[ Table of Contents | Chapter One ]

The Mind Benders, Scientology

by Cyril Vosper


God! Was I tired!

I'd been working for eleven solid, ghastly days. And not just days; eleven nights too. With maybe two hours' sleep on a hard floor in Saint Hill every twenty-four hours. I hadn't had a bath or a square meal in all that time either. I felt like death.

It was Saturday, 30th, August, 1968. August Bank Holiday.

I had two jobs at Saint Hill - Dissemination Secretary, World Wide and Dissemination Secretary, Evening and Weekend Foundation. For all the big titles, I still felt like death.

An Open Weekend was going on at Saint Hill over the holiday and I conned my way into getting home because I was beginning to look and act like a zombie. It's not at all good for Scientology's public image for visitors, newcomers and newspaper reporters to see a zombie walking about the place.

Why had I been there for 264 hours non-stop?

Because on one or other of my jobs I had been in a Condition of Liability and under the justice system of Scientology, when you are in a Condition of Liability, you just stay there and work your way out of it.

I didn't give a damn for Scientology or all its sweet little Ethics systems. If I had told any of those crazy Scientologists what they could do with their Condition of Liability, I'd have been declared an even lower condition - Enemy, a Suppressive person; then I would have had to disconnect from my children. I had been declared an S.P. in April 1968 and had not seen my children for a week. I couldn't stand the thought of going through all that again. Mindbending self-recrimination, degradation. No. I would go ahead and act out my part and hope to get out of Scientology painlessly.

I got home at 8.30 p.m. The children were asleep. I went up to see them. They were so beautiful it hurt. I felt I had failed them. If they woke up now and saw me like this, I'd feel ashamed.

I went downstairs again, to bed. Ever since I had been declared a Suppressive Person in April, I had not been allowed to sleep with Rosalie. After all, she was the Assistant Guardian and I was an ex-S.P.!

I fell into bed and into sleep.

A loud thumping on the door. It went on and on, imperiously. In this half-awake, half-asleep state, I was terrified. What in God's name was going on? I tried to shut the noise out but it still went on.

Finally it stopped and I heard Rosalie opening the front door. After a few moments she came in.

"There's an Ethics Officer outside, Cyril."

I reached for my watch. "It's half-past ten! Tell him to go away."

"He wants you to go for a Committee of Evidence."

"Tell him to get lost. I'm bone tired. I'm in bed. I'm asleep. I may need some things right now but I do not need a Comm. Ev."

Ros sat down on the bed. It was the nearest we had been to each other in months. She looked concerned - almost affectionate. Ye Gods! What a life!

"You had better go. It could be hard for you if you don't go."

"Ros, do something for me. Tell that stupid bastard at the door that if he doesn't get out of my house now, I'll call the police and charge him with malingering, breaking and entry, attempted murder, trying to rape my wife and otherwise making a bloody nuisance of himself."

Rosalie fixed me with a pitying look and went out to talk to Peter Warren, Ethics Officer World Wide.

I tried to get back to sleep but it was only acting. There was a cold and resigned fear in me. I knew I would go to Saint Hill and give evidence at their Comm. Ev. and I had a deep foreboding that this would be the end for me.

Ros came back.

"Go out and talk to him. Do it for me."

Do it for Rosalie. Do it for my wife. Do it because she used the same surname as me. Do what any good Scientologist would do. I jumped out of bed. I had pyjamas on which was nice for Ros.

"Since he is such a thick-brained nit, I'll go and tell him myself or maybe I'll just kick him a few times."

I went into the hall with a stern look to my face but really just wishing they would all clear off and leave me to get some sleep. These people needed to be put over somebody's knee and spanked hard.

"Peter, I'm not going to Saint Hill or anywhere else with you. I was at Saint Hill two hours ago and if you wanted me you should have got me then. Right now I'm here and you had better clear off rapidly or I'll do something violent to you like castrating you without anaesthetics."

He adopted that patient, pitying look that's a stock-in trade of Scientologists, especially ones like Peter Warren. He was dripping wet from the rain and I thought that was justice even if nothing else was.

"It will go very bad for you if you don't come. In any case I have been given very strict instructions to bring you in."

"You take your instructions right back to the idiot who gave them to you and tell him you failed. For once the Scientology Gestapo failed."

That was as withering as I could make it with my eyeballs burning with tiredness, but it did not shake his determination. After all, he had the weight and majesty of Scientology Ethics behind him. I nearly vomited.

"I must bring you back for this Comm. Ev. There's a taxi outside and I must bring you back."

"For Crissake, don't you understand anything? I was asleep. I haven't slept properly for eleven days. What the hell are you trying to do - kill me?"

"I'm not trying to kill you. You must come to Saint Hill with me to give evidence at a legally convened Committee of Evidence. The more you argue, the worse it will be for you."

I went back to see Ros and get dressed. I knew this was the end of everything. Marriage, children, everything worthwhile. That it would inevitably be the end of Scientology for me seemed the only real relief. I felt like crying. Like getting on my knees to Ros and beseeching her to jack all this nonsense in, but I knew it would do no good.

"I'm going to Saint Hill."

"Good. I'm sure you will manage fine."

"I'll be declared S.P."

"Do you really think that?"

"I know that. Once an S.P., always an S.P."

The ride in the taxi to Saint Hill was a bit strained. The driver seemed embarrassed and bewildered. He would learn soon enough if he took many bookings from Saint Hill. This Ethics Officer sitting next to me had been learning long-division in school and kicking the toes out of his shoes when I was first auditing preclears. Twenty-four, maybe younger. Six months or maybe a year a Scientologist. Whoever it was said: "there ain't no justice, no justice nowhere" was dead right. I had persuaded Peter Warren to join staff at Saint Hill. I must have been out of my mind.

"Do you like your job, Peter?" I asked by way of conversation.

"Yes, it is very interesting." He smiled with that tolerant smile reserved by the superior for the very inferior. If I had had a gun, I would have carefully aimed it and blown his head off. Maybe he didn't know he was accompanying me to the end of my family, the end of my marriage. Or maybe he found that interesting too.

The Committee of Evidence consisted of Allan Ferguson, Chairman, Brian Day, member, Lucy Duncan, Secretary, and a tape-recorder. At least the tape-recorder didn't look hostile. By regulation there should have been four or preferably five human members and a tape-recorder. But the accused are held guilty whatever they say in a Scientology trial, so who worries about how many people are there to see your final degradation?

"Sit in that chair," said Allan Ferguson with a stern look as if he were a supreme judge sentencing a Train Robber to thirty years. I was already sitting in it but I stood up and sat down again to try to make him feel in control. I don't think it worked. He had that glazed, bemused look about him that is very common with Scientologists. He was going through a ritual. The ritual implanted by L. Ron Hubbard said: "Find the S.P.'s." He was finding an S.P. - me! The word of Hubbard is senior to any minor thing like smashing up my family.

"Turn on the tape-recorder." The way he said that sounded as if he were saying "Fire!" at an execution.

I felt I wasn't there. I felt I really were dead. I'd died of the bloody silliness and grief of it all.

My children. Christ - at the ages of seven, five and three they had more sense than these three had ever dreamed of having. But I sat there wearing a studious expression and wondering what was coming.

"This is a recording of the proceedings of Committee of Evidence convened under Ethics Order 727 World Wide, on 1st September, 1969. The time is 11:20 p.m.," said Allan Ferguson, self-consciously to the microphone. "Cyril Vosper; on Tuesday, the 27th August, 1968, did you receive orders to plan an Ethics Mission to New Zealand and Australia?"

"Yes," I replied. I lit a cigarette. My hand was trembling ever so slightly. I didn't offer them around. Sometimes coolness can go too far.

"When did you start to plan the Ethics Mission?"

"Right away." I'd won that one.

"Did you fail to immediately draw up the plans for the Ethics Mission to New Zealand and Australia?"

I looked at him for a moment. What sort of a loaded question was that?

"Well, it's actually impossible to immediately draw up plans for anything. Planning takes time. You have to get facts, find out who is going and all sorts of things. It takes time."

"Answer the question, Yes or No?" Allan Ferguson would have made a good village idiot. He lacked the panache for anything more demanding.

"All right, if you want me to admit that I failed to do something impossible, I failed." I had lost that one.

"Did you pass completed orders to the Executive Council and Alert Council before copying or duplicating those orders?"

"I circulated the orders I had written to as many members of the Exec. Council and Alert Council as were available but due to the fact that most of the members were not around, I went ahead and copied them in order to speed the thing up."

"You consider yourself senior to the Exec. Council and Alert Council, then?"

"Not at all. I worked on the basis that ANY orders given to the Mission were better than none, since I was unable to get a decision from either of the Councils."

"You took it upon yourself to act over the heads of the Exec. Council and Alert Council. That's what you're saying, isn't it?"

"Policy says that I must submit plans and orders to the Exec. and Alert Councils for approval before copying. It does not say what you do when you cannot find the members of these Councils."

"You went over their heads."

I shrugged. The whole thing was pointless. I should have stayed home and had a good night's sleep.

And so it went on. I didn't know what they were talking about most of the time. I certainly didn't care. Just get it over with.

After about thirty minutes, the tape-recorder started to creak which was no help.

"Finally, Vosper, how long have you been a Scientologist?"

"Since 1954, about fourteen years," I said with no pride Just a deep-down conviction that for fourteen years I'd been well out of my mind.

"And how many times have you left Scientology?"

"I've not actually left Scientology but I ..."

"Answer the question. How many times have you left Scientology?"

Ye Gods. This guy was going to get his pound of flesh. "I've left Scientology organisations twice to get more money. Once when I went into private practice; once when I got married."

"So how many times have you left Scientology?"

"Twice, I suppose."

"Thank you - we eventually get to the truth." Allan Ferguson turned to the other two. "Are there any further questions from the other members of the committee?"

They shook their heads sheepishly. They had been friends. People I bad respected at one time. I couldn't blame them for keeping their mouths shut. They could be declared S.P. along with me if they spoke up.

"You can go now, Vosper."

"Do I get a taxi to get me home again?"

"That's up to you."

If there had been any possible point to it, I'd have bashed his smug face in.

I went out and walked the two miles home, crying. Not because of the Comm. Ev. Not because I wasn't as good a Scientologist as Peter Warren, Allan Ferguson, and all the others. But because it was the end of that special thing that existed between Lindy Lou, Sean and Ashley and me. I didn't think of Ros. She was part of Scientology. Part of all the nonsense.

The next day I was declared a Suppressive Person. Per Gardstrom, International Ethics Officer, World Wide, found me in the Lower Hall working and handed me HCO Ethics Order 729 WW (World Wide), 388 SH (Saint Hill), 9 EU (Europe), 1 SH FND (Saint Hill Foundation). He did not give me time to read it.

"Get off the premises right away," he said.

"But my children are here somewhere. I must see them and say goodbye."

"Get off the premises right away."

"One day you'll have children, Per. I hope you will then remember what you have just said. I hope you will feel very proud of yourself," I said.

He escorted me to the main gate and told me to get out. He was doing his job by the book. He was being the International Ethics Officer, World Wide. A great title for a wretched job.

I went to London, booked into a hotel and slept and slept.

[ Table of Contents | Chapter One ]