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My Descent into FanatIcism and the Hard Climb Out

Discussion in 'Stories From Inside Scientology' started by Jim Faust, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    Part 1--Intro, joining Sea Org, and Postulate Checks

    My name is Jim Faust. I was a dedicated Scientologist, sometimes extremely so, for nearly 27 years, taking my first service when I was 21 years of age in 1970.

    In the interest of brevity, I may use terms in this write-up that are unfamiliar to the uninitiated, but hopefully you can get more info by googling them. If not, my email address is at the end, and I'll gladly try to clarify anything herein.

    If you are initiated, and I take time to explain terms or concepts that might be incomprehensible to never-ins, please forgive the digressions.

    I begin this write up as I was joining Sea Org. The critical 3.5 years from the summer of 67 till spring 1971 when I got sucked gradually but inexorably into the maelstrom of Scientology bear more reflection, analysis, and description. One day I hope to add this "prequel" to the story below.

    1971-1978 The Sea Org Years

    I joined the Sea Org as a very inexperienced Scientologist about 10 months after I started my first course; I had received very little auditing or training as an auditor prior to signing my infamous billion year contract.

    To be honest, I don't recall very clearly my thought processes the first time I joined, in spring of 1971. I remember a touring group of six or seven registrars (salespeople) came to the local org where I was doing services to give briefings and sell services at the upper level orgs ("churches") in LA. Something about their swagger, their air of being part of an elite, seemed very alluring and adventurous to me. I decided to fly back to Los Angeles with them and become part of Scientology's top management group. I don't recall any recruitment pitch being directed specifically toward me. In retrospect, it all seems very impromptu, impulsive, and even thoughtless. I was making a decision that changed the course of my life, with not much more reflection and in-depth inquiry than one would invest into ordering dinner. The responsibility for what happened afterwards rests on no one but me.

    I spent a little less than 6 years (in two stints with 20 months between them) in the Sea Org (SO) in the 70s, all of it in the LA (Pac) area. I served at USLO, Hubbard Executive Institute, ASHO Day, the Excalibur, CC Phoenix (on mission from Excal), Pac Estates Org, FOLO WUS, and the Pac Rehabiilitation Project Force (RPF). A few episodes stand out in my memory.

    A) Postulate Checks--Fantasy Money

    Soon after being sworn in, I was pointed to a chair in the attic of the USLO (United States Liaison Office) building on Beacon Street, and given a phone and a stack of bounced "postulate" checks that had been "regged" by the voracious teams of "hot prospect registrars" for ASHO, AOLA, and USLO, one of which I had accompanied back to LA. I was told by my new senior to use whatever forms of persuasion, or failing that, threat of ethics action (punishment), to get the public (in the structure of the Chuch, "public" means Scientologists not on staff, from complete beginners up to near professionals who help staff sign up other public--broadly speaking, the customers) Scientologists who had written the nsf checks to make them good.

    As I started calling parishioners to accomplish this task, I was shocked to hear from one person after another that they had explained to the registrar in the hard-sell session that they had no money to make advanced payment for the service being sold. In each case, the "reg" would reply that they should signify their "postulate" (Scientologese for a directed thought or decision about the future) that they were soon going to somehow acquire this money needed for the step on their "Bridge" by writing a "postulate check" for the cost of the service or package of services in question . Consistently, those I contacted told me that they had been promised by their registrar(s) that these checks would be held by the reg until the person being regged succeeded in their postulate and actually had the required money in their bank account, and would only be deposited at that time.

    Unbeknownst to the public, the registrars were at the same time under orders from their seniors to immediately turn all these worthless checks in and write them up as a sale and a valid statistic for production accomplished that week. The registrars and their seniors, the org execs, decided to let the Flag Banking Officers (one of whose jobs it was per LRH policy to collect bounced checks) handle the task off making them good!

    I never knew who came up with this idea (though I surmised it was the Continental Captain Alex Sibersky or one of the small group of his cronies), as it was already being practiced by the tour that brought me back to LA with them. Soon after it started in 1971, however, the "stats" at all the LA Orgs went astronomically high. I'm talking "straight up and vertical." All the registrars were treated as heroes; they were awarded liberty, bonuses, and if lucky, even promotions. The Commanding Officers of the organizations got congratulatory telexes from Flag on achieving their "highest ever" statistics. The party was on!

    In real life, however, within a few hours after each Thursday at 2 pm, the end of the Scn stat week, the FBOs wrote checks back to the orgs for a portion of the income they had "made" for their "Financial Planning Allocations" to cover pay, food, bills, and promotion. The Banking Officers then sent the balance of the org income "made" on to Flag. Parishioners' "postulate" checks (which were often 90% or more of the income reported!) soon bounced en masse, FBO's FP allocation checks bounced, org's checks to creditors bounced, Flag checks bounced, and numerous banks in the LA area started closing Scientology accounts in response to the cascades of rubber checks!

    It was a flap of gargantuan proportions, with FBOs on one side and execs and registrars on the other firing off reports to Flag each blaming the other. Into this scene, I innocently and blithely walked, full of good intentions and the naive idea that I had arrived near the top of enlightened worldwide Scn management and was going to play an important role in "clearing the planet.". When I heard the stories of the public, the brief script I had been given to convince them to make their checks good proved completely inadequate. I don't recall ever collecting on even one check! I was an abject failure at my first SO post.

    As a footnote, just last week I saw a post on the internet that LRH had named me during this time as the person responsible for the whole "postulate check" fiasco! This would seem preposterous, but after years of seeing many people singled out as being responsible for a flap or adverse condition, I can't completely dismiss it.

    I could have saved myself 26 more years of hilarity and similar nonsense if I had walked out the door right then, never to return, but I was too good-natured and gullible to look on this "postulate check" era as anything except an outlier, an isolated instance of deviation from LRH policy. Additionally, I felt guilty that I had not proved sufficiently competent to somehow "make it go right" singlehandedly and handle this mess.

    To be continued in Part 2
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  2. WildKat

    WildKat Gold Meritorious Patron

    Great start! Looking forward to each installment :thumbsup:
  3. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

  4. Lurker5

    Lurker5 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Yes, keep it going Jim. :drama: We love a good story, or two, or a hundred . . .
    And if you get time, check out Face's thread - Afaceinthecrowd has posted his stories in the thread "Shooting Stars".
    :drama: Fascinating look into the past, as I am sure your's will be. :drama:
  5. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    Could you provide a little overview regarding the 811 Beacon Ave. house? Such as what it was used for, notable people and events, when it was closed down, etc?
  6. Churchill

    Churchill Gold Meritorious Patron

    Hi Jim,
    i enjoyed reading your write-up, and I like your straightforward writing style. Looking forward to reading each installment. And remember, there's no Thursday at 2 deadline!
    Congratulations and ​Welcome.
  7. SPsince83

    SPsince83 Gold Meritorious Patron

    Hi Jim! Welcome aboard. :thumbsup: That singling out and scapegoating stuff was a feature not a bug. So glad you made it through.
  8. Gizmo

    Gizmo Rabble Rouser

    Good Stuff !

    Moar !
  9. Knows

    Knows Gold Meritorious Patron

    Jim - Thanks for the story - so fascinating. I can't get enough of these stories for some reason. I guess it really flattens the shock of the fact that the WHOLE thing - all of it - was criminal from the very beginning by the ole' man - L Ron Hubbard.

    MOAR ~ :cheers2:
  10. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    I'll do my best! It was a large frame house, probably originally 4 bedrooms, built in the craftsman style as I recall. USLO, was the name for the basic functions that later got rolled into FOLO WUS (flag Operations Liaison Office. USLO was the link between the U.S. Orgs (the whole US then, later it was split into E and WUS) and Flag.

    The Church also either rented or owned at least one building across the street which was used for the FBOs, and maybe the LRH Comms. Mike Smith, Pat and Frannie Broeker, Arnie Lerma, and Mike Goldstein were among others working over there. There was some berthing in the basement over there with sheets hung up between 2D spaces. I had a very pretty GF (Sally?--long time ago) just after I started in SO before she dumped me for Scotty Mayer, who was a dashing missionnaire. Oh well, the seniors got all the pretty girls, then! This was before almost any kind of sex became verboten in the SO. Joanne and Ron Gablehouse lived one sheet cubicle over, and Pat and Frannie lived down there too, as well as Bill Foster and his wife.

    USLO had telex machines to communicate with Flag and I think Bill Foster was the External HCO Chief. I think they also recruited for Flag. All the HCO PLs and Flag Orders and HCOBs were getting sent out from Flag. and I think HCO had a mimeograph function to get them issued.

    It had an Action Bureau in its Div IV as I recall. I think Harriet Foster was in there. I think they did missions but maybe they also were in charge of couriers to Flag and getting flag recruits and any public being sent there briefed and prepped with the "shore story". Some of this could have been Ext HCO. Also there was a Management Function in Div IV, to manage all the LA area and U.S. Orgs, the Bolivar, the Cadet Org which was down in Mexico right then. I think there was a program's department to chase up targets from Flag programs.

    Somehow, it had registrars in Div II and VI, though I don't recall if they were signing up rich public for Flag that early, or they were double teaming with the LA Sea Org orgs to goose their Gross Income, because that was the MAIN org stat in 71, before Paid Comps came along.. Another Foster, as I recall, young, slender, handsome guy with longish hair and a Fu Manchu mustache, and David Light, movie-star handsome but pretty serious and kinda dour in my opinion, were the "Hot Prospect Registrars", or maybe The Foster guy was the 'Org Officer' for the Continental Captain, Alex Sibersky. The FEBC series had just come out, and the product/org officer system was all the rage. I think the Data series was coming out then, as well.

    Wendell Reynolds was the Treas Chief and was very solemn and pretty ruthless. I worked under him later and got along OK with him but found him a little condescending and scary.

    Dave Foster, Harriet's husband was the Div VI Chief. Outside of regging, I don't know what they did.

    The Org officer dude got in his mind that I was reg material. I have no idea why--I had bombed collecting postulate checks. I was a very green Scn and Sea Org member with almost no auditing or training. I didn't know shit and wasn't particularly confident. I guess he thought I looked good in grey slacks, a white shirt with epaulets, and ankle high black boots that all the regges wore. I loved those fucking boots. They were probably what made me decide to sign up!

    They sent me out by myself to reg all across the country, mostly alone. I remember having almost no money to eat. I had to find public or staff to let me crash on their couches--no money for lodging. I had no idea how to get $ from people. It was horrible--I remember once I was in Toronto when Sibersky and a couple of his buds arrived. I think he figured out I didn't have a clue, partly cause I tried to mock up some kind of version of "ethics presence" when in a phone reg cycle with him and the Foster guy and started yelling at my prospect , Lorna Leavitt, who had a mission in Calgary. She got furious and hung up the phone on us. Alex looked at me and put his forehead in his hands. Cringe-worthy, in retrospect. All things considered though, I had a lot of seniors I liked less than Alex. He had charisma and wasn't an asshole all the time.

    One more thing! Alex, org officer dude, Dave Foster, Wendell, Kerry Gleason ,and maybe Scotty, and a few others used to play poker on Thurs nights upstairs at Beacon Street, and smoke cigars! They all had money, I had nearly none. They let me sit in but killed me and made fun of my timidity. I definitely felt I was outgunned around those guys. They had something.
  11. Ogsonofgroo

    Ogsonofgroo Crusader

    Heh, haven't heard anyone mention Bill Foster for a long time, he stayed with me and the family about 6-7 years ago for a month or so, and was one of the people who piqued my interest in the anonymous fight against the cult. At the time he'd been on the run from CoS for almost a decade, out of fear for what he knew from the intimate inside workings, and last I heard he went even further underground to a Buddhist/yoga commune somewhere east of here, and its been years since I've heard from him. A kind and gentle soul he was, very fucked up in the head by Hubbard and his maze of B.S., I did manage to get some good stories out of him before he departed though.
  12. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    This is the kind of write up that really makes ESMB valuable. Your explanation of the transition from USLO into FOLO is extremely informative. Was there a relationship between the 845 Lake Street house and the Beacon Ave. house?
  13. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    The one thing I didn't address was how long it went on. Part of the staff were cleaned out of USLO to set Up HEI, Hubbard Exec Institute. We were a staff training org to get outer org staff who were ordered en masse by Flag or Sibersky through Hard TRs, no blink. There were probably other courses but I remember around a hundred of them down in that course room staring at each other for days,weeks at a time. If they got flunked at 90 min by the sup, you'd often hear a outraged "FUUUUCKKKK!" Or a chair being knocked over, only to soon restart. Complete pain and hypnosis incident. People were blowing from that room, fighting to get out.

    After a a few months, flag disbanded HEI (we were still under USLO, like a Div IV and V souped up), still berthing over with the USLO guys. I think they came down on Sibersky for ripping outer org staff off post for the training. I was in Treasury under Ben Elkington at HEI, or maybe he was Dept 8 and I was Dept 9. I remember we were supposed to be getting the orgs to pay us, and they weren't overwhelming us with checks.

    We were all merged into ASHO D after HEI was shitcanned. ASHO was mostly non SO then, and there was a fair amount of tension as they tried to get them all to sign SO contracts and numerous staff were "no way"! The USLO staff not at HEI may have stayed USLO or morphed into FOLO W and EUs then, but certainly by '74 it was called FOLO WUS and it wasn't at Beacon St any more, but at The Hollywood Inn. I was at ASHO from late '71 or early '72, as Treas Sec, and lost track of USLO.
  14. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    In 1971, handling those mimes, telexes at all hours, he seemed a little harried. That place was wild!
  15. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    i can't place that installation. What year was it and where was it geographically? Was it just north of MacArthur Park? There was a building over there that was used for berthing, lots of bodies stacked up in bunk beds, people in the basement on mattresses. I remember lots of the SO staff from ASHO after HEI got merged in, including me, berthing over there, but also a few estates staff, including Cassandra Eggenberger (a flame of mine for a while). If that's not Lake Street, I'm not sure. So it could have been USLO berthing before the ASHO merge.
  16. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    Thanks so much for the welcome--I feel very at home here :eyeroll:.

    You're very kind regarding my writing style. I'm constantly chopping paragraph long sentences I write with tons of commas and clauses into two or three separate sentences. Too much William Faulkner in college :unsure:, I guess, and I'm glad such tendencies don't ruin the narrative!
  17. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    Thank you for the gracious welcome. It took me SOOO long to realize that what you said was true, and to start getting PISSED off! :angry:
  18. Jim Faust

    Jim Faust Patron with Honors

    SOOO FUCKING TRUE!!!!!!!:clap::clap:
  19. Smurf

    Smurf Gold Meritorious SP

    The Lake Street house, formerly owned by Charlie Chaplin housed Sea Org'ers.