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The story of Brian Sheen and his ‘disconnected’ Scientology daughter you haven’t heard

Brian_Sheen

The story hit Thursday night at about midnight, just as we were putting to bed our own piece about a Scientology day care scandal.

A local television station in South Florida reported that a man named Brian Sheen, 62, had filed a “civil rights complaint with the state” over Scientology’s toxic “disconnection” policy which rips apart so many families. In his case, his daughter, a Scientologist, had turned away from him, and he was being told nothing by the church about why it had ordered her to do so.

It seemed like a juicy story, and over the next 24 hours it was picked up by numerous other outlets, including the Palm Beach Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But the original story was perplexing. What was meant by a “civil rights complaint”? Was it a lawsuit? Was there actually a state agency that could be compelled to investigate Scientology’s cases of disconnection? And would it actually have jurisdiction involving a 38-year-old woman on the other side of the country? Meanwhile, the story said almost nothing about Sheen’s background — had he been a Scientologist himself?

Before turning in Thursday night, we found a couple of email addresses for Sheen and sent him messages asking him to share his documents with us and give us a call.

On Friday, he did. And after talking with him, we realized there was a much more interesting story than was told in the “complaint” he had filed with the state.

This is what we found out.

 

—————

 
The first thing that surprised us in our conversation with Brian Sheen was that he had actually sought help from attorneys before he took matters into his own hands.

Really? Anyone we know?

“Ken Dandar. I talked to him about my situation,” Sheen said, and we did a double-take. Dandar? The Tampa attorney who fought Scientology tooth and nail for years over the death of Lisa McPherson, one of the darkest periods in Scientology history? That Dandar?

“Yeah, I talked to Ken about suing them. He told me his hands were tied,” he added.

Well, yeah. Not only because there didn’t seem to be obvious grounds for a lawsuit, but also because, you know, Ken Dandar is currently under a million-dollar go-for-the-throat court judgment won by the Church of Scientology against him that the church, we have no doubt, plans to use to grind Dandar into a fine powder.

But still, points to Sheen for creativity. Who was this guy?

We asked Sheen to start from the beginning. Where was he from? New York, he said. And he told us that he first got into Scientology in 1970 at the New York org.

“At the Hotel Martinique?” we asked, having just written a book where some of the action takes place there.

“Yeah! There by Macy’s, with the nice square outside. That’s where I started my training,” he said.

While he was still just 18, Sheen then went to England to Saint Hill Manor, Scientology’s UK headquarters in East Grinstead. He was there to “go Clear” with the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, and also to train to become a Class VIII auditor at the “Advanced Org Saint Hill” (AOSH UK).

Sheen laughed, admitting that one reason he traveled so far for the experience was that the conversion rate meant that the courses there cost a fraction of what he would have paid in Los Angeles, the other place where such advanced classes were offered.

Saint Hill Manor had been L. Ron Hubbard’s home in the early and mid 1960s, but now the Scientology founder was running the movement from a ship somewhere in the Atlantic. The East Grinstead manor was still a hive of activity even with Hubbard gone, with families from various parts of the globe coming and going.

Including one family from New Jersey that arrived one day while Sheen was there.

“Whenever I hear the name ‘David Miscavige,’ I still think of that 14-year-old kid I met at Saint Hill,” Sheen says, referring to Scientology’s current leader.

Sheen’s next step was to be trained as the AOSH UK Senior “C/S” — case supervisor — but in order to get that important position, he had to get special training that was available only in one place — “Flag.”

“I joined the Sea Org and went to Flag, joining the ship in Las Palmas,” he says. The Sea Organization was the name L. Ron Hubbard had given the young men and women who were sailing with him and his three ships, the Athena, the Diana, and the flagship, the Apollo, also known just as “Flag.” It was from the Apollo that Hubbard ran his worldwide organization.

“I spent nine months on the ship, training up to a Class IX auditor. I did my C/S internship under Quentin Hubbard. What a great guy. Such a nice guy,” Sheen says of the son of L. Ron Hubbard who later took his life in 1976.

Sheen arrived on the ship in 1973, while Hubbard was actually away — the founder hid out in Queens, New York from December 1972 to September 1973, and during that time wrote up instructions for an audacious plan to infiltrate governments in order to find and purge negative information about Scientology. Hubbard named it the “Snow White Program.”

“I didn’t know where he was when he was gone. They never told us,” Sheen says. But one day in September, Hubbard rejoined the ship, and then, Sheen says, things soon changed dramatically.

“I was a student training for AOSH. I wasn’t a member of the crew. I was sitting there and doing 10 to 12 hours of auditing a day. I was there to study and train. But then the RPF happened, and I wanted to get the fuck out of there,” he says, referring to a new form of punishment, the Rehabilitation Project Force, that Hubbard instituted in January 1974. “Everybody was put on the RPF. The whole ship. I was an affluent-stat auditor, and now you’re treating me like this?”

On the RPF, crew members were assigned to hard manual labor all day, and then had to audit each other at night, trying to find what evil intentions they’d been hiding. Sheen says that the woman who had been named “tech secretary,” Cathy Cariotaki, “turned it into a nightmare.”

“She had us all bowing down and other craziness to this great lord. It was so sick and ridiculous. It was bad enough we had to use toothbrushes to clean the ship. When she came in, I said ‘no more’,” Sheen says.

Coming up with an excuse that he had a sick relative, Sheen managed to get away from the ship, and ditched the Sea Org. He was then hit with a “Freeloader’s bill” of $26,000 — a debt that a departing Sea Org member is told they must pay to make up for all of the discounted courses and free room and board they’ve enjoyed.

A Freeloader’s bill is legally indefensible, but Sheen didn’t know that. He borrowed the money from his mother to pay the bill, then set out to pay her back as he began working at a Scientology mission in Boston, the Executive Education Center, where business executives were recruited to learn better communication skills.

“I was 23 years old. I made a deal where I was working and sleeping in the office, because I had to pay off the money I’d borrowed from my family,” Sheen says.

And it was at this point in our conversation that Sheen explained his mindset. “I was still a Scientologist. But I had always differentiated between the tech and the organization. The organization is crazy, but I thought there was a lot of good workable knowledge in Scientology. So I always kept those two apart in my mind.”

Over the next year and a half, Sheen worked at the Boston mission and also made contacts in the music business. He says he became friends with keyboardists Chick Corea and Mike Garson, who would go on to play with David Bowie. (To this day, Sheen, who wrote music with Garson at one time, makes pilgrimages to the Grammy Awards.)

In 1975, Sheen moved to West Palm Beach to work with a business consultant who offered him a contract. At the same time, he set up his own “Dianetics Counseling Group” and began delivering basic courses as a field auditor. When his business contract ran out, he started working at the center full time.

Then, in 1976 he says, “things got a little insane.”

“I met this beautiful girl at the Miami org. We got engaged, and we were getting ready to get married. But the night before the wedding, the ED of the org talked to her and, I guess, third-partied the shit out of me,” he says with a laugh. In other words, the Executive Director of the Miami org, for reasons Sheen has never understood, badmouthed him to his bride.

“She canceled the marriage. And I never spoke to her again,” he says.

Sheen was shattered. When his old girlfriend Jennifer in Brooklyn offered to come to West Palm Beach to help him get through it, he says it sounded like a good idea. “I guess I was rebounding pretty hard.”

He and Jennifer married, and on May 25, 1977, they welcomed their daughter Springsong into the world.

“We were divorced within a year, and she moved to LA with the baby. We had joint custody for a while, and I’d go out to visit her or she’d come to Florida. But when Springsong started school, she lived with her mom, who got remarried,” he says.

Sheen, meanwhile, moved on to another phase of his life. Scientology receded to the background as his field auditing center closed down and he started working in the financial sector.

“I made one more attempt to do something in Scientology. I think it was 1979, and some reg had regged me to do the Ls,” he says.

In other words, a Scientology registrar had “regged” Sheen — convinced him to spend money — on expensive levels known as the “L rundowns,” which we described previously with the help of former Scientologist Jefferson Hawkins. For tens of thousands of dollars, Hawkins explained, a Scientologist is asked hundreds of seemingly innocuous questions, helping him or her “remember” incidents that had happened millions or billions of years before.

At this point, Sheen was at the highest level then available for a church member, a level known as “OT 7” (the highest level today, OT 8, wouldn’t be released until 1988). So the Ls were supplementary, but still very pricey. Sheen went to Flag, which by now was a set of buildings located in Clearwater, Florida, after Hubbard and his personal navy had finally come back ashore in 1975.

“I was willing to sit there and go through this. I had always found the auditing to be helpful — except for OT 3. But everything else I had found to be useful,” Sheen says. “So I get there to start the Ls, but they brought me into a room and started telling that before I did the Ls, I first had to do this, this, and this. It was something else that was going to cost me another $20,000, and I said, why didn’t you tell me that first? Because then I wouldn’t have come.”

Sheen says he made a scene, demanding his money back for the Ls. “I want it back immediately, I told them. And I ended it.”

He was done with Scientology. But asking for a refund is one of the worst things a Scientologist can do. He got his money back, but Sheen says he was assigned to “lower conditions” — his status in the church itself was at risk.

“I eventually accepted an amnesty that came out the next year, so I was back in good standing,” he says. “That was it. They had nothing more I wanted from them. That was my last involvement with Scientology.”

Despite the way things had worked out with the Ls, Sheen hadn’t been “declared” a “suppressive person” — Scientology’s form of excommunication — and he was satisfied that he’d left the church on good terms.

Meanwhile, he was doing well in finance, and opened up his own firm that thrived in the 1980s. But then in 1991 it all came to an abrupt halt.

The IRS, Sheen says, changed its rules, and tax shelters he’d been using suddenly became liabilities. “My career in finance crashed and burned. I was very depressed. I was seeing a psychologist, who recommended antidepressants. I just watched my whole life blow up. My second marriage was over, I lost my house. I was at rock bottom.”

His broker’s license was suspended, and later revoked. Then, the turning point: Sheen was walking by a yoga and meditation center in downtown Delray Beach, and he decided to take a class.

“I started learning how to meditate, and it made me realize that what I liked most about Scientology really wasn’t Scientology.”

He says he began experiencing through meditation some of the same feelings that had hooked him on Scientology’s early processes, some of which involved staring exercises.

“I got inspired. This is what I was looking for. I dedicated the next five years of my life to researching all of the things that Hubbard had talked about. He talked about the Vedas, for example, but now I wanted to experience it for myself. Or the other things he brought up that I hadn’t actually looked into directly.”

So what you’re saying, we asked, is that you went looking for Source’s sources?

Sheen laughed, acknowledging our use of Scientology’s label for Hubbard, that he was literally Source for all wisdom and knowledge.

“He wasn’t the source! He was a false source. I hadn’t realized this,” Sheen says. “And I’ve been going to the real sources ever since.”

After his five-year journey, he found that the owners of the Delray Beach yoga center were planning to move to India — and they asked him if he wanted to buy them out. And for the past 16 years, he’s built the place into a center that delivers many different alternative therapies. “Hypnotherapy, regression therapy, shamanism,” he says, reeling off several other “integrative” techniques.

Meanwhile, in California, his daughter Springsong was still growing up around Scientology, Sheen says, primarily because her mother was still involved in it. “Springsong didn’t seem to care about it. But then, around 1994, when she was 17, she was doing some courses and she fell in love with a Sea Org member,” he says.

Springsong joined the Sea Org, got married, but then left the SO just a year and a half later and divorced. “Then she just went on with her life,” Sheen says, and insists that his relationship with his daughter was always a strong one. Sheen also says he never tried to interfere with his daughter’s interest in Scientology, or his ex-wife’s. And he says he’s always gotten along well with his ex.

Springsong became a DJ, working corporate events, and Sheen says that today many of her clients are Scientologists or Scientology firms.

 
Spring_Atkinson-Baker2

 
Then, last year, she met someone new, and got engaged. “He was very into Scientology,” Sheen tells us.

What’s his name?

“Ryan something. I’m forgetting his last name. His parents were in the Sea Org for a long time.”

Sheen then began telling us that Ryan’s father was an odd guy who wore a ratty T-shirt to the rehearsal dinner for the wedding in San Francisco last November. And things were done on the cheap, with everyone paying for that meal and at the wedding reception the next day, which was just a big meal at a restaurant.

Then Sheen told us what Ryan’s parents did for a living, and our jaw dropped open.

“They own a court-reporting firm,” he said.

Atkinson-Baker?

“That’s it! Ryan Atkinson-Baker,” Sheen said.

Stunned, we went looking for a photograph. When we found it, we emailed it to Sheen.

“That’s them! Those are Ryan’s parents.”

 
IASAtkinson

 
We explained the significance of the photograph to Sheen. It portrays Alan and Sheila Atkinson-Baker, and the trophy they are posing with was given to them to recognize that by the end of 2013, they had personally donated a cumulative total of $13 million to Scientology’s slush fund, the International Association of Scientologists.

Sheen sounded stunned. We asked what else the family skimped on at Springsong’s wedding.

“Everything!” he said with a laugh. “They got married at City Hall — which is beautiful in San Francisco. But my daughter had her friends there taking pictures because there was no photographer.”

 
SpringWedding

 
Sheen says he got along well with Ryan and his parents. And he joked with his ex-wife, who was there with her boyfriend. There was no indication at all of any tension, or issues with Scientology. Sheen was no longer a Scientologist, but he didn’t care that his daughter was in the church and had married a Scientologist. It just wasn’t important.

So that’s why, he says, the letter he received in April from the church came as such a shock.

It was from the “justice chief” of the “Flag Land Base” in Clearwater, Sea Org member Cara Golashesky. And it informed Sheen that he’d been declared “suppressive” — in other words, he had been tossed out of the church. In order to get back in Scientology’s good graces, he’d have to do a series of “amends” known as the “Steps A to E.”

 

Dear Brian,

A declare order has been issued on you, which states that you have been labeled suppressive and need to do the Steps A to E.

I have attached a copy of the relevant policy letter — HCO PL SUPPRESSIVE ACTS, SUPPRESSION OF SCIENTOLOGY AND SCIENTOLOGISTS. This lists out the A to E steps, see tab. Additionally highlighted are the Suppressive Acts you were found demonstrably guilty of and thus the requisite that you do A to E.

The first stop is for you to recant and, once done, to do Step A, which is for you to cease committing present time overts, attacks and suppressions so that you can get case gain. Your only terminal is the International Justice Chief via a Continental Justice Chief. You may reach me at the below address.

Sincerely,

Cara Golashesky
FLB Justice Chief
503 Cleveland St.
Clearwater, FL 33755

 
Sheen says the document made no sense. It had been 36 years since he was an active Scientologist. He had no interest in doing steps in order that he could make “gains” on his “case.” And as for suppressive acts, the attached document listed only generalities. He couldn’t tell from it what he was really accused of doing. He hadn’t criticized Scientology. Not to his ex-wife, his daughter, or her new family, the Atkinson-Bakers.

But he knew the consequences. Once he was declared, any other Scientologist who wanted to remain in good standing had no choice but to cut off all ties with him. And with her new marriage and her business tied up with Scientologists, Springsong would be in no position to go against that order.

“She called me,” Sheen says. “She had found out right after I got the letter. ‘You know what this means,’ she told me. ‘This is crazy, dad. I’ll do everything I can to work on this and get this changed.’

“She then cut off ties to me, and she won’t answer anything. Calls, emails, texts. Nothing. But I understand. She would face being declared herself.”

Desperate to figure out what was happening, on May 1 Sheen sent a lengthy letter to Golashesky that he shared with us.

“It is nearly a month now and you still have not provided me with any of the facts I have requested to address the false accusations against me which resulted in your ‘Declare Order’,” he wrote.

Sheen says he requested a “comm ev” — a committee of evidence, which is something like a Scientology court-martial — in order to hear evidence against him and then respond to it. But his request has been ignored.

In his May 1 message, he quoted from a letter that Scientology had sent filmmaker Alex Gibney, accusing the director of not checking his facts with the church in his movie Going Clear. Sheen said the church was doing the same thing to him, not checking its facts before accusing him of “suppression.”

Getting no response from the church, Sheen then decided to go public. He created a website about the matter, and then, on July 4, submitted a lengthy, rambling “civil rights complaint” to the Florida Commission on Human Relations, a body that actually considers discrimination claims in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.

“The Church of Scientology, through their deliberate actions, has abused my civil and constitutional rights,” Sheen wrote, and asked the commission to interpret Florida law “liberally” in order to step in and stop Scientology’s policy of disconnection.

Our legal experts examined Sheen’s complaint and told us they were not very sanguine about the chances of the human relations commission doing anything with it.

But Sheen, after talking with Ken Dandar and other attorneys, knew that he really doesn’t have grounds for a lawsuit. So he’d sent the complaint instead.

“I don’t know any other way,” Sheen told us. “If someone can tell me another way, I’d like to know.”

We then asked if he would share with us his daughter’s phone number. We told him she probably wouldn’t talk to us — she had already declined to talk to a local television station — but it was worth trying to call her. He gave us the number.

After a couple of rings, Springsong picked up.

We figured we had only a few moments before she hung up, so we quickly tried to explain the situation. Journalist. Scientology. Dad Brian gave the number. Why do you think he’s been declared?

After having us go through things a couple more times — which we took as a good sign — she got her feet under her and began trying to push us away. “I understand what you’re saying, but I’m really not interested in having this conversation.”

We tried again, asking her why she thought her father might have been declared, when he didn’t understand what it was about.

“He knows what he needs to do,” she said, and we immediately recognized where she was going. It was a standard Scientology reply — that Brian had been given instructions by the justice chief.

But, we asked Springsong, Brian is no longer a Scientologist — how can he do his A to E steps?

That one seemed to stun her. Maybe she wasn’t expecting a reporter to use the lingo. She started to protest again, saying she was with her niece and needed to get off the phone.

“What’s happening with my religion is really not anybody’s business,” she said. “This is a very, extremely private matter.”

But we protested, saying that it wasn’t private — her father had gone public with it. We said we wondered if her mother might want to talk further about what was going on, but she said her mother would “absolutely not” be interested.

From what Brian had told us, we continued, it didn’t seem that her mother, or Springsong, would have made the complaint that got her father declared.

“We didn’t,” she said.

And yet her father was declared even though he was in good standing?

“That’s not the case,” she answered.

He wasn’t in good standing?

“I love my dad very much and I want him to sort things out. And he knows what he needs to do.”

Again, we pointed out, how could he do Steps A to E if he was no longer a Scientologist? And why should he be cut off from her in the meantime?

“In the meantime, we just wait it out a bit,” she answered. And then insisted that she couldn’t talk anymore.

So we let her go.

We called Brian back and told him about the the conversation.

“Wait? Wait for what? They won’t communicate with me. I’ve asked for a comm ev, and they won’t give me a comm ev,” he says. “If I don’t even know what I’ve done wrong, how can I make up for it?”

For now, Brian waits. And he thinks he does know why he was declared, and it has nothing to do with his daughter, his ex, or his new illustrious in-laws.

“I think it’s my brother,” he says.

Brian says that his older brother, Neil, has struggled as a Scientologist. “He never seemed to make any case gain at all,” Brian says. But after their mother died a few years ago, she left an inheritance.

“Neil suddenly had a lot of money, and Flag found out. He’s been over in Clearwater for some time. I haven’t really talked to him in two years,” Brian says.

Brian’s theory of what’s going is pure, arcane Scientology: “My brother is at Flag, not making any gains, as usual, and so they’re looking for a scapegoat,” he says. And so someone at Flag has dug up Brian’s refund for the L rundowns from 36 years ago and made it the basis of his declare. “This way, if they target me, they’ll get even more of my brother’s money.”

Purging Brian Sheen from Scientology and from other Scientologists would cut off his negative influence, and his brother could then begin showing case gain and — most importantly — begin to pay for more courses.

It’s an explanation that only makes sense to Scientologists, but we told Brian that it makes more sense than anything else he’s explained to us.

Brian tells us that he wants to raise awareness about disconnection, which is the reason that he’s created a website and is talking to the press.

“I want to gather the stories of the people who have suffered disconnection by Scientology and demand that something be done,” he says.

We point out that such efforts have been going on for years.

“There are Facebook groups that are dedicated just to talking about the victims of disconnection,” we tell him.

“I didn’t know that,” he says.

Brian Sheen is only beginning to make his way, it’s clear. But his story is compelling, and much more interesting than we initially thought. He knows that his daughter doesn’t want to be disconnected from him — something we confirmed on our own in our conversation with her.

Only Scientology, apparently, thinks it’s good and proper to rip apart this relationship.

 
Brian_Sheen_Singsong

 
——————–

Conspiracy, conschmeerancy

Well, we don’t have much interest in the conspiracy being peddled here, but hey, it’s your proprietor and John Sweeney in the same video! From Channel 5 over there in Blighty…

 

 
——————–

BOOK NOTES
3D-Unbreakable
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

 
July 12: Washington DC, Hill Center DC-Drummond Hall, Center for Inquiry, 2 pm (with Paulette Cooper)

July 14: Hartford, MARK TWAIN HOUSE, 7 pm (with Tom Tomorrow)

July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)

July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellars, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)

July 22: Houston, Fox and Hound, 11470 Westheimer Road, sponsored by Humanists of Houston

July 24: San Antonio, Folc Restaurant/Park Social, 6 pm

July 25: Austin

July 29: Paris, Le Bistrot Landais, 19:00 (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall, (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm (with Gregg Housh)

Sept 15: Arizona State University

Sept 23: Cleveland

Sept 24: Minneapolis

Sept 27: Portland

Sept 28: Seattle

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC

 
——————–

Posted by Tony Ortega on July 11, 2015 at 06:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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  • Hana Eltringham Whitfield

    Hi Brian, I remember you from the ship in the mid seventies, and my heart goes out to you! That’s a living hell you’re going through, one that no person should have to experience not in this day and age. As Spring does not want to be disconnected from you, please make all feasible attempts to contact her. It may seem impossible on first view, but it is not. Send her birthday cards, Christmas cards, call and leave messages, sent little happy things in the mail, send a care package now and then with her favorite goodies. One or more will get through to her, maybe not now while they’re on lockdown, but later. My husband and I say constantly, do not give up. Do everything you can, and keep doing it even though nothing appears to be working. Mail sorters change jobs, receptionists come, Sea Org members change posts more often than you can shake a stick at them. Keep pushing … change is coming!

    • Vaquera

      Encouraging words, Hana.

    • Vich Bradley

      +1. #1 priority is to keep reminding her of your love. Eventually; the barriers will fall one way or another.

      Her “he knows what to do” statement isn’t her talking and deep down, she knows it’s hogwash.

    • Thanks..Yes i have done this and will continue to do so….Thanks for reaching out. I hope you sign my petition and encourage others to as well. Together we can create positive change!

  • B4you
  • Vich Bradley

    What a desperate situation; OMG, more lives shattered by their heartless ways.

    Sadly; “going public” is a tough “sin” to return from in their eyes.

    I can relate – I was SO in ’74-76 in LA and my polite request to leave earned months of the RPS’s RPF white gloving elevator shafts and boiler rooms. Further requests to leave earned an indefinite stay in the “Turkey Room” where 20 people were locked for months. Bizarrely, only a “threat to sue” earned release (and excommunication). I’m amazed nobody killed themselves or died from the mistreatment and poor conditions with heart failure or disease. I had the honor of being their first “graduate to RPF” in months, sigh, for the honor of being RPF for 6 more months until the building was finally finished and I was “released in good standing” – and a fat freeloader debt.

    The RPM was supposedly modeled after the “Apollo RPF”. Strangely; right when they needed a large labor force to renovate the old Cedars Siani Hospital into the new ASHO LA center in Hollywood; they coincidentally discovered all these terrible people (100, 200 … it was a lot) on their staff who really needed a year of solid manual RPF labor to mend their ways.

    Point being; our lives were so entirely wrapped up in Scientology that, even “the Turkeys” didn’t threaten lawsuit. A few managed to bolt and escape; amazingly nobody went to the FBI to wear a wire. I’m sure the Legal office would have destroyed them.

    My youngest sister (a lifelong SO member) “disconnected” from us and my parents for 10 years; just to force their hand to re-join. Of course we all declined, but It broke my heart to seem my mom’s broken so. My mom never forgave my dad; who on his dying bed said his only regret in life was Scientology (that 2 siblings still participate in). Mom never really recovered; although now my sister has recanted her “disconnect” and consoles her with occasional visits. I still don’t forgive her; but she at least asks for it.

    • Vaquera

      Welcome to the Bunker, Vich. Thank you for sharing your experience. Disconnection stories are a gut punch.

      • Vich Bradley

        Thanks. The emotional toll seems lost on them.

        They pride themselves on embettering their members. Part of that seems to be a numb empathy for the human impact of their steam-roller methods. They are the very definition of a Cult.

    • Andrea ‘i-Betty’ Garner

      Hi, Vich, it’s lovely to meet you. I’m so sorry you’ve had to suffer the horrors of the RPF’s RPF and disconnection – just dreadful.

      I do hope you’ll stick around and share more of your story. x

    • Cosmo Pidgeon

      Welcome Vich. I feel so sorry for your Dad and so thankful that I never involved my children in Scientology.When my first was growing up I saw that it would be wrong to do to a child. I cut ties soon after. And quite to the contrary I’ve warned them about it.

      • Vich Bradley

        Thanks. We can’t raise them in glass jars. All we can do is teach them to listen to their inner instincts and try to guide them in a good general direction (ie: not into a Cult).

        I don’t judge my dad for this; he was a great man and a doer in search of answers to life – we all just got sucked into the great wind in his wake. At the end of the day; it was my sister’s poor judgement and she’s paying the steepest price – except possibly my mom who lost part of herself over this. Heartbreak just seems to be a part of life though. At least she came around and re-connected in time for my dad to see (10 years ago).

        I actually thought Scientology had grown smarter than to let this continue; for their own sakes. From what I read about their new leader; he’s seriously lacking in the judgement department and it just gets worse as time passes.

    • Robert Hammond

      Welcome Vich. Take off your hat and coat you’re home. Thanks for sharing your story. Stories heal. Stories change lives. Stories make the world a better place.

    • salin

      Disconnection is such an extreme and noxious policy. Thank you for sharing and adding another voice giving an account that this happens and has long lasting effects.

      Welcome to the Bunker, and peace to you.

    • Ella Raitch

      Welcome Vich!

      • Vich Bradley

        Thanks.

        Fun place to parooz. I’m so far out of the loop on old Scientology gripes – haven’t thought about it for years other than holding the ground with my sister’s transgressions and that’s subsided to mere “normal family dysfunction”.

        However; it’s amazing to see this stuff still going on! I had no idea. It actually seems to be a fresh round of insanity. I wish we could do something to help these victims; maybe moral support thru these forums is about it. Ugg. Kudo’s to Germany for just giving them (Scientology) the boot.

        • Ella Raitch

          I think the pace has picked up and there are more and more revelations coming out. 2015 has been a stellar year, with 2 major documentaries and one book – another 2 journalists’ works in the wings. Scientology is in a closeted mess of paranoia, more than ever before.

    • Pepper

      Welcome Vich and thank you for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it and can relate to the whole family situation. It’s heartbreaking.

    • Juicer77

      Welcome, Vich. Very glad to have you here. Thank you for sharing this.

    • OMG! I hope you will sign my petition and tell your disconnection story and encourage others to as well. Together we can create positive change!

      • Vich Bradley

        Going public; now there’s courage. I wish there were an easy solution.

        • My perception is that it is not about solutions it is about the journey. Life calls upon us to play a certain game and use our talents and abilities to learn and grow. We either answer its call or defer. I use the Bhagavad Gita as an inspiration where Arjuna is called to go to battle with members of his family who have been unethical and he needs to wage a battle to get returned what what his. Krishna reminds him of the temporary nature of this world and of his ultimate truth of being an immortal spiritual being,a thetan in SCN terms

          and to do ones duty and do what is righteous while remembering as immortal beings this is but a mere drop in infinity. I embrace this and find it inspired me to stay tuned actuality instated of relative existence. I hope this makes sense to you but it does to be and this is part of what I have been doing the past 35 years,

          • Vich Bradley

            Some deep truths there.

            For my individual situation; my sister has recanted and has privately disavowed the Church policy (and Ethics Officer’s advice) that led her to disconnect. I’ll never forgive her for the damage done; but in reality I do spend some time with her from time to time when I pick her up for a visit with mom – sometimes bringing mom to dinner together and having polite conversation.

            She knows not to tell us about “how great Scientology is these days”. We stick to the weather, relatives, or maybe her personal exploits (not Scientology in general).

            So; after years of waiting and effectively pressuring her to come our way (or die excommunicated from the rest of the family), it paid off.

            Before she recanted; I managed to speak to her a few times. I told her in no uncertain terms that I’ve told our story in private conversations to many friends and relatives, causing “street level damage” as wide and far as my personal word-of-mouth would reach.

            “Oh, you have 5 siblings, how are they”
            “well, my sister and brother are in a Cult that’s lead to total family division”
            “What Cult”
            “Scientology”
            “’nuff said, I’ve heard the tales”.

            Now that the ordeal is over and my elderly mom is pleased as pie to have the family (at least marginally) repaired, I simply cannot rock the boat with an act that would certainly lead to official Church declarations against us.

            I continue to re-tell the story to others, but at least now it ends with: “but she’s come to her senses and we’ve reunited somewhat”.

            My case is a little different than yours. We weren’t “declared suppressive” – that I know of. It was a case of her blaming her association with us for her “lack of case gain”.

            Now she’s “taken responsibility for it”, and has come to realize just what an awful thing she’s done to her mom.

            Her new stance is: “OMG, what an awful thing I put everyone thru. Its my life goal to gain everyone’s forgiveness”.

            I’m afraid all that would come crushing down if I decided to join a public campaign.

            Ergo; “Vich Bradley” is a name from a SciFi novel – given that this is a “public forum”. My story is real enough in every way though. I feel for you – just can’t step into the firing line over it without torpedoing our family unity again. So sorry.

            • Of course..and it is this type of fear I want to confront and change. If you want to complete form and use your pen name please do so and include why you are!

            • Vich Bradley

              Done, to quote:
              My story is about a “disconnect”; a subtle difference from a “declare & disconnect”. Disconnects can simply be someone believing their “progress up the bridge” to be impaired through lack of support or negativity (real or imagined). A “Declare” is when Church officials buy into it too – or so I recall.

              As we all know, if someone gets excommunicated (declared) it’s absolute, family or not. Honor it or be declared yourself. For the 2 or 3 years I was “in”, I’d loose a close friend or two per year but I couldn’t buck it; I love my family.

              By 1982, we were all entirely out of SO and Scientology except 1 brother (still a very involved member) and 1 sister (still sea org). We all knew to steer clear of bad mouthing Scientology to them or be “declared” or “disconnected”. My parents didn’t need the these rules though, my mom’s a saint for supporting her kids. My dad was the picture of discretion and support as well. I doubt they’ve ever said a single negative word about any of us.

              Fast forward to about 1993. My sister was one of those highly under appreciated types they put on back closet filing duty 60 hours a week for a decade or two. They put it in her head that we were the problem with her “lack of case progress” so she let us know that “unless we re-join Scientology, she needed to go work on herself for a while”. We weren’t about to re-join. Alas; the “disconnect”. Maybe there was some secret declaration, I really haven’t gotten to the bottom of it and can’t without rocking a very delicate boat.

              You should see the devastation my mother suffered. She’d display the last Christmas present sis gave her, barely allowing anyone to touch it for fear of it breaking, cooing over it for a minute then moving on with a distant look. The emotional strain on her was visible.

              Mid 2000’s my dad was dying. Sis recanted in time for him to see in his final months. My mom was overjoyed to gain her baby back; amidst the grief of loosing her husband of over 50 years.

              Fast forward another decade. Mom is elderly and suffering from dementia with recurring episodes about “loosing her child”. For example: last year I found her emptying the trash into the toilet at 3AM saying she just knew my sister was in there somewhere and she needed to find her. With a whole clan of kids to worry over; it’s the one she once lost that drives her mad.

              The family’s back together now; so obviously I’m using a SiFi name to preserve my anonymity to avoid the wrath-rain from descending upon us.

              My problem didn’t rise from the abhorrently Cultish “Disconnect Policy” but I’ve seen it work plenty. It’s a freaking brain wash. Who would leave their loving parents? I’m just sharing in hopes of helping somehow.

            • OMG ! We can’t sit idly by allowing this to continue as this has got to stop. Together we can find a way to make a difference. I am working on more approaches and won’t stop until they succeed!

  • RK

    I had a frank discussion with my children after became aware that my extended family who are still very much involved with the Church were pressuring them to become more involved. I told them that if they signed on that one of two things would happen, or likely both, 1) they would be heavily recruited for staff and 2) they would be required to disconnect from me and likely my whole side of their family. I left it up to them, since they are adults now, but I am so relieved that both have decided to steer clear of any involvement.

  • Pepper

    I wonder if Alan Atkinson-Baker wears tatty tee shirts and doesn’t spend a penny on his son’s wedding is because he’s given all his money away to the Church of Scientology = the IAS?

  • Pepper

    Spring and her father Brian are a beautiful father and daughter. She looks so much like him too. I hope they are reunited very soon, and much sooner than later.

  • Wow! First I want to thank all of you for your kind words and encouragement. I just discovered this chat feature and wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all that’s been said. It’s also quite amazing to see expressions from people I was on Flag with and even gaining some clarity of a few of the events which mushed together. I am blown away by the many disconnect stories being shared and hope they will be registered on my http://www.ScientologyHostage.com site as I intend to collect as many as possible and use them as leverage with Florida politicians to have them take action to protect our constitutional rights and force the Church to be transparent on what they do.

    This new journey has opened my eyes and I hope I will have the opportunity to open my daughters eyes as well. I had no clue as to the many falsehoods Hubbard shared about his past to create the illusions of greatness. Even more concerning to me was seeing how he lived the last 15 years of his life ill, in fear of being found and isolated in a trailer. This alone should make anyone wonder how this can be a model for being such an OT and why would anyone aspire to achieve this.

    I hope my efforts will accomplish something helpful to allow truth and reason to prosper and families to be restored in love and connection once again.

  • John

    There was a photographer at the Wedding apparently. Still doesn’t excuse the groom’s parents being cheap in every other way. http://oneelevenphotography.com/2015/01/san-francisco-elopement/

  • Here is a little hint Brian. You’ve got to request your Comm Ev at least half a dozen times and CC RTC, IJC and others higher on the org board (don’t send it certified but send the request with a tracking notification so that you know it arrived and you have evidence of postal delivery, if it’s certified the church refuses it). Once you are granted the Comm Ev, only then will you be allowed to read the SP Declare and the Comm Ev BOP (at the meeting), thus you cannot prepare for your defense. You are not allowed to have a copy and you will be checked to ensure no recording devices are with you for the Comm Ev. But even if the Comm Ev all goes your way, and even if you are found innocent, you will still be made guilty and given some sort of amends project and required to do something … that costs money. It’s a totally rigged system, a kangaroo court. My data is as PT as it gets.

  • Greetings! I wonder if anyone can help me with this. I need to get hold of any waivers or other forms I may have signed when leaving the Sea org, paying off freeloaders bill in 1974 or getting a refund of undelivered services back in the 1970’s? Any ideas?
    Also any copies of any others forms The Church created since then others might have signed?

    I am working on some legal actions and these items would be very helpful to have so as not to run into something like Garcia did in his case.
    Thanks so much, Brian

  • flower girl 95

    I just read this story. Why not file a lawsuit against Scientology for libel and slander? This “Declare” is hurting Brian Sheen’s business, and in this case, has nothing to do with religion. Everyone who gets “declared” should retaliate, at the very least, by complaining to the authorities about libel.