When I met David Miscavige
It was a turning point. It was the start of the end for me in the Church of Scientology. Within a few minutes of him shouting “Where’s the guy from Oslo?“, I would see the leader of my church break a whole pile of policies. Fortunately I did not fall into the trap of justifying all that I saw. I would not try to make the obvious outpoints into something normal or good. With steel enforced personal integrity from doing OT VIII, I was not excusing any observations.
Only two weeks after I attested to the highest OT level yet released, I was back aboard the Freewinds attending the annual Maiden Voyage events. Last time I attended was back in 2001. It was exciting to meet all the international executives back then. I talked to Guillaume Lesevre, Marc Yager, Mike Rinder, Janet Light and Ray Mithoff. I remember very well the excellent interview I had with the Senior C/S International. Ray was a very pleasant person. But in 2006 they were all gone. This time it was a pure Miscavige show.
It was on the night of the photo shoots where my church would show cracks in its foundation. I was standing outside the Heritage restaurant with two fellow OT VIII’s from Sweden. All the OT VIII’s were appointed OT Ambassadors and were to be photographed together with Miscavige, country by country. There were only two OT Ambassadors from Sweden and only me from the land of Santa. The swedes tried to include me in a virtual group of “Scandinavians”, but I naturally declined. The union between Sweden and Norway had been broken 101 years ago. Nope, I was representing my own country. It would be DM and me in the photo.
The swedes were first and just as they were to enter the doors to the restaurant, they said they would tell the Chairman of the Board that I should be the next Executive Director of the CoS Oslo, the Oslo Org. They had taken responsibility for Stockholm as the executives of that Org. Now they figured it was my turn to boom Olso Org. I laughed and told them to knock it off.
My turn to enter the restaurant. I couldn’t have been standing there for more than a few minutes before I could hear his voice loud and clear: “Where’s the guy from Oslo?” I responded “Here, sir“, and with no delay he was about to shake my hand when he said “So you’re the new ED of Oslo Org. Congratulations!“. I was puzzled and said “No sir, that is not my game.“. He pushed on “But what could be a better game?“. I tried to explain. He pushed on. He wanted me to accept the position right there and then. Seeing he wouldn’t get a product he simply turned around and walked out of the room. I was confused and thought “What was that?“. I had been running a recruitment company for ten years in the 1990’s. I had seen many recruitment cycles over the years. Now this must have been the worst ever seen.
During just a few minutes, the Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center, a post supposedly not involved in any management of the Church of Scientology had tried to;
- Dismiss the current ED of Oslo Org without notice – a guy he knew nothing about (during the short conversation he told me he never heard anything from Oslo and he knew nothing about what was happening there).
- Put a guy he had never before seen on post as the new ED merely because of another person’s hint at how good it would be to recruit me.
- Bypass something like 15 people in the command line from him to the ED of Oslo Org.
I remember thinking “This must violate a whole volume of policies from L. Ron Hubbard.” I was befuddled by this. It really made no sense that the leader of my church would be this erratic. He didn’t strike me as a competent manager. It was just weired.
When he got back 5 minutes after breaking off the conversation, he was looking sharply at me and said “I’m keeping an eye on you – you’re the next ED of Oslo Org!“. “Note that!” he demanded of one of his junior who in turn replied “I’m tracking you, sir!” as she wrote something in a notebook.
I got back to Oslo and several staff members were very excited to hear from their senior that COB had ordered me to take the ED post. They told me they expected me to follow through on his order. I was nowhere near the thought of joining staff. I had just had my stable data shaken, and I was about to find out what the rest of the ice berg looked like.
The real two year research with 1,5 hours of Internet reading and forum lurking as daily average didn’t start until the summer next year. It got priority when the Director of Special Affairs of Oslo Org asked if I could check something for him on the Internet. He told me that some journalist was about to write some fiction about David Miscavige beating his staff. It turned out it was not so fictitious after all. I checked and cross checked, fact checked and analyzed. When Tommy Davis seriously botched his rebuttal of the SP Times articles, I knew it was over for me as a member. I spent a couple of weeks to write down my conclusions. The rest is on this blog.
David Miscavige: You cannot escape honest observations.