What did you say your name was?

Posted: 30th July 2010 by ensifer in Random articles

Despite my goal of using this blog to expound on the differences in Scientology before the appearance of the RTC, it occurred to me that there is one thing about the ex-Scn community online that seems, to me, to give more power and energy to the organization that is the cause of dissent in the first place. So until I get my scanner working and can wow all 12 of you with pictures of the old days, I’ll talk about that thing.

And what is that thing? It’s the concept of being anonymous.

Back in the 90’s one of the most active sites on the internet was a Usenet group titled alt.religion.scientology. I was a Usenet junkie for the primary reason that I used some of the other groups to buy, trade and sell collectibles in a market that I had some knowledge about. I stumbled on ARS – the acronym for the group – purely by accident.  I was sucked right in.  At the time the main personality on ARS was a very vocal, very arrogant and very abrasive ex-LA Org auditor named Dennis Erlich. I knew Dennis from my time in Los Angeles in the 70’s. I never felt a connection to him,  I don’t know his heart, so to speak. My description of him may be inaccurate. Probably not, but I felt the need to throw out the possibility I’m wrong just in case someone reading this thinks Dennis is the nicest guy on the planet.

On ARS almost everybody was anonymous. Erlich and a few others used their real names and while I found Erlich to be pretty much an asshole, I respected the fact that he had not one shred of fear for the RTC or it’s legions of lawyers. When I decided to begin posting I adopted a false identity as well. My mother and brother were my primary motivation for hiding behind a userid. They were still doing courses and so forth and I couldn’t think of a single reason to disrupt their life by being open about who I am. I guess it was the right decision at the time… for them. But I still always felt a bit dirty for expressing my opinions while hiding like a little girl behind the skirts of anonymous userids.

When I decided to start this blog I absolutely knew I would not hide who I am. I lost interest in ARS by 1996 or so and besides, the World Wide Web along with it’s graphical interface came along and now we don’t need those clumsy embedded threads of yore to have a coherent conversation. Plus, we have pictures now! See ->

Who, me? I got nuthin' to hide! No really!!!

So why are you anonymous? What are you afraid of? Spam? A bevy of satanic attorneys descending on you armed with subpoenas?  A team of covert operatives kidnapping you in the night and dragging you back to the dungeon in the desert? Hell, looking back at the 90’s and ARS, it was stupid of me to be anonymous then. What exactly did I imagine I was protecting my mother and brother from to begin with? Scientology? Or the RTC? Bullshit. It makes no sense if you think about it. If I’m so smart and insightful that I saw trouble, suppression and downright criminality when I first laid eyes on the RTC then doesn’t it make sense that the only real way to protect my family in Scientology was to enlighten them? To aid them in getting as far away from the criminals as possible?

Of course it makes sense, now, to not hide. Whatever imagined damage I deluded myself into thinking I might do becomes moot when people die or when you realize they have disdain for you because of a personal choice regarding spiritual enlightenment. Anonymous, when it comes to the supposed goal of stopping Miscavige, is little more than being a chickenshit and not having the conviction that underlies the words. Your opinion may differ, but that’s how I see it. Back 15 years ago I was having nothing more than a little fun posting on ARS and remaining anonymous. I wasn’t protecting anybody. When my mother passed away she had recently paid thousands of dollars to Flag and had actually been audited at AOLA in the last year or so of her life. All this despite being seriously physically ill, weighing barely 100 pounds and needing a Sea Org cadet to assist her in painstakingly walking from her crappy little room at the complex to the useless auditing sessions she had been hard sold.

I protected my mother from nothing. Certainly not from David Miscavige, the iron-grip of the Sea Org and the criminal nature of his vision for extracting tens of millions of dollars yearly from the veins of those who are convinced they’ll be trapped as thetans unless they fork over the cash. When she knew that she would never get better, many months before she died, she allowed my brother to “borrow” her advanced payments at Flag. What a sham.

Anonymous is a trick, people.

Anonymous reduces the power of those who hide. People who have things they are embarrassed about remain anonymous. People who lack conviction are anonymous. Spies are anonymous. You know, if I was Miscavige I’d be laughing at the fact that the huge presence of Independent sites and attack sites hasn’t really stopped  anything.  So, I fucked up. I ought to have worked harder to get my mother and brother to understand why I no longer wanted to have anything to do with the CofS.

I recall one lengthy conversation I had with Wally, back when the LA Times printed the OT3 information and made Xenu and body thetans public knowledge. Wally is a good little soldier and refused to “look”. I laughed at him. I asked him how many reports he’d read of spontaneous combustion happening after people read the article? Was there a plague or sudden onset of mass insanity in the streets? He refused to accept what I was trying to tell him – that perhaps the OT3 materials weren’t really harmful. That maybe, just maybe, the whole idea of secrecy wasn’t about protecting us fragile thetans from Xenu, BT’s and insanity… maybe it was secret because it was more attractive that way. The influence that a reg has in selling OT levels is greatly aided by the notion that they are so powerful and dangerous that they must remain secret.

Utter crap.

I’m a Class VIII auditor. I’ve done OT3, NOTS, some L’s and a couple thousand hours of other auditing on my “case”. There is absolutely nothing dangerous or harmful about anything on any of those levels. On the other hand, there are quite a few things which might cause embarrassment for some. Like the concept of spaceships parked in orbit dumping compressed packages of thetans into volcanoes which had just been nuked. Now that… that is something that deserves to be covered up. Otherwise you could end up like Tom Cruise,  sheepishly explaining it away or dishonestly suggesting it’s a case of what’s true for you is true for you. All on national television.

This –

Could end up making you do this –

I received a phone call yesterday evening from a friend and former co-worker of mine. She is someone I first met in 1969 in LA. Though we haven’t actually spoken to one another for probably 20 years, in my mind when I think about her  I think “friend”. She said she had read this blog and tracked my number down via a mutual acquaintance. She called to offer her condolences about my mother passing away.  So why haven’t we spoken for 20 years? I dunno… because she is still on lines and I’m not? At least I think she’s on lines. But she read the blog. She knows enough of the same people I know to understand 100% that I am not even close to being anything but a Scientologist who has a long-term disaffection with the people who run Scientology.

See? That’s what we have now. People who are in Scientology can only talk to people who are no longer in Scientology under the condition on anonymity.  Maybe not so much for my friend who called me last night, she isn’t the type to be easily ordered about regarding who she can and cannot talk to. But definitely for quite a few of the folks who post on the dozens of popular Independent sites. Seems to me this just makes Miscavige more powerful.

The flip side to this anonymous culture on the Net are the outspoken people like this guy Marty Rathbun,  or Arnie Lerma and a host of others who are perfectly fine with people knowing exactly who they are and where they stand. While I may look at folks like Rathbun with a certain level of distrust, I can’t fault the guy one bit for being open, honest and apologetic about his transgressions. I’m not going to sit in judgment on him, or any ex-SO people who, for all intents and purposes allowed and even facilitated the crimes Miscavige committed that everyone is so pissed off about. It’s not my place to forgive or determine value of another human being. So my trust is a bit thin, but it is strengthened by the fact that most of these ex-SO guys who committed these crimes and are now using the Internet to fight against their former boss are not anonymous. They are open and clear about who they are. That’s strong stuff.

Which makes me wonder… how much stronger would the effort to rid Scientology of it’s criminals be if the internet was full of people who weren’t hiding their identities? How many of you are there? A hundred? A thousand? Ten thousand? Not that I’m suggesting the Independent Field ought to organize and throw the bums out. Too often that’s a case of “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss”. On the other hand, what would you anonymous souls do if Miscavige was tossed out? Would you suddenly feel that it was safe to be known? Would you flood the Orgs and start buying services? Would you finally join the Sea Org?

I don’t think so. Miscavige is a bad actor, that’s for sure. But is he also convenient? Someone want to tell me what you think is going to happen when his time is up and he blows or is jailed? I’m curious.

  1. Just Me says:


    Yes, I’m anonymous, but I’m special, so get over it.

    Seriously, I agree with your major point about anonymity and the degree to which we lessen our power when we remain so.

    Now, regarding your questions: “ … what would you anonymous souls do if Miscavige was tossed out? Would you suddenly feel that it was safe to be known? Would you flood the Orgs and start buying services? Would you finally join the Sea Org?”


    In fact, hell no!

    I don’t trust the Church as an institution. I think it’s contaminated as hell. I think it needs to be burned down. I don’t trust a spiritual organization with a top-down militaristic odor. I ignored that bit about the church when I was onlines, but don’t intend to ignore it from here on out.

    I have a Darwinian / free-market view of Scientology: If there’s anything good about Scientology, then Scientology will survive because Scientologists will figure out how to preserve it.

    I don’t think the church can suppress much longer the practice of Scientology outside the church. And about two minutes after that, the church will fall over dead. That’s when DM might take the money and run. Who cares.

    Another thought I’ve had is that it may be true one has to decide to leave the church and then leave it and take a look back at the church from a long, long way away to observe what one does NOT want in any future spiritual organization they ever get involved with.

    In many ways (and this will sound weird), it’s almost like an individual’s decision to leave the church is a necessary thing to confront and deal with successfully, (here’s the weird part) almost like it was “another step on the bridge.”

    In other words, maybe leaving the church is just a big old clay demo on the great checksheet of knowing how to know.

    Good blog, dude. Keep it up.

    Just Me

  2. ensifer says:

    Hey ‘Just Me’…

    I’m over it. Heh.

    //In many ways (and this will sound weird), it’s almost like an individual’s decision to leave the church is a necessary thing to confront and deal with successfully, (here’s the weird part) almost like it was “another step on the bridge.” //

    Now there’s an interesting comment. I appreciate it, and I appreciate your kind words about the blog.

    After I had been off lines for a year or two one of the SO people that came to Idaho bought me dinner. He was here to snag some money from a local who was affluent and therefore Flag Material. His entire attitude was that I needed handling and that the blame could be laid at the feet of David Mayo. The whole NOTS squirrel tech argument.

    He was a nice guy and so I was nice to him. But I did tell him I felt fine and that I had received my money’s worth for the services I bought at Flag. He wanted to argue the point with me. And in that, you may have a point yourself. The concept that there is anything like a completion or satisfaction with Scientology short of clearing the entire planet was just not something he was prepared to entertain. To him… and I suspect most Scientologists… the efficacy of Scientology isn’t manifested by people becoming more able, aware, calm, productive, etc. If they aren’t on board for the stated aim of clearing Earth then they have case issues that need fixing.

    So, as you suggest, it’s not an easy thing to see clearly what positive things have been wrought in your universe when you remain in an environment that defines positive in universal terms of 6 billion people being in Scientology and being “cleared”. So yeah, one of the best things about the effectiveness of the tech is reaching that point on the Bridge where you step off the damned thing and get on with your life.

    Thanks for visiting. Come back.


  3. Thought Provoking says:

    I saw your name and wondered if you were related to Wally and lo and behold, you were.

    I knew him, not well. We had common friends and I met him at social gatherings more than anything else. I’m from Palo Alto mission, though after Spickler. Some of the names you mention I have heard often but really didn’t have much involvement with them. If nothing else, I am sure to gain some missing history as I follow you along.

    I go by Thought Provoking mainly because other people on Marty’s blog use the same name as I. It’s less confusing when posting on a blog but I am not anonymous at all and am on the Indy 500 list.

    Looking forward to hearing more.


    • ensifer says:

      Karen ~

      I figure Wally is a lost cause. Think about it this way – he’s 62 years old this year. He went to the UK when he was maybe 17 and was on staff there. The entire rest of his life has been either staff at an org or mission or (the last decade or two) staff at one of those consulting groups that do the dentist/chiropractor thing. He would be like a high school drop-out if he left the CofS and had to start fresh. Zero experience relevant to 99.999999999999999% of the real world.

      My thanks for your stopping by and reading. You’re always welcome here.


  4. Deirdre says:

    Hey, I was there in the olden days of ARS. 🙂

  5. Zinjifar says:

    Hi David, I’m enjoying reading your blog and there are a couple of places where I’ve felt like chiming in, but, I’ll leave that for a bit. At least till I get to the point of ‘Moar Lurk’. 🙂

    I’m Joe Lynn, and, while notoriously a ‘never-been’ Scientologist, was also on ARS from about ’95 on. At least til the early naughts and the increasing relevance of web-based stuff.


  6. Terril Park says:

    I must have been here some years ago as I remember the picture of your mother.
    So beautiful!

    I’ve been promoting the Independent /FZ for 13 years. I very much liked this blog.
    I’d like to communicate more. I can call fromthe UK for free. We have a mutual friend Phil Spickler.

    best wishes