Five years ago, a little after midnight as 2012 had just begun, we started to get emails.
Later that morning, we realized that what was happening was significant enough to write a story about it. A woman named Debbie Cook had sent her fellow Scientologists a message for the new year, and it was hitting Scientology like a tidal wave.
For 17 years, Debbie had been “Captain FSO,” the Sea Org official who ran the Flag Service Organization, the outfit that oversees Scientology’s spiritual mecca, the Flag Land Base in Clearwater, Florida. The Captain FSO has to be a hard-as-nails Sea Org commander who runs a small army of similarly dedicated fanatics, but also serves and interacts with the wealthy “publics” who come to Flag for its high-priced counseling. And to have that position for 17 years made Debbie almost legendary. But by the end of 2011, she had been moved from that position and then had quietly left the Sea Org itself, although she was still a Scientologist in good standing. Other church members may have not seen or heard from Debbie in some time, but her name was still one that carried weight. Here’s how Jefferson Hawkins explained to us what Debbie meant to most people in the church…
For many, many years, Debbie was used as the spokesperson for the Flag Land Base. Her picture was featured prominently in every issue of “Source” Magazine, with a “Message from the Captain.” She made many, many promotional videos extolling the virtues of coming to the Flag Land Base. The Church deliberately built her up as an “opinion leader” for Scientologists. There was a lot of work that went into establishing her as a high-profile opinion leader for the top Scientologists.
And now, in a lengthy message that was forwarded to thousands of Scientologists around the world, Debbie used the words of L. Ron Hubbard to take apart David Miscavige.
Five years later, we can say that Debbie Cook’s email is one of the things new defectors from the Church of Scientology most often cite as the reason they began to take seriously the idea of leaving an organization they might have belonged to for decades, or had even grown up in. There’s just no question that Debbie Cook’s message had a devastating effect on the loyalty of many longtime Scientologists, and helped them decide to walk away.
Debbie was sued by the church for writing it, based on draconian agreements she had signed when she left her position in the Sea Org. Debbie was living in the San Antonio area at the time, and she hired a local attorney name Ray Jeffrey to represent her. We were in the courtroom that February day for a preliminary hearing, and we can tell you it was a nervous moment. According to a strict reading of the contracts Debbie had signed, Scientology could potentially convince a judge that she owed them millions of dollars for criticizing Miscavige. On Debbie’s side, Jeffrey argued that she had signed those contracts under duress after being abused in the Sea Org. And in order to prove that, he wanted to put Debbie on the witness stand. Scientology’s attorneys were against it, but Judge Martha Tanner said she wanted to hear Debbie’s testimony.
What Debbie said in the witness box was devastating. She talked about leaving her FSO post and being sent to California, where she was tasked with overseeing the imprisonment of executives in “The Hole,” Miscavige’s bizarre jail for underlings he suspected of sabotage. Before long, Debbie was thrown into The Hole as a prisoner herself, and was subjected to disturbing abuse, such as being stood up in a trash can with water poured over her while the other inmates chanted insults at her and called her a “lesbian.” After seven weeks, Debbie managed to get away from the Hole, and she was happy to sign anything to get away from the Sea Org altogether. At that point, she said on the witness stand, she would have signed a confession to killing babies if it meant getting away from that sick organization.
The press coverage of that day of testimony went national, and it was brutal. And that’s why the Church of Scientology waived the rest of the hearing and then eventually settled with Debbie for an undisclosed amount — but we’re pretty sure it was in the millions. Millions of dollars, that is, paid by Scientology in order to end the lawsuit that it had filed. We always have to remind people of that who criticize Debbie for accepting the settlement and not somehow pushing on with a lawsuit which she had not filed and which potentially had liabilities in the millions of dollars against her.
We don’t know the terms of the settlement, but they obviously included the stipulation that Debbie and her husband Wayne Baumgarten leave the country for a few years. They’re back now, in Texas, but they still won’t give interviews about their experiences, which it’s not hard to conclude is a condition of the settlement they signed.
And that’s a shame, because we’d still like to talk to Debbie about the effect her 2012 email has had on the Church of Scientology. We have a feeling that she knows what a big effect it’s had, and she could probably tell us some interesting things about what she’s heard from the people who were affected by it.
Instead, to mark this anniversary, we’re posting her lengthy email again, and with the annotations we wrote for it back in 2012, with some slight edits to update things. We hope you enjoy this examination of what Debbie wrote, and that it becomes plain why it was such a challenge to David Miscavige and his leadership of an organization that is now in serious decline.
DEBBIE COOK’S NEW YEAR’S 2012 MESSAGE TO SCIENTOLOGISTS, ANNOTATED
Dear Friend, I am emailing you as a friend and fellow Scientologist. As we enter a new year, it is hoped that 2012 can be a year of great dissemination and a year of real progress up The Bridge for all Scientologists.
As we explained in our introduction to Scientology, church members are encouraged to take courses and do counseling (“auditing”) so they can complete ever more expensive and esoteric levels of Scientology understanding. This process is know as “The Bridge,” so Debbie is wishing her fellow church members a year of successful advancement.
Although I am not in the Sea Org right now, I served in the Sea Org at Flag for 29 years. 17 of those years were as Captain FSO. I am a trained auditor and C/S as well as an OEC, FEBC and DSEC.
As we wrote earlier, Cook enjoyed a storied career as the captain of the Flag Service Organization, which made her CEO, essentially, of Scientology’s spiritual mecca in Clearwater, Florida. Such positions are only held by executives in the “Sea Organization,” Scientology’s hardcore elite corps that requires its workers to sign billion-year contracts and promise to come back, lifetime after lifetime, and dedicate themselves utterly. Along the way to becoming the commanding officer at Flag, Debbie had become a “case supervisor” (C/S), which means that she was qualified to oversee how auditors handled individual cases. She had also completed work in various executive training packages — the Organization Executive Course (OEC), Flag Executive Briefing Course (FEBC), and the Data Series Evaluator Course (DSEC). In other words, Debbie Cook was trained to the gills, had an illustrious past as an almost legendary executive at Flag, and had immense authority for the average Scientologist who might be receiving this e-mail.
I am completely dedicated to the technology of Dianetics and Scientology and the works of LRH. I have seen some of the most stunning and miraculous results in the application of LRH technology and I absolutely know it is worth fighting to keep it pure and unadulterated.
My husband and I are in good standing and we are not connected with anyone who is not in good standing. We have steadfastly refused to speak to any media, even though many have contacted us.
But I do have some very serious concerns about out-KSW that I see permeating the Scientology religion.
Another key concept to understand is that to Scientologists, L. Ron Hubbard — who died in 1986 — is still the one and only “Source” for their “technology.” When current church leader David Miscavige in 2007 put out a new set of Hubbard’s books — The Basics — it was based on the notion that Miscavige had found transcription errors that occurred when Hubbard was publishing the books in the 1950s. In other words, these new editions were even more “pure” and “unadulterated.” In her message, Cook is stressing that she too cares about Hubbard’s original words and ideas, but she lets on now that she sees a problem with the current church, that it is not following Hubbard’s program to “Keeping Scientology Working,” and that as a result the church is permeated with “out-KSW” activity.
I have the utmost respect for the thousands of dedicated Scientologists and Sea Org members. Together, we have come through everything this world could throw at us and have some real impingement on the world around us. I am proud of our accomplishments and I know you are too.However there is no question that this new age of continuous fundraising is not our finest moment.
The timing of Cook’s e-mail, New Year’s Eve, was calculated for maximum effect. Not only does a lot of fundraising go on at New Year’s Eve events put on by Scientology but in November, the St. Petersburg Times published a devastating expose about the church’s current obsession with raising money from its members. And unlike previous exposes about the church’s high management, this was a series that revealed what just about every Scientologist is currently struggling with — management’s mania for donations.
LRH says in HCO PL 9 Jan 51, An Essay on Management,
“drop no curtains between the organization and the public about anything.” – LRH
Based on this policy I am communicating to you about some situations that we need to do something about within our religion, within our group.
LRH — L. Ron Hubbard — wrote not only many books that Scientologists use, but also thousands of “policy letters” that spell out every facet of Scientology’s processes, staffing, internal justice, and administration. Cook brilliantly relies on direct quotations of Hubbard’s words to make her arguments in this e-mail. It’s not just Debbie Cook who has a problem with the way Scientology is going today — it’s LRH himself who would be appalled. That’s an extremely powerful argument for a group of people who consider Hubbard almost a god.
Actions that are either not covered in policy or directly violate LRH policy and tech include the extreme over-regging and fund-raising activities that have become so much a part of nearly every Sea Org org and Class V org as well as every “OT Committee”. This fundraising is not covered anywhere in LRH policy.
In Scientology parlance, it’s a “registrar” whose job it is to convince church members to give more money for services and for donations. (Particularly since the publication of The Basics books, however, many more executives and ordinary workers have been expected to help out with sales and fundraising. “The role model of Scientologists is supposed to be the auditor. But auditors have been turned into fundraisers,” says ex-Sea Org member Chuck Beatty.) The act of asking for donations has become known as “regging,” and here Debbie complains about “over-regging.” At individual “orgs” — churches — volunteer OTs (high-ranking church members) in “OT Committees” are also raising money for new buildings.
Hardworking Sea Org members and the dedicated staff of orgs around the world aren’t choosing to do these actions. Nor are the OTs. I am sure they would be more than happy if they could just get on with direct dissemination of Scientology as they have done for so many years.
But the truth is that this is being driven from the very highest echelons within the Scientology structure and clearly there is a lot of pressure to make targets that are being set.
By feeding on their own — subjecting Scientologists to constant fundraising — the church isn’t spending enough time bringing in new people — “disseminating” Scientology. As we wrote last year, there’s good evidence that the church is shrinking. There may be no more than about 40,000 active Scientologists around the world, and not the 10 million members that the church claims. [And five years later, that number is reportedly much smaller yet.]
The IAS: The [International Association of Scientologists] was created unbeknownst to LRH in 1984 by Marc Yager and David Miscavige. This was supposed to be based on LRH policies on the subject of membership and the HASI, however the IAS is nothing like the membership system described by LRH which only has two memberships and is covered in HCO PL 22 March 1965 “Current Promotion and Org Program Summary, Membership Rundown” and states:
“There are two memberships…” – LRH
“She’s absolutely correct. In 1983, I was in the room doing my own project when I witnessed the executives of the CMO Int fire the project to start the IAS,” says Chuck Beatty, a former Sea Org member who is today a sort of unofficial church historian. “They didn’t bother Hubbard with the details of what they were doing.”
Beatty says the IAS was formed as a way to raise funds to help Scientology fight its legal battles, and to do so with a non-profit organization.
“One of its purposes was to sidestep the IRS,” Beatty says, reminding us that in 1983, Scientology did not have tax exempt status (that came in 1993). The executives who started the IAS wanted to take church member donations to create a war chest for Scientology’s battles, Beatty says.
LRH lists there the INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP and gives its cost at 10 pounds sterling or $30 US. He also lists a LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP which is priced at $75 US. There are no other memberships or statuses approved or known to LRH.
Furthermore, membership monies are supposed to go directly to the org where the membership is signed up, and the money used for dissemination by that org, in that area.
This is covered in HCOPL 1 Sept 1965R Membership Policies.
“It all goes into the HCO Book Account in the area where the membership is brought and is not part of the organization’s weekly gross income. Membership monies go to dissemination.” – LRH
Currently membership monies are held as Int reserves and have grown to well in excess of a billion dollars. Only a tiny fraction has ever been spent, in violation of the policy above. Only the interest earned from the holdings have been used very sparingly to fund projects through grants. In fact many of the activities you see at IAS events are not actually funded by the IAS, but rather by the Scientologists involved.
Cook’s assertion that Miscavige and the church have amassed a billion dollars in cash reserves has been one of the most-talked about things in her e-mail. Can Scientology really have so much at its disposal? Well, let’s look at what we know.
Just a little more than a month ago, the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) published its latest blockbuster expose of the church, focusing on how much Scientology has become about fundraising. Journalists Joe Childs and Tom Tobin provided these eye-opening numbers:
“Scientology rings up astonishing sums: $100 million a year just from services sold in Clearwater, a minimum of $250 million since 2006 for the International Association of Scientologists, tens of millions for new church buildings called Ideal Orgs, and untold millions more from selling new volumes of church scripture.”
Our own sources suggest that the St. Pete Times may actually have been conservative in its estimates. Revenue for services at Flag over the last six years has averaged $138 million a year, we’re told, and The Basics — a republication of key Hubbard books which was launched in 2007 — has brought in hundreds of millions more.
But Beatty tells me that Hubbard himself wanted the church to have a lot of cash on hand.
“Hubbard did want the church to amass a big reserve,” he says. “His instruction was that we needed to have enough so that the church could keep going for five years, even if every dime in revenue was cut off. That was our target.”
Cook, however, complains that even with all the money on hand, it isn’t being spent the way Hubbard wanted it to be used…
Think about it, how many ads disseminating Scientology, Dianetics or any Scn affiliated programs have you seen on TV? Heard on the radio? Seen in newspapers? I haven’t seen one in the 4 years I have lived in San Antonio, Texas, the 7th largest city in the US. How many have you seen?
Debbie Cook may have not seen many ads, but our own experience is different. On the Internet, at least, Scientology ads seem ubiquitous. And they show up in places like Hulu, where they get wide exposure.
Beatty acknowledged that Cook might simply not be familiar with the Internet enough to know how much Scientology advertises there. On the other hand, he points out, Scientology doesn’t do the kind of massive television campaigns that it did under the leadership of marketing executive Jefferson Hawkins in the 1980s. [We noticed a huge increase in online and television advertising by Scientology shortly after Debbie’s email came out, suggesting that this criticism had hit home. Scientology’s huge expenditures on advertising have continued over the last five years.]
Donating anything more than a lifetime membership to the IAS is not based on LRH policy. The article “What Your Donations Buy” (The Auditor, The Monthly Journal of Scientology No. 51, 1970) is clearly talking about how the church uses your donations for Dianetics and Scientology services. Next time you are asked to donate outside of services, realize that you are engaged in fundraising and ask to see something in writing from L. Ron Hubbard that this is something he expects from you as a Scientologist.
Now we get to the really difficult part of the e-mail for her fellow church members. They are at this point being asked to think for themselves and to speak up rather than simply accept what they are told by church officials.
As Jason Beghe explained to us the other day, this is a radical suggestion for devoted church members. Beghe is a veteran actor of films and television series, and in the 1990s he was a celebrated member of Scientology. In 2008, he announced his defection from the church and has been criticizing it ever since.
“I know it’s hard to understand how someone can be so dense. But you’re in a trance. When someone of this magnitude speaks up, it has an effect,” Beghe told us.
“These people cannot think for themselves, which is ironic, because they’re told when they get into Scientology that they’ll be trained to do exactly that,” he said. “At some point they’re going to wake up. Hopefully.”
New Org Buildings: LRH also never directed the purchase of opulent buildings or the posh renovations or furnishings for every org.
In fact, if you read HCO PL 12 March 75 Issue II, “The Ideal Org”, which is what this program has been called, and nowhere in it will you find 20 million dollar buildings or even any reference to the poshness of org premises at all as part of LRH’s description of an “Ideal Org”. Instead, an Ideal Org was one that delivered and moved people up The Bridge – something that is not part of this “Ideal Org” program.
LRH says in the PL that an Ideal Org:
“would be clean and attractive enough not to repel its public” – LRH.
This is all it says about the state of the building.
Beatty says this is a devastating critique by Cook. For the last decade, Scientologists have been under incredible pressure to raise money for lavish new buildings to replace their current orgs — many of which are not full at all, and really don’t need replacing.
Beatty explains that Cook is showing that Hubbard’s idea of an “Ideal Org” was based on what it produced — not what it looked like.
“Hubbard would have removed Miscavige for that alone. He basically knocked out Hubbard’s final, long-range plans for the movement,” Beatty says. “Hubbard wanted ‘Saint Hill Sized’ organizations. He never pushed for the Ideal Orgs.”
Beatty is referring to the legendary status of Saint Hill Manor — Hubbard’s UK home — which in the 1960s was known for its bustling productivity as it trained auditors and moved church members up the “Bridge.” Ever since, orgs have been measured by whether they are “Saint Hill Sized” (although what, exactly, makes an org Saint Hill Sized seems to be something of an elusive set of criteria).
Cook is charging that Miscavige has thrown out Hubbard’s plan — to produce more busy, bustling and at least clean, if utilitarian, facilities — and has replaced it with a worldwide real estate buying binge for large, opulent buildings that have largely been sitting empty. Members, meanwhile, are constantly hit up for cash for these projects.
As a result of this off-policy alteration of the Ideal Org PL, we have the majority of top OTs, now deemed “OT Ambassadors”, heavily engaged in fund-raising activities that include “bingo”, “pirate dinners”, “knitting classes”, “hay rides”, and many other activities strictly revolving around raising funds for the required multi-millions of dollars to fund their “Ideal Org”. As part of this, people around every org are now asked to donate to their local “Ideal Org” instead of their own services or their own Bridge.
LRH says in HCO PL Org Ethics and Tech:
“GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS FROM SCIENTOLOGY in your org. Baby-sitting or raffle tickets and such nonsense.” – LRH
Cook really hits home on this one. As we saw last year, not only does David Miscavige have Scientologists around the world participating in extremely embarrassing rituals to convince each other to give until it hurts, Miscavige himself seems to take humor in watching his followers engage in such silliness.
In 2011, we published a video which shows Miscavige describing European Scientologists putting on those “pirate dinners” and similar mummery, and noted the way Miscavige described it, his voice dripping with derision.
Yet these distractions are rampant as they are being used as fund-raisers to get money for the huge quotas being issued to fund the “Ideal Org”.
“If the org slumps… don’t engage in ‘fund-raising’ or ‘selling postcards’ or borrowing money.
Just make more income with Scientology. It’s a sign of very poor management to seek extraordinary solutions for finance outside Scientology. It has always failed.”
“For orgs as for pcs, ‘Solve It With Scientology’.
“Every time I myself have sought to solve financial or personnel in other ways than Scientology I have lost out. So I can tell you from experience that org solvency lies in more Scientology, not patented combs or fund-raising barbeques.”
HCO PL 24 February 1964, Issue II, Org Programming, (OEC Vol. 7, p. 930)
The point is that Scientologists and OT’s need to be training, auditing and disseminating to raw public- not regging each other or holding internal fundraisers.
Many ex-Scientologists tell us that what started their disaffection with the church was the way they tended to get hung up on their journey “up the bridge.” They might get stuck on a particular level for years, spending large amounts of money for auditing but never getting “gains” or “wins.”
The constant focus on donations only exacerbates that situation, as members find that they can’t advance when all of their money is going to things like the IAS or new buildings. For many current church members, then, Cook’s admonition here — that such fundraising is stunting their own spiritual advancement — will likely strike a chord.
Out Tech: Over the last few years we have seen literally hundreds and hundreds of people who were validated as clear using the CCRD as developed by LRH now being told they are not Clear. This included hundreds of OTs who were then put onto NED as a “handling”. LRH clearly forbid any Dianetics to be run on OTs in HCOB “Dianetics Forbidden on OTs”. This is out tech. This entire technical “handling” was directed personally by COB RTC and was done on thousands of OTs. But it was based not on an LRH HCO Bulletin, but rather based on a single C/S instruction where LRH C/Sed one pre-OT who had not achieved the state of clear but was mid OT III and not making it. LRH directed a solo handling that the pre-OT was to do to get himself to achieve the state of Clear. This LRH C/S taken out of context was then used to implement a technical handling that was in direct violation of an LRH HCOB.
That’s a mouthful of Scientology jargon about upper-level teachings (“NED” is New Era Dianetics, “OT III” is Operating Thetan Level Three, etc.), but Beatty helped me understand what it all comes down to:
“She’s giving an example of Miscavige taking a single comment by Hubbard in regards to a single person’s case and applying it to the entire movement as a policy, with tremendously harmful results,” Beatty says. The upshot was that many, many longtime, highly trained Scientologists were told that their training had been faulty and they were expected to redo levels that had cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Famous defectors such as Tory Christman and Jason Beghe say it was this order to redo levels that caused them to question Miscavige and the church.
This and other “technical handlings” done on Solo NOTs auditors created great expense and hardship on Solo NOTs auditors around the world as they were made to do these handlings to continue on the level.
Beatty gave us this description for Solo New Era Dianetics for OTs (Solo NOTs): “It’s high volume solo exorcism,” he says.
Then there are the “fast grades at Flag” that no other org has. How can it be that Flag has been delivering grades differently to the rest of the world for the last 3 years? Whatever the problem is, the fact is that having “fast Grades” at Flag creates a hidden data line and is a HIGH CRIME and the subject of an entire policy letter called HCOPL “TECH DEGRADES” which LRH has placed at the start of every Scientology course.
More recently the fad seems to be that nearly everyone needs to “re-do their Purif and do a long objectives program”, including many OTs mid Solo NOTs.
There is nothing wrong with doing objectives, but it is a clear violation of HCOB ‘MIXING RUNDOWNS AND REPAIRS” to have a person mid a rundown or OT level be taken off it and placed on an objectives program.
Solo NOTs auditors are also being made to get their objectives from a Class IX auditor at great expense as they are not being allowed to co-audit.
Flag has made many millions of dollars on the above listed out tech handlings because OTs mid Solo NOTs are forced to get these out-tech actions to be able to get back onto and stay on the level and complete it. Not to mention the spiritual effects of the out tech that this has on each OT.
I myself was subject to these out tech “handlings”, including extensive FPRD mid Solo NOTs. It took its toll in many ways, including physical situations I am still dealing with today. So I have some reality of the hardship caused.
We’re just going to have to take Debbie Cook’s word for it that the standard way of becoming an exteriorizing superhuman intergalactic shaman is being screwed up on many different levels, and we can only assume this would outrage your typical Hubbardite.
LRH Command Structure: LRH left us with a complex and balanced command structure, with our orgs led by the Office of ED International. This office was considered so important that LRH created a special management group called the Watch Dog Committee whose only purpose was to see that this office and the other needed layers of management existed. LRH ED 339R speaks of this extensively as the protection for our Church. But these people are missing. And not just some. As of just a few years ago there were no members of the office of ED Int on post, not to mention top execs throughout the International Management structure.
We’re getting back to something interesting here. As we wrote earlier, Cook experienced the vacuum of leadership that occurred in the mid-2000s as David Miscavige purged nearly every high-ranking official around him and sent them to “The Hole,” a hellish sort of prison at Scientology’s secretive desert base in Southern California (imagine getting locked up at your office with your co-workers for a couple of years, and only being able to leave when you are marched out and ordered to jump in a lake together, and you get some idea).
“Her point is absolutely valid,” Beatty tells us. “The top two councils of the movement have been decimated by Miscavige — the Watchdog Committee and Executive Strata.”
If Hubbard had intended that there would be some measure of checks and balances among the many entities he was leaving behind, instead Miscavige has either driven off or disappeared his many top executives at “Int base” in California, including Heber Jentzsch, who is still nominally the “president” of the Church of Scientology, International, but has not been heard from in years.
You may have also wondered… where is Heber, the President of the Church? What about Ray Mitthoff, Senior C/S International, the one that LRH personally turned over the upper OT Levels to? How about Norman Starkey, LRH’s Trustee? What happened to Guillaume – Executive Director International? And Marc Yeager, the WDC Chairman? What happened to the other International Management executives that you have seen at events over the years?
The truth is that I spent weeks working in the empty International Management building at Int. Empty because everyone had been removed from post. When I first went up lines I was briefed extensively by David Miscavige about how bad all of them were and how they had done many things that were all very discreditable. This seemed to “explain” the fact that the entirety of the Watchdog Committee no longer existed. The entirety of the Executive Strata, which consisted of ED International and 11 other top International executives that were the top executives in their particular fields, no longer existed. That the Commodore’s Messenger Org International no longer existed. All of these key command structures of Scientology International, put there by LRH, had been removed.
There were hundreds and hundreds of unanswered letters and requests for help from org staff, written based on LRH ED 339R where LRH says that staff can write to these top executives in the Exec Strata for help. But this is not possible if all these execs have been removed and no one is there to help them or to get evaluations and programming done to expand Scientology.
Well, after that I got to spend some quality time with Heber, Ray Mithoff, Norman Starkey, Guillaume, as well as the entirety of International Management at the time, who were all off post and doing very long and harsh ethics programs. These have gone on for years and to the only result of that they are still off post. There is no denying that these top executives have all gradually disappeared from the scene. You don’t see them at the big events anymore or on the ship at Maiden Voyage.
“Quality time,” heh. Cook is being exceedingly cheeky here. The recipients of her e-mail may be so sheltered that they don’t realize that Cook herself was put in “The Hole” in 2007, which is why she got to spend time with Jentzsch and other executives doing time in Miscavige’s prison. As we reported earlier, Cook herself is said to have gone through a harrowing, and homophobic, hazing:
“For the next twelve hours Debbie was made to stand in a large garbage can and face one hundred people screaming at her demanding a confession as to her ‘homosexual tendencies’. While this was going on, water was poured over her head. Signs were put around Debbie’s neck, one marked in magic marker ‘LESBO’ while this torture proceeded. Debbie was repeatedly slapped across the face by other women in the room during the interrogation. Debbie never did break.”
A year after that incident, Debbie was no longer in the Sea Org or a staff member of the church. She claims to have remained in good standing as a public member of the church, but now that she has sent out this e-mail, that will likely change.
David Miscavige has now become the “leader” of the Scientology religion. Yet what LRH left behind was a huge structure to properly manage all aspects of the Scientology religion. He put a complete and brilliant organizational structure there, not one individual. There never was supposed to be a “leader” other than LRH himself as the goal maker for our group.
There is a situation here and even if you have not been to the International Management Base you should be able to see that over regging and frequent tech changes are not OK and you have a responsibility to do something to Keep Scientology Working. You should be able to find and read the references on membership in OEC Volume 6. Find and read the HCO PL entitled “The Ideal Org” (Data Series 40). Find and read the references on org buildings, including HCO PL 24 Aug 65 II, Cleanliness of Quarters and Staff, Improve our Image. Also, HCO PL 17 June 69, The Org Image.
If you don’t want to make waves or put yourself in danger of being taken off the level or denied eligibility, then there are some simple things you can do. First and foremost, withdraw your support from off policy actions. Stop donating to anything other than your own services and actual Bridge progress. Simply demand to see an LRH reference that says you are required to make other such donations. No one will be able to produce any references because there aren’t any.
Again, Cook returns to the radical notion that Scientologists stand up to management. How is that working? Well, here’s an example of what we saw on Facebook as recipients of this e-mail reacted to its ideas…
“It is an email that maliciously mixes truths and LRH references with half-truths, un-truths and disaffection,” wrote a European Scientologist who sent out a warning to her friends. She then indicated that she had notified the church’s Office of Special Affairs — its intelligence and covert operations wing — and said she was willing to help anyone who need “dead agenting material” about Cook. In other words, slander that could be used to convince Scientologists that Cook was not to be trusted.
Cook clearly has an uphill battle on her hands.
Stop supporting any of the activities that are being done to forward off-policy fund-raising in your area.
LRH says what he expects of a Scientologist – that is what he expects you to do. In fact he put it in HCOB 10 June 1960 Issue I, Keeping Scientology Working Series 33, WHAT WE EXPECT OF A SCIENTOLOGIST. Read it and follow it.
The other thing you can do is to send this email to as many others as you can, even if you do it anonymously.
Please keep this email among us, the Scientologists. The media have no place in this. You may wonder why I have not written a KR and gone about my business. The answer is, I have. But there is no longer anyone to send that KR to.
Cook was apparently pretty naive about the Internet. Within minutes of her thousands of copies of this email going out, it was being fed to reporters.
But you can and should write reports and bring off-policy to the attention of local org executives and local Sea org members.
We are a strong and powerful group and we can affect a change. We have weathered many storms. I am sorry that I am the one telling you, but a new storm is upon us. It’s waves are already in the media and the world around us.
The truth is that as a Scientologist you are more able, more perceptive and have a higher integrity. Scientology is supposed to allow you to “think for yourself” and never compromise your own integrity. And most certainly LRH held every Scientologist responsible to KEEP SCIENTOLOGY WORKING.
As we reported earlier, Cook’s own background contains some less than ideal behavior, particularly in the way she participated in the fundraising she now decries. But several prominent ex-Scientologists all said that Cook would only have been following directions, and that she actually has enormous personal integrity.
I am not trying to do anything other than affect a change in serious off policy actions occurring. My husband and I have most of our family and many many good friends who are Scientologists. I have not been real interested in sticking my neck out like this.
However, I also know that I dedicated my entire adult life to supporting LRH and the application of LRH technology and if I ever had to look LRH in the eye I wouldn’t be able to say I did everything I could to Keep Scientology Working if I didn’t do something about it now.
We all have a stake in this. It is simply not possible to read the LRH references and not see the alterations and violations that are currently occurring.
You have a very simple obligation to LRH. Don’t participate in anything off policy, and let others know they should not either. If every person who reads this email does nothing more than step back from off-policy actions we would have changed direction. If we took all that energy and directed it into auditing, training and raw public dissemination, we would be winning.
And that is what I wish for you and all of us as we ring in this new year.
“ARC” — affinity, reality, communication” — is a standard sign-off for Scientologists, a reference to a bedrock concept by Hubbard that church members use to express warmth for each other. To the end, Debbie is trying her best to reach out to her fellow Scientologists as a Scientologist. Her program is not to criticize Hubbard or Scientology itself, only the leadership of Miscavige and the way he has consolidated power and has worn down his followers with all of the money-grubbing.
We hope these annotations have helped readers understand what Cook intended, and can see now how it might be an enormously effective message for Scientologists who are exhausted by the fundraising, stuck on their journeys up the Bridge, and are doubting the diminutive man at the top of the organization.
[And now, five years later, we’d like to hear how Debbie’s email affected you, whether you were still in Scientology at the time, or you were watching from the outside. And Happy New Year!]
Go here to start making your plans.
E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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