This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. As you may already know, I used to report from the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters in Los Angeles, California. I used to live three blocks away from PAC Base, at Hope Again, a faith-based transitional home. On or around May 1, 2016, scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (“OSA”) decided to “Fair Game” me, and launched a campaign to silence this critic. In less than two months, I faced a bogus Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”), but, at the last minute, scientology balked, and we never went to court. Everything seemed hunky-dory until I got proof that withdrawing the TRO would only be the beginning of an on-going campaign by OSA to shut me up. It is my belief that an OSA spy successfully got me kicked out of Hope Again after inciting a non-stop reign of near-terror.
In late March 2016 (shortly after L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday, incidentally), Hope Again gave me an “exit date.” I had been living under their roof since October 2012, and with the help of a Case Manager, I had been looking for a full-time job that would help get me back on my feet. After 37 years of being a scientologist (1977-2014), and working, primarily, for scientology organizations (the Sea Org and Narconon, among others), or scientology-owned businesses (including Sterling Management Systems and Management Success), I found it difficult in a sluggish economy to get that job and move into a room or an apartment. Hope Again is designed, primarily, to help a resident transition, so it didn’t surprise me when I learned that I needed to move out.
I thank God for Hope Again, in more than one way: they helped me transition from being a scientologist to being a “bitter, disgruntled apostate,” an ex-scientologist. They didn’t do that directly, however. I moved in to Hope Again as a scientologist. Imagine my horror when I learned that part of the program that I had signed up for at Hope Again included seeing a Counselor once a week! Being a practicing scientologist at the time, I knew that I would, some day, be spending a considerable amount of time with an Ethics Officer and/or an Auditor in order to explain why I had spent an hour every week talking to the “enemy,” in this case, a Counselor, a Therapist, someone trained in the field of psychology.
As time progressed at Hope Again (I would eventually spend almost four years there), I began to see, slowly but surely, the error of my ways. I had been raised as a Christian and, when I became a scientologist, I had, effectively, tossed Christianity out the window in favor of scientology. The later believed in reincarnation and past lives, while the former didn’t, so I threw the baby out with the bathwater, so-so-speak, when I blindly decided to follow everything Hubbard. The program at Hope Again included Bible studies, and as we read, studied and learned about the Good Book (something I still haven’t read in full, but nearly did at Hope Again), I relearned God’s commandments as well his many commands throughout the Bible. I would eventually realize that my heart for my fellow man had become hardened, all because of my devotion to scientology.
Within a few months of arriving at Hope Again, I happened upon Rhea Smith, a scientologist Sea Org member. In the mid-1980’s, I worked two years at OSA as a non-Sea Org member, blindly getting the financial records in order so that scientology (I would later learn) could lose the Larry Wollersheim case against the old Church of Scientology of California. I met Rhea at the Office of Special Affairs United States (“OSA US”), where she wore the hat as the Treasury Secretary. Rhea and I would become rather good friends; years later, after a crippling car accident that left Rhea needing a lot of medical care, I visited her to lend friendship and morale support. When I confided in her in late 2012, that I had become homeless (for two days) and had been accepted at Hope Again, Rhea expressed disappointment in me. As a scientologist, she reasoned, she expected more of me. Soon, she amended her statement with kindness, and suggested that perhaps one day, I would write about the homeless and their plight.
Hope Again never once sat me down and said, “You need to stop being a scientologist.” No one at Hope Again even knew of my association with the cult of scientology (not until the end of my third year, that is, when I confided in the men’s House Manager and my Counselor, Case Manager as well as the Head Pastor). It had been my belief as a scientologist that only the strong survived, and that people, such as the homeless, were beyond hope or help. The first shock I had to overcome after being accepted into Hope Again is that I entered their front door as a homeless scientologist. As I worked diligently in looking for work (I actually did find gainful employment with the help of my Counselor, but never enough work to successfully transition), I participated non-stop at “Hope Again University,” for that’s how I described their program: I attended courses, Bible studies, and Church Worship, Monday through Friday. Hope Again has two transitional homes, one for men, the other for women, and we all had to learn how to live and/or get along with each other. In addition to program obligations (which included seeing, weekly, a Chaplin and Case Manager), I had daily chores in the men’s house as well as weekly food drives and other projects when they came up.
While I searched for work, I voluntarily volunteered at a nearby soup kitchen, where I eventually learned, among other things, that life isn’t all about me. That facility, Hope International, located in a Baptist church at the northwest corner of Fountain Ave. and Edgemont St., in Los Angeles (just a block away from PAC Base), does what scientology will never do: they feed the poor, the needy and the homeless, five days at week, twice a day (brunch is at 10:00 AM; dinner at 4:00 PM). Between meals, you will often find boxes of baked goods and, sometimes, fruit and vegetables, on a table at their front door. It isn’t just the food: I don’t think I’ve ever met a bunch of dedicated people.
I had a handful of “exit dates” from Hope Again, all designed to help me successfully transition back into some semblance of the life I used to have. In hindsight, however, that was a pipe dream, because I would be exiting as an ex-scientologist. For the first time in decades, I would have to depend on the world outside of scientology for help and guidance, not to mention employment.
At one point, I realized that my days at Hope Again were numbered, and that I had better conduct as many Photojournalism-related visits to PAC Base as I could. As a result, I have many such blogs yet to write. Yes, there may be a difference between reporting from PAC Base as events happen as opposed to some months after-the-fact, but don’t forget: Sea Org members have signed Billion Year contracts and scientologists, in general, have signed up for the duration. The Sea Org members and scientologists that I photographed at PAC Base may not be there today, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be there tomorrow. This blog is dedicated to getting those poor souls out of scientology; of reconnecting scientologists who have been wrongly declared a “Suppressive Person” (an enemy of that “church”) with those who have been forced to follow scientology’s toxic practice of “Disconnection.”
Photo #1 Caption: Two male Sea Org (“SO”) members pass in front of the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”), located at 1413 L. Ron Hubbard (“LRH”) Way, in Los Angeles. Here, they are walking north along that street, between Fountain Ave. and Sunset Blvd., with ASHO’s front steps behind them.
Photo #2 Caption: Two female SO members walk past ASHO, heading north along LRH Way toward Sunset Blvd. The woman on the right holds in her hand, among other things, what looks like to be a book by LRH or an Introductory Course pack along with a scientology policy letter. They’re actually escorting a third woman, apparently a non-Sea Org member, who has fallen behind in their walk.
Photo #3 Caption: That third person, as mentioned in the last photo, catches up with the SO members.
Photo #4 Caption: The three people as mentioned in the last two photographs enter the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”). In this picture, they are turning into that facility from LRH Way.
Photo #5 Caption: Two scientologists sit at a table on the patio of the Pacific Grill & Barbecue (“PGB”), on LRH Way. They are seated with that street in front of them, and the Main Building, part of PAC Base, behind them. The person on the left is a public scientologist on the Survival Rundown (“SR”). The person on the right is a SO member, most likely a professional auditor, and holds the official 8-by-14-inch white clipboard for the SR in her hands. They may be taking a break; they may, instead, be “in session,” with the “coach” (the SO member) giving the “student” or “Pre-Clear”(“PC”) commands such as “Look at that tree.”
I’ve learned that one or more of the processes on the SR may be needless; a processes, previously done to completion, may be needlessly being done again on the SR; that the SR can go on for hundreds of hours. Redoing a process that’s already been successfully done before, doing unnecessary processes, or doing processes past their recommended completion can be dangerous to the PC physically, mentally, and/or spiritually.
Photo #6 Caption: For this picture, I’m standing on the east side of LRH Way, facing south, in the direction of Fountain Ave. The man in the wheelchair, perhaps a public scientologist, is outside of the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”), located at 1306 LRH Way. To his left is a female SO member; to his right, a male SO member. To the left of the female SO member is a person who is cleaning up the area; notice her cart and cleaning materials. That person is most likely on the Estates Project Force (“EPF”), and not yet officially a Sea Org member. Behind that person and stepping onto the sidewalk is a male SO member. Behind him and across the street is the entrance to The Fountain, a residence for out-of-town scientologists who are in Los Angeles to receive training and/or processing. Notice the man in shorts exiting that building.
Photo #7 Caption: Two people involved in a scientology procedure, most likely the SR, walk north along LRH Way with Fountain Ave. and The Fountain behind them. The woman is the “coach,” a Sea Org member; the clipboard she carries is not the traditional SR type, but the blue pen is. Notice the sunglasses she has hanging on the front of her vest. The guy is the “student,” or PC; his t-shirt reads, “Grizzly,” and he wears an earring in each ear.
Photo #8 Caption: For this shot, I’m standing on the west side of LRH Way facing north, toward Sunset Blvd. with LA Org, ASHO, and the PGB (also known as the “Canteen”) to my left. Here we see two scientologists on the SR. The blond-haired woman is the “coach,” who carries the traditional SR clipboard and blue pen. The “student,” or PC doesn’t appear to be a public scientologist. Here, we see, most likely, a non-Sea Org staff member from an outer org, such as the Church of Scientology of Pasadena or the Church of Scientology of Utah.
Photo #9 Caption: As I stood on LRH Way facing north, I shot this picture of three people. On the left is a female SO member; the other two people, a girl carrying a blue bag and a guy sporting a goatee, are, most likely, public scientologists.
Photo #10 Caption: As I stood on LRH Way in the direction of Sunset Blvd., I shot this picture of two people doing the SR. The “student,” or PC, is the woman to the left. She’s most likely a public scientologist, while her “coach,” the woman to the right, is a SO member (notice that she, too, is carrying the traditional SR clipboard, which is white, and pen, which is blue).
Photo #11 Caption: For this photo, I’m standing on the east side of Catalina St., facing north toward Sunset Blvd. PAC Base is to my right; Catalina is the next street west of, and parallel to, LRH Way. Walking toward me is, I believe, a scientologist who also may be a SO member. Notice the name tag over his shirt pocket; I believe it has a SO logo, but it’s too far away for me to identify it.
Photo #12 Caption: At the time of this photo, the female staff member on the left, Alison Hidalgo (as identified by her name tag), held the post of “OES,” or Organizational Executive Secretary, at the London Org Foundation. Ahead of me is Sunset Blvd., with Catalina St. to my left.
Photo #13 Caption: This picture of a Kaiser Permanente Medical Center employee reminded me that I shot these pictures on St. Patrick’s Day (and on a Thursday Before 2:00 PM)! Here, he walks along the south side of Sunset Blvd., between Catalina St. and LRH Way; PAC Base sits to the right. In this photo, we see him look toward the medical facility. He wears the traditional hospital “green” pants, but for the holiday, he’s added green accessories: suspenders, beads, and even glasses!
Photo #14 Caption: On the day that I shot these photos, there were, at least, five Body Routers (“BR”) at the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Vermont Ave., trying to lure new people into scientology. Here we see a male SO member, wearing shades, talking to a non-scientologist, after giving him a “free” ticket for an Oxford Capacity Analysis (“OCA”) Personality Test. Notice the stack of OCA tickets that the BR holds in his hand.
Don’t fall for it, people. It’s a con, a scam. The BR is a shyster, professionally trained to sweet talk anyone into LA Org. No matter how good or important a BR may make you feel, don’t go. Flee! The OCA, incidentally, has absolutely nothing to do with Oxford. It’s interesting to note that getting involved with scientology may mean that you’ll lose the shirt off your back: in this photo, notice how the guy’s sweatshirt has already started to come off of him!
Photo #15 Caption: In this photo taken at the northeast corner of Sunset Blvd. and Vermont Ave., we see a BR offer a “free” OCA test ticket to a guy who is standing with what looks to be a laundry cart. That guy, the man with the cap, doesn’t look all too pleased that the BR has already handed one of those tickets to the little boy, possibly his son. That’s the way to do it, scientology, get them while they are young. Indoctrinate them early!
Photo #16 Caption: As ex-scientologists Phil and Willie Jones would say to their adult children, Emily and Mike, still trapped in that cult: “To my loved one in scientology… call me.”
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2017 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.