This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Recently, I visited the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters, located on L. Ron Hubbard Way (“LRH Way”). As I walked up and down LRH Way carrying a “call me” protest sign, PAC Security Guard (“SG”) Odo G. Huber videotaped me. I said to him, “If I showed up with a blank sign, would you still film me?”
When I mentioned this on Tony Ortega’s blog, The Underground Bunker (“When you postulate upon a star: L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s funny made-up words“), a fellow Bunkerite wrote that Ted Mayett once picketed the Las Vegas Org with a such a sign. As Ted wrote,
“… this blank sign—zowieee—it has them coming to me, it has them coming outside to talk to me, to yell at me, and ACTUALLY notice me. And when they do that, they are no longer pretending that a picket is not occurring.”
The scientologists in Las Vegas couldn’t ignore Ted’s sign because it had a level of reality that they could deal with (“blankness”); his sign matched their emotional tone level.
The “call me” campaign, sponsored by ex-scientologists Phil and Willie Jones, began as a billboard over Glendale Blvd., in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles. Erected in early April 2016, that billboard sent a message of love to their adult children still trapped in scientology (“To my loved one in scientology… call me”). Soon, magnetic “call me” signs were created, perfect for affixing to the sides of automobiles. Those signs have been used as a peaceful protest while vehicles, driven by ex-scientologists, have circled such scientology facilities as PAC Base and Celebrity Centre International (“CCI”). Next, a hand-held “call me” sign came about, perfect for carrying, as I have, while walking around PAC Base.
When Phil and Willie decided to speak out against scientology’s toxic practice of “disconnection,” their children were forced to choose between their parents or scientology. Unfortunately, scientology pressures disconnection; to do otherwise as a scientologist, you risk being declared a Suppressive Person (“SP”); you’d be banished from scientology forever. SPs have lost their family, loved ones, friends, and work associates to scientology.
Perhaps today’s blog will help you reconnect to a scientologist who has disconnected from you. Maybe you’ll see your son or daughter, father or mother, or, perhaps, your ex-husband, ex-wife, brother or sister.
Photo Caption: I stopped by a reflective window to capture an image of the sign used in today’s protest. The sign says absolutely nothing. It’s white; completely blank. With 90 degree weather came strong gusts of wind; I had to hold the sign in place while I snapped this shot. Notice the mini-camcorder that I’ve clipped to the top of the sign, something I’ll use later for shooting video of the proceedings.
- 00:00: Here I’m walking along Sunset Blvd. to LRH Way.
- 00:03: The sign to my right reads: “Church of scientology of Los Angeles. Take Your Free Personality Test. Entrance on Sunset.” “All are welcome.” Carrying a foam sign is different than carrying a “call me” sign; sorry about the noise as I get the sign and Sony camera positioned (it’ll continue, on and off, through both of today’s videos).
- 00:29: LA Org’s parking lot is to my right.
- 00:32: An unidentified SG (who earlier radioed in my presence) bicycles from the parking and onto LRH Way.
- 00:41: A scientology-owned shuttle passes by.
- 00:58: Here I catch a glimpse of the sign I’m carrying. The sign is blank. Next, I continue walking down LRH Way.
- 01:09: The SG bicycles toward me. To my right is an entrance to the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”). Outside that entrance are brand-new Sea Org members in blue pants and t-shirts. They are part of the Estates Project Force (“EPF”).
- 01:15: The SG asks, “A blank sign this time?” “It is,” I answer. “Wow,” is his response. “How many seconds do I have,” I ask the SG, “before Odo shows up with his camera?” He shrugs his shoulders. I say, “Okay,” and continue walking south.
- 01:34: “Here he is!” I say as I watch SG Odo G. Huber walking toward me. “Speak of… Speak of Odo,” I say as I turn to the SG behind me, “here he comes.”
- 02:05: “Good afternoon, Odo G. Huber,” I say. “How’s tricks? How’s Everio?” referring to Everio, his JVC Camcorder. “If you do want to say something, please speak,” I tell him, “It’s okay.” Next, I continue walking south along the street. It’s just about time for the afternoon break for public scientologists from training or auditing, and I want to position myself outside the Pacific Grill & Barbecue (“PGB”) for the best viewing possible.
- 02:19: I swear Odo cracks a smile when I ask, “Did you notice my sign?” I hold it up for the benefit of Everio. “Ask me why there’s nothing on it,” I tell Odo. Without an answer from him, I continue walking south.
- 02:33: I tell Odo, “Ask me why it’s blank,” but I don’t get a response. “I’ll wait for someone else to ask that question,” I add.
- 02:41: “Here comes Roy!” I say, as SG Roy Rodriguez bicycles toward me.
- 02:53: “And it’s almost break time!” I tell Odo. “How did I manage that?” To my right is the entrance to the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”). As I stop and aim my sign at their front door. a Sea Org member looks at the sign as he descends the steps. Odo steps in front of me, something he does periodically to get himself between my camera, the sign and my objective. Odo answers his phone (I didn’t hear it ring, so it must be on “vibrate”). “Hello, Everio,” I say to the camcorder. I move a few feet away, but turn to Odo. “I didn’t hear that, sorry,” I say. “Okay,” I lie, “you’re not being recorded. You can say anything you want.” Odo doesn’t answer, so I continue toward PGB. But first, a Sea Org member descends the stairs and looks at the sign a couple of times. Next, a girl descends the stairs and looks over at the sign. “Hello. Thank you,” I say, “for reading my sign.”
- 03:42: “Go ahead,” I tell Odo, “laugh, it’s okay.”
- 04:05: I turn to look at a sign proclaiming this year’s Maiden Voyage, a series of events coming soon to Los Angeles. Reading from that sign, I say, “‘Unleashed.’ ‘Vision.’ ‘Freedom.’ ‘Expansion.'” Recalling from a promotional piece for that event, I add, “Four weeks of events. LRH Way. 7:30 PM. Saturday. Starting June 25th.”
- 04:17: It’s interesting to note that the guy on the left would rather look at anyone or anything but me and the sign. “Can’t wait,” I say to Odo, in regards to the Maiden Voyage events.
- 04:27: Taking a break from the Survival Rundown (“SR”), a public scientologist, a “twin,” wearing hat and glasses, sits at a nearby table with his “coach.” “No,” the twin says, “I can’t read that.” “I’ll have to get closer, but I don’t think he’ll let me,” I tell the twin, referring to Odo standing to my right. At this point, the twin and I are laughing. I take a step forward and say, “I could get this close, but I couldn’t any closer because the brick doesn’t belong to me” (the PGB sits on private land paved with brick-like stones). The twin seems to be having a really good time with this (as I am).”I used to [referring to being able to step on scientology’s property]. I was a scientologist for 37-years. I was a Sea Org member for two (years).” Odo now moves between us, but I continue. “I used to live in Lebanon Hall. I was the Director of Promotion and Marketing for ASHO Day.” The twin is listening with interest. “I worked for many scientology Front Groups.” Odo sways back and forth with me as we jostle for position. I continue talking to the twin: “Eight years with Sterling Management Systems. Two years for Management Success. I worked for WISE Int, WISE US… I think WISE LA, Applied Scholastics, LA [“Los Angeles”] and US [“United States”], OSA [“Office of Special Affairs”], as a non-Sea Org member. I was hired to be the in-charge of the audits for the Majestic Cruise Lines [“MCL”] and the Flag Ship Service Org [“FSSO”] from the day of inception [of the Freewinds where OT VIII is delivered].” Notice that the twin is staring at me with his mouth open. I think he answers me by saying, “That’s great.” My reply: “So I have something to say. I’m not sure what it is, but thank you.” He said something else positive to which I replied, “Thank you.”
- 05:32: “You’re smiling, Odo,” I say, as I turn to a female Sea Org member. I became acquainted with her before I left scientology. She and I would sometimes walk together along Fountain Ave., as she went home from PAC Base, and me on my way to the store. “Hello,” I say to her, “good to see you.” “I don’t know what this is,” she says about the sign, “what is it?” she asks. I explain: “It’s the number of scientologists who have voluntarily disconnected from a Suppressive Person.” She abruptly walks away. “I’m so glad she asked that,” I say.
- 06:06: “Are we having fun yet, Odo?” Next, I start walking back the way I came.
- 06:12: “The day I left [scientology],” I tell Odo, “is the day I started having fun. You, too, can have fun. It’s okay.”
- 06:26: Odo and I stop for a moment outside the PGB’s patio. The actual facility is at the end of the sidewalk in front of me. There, you descend a few steps and step into a hallway; the PGB is to your right.
- 06:35: “At least you’re getting some sun on your legs, Odo,” I say. “It’s a good thing. Summer’s here. You need to look better when you get ready to go to the beach. If they ever give you a liberty to do so.” (End of Video 1.)
- 00:00: Here I’m walking south on the east side of LRH Way, with Odo behind me. On my right is the east wing of the Main Building, the facility that has the huge “scientology” sign on top of it. Between that building and the street is PGB’s patio. Ahead of me and to my left is the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”).
- 00:09: The parking lot to my left, behind AOLA, is also an entrance to a building that sits back from the street. That facility houses many scientology Sea Org organizations, including offices for Flag, the Freewinds and the Continental Liaison Organization (“CLO”). I ask Odo, “When I’m not here, what do you do? Edit video?”
- 00:20: Here’s AOLA parking lot; in the back is the entrance to offices for CLO, etc.
- 00:32: As I approach the entrance to AOLA, I get the attention of a public scientologist as he speaks to a Sea Org member, possibly a Recruiter (someone who recruits people to join the Sea Org and sign Billion Year contracts, in order to serve scientology, LRH and David “Let Him Die” Miscavige, lifetime after lifetime. Scientology adheres to the belief in reincarnation and past lives).
- 00:41: That public scientologist goes into AOLA. He’s most likely on one of the advanced auditing levels of scientology, Operating Thetan (“OT”) Levels 1 to 7.
- 00:48: For a moment, I get the attention of another public scientologist, engaged in conversation with another Sea Org member, possibly a Registrar (someone who wants every dollar you have or can ever make; every penny under the sun, moon and stars).
- 00:59: In the crosswalk ahead of me is a public scientologist and a SG on a bicycle, Roy Rodriquez.
- 01:03: I turn around, capturing the PGB and Odo as he continues to film me. I notice two people crossing the street, one of them is carrying a white clipboard. “A couple of people on the SR I can get, impress upon,” I say.
- 01:18: A Sea Org member exits AOLA’s parking lot. As he walks past me, he eyes the sign, but quickly looks away.
- 01:25: As I approach the SRD participants, I say, “Two people on the SRD, hello.” The guy on the right is the “coach,” as he holds the white clipboard and blue pen, traditional SRD icons. The guy to his left, his SRD “twin,” says, “Hello.” I chuckle and say, “Oh, you’re the same guy I spoke to over there.” As he agrees with me, notice that Odo has positioned himself between us. The twin goes on to say, “I’m impressed. Seriously.” I say, “Thank you,” adding, “You’re only one of two people who didn’t see anything there [meaning the sign]… so far.” (End of Video 2.)
A little while later, a public scientologist passed by me on her way to AOLA. She took one look at the sign and burst out laughing. A friend of mine, a person never in scientology, drove by me as I held the sign for passerbys to see on Fountain Ave. He looked at Odo filming me, then my sign, and broke into laughter.
Composite picture; First Photo Caption: As I walked eastward on Sunset Blvd., between Catalina St. and LRH Way, I saw an unidentified PAC Security Guard (“SG”) phone into headquarters my proximity. A couple of moments later and as I walked by him, I asked “How many seconds before Odo’s arrival?” Just as I turned from him to continue walking south along LRH Way, I spotted Odo. Second Photo Caption: Within a few moments, I had Everio, PAC SG Odo G. Huber’s JVC Camcorder, in my face, as close as he could get it. Such close proximity reminds of the scientological definition of “affinity”: the willingness to share someone else’s space.
Photo Caption: In this composite of four pictures, Odo texts someone while filming me. Who is he texting? As one would read “sign language,” can anyone read “text language”?
Photo Caption: For this picture, Odo and I are just south of the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”), on LRH Way. I stand at six-feet-four inches. Odo stands, perhaps, at five-feet-ten-inches. I’m facing the PGB, using the view finder in a Sony Cyber-shot to snap pictures. Odo is standing directly behind me with Everio over my shoulder, aimed at my camera’s view finder. In fact, I’m setting up each shot with Odo in mind, allowing him a few moments to set up his shot, and then I shoot. This goes on for a while and we seem quite happy with the arrangement. As I snap pictures, people come and go at the PGB. But in this photo, a very pretty, young, blonde-haired woman leans back a little so as to watch what Odo and I are doing.
Photo Caption: Again, I invite Odo to get a good shot over my shoulder. In this photo, there are three people at the PGB watching Odo and I.
Photo Caption: I capture the attention of this female SO member as she and her guest approach me on the west side of LRH Way.
Photo Caption: I capture the attention of this male SO member as he walks past me on the west side of LRH Way.
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.