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.
We’re continuing to learn what Scientologists actually do as they pay hundreds of dollars an hour to move up the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” This week, Claire tells us about Expanded Grade 1. What’s this level all about, Claire?
CLAIRE: We’ve covered “objective processes” before and how they are targeted to deal with “Control, Communication, and Havingness” (CCH). This level specifically deals with addressing the issues most people have with help, control, and problems.
THE BUNKER: Sounds practical.
CLAIRE: The ability gained for this level is listed on the Grade Chart as “Ability to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish.”
THE BUNKER: Voilà!
THE BUNKER: All right, we’re game. We’ve looked through the Expanded Grade 1 course, and we see that things start out with more object-touching. It involves numerous CCH routines, which you explained previously as “processes to overcome aversion to being controlled.”
In other words, Scientology at this point is a lot of conditioning about how to be a compliant Scientologist.
So we get “You touch that wall. Thank you” and “Put your hands against mine, follow them and contribute to their motion” and “Look around the room and tell me what you would permit to remain.”
You know, we’re having some flashbacks to the lovely lady who ran our pre-school class at this point. We’ll never forget the graham crackers and milk.
“I am going to tell you to start. And when I tell you to start, you start the body in that direction. Do you understand that? Good. Start. Did you start that body? Thank you.”
It must be exhilarating to spend something like 30 grand to get to this level of sophistication.
CLAIRE: Hey, if someone enjoyed it and had lasting, documented improvement, then good on them! I’m not knocking anyone’s good experiences.
Maybe there are positive things to be gained in Scientology. I just haven’t seen consistency, and in my own experience, the cons so massively outweighed any pros that it just is not much of a discussion.
Again, that’s me. If someone else feels transformed, I wish them all the best in true sincerity.
On the other hand, it’s my right as a free human being to give my opinion if I so choose. And I’ll tell you, the “fringes” of the Internet are a downright party compared to any one day of life at the Int Base. Simply glorious.
THE BUNKER: Now let’s get to the meat of Grade 1. Here are just a few of the many penetrating questions we’ll be asked repeatedly, for days.
“What problem could your help be to another?”
“What help from others would others rather not confront?”
“What motion has helped others?”
“Who have you failed to control?”
“Get the idea of you not solving a problem of your own.”
“What two things can you confront?”
“What solution could you make stick?”
“What self determined changes have you made this life?”
“Point out something another could get others to desire.”
The thing is, Claire, we can see some of these questions eliciting some helpful responses. But we marvel at the fetishistic nature of it. That it has to be these questions, asked exactly this way, in a particular order, over and over again, as if they had some magical quality that would unlock some gateway to an alternate reality.
Is that what Scientologists think is going on?
CLAIRE: For me at least it was a matter of “make it through this to eventually get to the higher levels where mystical abilities would be unlocked.”
Every issue of Advance! magazine featured supernatural tales of “OT Abilities” — I know you posted a lot of them last year.
THE BUNKER: Yes. Those stories were rather fantastic and pedestrian at the same time — having the supernatural power to find a parking spot or change a light to green, for example — and they did come off like so much glitter to keep the lower-level folks dreaming of OT, Operating Thetan, the top end of the Bridge.
CLAIRE: It always seemed that I was working towards a far-off and not very attainable goal of getting onto the OT levels, where everything would suddenly make sense and would have been worth it.
THE BUNKER: Speaking of worth, last week we estimated that Expanded Grade 0 would take five $2,500 “intensives” (counseling in 12.5-hour blocks) for $12,500 total.
CLAIRE: That’s right. But keep in mind that $12,500 for five intensives is the cheapest possible price. If you were to get this same grade delivered at Flag (the Scientology spiritual HQ in Florida), you would be paying way more than that. I think we’re safe and accurate to say that this level would cost $20,000. That factors in the extended time for the David Miscavige version of the grades, as we discussed last week.
COST THIS WEEK: $20,000
COST SO FAR: $58,197
Posted by Tony Ortega on August 20, 2013 at 07:00
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