Addition to Chapter 25
Culture of Madness
Following print pg. 224, before “Yearning for freedom”
IT WAS MY SECRET AUTHENTIC SELF that fought against Miscavige’s dictates and the Int base culture that were destroying our marriage; this had a lot to do with why I came back after I had escaped the first time. We wanted to keep our marriage together and I didn’t want to let Miscavige destroy it. Evidently, other Int base staff felt similar to me. Many stories have surfaced about people’s attempted escapes and methods they took to solve their distress. One staff member was suffering from cancer for which she was not receiving proper medical care. She climbed up to the roof of a building on the north side of the property and jumped, in hopes of cracking her skull. She survived the jump. But the illness painfully and eventually took her life. Another person died after months of illness, but it was actually starvation and dehydration that took her life—a pathetic case of medical neglect. Others came forth and said they lied in their life histories about their qualifications, so they could be released from the base without long drawn-out routing out procedures.
Yet others found successful ways to escape. Mark Fisher’s story hits close to home for me. Mark’s story leaked to me from Estates staff that had seen the details before I learned them directly. Fisher had been David Miscavige’s Corporate Liaison In-Charge, and had put me on my post in Cine. Mark had disagreed with Miscavige’s assignment of Mark’s wife, Julie, to the RPF. Mark questioned this and began to show his dissonance. He was taken off his post to work on the decks. Mark was working in the Estates garage on a lift when Miscavige walked in one afternoon, and ordered him to come down. Miscavige stood about 5’4”, while Mark was a pretty stocky guy around 6’. The Estates witnesses said that Miscavige started punching Fisher and got him down on the floor where he continued to wail on him. Reportedly, Fisher tried to block the punches to keep himself from being seriously hurt, and never swung back at Miscavige. Fisher stood up, bloody, but reportedly didn’t call for help or yell back at Miscavige, who simply walked away after telling the security guard to make sure Fisher was taken care of by the Medical Officer. Mark left the base without his wife, Julie. She was a petite, energetic woman with light brown hair that fell below her waist. Mark and Julie Fisher and Peter and I would eventually have an unpredicted connection.
Doing the RPF may have been the most dehumanizing experience of my life, but in some ways, the RPF was better than holding a post at the Int base. Though we were the OT base of Scientology—because Sea Org members are defined as OTs—Int base leaders and crew functioned as the antithesis of OTs. Senior executives from Miscavige on down spewed verbal abuse, physical violence and psychological manipulation as the order of the day, versus inspiration or enthusiasm and calm, sane reasoning by highly trained Scientologist executives. Leaders micromanaged the work of juniors, causing ongoing danger conditions on a bypass, using invalidation to belittle crew members instead of using Scientology correction tools or enhancement to improve us. Sleep deprivation and military-style lockdown more accurately described their environmental controls.
In the music studio, Peter’s routine fell into a pattern of failing to come home for several weeks at a time while staying up all night working on music projects until they were approved by COB. Scoring music for event videos by staying up all night for days on end, instead of sleeping at home in bed, became Peter’s lifestyle. He would steal a few hours of sleep some nights on the floor in the studio and shower in the garage. I’d see him at meals and kept my mouth shut about how he looked like a beaten individual, unable to sleep and shower. That was the extent of his ability to take care of himself while under Miscavige’s thumb.
One day, I discovered something about Peter that evidently contributed to the hold that David Miscavige had on him. DM called an impromptu muster of certain Gold crew who were near the Audio building, to listen to one of his tirades. He made Peter Schless, Denise Friend and another person stand near the Audio building wall where everyone else could see them, while he proceeded to disclose personal things about each of them that they must have confessed either in a sec check or a write-up of sins (O/W write-ups). His point was to disclose their out-ethics situations in a public setting and then have people intervene to “put in their ethics.” DM stated that when Peter had sold his music catalog to Time-Warner before routing into the Sea Org, that Peter had included one of the LRH songs in there that he wrote for Gold, when the rights to that song belonged to LRH, not Peter. The look on Peter’s face while he was being dressed down was humiliation and shame. Later, he told me that yes it was true, but that it was an accident. He had provided Time-Warner a list of his songs and had neglected to notice that one. He did lower conditions for this, starting with treason, and did end up retrieving the rights back from Time-Warner. But this kind of humiliating public display carried long-term effects that I believe caused him to feel subservient to DM since.
For me, working in Cine was an ongoing nightmare of nights with no sleep. We were often made to stay up all night “white gloving” our buildings if we had flunked the nightly white-glove cleaning of our offices by 11 p.m. Other times, we often stayed up all night to work when our leadership was not happy with our level of production. I remember sitting at my drawing table in the Art Department and, after a few nights of no sleep and working round the clock, I would ask my senior if we could go home and sleep or shower and change. She would say, “No, can’t do that. Tough it up.”
I’d think about my mother trying to reach me some years prior, while I was at the Celebrity Centre, when no one censored my mail. Mom used to send me newspaper clippings about Scientology being a cult. I thought she didn’t know what she was talking about, so I took it as an insult and threw the articles away. She was just not informed about the good we were doing for the world. Now, I was beginning to wonder if she had been right.