from Anonymous are hilarious. I live in North Beach. When I drive by they are dancing non-stop, tourists stop to have their pictures taken with them, and then get a lot of horn love. Stay strong, ET. Looking forward to more reports.

Derper
Derper

Thanks! Our protests are ok, though- OT8 Jerry says we're helping business!

Oh wait. Scientology's a business?

Trollololol

Mark
Mark

God bless ethicstrouble! I hope you can bring others out of the cult and return to safety.

For those who are unfamiliar with the dangers of the "purification rundown" just Google it!

An investigation by the New York Press asked a number of independent doctors about the evidence for the Purification Rundown. None of them endorsed the program's effectiveness and some explicitly described it as dangerous. Several said that no peer-reviewed research on the rundown had been published in any medical journal. Some apparently supportive studies have been published, but these lack control groups and have other scientific failings.

Paride Ella and Giuseppe Tomba, clients of Narconon in Taceno, Italy, died in 1995 during the vitamin phase of the program, suffering kidney problems and a heart attack respectively.

In 1996, journalist Mark Ebner described the case of a woman who had suffered heatstroke and anemia while on the program.

One day, she was found blue-lipped on the waiting room floor, hemorrhaging. Instead of taking her blood pressure or calling an ambulance or even a doctor, they explained away her bleeding as "restimulation" from radiation she had absorbed from ultrasound testing she'd had years before.

In 1997, two emergency room doctors reported treating a 45-year-old man who had participated in the Rundown. Previously healthy, he had developed tremors while on the program, for which the Church of Scientology recommended further Purification as treatment. Put back in the sauna, he developed seizures and was taken to hospital in an incoherent state. He was diagnosed with severe hyponatremia but three days of treatment returned him to normal. In a similar case, the wife of a Medina, Ohio dentist required hospitalisation after developing hallucinations and other bizarre symptoms during Purification. In 2004, a former participant in the UK told reporters that Purification had gravely worsened his physical condition, and that he had been denied medical treatment.

A 25-year-old man in Portland, Oregon died from liver failure having taken the Purif. His parents sued the Church of Scientology and the case was settled out of court. Scientology officials blamed the death on prior medical problems.

Carmen
Carmen

It is amazing that these stories continue, and yet it is simply impossible to get official attention trained on the fraud and hazards of the Purif.

Charlene MacIntosh
Charlene MacIntosh

If you are fed up with Scientology's blatent disrespect for our laws, human rights, and civil liberties, then do something about it.

Please consider signing a petition that has just been put up at the US Whitehouse website. The petition is to call for the investigation by a Special Prosecutor into why the FBI/ Justice Dept/IRS have failed to investigate and prosecute Scientology - when over 300+ formal complaints have been submitted to the FBI. This is quick and easy, and takes only 5 minutes. Only your first name and last initial will show up on the petition. There are alreadyover 1300 signatures, and it was started only 3 days ago. We need 5000 signatures by October 24, 2011 for the President to initiate an inquiry. Here is the website: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/pe... ... -abuse/L27wg021Or the shorter URL: http://wh.gov/4Os

Downstat
Downstat

Pick up teh caek, this is the session.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Less than 80 staff per org and like hardly any public? Kind of hard to believe. I would like to believe but...now that I think of it that way, I'm a bit doubtful

FreeTo Be
FreeTo Be

JCMMary...You are kidding, right?  When was the last time you went into and walked around in an org...any org?  I went into all the PAC orgs, then toured to 5 more orgs in CA, all in the last week of the LRH Birthday Game (better known now as the March 13th Event since DM crowned himself king). That is THE week in the whole year that one could always know that there would be hordes of public around and lots of activity toward the final days of the countdown for the points earned in the yearly game...for Every org...even Flag played the game within its own divisions.The Flag remote office in PAC was virtually empty, no public except for a couple of FSMs and a handful of staff.The Freewinds office had only 3 staff in it.There was one office that had a lot of activity going on it it...the IAS office. Out on the street staff (not IAS staff) were many of them wearing IAS jackets. Why they were out there in such a number was a mystery as there were only a handful of public coming out of the AO and ASHO for the dinner break.  LA Org, newly renovated, before the dinner break was so empty that walking and talking through it echoed in the hallways.Pasadena Org was lovely in its new premises, but as per usual, was virtually empty but for a handful of staff.Santa Barbara, Thurs a.m. had one staff and one public and all the lights were off.Mountain View, Los Gatos and Stevens Creek were all virtually empty with a handful of staff.I personally have seen all these orgs booming and thriving in years before the mid 90's.

What planet are you on, JCMMary?

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

What planet are you on? One where you don't read correctly?

My point is that it's impossible for them to have that many staff and hardly any public UNLESS they recruited the only public they have. Its an outpoint to have that many staff listed and hardly any bodies in  the shop.  If you ask me, I think ethicstrouble overestimated the staff numbers.

Guest4321
Guest4321

I was on staff at another org in a different city a number of years ago. "Staff recruitment" is done automatically to get the "new staff" stat up -- no one ever sits down to figure out if it makes economic sense or not.  They'll try to recruit as many staff as they possibly can, every single week, purely for the stat -- and completely independent if the org makes enough money to pay them or not.  Most new staff leave within the first few weeks or months. I'm actually impressed that they've been able been able to hang on to 160 people.  I walked by the Org a few weeks ago during the week, and it looked dead. 

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

I can understand this but I suspect that if someone stood outside the SF org in the morning and took a body count of those walking in before staff rollcall, they would not find even 20 people walking in that org. much less 80. Same with evening staff. A dead org having 80 staff just does not make any sense. There would be more Bodies in the shop,  more GI, and higher stas overall.  And that was my only doubt with ethicstrouble's comments.

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

Not hard to believe at all.  Have you ever walked by the place? It's always empty.

Dan Courtney
Dan Courtney

This is delicious! Cults always lose in the end because they can't control the information available to their members forever. It warms my heart to know that more and more are waking up and seeing how distructive Scientology is.... I love it!

MrEricSir
MrEricSir

This is a fantastic interview series. Can't wait for the next one!

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Great stuff! But with all this juicy coverage, I sure wish you guys had a dedicated "Scientology" category like VillageVoice does  (rather than just lumping these ethicstrouble interviews in with "internets").

F_Randy_Hullabaloo
F_Randy_Hullabaloo

Knife!, um, I mean Nice! article.  Looking forward to hearing more from the ET.

Guest
Guest

Not the sharpest nife in the chandelier, are you :)

Hail Xenu!!  May the eternal batteries powering his energy-prison be drained prematurely!

Division666
Division666

Thank you for your courage Ethics Trouble. Co$ is corrupt and your bravery inspires those who protest against it's abuse.

Evandalism@gmail.com
Evandalism@gmail.com

We love dancing for you and all the other victims of the fraud and abuse that is $cientology. Thank you, Ethicstrouble.

<3 ChanologySF

KeepOnLearning
KeepOnLearning

"et" either doesn't know much about the Purification rundown, or is a very tyro (novice) Scientologist. 

His/her description of the Purification Rundown doesn't match reality. The terms s/he chooses seem more like a watcher or recent entry than a participant. 

In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if "et" turns out to be an enterprising trash-picker, or a visitor who was trusted too far, allowed to wander freely, and then betrayed the Scientologists' trust. 

Working *so hard* to harm people of good will certainly doesn't bode well for this guy/gal/s eternity, karma, or eligibility for heaven--however you want to phrase it.

greebly
greebly

Sign the Whitehouse Petition to investigate the Church of Scientology and it's abuses.

Anyone can sign 1700+ signatures already.

It’s all about a volume of voices, don’t be afraid anymore it is your right to get answers. If nothing happens atleast you are making a very important statement.

If problems registering go here 1st:

wwws dot whitehouse dot gov/user/register

+back to the Petition:

wh dot gov/4Os

If the Sign button is grey and not green simply log out and log back in.

dodobird
dodobird

That is the hard way to go about it.  Use this url: 

 

http://tinyurl.com/62eqyyl

I suggest even COS members sign it.  Get all the 300 allegations of abuse etc. out in the open.  Remember it is only to have a Special Prosecutor investigate how come law enforcement isn't moving forward on the 300 crimes.:)

Iamanonymous
Iamanonymous

"et" also doesn't get the number of staff right.  160 staff to service less than 120 BIS? several staff jobs also appear to be vacant, and double-hatting is not allowed.

Xenu
Xenu

Since SFO Foundation has only 20 fully hatted staff, I'm thinking ET was trying to say that there were 80 for Day and Foundation combined.

Also, double-hatting has always gone on, in one fashion or another.  Any time you see "HFA" on an org board, it means "held from above," meaning that the post senior to that one is also having to wear the junior hat, like a Director of Training who is holding a course sup position from above.  You see that all the time.

Xenu
Xenu

"In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if "et" turns out to be an enterprising trash-picker, or a visitor who was trusted too far, allowed to wander freely, and then betrayed the Scientologists' trust."

You should probably let your OSA superiors know that you just implied that the stats were correct.

KeepOnLearning
KeepOnLearning

Again, your broken mind leaps instantly to meanness, leaving whatever IQ in the dust.

Per your deduction that I knew and verified et's reported stats, I must be: - in San Fran - on staff there,  - wandering into HCO unescorted  - and memorizing stat charts. 

Good thing you're a hater and bigot.

I'd hate to think a Scientologist was that mentally lazy.

Xenu
Xenu

Keep pounding on that straw man!

I said that you implied that they were correct, and you did.  Although you suggest that you didn't know what you were talking about with regard to the stats, your postings over the last few days leave very little room for doubt that you're working with OSA, who absolutely would know that the stats were real.

You have claimed in different posts to be a fairly advanced Scientologists, but not to be in their employ.  Although I have to be skeptical about not being paid OSA, for purposes of argument I'll take you at your word.  That would mean you're probably some OT Committee member who's been shanghaied into doing this, in which case the DSA overseeing your work probably did not tell you that the stats were real, since you had no need to know, and the truth would be demoralizing.

I know these games, because I was once a lot like you.  Here's a thought for you, as one OT to another.  You undoubtedly had over 50 hours of Dianetic auditing, right?  Per HCOB 24 April 1969R, "Dianetic Use," "Dianetics raises IQ as a side product to usual auditing, at a rate of about one point of IQ per hour of processing."  Per "Dianetics and Religion," Dianetic Auditor's Bulletin vol.1 #4, the increase from even "Book One" style auditing was supposed to be up to 50 points.  Because orgs administer IQ tests routinely, I got to see a lot of test results, and I never saw one case of significant IQ gains, any more than I saw OTs throwing away their glasses.  If Scientology can deliver what Hubbard promised, why are measurable and observable results so impossible to find?

Dano
Dano

KeepOnLearning,

Thank you for validating everthing ET has said in this article.

So how naughty were you?   Are you in treason or enemy?   Next time you try to hand me a Way to Happiness Brochure, I'll try not to laugh my ass off!

Vajayjay
Vajayjay

Then again, even people in the Sea Org (like Amy Scobee was) who are in prominent leadership positions did very few courses. In her memoir she talks about how she actually knew very little about Scientology.

So if ET gets it wrong about the Purification Rundown, it just means that the cult is once again lying about how well its staff are educated and trained about cult dogma and practices.

KeepOnLearning
KeepOnLearning

But you can't use that to excuse the lies she scattered in every direction.

Muiron1
Muiron1

I don't see where ET lied. It appears that ET was telling the truth about the purification program. The only thing that was a little unspecific was the part that said we're all supposed to be doing it for five hours seven days per week. This implies all staff where in fact it is just for the staff or public actually participating in the purification rundown. Not all are doing this every day.

SFF
SFF

What does Introduction to Scientology Ethics say about people who speak in broad generalities? If you are going to accuse someone of lying, please be specific.

Anon A
Anon A

Hint:  "Lies" and what you call "entheta" are often not the same thing. 

But don't let your ruthless leaders know if you let that thought creep into your head, past the brainwashing, and activate your critical thought process.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...