I wrote an earlier post about “things Scientologists are supposed to forget.” We should add to that “people that Scientologists are supposed to forget.”
One of those people we are supposed to forget is Heber Jentzsch. Heber got into Scientology the same year I got in, 1967. So as of this year, he has been in Scientology for 43 years. He is now 76 years old. For many years he was the main spokesperson for Scientology, and while he often argued and fought with reporters, he also earned their respect. In 1982, he was appointed President of the Church of Scientology International, and became, for many, the public face of Scientology. He was a frequent speaker at events, and with his humor and charm, became a popular figure in Scientology. Every Scientologist knew who Heber was.
And now, he’s disappeared from the world of Scientology. He’s just gone.
But do Scientologists ask “where’s Heber?” No. They all know that when someone disappears, you’re not supposed to notice or ask questions.
Do they ask to see the issue removing him from the post of President CSI? Of course not. Do they even ask who is now holding that post? Of course not.
Do they ask why his name has disappeared from Church websites? Or why he never appears at events? No.
I knew Heber. We met at Flag in the 1970s, and we both worked in the Complex in the 1980s. And when I was at the Base, Heber was an occasional visitor, coming up from LA for a conference or meeting. Every time we saw each other, we’d chat for a minute and catch up.
Heber was universally liked within Scientology. I never knew anyone who disliked him.
Except one. David Miscavige.
Miscavige hates Heber. Miscavige hates anyone who is competent, intelligent, and popular. He sees them as a power threat.
So what happened to Heber? Mike Rinder, one of the most recent people to leave the Base, described how Heber is treated by Miscavige. Mike says, in part:
“Heber bore the brunt of much of Miscavige’s ire over the years. I have seen Miscavige strike Heber on at least 10 occasions. Miscavige had dolls made in the likeness of Heber (and me). These were very elaborate reproductions that looked like ventriloquists dolls. Miscavige would make Heber sit with the doll on his lap and Miscavige would address himself to the doll instead of talking to Heber directly. This was to demonstrate the ‘fact’ that Miscavige thought Heber ‘wooden’ and ‘unresponsive.’ (Anyone who knows Heber can attest to how ridiculous this is). It is all part of Miscavige’s Joking & Degrading and constant denigration of people around him, especially those he considered were some form of threat (and Heber’s popularity with staff and public was a very real threat in Miscavige’s eyes).
“The dolls were even flown to the UK for the IAS event where Heber endured endless cruel bullbaiting at the hands of Miscavige. I only saw Heber snap once, when after hours of Miscavige brand taunting and belittling, Miscavige squirted Heber’s face and glasses with contact lens fluid and then blew powdered coffee creamer into his face. This is the level of behavior of the so called ‘leader’ of Scientology.
“But that wasn’t all that happened at IAS event time. Heber, along with myself and Guillaume Lesevre were assigned to MEST work. It was surreal, donning a tuxedo to do an international event and then a boilersuit to do MEST work in the woods next to the Saint Hill Manor lake. And then being thrown fully clothed in the lake (in November). Miscavige then decided it wasn’t good enough to be ‘hidden’ by the lake and moving us to do MEST work next to the Stables where all Saint Hill staff walked to eat their meals. It was there that Heber slipped on a log, fell and quite badly injured himself. Of course, Miscavige blamed that on Heber’s ‘out ethics’. (And just a final note on the UK, not really on topic – Guillaume Lesevre and I were assigned to clean the toilets and sweep the halls in AOSHUK , watched over by Security Guards – plenty of public witnessed this).
“Heber is banned by Miscavige from making any public appearances and isn’t allowed to be in Int events any longer. So, he has become a ‘non-person’ and is kept out of sight at the Int base.
“Heber was the first person from outside the Int base to be sentenced to the Hole. He was there when I left in March 2007, and for all I know, is still there. I do know NOBODY has heard from him for years. And while he was in the Hole, regardless of his years of service and his progressing age, he was treated like everyone else: living in the CMO Int trailer along with 100 others, sleeping on the floor, eating standing up in an office with no tables and chairs and only leaving for 20 minutes once a day for a communal shower in the garage (unless DM was around, in which case some days there were no showers as nobody wanted to risk DM seeing the SPs in the Hole being frog-marched by security to the garage because it would ‘enturbulate’ him – though he demanded daily reports to keep track of ‘juicy’ admissions coerced out of people). Heber was stood in front of the 100 people and ‘forced’ to confess (an activity which I am ashamed to say I took part in) and then derided about his Mormon upbringing and his relationships with other religious leaders (he was labeled a squirrel). Heber never complained though he was the most senior person in the Hole and the living conditions took a greater toll on him than anyone.
“And like everyone else, he was not allowed to communicate with anyone outside the Hole at all. Not even his own family. And that for Heber was perhaps the hardest thing to endure.”
This is how one of the most respected senior figures in Scientology is treated. With over four decades of dedicated service to the Church, Heber should be enjoying a well-earned retirement, enjoying his senior years with his family and friends around him. He should be the one feted and awarded at events, not the people who give the most money to Miscavige’s slush fund.
Rumor has it that Heber’s son, Alexander Jentzsch, has left the Sea Org. Alex hasn’t seen his father in four years. I hope that Alex Googles his father’s name and finds out for himself how his father is mistreated within the current Church of Scientology.
And as for Scientology public – don’t you think it’s about time you found the guts to ask the obvious questions about your Church? Or are you going to continue with your head planted firmly in the sand?
From George Orwell’s 1984:
“…people who had incurred the displeasure of the Party simply disappeared and were never heard of again. One never had the smallest clue as to what had happened to them. In some cases they might not even be dead. ..”