This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Today, I’m reporting from Hubbardsville, New York, far, far away from the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters.
Marty Ruthbun has reviewed the book, Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me by Ron Miscavige and Dan Koon. Into about the fourth paragraph of his review, I thought:
“Gee, can’t we all just get along?”
Ex-scientologists and those never in scientology should be on the same page; it’s “us” against “them.” You would think that people outside of scientology would, for the most part, agree. After all, it’s agreement that keeps scientology together.
I had been thinking about what to post next after my enforced sojourn to Hubbardsville—thank you, Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”), for chasing me out of Los Angeles—when I happened upon Marty’s review.
Marty wrote, “I did not plan on reading Ron Miscavige’s book.”
“Why not?” I asked myself. This statement is the first sentence of his review of a #1 New York Times bestseller? Ron Miscavige, the father of the leader of scientology, David Miscavige, writes a memoir that is called “excoriating” (Publisher’s Weekly) and “sad and painful” (Kirkus Reviews), but Marty didn’t even want to read it? How much closer could you possibly get into the mindset of a troubled spiritual leader without reading the book?
It’s a little odd that Marty chose to add the communication to him from Christine Catarino, the Associate Director, Marketing, for St. Martin’s Press, Ron’s publisher. In 2005, McFarland published Jeff Chandler—Film, Record, Radio, Television and Theater Performances under my pen name “Jeff Wells.” In the process of becoming a traditionally-published author, I shared a number of communications with various publishers, most of which I’d prefer to keep private. I found it equally odd that Ms. Catarino didn’t provide Marty a copy of Ruthless for his review. Marty is, after all, an outspoken, former senior scientology executive.
The next indication that the review would not be terribly positive is in Marty’s use of the word “ignored,” when he wrote, “I had offered to conduct a free-of-charge fact-check on the manuscript but Ron and St. Martin’s ignored it” (italics added for emphasis). As Marty has worked closely with David Miscavige, you’d think that Ron Miscavige would jump at the chance for Marty to fact-check the manuscript. When Marty left scientology in 2004, he had under his belt over two decades of the David Miscavige experience.
When I had to word clear (not) “deleterious” (as in, “…the deleterious emotional and spiritual effects…”), I wanted to know why Marty had chosen that word instead of “harmful.” The downside of mishandling an atomic bomb (in this case, a memoir published without proper fact-checking) could result in inoperable cancer down the road. (Now, perhaps, you can see where this book review review is heading.)
After his departure from scientology, Ron consulted Marty, who gave him, I’m sure, time, place, form and event for the stories that Ron had been told by disgruntled former scientologists. Even L. Ron Hubbard (“LRH”) states that if you want to clear something up or even make it disappear, you have to look at it head-on and see it for all its worth. Running from the truth or making believe that something didn’t happen won’t make a situation any better; it’ll only make it worse.
Marty goes on to write, “…Ron had absolutely zero first-hand knowledge about the lurid rumor mill material the anti-scientologists and media yearned for.” I had to ask myself, as an ex-scientologist who is against almost everything scientology, do I clamor for “lurid rumor mill material”? I hope not. Sure, reading Tony Ortega’s The Underground Bunker and Mike Rinder’s Something Can Be Done About It has become an almost daily routine for me. It’s fun to laugh at scientology’s footbullets. I also enjoyed observing first-hand scientology’s activities at PAC Base and presenting my own take on scientology’s decline at JennyAtLAX.
The word “lurid” suggests the description of something in “vividly shocking or sensational terms, especially giving explicit details of crimes or sexual matters.” (Source: Google Search). The phrase “rumor mill” suggests that ex-scientologists and those never in scientology who frequent sites like Tony Ortega’s or Mike Rinder’s thirst for unsubstantiated tales. To “yearn” for something suggests that an ex-scientogist has an “intense feeling of longing for something” (Source: Google Search); in this case, for anything associated with scientology, a place they once called “home.” I yearn for my grandparents and the times we spent together in their estate on Long Island. While my tenure in scientology stretched for 37-years (1977 to 2014), I do not yearn for that organization. I read the aforementioned blogs to gain insight and understanding of how scientology can exist despite the numerous reports that have been written by former members (including myself with scientology’s fervent attack against me) that tell of the harm inflicted under the David Miscavige regime.
Marty suggests that Ruthless contributes “nothing to intelligent public discussion on scientology.” I agree with this statement. Why? Because scientology isn’t all bad.
For most of my life, I had been plagued by mind-numbing migraines, headaches so bad that I could barely stand up. I got into scientology in May 1977. For the next year or so, I did some basic courses as well as various auditing procedures. In early 1979, I put myself in the hands of Trey Lotz, a Scientology Field Auditor who had me do Ethics Conditions on the e-meter. This period of time became a productive one for me: I started scientology in Salt Lake City, but after only a couple of months, I joined the Sea Org (“SO”) and helped during the renovations of PAC Base. I left the SO in late 1978; by early 1979, Trey had me under his wings. After only minor experience with auditing (both professional and in the field), something wild occurred one day. And from that moment, I haven’t had a single headache.
How many years is that? That’s 37-years in which my head (and soul) has been pain-free. Becoming headache-free, however, cannot be attributed to any particular level or grade of scientology; nobody has ever been able to explain why this minor miracle happened. One person may have touched upon the reason: former scientologist Chris Shelton, Critical Thinker at Large, who stated (and I’m paraphrasing here), that “it’s not necessarily scientology that can be attributed for the wins and successes you get, but, rather, what you bring to the table.” I would never trade anything for a migraine-less existence, and I think that such a win or success coming about because of my association with that group is what Marty is referring to when he recommends there be an “intelligent public discussion on scientology.”
One of Ron Miscavige’s goals in life includes receiving “retirement compensation” from scientology. How could that be anyone’s goal knowing that such compensation doesn’t exist? I’m so new to being an ex-scientologist that I’m not up to knowing whether or not Ron Miscavige obtained what Marty referred to as a “healthy retirement fund” from David Miscavige. If Ron received such compensation, then what’s he doing having authored an expose on David? That would be tantamount to biting the hand that feeds you.
Here I sit, not having yet read Ruthless. Instead, I’m reading Marty’s review of the book and maybe, just maybe, I should thank my lucky stars. When I turn to the blogs of Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder or Marty Rathbun, I do so to gain insight and information. I want to learn from my mistakes, one of them being an association with scientology. As in any learning experience, I want to walk away with what’s good and beneficial, and leave behind anything that’s bad and hurtful. The indoctrination and brainwashing of scientology clouded my thought process and let me see the world through scientology’s rose-colored glasses. I enjoyed life inside scientology’s bubble world; like a mother’s womb, I felt nurtured and cared for. Meanwhile, scientology, under David Miscavige, has become even more twisted than under its “creator,” LRH. Who will be the sixteen or so defendants to stand trial, accused of crimes against humanity for their involvement in atrocities under the Miscavige regime? When will a Judgment at Nuremberg-like trial be convened to hold Miscavige and his minions accountable?
Has David Miscavige made wrong choices, not because of his association with LRH and scientology, but as the result of being the son of Ron Miscavige? Is Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me an open wound that its author has poured salt into? Some men are nothing more than sperm donors; parents have done bad things to their own children in which they’ve effectively torn up their “parent card.” Some men would die instead of seeing their own children hurt. Which type of father is Ron Miscavige?
Ron Miscavige “regularly ‘beat the hell'” out of David during his son’s formative years? How many times have I read about David Miscavige, the leader of scientology, beating the hell out of his subordinates? Apparently, writing a book with facts would have proved too much for a parent who only saw his son as a punching bag or something to pummel. Believe you me, I’m writing from experience. It boils my blood to think that for even a moment an abuser has written a book in which he is seen through the reader’s eyes as the victim. My mother, after a childhood in which she inflicted mental, physical and borderline sexual abuse, told others how I broke her heart the day I cut all ties with her. My mother tore up her “mother’s card” with each insult and beating she hurled my way.
Just how often, I wonder, does anyone get to read (or write) a review of a book review? For the book to have been a non-fictional undertaking, Marty’s review adds insight and understanding into the fictional areas that its readers might yearn for.
“Stay calm!” I say to anyone who may find themselves reacting in an adverse way to Marty’s book review. Remember always who the enemy is: David Miscavige, along with scientology “technology” designed to hurt not heal; a ponzi scheme thinly disguised as a “religion”; the toxic practice of disconnection; etc. Marty is both a friend and a cohort; in times of need, we rely on each other’s strength to get us through life’s difficulties.