Adjective: Having or showing a composed or serious manner that is worthy of respect. (Dictionary.com)
That is the first word that came to mind when I read the following story of Richard and Vicki Palmer.
Richard and Vicki Palmer
My whole history in Scientology will have to wait. While it may be interesting to some, amusing to others, helpful to others still and cathartic for me – it’s too long to post here.
Having started in 1988 I’ve had the unique experience of being in Scientology after LRH departed but with the organization still having the “feel” of the earlier era (or at least what I imagine it felt like). I was fortunate enough to get training and auditing both pre and post Golden Age of Tech. And I’ve also held positions that gave me a unique view of the church.
I trained and interned as a course supervisor & Pro Word Clearer on the TTC (Technical Training Corps) and held a supervisor position for a number of years before going into the TTC again and training as an auditor & C/S. My last post held in an org was that of Snr C/S and I held it for 5 years.
I’ve done training, auditing and staff activities in Los Angeles, Flag & the Freewinds. And due to my staff status I’ve met people and been witness to things I wouldn’t have as a public. This led me to have many un-reconciled dichotomies about the subject – and left me with great conflict over the years. Some examples:
- Reading about ARC being the universal solvent and then witnessing the LRH Comm of ASHO “rip the face off” the Commanding Officer.
- Studying at great length the comm formula and the power of it only to then listen to David Miscavige (and RTC/Int Management staff) denigrate my peers with gross disdain at the Snr C/S Conference.
- As an extra in a tech film seeing mistreatment of many SO staff, while one or two were treated like kings.
- Training as a minister and coming to understand the benevolence of the subject, but then working with & around RPF members and seeing how they were treated.
While I can cite example upon example of dichotomies like the above (as a public, as an auditor, as a C/S, as an OT) I still continued with the subject. I was of the frame of mind that there was considerably more good happening and had thoroughly bought the PR that upper management was an idyllic heaven of standardness – it was just us idiots down lower on the org board, goofing things up. I was, for many years, the ideal “bot” for the church. I forwarded the PR line of management and was as much an example of what was expected of me as possible. If there was a program – I would forward its objective.
I had unique comm lines that most staff didn’t have. I was the Snr C/S so I had a Network post – this put me on the lines of management directly. I also had a direct line to RTC, complete with weekly reports. And as the Birthday Game I/C I had other unique comm lines. Being close friends to the DSA of the org also put me on unique comm lines.
As the only OT in both Day & Foundation orgs I’d had more hours of confessional auditing than the entire staff of both orgs combined. Yet I continually found myself in ethics trouble. Despite having been the only staff member I knew of in over a decade to complete a program (and gain signification of it from management) I still was a failure. And despite recruiting over 30 people for staff, C/Sing for both orgs and doing HGC & Review auditing I was still a downstat.
I watched year by year things change. The things that I noticed first were “statistics” at events that didn’t add up. They were things that didn’t really have any bearing on anything – or didn’t directly correlate to the business of orgs. Hearing about “column inches” of press didn’t mean much to me after I’d been involved with the DSA to get something posted in the newspaper for her stat. And things like “Number of books sold” became meaningless when I saw thousands upon thousands of dollars being spent on them by fellow Scientologists – and when the “25 books equals a Scientologist” quote would get tossed into the mix, it really stung.
Being trained pre-GAT and having true ARC in a session was very remarkable. Even if I goofed or didn’t know what to do next it hardly mattered. I was there with the PC and we were both doing our best. The C/S was caring and gentle with both of us – and why wouldn’t he be? And while internships were difficult, at the end of the day I was a PC’s friend. The GAT changed all of that. Personality, ARC, charisma, care – all of it went out the window. I had a realization shortly after finishing my GAT training (which at the time I thought was a good one – in hindsight it wasn’t), that with the advent of the GAT we no longer had “good” or “bad” auditors, we simply had auditors.
As Snr C/S I watched as the subject was systematically ruined – doing our best to churn out rote, robotic “auditors” as fast as possible. And I was running dozens of programs to ensure this happened. The irony is the GAT is such a pile of crap, there’s no way those programs will ever be completed. It’d be like having a series of programs that “extinguish the sun” by using acetone – just not going to happen, no matter how much effort you put into it.
But as a Scientologist, I was still trying to do it all. I was moving through OT levels, was trained and on post in a Class V org, had my wife moving up the Bridge, my son was in an Applied Scholastics school and we were even donating thousands to the IAS. But therein lied the rub – this was just too expensive for a “regular” family to do. I could see the writing on the wall, albeit too late. I was already in the hole for well over $100,000 and hadn’t even started OT VII yet. I’d been working days, nights & weekends for over a decade and was tired. There were very little days off, no vacations and no normalcy for my wife and son.
In 2002, I finished my staff contract, but as many of you know, there’s no “Congratulations/Thank You” for completing a contract and leaving. Oh no. And while there’s no golden watch, there can be goldenrod. 🙂
A Comm Ev was begun a couple months prior to me completing my contract and was issued a month after I left (but was still C/Sing for both orgs out of my home). The Findings & Recommendations were pretty gross. After all the years of work/exchange I’d given, all of my auditing & C/S certificates were suspended pending re-train (among a long list of other things). I was left with a sickening feeling of being “lucky” I hadn’t been declared. Still I soldiered on.
Interesting to note, my wife pointed out to me that most people after leaving staff (or being Comm Ev’d) simply disappear. At some point in the future there will be an attempt to get them “recovered” and at that time it will be disclosed how valuable they’ve always been and what a great contributor they were. But I decided to buck the trend. I was no enemy of Scientology. I wanted everyone to win!
So I got involved with the OT Committee and eventually took the position of D/Chairman. The Chairman & I sat down with some others and came up with a great idea – we’d get a public-level project going to buy the org a building! We started working on it and after a while had a building located, inspected and the initial checklist of actions done for management approval. It was affordable and was constructed & zoned for more stories on top of it for future expansion!
But as you can guess, that building was disapproved (without anyone looking at it) and the OTC was “in trouble” for acting without authorization. It was about this time I got a knowledge report written on me for “being too uptone” in the face of my unfinished F&Rs. Clearly I should have been more hangdog and stayed quietly off-lines. Well, as there was a Sea Org ethics mission in the org, this single KR got me hauled in – and I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t pay for and route onto the Ethics Specialist course immediately, I’d be declared…
I got on course and worked on it diligently. I did my best to be a model student and help the supervisor out (whom I recruited and is still on staff to this day as far as I know) , gave wins, etc.. And yes, I completed it in checksheet time.
I then stopped working with the OTC and went flat out for months to get through my F&Rs. Why did I go through all of this? Well, because I wanted my wife and I to go to the Freewinds and do the OT Debug service, of course! The idea was simple. They promoted 98% of people doing this service are onto their next major service within 2 weeks of returning from the ship. I was thinking I liked those odds – because there was no way I’d be seeing a major service (simply from a financial aspect) for decades at the rate things were going. I was all-in, in the dark (poker parlance).
It was an expensive action but also a defining moment. Doing that service cost well over $25,000 (that we didn’t have) but helped open our eyes like no other. Doing the debug resulted in us having one of the most miserable times of our lives, being invalidated as to our intentions & abilities and left with no route of help.
After the debug we spent the next few years recovering financially. There was no option of doing more Bridge activity. I went to events and helped out however I could, but as far as services/donations go, I was no longer in the game. I was a broken piece…
And that’s why the OT Debug was also the most valuable thing I’d done in a long time. My wife and I both agreed that the church could no longer “help” us and we would have to rely on ourselves. It allowed me to take a step back and do what I knew to be the right things – work, pay off existing debt, never go into this kind of debt again, etc. It had the unexpected effect of allowing me to see how far astray the church had gone from my earliest days with it.
Over the next few years of just going to events (but not doing services or giving money) I was seeing a gross pattern – and recalling earlier instances of the same, substantiated things in my mind. My only thought was that sometime in the future things would be different. I had nothing left in the tank to give, so wasn’t really able to “pitch in to fix things”.
In July of 2009, Vicki and I found out about the St. Petersburg Times article & videos. I of course, was pretty knowledgeable about Marty, his post and relationship within RTC. Similarly with the others giving video testimony. Clearly I didn’t know them as well as those working/living with them all, but as far as “non-SO” went, I had much more knowledge than most.
To say I was in shock would be an understatement. The “problem” I was having was how everything was all of a sudden making sense to me. The church would like people to believe that the testimony given in those videos is what causes a negative effect in the wayward Scientologist. But that is a slap in the face in and of itself. I’d been observing things for YEARS with only partial data, unable to ascertain the truth of them because of incomplete data. No explanation given by the church EVER reconciled them for me. But these videos absolutely did.
I started thinking about how well little Dianetics book clubs & impromptu groups did. And how well Missions seemed to work, compared to Class V orgs. And how increasingly more difficult it got to get the job done as you moved up the org board. I was getting memories flashing of things I observed in Class V orgs, ASHO/AO, how much more poorly people were treated at Flag, the Freewinds, what it was like at the CLO/FOLO and what it was like at FB. The higher you went on the org board THE WORSE IT WAS! But I only ever saw up to FB so never personally witnessed the abuses at Int. But it now made sense – the idea of things “coming down the org board” was really true.
It now made sense why the RTC Reps in SO orgs were the rudest, most unfriendly, out-of-ARC people I’d ever met. It made sense why the MAAs in upper orgs were so concerned with petty overts. It explained why every Class V org EO eventually acted like a douche bag, pretending to be a big shot with a “badge”. It explained why the OSA network had the seediest, most no-gain-case personnel all over their lines. Why so much money went to “defense” of orgs. Why the church needed so many attorneys. Why the church’s PR was so horrible world-wide. And why the subject was being used the way it was on parishioners.
From the moment I had these realizations, I was out…
There is no way I can advocate, condone or support an organization betraying the very foundation of its existence. The Church of Scientology has become a fraudulent, human rights violating, cult of greed.
Step three of the Doubt formula states, “Decide on the basis of ‘the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics’ whether or not it should be attacked, harmed or suppressed or helped.”
I firmly believe the church is no longer deserving of ‘help’…
Richard’s email: email@example.com
Vicki’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org