Claire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology’s International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology’s “tech,” and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.
Claire, after all the study tech and word clearing and memorizing of Scientology slogans we’ve already gone through, you’re telling us that we have even more to endure?
CLAIRE: Well, next is “Method One Co-Audit,” and it’s where you’re paired up with another person. You then audit each other on Method One word clearing. The “end phenomena” (or EP as it’s called in the world of Scientology) is the recovery of one’s education. We can run through the steps of the process. And after completing Method One word clearing and Student Hat (which we’ve already covered) you are now a “Fast Flow Student.”
THE BUNKER: Please tell us that means we get a big certificate to take home.
CLAIRE: As you can see, status and labels are already becoming quite dominant at this point.
THE BUNKER: You’re only as good as your last success story, apparently. Well, Claire, please take us through this course.
CLAIRE: So the steps of the Method One Co-audit course are:
— Study the theory, which includes a repeat through the barriers to study and HCOB Blow Offs, where Hubbard states his theory that the only reason someone leaves Scientology is because of overts and withholds, and prior to that, misunderstood words.
THE BUNKER: Again with the idea that if things fall apart, it’s our own fault.
CLAIRE: That’s right.
— Next you practice the auditing procedure with an E-meter, a doll, and a coach. The coach holds the cans and a doll, and you practice the steps of Method One word clearing by doing it on the doll. You practice with a doll because practicing on a person could “wreak havoc on their case.” That’s Scientology-speak for throwing someone into a mental spin, if that makes sense.
THE BUNKER: Make sense? Sorry, this is supposed to make sense? Since when?
CLAIRE: Try to keep up.
— Next you team up with your twin and you each audit the other on Method One word clearing. This consists of the following: Let’s say I’m the co-auditor and my twin is holding the cans. the first step is for me to “assess” or read off a long list of subjects that the person has studied. this list is pre-fabricated, and then added to, to make sure it’s a complete list.
Any subject that reacts on the E-meter is then addressed. For example, let’s say there was a reaction on math. I’d then ask “In the subject of math, what word has been misunderstood?” and that’s continued over and over again.
I was twinned with a Spanish lady named Cecilia, and I did this course at Valley Org, which at the time was located in North Hollywood.
It took us about two months to get through the course, studying 12.5 hours per week. The cost is around $1,200.
THE BUNKER: Here’s a description we found in a Method One checksheet: “Clearing commands, on a doll. Coach answers for the doll and holds the cans. squeezing the cans to simulate reads. The student clears the commands ‘Do fish swim?’ and ‘Do birds fly?’ On any flunk, the coach shows the student the exact LRH reference violated. The drill is passed when the student has demonstrated he can standardly clear commands, keeping accurate worksheets.”
Is this the first time the E-meter comes into use? Judging by the checksheet, there seems, as in the past, to be a lot of review of previous courses. Again and again you’re getting the training routines and study tech drilled and re-drilled. At some point, did it ever frustrate you that so much of this stuff seemed to be a review of previous material, but at ever more expensive prices?
And yes, it was so frustrating to have to do the same things over and over again. Even more so in later years, since Golden Age of Tech, for example, is a re-do of all courses I’d already done and now needed to do over.
And yes! This is the first time you use an E-meter in Scientology training.
Personally, the cost of Scientology training and auditing was part of the rat race that led me to join the Sea Org, since Sea Org members get training and auditing for free. At age 13, with my parents completely broke from Scientology I couldn’t see any other way I’d possibly ever get trained as an auditor and “OT,” both of which I was being heavily pushed to do by my parents.
In fact, while I was on the Method One co-audit, I received a “case consultation” where they interviewed me on the E-meter and then told me what the cost would be for me to go Clear. My tab came in at $50,000! And I believe that’s cheap compared to what people have ended up paying more recently.
THE BUNKER: The repetition, you have pointed out before, is a key part of the conditioning that keeps a Scientologist in good standing. But we’re also struck at what mind-numbing work it looks like. Looking up words in dictionaries, making clay models, reading and rereading Hubbard policies. During all this drudgery, were you having any “wins” or “gains” that we hear so much about? You have said that you had to write success stories to continue, but were there any genuine feelings that you were on a journey to unlock the secrets of the galaxy? It’s hard to see that happening when the work seems so mundane. Or are we wrong about that?
CLAIRE: Yes, we’ve talked about this before, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it again as we progress.
For me, personally, it was absolutely mind-numbing. There were moments I felt I had wins, but whether those were real, or whether they were from the feeling of relief of making it through the checksheet or course, I’m not sure I could really tell you.
I remember many times going through a checksheet at the outset and “assessing” what the damage would be — how much was repeat, what drills I’d have to do over, and so on.
Certainly at times I felt better able to communicate with people, and felt I could learn any subject. But sincerely, I think I would have made it there without Scientology. And I would have had much less resultant baggage. I think I would have benefited more from a decent education than I ever did from Scientology.
Someone once asked me if it occurred to me that perhaps it was easier for Marc to leave and wake up because he never went through all the training and auditing I did. And I really do think that has a lot of truth to it.
It took me so long to even be willing to extrapolate my own thoughts and feelings versus the “now you’re supposed to” lockstep instructions, it still boggles my mind in many ways.
COST THIS WEEK: $1,200
COST SO FAR: $4,325
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