I just finished Amy’s book, Abuse at the Top. A must-read. Of course, there was not a lot totally new to me, as I lived it along with Amy. But I was vividly reminded of the poisonous atmosphere at the Int Base, and the insanity that surrounds David Miscavige.
I was also reminded of a phrase I had mercifully forgotten: “too gruesome.” It’s a noun. It’s used like this: “give him a ‘too gruesome’.”
It comes from HCO Policy Letter of 5 January 1968, “Overfilled In-Basket, Bad News.” LRH says:
“MAKE THE PENALTIES FOR NONCOMPLIANCE AND FALSE REPORTS TOO GRUESOME TO BE FACED AND ENFORCE THEM.”
In the same issue, he also said, “It takes far more ethics and far steeper, enforced penalties to make an organization work than Scientologists have been using.”
This was written in 1968, the year that “overboards” were instituted on the ship. And chain locker imprisonment. And cleaning out the bilges. Too gruesome.
Later that same year, LRH wrote, in HCO PL 4 October 68, “Ethics Presence,” “Men will keep the accounts straight only because you can muster bayonets to enforce that they do.”
I don’t know what LRH was running into that caused him to write such things. But they did set the tone for the Sea Org in 1968 – and thereafter. I well remember the arrival of a Sea Org Mission in 1968 where I was working, in Pubs Org Denmark. We soon had our own “overboardings” (buckets of icy water thrown at staff by a “firing squad), running “laps” up and down the stairs, and “noncompliant” people imprisoned in the elevator shaft. The stench of fear permeated the place. It was, in a word, gruesome.
Let’s look at some definitions. Well, according to my Random House, gruesome means “causing great horror; horribly repugnant; grisly.” Hmmm… horror.
And compliance? Well, when I was in the Sea Org, I knew exactly what compliance was. It meant following orders, completing your targets, doing what your senior told you to do. But what does the word itself mean? Back to the dictionary: “the act of conforming, acquiescing, or yielding; a tendency to yield readily to others, esp. in a weak and subservient way; conformity; accordance; cooperation or obedience.”
So for “noncompliance” we might also say “disobedience.” Puts a bit of a different spin on it when you say “make the penalties for disobedience too gruesome to be faced and enforce them.” When you put it that way, it sounds ominous, even Orwellian.
But that’s exactly what the Sea Org’s operating basis became. And of course Miscavige, being a sociopath, took it over the top – overboardings into the pool or the leech-infested lake, dozens of laps around the buildings, imprisoning people in their offices for weeks or months at a time, keeping people up for days. And he got very creative with ways to degrade and humiliate people – reading out their session withholds to the crew, making them salute his dog, having them clean out septic tanks or trash containers, and on and on. Read Amy’s book – you’ll be shocked at how depraved that man is.
So should the Church get rid of him? Definitely. Should they remove him from any position of authority? Absolutely. But, as I tell my Scientologist friends, if you are serious about reforming the Church, also, please, re-examine the things that have made the Church of Scientology the way it is today, the things that have been embedded in the DNA of the Sea Org.
Things like “too gruesomes.”