STORY OF AN ESCAPE
The first part of the book is the true story of an escape from one the gulags of the most dangerous cults and certainly the most pettifogging cult in the world.
This is of course the so-called "Church of Scientology". There is in Florida (USA) a little town called Clearwater which has almost entirely been squatted by the cult. Located at 210 S Fort Harrison Av, "Flag", a big building from the thirties has become the Mecca of the cult and tenderly shelters in its garage one the severest existing gulags. The author prefers to remain anonymous for reasons that might appear obvious even for one who had never been in contact with any cult and much less with the conditions of internment characteristic to those charming forced labor camps.
Moreover, the author chose to tell her experience from the moment she became aware that her life was in danger and decided to flee.
Lastly, the author insisted on writing a text that could be easily read by everyone; the text has therefore been stripped of all technical jargon already existing in other works. In fact, the emphasis was rather put on the human character of this experience which is however dedramatized by a hint of humour here and there.
The text contains the reflections of the adept at the time of the events but also the statements she makes 10 years afterwards.
No name, no date and save Clearwater-Flag no other place is mentionned.
The second part is a compilation of testimonies/ affidavits from Scientology victims about the cult gulags called RPF.
This story is dedicated to all victims of Scientology.
It is also dedicated to all victims of cults in general.
Anonymously posted on the web in May1997
1. The decision 3
2. Analysis of the trigger mechanism 6
3. What is the RPF? 8
What is the RPF's RPF?
4. A day in the RPF 12
5. An escape; directions for use 19
6. A goal; rebuild one self up 24
-RPF testimonies extracts listing 29
-Tonja Burden 30
-Hana Whithfield 31
-Dennis Erlich 34
-Ann Rosenblum 35
-Monica Pignotti 38
-Larry Wollersheim 42
-Stacy Young 43
-David Mayo 45
-André Tabayoyon 46
-Mental control techniques listing 47
used in the RPF
When one falls, one never falls well.
Alexandre Dumas son.
1. The decision.
To Flee, I must flee, but how? I don't know, I 'll find a way, I must leave from here, that's it, I have to think...
how could I do it, without money,without passport or leave with my hands in my pockets? yes, then we'll see...
No, no, concentrate, concentrate, make a plan, there, calm down I need a plan, they know I want to leave but I just mentionned it once only once, they didn't take me seriously, I am plain and docile they don't really suspect me, she'll break one day that's what they think...
All the better for me, all right, I can think, I manage to reason, good girl... A plan, I need a detailed plan to get myself out of here, to leave and leave fast before they suspect it, and without being impeached, to leave before I find myself with chains in my feet, for God sake! it isn't even a metaphore...
This is the inside speech of an adept on the verge to flee from what she would have never suspected to be a cult. The sole idea of it would have never driven home though she doesn't question her profound beliefs yet. It's a fixed idea, obsessive. To leave, it's just a matter of survival.
A question often asked is the following: " But what happens in the head of those people?" I don't know but I do know what happened in mine.
In my concern to truth and accuracy I'll try to reproduce, analyse and put the most coherent words on thoughts that followed a tortuous course at the time. This jerky speech is volontarily written in a way a purist would qualify as clumsy or stupid.
This is not a schoolish work nor it is a pleasant essay an academic would have imagined one night fairly bored... This is not an imagined stylistic composition; everything here is true. Trying to translate a disturbed state of mind aquired by a severe ten years indoctrination is not an easy task. An adept who suddenly decides to run away from a sect it is pathetic indeed, but the wonderful paradox relies in the fact that despite the promised damnation, treaths, exclusion, fear, absolute loss of all her goods, absence of landing place, of job, of family, and diplomas making it almost impossible to find a working place in society , despite all that and much more, the wonderful paradox is that this adept has not lost her free will and chooses freedom.
Yesterday they told me:- You want to leave? Then you no longer belong to our group. You must wait in another group, follow me.
I followed him shattered; so there was another group? worst than this one? That could not be. Let's see it after all that time in the gulag without realizing there was also the gulag's nick?
I finally knew where they were taking me years afterwards ( see ch 3) I had to crawl through a narrow door and walk bent along a tunnel where humidity would rise to my throat. I arrived to a maze of ways on which I had not have the "honor" to work on yet per the motto:" One job, one place, one time." That is to say, fully comply with orders, without flinching as a convict on forced labor on a rhythmical pace with no right for pause or even talk with no salary -only a detail- for a fixed ten long hours everyday. The rest of the time, five hours were reserved for "study" let it be understood by the word study "special gulag indoctrination" only reserved to recalcitrant adepts of the sect (i.e RPFers).
A door opened on a dark and stinking space. something was moving in the back, I thought there were rats and it almost made my stomach heave. My eyes getting acustomed to the dark, I saw an unbearable sight. In the back, a form, then a woman, in her thirties, feverish, the entire body poured with sweat was wearing chains. She had a chain about twenty inches long linking her two ankles so she had to do small hasty steps. She was performing an imprecise and nasty job which I still fail to grasp the sense but it seemed that among other tasks she was pouring water in and out. We found ourselves in a place that might have been a sort of laundry place with machines and pipes everywhere. I guess the kind of place situated on the basements of hotels. The swine said:
- So, you'll work here until new order is given.
The poor woman hadn't even paused, made no comments but slightly threw me a glance. We were suffocating, the stink was nauseating, my "promotion" frankly worrying and perspectives of survival quite alarming. Left alone I ventured staring at her chains:
- Where the hell are we?
She hesitated. I insisted:
- Why are you chained?
She answered very fast.
- This is the RPF's RPF. ( RPF's hole) I need to rehabilitate myself in order to go back to the RPF (detention camp and forced labor) which is my group.
- I don't understand, you were already in the RPF, weren't you?
- Yes but I have been assigned to the RPF's RPF because I have failed to uphold the duties of my group which is the RPF.
The poor woman looked so wretched. She kept mechanically repeating those sentences. She was quite obviously disturbed. Her look was blood red out of fear and out of distress...I had never seen such a look; a gaze from a hunted animal.
- I'm not supposed to talk I have to work don't ask any more questions
- Wait a minute I said; he's gone, tell me how long will you be wearing chains?
Her face terror-stricken and the shadows under her eyes emphasized a deep fatigue. Her legs were floundering in blackish waters. She was extremely dirty and both her physical and psychological states were apallingly alarming.
-He'll come back, they know everything, I can't stop I must not stop.
I looked at her powerless and remained silent. I let myself glide along some wall where I could stay dry. Crouched down I meditated on the fact that I had touched the bottom of insanity.What had that poor woman done? That night I found out that she had sent a letter to her husband - member of the cult, revealing some details on the RPF. One is not supposed to talk about the gulag. She had violated the gulag's law of silence. It is exactly at this moment that I decided to leave the RPF's RPF, the RPF, gulags, holes, nicks and other detention camps and as I was at it, the entire cult.
The next day I left this nightmare.
Guess if you can, choose if you dare
2. Analysis of the trigger mecanism.
Because of the incriminatory atmosphere I secretly built a plan structuring it the best that I could in three essential parts.
A: to recover my passport and to elaborate a strategy in order to do it without drawing attention and ensure I had someone to fall back on, just in case.
B: to find the money to buy my ticket plane and pay the services of a taxi-driver to help me out also just in case .
C: Get sufficient rest to serenely face many a peripeteia and succeed in my escape.
Yes, to escape, that's what it was all about! I suspected I would be forced to remain If I insisted on my routing out the SO (leaving the Sea- Org) I had sensed that terrible sanctions would be imposed on me if I ever failed to succeed from the first time. And I was utterly right; years afterwards I found out from ex- members' affidavits, testimonies and books how they suffered being imposed sanctions and were illegally kept against their will! One is not free to leave from a cult's gulag, one has only the right to submit to illegal military discipline. And they call themselves a CHURCH?
As far as I was concerned, I remember very clearly that I refused to continue to "play the game" ( their words for conquering the planet!)
That wasn't a game; that was plain slavery. I was no longer willing to accept those horrendous living conditions until my "redemption" from the RPF occured and whose criterias were highly hypothetical. I refused to expose my body and my soul to unknown practices, RPF's secret pratices which were the opposite of those for which I had joined the so-called "elite group"(Sea-Org). Constraints, threats, humiliations of all kind didn't have the expected hold on me. They just could not manage to terrorize me. I had seen the devastating psychological effect of staff-members- some were friends, coming out from outragous "ethical handling" (basically mental manipulation accompanied by humiliating punishments) I have witnessed at least two cases of hysteria coupled with sobbing as a result of "ethics handling". I therefore knew that the last thing I wanted was to mess up with "ethics" and usually agreed with whatever was ordered to me until now (I did not hold a responsability post) I just sucessfully avoided those cross examinations called "security-cheks" followed by endless confessions. Most of them were fictional since in order to have a bit of peace they were reduced to invent every kind of imagined crimes - at least three people talked to me about that. So I could get away from those mad practices because I never openly expressed any disagreement or opposed a categoric refusal. Somehow, I always managed to bypass the enemy without much damage that is, as long as I had faith. My rebellion was inside of me. But now, I was forced to bend and suffer through the "sec-cheks"(endless interrogatory Gestapo like) since I was in the RPF and that was just inacceptable. I had the weird feeling that If I didn't make it to leave right after my decision I would never be able to do it afterwards. With the passing of time, I realize how right I was; many adepts have eventually succumbed because they lacked the courage or the strength to escape in time before efficient and rotten disinformation and brainwashing practices being applied to them. The words for those tools? "false data stripping" and " false purpose rundown". In fact, they are thought reform tactics twined by lists of mandatory confessions of all the crimes existing in the "time-track". (also see Tabayoyon testimony extract) In other words, the person is to confess his supposed crimes committed in every supposed previous life!!! At this level of advanced indoctrination the poor chap either falls over a robotic submission close to the zombie either he topples over madness. Without mentioning of course " reverse auditing" or "black dianetics" consisting in applying elaborated mental tortures and mind control techniques. Those techniques are common place in the RPF. And yet, for a ten year-period, I had never heard of them, in or out the cult. Never heard of the RPF's RPF either. Oh yes, secrets are well kept by a handfull of cult leaders next to hubbard or miscavige, ready to command, apply or be in collusion with their gurus. Some high executives have been dismissed and repudiated after an entire life devoted to a chimerical cause. They have been subdued to those shameful practices and they talked. Overwhelming testimonies concur and they all agree on the devastating effect of mind control tecniques. Those testimonies are all to be read on the Web (Internet)
I repeat that those practices were unknown to me before joining the SO ( organisation formed by the so-called elite, chosen people bonded by a billion years contract) as from the majority of the members. But as a witness in the RPF of numerous practices against the dignity of man- I'll talk about it later- added to the revolting conditions of detention endured during my imposed imprisonment period forced to slave away regardless elementary security rules not to mention the work laws or family laws, I have had the immense "luck" to feel what I call the trigger mecanism; I was suddenly aware of all I had not been aware before. When I saw that terrorised woman wearing chains, I realised all of a sudden the horrifying lie in which I was trapped. I could have howled like a wounded animal. Personal failure is all the more cruel since it is an intellectual rape added to a real psychic suffering. I had then sacrified everything I had for a vast scam? There is only one thing I am proud of; I kept my head and remained strangely calm on the moment I felt that my life was nothing but emptiness. I said to myself:- My God they'll make me wear chains if I don't leave. I won't bend. I am not a criminal. I am not willing to accept degradation. I don't understand what is going on but there will be time enough to find out in due time. Now I must leave.
That is what I thought, heart aching for the decision was not an easy one.
I am intimately convinced that had I not reacted at the crucial moment it would have been a point of no return.
3. What is the RPF?
What is the RPF's RPF?
As I have already said, one is not free to leave the RPF, one must escape from the RPF. One would be tempted to say it is a prison whereas detention conditions and current rules in use in industrial countries prisons would be similar to those existing in Club Meds (French vacations clubs located on paradisiac beaches) compared to RPF's detention conditions. Gulag is the word, military detention camp, forced labor camp, re-education camp.
People abusingly sent to those camps are cult adepts who would begin to ask questions about finances or about workability of technical pratices. Someone (registrar) not bringing enough money or someone who would have rightly called his senior in rank a fool, someone who would have decided to have sex with his or her chosen one by- passing a prior authorisation, even more serious someone who would want to leave the cult.
In the "Modern Management Technology Defined", p. 441, from Hubbard we can read among other obscure definitions the following:
" The RPF has been created by the Commodore (the guru had self- named that title) so that redemption can occur".
Redemption from latin redemptio meaning redeem. Redeeming or being redeemed, deliverance or rescue especially from evil ways. (Oxford Advanced Dictionary)
There is a Flag Order (policy) 3434RB, 7/1/ 1974, called "The Rehabilitation Project Force" about 10 pages long which is confidential and is not to be found outside the RPF. It consists mainly of the RPF rules of which nobody can have a free access to that delicious reading - Here are the broad lines.
Roughly speaking, the person not only is fallen from rank but also from his civil rights, social rights and even family rights. The RPFer-as he/she is called- is not allowed to live with his/her spouse and children, is not to have a sexual relationship even with husband or wife. He/she can't use a car or a bicycle, can't talk to people unless being spoken to. The RPFer is some sort of sub-class man deprived from freedom of speech. The person only receives a third of his pay which is already quite meager and finds him/herself with 4 or 5 dollars a week if no other disciplinary sanction has been taken against him/her. The person must take meals segregated from the rest of the group provided that the meals are consisted of leftovers from other's meals. The person must sleep in the worst accomodations and must put on black and dirty clothes on. A distinctive mark; the person is to wear a black ribbon to signify he/she is ostracized. (P. 302 on the admin dictionary: " personnel without privileges of etiquette"). The RPFer is to answer" yes sir " to any communication adressed to him/her ( even a woman) is not allowed to walk but must run at any time. The RPFer must slave away 7 days per week, 10 hours a day with 30 minutes a meal, 3O seconds for a shower and must suffer special gulag indoctrination 5 hours every day. The RPFer is to perform the hardest work of renovation and menial work. It can consist in falling down a wall by a section (name given to a small group of RPFers) formed by young ladies- one of which might be pregnant- but who cares if she has an abortion in the "process" (as it already happened) Or it can be the garbage detail which is quite hard when one has a fragile morphology and even dangerous without gloves, without adequate clothing or a garbage collector training! The RPFer is denied the right to question anything whatsoever. If anything else than "yes sir" should unluckily go out from his/her mouth, the RPFer would immediatly be ordered to run preferably under a blazing sun around a tree or a pole for an unlimited number of laps - only deciding the " garde chiourme" in charge until RPFer's complete and total allegiance is obtained.
The "Running Program" is the severest punishment. It consists of running for 8 hours long around a pole until the person becomes a robot. Constant watch over is kept and no privacy is tolerated. A "twin" ( buddy or rather companion in misfortune) is assigned to him/her. It is a very efficient system to keep control of the RPFer moreover, it is quite Machiavellian; each one keeping a close eye on the other one does not allow solidarity.
The RPFer has no day off, no spare time, no music, no radio, no games, in short he can only hope to achieve his "program" decided "up lines" whose long-lasting period can reach years. An average from 3 to 4 years would be quite respectable...
Anyhow, let it be quite plain to everyone it 's by far preferable to be emprisoned anywhere else except perhaps in China, North Corea or Siberia...
To whom adore exact references here are some real gems of the gulag's famous interne ruling. It is a 10 pages long Flag Order called The Rehabilitation Project Force 3434 RB, 7 January 1974.
" A member of the RPF is a member of the RPF and nothing outside of it, till released." (sic)
Do we have to conclude that being emprisoned, the member of the RPF no longer belongs to mankind and will only regain his human condition once released?
Follows a catalogue of restrictions. The first list is entitled: "Restriction of RPF from Flag crew" , which is followed by a list called: "The RPF do NOT * (sic) whose turn comes to a long list with a charming title: " PERSONAL RESTRICTIONS AND PENALTIES" *(sic) on number 17, it is written: " And if dismissed from the Sea Org is to sign a confession of his crimes before leaving the Base."(sic)
There are 45 restrictions and penalties in this Flag Order.
However, out of benevolence, the guru Hubbard established a very thin list of personal rights. One of which is: 4. "Normal meals providing no crew member is in any way deprived thereby." (sic)
Nonetheless, it is not specified whether the RPFer has the personal right of normal sleep too...
The Motto of the RPF is:
THE RPF IS WHAT WE MAKE IT. *(sic)
THE RPF IS WHERE WE MAKE IT. *(sic)
The Stable Datum fot the Unit is:
ONE JOB, ONE PLACE, ONE TIME. *(sic)
Those 3 sentences are regularly shouted during the 3 daily mandatory roll-calls.
There are at least 4 RPFs:
1) Flag in Clearwater, Florida
2) PAC (Pacific area) Los Angeles, California
3) "Happy Valley" Hemet, California (desert)
4) Copenhagen, Denmark
As far as RPF's RPF, that would be the equivalent of French oubliettes, English donjons, Roman galleys; extremely hard to survive on it. Conditions are unbelievable, only worthy a 18 century novel. It's the gulag's nick. The person cannot but start praying because within such poor conditions he/she can maybe resist 3 months that is, if he/she is in very good health condition from the very start.
We can find the definition of RPF's RPF in the Admin dictionary p.451. It is a dismaying one;
"RPF's RPF: the following restrictions are applied to members:
1)Segregated from other RPF members with regard to work, messing, berthing, musters and any other command activity.
5)May only work in mud boxes in the E/R may not work with RPF members.
6)Six hours sleep maximum
8) Standard ethics penalties that apply to them to be tripled for each offense they are found guilty of, until they fully join the RPF of their own determinism.
9) May communicate only with RPF MAA.
10) May not join RPF fully until acceptable amends made to all RPF members.
The first RPF's RPF assignment was made because the person was unable to recognize a need for redemption or any means to affect it. Until such time as the person recognize this need and of their own self-determinism requested to be included in RPF redemption actions, the restrictions applied."
End of quote.
I am dirty. Lice are eating me away. When they see me, swines puke.
Lautréamont, Maldoror' Songs
4. A classic day in the RPF.
Basically, it consists in getting up early before everybody and going to bed very late after everybody else. Fatigue is omnipresent. Just 7 hours sleep is not enough to compensate for a forced labor work in a hell cadence. The person's resistance, even in good health conditions begins to decay. At this rate, after a week of forced pace I would not wish to my worst enemies (except Miscavige and other bastards) I felt my strenghts lowering. Cramps becoming more and more frequent were all the more painful since I had to continue running no matter what. Aching all over, sweat had also become a fearful enemy. Florida's hot and humide climate with the accelarated rythm of constant effort provoked an important sweatering which was responsable for an accumulation of bacterias. The thing was to protect ourselves from potential wounds at all cost. No preventive measures was ever taken and of course, no medicine, not even antiseptics or antibiotics were allowed in case of injury or illness.
Actions stations would occur by 7AM. All I had was 5 minutes to be ready; get dressed with a dirty black trousers, a dirty black tee-shirt, and remember the black ribbon around the left arm. Well well! like jews with a star sewn on their torn coat during the second World War of evil memory... or like the red letter sewn on the heroin's dress of a famous novel; The Scarlet Letter from Nathaniel Hawthorne. Standing for adulterous, the letter A stigmatized the woman' "sin" heavily reproved and socially condemned by puritan moral prevailing in 17 Century Boston. Hester Prynne is sentenced for adultary to be put in the stocks. She is to forever wear the symbol of her sin, the big red letter A sewn on the bodice of her dress.
In the RPF, the dark ribbon is the representation of discrimination; the illegal and arbitrary segregation of the person. The person is plainly ostracized. It is the same thing really except that we no longer live in 17th Century. Of course the RPF is contrary to the Rights of Man, violates every Constitution and must be forbidden by the Governments would they only bother to assume their responsabilities and make proper legislation so that no intern prison belonging to any group or "religion" call it a labor camp, gulag or RPF be tolerated on their soils. I guess that the will of politics would be awakened when a politician's daughter or son were to be be ensnared by a cult and be interned in one of those camps or worse, were to commit suicide.
The RPF illegal forced labor camp is all the more intolerable since this humiliation is presented as an expiation for adept's so-called "crimes" which is forced to accept his need for Redemption. On top of that imagined by a perverted madman, sadistic and paranoid schizophrenic guru.
But let's come back to the story.
As a precautionary measure, I always wore a clean tee-shirt underneath the black and dirty one. Fortunately, I had a dozen tee-shirts in my suitcase. Every night after the 30 seconds shower I coated my body with talc in order to protect my skin against sweat. We all suffered from heavy sweating. I recall this young woman terribly suffering from an important infection which had been developing under her breasts. Instead of healing, the wound had been expanding to such a degree that purulent blisters had reached her navel. When I saw that infection I told her: - Here, have some talc, take mine. She looked at me puzzled.
- I think you should wear a cotton tee-shirt under your bra in order to isolate your breasts . That may help to stop the infection. I added
She answered that she didn't have any so I spontaneously gave her 2 tee-shirts of mine.
- You can wash your tee-shirt every night so you will always have a clean and dry tee-shirt for the day after.
She had a sort of trembling.
- Why are you doing this? Why are you helping me? she asked.
With the passing of time, I realize how pathetic was this woman's reaction. How was it possible that someone should help her? She had lost the notion of solidarity! (something very present in regular prisons or prison camps)
To me it was just a matter of assisting someone in danger; her infection had definitely become too large to ignore it. Unlike others, I felt compassion. In the RPF, it's every man for himself.
Among the 8 girls living in the same room I was the only one to offer some help. But each girl was having her share of suffering, each girl was trying to survive the best she could and then I had just arrived to the RPF, therefore I was not weakening yet. I could still afford to help someone...
We used to take a bus taking us to the Fort Harrison. That bus was infested with coakroaches. First, I refused to sit down since the bus was crawling with coakroaches which did not mind to step on us but then with fatigue overpowering me I relinquished to sit down. Every moment of rest had become a priority so we all just merely move our hands or feet once in a while to dismiss bigger ones...
At the RPF "mess" (room in which meals are eaten in the Armed Forced) it was a matter of feeding ourselves the best we could. Cereals in the form of unappetazing porridges were proposed. To hold out and despite my disgust in eating solid food in the morning, I reluctantly swallowed every kind of soups or pigswills, as long as they had milk in it. The RPFer in charge of bringing the food was warmly welcomed by everybody since he had managed to find a milk gallon; I watched as he was being applauded and sadly deduced that milk was not an obvious foodstuff in the RPF.
"Muster" or "roll-call" would then take place. The shabby-looking gulag battalion pastiched military muster for review or inspection. Everyone is supposed to answer his name by " hi sir". Any delay, be it one second, is heavily sanctionned. The sorry spectacle of four RPF tottering columns was a wretched sight; twenty people struggling to stand to attention looked far more as an East German extermination camp than a glorious glittering "corps d'elite" Sea Org members. I could not help thinking that it was impossible avoiding to relate the cortege of mere shadows that we had become with the flashy group in full uniform pictured in the cult propaganda magazine and supposed to lead mankind on "the road of total freedom". Ironically, we were emprisoned and carrying the same chains we had all come to set man free from. Quite obviously, there was an horrendous bobby trap I could not figure out.
The first standing order of the day was to clean the Fort Harrison stairs (aproximately 15 floors) I was given a bucket, a floorcloth and a twin, in this case a very young lady barely18 years old.
As we started to clean the steps one by one on our knees, she asked me the reason of my RPF assignement. I answered in a relaxed off-hand manner that since I wanted to leave the best way out I had come up with was to violate the SO ethical code, that is to say never have sexual relationship outside marriage.
- I went out 2 D (esoteric language for having sexual intercourse)
and you know what? I added, we didn't even have time "to materialize" because they caught us just before we did!
She burst out laughing and she told me her story. Roughly, her situation was the following; she didn't agree with some decisions from up lines management, she stood fast and didn't allow herself to be swayed,(thus sent to the RPF).
Being born in the cult, having known but the cult, perspectives projected by her towards the exterior world were extremely reduced.
- I have no diploma, I could never work in the "wog world" (racist term to signify everything that do not belong to the cult)
- Do you have any family outside? I ventured.
-Yes, my mother is in England. I don't know her and she is "declared" (a person declared is a person arbitrarily declared a "supressive being" by the cult: i.e ostracized) I don't have the right to see her. Besides, could I adapt myself in a country I do not know with a mother whose face I don't even recall? If I failed to get in tune everything would be over for me. I have no choice; I must endure.
This lucid, clear-minded18 years old young lady, with her long blond hair saying that she had no future outside the cult was deeply moving. Suddenly, I realized the horror of isolation to which every youngsters born and raised in the cult are abandonned to. They can't escape, and how could they? They are prisonners inside of the life they will never get to know outside .
She glanced a fearful look at me; was I going to betray a confidence she shouldn't have ever made? I reassured her with a smile.
- Don't worry. I won't say anything. Well, the outside world is not that terrible you know, after all, I've come from out there!
I'll never forget her sad and resigned look. She said dreamy:
- Yes, maybe, who knows?
In fact, she was an Exec from CMO INT (high executive from the International Commodore Messengers Org, very senior org in the cult) She was to stand up for me once when one of the RPF warder took it out on me with no apparent reason. She literally jumped on the bigot;
-If you don't leave her alone immediately I swear I'll remember you when I get out of here and you know that I'll get out before you do! (RPF warders are on RPF program too)
Anyway, the guy was nailed to the spot; not only did he forget all about me but everyone kept a respectable distance ever since. It is true that in the cult complex hierarchy CMO INT execs have almost every power. Thinking it over, I think I gave her a little hope; it was'nt that bad outside...
The day would continue with the cleaning and scouring of every toilet of Fort Harrison building reserved to the "public" (scientologists coming from all around the world for "services") We actually "liked" to do it since it was deliciously air-conditioned inside and frankly, compared to other RPF hardship, sponging up sinks had almost become our idea of having fun! I only feared that someone should recognize me in such a slave get-up, with a hand brush, bent over a bowl-shaped part of a toilet.
A misfortune buddy almost fainted when cleaning a mirror; she stopped dead staring at her own image with horror. Well, the poor girl didn't already look well but now she had just turned green. We were all looking dreadful, dirty, shaggy-haired and were quite in a bad shape. The thing was to carefully avoid meeting our face. She started to cry. She just could not afford to breakdown. She was putting herself at risk by sobbing in front of scientologists. It was awfully "bad PR" (bad public relation) . Suddenly one of us said with her nasal Oklahoma twang:
-Well, what should I say? Look at me! I look like Frankestein whereas you only look as if you had seen him!
Everybody laughed and the poor girl somehow pulled herself together. She then cautiously kept avoiding every mirror reflexion. There was a sort of solidarity but very rare and punctual. Relationships were mostly lived in terms of power struggle. Orders were constantly shouted, we were hustled from morning to evening, no slowing down even in the sun, sanctions would shower on us:
- Take a lap! Take two laps! Take five laps! ( a lap consists in running around the Fort Harrison garage ramp)
The mirror young lady had a hard time to follow the pace. She would stumble over, fall, get herself hurt, and would always be behind the pack (late) and I would tremble for her. RPFer's bosun ( warder) was pretending not to see her. So I thought that she would be spared as she was obviously of a frail nature. In fact, it's highly probable that her fall was programmed. I witnessed an odd conversation looking like bets in racecourses.
- That one, I give her 2 weeks!
- I give don't give her another week myself!
Well I will never know what happens when the person can't take any longer ( maybe she's assigned to the RPF's RPF) for I chucked out before it ever became my turn. I don't even dare to think about it... There were the dangerous tasks to perform. The garbage detail was particularly strenuous for the fair sex. Men would challenge us making fun of our poor efforts to get up enormous and filthy garbage cans. Some girls would exhaust themselves out in vain; I would just save my strenghts protecting the best than I could my fingers, my feet, my body in general. An accident might happen and no treatment would be granted, furthermore there is no hospital in the RPF; there is not even an emergency kit.
There was a definite lack of everything; salary already reduced to the third part was suspended for the vast majority of the RPFers. So everybody would soon become indigent. Suddenly, you can no longer buy cigarettes (only unrestricted items allowed) your toothpaste, soap or deodorant... Would you allow me to stress that women still having their periods, find it extremely degrading not having enough cash to buy a box of tampax. (Some women suffer from cycle troubles due to stress and fatigue; same symptoms occured in concentration camps) At least, this is what I could experiment for myself and I was utterly happy to have some tampaxes in my car gloves locker. How humiliating it is to find oneself in complete poverty when one has given away a fortune for the cause and is subsequently working as a beast of burden! What a despair it is to notice one is reduced to slavery whereas one had come in pushed by the winds of freedom in order to align in the ranks of those working so that man would be set free!
The end of the day would be a piece of anthology. As I said, there was the special gulag training (5 hours training= 5 hours indoctrination) Such a training was mandatory of course and consisted in a cortege of forced confessions of imagined crimes and treacheries of every kind (mental torture called O/Ws). By any means, I knew that before I got there I had to restudy the same HCOBS & PLs (guru's nonsense) I already knew by heart. Well then, I shall continue to act stupid; I would spend hours on a 10 pages long bulletin called "Keeping $cientology working" and pretended to be busy by turning the dictionary pages which would allow me to remain seated most of the time. You see in the RPF and other gulags, luxury is motionlessness. The thing is just to remain in complete stillness. Moreover, RPF's endoctrination is delayed but, who wants to think about it? Anyway, two RPFers had noticed my little game and as they were up to the same one themselves we would once in a while glance at each other in beaming mirth! That's what being called " mutual out ruds" ( esoteric expression meaning a negative conniving attitude, being a party of sthg or someone)
At the end of the day, coinciding with the end of special gulag endoctrination we were supposed to, well at least it was highly encouraged to take the floor to say how pleased we all were and how wonderful and fabulous it was to follow a convict's program without forgetting to stress we were all thankful to hope that one day Redemption would occur thanks to the marvellous technology of the best friend earth had ever bore! I always refused to participate to this farce where we had on top of that to applaud everyone's fantastic gains! I would simply put a mongloid rictus on my face which actually fitted very well on submission grounds and aproval of every nonsense that could be heard. As long as I seemed to agree to the whole masquerade and as long as I looked vaguely stupid, I knew I would be allowed to vogue over relatively peaceful waters. Anyhow, I was delighted I had done some theatre acting when I wondered; under the false aspect of a tranquil lake, furious roaring fortieth currents and other howling fiftieth wind streams were preparing devastating tidal waves...
Nothing is impossible to a brave heart
Jacques Coeur's motto.
5. An escape; directions for use.
I have already described the main lines of my state of mind at the time. Today, 10 years after I have complete remembrance of my escape and I reproduce them as they happened.
The morning following my decision to leave I took my first risk. I simply refused to get up at 7 AM because I knew I needed to make up some hours of sleep. Nothing could make me change my mind and decided to stick to what I had decided to do. I was kicked in the kidneys - I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor- I was shaked like a rag doll, insulted and threated but I refused to wake up. There was the girl with the chest infection I had just helped among my torturers... I instantly got back to sleep when they were gone and decided I would only wake up at twelve. On the dot of 12 being fresh and alert, I packed a quick suitcase with whatever civil clothes I had left; of course I had to leave behind most of my belongings but again they don't represent a thing when freedom is at hand. I took a great deal of pleasure to dress me up with my clothes out of good quality, the clean touch of my linen shirt over my skin, my well cut pants which were luxury sensations after having been forced to wear a prisoner's "outfit" ... Recovering my clothes was the first civil and laïque act, the first step towards the recovery of my identity. I even pushed my self claims by using make-up, use a hair style and perfume! high crime! since perfumes are utterly forbidden by a policy letter written by the guru Hubbard himself. Perfumes might have awakened a vague impulse in this impotent and libidinous old man.
When I looked myself in the mirror, I was surprised; I had forgotten how good-looking I was. I encouraged myself with a great smile, I was ready to fight. Vauvenargues was right; the feeling of our strenghts add to our strenghts.
I went out of this room; a twenty square meters room where we slept 8 people on the floor. I went out of the den; the sun was shining and I remember I smiled when I saw the sky was so blue. I guess I had forgotten how limpid a sky could be. Staff lodging was located a few miles away from Flag Land Base (as they call it) I knew no one would remain there on " duty hours", so I just walked away with my suitcase and civil outfit praying God nobody would see me. I called a taxi from a cabin outside. I continue to trust my luck and the cab came almost immediately. The taxi-driver was young, smiling, and curly blond. With a face like that, I thought he couldn't possibly be cursed with an innate streak of evil and decided to stake one's all .
-Listen, I need your help. I need to go back to my country. I have different things to do. Leaning on him I said that I would pay whatever was necessary. He had this marvellous smile when he answered:
- All right ma'm whatever you say!
I then perilously launched a whole detailed operation; he then parked his car at a cafeteria where he did invited me to have a coffee. It was a typical flavorless american coffee which nevertheless turned exquisite on my palate in every respect; for it was the taste of natural things normal people usually do when gathering together in a common place to accomplish a social act. Today, I still have a special fondness for untasty coffees.
-Now, will you say that again to me ma'm, slowly please?
My taxi-driver would repeat every sentence after me staring wide-eyed at me and scratching his biceps. Once in a while, he would slap his thighs to mark every step.- So, I get started or - Then, I wait for you. Every time he understood something, he would swallow big gulps of coffee. An adept running away from a sect to go back to her country was perhaps more exhilarating than shadowing cuckold husband's wife. Anyhow, he was extremely helpful to me; without his help, I might have failed.
Operation: passport rescue.
- Wait for me here please. If I do not come back within 15 minutes you can go to the police with this ID card (it was my sports club card) and you tell them I am being kept without my consent: you tell them the whole story.
My taxi driver would stare at the ID saying:
-Oh my God...
I entered the Org (short for organization) a separate building from Flag to see the HCO officer (personel office) He kept every staff's passport in a safe. With a big smile, I explained I needed the passport -oh just a mere formality! - to get my divorce. In a joking tone, I said I was delighted with the rapidity of the Florida court that only one more stamp was required, that I promised to bring it back within the day, that I was summoned to appear before the judge right this minute. Trusting my good spirits, he handed my beautiful passport. I must have had a funny smile whose intention was much more matching an polite invitation to go to hell than reiterating usual allegiance. Seeming to understand, he stood still and I threw him a perfectly blatant salute. A few yards away my taxi driver was waiting for me.
- Go, go ahead fast!
Shooting off, he told me someone was running behind the car shouting and making big gestures.
- I've got my passport, I've made it! I shouted
- Good girl he said, good girl!
Operation: car rescue.
I had a little car which was my unique space of freedom which I wouldn't have abandonned for nothing in the whole world. So we got inside the Fort Harrison garage, security gards did not recognize me since there was probably a difference between the RPF rags I used to have on and the tailor suit I was wearing. My car had to be pushed but my taxi driver was behind the car and I was behind the wheel; we went out hands down. I really had the luck of the Devil but I still needed my briefcase locked in RPF premises. At this hour of the day, I knew the bulk of the gulag batalion was attending to grand toilets curetting activities under the warder's flood of insults. I just needed a few seconds to take my briefcase and run. An RPFer was standing there not recognizing me the first 2 seconds. He did recognize me the last 2 seconds and without moving he tritely said:
- what are you doing?
Because I knew that my car was 5 yards away, because I had been successful at every previous "operation" ,I found the necessary contempt to backflash, superbly arrogant:
-I am blowing! (meaning to leave the cult)
When I got into my car, I noticed that he hadn't move. He was supposed to howl in order to drive a crowd of RPFers-by, yet he didn't move, he said nothing. Perhaps he thought it was useless to intervene since I was out of reach. Maybe did he envy my gesture and respect that choice he knew a perilous one and of no return.
My taxi driver was so excited to witness such a successfull manoeuvre in the very cult parade ground that he was just exhilarating. He was shouting " yahooo, yahoo" revolving his left arm, was smoking with his right hand and was driving with his left knee. As far as I was concerned, I simply felt I was back to life.
- Taxi driver, bring me where I can sell my jewels!
Without flinching he took me to a kind of warehouse store. He participated to the transaction as if he were a close friend of mine, he bargained in my place. I had a beautiful set of Cartier earings and necklace jewels I always wore under the SO uniform or the gulag teeshirt. My steel and blue dial Rolex watch disappeared along with my fine three gold collar... for a little more than the equivalent sum of an international air plane flight! When I got back to the cab I suddenly thought that fate would decide whether my taxi driver was to rip me off the little money he knew I had. On the contrary, he took me to a car warehouse where I could sell it for another pocketfull of dollars. There again, he made the deal. He was there all the time assisting me. At the end, I gave him the amount of money he asked which was far from being excessive. He told me he was happy he could help but if I had nothing else urgent to do he was apologizing to leave me since he had to hit the road. I took his two hands inside of mine, squeezing them for a few seconds, I felt a weakness rising inside of me.
-You'll be allright now, he said.
I never felt so sincerely thankful for anyone before. I shall never know my taxi driver's name. If he had cow boy's manners, he also had the heart of a prince. You can't forget a prince who saved your life.
I bought my ticket plane. The following day, I was to leave this land of nightmare where I had known but hostility, coercion, detention, sleeping privation and lack of basic health care. Later on, late in life, I was to know the humiliation of a vast lie, the shame of having trusted and adhered to a huge scam. For the meantime, all I had left was the despair I felt since I had sold everything I had in "church donations" which in fact, weren't anything else than witchcraft's practices (upper levels). I had given up everything in my life, a job I liked, a country where I had been taking down roots, I had left the man I loved.
The only thing I wanted was to remain alone. Simply alone and feeling protected in my little car. I had found a calm place to park my car. It was a very nice wooden pier in front of St Petersburgh bay. The view was enchanting, the coast was sparkling out of thousands lights, the deep blue night sky competing with a million stars, night was so peaceful... I was living a revolution inside of me. I was by turns thinking of drowning myself or committing mass murders. I spent the night in a waking state; my hand very close to the car key. However, I managed to relax; I put on a cassette. I closed my eyes. If I am asked today the following question; "what is freedom?" I invariably answer that freedom is when you are listening to Joan Baez inside a little car on a starlit night in front of the Mexican golf just after having escaped from a cult's gulag.
The following day, I went to Tampa airport. I immediatly asked to be put under the Consul's protection. Police officers invited me to sit down in one of the customs offices. They told me they would safely escort me to my plane and I had nothing to worry about. I was offered coffee. They were telling jokes to each other and I smiled. One of them asked me who or what I was afraid of. A voice came to my rescue;
- Leave her alone, she told you, the lady's going home.
I was moved by this police officer's thoughtfulness. I nodded and concentrated on my cup of coffee. Out of tactfulness, they left me alone for a while. The one who had come to my rescue escorted me to my seat in the plane. In a protective manner, he taped my shoulder saying those words I shall never forget:
-You're not the only one, you know, running away from that bloody " church of Scientology"
You'll be fine.
That is one of the most beautiful sentence I was ever told.
If reason builds a man, feelings lead him.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, La Nouvelle Héloïse.
6. A goal; rebuild one self up.
To conclude my story, I'd like to pay homage to the taxi driver, to the police officer, the first 2 anonymous persons whose help and compassion had been capital. I had the impression I was coming back to civilization, I had the feeling I was binding links with human kind. Spontaneous help was then possible? I had forgotten. The "wog's world" (derogatory term and racist term to signify anything outside the cult) the outside world constantly and fiendishly refferred to as complete evil, could offer help and compassion. Every adept is frightened at the idea of making the move because when he has reached the point to ask for help, he is sort of repudiating himself. Many of them prefer to take refuge in a total mutism- in which I, myself remained during the ten-year- period following my escape- rather than talking about a painful experience very unlikely to be understood anyway... It is also a matter of dignity. Sectarian phenomenon being very unknown, the ex-adept is likely to be immediately stigmatised. What is more, in order to talk about it, one must be able to find adequate words for it. Most of the case, the person is not ready yet to give a testimony. It takes quite a long time for a victim to rebuild oneself up. Then, the cult neologisms have replaced language. The victim finds himself using words only understood inside the cult.
The person's emotions and rections are clues that are used by the person to show his distress. And that is only too natural. A cult victim needs to show his suffering, but does'nt succeed everytime.We can find examples of severe and bizarre indoctrination in sectarian "literature". " Human emotion and reaction has an terrifying definition in the green dictionnary (Management Defined"), p270. Definition made up by a detestable, abominable monster called Hubbard who was indeed devoid of any human emotion and reaction. HE&R (short for human emotion and reaction) are but negative "emotions and reactions which aberrated human beings express". In other words, emotions are to be barred from human behaviour. But if emotions are excluded from human behaviour, man is simply dehumanized. That is what he wanted; Hubbard the vulture never wished anything else than nice complying robots, never pretended to better man's condition. This example taken among many, many others indoctrination examples, checks the victim of the cult to express his suffering which is deeply repressed. The person is conditioned not to show his feelings.
It takes years to begin to express feelings towards the cult to talk about it simply because it takes years to replace loads of lies, to learn social behaviour again, to find new interests in life, to find one's own place in the "outside world", form a new couple sometimes and, if very courageous, have a new family. It is wrong to say: one can't change how one's made. It is really wrong; one can self- reconstruct partly thanks to anonymous people who little by little grant self confidence. One slowly rebuilds oneself and I'd say in different ways and step after step. Just as a house is not constructed all by once, but brick after brick, going from one room to the other. The mind has to get together as a puzzle, piece after piece. The only difference would be that there are far more pieces in a mental puzzle than there are bricks in a house...
Above all, the person reconstructs himself when he is ready to receive information; he can first be started by an information of the sectarian phenomenon, then, by information of the specific cult he has been a victim of. An ex adept badly needs those informations, yet he has to ask for them. If he needs to talk, allow him to do so; he may desperatly need to put in words some of his experiences! In fact, when the victim begins to talk about his experiences, that means the person is healing. As far as I am concerned, I did'nt speak about it simply because there were'nt any "valid" interlocutor of course, but also because the Internet only came "home" 6 months ago. The web is fabulous because everything an ex adept needs to find out is there ready to be read on the net. It gets him in contact with other cult ex adepts who can hear, understand, inform and help him.
Internet allows the person to remain anonymous, the web allows to be consulted at home, freely, at any time by the person. I think it is the best tool a person victim from a cult or totalitarian group can use in order to rebuild himself. It is significant to note that Scientology is deadly scared because of the impact of that extraordinary netcom; they tried to banish freedom of speech on the net, they attacked CAN(Cult Awareness network) which went bankrupt last year because of abusive legal proceedings, they outrageously raided private homes steeling hardwares and personal archives, they still repeatadly try to intimidate those who dare to use their Constitutional Rights to criticize them. It is, by the way, very amusing to see that the more they try to silence people, the more they get criticized by thousands of people in the net, they are thus manufactoring the worst publicity they could think of since they are now known at large for what they really are: a sinister and dangerous cult.
Scientologists follow their policies; nobody can change or adapt a policy - per Hubbard's policy- But the thing is that Hubbard is dead in 1986 failing to write a policy on Internet, he was already too sick to understand the web phenomenon. As nobody can change his policies, they find themselves awkwardly trapped and consistently make huge blunders... I guess they will stick to apply inadequate policies which is an extremely good news since most policies just don't work anyhow ... So let them try to go on trial to impede freedom of speech which is an unbearable right for a totalitarian cult to tolerate. Internet has become the free international communication net: an enemy scientologists chaos merchants have swore to kill. It is true that Internet is being breezed by "wogs' free winds"!
It is only when I discovered mid 1996 on Internet, moving testimonies from Monica Pignoti, Margery Wakefield, Hanna Whithfield and many others, that I have decided to write the story of my escape in January 97. There are thousands ex adepts somewhere around the world who have suffered and have important abuses to denounce. I sincerely hope that those few anonymous pages will encourage those thousands cult victims to speak out, that is, anonymously if necessary.
Modern plague of this ending century is taking on a threatening form; cult proliferation is alarmingly vicious. We, who have been victims from cult's abuses must denounce and speak up for every psychic rape, intelectual and financial scam. Write them up! Post them on the WEB!
What follows is a compilation of testimonies/ affidavits from Scientology victims about the cult gulags. They tell the horror of those prison camps where special indoctrination is twinned by forced slave labour called RPF. I found them on the web, and I reproduce here only RPFs extracts. My commentary is added to situate the passage or summarize the situation. Reading those testimonies is a terrifying example of what those RPFs are and give, I think, a diversified look about those horrifying gulags.
End of first part