I got involved [in Scientology] in '74 when I first came to California. I worked as an auditor at ASHO, joined the Sea Org and went to La Quinta in '77. I had quit a job in Washington DC and wanted to travel.
I was expecting a very wise person who had overcome a lot of the limitations of being a human being. the idea of going to be an auditor training under him was almost in the cast of meeting someone superhuman. It was every auditor's dream. When I was first there he came down to speak with us and he seemed pretty charming. He'd been hiding out for a while and had long hair down to his shoulders and a big beard. He'd come down to talk to us for about an hour at a time. I was still pretty taken in. His hair was white grey. He was wearing a cowboy hat. He looked a little bit like a cowboy, wearingg pretty casual clothes.
The movies hadn't started when we arrived. There weren't that many people at La Quinta, it was still getting set up to some degree. People were doing different projects. Our little group, maybe 12 of us, were doing auditing training, with a lot of sec checking because of security. There were a lot of drills - what if a reporter came, what if someone came to serve a subpoena? We all had alibis, different identities. Others were doing building projects, communications, setting up a household for him and so on.
It went on for about 4 months. He left and came back. There was a bit of a scare. That FBI raid was then and he took off in the night very suddenly. We spent a lot of time going through everything, cutting out any reference to him or Mary Sue or the GO [Guardian's Office], there was a lot of fear they had found out the location of this place. He was a fugitive. He was gone for 6 months or so, Mary Sue was there but he wasn't, so it was a pretty laid-back period. It was an easy going schedule. There was still a bit of tension about security, if anyone wanted to leave you had to try and talk them out of it.
Then he came back and started movies. I was a make-up artist. Everyone given a job. He controlled everything, there was really not a detail he wouldn't get into. On the make-up, he would be into the exact shade of pancake make-up on a person's face; should the hair be a little mussed up, every aspect of the shot would involve him. He had a great time sitting there in his director's chair giving everyone orders. Everything about him was taken seriously. It wasn't always sombre, there could be light moments. When - if - he was in a good mood he'd tell stories or someone would make jokes. But you could never be frivolous around him. Most of time there were a lot of upsets.
In my opinion it was impossible to please him. He saw things that were not there, and changed his mind. If something was a certain colour he would scream and yell about why it was that colour.
I did quite well with him, but had a couple of problems. He got annoyed with the messengers for something they'd done wrong, so he re-wrote the script so they would be cast as African negresses. It was not very pleasant for them, as they had cotton stuffed up the nose and cheeks. There was a pic in a book of the colour of skin tone. I didn't have any colours quite like that, I didn't assume it had to be taken literally, I mean literally. That was the big major thing. The colour was wrong. Are you colour blind? Can you get it right? He started to go, "You, you..". I looked him in the eyes and said, "You're right, I'm sorry," and he calmed down.
Normally people would gather round to try and placate him.
He was like a little child really, like a temper tantrum. Kima [Douglas] could handle him just right.
No one discussed his behaviour, it was not OK to do that. Someone would have written a report on you. I wouldn't say it was never done, some of the newer people who hadn't had the years of indoctrination, might have made a comment about how he was cranky. Everyone had it going on in their own mind, but would never discuss it.
The day we left a woman friend of mine said, "He sure was a cranky old guy." I was really shocked to hear it said out loud.
One day he had his arm in a sling - he had bursitis in his shoulder - and nothing would go right. It was a really bad day.
He wrote scripts for promotional and training films. Like "How To Audit." Some had more grandiose themes like "The History of Man", a film showing ancient shamans and Egyptians doing this and that. The script began, "From the beginning of history man has searched for truth..."
Another was called "Problems of Life" - about this young couple who just couldn't figure out what life was about. They went to see a scientist and a psychiatrist, who were portrayed as extreme caricatures - the psychiatrist acting like a demented being and the scientist was crazy, trying to make theorems on a blackboard. So they went to a Scientologist and found they had gone to the right place.
On the times he came back and was around I was unhappy. There were various things - one was the way he acted. He started the RPF; people were made to live in shabby places.
He was very abusive. I thought he had a great number of problems himself. He seemed like an unstable person. More than anything, the fact that people could be so brutally punished, ostracised for no logical reason. You couldn't follow it. He had a sense of how to keep people under control. People feeling too independent was threatening to him. He wanted people cowed, under his thumb, overwhelmed. Someone thinking for themselves, questioning him, was not acceptable.
I was a level 4 auditor. Each level learned different processes - 0, comm; 1, problems; 2, upsets, ARC [Affinity-Reality-Certainty], etc. Level 6 did the [Saint Hill Special] Briefing Course. You had to listen to an endless number of tapes of him giving courses. There was a great mass of data, hard to tie together. Some was easy to understand and had value, but a lot of it wasn't.
Almost any piece of data was contradicted by another piece. You could get hit for almost anything you did.
I left in March 79, largely because of his behaviour.
He only had a beard when we arrived; when he came back from Washington he didn't have a beard and his hair seemed redder.
He made the outside world seem a pretty frightening place.
For so many people the desire was to be of service, to help, to save the world.