Standing Up to be Counted: Synthia Fagen
Another courageous former member of the Church of Scientology takes a stand. The following writeup gives a chilling picture of the corruption, criminality, harassment and pressure that exists in today’s Church of Scientology.
Standing Up to Be Counted
Hello my new amazing friends. I hope you find this story interesting enough to read as it isn’t “sexy”, full of danger, abuse or torture but it is a story of a disgusted member of the “rank and file” that may give solace to those who have been fighting the battle for years. You are, indeed, winning.
I have been contributing to this blog, and to Marty’s, as “Elizabeth” but have not officially stood up to be counted. So, I thought now would be a good time to give my story and to let the C of S know, in no uncertain terms, that I refuse be a cog in the wheel of the crime syndicate any longer. I will not be used. I will not be lied to. I will not give up my individuality to be herded like an unthinking robot to carry out the dictates of a cold and greedy machine.
I have been helped by Scientology. I am sure almost all of us could make that same statement and yet, therein lies the rub. A very good friend of mine recently made the observation that Scientology was like a yummy, delicious, 7-layer cake laced with arsenic. I find that description fitting.
In 1985, in Chicago, I became a Scientologist. Grateful to find this wonderful group and a real purpose in life, I would consider the experience valuable as, among other things, I am now married to a wonderful man as a result of reading Dianetics and walking through that door. You could even say that Scientology saved my life. I was a self destructive druggie on the wrong path and might have wound up dead had I not reigned myself in and found this new “science of the mind”.
My personal dwindling spiral reversed when I got auditing and joined staff. So why would I want to discontinue something that saved my life, gave me purpose, and got me off the road to hell?
My story follows:
Six months ago, in November of 2009, my staff contract was up and I did not re-sign. Though I was expected to come back I knew I never would if my concerns were not addressed. They never were.
I was the IAS Membership Officer (of all posts!). My husband was, at the time, the Chief Academy Sup and had been on staff for 25 years straight. During this last staff contract, the Basics came out and that was the beginning of the end for me as this is when the group engram was laid in.
The Basics evolution was, in my opinion, insane. Where outpoints in the church and its management were not new, here they were coming at us full force, with a vengeance and with a ferocity and velocity that I had never experienced before and it was NOT FUN. Now, DM and the “quota mongers” would state that this was straight up and vertical expansion. After all, the staff were not doing enough so “get used to the rocket ride baby cause we’re clearing the planet for real now”. Unequivocal hogwash.
The insanity begins:
The Basics were to be announced at the Maiden Voyage events in 2007. The staff had to be bonded and were given a briefing right before the first event so that we would understand the magnitude of the release and therefore the importance of getting the HIGHEST EVER attendance. The call-in for this was nuts!
We invited people who had no business being there. We would call until 10:30 pm and sometimes later. It was okay that people who could only speak and understand Spanish were invited in droves (even though the event would not be translated) just to get the body count up. It was okay if raw public and even public right off the street with no prior reach were invited, just to get the body count up. During call-in I would bring up the logical argument that I did not agree that we should be inviting people who could not speak English just so we could have a warm body in a seat. This was ignored. It seemed chaotic and not thought out at all. No one seemed to care about the PR consequences. We would “burn that bridge when we came to it”, so to speak. When the first event finally aired, we had many people walk out and I felt bad for them, giving up their Saturday night, getting all dressed up, only to be scammed by the C of S and made to feel stupid for not understanding.
Staff of a spiritual crusade or glorified telemarketer?:
Next came the real organizational psychosis: The sale of the Basics.
The sale of the Basics turned our staff into telemarketers morning, noon and night and pulled them off their regular posts. Instead of Musical Chairs it was a daily teeter-totter where the bulk of the staff members time was spent on Basics sales and the rest of the time trying to squeeze in regular care of the public where they could. New Div 6 public were looked on as a minor nuisance, in certain ways, as they were sitting right in the middle of all the action and so we had to “be careful”of what we said. We would handle these people as quickly as we could so we could get back onto what really mattered – the stats we had better have at the end of the night. Those stats were not the number of attested clears or new people on service, I can tell you that much.
Over many months, all that really seemed to matter was how many Basics packages were sold. Not just books, but packages. The HES and BSO, seriously, were called every 15 to 30 minutes by Bridge and Gold. They had to know what everyone was doing, in regards to Basics sales, at every moment. No one was asked about PCs or students or releases or attestations or any service stats. People onlines who had not purchased the whole package (3,000.00) were literally hounded and ganged up on by tag teams that included top SO members from the CLO who would not let up on the person until he/she purchased. It got ugly.
I am realizing as I write this that I could go on and on for pages. To shorten this up, what I saw during this time was insanity and outright criminal behavior. Here are some of the following activities that made me start to doubt what I was involved in:
Mega financial irregularities/Criminal activity:
Public accounts being debited, at Flag, for thousands of dollars to pay for multiple sets of Basics that they never approved.
Boxes of Basics just showing up on people’s doorsteps unordered while being debited off account without permission (someone’s stat push). One such was an 84 year old woman who did not know what to do with all the many boxes outside her door. She lived alone.
OT Committee members and others with wealth being hyped up and asked to purchase multiple sets of Basics to sell to others. This was only to get the stats up and like unused stock from some multi-level marketing scam after the greedy emotion dies down, the books sit in the people’s basements untouched and unsold.
MAAs and other “non-sales” people willing to have a conflict of interest, essentially extorting money from the public, by insinuating or outright telling parishioners that they could get through the lines faster if they donated money for libraries or sold Basics packages to their friends.
Stat pushes with little or no result:
Event after event to get library donations to, again, get the stats up. I live in Chicago with a huge library system. Very few of the libraries carry LRH’s books here. They still kept their old books and, of the new that they do have, few are in all of our libraries and they are not checked out (I am able to check this out online). That campaign was a waste of money and yet it still continues.
In regards to donations for materials, on two occasions I noted that opportunistic means were used to pull heart strings that seemed amoral to me at the time. One was using the earthquake in Haiti and the other was using a raid on the church that had happened weeks before but was made to seem like it just happened and in both occasions books, quite frankly, were not the immediate solution.
People being called non-stop, daily, no matter how many times they asked not to be and, after being harassed by the org, being put in a stack of “ARC X” folders. One gentleman told our ED that he literally felt so depressed that he thought of taking his own life because of our unrelenting calls. He said he counted that one day, he received 63 calls.
DM pulls it all together for us:
At some point during this insanity, DM makes the 1.1 statement to all of us, somewhere along this line, “If this feels like drudgery or slavery, than you’re doing it wrong because Scientology is supposed to be uplifting, exhilarating and exteriorizing.” How very clever of him to know and spot exactly how we were all feeling but could not express (as it was deliberately being caused) and then indicate to us all that we were DOING IT WRONG. So, just as staff may be getting ready to tell management to stick it where the sun don’t shine, he pulled the old introversion trick.
Oh, there’s so much more. Lots of cross orders and cross regging and impossible money targets and I could go on and on. I felt like everyday on post was all about money and I was engaging in behavior that I felt wrong about just so that I wouldn’t appear reasonable or off-purpose. I started to lose self respect.
Doubts are creeping in:
Each day, for quite awhile, we would chinese school the many Basics package prices. This insipid inculcation literally made me nauseous and the crass commercialism felt so “unspiritual” that I longed to just sit in some temple and burn incense in peace. I went to qual to complain about the non-spirituality of it all. Understandably, the Qual Sec knew not what to do with me. I thought to myself, many times, “What am I doing here?” About this time, too, Anonymous had left a note on the window of our org that stated, “It’s okay to have doubts.” I realize, now, that had an effect on me.
The veil is lifted:
Because I was so unhappy and knew something was really wrong, I told a staff member that I was feeling critical toward DM and management. This was my own personal observation but it was thought that I must have gotten some Black PR that I didn’t even realize. I knew that I hadn’t because I had dutifully, for 25 years, avoided and swatted back all bad press and all negative comments on the Internet. I just hadn’t gone there. I knew nothing about DM’s behavior and crimes. I just didn’t like what I saw right in front of my own eyes.
It was thought that I should go to the DSA and get the Freedom Magazine dead agent pack on DM as a handling for the “possible hidden insidious Black PR” that got on “my lines”. This was a mistake to have me read this but I am glad it was suggested as it led me to the truth. I knew nothing about Mike Rinder and I had never even heard of Marty or Tom DeVocht and since the magazine only called these people Fact Checker, King Pin, and Con Man, I still didn’t know who they were talking about….oh, oh, mystery sandwich.
So, I sat down and read through this and I was appalled at how nasty the tone of it was and how unprofessional, juvenile, and creepy it made our upper management look. There was no denial of a culture of violence and it was all just a matter of who was perpetrating this violence. Until then, my mental picture of Int was that of a pristine organization of truly sane, kind, caring, and OT beings that would never, ever allow that type of behavior for a nanosecond. This was quite a blow. When I realized the whole shooting match was being run by a bunch of bozos I felt a sense of anger and yet, a sense of absolute relief at the same time. This was the beginning of connecting all the dots so that everything made sense to me. I could tell the church was lying and I hadn’t even heard the SP Times story yet.
Still, I was continuing to be “with the program” to a certain degree. I hadn’t even gone on the Internet yet! I let the cognitive dissonance knock around in my head for a couple of months and then it got so bad that I had to hear the other side of the story, the story of the people that the church was trying to dead agent. So, I turn to the Internet.
First stop: The SP Times, The Truth Rundown:
I watch every video – Amy, Marty, Steve, Jeff, Tom, Shelly, etc. Everyone of them I watched over and over. I could not believe what I was hearing and yet I totally believed them. It was obvious they were sincere.
Well, then I found the SP Times story on Geir, Sherry and Mary Jo and then I contacted Geir who helped me and then Amy took my phone call and then I was on the path of reading and reading and reading and I still have not stopped. I want ALL THE TRUTH.
Will my husband stay with me? How can I not tell him?:
Geir, Amy and Dan Koon helped me to be able to break this all to my husband. My husband is a very, very dedicated auditor and supervisor who loves LRH and has been on staff for 25 years straight.
I finally decided that I had to tell him. How could I live this lie? I let him know that I could no longer support the C of S and asked him to please look at the data I had been reading and the testimonies I had been watching. It took some confront, but once he looked, he really did his due diligence. He did the best doubt formula I have ever seen and he finally told me that he had reached a point of no return and could no longer support the church either. This took many weeks. This is not easy to confront when you’ve devoted your whole life to the crusade. I was grateful he was so sane. I did not want to lose him.
Announcing this to the org:
He and I went and made the announcement to the HAS, CO OSA and the DSA that we felt COB was an SP and could not support the organization and the human rights abuses. This was not easy for them to hear, of course, and to be very honest and give credit where due, we were treated like absolute gold. The DSA did the absolute best job she could do given these horrific circumstances. Though, of course she does not agree, she treated us with the utmost kindness as did the HAS and CO OSA. I have nothing negative to say about our org or our staff at all. We were shown many dead agent materials on all of my now friends, Amy, Steve, Dan, Jeff, etc. and none of it moved us an inch as it was all of the variety of the usual character assassination that is the signature of the church and so we finally had to say that’s that.
It’s obvious now that what we were experiencing was symptomatic of the horrific unethical and criminal behavior at the top of the org board. It’s funny, I used to rationalize the insane amount of regging by saying to a fellow staff member, “We must really be losing the battle against the SPs” or “We must have run out of time for this to be so engulfing and so frantic.” I would always get lots of agreement on these thoughts, as that was the only explanation that would make sense to a staff member.
Now I know that it was all actually as it appeared – a greedy, desperate and uncaring drive to extract every last dime, hour, and original thought from its staff and parishioners for the aggrandizement and protection of a sociopath who has committed a huge act of betrayal against mankind. It’s also repulsively creepy when you juxtapose the reality of the man against what parishioners actually think of him.
I have learned a lot though and now I understand how I allowed my involvement to hinder my critical thinking skills and I believe it was a valuable lesson. I highly doubt I could be that stupid and vulnerable again. Let’s hope not.
Thank you ALL for bring smart, perceptive, kind and tremendously caring. We miss our old friends. We are counting on this all being exposed to the rank and file soon, so that we can talk to our friends again but, in the meantime, we will sacrifice our comfort to expose these unconscionable human rights abuses. I, for one, am standing up to be counted.
With Love to You All,