|Birthday||September 10, 1953|
|Org. Affiliation(s)||Church of Scientology of San Diego and the Sea Org ship "Excalibur"|
My involvement with the Church of Scientology was from August of 1972 to December of 1977 when I routed off, per policy, of staff at the Church of Scientology of San Diego. I was also a member of the Sea Org, having spent time on the DPF and RPF aboard the T.S.M.Y. Excalibur. My article about my time on the RPF is here - RPF on the Excalibur.
What remains with me today, from my experience with Scientology, is the camaraderie of all the wonderful Scientologists that I have had the pleasure to serve or interact with. The work that I do for this site is dedicated to all those Scientologists, (past, present, future, in or out), who I have been lucky enough to have known.
Now that I have finished Yvonne Gillham Jentzsch's bio (October, 2013) I find myself with time to write about my own experiences in Scientology. I last practiced Scientology in 1977 and have lived in Oklahoma since 1978, far away from anything related to Scientology. I live and own a business in the county seat of our area. As such I count among my close friends the professionals from within and around this county; the doctors, the lawyers, the politicians, the bankers and others. I have accomplished many good things for my community and Oklahoma. I belong to many good organizations throughout the United States which has garnered, for me, many friends scattered far and wide. I only write this paragraph to make a statement that I am more than a label of being an ex-Scientologist or a kool-aid drinker.
What I want to accomplish here is a view of what it was like to be a staff member at a Class IV Org during the 70's. There are volumes and volumes of stories about bad treatment at the hands of Scientology, of which I believe to be true. While we, at the Church of Scientology of San Diego, were not a Sea Org Church, although many of our staff were Sea Org members, we did not experience the same fate as those staff members who worked on Scientology Sea Org ships or in land based Sea Org Orgs.
If you care to read about a snapshot of the life of a Scientology staff member, in the 70's, here is my story.
My introduction to Scientology[edit | edit source]
In August, 1972, I was a naval student at the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare School in San Diego, California. On August 7, I was walking down Broadway when Maureen Turner approached me, handed me a handout, and asked if I wanted to take a personality test. As I had nothing better to do I followed this lovely lady to Carl Barney’s Scientology Coordinated Services mission at 1052 10th Avenue.
After taking the personality test I enrolled onto the Communication course and bought the book “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health”. That night after starting to read DMSMH, words flooded into my head about what I was experiencing. I quickly wrote them down, lest they would escape me (see my Scientology poem in the picture gallery below). Due to my training in electronics I quickly understood Hubbard’s explanation of the mind.
I graduated the Communication Course on August 28, 1972; my course cert was signed by Peggy Spurlock and Bill Griffith. I then retook another personality test before enrolling onto the HQS Course. I used a blank OCA test to graph my before and after results (see picture of it in the gallery below).
Dick Coanda, an associate professor of English at the University of San Diego, was my course supervisor for the HQS Course. During high school I was always at the top of my class in reading and I possessed a higher than average IQ. Imagine my surprise when I didn't understand something and Dick's reply was "what word don't you understand?". When I responded that I knew the words, his next reply was "what word do you not fully understand?". He was a great teacher, who by the way grew up just a few miles from where I grew up. On September 16, 1972 I traveled, with staff members from the mission, to a Scientology event in Los Angeles. I was mesmorized by the sight of Diana Hubbard Horwich with her long red hair as she spoke to the audience and I watched as Quentin Hubbard performed an auditing demonstration on stage. We had great seats, to the right and back from the stage. During all this time I was still studying my course at the navy base. On September 22, 1972 I was promoted to E-4 Sonar Technician. On December 15, 1972, I graduated from the U.S. Navy’s Sonar Electronics Intermediate course at the top of my class. I felt that my studies in Scientology had helped me garner this award. During the Christmas holidays the Scientology mission decorated its front windows, of which I took a picture (see below). On December 28, 1972 I graduated the HQS Course. My certificate was signed by Dee Johnson and Bill Griffith.
Introduction to Scientology picture gallery[edit | edit source]
My life as a staff member of Scientology[edit | edit source]
On December 28, 1972, right after graduating from the HQS Course I signed a five year staff contract with Carl Barney's San Diego Scientology Mission.
After graduation I also purchased a block of 25 hours of Scientology auditing. The mission hired Larry Little, a Class VI auditor based out of Los Angeles, as my auditor. What Larry did for me was a very positive thing. I was raised as a Lutheran and was at the top of my confirmation class. I recall sitting in class, at 12 years old, wondering why I was here now and to these parents and knowing that religion could never truly answer my questions. In Larry's capable hands my questions were answered and I will always be in debt to him for giving me that gift. Unfortunately Larry passed away in 2008 before I could find him and thank him once more. However I did get a chance to personally thank his family.
On January 20, 1973, as I was using the head (bathroom) at the naval base, words again flooded into my head. I had to immediately write them down on toilet paper (the navy paper was tough enough for me to do that). Those thoughts cemented my decision to do Scientology full time (see my Scientology poem in the picture gallery below). During this time there was a Church of Scientology in La Jolla which I had visited on occasion. It had been established on April 8, 1971 by Robert Fell II and Gary and Janet Lawrence. There were rumors around that the church and the center were going to merge. The rumors were true as the Church of Scientology of La Jolla and Carl Barney’s San Diego Mission merged to become the Church of Scientology of San Diego on February 9, 1973.
This is when I met the incomparable Yvonne Gillham Jentzsch, the commanding officer of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. Here was I, a poor young navy sailor, very new to Scientology, working as a lowly personality test grader at the mission. I remember this like it happened yesterday. I was sitting at my desk grading a personality test when I saw a lady walk through the front door. I had just glanced up for a second and had went back to grading when that lady stopped directly in front of my desk. She introduced herself as Yvonne and we talked for a few minutes as if we had been lifelong friends. She was our guest speaker for the grand opening of the Church of Scientology of San Diego and I was the first person she talked to when she arrived. Mere words cannot describe what a truly wonderful person she was.
The Scientology Sea Org ship, the Excalibur, docked in San Diego during the grand opening of the San Diego Org. What a beautiful white ship it was! A lovely lady, whose first name was Kenda, was one of the ship’s crew members. Wow, I thought, if this is what it’s like to be a Sea Org member where do I sign up? Sign up I did, for one billion years!
Carl Barney's San Diego mission staff were given the choice of moving to Los Angeles, where his base of operations was located, or staying with the new church. Most stayed as did I. I know that Ed Marsh and Peggy Spurlock, the sister to Lyman Spurlock, did move to Los Angeles. As part of our staff training in San Diego we had to make a copy of the Church’s organizing board. In the picture gallery below is my March, 1973, copy of the board. I had been assigned as "Testing in Charge" with Sue Gallagher as my senior. On April 6, 1973 the Church of Scientology of San Diego published a list of all who were staff members. They included the following people;
Lindy Allen, Michael Bailey, Ray Beeson, Janet Blackburn, Blake Bowen, Larry Brancato, Daniel Brandis, Becky Burns, Teresa Christiansen, Dave Clark, Dorothy Crosby, Bob Crafton, Don Crom, Howard Dickman, Todd Fifield, Joe Fowles, Sue Gallagher, David Gillilan, Bill Griffith, David Hamilton, Tad Hammer, Dietz Harris, Bob Hill, Dee Johnson, Eric Johnson, Marilyn Johnson, Michael Karpinsky, Jerry Kirk, Jeff Kroth, Gary Lawrence, Janet Lawrence, John Loftus, Fauna Lucas, Tom Mallan, Victor Martychenko, Nancy Maston, Eugene Miller, Donna Mulliner, Bob Pierce, Mark Pisani, Don Pelton, Edie Pope, Jerry Pope, Leonard Romans, Clint Seiter, Elaine Schuman, Doug Swanson, Craig Theis, Dave Thomas, Phillip Thomas, Dave Thompson, Glen Thompson, John Town, Clyde Trent, Steve Vasing, Jerry Walker, Tom Wallek and Gary Webber.
I must have been at the Navy base when a picture was taken of the staff members of the San Diego Org (see below).
The Church had grown so much that a building at 926 C Street, right around the corner from the 10th Avenue site, was leased. It was much larger, with a second story towards the rear of the building and an unused basement full of junk. I was discharged from the Navy on May 18, 1973 and went to work full time at the San Diego Org. As staff pay was a pittance I had to enroll onto California's unemployment rolls in order to pay my rent and living expenses. On June 3, 1973, the Church put on an event at the 10th Avenue location. Our guest entertainer was Marilyn Ellis, from Celebrity Centre. I was at my desk, still working as a test grader/evaluator when she entered the building. She stopped to talk to me and helped me fold some papers. That small gesture prompted me to write a poem to her, I wonder if she still remembers it.
That June I was sent to the Excalibur, based in San Pedro, for the Sea Org training course, Product Zero. While on the Excalibur I met Pat Maroshek (the person on the left, in the picture below) of Back Pocket who was also doing Product Zero. In 1973 a lot of San Diego staff lived in a house known locally as the Manor. This house was located at the southeast corner of C and 27th Street, about 1.3 miles away from the Church. After graduating from the Product Zero course I returned to San Diego and moved into the downstairs portion of the house. At one time we had seven Scientologists living in the first level of the house; the only rooms not used as bedrooms were the kitchen and the bathroom. One of my roommates was Mario Robles, an ASHO trained Class VI, who was solo auditing on the Clearing Course in our room. In the room next to ours was Larry Brancato, another ASHO trained Class VI, who was also solo auditing on the Clearing Course. Larry was in charge of the household. We paid him rent and he took care of all of the bills, which included making sure we had food in the house. One day I came home early and turned on some music in my room while Larry was in the next room auditing. I immediately got a strong mental message from him that the music was too loud, to which I turned down the volume. Both of them went Clear while living with me in the Manor (see list of Clears in the picture gallery).
The San Diego Org moved all of its operations into the C street building. To the left is my picture of the Org in the summer of 1973. I painted the lion and helped build the bookshelves. On August 15, 1973 five members of the San Diego Org were awarded Staff Status II. This meant that we were permanent staff members with all the benefits. The following people were awarded that status;
Bob Hill, David Gillilan, Elaine Schuman, Howard Dickman and Brent Smith.
As I was a single young man I took the 2nd Dynamic Alignment Course with the hope that I would learn how to interact better with the opposite sex, as I did not grow up with any sisters and was ill at ease around females. I graduated that course on September 14, 1973. My cert was signed by David Hamilton, Russell Lucas and Jerry Pope.
I had gotten into Scientology to learn how to audit. Despite the fact that I was posted as test grader/evaluator, I managed to enroll onto Hubbard's Integrity Processing Specialist (HIPS) Course. I had looked at other auditor courses but I lacked the requirements for all except for the HIPS course. This course trained me in the use of the e-meter and the purpose of the course: to train the student to the level of an Integrity Processing Specialist who knows and can apply the tech flublessly and has the ability to increase a person's personal integrity and trust in himself and others by freeing him of past overts, withholds and missed withholds. The graduate of this course is awarded the provisional Hubbard Integrity Processing Specialist Certificate. (BPL 24 Dec 72R). I graduated that course November 22, 1973 and had audited only staff members as part of the course. I was green as grass though, my sessions were not very good. My cert was signed by Russell Lucas and Jerry Pope.
In late December, 1973, an LRH ED came out that implemented a game for LRH's birthday the next year. Staff was expected to 5X (times) their December 27 stats. Can you imagine an auditor putting in forty hours of Well Done Auditing Hours per week, now having to produce two hundred hours! Despite this game I managed to stay sessionable and was able to complete a Method 1 auditing cycle. I cleaned up a lot of misunderstood words from my earlier schooling days. I completed that on December 31, 1973. My cert was signed by David Hamilton, Phillip Thomas and Jerry Pope.
In January we worked hard at 5Xing our production. I still remember quite well trying to body route new people into the Org at 2:00 in the morning, I never met that target. The birthday game ended late January or early February, 1974. Shortly afterward International Management, happy over the success of the 5X game, issued a new game wherein we were now to 7X our stats. Pity the poor auditor who had just put in two hundred hours of Well Done Auditing Hours, now expected to put in fourteen hundred hours in a week! When news of the 7X game hit our Org I realized the futility of the target, I had had enough. I marched right into Tom Mallan's office, our ED, and told him in no uncertain terms that there was no way I was going to do the 7X program. He thought for a moment and replied that he would be sending me to the RPF on the Excalibur. He explained that I would get five hours a day in study or auditing as part of the program. As Org staff we were lucky to get even two and a half hours of study and very little staff auditing, I immediately jumped at the edict and off I went.
Life as a staff member picture gallery[edit | edit source]
My stint on the RPF[edit | edit source]
The Excalibur was docked in San Pedro when I arrived at the RPF around mid-February. I was not the first person there, but we were a very small group with Nathan Hays as the Bosun. As more and more people came into the RPF Nathan requested that I become a section leader. After resisting the change for three days I accepted the position. After four weeks of power stats Nathan posted me as his deputy bosun and when he left I became the Bosun.
In March, 1974 the RPF published its first newsletter. Excerpts from FO #3434 were interspersed with success stories from our members. Ten individuals had their stories printed, they included;
Nathan Hays, Lulu Shippen, Stephen Ambrose, Terry Mahoney, Howard Dickman, Becky Burns, Glen Thompson, Linda Mazer, Sara Reyes and Peeter Alvet.
As the Excalibur was only 184' 6" long and 33' 1" wide, and built for a complement of ninety nine U.S. Navy sailors, there wasn't a lot of room to spare. The men on the RPF berthed with the men on the DPF. The women in the RPF berthed with the women on the DPF. While we were the last to be served at meals, we ate off of plates with utensils. We ate the same food as the crew and the DPF ate. I thought the galley crew served some good meals for the year I was on the ship.
Some of our members worked in the forward engine room chipping and painting machinery, lines and bulkheads. We were all at it in the engine room when the Excalibur cruised to San Francisco in April. During the trip all of the RPF was working in the engine room, when slowly but surely and one by one people would leave due to sea sickness. Finally I was the only one left and I eventually joined them on the fantail. The closer we got to San Francisco the worse the weather became. At one point I ventured onto the bow, but within the steel partitioning, and was enjoying the sensation caused by the rocking of the ship. When the ship went down the backside of a wave, my feet would actually leave the deck. Wisely, someone from the wheelhouse came out and told me in no uncertain terms to get off the bow, I wasn't even wearing a lifejacket. I remember us passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, the weather had gotten really bad. There was a passageway from the mess hall to the fantail and with the ship rocking so badly, side to side, I actually walked on both of the bulkheads as I headed aft.
The cruise back to LA was really peaceful. I was on deck at night and off of the port side I saw two green fluorescent trails coming towards us. As we continued to proceed southward the trails kept us in their sights. The two dolphins eventually ended up at the bow, leaping in and out of the water as the Excalibur moved forward; it was an incredible sight!
Back at the dock in San Pedro we resumed our daily routine. We were allowed five hours a day study/auditing and the rest of the time we cleaned, cleaned and cleaned some more! We had two stats, square feet of clean spaces and student points. As more and more people came onto the RPF we wound up cleaning everything that there was to clean. Every day the painted steel decks were so clean you that could eat off of them, at least that was my standard. We eventually
cleaned the deck of the bow so many times that the red primer started to show through the blue paint. We painted these spaces, but to keep our stats up we cleaned the bulkheads, the overheads, just whatever we could find. After a couple of months the engine room project impressed the Excalibur's 1st mate, Mickey Johnson, enough to write all of us a commendation chit on May 9, 1974.
The RPF’s RPF was created April 24, 1974. At one point in May I was even assigned to the RPF’s RPF. For some reason I lost it one day, climbing into the crow’s nest (I’m terrified of heights) and refusing to come back down. I spent days in the bowels of the ship cleaning the bilges, pretty nasty work. The main difference between the RPF and the RPF’s RPF was that I lost my study/auditing hours and no one communicated with me. Big deal, so I cleaned more than the rest of the RPF, I still got to eat and sleep like the rest of the crew. Granted, working in the bilge was no Sunday picnic; but then again it wasn't death defying and it didn't take that long to work out of that condition.
We were allowed five hours a day study/auditing. Ever do hard TR’s five hours a day, seven days a week, for weeks on end? We did. At one point I had Doug Nopson as my course supervisor, Peeter Alvet as my auditor and Judy Fuller, a Class XII, as my C/S. You couldn't get much better than that. Peeter Alvet’s TR’s were so smooth in session, it was heaven; and what better than to be C/Sed by a Class XII? Doug Nopson was the best bull baiter that I have ever been acquainted with. If he passed you, and I do mean if, you definitely knew that you had your TR’s in!
I almost passed my hard TR’s with Doug. He was bull baiting me and I was partially exterior to the whole thing. Nothing that Doug threw at me fazed me, not in the least bit, I was totally there. I could tell that Doug was about to give me a pass, but just then off to my right Peeter Alvet, my auditor, was coming to take me into session, and I interiorized. There was no way I could tell Doug that I was ready to go into session, please pass me! My eyes started to water and Doug flunked me. I've always wondered how a Class XII would allow us to do hard TR’s and then be audited on major actions. Judy also told me that she was the person who had created the auditor summary report form. At one point I did find an old issue of that form and it had the initials “jf” on it, but since I cannot find that issue again, there is no way that I can substantiate her statement.
It was on the RPF that I really learned how to audit. I was trained by Doug Nopson, and I was so very privileged to have audited under Amos and Share Jessup as my C/S and Qual Tech. What a team they were. I also learned the laws of listing and nulling. It took forever to learn them well enough to recite them verbatim forwards and backwards, without any hesitation, from memory alone. There were twenty of those laws and they weren't short ones either. Our auditing, while on the RPF, consisted of - read it, drill it, do it. I studied lots of HCOB's, drilled a lot and was in the chair a lot, however I never did a formal Auditor course checksheet. As we were RPF, we audited just wherever we could find a place. I audited under stairs, with a board wedged between the bulkhead and a piece of machinery, just about any place. Although, it was very hard for me to audit objectives out in the sunlight as my eyes have always been very sensitive to light.
In May the RPF was called off of the ship to help with a political campaign. We were transported to an off-site location where we made phone calls that consisted of asking which candidate the electorate was going to vote for. We worked at this project for around two weeks, always handing in our tally sheets before we headed back to the ship. We were supporting Assembly Speaker, Bob Moretti, in his bid for the governorship of California. In the California primary of June 4, 1974, he lost with just 16.6% of the Democratic vote. This project was part of a GO operation and we were told that it be kept hush, hush. There were several times when I was auditing that I started a new action, knowing full well that by doing so both of us would miss our ride to the call center. I'm sure someone knew I was purposely doing that, but I never got into trouble.
On the RPF we were paid $2.50 per week, which was half the salary of the people on the DPF. We never left the ship, except for a few incidents, so I really had no chance to spend much. We assigned an RPF member to the laundry detail and we all chipped in for the laundry expenses; however we did spend some of our salary at the ships commissary. We were able to send and receive letters. I had my parents mail my birth certificate to me on June 19, 1974. Dave Thomas came aboard and asked to borrow my paid sections of the SHSBC.
In August the RPF was called off of the ship to help prepare the newly acquired Chateau Elysee for FOLO. For days we hauled a bunch of trash out of the basement, after which we scraped and painted. Per FLWUS ED# 320, dated August 15, 1974, the following RPFer’s were commended for their work;
Nick Maminakis, Beth MacRae, Ron Stone, Pat Hunter, Doug Nopson, Steve Ambrose, David Holmes, Dick Coanda, Howard Dickman, Sara Reyes, Tom Cochran and Linda Hodge.
I was the bosun when Larry Wollershiem came onto the RPF. I remember one incident where he played a significant role. The RPF was called off of the ship for a Hill 10 incident. The Excalibur’s lifeboat had been taken out previously and had been beached. When we, the RPF, got there we had just a short amount of time to dig the boat out of the sand before the tide came in. After digging like crazy and with the water coming closer and closer to the boat, suddenly a wrecker showed up. Larry had hired a wrecker to help us move the boat. We were all very lucky that no one got hurt when the winch line snapped; it sounded like a shot gun going off! We never did get that life boat unstuck; the ocean claimed it.
I was not part of capturing Larry as he tried to leave the ship. I was aware that he had tried and that he was back. I still remember the wild look in his eyes the morning after his attempted escape, he was completely different from the day before. I was his bosun and he never indicated to me that anything was bothering him prior to his attempt to leave the ship. He eventually left, but I don’t recall any big blow up with him. I treated Larry just like all the rest of the RPF crew, just look at him in the picture to the left.
Beth MacRae, a member of the RPF, took the only known pictures of the RPF. In the picture gallery below is a picture of me on the bow of the Excalibur as we were anchored out in Long Beach’s harbor in the fall of 1974. To the left is a picture of part of the RPF on the bow of the Excalibur during the fall of 1974. From left to right, these are the people in the picture;
Chris Bryne, Stephen Ambrose, Doug Nopson, Dick Coanda (facing away), Larry Wollershiem, Ron Stone (background), David Holmes, Howard Dickman, and Cassandra Crom. This picture was taken by Beth MacRae.
By October 1974, I had become the cramming officer for the RPF. Once again the RPF was pulled off the ship for a couple of projects at two Orgs. The RPF was used at ASHO on a Hill 10 concerning its central files (CF). There were bags and bags of unopened mail behind the Org. We opened the bags and stuffed the letters into each person’s CF file or at times created folders for the people new to the Org. After several days the filing cabinets could no longer hold anything else, which halted our work. There were still a few unopened bags out back when we left. After that project was over some members of the RPF were used at Pubs Org to create their CF which was a short and easy job that we did to completion. I doubt the CF folder that I created for myself would still be in the files.
After our flag trained C/S left in a rush, an action which literally dumped the post on me, I became the C/S of the RPF. There was one particular pc who was my favorite. We would run R3R and it got to the point where it was just like breathing, our sessions were so natural and so smooth. But when I became the C/S I turned this pc over to another auditor, big mistake; red tag sessions that I would have to fix. I eventually sat down with this auditor and personally worked with her until she became really competent. At one point, she and I were sitting side by side studying, when suddenly I was occupying her space, thinking her thoughts and feeling her emotions. It was for only an instant, at which point I started line charging; to which she inquired as to what I was laughing at. I think I might have freaked her out a bit when I tried to explain what had just happened.
By December 1974, I was a high producer on the RPF, garnering many commendations and success stories from others (see picture gallery). In January we pulled everything out of the galley that could be moved, some of which was really heavy, and did a deep cleaning. Lots of grease in remote corners were meticulously removed, which left the galley in like new condition. The chief steward commended us for our work.
Finally by February of 1975 I had completed all of the requirements needed to graduate the RPF. I gathered together all of my supporting documents (success stories, commendations etc.) and wrote up a CSW complete with the RPF graduation checklist. I went all over the Excalibur getting crew to sign off on my graduation CSW. I remember having put, as part of my amends, the GO project for Bob Moretti in my CSW. When I had the Excalibur's MAA sign my form he strongly urged that I delete that project. On February 10, 1975, Don Crom, one of the Excalibur's engineers, took off, on his Honda Super Hawk motorcycle, with Cassandra's and my CSW to FOLO. We all bid him a rousing cheer as he rode off into the cold day; years later he still remembered getting very cold during his ride.
My graduation from the RPF was official on February 13, 1975. My graduation certificate was signed by Tom Cochran, Share Jessup and Stephen D. Ambrose.
Comments from others about the Excalibur's RPF[edit | edit source]
Quote from Dick Coanda, January 31, 2011 at 5:41 pm;
- Hi Howard, Thanks for this positive report on the RPF you and I both served on. What you say is true, but the meals were skimpy — I lost 30 lbs. while there. Others suffered from malnutrition. There was no excuse for that. But we did have good times there. Best, Dick
Quote from avatarBrian, March 30, 2011 at 12:49 am;
- Hi. I was on the “Excal” as a new recruit on the Deck Project Force in late ’73 and attained “Able Bodied Seaman” in Dec. and went off to ASHO. Thanks for the excellent write-up, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Later I volunteered for the Rehabilitation Project Force (spelling it out for the benefit of future readers who don’t know the abbreviation “RPF”)and I concur that it wasn't all that bad and as far as I know we were all there to better ourselves. Anyway,if you have any more pictures of the Excalibur I sure would like to see them. When I was there the captain was Paul Katz and another guy (Michael Maurer??)who had lots of U.S.Coast guard experience who was an incredible guy. Thanks again-Brian-
Quote from the Captain of the Excalibur, Scott Mayer;
- I personally observed the RPF when I was captain of the Excalibur. At times, I would have "up to" 34 RPF'ers on board. From time to time 'Flag' would send missions into various Scientology organizations in the Los Angeles area and then call me up and ask if I could use various gangs of RPF'ers to do certain projects. In fact, they used my RPF to move into the Chateau Elyses on Franklin Avenue. Moreover, when other organizations had too many RPF members they would just send the extras down to the ship. There, we could use them for painting, clearing the bilges and scrapping rust, etc. I never did any "over boarding", but I heard about the practice when I first came to the Sea Org.
- "I personally brought sixty people up to the governor's campaign in, I think it was, 1974. I was asked by the Guardian's Office to provide Rehabilitation Project Force personnel to back one of the gubernatorial candidates in California. He lost, by the way, but, nonetheless, I had them up there, and I got a commendation for it - I still have it, by the way - for my actions in bringing Scientology into more good favor in the State of California."
Quote from Don Crom;
- RPF WEST COAST USA 1974/75 WAS ACTUALLY and factually a Rehabilitation Project Force. What it was on the Apollo, or FOLOEUS, couldn't tell you, wasn't there. I for one, as a crew member of the Excalibur was actually a bit jealous of the RPF, 5 hours per day study and/or auditing??? Fuck me running!! To the best of my knowledge the auditing was "by the book" repair actions, list correction, serious word clearing. (help me here Howard if I've missed anything) and a general clean-up of any previous not quite right action. HELL even the MEST work produced an EP, its called "being in present time". To the best of my knowledge, a soapy cloth in ones' hand, touching a solid surface was very effective CCH processing. Now, when where why and HOW it morphed into the Recrimination Prosecutorial Farce I don't know, I simply thank my lucky stars I never experienced it. But yes boys & girls, in the beginning the RPF actually produced real products, not the broken terriorised "things" we have today. So yeah, "wins" on the RPF, not as much of an out-reality as it might seem. C-Ya DC
RPF picture gallery[edit | edit source]
RPF Flag Orders[edit | edit source]
All I have been able to find of the Flag Order that created the RPF is FO 3434RB, which is a revision of a revision. As the FH (Fort Harrison, also known as the Flag Land Base) did not exist in 1974, those revisions did not apply to the RPF on the Excalibur. Hopefully, one day I will come across the original issue of FO 3434 and I will post it here.
RPF Newsletters[edit | edit source]
Pictures[edit | edit source]
Commendations[edit | edit source]
Success Stories[edit | edit source]
Back to San Diego Org[edit | edit source]
After I received my graduation certificate I had to wait around until someone with transportation was heading into Los Angeles. I really hoped that I could join staff at Celebrity Centre and that was my destination. Bill Yaude was heading into the city and I hitched a ride with him. We arrived at staff berthing, 6724 Hollywood Boulevard, just in time for lunch. What a roach infested dump that place was. The lunch server protested that he did not know who I was, but Bill vouched for me. My next stop was CC. When I walked in I told the receptionist that I had just graduated from the RPF and wanted to route onto staff, but I still had my contract with the San Diego Org. She politely informed me that I had to go to San Diego and properly route off of staff as my first action. I really wished I had asked to see Yvonne, to whom I could have pleaded my case for being staff at CC.
From CC I walked about three miles to the downtown Los Angeles bus station and with what little money I had I bought a bus ticket, which only brought me as far as around Encinitas. I tried to hitchhike to the San Diego Org on C Street (about 29 miles), but no one would stop for me. After walking for hours, I finally arrived at the Org right around closing time; about 11:00 p.m. As I had no place to go back to after being gone for a year I stayed at the Church that night. When I had left the San Diego Org the basement on C Street was seldom used. When I arrived back from the RPF the basement had been transformed with a nice Qual area, a C/S room, a D of P room and several auditing rooms complete with nice red carpeting. My intention was to route off of staff the very next day. As it was still fairly early, I couldn't help but look through the PC folders that the C/S, Len Romans, a Class IV, had finished with. The very first session I looked over contained some errors that Len had failed to notate. In the next PC folder some R3R had been done and the errors were plenty, yet the auditor had received a Very Well Done from Len. I just could not help myself. I took a piece of paper and started listing the errors, with the respective LRH references noted, and left the note in the folder.
I finally retired to one of the auditing rooms and spent the night sleeping on the floor. I awoke to the hubbub that I had created by writing notes in several PC folders. Auditors wanted to know why they had not been properly crammed and Len had decided that I would be a better C/S than himself. I was immediately assigned to the post of C/S and Len was reassigned to Qual. Never mind that I had no certs, just get to work. Fortunately Larry Brancato had stored my possessions at the Manor and I was able to move back in there. (During my time on the RPF I did send Larry what funds I had in exchange for storing my things.)
I immediately applied my Sea Org work ethic and tech standard to the auditors at the Org. One of my first official actions as C/S was to issue an amnesty to all auditors so that more auditing could take place, I was really motivated. I put in long hours at the Church. During the week we opened at 9:00 a.m, had a lunch break from noon to 1:00 p.m., a dinner hour from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and then we closed at 10:30 p.m. On weekends we closed at 5:30 p.m., after which is when we had time for doing such things as laundry, cleaning and other personal things. My stay at the Manor was only temporary, I eventually moved in with other staff members at 4496 Hamilton Street, which was 4.1 miles from the Church. As I did not have a car, there were many times I walked back and forth to the Church.
It had been three years since I had last seen my family in Wisconsin. In late April I took a leave of absence and flew home for a visit. My mother arranged a family photo of us (posted in the picture gallery below). I talked a friend of mine into driving us to San Diego, where we arrived in May. I took him to the Org but he found no use for Scientology and left for a trip up the coast of California. Rhonda L. Bauer had taken over the C/S functions while I was on my vacation. When I got back she had me do an FES; which when completed, she commended me for (see commendation in the picture gallery). Shortly after this she transferred to Flag and was part of the "Tapes to Books" project. Rhonda is credited, as a compiler, in the 1975 edition of the "Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary".
When Mario Robles was my roommate he had told me how in awe he was when he first started the Expanded Dianetics Course (XDN). It was the same feeling that he got when he first read the OT III materials. This was a course I really wanted to do. As I was still somewhat of a floating staff member, one without a permanent post, I talked Len Romans into covering for me as C/S so that I could go to ASHO in Los Angeles and take the XDN Course. In Los Angeles I rented a room which contained only a bed. It did not even have a refrigerator to store food, so I had to eat out. I was on full time study at first, which quickly drained my meager resources. There were days when I did not eat. Nancy Maston, a fellow San Diego staff member, did lend me some money for food. In addition to my study at ASHO, I found time to do some sightseeing. I visited the Queen Mary, Santa Monica, the La Brea Tar Pits and read the biography of Wyatt Earp at a local library. One night I stopped by Celebrity Centre to listen to Heber Jentzsch read the LRH book "Hymn of Asia". I sat on the floor of CC along with many others as Heber masterfully read the entire book to us.
By the time I got to the auditing section of the XDN Course I could start to feel the effects of an out gradient in my studies. Although I had written in my San Diego amnesty ED that I was a Class IV, HDC and HIPS, in truth the only real course I had taken was the HIPS Course and I never interned on it. Running Evil Purposes R3R was easy as I had done lots of that procedure while I was on the RPF, but when it came to the more advanced auditing techniques I felt really shaky. On my spare time I did audit David Holmes, another fellow staff member, on some Method 1 but the money I received from him did not go very far. After days of goofing off I finally realized I could not make the grade as an XDN auditor. I wrote a note to the course supervisor and admitted that I had falsely attested about my required prerequisites for the XDN Course. I had used false PR and bravado in order to add credence to my post as C/S at the Org, but those acts caught up to me when I was at ASHO. Falsely attesting was a high crime in Scientology, any and all of my certs were cancelled and I was sent back to the San Diego Org in shame. I worked my way up the lower conditions at the Org and was once again posted as the C/S. However, by August I was removed from that post which provoked the ire of three staff members. Each of them submitted Knowledge Reports favoring my reinstatement to the post of C/S, which did result in my reinstatement.
That summer money came up missing at the Org and the Tech division was ordered to sec check everyone. For days I sec checked various staff looking for the culprit to no avail. I found lots of out 2D and found many staff unsessionable due to lack of sleep, from having to work another job in order to pay bills, or hungry due to lack of money for food. The culprit was finally found. She was part of our AG's office, of which that staff was off limits to our sec checking. We were never privy to what they were doing in there. I rarely even entered that office even though I passed by many times each day.
During that time period the Scientology mission, Mission of Adams Avenue, was larger and better staffed than the San Diego Org. They had two Class VIII's, of which one was a long time Scientologist, Enid Vien. On August 13, 1975 I attended her wedding at the mission. During the time we were both C/Sing in San Diego she never did anything to belittle me due to my lack of Scientology training. She was a wonderful counterpart during my time as a C/S. Many years later, when I confessed the insecurities I had about my days as a C/S she wrote a gracious letter back to me (see below).
That August I turned part of my attention on the well-being of my fellow staff members. It was evident from what I was seeing as I C/Sed the PC folders of staff that they were not on any substantial auditing program. They would get some auditing here and there as auditors and their time permitted. I went around the Org, right after payday, and raised enough money to create a Staff C/S board. Pay was very little, it was a wonder how we managed to get by, but Suki Ford never hesitated and ended up giving me most of the money for the project. On the board I listed every staff member and then put a flag where each one was on the grade chart. On my own time I started going through and FESing their folders so that I could create an auditing program for them. Two pictures were taken of this board on August 21, 1975 (see below). I was also doing my best to audit staff; Susan Conley even commended me for her sessions. On September 27, two of our staff were married. The service was performed in the Org's classroom, with our ED, Tom Mallan performing the nuptials. Both of them got into Scientology about the same time as I did. At one time we were roommates at the Manor and both were PC's of mine. Mark was the Org's treasurer and Marilyn was the Director of Processing. In November, Quentin Hubbard was the featured speaker at an event held at the Manor in Los Angeles. I sat on the floor near his feet and snapped a picture of him. One of Quentin's entourage jumped, but then relaxed when he saw it was just a camera flash.
As a C/S I was frustrated by the lack of readily available references. I contacted a company in LA and purchased 15 sets of legal sized plastic binders. At the foot of the stairs going to the basement of the Org there was a closet jammed full of HCOB's and HCOPL's. I combed through this mess and created eleven reference packs. I was particularly interested in collecting old lists, in the off chance I would need them while doing an FES on an older session. I used these extensively during my time as C/S, up until the release of the red Technical Volumes.
On December 4, 1975 my wedding to Danette Terrill was announced in the Holtville and Oak Creek newspapers. She had been my PC earlier in the year and when her hours were up we started seeing each other. I moved in with her in her apartment in Mission Beach. She had joined staff and was posted to the TTC where she was studying on the HSDC Course.
At the Org, we had one auditing room that was way in the back corner. This was where our CF was also located, a long line of shelves across the far wall. To get ventilation back there we had a fan, which developed a horrendous noise. As this was distracting to any auditing sessions, I took it upon myself to fix it. Sam McDonald commended me for my work (see below). The next year I enrolled at the San Diego City College, which was just a few blocks away from the Org. As I was a Navy veteran, the government paid my tuition plus living expenses. I took any course that would give me three units, as all I was interested in was the living expenses so that I could still work for the church. I even informed church treasury and requested to be taken off of the payroll. I carried twelve units, but managed to only complete two of the four classes.
The days that I was not in college I was at the church full time. During this time period I would usually give up my dinner hours (5:30 to 7:00) to audit staff. One of my PC's was Donna Lawrence. She had been in Scientology for quite a while and had gotten lots of auditing. Her PC folders, when stacked on top of each other, stood about four foot tall. When I started auditing her, she was in the middle of an endless drug rundown. I spent many hours FESing her folders and compiling anything related to her drug rundown and we made an effort to finally finish that rundown. After auditing her for several days I noticed a pattern of her grinding and grinding away at her incidents. She would always make it through, but it took forever. I finally had her word clear chains, unburdening and other Dianetic terms. She realized that she had been grinding out her incidents and afterwards she started going down the chairs much faster. She eventually got to the point where the chain would erase as I was giving the first command. I got her through her drug rundown with a dial wide floating needle over all of her drug lists. She was so ecstatic that she wrote a glowing success story (see below). She was a fellow staff member, my PC and above all, a very cherished friend. In April I was commended by our Qual Sec for helping Danette finish her OK to Audit Dianetics checksheet. The next month I attended the wedding of fellow staff members, Tom & Susan Lazar. They were married by another staff member, Lindy Allen.
At the Org our week officially ended at 2:00 pm on Thursdays, when you turned in your stats for the week. During the summer I was interning Greg Farley, who had completed his Class IV course. As a C/S I very seldom gave out Very Well Done's on auditing actions. If you stapled something that should have been paper clipped you might get a Well Done, but definitely not a Very Well Done, despite the fact that you did everything else perfect in session. Greg was so close to finishing his internship but was still making a few minor mistakes in session. Our ED visited me in my Ivory Tower and requested that I graduate Greg so that his completion could be counted before the Thursday, 2:00 deadline. I looked straight at Tom and said "Make him perfect". That summer Greg and I were commended by our Body Reg, Ellen Renquist, for the auditing that we did for our public PC's. I finally gave the OK for Greg to complete his internship.
On June 19, 1976 Danette and I were married by Scientology minister, Greg Farley. Our best man and maid of honor were Mark and Marilyn Pisani. Danette and I took our honeymoon in Hawaii. Once back at the Org I audited, C/Sed and FESed as needed. Many commendation chits were written (see below). I still had no permanent certs and was using what I had learned on the RPF, plus the various studying I did to enable me to be a better C/S. On September 11, 1976, my friend and fellow staff member, Phil Thomas, passed away in a scuba diving accident in San Diego. His wife, Becky, was another fellow staff member and also was with me on the RPF. She was devastated by his death and as her C/S I had to do something to help her. I naively thought that by running the incident out using a narrative R3R Becky would be just fine. This was so far from the truth; she was still very despondent after her first session. I was so unqualified to factually do much to help her, yet I forged on. I even threw in a green form as a last result. She eventually got to a decent stopping point, although I think I had little to do with her recovery.
|RJ 28 Special for San Diego|
Despite my lack of effectiveness with my friend Becky Thomas' auditing I did manage to do a good job with others. In October I garnered two commendation chits (see below) of which our Tech Sec wrote one, four pages in length. No official announcement was made when Quentin Hubbard passed away, but the news passed through the Org quickly. It was hard to believe as I had just sat at his feet about a year earlier. In November most of the staff of the San Diego Org posed for a Christmas picture. That November Ron sent us his "Ron's Journal #28", it was a personalized message from him to staff at the San Diego Org. After hours we all gathered in the academy and listened to his tape. (To listen to our tape, use the player to the right). In late 1976 the Org had an event for the newly published red Technical Volumes. As the Org's C/S I was called upon to do the official introduction. I talked about the reference packs that I had created and how we now had all the references in one place, even though I had not yet laid eyes on the books. Our ED kept telling me to lengthen my speech as the volumes had not made to the Org in time for the start of the event. Once they did arrive they were a marvel to behold, they sure helped with my job. On January 10, 19677 I was taken off the C/S post and placed in the Org's TTC for training. On March 21, 1977, I became the Cramming Officer.
Despite the fact that the Adams Avenue Mission was larger, better staffed, better paid and better trained our relationship with them was good. On Sunday, March 27, 1977, a baseball team from the Church and the Mission competed against each other. Eight of our female staff made up our cheerleader section. We won by a score of nine to three. As a prize for loosing, the ED of the Mission, Larry Papike, had to don a flasher suit, gladly offered by our ED, Tom Mallan. Tom issued ED #241 and #242 as a report about the baseball game. Tom had written the cheers for the game, but the girls all decided on one of their own. During half time they all lined up in the infield and performed the cheer. At the very end, each one bent over and uncovered the large letters written on their undergarments - "JUMP ON IT". Eight cheerleaders, each with an individual letter; which is what Marilyn is referring to in ED #242. Tom told me later that he got in trouble from higher up Scientology administrators for the names we used for our teams and cheerleaders. We won the rematch on April 3, 1977. Donna Lawrence was our team mascot in her dinosaur suit.
In May I found out that I was going to be a father. I had no idea how this would change my life. I held the post of Cramming officer until mid May, 1977, garnering three commendation chits along the way. I then routed back onto the TTC. On June 5, 1977 I attended the wedding of Steve and Donna Curry. In her wedding party was her sister-in-law, Janet Lawrence, our Assistant Guardian for the San Diego Org (wearing a blue dress in the picture below). On June 9, 1977, Danette and I took a vacation to see our parents; mine in Wisconsin and hers in Oklahoma. Our first stop was in Las Vegas where we visited with our friends, Mario and Chris Robles. Once back on June 26, I went back to the TTC where I was a high producer. I was commended for my production by my course supervisor and our Staff Section Officer (see below).
On July 8, 1977, the FBI raided the Manor in Los Angeles and the Church in Washington DC. This sent a shock wave through our Org as we were wondering if our Church would be next. Our former AG, Janet Lawrence, had her office there and we wondered about her. As we were not involved in the raid, life at the Org went on as usual.
On August 7, 1977, Suzette Hubbard came to San Diego on a Sea Org recruiting mission. Many people showed up and listened to what Suzette had to say. She was beautiful in her exquisite white dress. I took four pictures of her during the event, of which I will share the best two (see below). My wife and I set an appointment to see her at 4:30 the next day. My wife, who was our D of P at the time, but not Sea Org staff, and I made our reservation with Suzette. She was very easy to talk to and very pleasant to be around. She talked my wife, who by this time was four months pregnant with our first child, into joining the Sea Org. When she asked me to join I replied that I was already a Sea Org member. She said go ahead and sign another one, of which I kept a copy of (see below). I wonder, do I have to serve TWO BILLION YEARS!
On October 5, 1977, I received my last commendation chit for my help with another student. On December 28, 1977, I was still on the TTC when my five year contract with the San Diego Org ran out. My wife, who was about to have our son, had already blown from the Org. We had not been on the Org payroll since January of 1976. I was still enrolled at the San Diego City College, from which we derived our meager living expenses. I decided to quit work at the Church and dug up the proper, on policy, routing off of staff routing form and fully completed each step on it. I still remember our Qual Sec, Marcia Smith, not wanting me to leave. However, she did reluctantly sign off on my form. I had successfully finished my five year contract with the Church and had properly routed off of staff. I was a member in good standing with no freeloader debt.
Pictures during my time at the San Diego Org[edit | edit source]
My life after Scientology[edit | edit source]
On January 1, 1978, our son was born at our apartment in San Diego. Attending his birth were our doctor, Danette's mother, and San Diego Org staff members - Donna Curry and Mark and Marilyn Pisani. This event was announced in "The Auditor 145" (see below). In November of 1978, I moved my family to Oklahoma where we raised both of our sons. I started my tire business in 1985, which I still run as of this writing. At various times I have visited various Scientology Church's, notably the Flag Land Base in September, 1990. But my time with Scientology was relegated to my past.
Along my life's path I have accomplished many things since my time in Scientology. Both of my sons are raised. After an amicable divorce from my first wife I remarried a wonderful lady, who is now a retired registered nurse. Between the two of us we have nine grandchildren. I was a captain for two National Corvette caravans as well as a Chandler Chamber of Commerce President. I was the chairman of the group that saved an old WPA Oklahoma National Guard Armory and turned it into the Chandler Route 66 Interpretive Center. I am very proud of my work on General Roy V. Hoffman's biography which enabled him to be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and officially recognized as the father of the Oklahoma National Guard. I am also proud of my membership, since 1984, with Mensa.
In 2011, as I was going through some of my Scientology materials, I decided to seek Kenneth Urquhart's autograph on one of my Scientology RPF newsletters. At that point I became aware of the bashing he was taking for creating the evil RPF. Since the RPF that I was on was not evil I decided to write about my time on it, which was published in January, 2011 on Tatiana's website here - RPF on the Excalibur. At that time I felt that there were very special people in Scientology that needed to be recognized. It wasn't until David put up this site that I had a place to memorialize those people. In February of 2012 I contacted the family of Yvonne Gillham Jentzsch for their permission to write their mothers biography, which after months of work culminated with the official publication of her bio. I plan to do more bio's.
I feel that the zenith of Scientology, as an organization, was in the 70's while I was involved. I am glad that I was part of it as I came away with many good things. But most of all, I am glad for all the friends I gained during my time in Scientology and since. I hope you have enjoyed my story.
E-mail contact - BlkC5vette@aol.com
Pictures of my life since Scientology[edit | edit source]
Articles[edit | edit source]
- Ships of the Sea Organization, 1967 to 1975
- The biography of Yvonne Gillham Jentzsch
- Remembrances of Yvonne
- The biography of Dick Coanda
- The biography of Perry Chapdelaine Sr.
- Perry's reflections about Dianetics
- Ships of the Sea Org - The Excalibur
- The Excalibur's RPF
- Excalibur's military history
- The early days of Scientology in San Diego, California
- Tom Mallan's memorial page
- Back to Scientology