Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney here, with his eye on Scientology. On Thursday, January 7, 2016, Southern California woke up after its first major storm of the season. As rainfall in the Los Angeles basin became significant, so did snow levels in nearby mountains. I had a job interview that morning near downtown L.A., but because I didn’t have any other appointments, I decided to take my camera to Pasadena so I could take some landscape photographs from the second floor of Pasadena’s City Hall. Little did I know that I would help prevent a non-Scientologist from being taken to the Church of Scientology of Pasadena by a Body Router (“BR”).
First, I took the subway (also called the “Red Line”) from Hollywood, California, to Union Station in downtown L.A. where I connected to the “Gold Line.” The Red Line runs underground from North Hollywood to Union Station. The Gold Line is an above-ground rail that runs from Pasadena to East L.A. via Union Station.
Photo Caption: I know a married couple whose male and female dogs couldn’t/wouldn’t mate until they moved from L.A. to a small town in Arizona. In this picture, I’m near the train tracks of the Gold Line in a small quiet neighborhood east of L.A. Being away from the hustle and bustle of L.A. seems to be a good thing for all creatures great and small. Here, birds chirp and enjoy breakfast with delight.
Photo Caption: This map of downtown Pasadena, California, shows (1) the Del Mar Station of the Gold Line, (2) the Church of Scientology of Pasadena, and (3) Pasadena City Hall. The arrow marks the southwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Raymond Ave., where I encountered a Body Router and his next would-be victim. (Map courtesy Google Maps.)
What does the phrase “check your brain at the door” mean? If you go into an upscale restaurant or bar and check your coat, they’ll keep your garment in a separate room where it’ll stay until you’re ready to leave. Well, the idea is you won’t be needing it while you’re there.
That’s what happens with people in Scientology. Many professions are represented by those who attend the Church of Scientology including bank managers and architects. Just because you’re in Scientology doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means that you’ve “checked brain at the door.”
As I approached the Church of Scientology of Pasadena, I couldn’t help but notice a sign posted in each window opposite the door: “Free Hot Cocoa with the Film: The Evolution of a Science.” That sign is classic “bait and switch”: Scientology is going to draw the unsuspecting non-Scientologist out of the cold, give them “free” hot cocoa, make them watch a film about Dianetics, and voila! Division 6 has a new statistic. It’s just like when a Body Router on the sidewalk passes out “free” Dianetic Film or “free” Personality Test tickets: they’re drawing you like a spider would into their lair. This spider, however, knows how to love bomb. Careful! Watch out! Don’t look at a Scientologist square in the eyes; they’re hypnotized and you’re next!
As I approached the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Raymond Ave., I noticed a Body Router sprinting away and toward something or someone. A Body Router at a non-Sea Org organization such as the Church of Scientology of Pasadena seems to wear the same outfit, except for one thing: a Sea Org member who is a Body Router at the Los Angeles Organization, wears a vest that has a silver-colored back; the Body Router’s vest in Pasadena had a bronze-colored back. When the BR sprinted around the corner and out of sight, it drew me to whatever drew him.
As I turned the corner, I saw the BR with a “free” Personality Test ticket in his hand, talking intently to a non-Scientologist. For a few moments, I watched the BR sell the guy Scientology and then I made my move. Note the day: Thursday; the time: before 2:00 PM. The BR was hard at work hauling non-Scientologists into the organization because Scientology’s week ends each Thursday at 2:00 PM. The time that Thursday morning: 10:30 AM.
Photo Caption: A Body Router from the Church of Scientology of Pasadena tries to lure a non-Scientologist into the organization by way of a “free” Personality Test ticket. I found them at the southwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Raymond Ave.
“Haven’t you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear, the expose on Scientology?” I asked the non-Scientologist. “Don’t do it,” I declared. The Body Router had almost sold the guy on going to the organization. You can tell when a BR has hoodwinked their prey, because nothing you say or do can persuade them away from Scientology. This guy, however, sat on the middle of the fence: on this side: me; on the other side: Scientology.
“Come on,” the Body Router urged the non-Scientologist, waving his arm in a “let’s go” motion, “come with me.”
“Haven’t you seen the HBO documentary Going Clear, the expose on Scientology? Don’t do it,” I said again.
“This is too much! I’ve got to go; I’ll be late for work!” With that, the non-Scientologist darted across the street (with the light) and just about sprinted north along Raymond Ave. and out of sight
“That was not okay!” the Body Router said to me. Whoa! This Body Router is feisty! The phrase, “not okay” is something I’m quite familiar with, having used it often during my years as a Scientologist.
What I had just done, in addition to keeping someone from falling into the clutches of Scientology, is that I prevented a non-Scientologist from becoming a name on a card or a file at Scientology. Once a non-Scientologist gets into a Scientology organization, he won’t be able to leave until they have that person’s name, address (both snail-mail and email), telephone numbers and hard-earned money. That guy would have probably purchased a book or even signed up for a course or “Introductory Auditing.” By keeping the non-Scientologist away from Scientology, I prevented him from becoming a “statistic” that the Body Router (and the Registrar if he had signed the guy up for a service) would have counted.
“I was in Scientology for thirty-seven years,” I told him, “and I’ll do anything I can to keep people away from your church.”
Photo Caption: It’s late afternoon, and I’m back on the Gold Line platform at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Storm clouds cover most of the mountains and that brilliant, clear view of snow-capped peaks we saw at 8:00 AM that morning is almost gone.