Mary Sue Hubbard

What happens when Scientology helps you reach ‘your full potential’

(Note: This article originally appeared on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker)

Jeffrey Augustine is back to help us think about the message in Scientology’s newest ad…

This year’s Scientology Super Bowl commercial was pretty much like the previous four: It looked like those slick Apple ads from a decade ago, and it tries to give you the warm and fuzzies about learning things about yourself.

This year’s ad concluded with these lines…

…Through all of life’s journey
There’s no language adequate to describe
The ultimate heights you can attain…
Your full potential

Those lines are heard as images of a young woman is taking the sensors for the Scientology E-meter — she’s about to unleash her full potential because she’s engaging in Scientology. That’s the point, right? And now, at Scientology’s website, you can see the same slogan…

Like its previous ads, Scientology’s commercial really doesn’t tell you anything about how Scientology works or what you’ll be asked to accept if you join. So what does it mean that Scientology will help you reach “your full potential”?

In its early history, Scientology made a lot of exorbitant claims about what it could do. L. Ron Hubbard claimed that his “technology” could cure diabetes, allergies, cancer, and other diseases, as well teach people how to “go exterior with full perception” — leave your body at will. In other words, reaching your full potential meant becoming a superhuman with amazing powers.

But is that what Scientology delivers? Seeing this new slogan made us think about some famous cases in Scientology history. Did these people reach their “full potential”?

Lisa McPherson tried to reach her full potential in Scientology. She was from Dallas and had moved to Florida to be at Scientology’s “spiritual mecca,” the Flag Land Base. Scientology leader David Miscavige himself decided in the summer of 1995 that she had gone “Clear,” a major step for a Scientologist. But then what happened over the next few months is a tragic story that this website has told in real time, on the 20th anniversary of Lisa’s death.

Steve Brackett, the one-time fiancé of The Simpsons voice actress Nancy Cartwright and a high-level “OT” Scientologist, never reached his full potential in Scientology because, facing bankruptcy and financial ruin in a church where money is everything, he jumped off the Highway 1 Bixby Bridge on the Big Sur coast of California and plunged nearly 200 feet to his death sometime in the darkness of the very early morning hours of May 28, 2009.

Sons of Anarchy actor Johnny Lewis never reached his full potential in Scientology. He murdered his landlady, killed her cat, and then fell or jumped to his death from a roof in darkness in 2012.

 

Jenny Linson, Marc Yager, and Dave Bloomberg, three high-ranking Scientology officials, are seen acting like lunatics at Los Angeles International Airport. Is this the full potential they were aiming for?

William “Rex” Fowler never reached his full potential in Scientology. Following a bitter dispute over Fowler’s large donation of company funds to Scientology, Fowler shot and killed his business partner in cold blood and then turned his 9mm Glock pistol on himself. Fowler’s suicide attempt failed, and he was prosecuted and sentenced to life in prison. As police were still investigating the crime scene, Fowler’s Scientologist wife arrived and insisted to police that she be allowed to take her husband’s briefcase as it contained classified Scientology OT materials. The police refused her demand. The briefcase was later returned.

Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International, never realized his full potential in Scientology because he’s been imprisoned in “The Hole” since 2004, let out only occasionally for a few appearances.

Charles Manson spent some of the 1960s at the federal penitentiary on McNeil Island in Washington State. During that time, he got into Scientology and did quite a bit of auditing — his warden at the time even said it was good to see that Charlie was applying himself to something. But Charlie didn’t reach his full potential with Scientology. When he got out of prison he put together his own amalgamation of ideas as he gathered The Family around him and committed some of the most famous murders of all time.

Reed Slatkin never reached his full potential in Scientology. Instead, he was caught swindling $593 million in a Ponzi scheme and was sent to prison. Slatkin was very generous with his stolen money and donated a great deal of it to the Church of Scientology. After his arrest and conviction, the Church of Scientology was forced to give back some of the money Slatkin had donated, although the church fought having to return the funds. Slatkin died of a heart attack in 2015, two years after being released from incarceration.

A legendary auditor and “Tech Wizard” in Scientology, Class XII Case Supervisor David Mayo was the Senior Case Supervisor International (C/S INT) for all of Scientology. Mayo had been widely credited with having saved L. Ron Hubbard from death in 1978 by using a special program of auditing that later became the basis of NED for OT’s. Mayo was regarded as Hubbard’s successor on the Tech lines of the Church. However, David Mayo fell on the wrong side of things politically in the aftermath of Snow White Program and the widespread paranoia it created inside of Scientology. Hubbard turned on Mayo and declared him an SP. Mayo infuriated Hubbard and Scientology when he defied them by opening his acclaimed Advanced Ability Center in Santa Barbara in 1983. Countless Scientologists left the Church to receive services from Mayo and his team at the AAC. David Mayo quickly became the target of Scientology’s wrath and an incredible program of Fair Game ensued. In a 2013 interview with Tony Ortega, Jon Atack said of David Mayo:

David Mayo was harassed for years. He was the subject of at least one murder attempt. I spent a month in Palo Alto in 1986, where I first interviewed Mayo and I was impressed by his sober grasp. He described without rancor the horrors of his own treatment -– for instance, being forced to run round a pole planted in the desert for hours on end –- and he was very precise. I was most impressed by his obvious distress when adulated, which happened a few times during my stays in Palo Alto. He very obviously didn’t want to assume Hubbard’s narcissistic mantle. I’m very glad that he didn’t take Scientology over, because I might have been tempted to stay in the fold. Wherever he is now, I wish him peace and fulfillment. He deserves it.


Music legend Isaac Hayes had won an Academy award, a Golden Globe, and three Grammys but he had declared bankruptcy in 1977, beset by financial and legal problems. He became a Scientologist in the early 1990s, and then enjoyed a profitable second career when he became the voice of “Chef” on a new animated cable show South Park. Chef proved to be a lucrative role for Hayes and allowed him to support his fourth wife and their young child. Following South Park’s airing of its Scientology parody “Trapped in the Closet” on November 16, 2005, Hayes was heavily pressured by Scientology to resign from the show. Hayes subsequently suffered a debilitating stroke in January 2006. Hayes’ son Isaac Hayes III said in a 2016 interview that someone in Scientology quit the South Park job on his father’s behalf in March 2006. Having lost his substantial South Park income, the post-stroke Hayes was forced to relearn the piano and return to the grueling life of touring on the road in order to earn a living. Hayes collapsed on a treadmill in his Memphis home and died at age 65 on August 10, 2008.

Declared the “World’s First Clear” on March 9, 1966 by L. Ron Hubbard, John McMaster was a celebrated and charismatic Scientology goodwill ambassador. McMaster traveled the world for many years on speaking tours, television appearance, and radio interviews where he extolled Hubbard and Scientology’s tech. A closeted gay man in a homophobic Church, McMaster was routinely punished by L. Ron Hubbard, who ordered him overboarded on the flagship Apollo numerous times. On one trip over the side of the ship, McMaster’s shoulder was seriously injured and was temporarily paralyzed. After years of faithful service while enduring abusive treatment and being paid slave wages, John McMaster left Scientology in November 1969 after being excommunicated by Hubbard. Hubbard’s hateful order read in part, “John McMaster is assigned a condition of Treason for rendering himself liable to blackmail by reason of his homosexual activities.”

Born in 1956, Annie Tidman was an original Commodore’s Messenger who served L. Ron Hubbard aboard the Apollo. Annie married Pat Broeker in 1978, and Hubbard left Hemet in 1980 to go into permanent hiding, he took his trusted aides Pat and Annie with him. Hubbard eventually settled in at his secret ranch in Creston, California in 1983. Pat and Annie lived on the ranch and took care of Hubbard in his final years. After Hubbard’s death in January 1986, Pat and Annie were thought to be potential successors because Hubbard had anointed them with the special title “Loyal Officers.” But David Miscavige pushed them out of the way to take over control of the church. Pat and Annie divorced, and Annie lived at Scientology’s secretive “Int Base” near Hemet, California as a loyal Sea Org member. She was later moved to an apartment in Hollywood to suffer the final stages of cancer. Her own family didn’t learn of her 2011 death at 55 until about six months later.

Is Shelly Miscavige reaching her full potential? It’s hard to know, because since 2005 she’s been kept at a super-secretive Scientology base in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead, California. At one time, the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige was a major church executive in her own right, but since her banishment Shelly has been seen in public only once, at her father’s 2007 funeral in the presence of a Scientology “handler.” A new sighting of Shelly suggests that she’s still at the mountain compound, and in frail health.

Mary Sue Hubbard, the wife of L. Ron Hubbard, never reached her full potential in Scientology because she was sent to prison for her part in the Snow White Program, which she oversaw. After her release from prison, Mary Sue was pushed out of her role as a church executive by David Miscavige, and she lived in Los Feliz with Scientology handlers watching her. She died from breast cancer and COPD on November 25, 2002 at the age of 71.

L. Ron Hubbard never exhibited the potential that he promised for others that would come from Scientology. He was not clairvoyant, did not have total recall, and he was certainly not impervious to disease. On January 24, 1986, he died of a stroke while in hiding, estranged from his wife Mary Sue and their children, and with the psychiatric drug Vistaril in his blood.
— Jeffrey Augustine

How Scientology’s 1970s infiltration scandal led to the creation of its IAS slush fund

(Authored by Jeffrey Augustine, this essay was originally published by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker and is reprinted here for archival purposes)

July 8, 1977: The FBI conducts a massive raid on the Church of Scientology to find evidence relating to its “Snow White Program.” The raid eventually leads to eleven top Scientology leaders being criminally charged and convicted for their role in the conspiracy to burglarize federal offices.

SEFThese Scientology defendants, including Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, needed a great deal of money for legal defense. So in 1978 Scientology’s notorious Guardian’s Office created the “Safe Environment Fund” (SEF) to pay for the significant legal expenses of the GO members who had been indicted. Essentially, the SEF was a GO legal slush fund that generated a significant amount of unrestricted donations.

The GO could spend the money on almost anything broadly related to the defense of the Guardian’s Office members. This included funding private investigators to engage in spying and dirty tricks. Even as the GO became the precursor of OSA, the SEF became the precursor of the IAS.

One of the more notorious church operations likely funded by the SEF involved the private investigator Richard Bast, who was hired to find dirt on Judge Charles R. Richey.

After the Snow White Program was busted up, nine top Scientologists, including Mary Sue, were indicted and faced trial. (Two more, Jane Kember and Mo Budlong, first needed to be extradited from England.) Two judges recused themselves from the case before Richey took it, and then, in the summer of 1979, he traveled to Los Angeles to hold trial. After the defendants stipulated to evidence submitted by the FBI in return for the dropping of all but one charge against them, Richey found them guilty and prepared to sentence them. Bast, meanwhile, swung into action. He found a US marshal who had traveled with Richey to LA who told Bast that the judge had paid for prostitutes. Bast fed the information to columnist Jack Anderson, and Richey recused himself — but not before he’d sentenced Mary Sue and other initial eight defendants to prison sentences, most of about two to four years.

Bast was paid $321,000 and $84,000 in expenses for his work, which, adjusted for inflation, would be about $1.2 million today. In his book The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, Tony Ortega describes Bast’s operation not only against Judge Richey, but also against Paulette Cooper, who was duped into being hired by Bast under the pretense that the private eye was working for a Swiss millionaire who wanted to expose Scientology.

And Bast orchestrated one other nefarious caper designed to destroy an additional judge. Vicki Aznaran, the former President of the Religious Technology Center (Scientology’s nominally controlling entity), revealed this particular Bast caper in her declaration of August 9, 1998:

Dick Bast secured a yacht and attempted to get the judge on board for the purpose of filming him under compromising circumstances. The judge declined to go yachting and the operation was unsuccessful. Approximately $250,000 was spent on the operation.

While the US Government and the media took serious note of Scientology’s hardball tactics and willingness to spend vast sums of cash to smear a US Judge, so did a ruthless twenty-year-old Sea Org member named David Miscavige. While Miscavige was not a part of the Guardian’s Office, he was at this point handling some of L. Ron Hubbard’s more urgent problems.

When it became apparent that the GO defendants were going down in flames, the Church decided it was best to avoid a messy public trial in which Mary Sue Hubbard and the other defendants would be cross-examined at length on the record, and that’s why they signed the stipulation of evidence mentioned earlier.

Mary Sue appealed her prison sentence using SEF money while she remained in control of the Guardian’s Office. Meanwhile, L. Ron Hubbard went into hiding in February 1980 and remained in hiding until his death on January 24, 1986. Mary Sue never saw or heard from her husband after he went into hiding.

Although the Snow White Program had become a colossal train wreck, L. Ron Hubbard’s goal to eliminate, by all means possible, the legal threats against himself remained unchanged. In 1981, Hubbard effectively transferred the goals of the Snow White Program from the Guardian’s Office to a newly created entity called the “All Clear Unit.” David Miscavige was a prominent figure in this unit. During this period, Miscavige was able to force Mary Sue to resign as Controller of the Guardian’s Office and force her into exile and house arrest.

In the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Guardian’s Office and Mary Sue’s fall from grace, the Office of Special Affairs was created in 1982. The GO’s intelligence and Fair Game functions, and many of its personnel, were transferred into OSA. The Snow White Program’s “Programs Op” Linda Hamel was among the GO personnel relocated into OSA. Linda Hamel is now the Commanding Officer of OSA International.

By April 1982, Mary Sue Hubbard had exhausted her legal appeals. On January 7, 1983 Mary Sue was sentenced to four years in prison (she actually served only a year):
MSHSentence

With the final Snow White Program defendant behind bars in 1983, the Guardian’s Office-tainted SEF had served its purpose. As with all people and things in the Church that have outlived their usefulness or have become a PR liability, Mary Sue Hubbard, the GO, and the SEF were, in L, Ron Hubbard’s words, “disposed of quietly and without sorrow.” Mary Sue’s name was even purged from the 1978 edition of What Is Scientology?

The Snow White Program and the SEF had taught the Church a very valuable lesson: Having a large slush fund that was legally autonomous from the Church was a very important resource to possess — particularly given Scientology’s penchant for vicious Fair Game tactics that were either on the edge of law or crossed over into illegality.

This lesson was particularly relevant to David Miscavige. Indeed, about one year after Mary Sue’s incarceration in a federal penitentiary, Miscavige learned that both he and Founder Hubbard were the subject of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS CID). Miscavige needed to move fast to kill this looming IRS CID investigation. Therefore, just as the Church had dismantled the Guardian’s Office on paper and resurrected it as the Office of Special Affairs, the SEF was also resurrected as the International Association of Scientologists (IAS). As the old French proverb states, “The more things change the more they remain the same.”

With its usual sense of overblown grandiosity, the Church evoked the signing of the US Declaration of Independence when it created the IAS in October 1985, or “AD 35” in the “After Dianetics” Scientology calendar created by Hubbard. Held at Saint Hill, the event included a ceremony that featured “delegates” using a quill pen to sign a “Pledge to Mankind” printed on parchment.

After having been unceremoniously kicked out of Saint Hill at thirteen years of age for having slugged his female preclear during an auditing session, David Miscavige made a triumphal return to “Ron’s home” in 1985 as a signatory on the IAS Pledge to Mankind. Pictured below, Miscavige is seen front row center in his red tie:
SaintHillMiscavige

True to form, Miscavige rolled out the IAS by stating that the previous membership organization, the “International Membership” program that was sold to Scientologists between 1977-1984, was illegal and off-source. See underlined text in this excerpt from Scientology Policy Directive 104R of 31 October 1985:
IASRulesScientologists were told to cheer for the on-source IAS as it was a “war chest” beyond the reach of the evil IRS.

Just how beyond the reach of the IRS was the IAS?

Shares of the IAS were held in trust by two individual Scientologists: Carl Heldt and Maureen Brigatti. These shares, in turn, were held in trust by the shadowy Curaçao Trust Management on Curaçao. President of the IAS Janet Light owned 1 percent of the shares and these were ultimately held in trust by the murky Theta Management Ltd. on Cyprus:
IASOwnership If you cannot follow the chain of IAS ownership it is because no one is supposed to be able to follow it. Theta Management LTD. was dissolved in 1993 and its functions transferred to the IASA. Presumably, the shares held in trust by Theta Management were transferred to the IAS to be held in trust. Curaçao Trust Management (CTM) still plays an unknown role in the IAS. For many years, the IAS was purportedly based aboard the M.V. Freewinds and was thus considered a “non-situs” trust, meaning it had no fixed location.

As previously covered, the IAS domesticated in 2007 and became a Delaware corporation. This may have been due to two events. First, new and stricter US laws went into effect for American companies and individuals holding offshore assets. The US Government was cracking down on money laundering and money that could be used to fund terrorism. Second, it seems that Curaçao Trust Management was becoming increasingly involved in managing online gaming monies. The IAS perhaps may have wanted to distance itself somewhat from CTM and its owner the Dutch tax lawyer and Curaçao national Englemindus George Praag. One of the most shadowy figures in the “shadow side” of Scientology, George Praag goes back decades with the Church.

The Snow White Program was clearly a case of Scientology turning lemons into lemonade, or in this case felonies into a billion dollar slush fund. As mentioned in our previous article on the IAS, CO OSA Linda Hamel is a trustee of the US IAS Members Trust. Thus, Scientology’s spy boss has access to a pile of money to, say, pay lawyers to pay private investigators to pay other private investigators to hack the email accounts of Scientology critics and ex-members.

Documents filed in the Garcia vs. IAS et. al. lawsuit yielded an intriguing item. Buried in the back pages of one filing provided by the Church was a bad photocopy of CO OSA Linda Hamel’s driver’s license. At last, a photo of Linda Hamel:
Linda_Hamel

 

If the Sea Org doesn’t legally exist, how does it run Scientology?

(Authored by Jeffrey Augustine, this essay was originally published by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker and is reprinted here for archival purposes)

Last week, Underground Bunker contributor Jeffrey Augustine began explaining to us the essential structure of the fiction known as “the Church of Scientology.” This week, he dives even deeper, examining how the Sea Org really runs things even though it doesn’t exist, legally. Confused? That’s exactly the point. Scientology’s byzantine internal structure was intended to make it difficult to follow lines of responsibility as a defense against lawsuits or government investigations. But sense can be made of things, and we’re fortunate that Jeffrey has this stuff down cold…


Nothing in the Church of Scientology is as it seems. As we covered last week, there is no single entity known as the “Church of Scientology.” Rather, as the Church told the IRS in 1992, the term “Church of Scientology” is one of convenience:

 The Church of Scientology describes itself as consisting of an “ecclesiastical hierarchy of churches” in which all of its churches are legally separate religious corporations. So who exactly manages and operates this transnational, multibillion dollar ecclesiastical hierarchy of Scientology churches on a daily basis? We focus this week on the Church of Scientology’s Sea Organization – the Sea Org — and its central role in Scientology. While the Church of Scientology likes to call the Sea Org its clergy, we will see that the Sea Org is not what it seems to be.

The Church of Scientology, tax exemption, and Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s ongoing pattern of financial misconduct, megalomania, spying on his enemies, and Scientology’s internal culture of brutality are intrinsic to the creation of the Sea Org. From Scientology’s founding in 1952 until 1967, the movement was managed and operated by staff members and volunteers. These people received very little in the way of pay, worked long hours, and often had to “moonlight” by working a second job to make ends meet. After Hubbard purchased Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, Sussex, England in 1959, he took up residence there with his family and quickly expanded it to be the global center of Scientology’s growing international operations and the destination of massive cash flow.

The Hubbard Communications Office Worldwide was established at Saint Hill in 1959. This operation was proof of Scientology’s growth and burgeoning financial power. Telexes were sent and received around the clock from Saint Hill to an expanding global network of Scientology orgs, operatives, lawyers, and private investigators. In this period, it became apparent to Hubbard that he needed an inner circle of Scientology careerists, people who would devote their lives to Scientology and to him and have no other purposes. An inner circle of permanent and trusted Scientology careerists was needed to give the movement stability and provide standardization of Scientology’s technology and management policy amid international growth. Scientology careerists were also needed to manage and supervise the growing cadre of non-Scientology lawyers and private investigators needed to counter the rising tide of criticism from the media, lawsuits from former members, and investigations from governments in those countries where Scientology operated.

The IRS revoked the Church of Scientology’s tax exemption in 1967 after finding the Church of Scientology of California (CSC) – the original Mother Church – existed for the private financial benefit (inurement) of Founder L. Ron Hubbard. The IRS objected to Hubbard ordering the church pay him lavish royalties on the sale of his books, tapes, and auditing services. The IRS further took exception to Hubbard and his family living aboard a church-financed private yacht that sailed the Mediterranean at Hubbard’s will and pleasure, this while Ron and Mary Sue Hubbard were waited upon hand and foot by church staff.

Hubbard could have cleaned up his finances and those of the church in a way that would have allowed the church to file a new application for tax exemption. However, Hubbard chose not to clean things up financially or morally. Rather, in 1966 Hubbard created the Sea Project and purchased a small flotilla of ships. In 1967 L. Ron Hubbard morphed the Sea Project into the Sea Org and appointed himself Commodore of the Sea Org. Hubbard took to international waters to avoid lawsuits, the service of summons, and the scrutiny of the taxing authorities in those countries where Scientology operated. Hubbard used the Sea Org and a global system of land and sea based telexes to run his empire.

Sea Org members signed billion-year contracts to serve Scientology and devote themselves to L. Ron Hubbard. Sea Org members had no other purpose than to serve where needed. No case on post was allowed. The Sea Org embodied the unquestioning fanaticism and the wanton disregard for “wog laws and customs” Hubbard required.

To fortify his Scientology empire, Commodore Hubbard additionally created the Guardian’s Office on March 1, 1966 and appointed his wife Mary Sue as the First Guardian. In her role as Guardian, Mary Sue was in charge of the Guardian’s Office and second in command of Scientology, subordinate only to Executive Director L. Ron Hubbard. In November of 1968, Hubbard issued the following policy letter: “The Intelligence Section has been formed and placed in Division 7, Dept 21, Office of the Guardian. It is under the direction of the Guardian WW [worldwide].” The GO became the in-house intelligence bureau of Scientology. As such, the GO was tasked by Hubbard with investigating and silencing Scientology’s enemies. Failing to silence them, the GO was tasked with destroying them per Hubbard’s imperious diktat of Fair Game.

The Snow White Program (1973-1977) was a Guardian’s Office intelligence operation that became the largest infiltration of the US federal government in its history. The Church was the subject of a massive multi-location FBI raid on July 8, 1977. Mary Sue Hubbard went to prison along with ten others in the Guardian’s Office. The years long fallout from the Snow White Program allowed Sea Org member David Miscavige and his clique to destroy the Guardian’s Office, drive Mary Sue Hubbard into exile, and push L. Ron Hubbard further into hiding and isolation.

As “Action Chief” David Miscavige’s job was to get things done for the Commodore; Miscavige’s ability to operate on an unimpeded basis both inside and outside of the Sea Org showed that “Scientology command channels” had no meaning or relevance to Miscavige; he was a law unto himself in the Church and reported only to Hubbard. Moreover, as the GO had been morphed into the Office of Special Affairs (OSA) and merged into the Sea Org, Miscavige now controlled Scientology’s nefarious intelligence apparatus.

In the early 1980’s, Scientology’s attorneys created the CST-RTC-CSI franchise system that exists today. After the Commodore died in seclusion on January 24, 1986, Sea Org Captain David Miscavige emerged in a very public way as Chairman of the Board, Religious Technology Center. At the time of Hubbard’s death, the vast majority of public Scientologists had never heard of David Miscavige or RTC. If anything, Sea Org member David Miscavige was notorious for his role in the infamous Mission Holder Massacre of 1982.

In his Last Will and Testament, Hubbard left the bulk of his personal fortune and his vast and financially lucrative intellectual properties – books, tapes, trademarks, copyrights, service marks, signature, etc. – to the Church of Scientology. However, Hubbard stipulated in his Will that his intellectual property could only be owned by tax exempt Scientology churches.

Thus, David Miscavige’s main focus was to a) use whatever means were necessary to secure and consolidate his power as the new and unchallenged Scientology Dictator, and b) gain tax exemption for CST-RTC-CSI and all other Scientology churches. Assisting Miscavige were some of the best tax lawyers in the US; his dedicated clique of loyal Sea Org members; an army of private investigators; and an unlimited budget.

November 1992, Washington DC: Secret and intense negotiations between Church of Scientology officials and IRS officials bogged down over many issues. The IRS wanted far more precise answers from the church concerning the question of inurement and what exactly the Sea Org is. The IRS asked Question 3-a:

 Source: Church of Scientology, Nov. 23, 1992: Third Set of Responses to the IRS — page 19 ¶ 1ff

The Church of Scientology replied:

op. cit. page 19 ¶ 3-4

The Church of Scientology thus characterized the Sea Org as:
— A religious commitment, specifically a commitment of one billion years.
— A religious order.
— A religious order having no corporate form, no property, no assets, and no personnel who administer the Sea Org.

Quite possibly fearing that the IRS would go past a word it did not understand and thus suffer from a deadly “misunderstood word” – a phenomena Hubbard warned of as being the root cause of failing to understand his invented Scientology terminology or anything else — the Church of Scientology became typically pedantic in elaborating upon its use of the word “organization”:

op. cit. page 19 ¶ 6

This clarification offered the IRS even more information about the Sea Org:
— The Sea Org does not have an org board.
— The Sea Org does not have a command channels chart.
— The Sea Org has no secular existence and is neither incorporated nor unincorporated.

Poised precariously on the edge of a nightmarish abyss one billion dollars deep, the church next, and very uncharacteristically so, told the IRS the actual truth about the Sea Org. And keep in mind that the church expected a secret agreement with the IRS. It never expected that Scientologists or the general public would ever read the following words:

In 1992, therefore, the Church secretly admitted to the IRS “there is no such ‘organization’ as the Sea Organization.”

Sea Org members are, in legal terms, nothing more than Scientology staff members who have elected to become Scientology careerists for various reasons. Rather than signing a 2.5- or 5-year contract like regular staff members, Sea Org members sign a symbolic billion year pledge. In practical terms these days, however, Sea Org members sign five-year staff contracts at five year intervals. In exchange for their labor, Sea Org members receive a meager weekly stipend and subsistence-level room and board. For legal reasons, the Church classifies both the Sea Org and Staff as religious orders. The legal net effect of this classification is that workers in religious orders are exempt from minimum wage, overtime pay, and other worker protections.

The obvious question: Why does the Church of Scientology pretend that the Sea Org exists when there is no such organization as the Sea Organization?

While David Miscavige and his lawyers were secretly telling the IRS in 1992 that there is no such “organization” as the Sea Organization, the US Claims Court ruled in that same year in Church of Spiritual Technology v. The United States:

“…After carefully examining the record and attempting to understand the nominal corporate structure of Scientology it is apparent to the court that it is something of a deceptis visus. Real control is exercised less formally, but more tangibly, through an unincorporated association, the Sea Organization, more commonly referred to as the Sea Org. This group, in the nature of a fraternity or clan, began with Scientologists who pledged themselves eternally to Scientology and who accompanied LRH in his sea-going spiritual research in the Mediterranean. In 1967, LRH and other Scientology staff moved onto a yacht, the Apollo, ‘to pursue [LRH’s] research of the upper levels of spiritual awareness.’ LRH and his Apollo staff performed Scientology services, managed the Scientology organization, and conducted spiritual research. If LRH could have been compared to Achilles, members of the Sea Org would have been his Myrmidons.

“The Sea Org appellation survives in Scientology as a distinction afforded to those Scientologists who have dedicated themselves to serving Scientology for the next billion years. It is described by CST as a way to distinguish Scientologists worthy of great deference and respect. Sea Org members are initiates into the highest levels of Scientology, and bear concomitant responsibilities.

“CST staff and officers are required to be members of the Sea Org, which gives CST the distinction of being a Sea Org Church. CSI, RTC, the Flag Service Org (which employs over 900 Sea Org members), the Saint Hill Churches, in short, all high ranking organizations are Sea Org Churches. Being a ‘Sea Org Church’ means that the church’s function is important enough to Scientology to warrant the attention of a significant number of Sea Org members.

“Sea Org rank nominally carries with it no ecclesiastical authority in the sense that Sea Org members still take orders from the ecclesiastical leaders of whichever Scientology organization they join. Upon closer analysis, however, this appears to be a distinction without a difference because in a Sea Org church the ecclesiastical authority necessarily resides in a Sea Org member.”

As mentioned in our previous essay, the Church of Scientology is composed of legally separate religious corporations. Ostensibly, each corporation is independent and responsible for its own affairs. This is stated in contracts Scientologists sign to receive services from these legally separate churches:

 

 

The deceptis visus cited by the US Claims Court in 1992 thus becomes apparent: In order to achieve a unity of command over the legally separate and independent Scientology religious corporations and their employees, the Sea Org exists as the secret governing body of the Church of Scientology. Therefore, whoever commands the Sea Org commands the Church of Scientology. This person, at present, is Captain David Miscavige.

The Sea Org is like the Mafia: It exists and it operates and controls the Church of Scientology, However, Scientology and its lawyers have made it virtually impossible to prove that Sea Org members derive any power whatsoever from their ceremonial ranks in a symbolic and legally nonexistent religious order. Again, to reiterate what we discussed in our last essay, David Miscavige’s attorney Wallace Jefferson declared in 2014 in Rathbun v. Miscavige et. al.:

Plaintiff asserts that Mr. Miscavige exercised control because he leads the Sea Organization, a religious order within Scientology. But the “Sea Org” is not a corporate entity; it has no physical or legal existence. It is not incorporated or established pursuant to legal formalities. It has no constitution, charter or bylaws, and no formal or informal ecclesiastical, corporate, or other management structure. It has no directors, officers, managing agents, or other executives; no employees, staff members, or volunteers; no income; no disbursements, no bank accounts or other assets; no liabilities; no stationery; no office, home, address, or telephone number. It does not create or maintain any financial, personnel, or other records. It can neither give nor receive orders because it has no one to either give or receive them or to carry them out. It cannot sue or be sued. The evidence Mrs. Rathbun has submitted fails to establish a prima facie basis for an alter ego finding, because none of it involves the defendants’ purported contacts relating to this suit, nor does any of it speak to the organizations’ current practices.

— Per David Miscavige and his attorneys, there is no such organization as the Sea Organization.
— Per David Miscavige’s attorney Wallace Jefferson, the Sea Org cannot have any members or volunteers.
— There can be no “religious commitment” to the Sea Org because the Sea Org does not exist to be committed to.
— The Sea Org cannot have volunteers as the Sea Org does not exist to volunteer for.
— The Sea Org has no address and does not exist anywhere. Neither you or I nor anyone else can mail a letter to the Sea Org.
— Sea Org members sign a “religious commitment” that is craftily worded so as to say nothing about the Sea Org being an actual organization:

The real details of the Sea Org are found in the staff contract Sea Org members sign:

The Sea Org controls the Church of Scientology and yet there is no such organization as the Sea Organization. If this seems contradictory and confusing it is because it was designed to be so. The only way any of this legal tissue of lies begins to make any possible sense is when considered in terms of L. Ron Hubbard’s words about the design and construction of the Church of Scientology:
“If anybody tried to attack a Scientology organization and pick it up and move it out of the perimeter or go over the hills with it today — this happened to us once — why, they would find themselves involved in the most confounded weird mass of legal — well, it is just like quicksand. Quicksand. It’s an interesting trick. Every time they shoot at you on the right side of a horse, you’re on the left side of the horse; and then they prove conclusively you’re on the left side of the horse, you prove conclusively that you’re on the right side of the horse. They go mad after a while. This is what the basic legal structure is.”

Marty Rathbun’s affidavit in Miscavige vs. Miscavige et. al. is very instructive in this regard. See the Underground Bunker’s in depth coverage: THE MARTY RATHBUN AFFIDAVIT: Scientology Leader David Miscavige Lied To Texas Court

— Jeffrey Augustine


 

Thank you, Jeff! Back in 2002, former Scientology spokesman Robert Vaughn Young, while he was battling cancer, put together an affidavit that comes to many of the same conclusions about how David Miscavige wields control of the church through his captain position in the Sea Org. That affidavit was to be submitted in a May 2002 court hearing in Lawrence Wollersheim’s long attempt to collect money he’d won in a judgment from Scientology. The morning Vaughn Young’s affidavit was to be heard in open court, the church showed up with a check for nearly $9 million to keep the hearing from happening and end the Wollersheim saga — many years after it had vowed never to pay “one thin dime to Wollersheim.” We wrote up that dramatic story for the Village Voice in 2008.