This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Today, it’s a cool autumn morning in Upstate New York. 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.
In his blog of September 16, 2016 (“VIDEO: City council candidate exposed as Scientology spy in live public hearing”), Tony Ortega reported on accolades offered at the alter of scientology’s spy goddess, Janet Weiland, by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. At the newsroom of Church of Scientology International, we learned that leaders of that coalition heaped offerings at Reverend Weiland in the form of awards and applause for ensuring the safety of her community (“L.A. Interfaith Clergy Coalition Honored at White House”). A word to the wise: the only “community” that Ms. Weiland has any concern for is the scientology community; she doesn’t give a rat’s ass for any community outside of scientology. Ms. Weiland’s “aspires” to shut critics (such as myself) down by any means possible; as their shepherd, her goal is to protect the bubble world of scientology and their ever-shrinking flock.
Photo Caption: Janet Weiland, scientology’s spymaster.
I got into scientology in May 1977, courtesy of a Body Router at the Mission of Salt Lake City, Utah. I started my sojourn with the Communications Course with a month’s gap between that course and the Hubbard Qualified Scientologist Course (“HQS”). By the time the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) raided scientology offices in Hollywood, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in July of that year, I had been fully indoctrinated, with my head stuck up the ass of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard (“LRH”).
As summer eased into autumn that year, Sea Org (“SO”) Recruiters from the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”), in Los Angeles, captured me. When I signed their Billion Year Contract, I had been given the impression that the SO still sailed the seven seas. In actuality, ASHO, along with other scientology orgs (including the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles, or “AOLA,” and Los Angeles Organization, or “LA Org”), awaited the services of this slave-to-be (and hundreds more like me) in order to complete the renovations of PAC Base.
For the next year, I gave the SO my all. First, LA Org opened its doors at the Big Blue, followed by ASHO’s grand opening. By the time AOLA’s doors opened, I wanted out. I had been recruited to become a Recruiter for ASHO Day but, somewhere along the way, ASHO traded me for someone who studied Hubbard faster than I did, and I ended up scrubbing pots and pans in the galley. Truth be known, I loved “Potland,” a place where my stats (statistics) soared; in other words, I washed dishes so fast that nobody could touch me. As I awaited the “okay” to leave the SO, I enjoyed many walks in Los Angeles, freed from studying anything Hubbard. When release from the SO’s captivity dragged on, I had a bright idea when I declared, “I’m gay.” Homosexuality is what scientology calls a “perversion”; soon I was yanked from scientology’s jaw like a rotting tooth. Immediately, the endless security checks (“sec checks”), evaluations and invalidations stopped and the SO set me free.
In 1980, I accepted a SO amnesty courtesy ASHO Day, and rejoined the SO for another excruciatingly painful year. About a year later, I blew (left without official leave) when ASHO Day convened a Committee of Evidence (which would later place the responsibility of their own $20,000.00 blunder almost squarely on my shoulders).
My dance with the devil would continue as a scientology public person for decades. I so badly wanted something to believe in that I sacrificed a normal existence on Earth, and just about devoted myself to the goals and aims of scientology. Until 2009 (I left scientology for good in August 2014), I would work for various scientology orgs and Front Groups, including:
- Applied Scholastics Los Angeles;
- Applied Scholastics U.S.;
- Atlas Natural Health Foods (owned and operated by the late Johnny DeCrescenzo and his wife, the future Melanie Lekas who would later helm LA Org Fdn and the Pasadena Ideal Org);
- Certified Swimming Pools of California (aka “Southwest Certified”);
- Flag Ship Service Org;
- Majestic Cruise Lines (the MV Freewinds);
- Management Success;
- Narconon Los Angeles;
- Narconon U.S.;
- Peter Gillham’s Nutritional Center (in Clearwater, Florida);
- Sterling Management Systems;
- World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (“WISE”).
As a non-SO member, I even worked two years for the Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) U.S., where I helped prepare financial records for the old Church of Scientology of California. One day, as I worked as dutifully and diligently as ever, I heard distressing news of a court case (Lawrence Wollersheim versus the Church of Scientology). When I voiced my concern about that case to an OSA staff member, she convinced me to “ignore the noise” and just keep working.
In 1986, I attended the event at the Hollywood Palladium at which David Miscavige announced that LRH had died (“30 years ago today: ‘L. Ron Hubbard discarded the body he had used in this lifetime’”). As I listened to Four-Feet-Thirteen banter on endlessly about LRH’s good deeds, I knew that scientology would never be the same again. I also made a decision to never, ever attend another scientology event and I didn’t, not until after I left scientology, when I protested at an event that LA Org held for the community on May 1, 2016 (“How ‘May Day’ at Scientology’s PAC Base Turned into ‘Mayday'”).
On May 1, 2016, scientology rolled out the “red carpet” for me (so-to-speak) as I “attended” my first event in thirty years by calling the police on me.
On May 2, 2016, scientology spymaster Janet Weiland tried to shut down my protesting activities.
I didn’t hear anything about Ms. Weiland’s visit to Hope Again (“HA”) until a week or so later, not until my Case Manager asked me privately about it. HA, incidentally, is the transitional home which I called “home” for nearly four years after a bad economy forced me into homelessness in October 2012.
Christian-based Hope Again has two homes: one for men, and the other for women, all within four blocks of PAC Base. In the past, people who fell into hard times the result of an addiction (alcohol, drugs, etc.) were helped by HA. In recent times, however, more people (such as myself) have found themselves on HA’s doorstep, not looking for a handout, but for a hand up. Forced to the streets after losing their home or apartment and job, people arrive at HA and soon discover HA’s strict policies for being admitted to their program.
You cannot be accepted into HA’s program without passing a drug test. You also need to be interviewed by three HA staff members: a Pastor, a Case Manager and a Counselor. In 2012 after HA accepted me, I also needed to receive a clean bill of health from the County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health.
In their own words, HA stated that I would stay in their transitional home “until he can provide housing for himself.” Further, HA’s goals for their residents include assistance in finding employment and schooling, if needed.
Once you move into one of HA’s homes, you’ll be subjected to random drug testing as well as room inspections. HA is like, in some ways, attending a Christian University and while this is very beneficial for building the kind of foundation a resident may need in order to reenter society, it may also be a detriment because so much time is devoted to “program obligations,” and attendance of such is strictly enforced. Here’s a sample of a week’s “obligations” at the men’s house:
- Monday through Friday: Morning Devotions (7:30 AM).
- Monday: Relationships Class (9:30 AM).
- Tuesday: Anger Management Class (9:30 AM); Evening Church Worship (7:00 PM).
- Wednesday: Bible Study (9:30 AM); Bible Study (6:15 PM).
- Thursday: Life Skills Class (9:30 AM).
- Friday: Church Worship (9:30 AM).
In addition to those obligations, a resident is required to attend a church of their own choice each Sunday and is assigned a daily chore. A resident also must see, weekly, their Case Manager, Counselor and a Chaplain. One such meeting lasts 30 minutes., while the other two can last up to one hour each. When an activity outside of HA (such as applying for food stamps, welfare or going for a job interview) conflicts with a program obligation, that activity must not only be approved, it also needs to be done so in writing before the resident can attend the activity.
Such is the life I led from October 2012 to July 2016. I came to Hope Again as a scientologist. When Pastor Ross Lokken, the Executive Director at Hope Again, spoke as guest Pastor at a church in the neighborhood, he referred to scientology as a “cult.” My thought at the time: Pastor Ross is entitled to his own opinion. I will always be grateful to Hope Again because they not only helped me through rough times, they also gave me the time needed to step away from scientology. As a resident under a Pastor who saw my church as a cult, I couldn’t just walk four blocks east along Sunset Blvd., and go to PAC Base to go on course. Besides, no one at Big Blue helped me when I faced homelessness.
As a scientologist, I didn’t read the newspaper or watch new on television (it’s all bad news, scientology declares, and anything the news agencies say about scientology is a lie). One day as I passed the TV room in the men’s house, a news broadcast about the death of the late Mary Sue Hubbard’s (“MSH”) beloved Shih Tzu dog helped wake me from my scientology slumber. In that broadcast, I learned that MSH’s house, soon to be on the market, sat within walking distance of the men’s house. To pay homage (of sorts), I decided to take a walk by her house, but all I knew is that it’s in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles. In order to get the address of that location, I drummed up the courage to Google “Mary Sue Hubbard.” For many years, I had strictly observed scientology’s rule of never searching for anything scientological on the Internet because “it’s all lies.” But, I reasoned, I just wanted her address, so a little innocently Googling wouldn’t hurt. So, I did just that. Next, I clicked on the first Google result and tumbled, head-first, into Tony Ortega’s The Underground Bunker (“Mary Sue Hubbard’s Last Will Fulfilled: Her Dog Bereft of Life, It’s Time to Sell Her House!”).
I read Tony’s story on MSH in disbelief (I did get the address and later walked silently by that property). When she died, MSH left her estate, not to her descendants, but to a dog, a canine that would be served like royalty for as long as it lived (which would be for nearly the next eleven years), and only after the doggie’s death would MSH’s children benefit from her death. What?! The wife of the spiritual leader of the religion that I lived and breathed for valued a pet over her own children? This didn’t make any sense; it couldn’t be true! Who is Tony Ortega? What is “The Underground Bunker”? I wondered. As I gained clarity about the truth about scientology, I discovered other important blogs including those by Mike Rinder (“Something Can Be Done About It”) and Marty Rathbun (“Moving On Up a Little Higher”).
Soon, holes appeared in the scientological bubble world that my life had become. Thank you, Hope Again, for providing a place for me to live as I left scientology for good. My Case Manager actually suggested that I write every day; it doesn’t matter what I write, she said, as long as I write. Little did she know that my writing would evolve into this blog (It’s all your fault, Kay!). Soon, almost everyone at HA knew not only of my blog, but that I had become a critic of scientology. When I began my photojournalistic activities at PAC Base, I hid nothing from HA; they never thwarted my protesting activities.
About a week after her visit to Hope Again in an attempt to disabuse me of my protesting activities, I saw my Case Manager for our weekly meeting. At one point, when our conversation lulled, she quietly closed the door, leaving us in private, and asked me what I knew about the Vice-President of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles, Janet Weiland, and her recent meeting with Pastor Ross. That meeting had been about me, she explained, and politely asked me what I knew about it. The cool thing is that Ms. Weiland’s meeting with HA’s Executive Director had come and gone without incident. The most important thing is I still had a roof over my head. Scientology and all their Janet Weilands be damned!
I didn’t know why Ms. Weiland had visited HA, but I feared the worst: that I wouldn’t have that roof for long. How had she found out where I lived? Who had the Sea Org ordered (or paid) to follow me home in order to find out where I lived?
When asked about Ms. Weiland’s visit to HA and the allegation regarding my housing, an unnamed high-ranking scientology official declared,
“Janet Weiland went to his shelter to speak with a religious director there, solely as part of her ecumenical responsibilities in the neighborhood, and she had no idea Mr. Haseney lived there. She didn’t speak to anyone about Mr. Haseney, nor will she do so in the future. No one has made any effort to have him evicted or cause him trouble. I assure you that whatever other problems he is experiencing have nothing to do with the Church.”
Ecumenical, incidentally refers to Christian churches, something that scientology is not.
Here’s what actually happened when Frau Weiland came to Hope Again, as attested by Pastor Ross:
“July 6, 2016
“To Whom It May Concern:
“On Tuesday, May 2, 2016, Janet Willard (later corrected to reflect “Weiland” for a Deposition never used), Vice-President of the Church of Scientology, came to see me at my office. She did not have or make an appointment and would not tell me the nature of the visit until we were in private. I had not met her before this day and only know it was her based on her introduction and presenting me with her business card. She asked to see me in private. We went to my office to visit.
“She informed me that she was here because she understood that Fred Haseney was a resident in one of our transitional housing homes. I indicated that this was true. She related that she had been informed that Mr. Haseney [had] been at an event hosted by the Church of Scientlogy the previous day and was taking pictures and generally causing a disturbance. I noted that I was aware that he had once been in Scientology and had left a few years ago. And that I was unaware of his attendance at their event, but that Fred is an adult and we don’t require him or any of our residents to give an account of their time. My understanding from her was that the event was open to the public. She asked if I would speak with Fred and make sure he quit this type of behavior. I recommended to her that if she had a problem with Fred, she should talk with him or if he is breaking the law, contact the police. I did agree to pass along the fact that we had talked.
“Her visit was cordial and lasted about 15 minutes.
Within a couple of days, a housemate new to Hope Again’s transitional living program would go “Machurian Candidate” on me, suddenly becoming my arch enemy; his sole purpose: to get me kicked out. Did OSA hire him to attack me from within Hope Again as scientology attacked from outside, culminating in a Temporary Restraining Order served June 25, 2016?
To be continued.
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.