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“You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out.”

January 28, 2010

“If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice.”

Those are the chilling and deadly serious words spoken at the end of the Orientation film, which is shown to brand new people in Churches of Scientology all over the world. Or at least it was, up to last Sunday, January 24th, when the film’s star, actor Larry Anderson, very publicly departed from the Church of Scientology.

The Orientation film, and particularly that closing monologue, exemplify for me the solid, deathly seriousness that pervades the current Church of Scientology these days. In earlier times, when someone wanted to find out about Scientology, they usually went to a live lecture – given by someone actually interested and enthusiastic about the subject. There used to be something called “Spirit of Play.” These days, new people are ushered in to a dark room where they sit, usually alone (with a staff member to monitor them), and watch a very earnest and didactic film, which ends with a chilling warning which equates turning one’s back on Scientology with suicide.

Many new people, after seeing that film, do walk away and never return. They don’t want to be part of that kind of fanatical seriousness. And more and more Scientologists, like Larry Anderson, are walking away from the unrelenting, grinding pressures and deadly threats that are part and parcel of today’s Church of Scientology.

Others are not so lucky.

The words of Orientation took on an alarming prescience last May when OT VIII and major IAS contributor Steve Brackett committed suicide by literally diving off the Highway 1 Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur Coast of California at 5:30 one morning.  The Church tried to spin it, saying that Brackett had been the victim of a head-on collision. It was a lie. Insiders say that Brackett, a multi-million dollar IAS contributor, was despondent over financial difficulties. He was scheduled to go to Flag the next day, but chose instead to end his life.

Why?

The experiences of other OTs, as reported online, make it clear that a trip to Flag is anything but pleasant these days. OTs and Scientologists are invalidated and evaluated for, told they are not Clear, told they must redo levels over and over because of this or that arbitrary (the latest arbitrary being reported is that people are being pressured to re-do any auditing they did prior to the release of Golden Age of Tech in 1996. That’s right, not training, auditing.)

And all the while, more and more and more pressure to contribute money – to the IAS, to the “Ideal” Orgs, to the endless Superpower Building construction. And if they refuse to give more and more money? Then they are “out Ethics.” They are subjected to endless Ethics interviews and Sec Checks – all at their expense.

The latest victim of all this pressure and stress was OT and major IAS contributor Rex Fowler. As this article notes, Denver police have charged Fowler with first degree murder in the shooting of his former business partner, Thomas Ciancio. Ciancio was not a Scientologist. Fowler was originally thought to be a victim in the shooting, but the head wound he suffered was apparently self-inflicted, a botched suicide attempt. There was only one gun involved in the incident, Fowler’s 9mm Glock.  Ciancio’s wounds could not have been self-inflicted.

What could drive Fowler, an OT, to such desperation? What could drive him to such depths that he would consider murder, and suicide, his only options.

The article goes on to say, “Ciancio, who was Fowler Software’s chief operating officer, resigned Nov. 23, 2009 in a dispute over the way the company was being managed.” Specifically, the company “reportedly had suffered financial difficulties since 2008, related in part to the transfer of as much as $200,000 to a church or charity by Fowler.”

One can read between the lines. Fowler, like Brackett, like many OTs who have published their stories online, was under intense financial pressure from the Church. He was being pressed for more and more donations – even if it was money he did not have, even if it was money belonging to and vital to his business.

An OT VIII friend of mine confessed that she had been suicidal after completing the level. Here she had reached the highest level attainable in Scientology, but she didn’t feel free or causative or OT. Yet she dreaded returning to the Freewinds or to Flag for more auditing, more invalidation, more Ethics, more Sec Checks – and more expenses. She was already heavily in debt.

OT VIIs and VIIIs are supposed to be free and causative. Yet when one listens to their private stories, one sees a world of desperation, of pressure, of threats. A world where their every move is controlled and dictated by the Church – what they do, what they read, who they talk to, what they think. This was not the Scientology they signed up for. They feel that they are at the end of the road, with no one to turn to. But what’s the alternative? Diving off a bridge? Blowing one’s brains out?

How many people have to die before Scientologists realize that this insane pressure for money, money, money has got to stop? How long before Scientologists realize that all of this demand for IAS donations, “Ideal” Org Donations and Superpower Building donations has nothing to do with forwarding the goals of Scientology? It has everything to do with the greed and power hunger of David Miscavige.

And it is destructive. It ruins people’s lives.

The Church is not going to let up on the pressure. They are going to explain away these and other deaths and increase the pressure on the remaining Scientologists.

This is my heartfelt plea to OTs and Scientologists: things are not as deathly serious as they are being presented to you. You do not have to ruin your life to support Scientology.

And please, please, please – taking your own life is not a solution to anything. Walk away. There are friends on the outside who will help you, who will listen to you. Many top OTs, auditors, C/Ses and Scientologists have walked away from the Church of Miscavology. You can too.

The Church complained to Larry Anderson that they would now have to reshoot Orientation at a cost of millions.

Well, when you do that, how about producing something a little more upbeat?

Rebel008

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23 Comments
  1. sherrymk permalink
    January 28, 2010 6:10 am

    Rebel008, the hairs on my arms are standing up. This is one chilling post and one that hits a little too close to home..my home.
    I was also an OTVlll that became suicidal. The pressure after OTVlll became, especially after trip after trip to Flag and the Freewinds, increasingly unbearable. The pressure to donate, , go on staff, donate, be on an OT committe (I was on two), donate, come to every meeting, donate, get 3 people to Flag to get onto OTVll, donate, go around the neighborhood to recover people, donate donate donate. Have to work? Too bad..make it go right.

    I finished OTVlll in 2003, almost died the day I came home, went to Flag in July 2004, told I wasn’t Clear, then, when that didn’t go over too well, told I was Clear, did L-11 over tons of BPC on the Clear crap, left, was back at Flag a couple months later in Sept. as I was messed up. Then in 2005 I went back to Flag again was put on the worst program I ever had “to handle what was wrong”, my FSM Wendy Ettricks and the D/P, telling me that “this will resolve the problem, we promise” I paid $16,385.00 for ONE intensive after I begged the RTC rep to let me go in session with a Class Xll(and that’s what they charged me for the privilege), got literally nothing out of the auditing(there were no OTVlll C/Ses and my auditor Hank Bourland was OTV), then went to the ship in June 2006, Clear status was again challenged, was C/Sed for FPRD, got 3 intensives and was told to tell public there for MV that I was on “OTlX Preps”, then got told I was, in fact, Clear, went home, joined staff in Jan 2007, realized that there was something majorly wrong with the way the orgs were being run, went back to the ship in Sept.2007 for help, told I wasn’t Clear, did the full NED program. Told I was Clear. Told to redo OTVlll. I redid OTVlll, went home, realized that I wasn’t working in a Scientology org but a squirrel run org. Stressed out to the maximum. No way out, no where to turn to, no one to talk to…was at the end of rope. No hope…that is until I went to see my ex sister in law Nancy Many the day before I was to get onto a plane for yet another “trip to the ship” in August 2008. That’s when it all started to come together and I could make some sense out of what had happened to me and I started to be able to crawl out of the muck. I could easily have been a Steve Brackett.

    Every day I wake up and I’m alive, I think about all the wonderful friends I have, all the caring people in my life who like me for who I am, unconditionally and without an agenda.

    Please, I implore anyone reading this post that is still inside the C of S…take Rebel008’s essay to heart. LOOK for yourself. When I finally did, the stress of 36 years started to pour down in tears of relief.

    Sherry Many Katz

    • Martin Padfield permalink
      January 28, 2010 2:41 pm

      Sherry, you are one heck of a brave lady, and a real survivor! Greatest respect to you. As for your last line about CofS doing something (video) more upbeat – perhaps instead Independents should get together with Steve Hall to produce a rather more factual introduction to the C of Mestology! That would be quite a sight. Larry could even do the voiceover…

      • sherrymk permalink
        January 28, 2010 10:04 pm

        Hi Martin,

        Thank you for your kind words. I do want to clarify that the line about “C of S doing something more upbeat” are not MY words..those are the words of Rebel008 or “editor” who wrote the blog.

    • craig houchin permalink
      January 28, 2010 4:41 pm

      Sherry,

      Wow! What an ordeal. All I can say is congratulations and well done on overcoming the supression and moving beyond the madness.

      • sherrymk permalink
        January 28, 2010 10:13 pm

        Craig, Thank you. I still feel uncomfortable dredging up all those memories and I don’t even like telling the story. But if it helps even one person to pull themselves out of the insanity before their desperation reaches more extreme states..it’s worth a bit of discomfort on my part. The story I wrote above was only the tip of the iceberg I experienced before, during and after OTVlll..maybe one day I’ll tell the entire saga.

    • Sinar permalink
      January 29, 2010 1:35 am

      Incredible saga of Sherry, thanks very much for the courage in telling of the ordeal.

      Makes one wonder how many of these stories are similar and suppressed. It’s incredible how much of a confusion has been generated by Mestology on the subject of clear, creating quite a lot of unwanted emotions and baggage and wrong actions etc.

    • Alex permalink
      February 1, 2010 6:15 am

      Wow Sherry!
      I thought I went through alot of crap on solo Nots. I did more dianetics while on Solo Nots too. I also did tons of sec checking and FPRD and never finished, then I realized they don’t know how to handle me and quit.
      I admire your persistence and am so happy you finally found some truth.
      ML,
      Alex

    • Out of the Box permalink
      March 25, 2011 11:25 pm

      Dear Sherry,

      I am sooo glad you are finally out of Scn! Last time I saw you I had been going through my own “transitional period” coming out of Scn and the church. Of course my girlfriend at the time and I couldn’t let anybody in the church know what we had been experiencing both together and separately while in the church and on and off staff. And of course we couldn’t talk to anyone about it because of the ramifications & repercussions of the church trying to “salvage” us, etc. (All the “horror” stories!)

      At that time I had already begun to research everything that I could find on the internet and doing a lot of “catching up” of what I had always suspected was really going on in the church and what the “official” church PR machine was not telling us and the general public (I think they really don’t know themselves) regarding the truth about L. Ron Hubbard in general, his white-washed past and many of the criminal acts of violence that the church has perpetrated and continues to perpetuate.

      For myself, once I found out that L. Ron Hubbard was involved in a Satanic cult (for “real,” not just “research, etc.”) with Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowley and the Ordo Templi Orientis (Pasadena in the early ’50’s), I was out! (see “L.Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?” by Bent Corydon, 1987 and any other books on Jack Parsons or Aleister Crowley)

      It’s no longer a secret.

      But what really “clinched” it for me, was when a friend of mine who had been in the SO in Clearwater @ the late 70’s sent me Jeff’s blog “Counterfeit Dreams.” This was right around the time Jeff had just completed it. Once I read the part where DM attacked Jeff, I said that’s it! That’s all I need to know! I’m out!!!

      Thank God for Jeff Hawkins!!! Jeff you don’t know how much I admire you!!!

      This is the first time I have decided to respond to any kind of an ex-Scn website (or any other site for that matter regarding Scn.)

      One of the reasons is because I am now a committed Christian and I see Scn (as a ex-Scn Christian friend of mine once put it) as “spiritual (or as someone else has said) cosmic rape.”

      I am wary lest someone from the church were to find out who I am. I still have many friends who I deeply care about and who are still either on staff or are still public (as I know we all do) that I hope and pray will come to a knowledge of the truth. I want to make myself available to them if and when, and at any time, they should come to their senses and need someone to talk to, I’ll be there. For this reason I am cautious to not “let the cat out of the bag.”

      In any case, I wanted to let you know how glad I am that you are truly now a “free” being.

      Your friend,

      Me

      P.S.

      And Oh, yes, “Free Heber!!!”

  2. Just Me permalink
    January 28, 2010 1:58 pm

    Jesus Louise! What an amazing time-place-form-event report. Most of all, congratulations on surviving all that crap.

  3. lunamoth permalink
    January 28, 2010 3:58 pm

    Oh my God, Sherry… this breaks my heart. What you were willing to go through, what you continued to endure – and you kept trying. You are so incredibly strong and dedicated. You’re amazing.

    And would you please, please, please, post this far and wide? Put it on every Independent scientology site you can find.

    PEOPLE NEED TO SEE THIS.

    love

    lunamoth

    • ButterflyChaser permalink
      January 28, 2010 8:46 pm

      I agree with Lunamoth! This should be spread far and wide. Right after I read your story, Sherry, a song popped into my mind that I hadn’t thought about in ages. Remember this one? “Look What They’ve Done To My Song, Ma” by Melanie. Check out the lyrics again…very apropos. I’m glad you decided to stay in this world in order to share your theta and beauty with the rest of us.

  4. Virginia permalink
    January 28, 2010 9:52 pm

    Thanks, Sherry for describing the insanity you feel when you arrive at Flag. I was a very happy PC in 1987 at the Mt. View Mission and was sent to Flag to “experience the Mecca of our technology”. When I arrived at what had been promoted as a 5-star hotel, in the middle of the night coming from the West Coast, I was immediately evaluated as PTS (totally exhausted and in need of sleep) and ordered to sign up for the PTS/SP course. This meant I could NOT go in session until this was complete. Plus more $$$ out of pocket!

    That was just the beginning. I soon realized that visits to Flag were going to be an on-going struggle with reges knocking on your door at night and stops to your expectations of the auditing that you had traveled so far to receive. And, to make matters worse, this “5-star hotel” had no air conditioning on most floors in the ’80s in the summer in Florida. Not easy to sleep at all.

    I didn’t experience any where near the horrors that you did, Sherry but how come we all came to dread returning to Flag and the Ship???

  5. January 29, 2010 1:57 am

    Once again you hit the mark, Rebel.

    Also reading Sherry’s horror story is like running problems of comparable magnitude!

    My god, Sherry!

    You are one tough soma’bitch!

    At some point like probably all of us here, you got tired of saying:

    “Thank you sir!

    “May I have another!”

    Rebel, thank you for reminding us of a time before the Church of Scientology turned into the Paris Island boot camp of religions. Under the watchful eye of Commandant Miscavige and the ever more obnoxious drill sergeant like SO members who make the real thing in the Marine Corp look like a bunch of jovial good ‘ol boys!

    Sheeeeesh!!!!

    I tell ya I was glad to go AWOL on that lot 🙂

    Oh about ‘Orientation’

    This is what it was like for me when I was first forced to watch it:

    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1060536403615

  6. John Doe permalink
    January 29, 2010 2:16 am

    Dang. Rebel, hard truths. You are one hell of a writer.

    Sherry, I am sooooo glad you are here. Thank you for all your help and for telling that difficult story. Hugs to you…

    • sherrymk permalink
      January 29, 2010 5:05 am

      Back at cha John doe

  7. TRUTH permalink
    January 29, 2010 9:06 am

    Rebel008, You definitely touched the right button with this post. Great one! Thank you.

    Sherry, I can only tell you, what an amazing superwoman you are! Wow!!!! Your truth touch my heart. I am VERY glad that you are with us.

    You will always have my love and respect. A very big warm & loving hug from me to you! 🙂

  8. pkatz permalink
    January 29, 2010 10:48 pm

    Sherry, If I may speak for all us Katzes, both in and out of the COS, (and, yes I may)
    Glad you’re still in the family!

    • sherrymk permalink
      January 30, 2010 1:51 am

      Well..I’m at a loss for words, pkatz…whoever you are. If you do in fact speak for all the Katzes both in and out of the C of S…then this statement of yours means more to me and touches me deeper than you may realize. You can contact me anytime..you must know how.

  9. Nicki Davidson permalink
    January 31, 2010 2:23 am

    Love you Sherry…so glad you are here.
    Love, Nic

  10. January 31, 2010 4:02 am

    The thing that absolutely blows me away about this post and Sherry’s and the other comments is the statement that public are now being pushed to redo everything they did prior to the release of GAT in 1996. Are you freaking kidding me?!! That is the absolute most arrogant thing I have ever heard in my life. To lay a blanket invalidation on every Scientologist’s auditing wins because they happened to occur before May 9, 1996 is truly unbelievable. If this is what is going on, then it should be trumpeted on every blog, website and email because this is a nuclear footbullet unlike any I’ve ever seen. Do you mean to say that EVERY pc’s first wins from Life Repair, their first experience going whole track, their first exteriorization, the relief from their first well pulled missed withhold, their first F/N, Cog VGIs, their first release on a Grade–all of these have to be redone because they happened to occur before May 9, 1996?!!!

    At the risk of redundancy: are you freaking kidding me?!!!! NO ONE is going to buy that crap. NO ONE.
    Rebel, I hope what you’re saying is accurate because this is one straw guaranteed to break anyone’s back.

    For those who don’t know, I put GAT together along with Ray Mithoff and Tom Ford who soon went on to other
    activities. The thought of anyone redoing an auditing action as a result of GAT was not even in that universe. I wrote an article about GAT on the Scn-cult.com site: http://www.scientology-cult.com/behind-the-golden-age-of-tech.html.
    Can you imagine being a C/S in an org and getting THAT order down the pipe: “Any pc who received auditing prior to the release of GAT should redo it. Get them in. Invalidate their gains. Get them back to the beginning of their pc lineup. –COB.”

    I thought the whole thing was badly administered before. But now … I’m speechless. Let’s hope this is true. The end game is playing out sooner than I thought.

    BOOM! goes the dynamite.

  11. Worried Wog in Ashland, Oregon permalink
    February 2, 2010 9:11 pm

    Wow! I’m just floored by these posts. I have two OT friends in my midst, and I am constantly puzzled by the fact that they have to leave twice a year to do Sec-Checks and all this stuff at their own expense. While they certainly aren’t hurting for money, they seem to put themselves out for their church. I never see anything coming back to them from the CoS. Always, more $$$, come to Flag, put The Way To Happiness in your hotel, etc. I need help getting through to them, and don’t know how to help them see what’s going on. As a “wog” I don’t think they take me seriously when I say I am worried about them. What can I do to help? I’m not trying to suppress their belief system, only relieve them from the cycle of constant “regging” and trips to Flag. Honestly, I think they’re being bled dry… emotionally, and financially.

  12. imominous permalink
    March 17, 2010 3:35 pm

    The Orientation film is legendary. It is stranger than a bag of bald mice, and put in context with the Fowler and Brackett incidents, suggests that this destructive “dive off a bridge” attitude runs deeper than just a few ill-chosen phrases in the introductory video.

  13. May 3, 2010 6:00 pm

    I like this content so much.Imagination is more important than knowledge.

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