The early days of Scientology in San Diego, California

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The early days of Scientology in San Diego, California
SDStaff76C.jpg
Author Howard Dickman
Type of Article Category:Articles
Email BlkC5vette@aol.com
This page is dedicated to my friend, the former ED of the San Diego Org and the person who sent me to the RPF -
Thomas J. Mallan.


In 1973 two Scientology entities merged and became the Church of Scientology of San Diego. I was there, as staff, at the grand opening. Some forty-three years later I became interested in how events led up to that merge.


Most likely there were Dianeticists operating in San Diego after the publication of “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health” (also known as Book 1), but a fully staffed and officially sanctioned Church of Scientology of San Diego did not exist until 1973.


However, the story of the history of Scientology in San Diego cannot be told unless one knows about the major player in the establishment of Scientology in California.

Julia Lewis Salmen[edit | edit source]

Julia Lewis Salmen in 1957

By the time the first Ability magazine was published, in January of 1955, Julia Lewis was already a Doctor of Scientology working as a staff auditor at HASI Phoenix.

Julia had taken her first course at the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Los Angeles and was awarded her Hubbard Dianetic Auditor (HDA) certificate on October 6, 1950. She was on the original Ethics committee that came up with some of the suggestions that LRH later incorporated into the Auditor’s Code, the Code of a Scientologist and the Code of Honor. Julia was remembered from the third Advanced Clinical Course (ACC); so when her letter for employment to HASI in Phoenix was received, Burke Belknap told her to come for an interview. LRH put her to work on January 3rd 1955, to work as an auditor to the staff of HASI.

HASI Phoenix, 1955

At Phoenix Julia audited plus worked as the Director of Testing. She saw the need for field auditors to have a test and a testing program and did a great deal of work in that area. Later, Julia became the Director of Training under LRH’s direct supervision and training as well as a member of the Examination Board which examined, for certification, all Academy students.

In May of 1955, when HASI moved to Washington D.C., Julia went with them. She was the Director of Processing and headed up the Hubbard Guidance Center, plus various other jobs, later known as – Letter Registrar, Chief Registrar, Invoicing of Processing, training and other duties. Julia was also nominated to the Board of Directors for HASI.

One of the letters she responded to was to Ken Salmen, who had bought the book “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health” at a Hollywood book store in May of 1955. Ken arrived in D.C. for processing in October of 1955. When his processing was finished he started and completed the Hubbard Certified Auditor (HCA) Course, after which he joined HASI staff as an auditor. Ken continued to receive advanced training and eventually became Julia’s assistant in the post of Processing Administrator.

The American Personality Analysis, the test devised by Julia, was finally sanctioned for official use by the time of the Scientology Congress, in December of 1955, held at the Shoreham Hotel in D.C.

Ken & Jullia Salmen, 1957

Julia and Ken were married on March 23, 1957. At that time Ken was Central Files in Charge, having been given the gigantic job of setting up a Central Files from the combined files of the entire organization and putting in the ‘tabbing system’ that LRH had devised.

On November 8, 1957, LRH called Julia into his office and asked if she and her husband would relocate to Los Angeles, California, and start a HASI there. As Julia was from California and her family stilled lived there, Julia and Ken told LRH yes. They borrowed two hundred dollars, packed everything up in a bulky car, and headed westward, arriving in Los Angeles on November 17th, 1957. They rented a house, found the necessary furniture and sent out a general mailing of services offered. By December of 1957, Julia and Ken had established HASI Los Angeles at 547 South Harvard.

Julia, Class VIII, 1969

Julia and Ken moved HASI LA, in November of 1958, to a new location at 971 South Westmoreland Avenue. HASI LA moved again, in March of 1960, to 258 South Oxford Avenue. In the May 1960, edition of Ability (#115), LRH had high praise for Julia’s work at HASI LA. She and Ken continued to train; Julia having completed the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course in 1961, and the Class VIII course by the spring of 1969.

LA Org in the 1970's

From its founding in November of 1957, to the summer of 1962, nearly five years, LA Org and D.C. Org were the only Scientology Centers that had an HGC. New York was finally granted one around July 1962. In November of 1962, the Church of Scientology of California (The LA Org) was officially granted the status as the Central Org for the western United States, the first state to get both a Central Org and a City Office – San Diego. By early 1963, the LA Org required a staff of thirty-five people, occupied three buildings and needed more space. In April of 1963, the LA Org had moved to 1089 South Hoover and Marilyn Routsong (another old time Scientologist, going back to the mid-fifties) had been transferred from D.C. to L.A. as the HCO Executive Secretary, California. Finally, in January of 1964, the LA Org moved to 2005 West 8th Street, a location it would occupy for the next thirteen years.

Scientology in San Diego[edit | edit source]

The first mention, in the Ability magazines, of anything to do with Scientology in San Diego came in Ability, Issue 2 minor (probably March 1955). John McCormick, who would be very active in Scientology during the 50’s, was mentioned as training HCA’s and HDA’s in La Jolla, California. During the early days of Scientology HASI sanctioned only those who were Doctors of Scientology (D. Scn.) to officially train Dianetic Auditors. That same issue of Ability listed Warren and Ruth Amster’s (D’s. Scn.) Church of American Science, in San Diego, as doing very well.

The April 1955, edition of Ability (3 major) listed six auditors in the San Diego area; Warren (D. Scn.) and Ruth Amster (D. Scn.) at 3641 Kingsley, Frank (D. Scn.) and Inga Dake (HCA) at 4516 Date Avenue and John (D. Scn.) & Margee (B. Scn.) McCormick at 235 Playa del Sur, La Jolla. All of these were residential addresses.

The first listing for a Church of Scientology in San Diego comes in the May 1955, edition of Ability (4 major). It is listed as – John McCormick, D.D., D. Scn. Processing and H.C.A. Training, Church of Scientology, 235 Playa del Sur, La Jolla. The McCormick’s were the busiest duo in San Diego. In May of 1955, they had graduated six students and in June they had created a “Scientology week” event.

In 1955, John and Margee McCormick, and Carl and Laverne Jardine attended “The Stable Datum Congress” held December 28th to the 31st, at the Shoreham Hotel in D.C. This was the first time Julia Lewis’ American Personality Analysis was used during a major gathering of Scientologists. Julia was at the Congress instructing auditors on the use of the test.

Ability 21 (January 1956) reported that for a long time the only good news that came out of California was what John McCormick was doing. He was the master of ceremonies, with Nibs as the principal speaker, at the “Western Congress of Scientologists” in the San Francisco/Oakland area, March 8th through the 11th, 1956.

In October 1956, the Church of Scientology San Diego was listed at 116 West Washington Street (this is an actual storefront location). That listing announced the new Processing Center under the direction of John McCormick. He was one of the auditors as well as Ruth L. Knudsen, a recent Hubbard Advanced Auditor (H.A.A.) graduate.

During July and August of 1957, the McCormick’s, the Salmen’s and Ruth Knudsen attended the Freedom Congress (July 4 – 7) and the 18th ACC (July 8 – August (21 lectures)). In July 1958, John and Margee McCormick attended the first Scientology Congress that was filmed. That Congress ended July 6th and was personally run by LRH at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C.

Map of Carl Barney's Scientology Missions, 1970

Pam & Ray Kemp were auditing at the Scientology Center at 116 West Washington Street, San Diego, in July 1960. In October of 1962, the Church of Scientology San Diego, still on Washington Street, was officially designated as a City Office, under the direct supervision of HCO Los Angeles. The Scientology Center in Dallas, Texas, was also granted a City Office status.

Articles of Incorporation, 1971

By January of 1963, the Church of Scientology of San Diego had moved to a new location at 3760 4th Avenue. They moved again in May of 1963, relocating to 3693 Fifth Avenue. In December of 1963, Helen Kitchen (HCA) was in charge, with training occurring only in the evening. By August 1964, The Church in San Diego was no longer listed as a City Office; two Auditors were listed, Bob and Connie Harvey. Ability 168 minor (February 1965), was the last issue that mentioned anything to do with San Diego. That issue listed three auditors and gave their home addresses – Helen Kitchen, Ruth Knudsen and John H. Wolfe.

La Jolla's old site

The Auditor #15 (summer 1966) reported that Bob and Connie Harvey planned to open a Scientology Center at 1519 Chalcedon Street in San Diego. In the spring of 1967, The Auditor #24 reported that Scientology San Diego had produced six Hubbard Apprentice Scientologists (HAS) Course grads and six Hubbard Qualified Scientologists (HQS) Course grads. That summer Scientology San Diego was at 2476 A Street, Apt 1, minus Helen Kitchen who had joined Saint Hill staff. During the winter of 1967, the Center in San Diego had produced seven releases and six course completions.

10th Street Mission, 1972

Dennis Crane got into Scientology in March of 1969, at the A St center in Golden Hills, San Diego, and did the local courses. While he did not recall it being a mission, he did recall they called it a Scientology center. Dennis and Enid Vien were married on May 15, 1970, and afterward they went to L.A. to do the first American Hubbard Standard Dianetic Course (HSDC,). Enid trained to a Class IV auditor at the LA Org and afterwards they came back to San Diego where she worked at the A Street Scientology center. Then they started the very successful Scientology Mission at 4633 College Ave, San Diego, where Enid was the Tech and Qual person and Dennis was in the Public Division. Their mission was acquired by Carl Barney sometime in 1970.

By December of 1970, there was a Scientology Center at 7440 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, California. They had graduated fourteen Personal Efficiency (PE) and six HAS Course students.

In February 1971, the Scientology Center at College Avenue in San Diego had graduated eighteen HAS Course graduates, including future Church of Scientology of San Diego staff member Phillip Thomas. It had also produced eleven Realization Course grads and ten auditing intensive PC’s. La Jolla reported twelve students on the HSDC Course and two HQS grads.

On April 8, 1971, Robert H. Fell II and Janet Lawrence filed the articles of incorporation for the Church of Scientology of La Jolla. It was located at 7440 Girard Avenue, La Jolla, California. The Auditor #65 (1971) was the first issue to mention the La Jolla Church.

In late 1971, Carl Barney's SCS Mission moved to a new location at 1052 10th Avenue, San Diego. I was introduced to Scientology at Carl Barney's SCS Scientology San Diego Mission on August 7, 1972. During the Christmas season of 1972, I took a picture of the outside of the 10th Avenue location. Shown walking past the SCS Mission is an old time Scientologist, Al Crum.

Church of Scientology of San Diego[edit | edit source]

The Church of Scientology of San Diego was the result of the merging of the Church of Scientology of La Jolla and the SCS Scientology Mission in San Diego. The Auditor #85 (February 1973?) contained the first mention of the new Church at 1052 10th Avenue. The Church of Scientology of San Diego held its grand opening on February 9, 1973, our featured speaker was Yvonne Gillham Jentzsch. The Scientology Sea Org Ship, the TSMY Excalibur, came down from San Pedro, California, for our grand opening and docked in the San Diego Bay. In my picture of her you can see just the tops of the Star of India’s rigging in the background. The Auditor #86 (March 1973?) announced our grand opening.

The Excalibur, 1973
San Diego announcement, 1973

The Church of Scientology of San Diego was fully staffed as testified by my hand written copy of the Org Board and a list of staff as of April 6, 1973. In the spring of 1973 a picture of most of our staff was taken. During this time many staff members lived all together in a two story rental, locally known as the Manor, at 2695 C Street. I shared my room, second one on the left in the first floor, with a revolving list of staff.

When I came back after my Deck Project Force (DPF) training on the Excalibur in San Pedro, summer of 1973, the Org had rented another building, at 926 C Street, just around the corner from the 10th Avenue location. Shortly afterwards everything moved to the C Street building.

In early 1974, Tom Mallan routed back to the San Diego Org, from the Excalibur, and took over as ED from Don Jennings. The first thing Tom did was climb onto the top of the Church and hang a black flag off of its roof. That night he held a staff meeting and let all of us know, in no uncertain terms, that the flag would remain there until we got the Org in tip top shape – Tom had arrived!

Tom Mallan, 1977

My San Diego Org staff contract expired on December 28, 1977. I moved to Oklahoma in November of 1978, so I lost track of what the Org did after I left. As of this writing, (May, 2016), there's still a Church of Scientology of San Diego, but that Church was built by its first members of 1973.

I feel that Thomas J. Mallan, our ED from 1974 to 1978, should be credited for helping to establish the Church of Scientology of San Diego.

Picture Gallery - The Church of Scientology of San Diego in the 1970's
[edit | edit source]

The Adams Avenue Mission[edit | edit source]

During the 1970’s, the Adams Avenue Mission, run by J.C. Hughes, first located on 3200 Adams Avenue and then at 6911 El Cajon Blvd, was a powerhouse of a mission. They had the good fortune of having two wonderful Class VIII’s on staff; Claudia Petschek and Enid Vien. I can attest, their class room was much fuller than ours at the Org. About the only thing we, at the San Diego Org, were better at than the Adams Avenue Mission was - we won both baseball games against them! One game on March 27, 1977, and the last one on April 3, 1977.

Picture Gallery - The Adams Avenue Mission in the 1970's
[edit | edit source]

More information about Julia[edit | edit source]

Early Scientology members in California was a close family of people and Julia Lewis Salmen knew and interacted with most of them. She nurtured and expanded Scientology to a powerful presence in California. She even weathered Captain Bill Robertson’s bulling presence when he set up AOLA and ASHO in the summer of 1968.

Captain Bill

Here is what he had to say about Julia -
“A DEBRIEF by CAPT. W. B. Robertson RA, Sector 9
to John Caban of Sector 11
May, 1982

So we were quite willing to do this move and we jumped over to AOLA with all our OT materials. Got them through Customs without anyone looking at them. Set up the AOLA and sent back Flag about 1/4 million dollars in about 10 or 12 weeks. Kept expanding like crazy until a couple of, shall we say, suppressively inclined fixed and special interest groups in the United States got onto our lines. One of them was the Julia Salmen clique in LA, who said that we were "assigning too much auditing to people on SOLO"' (for crying out loud), and you know, and that she "couldn't audit that much and therefore we were bad." And she also resented anybody in the United States that wasn't under her control, because she was just an Org person and although the executive of the United States, she was just Org and we were Sea Org. And she thought she was running us and she wasn't.”


By 1978 Julia was having serious health problems and was needing money. She had hoped that Scientology would pay her for the use of her personality test. I found this report about that request -

It was during this episode that we learned of the horror stories which Ken Salmen and his wife had encountered with Scientology. Scientology had, for the most part, coldly ignored her claim to license fees, even when it became known that she was mortally ill and urgently needed the money for medical care. It made no difference to the power mongers of Scientology, according to their motto: everyone is solely responsible for anything that happens to him. In her despair, Julia Lewis wrote on April 25, 1978 to Herbie Parkhouse, who was the highest Finance Chief in Scientology at the time. Her letter included: "Every person who has looked into my claim has given me to understand that I have the right to payment from the organizations for copyright violations. They informed me that their recommendations would be turned down from those higher up - and the last lady [with whom I spoke] let it slip out that you were the one who refused to accept their recommendations."

At the time, Julia Lewis was fatally ill. She continued:

"I would really like to see this straightened out on a completely realistic basis. If I should die, then I think that Ken should receive the licensing fees, and I, myself, could certainly use the money well enough in order to pay all the doctor bills. [...] It is highly unlikely that I will ever be able to work again, and it looks to me that things have turned out not only to be bad for me and my survival, but also [an offense] on the part of the organizations and franchise holders. Because they have [sinned] in this area, and that is not good for them."

In the meantime, Mrs. Lewis had realized that it was not possible for her, as an individual, to struggle against the colossus that was Scientology - outside of proceeding by strictly legal means. She therefore suggested that Scientology's own publishers should take over the publication and the administration of her test, since they had the power "to supervise the organizations and franchise holders to see that these copyrights were not violated." In other words, in spite of everything she was still willing to be cooperative.

Julia Lewis did not receive an answer to this letter before she died.

Julia Lewis Salmen had accomplished a lot for Scientology, enough to at least warrant her the moniker - “Mother of the LA Org”.

"The American Personality Analysis" copyright 1955 by Julia M. Lewis[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

This story was sourced from the following records -

Ability magazine #1

Ability magazine:

0, 2 major, 2 minor, 3 major, 3 minor, 4 major, 4 minor, 5 major, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 36, 45, 46, 56, 62, 79, 84, 113, 115, 118, 132, 140, 142, 143, 145, 146, 148, 149, 154, 156, 157, 162, 168 minor.

The Auditor magazine #85

The Auditor magazine:

4, 15, 24, 26, 33, 47, 58, 60, 65, 85, 86.

Personal correspondence with Dennis Crane - 2013 & 2014.

Personal correspondence with Tom Mallan - 2016.

Conversation with David Thomas (Phil Thomas' brother), May 2016.

Captain Bill Debrief - http://www.xenu-directory.net/mirrors/www.whyaretheydead.net/krasel/aff_cb.html

Julia Salmen illness - http://www.lermanet.com/cisar/germany/books/swoe15.htm