Who is Ensifer?

Posted: 28th July 2010 by ensifer in Who writes this? And other people.

My name is David Stokes.


The first contact I had with Scientology was in 1960. My mother, Dolores Stokes, got involved about 1958 via a man by the name of Red Shea. Red opened one of the earliest Scientology Centers, or franchises, in Dallas, Texas.

Red Shea and Dolores Stokes. They might as well have Been Errol Flynn and Grace Kelly.

By 1966 I had received about 200 hours of auditing, much of it co-auditing, and I had done quite a few of the old courses like the Comm Course, Objectives, and so forth. At the end of 1966 I quit High School in El Paso and moved to Dallas. My mother and brother Wally had gone to Saint Hill earlier that year. I went on staff at the Dallas Center which had been purchased by Alan C. Walters, a large man from Australia. From there I was given a job at Alan’s new Center in Saint Louis. I worked there and then went off to Saint Hill myself at the end of 1967.

At Saint Hill I did the solo course and audited R6 solo. Hubbard had moved the Clearing Course to the flagship, The Royal Scotsman, and so I went there in 1968 when it was in Valencia, Spain. I audited the CC and OT1 on board the ship. And yes, I knew exactly who David Miscavige was because the little prick was there at the time. When I attested Clear I was the 911th person to do so.

Boyce Weeks and Fred Hare. On the Royal Scotsman in Valenica. This was about February 1968 in the galley. We were preparing for a night of drinking and nefarious behavior in town.

I then returned to England and so impressed the high-rollers at Saint Hill… probably because of my charming ways and terrific good looks… that I was asked to become the Clearing Course and OT1 supervisor at Saint Hill. I agreed and did that job for several months until they wanted me to sign a contract for the newly formed Sea org. It sounded pretty suspicious to me so I declined. Alan Walters, who was back at Saint Hill at the time, paid for me to go to his newest center in Boston.

At the Boston Center fall of 1968. That's Edie Tabachnik with the puppet on her head. I tried to look older than 18 but usually couldn't pull it off.

That place was a mess. It was being run by this crazy ugly woman named Flo who was having an affair with a married guy named Pat Something-or-the-other. At least one of the other Dallas people was there for a while, a nice gal named Sandy Mehr. Flo and the Pat guy spent all their time racing around Boston is a souped-up Ford Mustang so I essentially ran the Center. When Alan sent Sandy off somewhere I was ED of the place. I was 18 years old and we kicked some ass for a while. But then I got into a power struggle with a guy named Rick Hull and, not being one for power struggles, I called Alan and told him I was outta there. I stopped off in Dallas and did a little auditing at the Richardson, Texas center (I was Class IV at the time) but since Hubbard was getting ASHO set up I decided to head out to California. I arrived there about 6 weeks after ASHO opened it’s doors across the street from the Rampart Police station.

At ASHO I became a Public Officer, then an Ethics Officer and then the Div 6 Director. It was a rocking place. Eventually I decided hustling people for phonied up success stories was a bad way to spend my time so I routed onto the SHSBC (Class VI). I ripped through that course and then did some auditing for bucks on the side, went up to Santa Barbara and did some auditing there and even donated some hours at the newly formed Narconon. Then I met a chick from Las Vegas… a showgirl no less… and off I went to the desert.

In Las Vegas I worked at the Org as a Qual auditor and then at Bruce and Danielle Harrall’s Center. Great times were had by all. My wife, the show girl, wanted to leave Vegas so we went back to LA in about 1971. I did some field auditing and she went to work as a nude dancer at the El Rancho. That was one of the first all-nude clubs in California and it was convenient to the LA Org. Lots of pretty young Scientology ladies paid for their bridges by getting nasty on the runway at the El Rancho and other nearby clubs like Monty’s. Stephanie, my wife, was a bit of a control freak and so we parted company rather than extend the struggle for 2D domination. Off I went to new York City to see the lights. I only stayed 6 weeks or so. The New York Org was pretty gross. It was filled with weird looking people in heavy clothing who all seemed to have dark circles under their eyes. Not for me.

When I returned to LA I hooked up with a nice young lady named Jana and I took a job auditing in the Center in Omaha. Man, way too much snow there. So after about 6 months we went out to Santa Clara and I  audited along with Phil Spickler,  Pete Rundberg, Alan Hollander and a few other great people. The center, (now called a Mission) was owned by Kingsly Wimbush (another one of those  Aussies) and Malcom Chemenais, a strange dude from South Africa.

By late 1972 I had moved over to Alan’s Sacramento Mission.

Alan doing Sunday Service in Sacramento, 1972-73 era. Notice there is only a picture of LRH? That's because DM was still licking boots and eating swill onboard Flag somewhere. We were making new Scientologists.

I was the ED there and we had a terrific time sweating in the rice paddies and getting folks into the Mission. One of the great families from those days was the Hendersons. Chel Henderson is now Chel Stith and last time I checked she had Heber’s old job. At least until he escapes whatever dungeon he is being held in.

Working for Alan was a huge effort. I felt like kicking his ass on a daily basis but damn, he was too big! So after popping over to Salt Lake and helping him straighten the mess out at his new Mission there I told him adios and took $2500 and Jana and went to Fresno to open my own Mission. In those days you didn’t have to pay some demanding brigade of Sea Org zombies for the privilege of helping. You just had to help… and pay your 10%, of course.

Running the Mission in Fresno was a blast. We got hundreds upon hundreds of people in and on up the old Bridge and along the way I made damned good money. So I went off to LA and did OT3. Then the Class VIII course at ASHO. Aced it too, Thanks to David Aldrich. Then back to AOLA for the auditing requirements. My mother Dolores was the C/S in Fresno and she was awesome. My wife Jana then went through a weird period of her life, left me and ended up with a fuckwit by the name of Rocky Stump. That was short-lived, thankfully, and she settled out and married a guy from Salt Lake City. I understand they are still involved in Scientology. Good on them.

As for me, I kept on doing the job I loved.  We bought and remodeled a large building and I met and married a coy young Sicilian-bred lady named Cindy. She’s now an ex-wife but is great and is the superb mother of my two older children. Cindy came along with me on at least one of my extended trips to Europe to help out the growing network of Missions there. I’m not certain she liked Europe, but she didn’t complain openly. What a trooper.

Right about 1980 the Sea org started getting extremely pushy. I had been to Flag and done the NOTS stuff and despite what everyone in the Church says about David Mayo, the auditing was just fine. But back home the pressure was on. The new Mission Office at Flag (no longer the good old Mike Davidson one at St. Hill)  was a demanding and pushy bunch of fuckers. They saw money, they smelled it like blood in the water, and they sent mission after mission after mission to my place in Fresno to get the money and demand fresh bodies to sign up for a billion years.

The turning point for me centered around a couple I had gotten on line from Bakersfield. Nice folks. Relatively affluent but not very literate. They had real study and comprehension issues and my program was for them to get their full grades and do some basic study courses. Just the ticket and they were winning in the early stages. Well, down at ASHO the Sea org ruled. The top reg was a guy named Kenny Shapiro (who had entered Scientology when I was running the Boston Center) and the CO was a gal named Irene. I think it was Irene Howie. Kenny got wind of my Bakersfield people and sent a team of reg’s there and stripped those folks for $20K. For – get this – the full Class IV training package. They told those folks that they’d save a bundle by co-auditing. Too bad they couldn’t read, huh?

I was pissed. Imagine that. I drove to LA and confronted Kenny and Irene. They pretty much told me to piss off, they had the money and that was that. What became crystal clear was that while I was all about creating new Scientologists and following the guidelines of “making the able more able”, the Sea Org was all about getting the cash and getting the bodies in the shop. The Bakersfield couple never got their co-auditing, never got trained. They burned up the $20K in review auditing and ethics cycles. Then they blew.

I decided to get farther away from the western epicenter of greed and corruption. I went up to see Kingsley in Santa Clara and told him he could buy my Mission for $25K. It was a price that I made up on the spot because how do you really value a Scientology Mission? He quickly agreed, wrote me a check for $5K and we drew up a contract for $5K every couple of months. I sold my house, grabbed the wife and kids and moved to Boise, Idaho in the middle of winter.

Here in Idaho I opened a new Mission. It was roughly March of 1982 when we got rolling. Like any new effort it was slow to start but was making good headway when I went, with my wife Cindy, to a Mission Holder’s Conference in San Francisco. What was that, October 1982? Yeah, I think so.

After the infamous Conference, where Miscavige and the RTC made their first appearance in the Field, I went home, turned the keys over to a couple here who wanted to keep the Mission going and I never looked back. I have no idea if I was declared or not. I spent at least a decade or 15 years fielding calls from Flag and old friends trying to ‘recover” me. Hell, even to this day, when my only public address is a post office box, it has no less than 6 or 7 pieces of junk mail from Scientology outfits all over the world every single day.

Now you have the short version. The long version will unfurl over the coming weeks, months and years as I add posts to the blog. I’m in no particular hurry. I’ll call things as I see (or saw) them. I’ll use actual names and won’t hedge even if the story is uncomfortable. Unless it makes me look bad… then I’ll lie like a dog.

  1. Mickey says:

    Hey ensifer… just found your blog link from the post at Marty’s place. You’re a great writer, from the heart, sort of reminds me of the down-home good ol’ boy “cowboy” nature of Cowboy Poet who posts also on MR’s blog.

    Are you related to the infamous Dean Stokes? Also was wondering if you have just now found out about this major fissuring that’s going on in the current church and this Indie movement? There’s every permutation of splitting going on… some blog or board somewhere on the net with believers, non-believers and every stripe in between.

    Keep writing your stuff. You old timers are a treasure of info. The newer peeps who got in Scn during DM’s reign have no idea how fun and easier going Scn used to be before the usurpation by DM.

  2. Han Solo says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. The world of Scn had been much different then … well, today that “church” is rather a heartless industry than anything else.

    Basically you had a very good instinct too leave at 1982.

    I have bookmarked your website and will enjoy to read more 🙂

  3. ensifer says:

    Thanks Mickey. Nope on Dean. We were pretty good friends though. He was best man at one of my assorted marriages. Last time I saw him he was being ushered out the door at the San Francisco debacle.

    Han ~

    //Basically you had a very good instinct too leave at 1982.//

    One thing that has perplexed me since then is why so many friends and fellow auditors, staff and other valuable people didn’t also walk away that Fall. I thought they were smarter than that. If about 5,000 of us had done a mass exodus around the world Scientology would be just fine today and Dipshit would probably be in prison or on a drug rehab program somewhere grim, urban and scary.

    Thanks for reading, come back anytime.

    • Well David,

      So glad to see you here. From the first time I met you, (was it 1971?) you were always one of the coolest Scientologist around. Effortlessly disseminating, granting beingness to all and making a living as a mission holder and auditor. I look forward to your posts.

    • Victoria says:

      I have asked myself that question SO many times.
      My closest friends, people I had worked with, done co-audit courses with and even the other two people I was sharing a house with for a couple of years just went blank when I tried to discuss what was so clear.
      I don’t get it.

      I guess I didn’t come across as much of an opinion leader because I didn’t even WANT a Mark Vl, much less one in a Halliburton Case!
      But that is another story.

      I was on staff at Deans mission back in the 70’s. Unless I find out otherwise, he would have just as soon been the new DM. Maybe I don’t understand the pressure he was under, but man what an egotistical jerk.

      That’s fine with me, unless one has roped in a bunch of ignorant groupies to abuse along the way.

      I joined staff during one of his sabbaticals to Flag. The first night he got back, all swaggering and happy to be seen, he pointed me out in the all hands meeting he had called and said “Who’s Miss Plastic Face”?

      All the worlds a stage and obviously at 19 I hadn’t observed just how much bad lighting there is out there.

      I am reluctant to say much about this because it doesn’t serve any purpose really, and also I don’t know if he is dead or alive.

      It took me a long time to pay off a freeloader debt for having been on staff in Dallas, after Dean declared me. And twice as long as that to get out to LA where for five minutes I was relieved to see that the insanity was isolated. Next thing I know DM is calling his first mandatory meeting… the rest is history.

      There was a mass exodus, but the news of it was surpressed, and when mentioned was only used to rally the troops even further into their new test run on collectivism.

      As it stands now I see it playing out like this. Scientology will have to be found to not be a religion at all. The IRS will sieze the ideal org properties. (Easily done considering they have offices in those orgs.) With this accomplished the tech can be outlawed, because the Indy’s have the unaltered tech and that is a target.

      As usual, I wish I were wrong, but I doubt it. Not in the short run.

      • ensifer says:

        Victoria ~

        That’s pretty intense about Dean. Fact is, I was never in to his Mission. He was in LA at times when I was around and he and Alan Walters were tight. My association with him was that of a peer so I’m certain I don’t know what makes him tick… or made him tick.

        I suspect that “egotistical jerk” can be used to describe lots of Scientology’s execs, Mission Holders and other assorted opinion leaders and loud mouths. Except for me, that is. I was more of an egotistical sweetheart.

        I have my own take on why Scientology is classified as a religion. I liked it better when we were just Scientology Centres and operated as a business. The whole thing of turning the field into Missions eroded the effectiveness of lots of the talent in that era.

        Thanks for the input.


  4. ensifer says:

    //From the first time I met you, (was it 1971?)//

    Fer Chrissakes Penny! You know damned well it was 1971. Or maybe you’re hazy on the date because it was not as big a deal for you to meet me as it was for me to meet you?

    Hmmm…. got to think about that. In the meantime, thank you for reading my blog. I’ll try not to piss you off as they story unfurls.

  5. Anon says:

    Hi David,

    Welcome to the net……keep writing, your stories are good!

  6. Dave Adams says:

    Hi David,

    Another David here. Most of my family started scientology in your Fresno mission, (except me, I was on the east coast at the time). I have heard many good things about you and your Mom from my parents.

    I am sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing, I know she was loved by my folks.

    Your Fresno mission was the thing, back in the day, people driving hundreds of miles to be on course every night from up and down the valley!

    I didn’t get as early a start in scientology as you, but you are correct that it was a different thing, and I am glad you are writing about it so that others can understand, and maybe create something similar anew.


    • ensifer says:

      Dave ~ Thanks for dropping by and reading. I do remember your parents quite well. My mother had many nice things to say about them during the years after I left California.

      You’re right about the Fresno Mission… it was a rockin’ place. I have it in mind to tell the story of how it grew so quickly and to validate all the great staff and students who are the true heroes of making Scientology a well-known thing in the Central Valley.


  7. TL says:

    Thanks for your blog and writing style.

    Victoria above mentions Dean. She is right. I still vividly remember that incident which she mentions. I shrunk in my chair as his voice forcefully boomed across a full room of 50-70 people as he pointed out Victoria for no reason. I was shocked by the savageness as I timidly looked behind me to see Victoria get verbally bashed and humiliated. Later, I would chide myself for being such a coward with my silence at the injustice. I believe that Dean “put a head on a pike” at an innocent staff member’s expense in order to mark his territory as “the alpha dog”.

    Dean had some leadership skills, but he also had a pompous, forceful and mean jerk valence like DM. Staff members were used (at $15 week) to improve the value of his personal real estate holdings. The weeks of beans and rice for all three meals on a 16 hour workday made for a dangerous environment if you smoked.

    Dean used to repeatedly push home the Simon Bolivar Power Policy, almost nightly. The policy is fine, as long as the leader is sane and caring and allows an individual to maintain their own personal integrity. As a group of 50-70, many of us went blind to some of the blatant weird characteristics and slave labor instigated by Dean. Dean couldn’t sing worth a toot, but in “order to flow power” staff would endure hours of his entertainment and pretend to enjoy it. As a group, we lost our integrity of what was real.

    Aberration can be contagious.
    It is easy to wear blinders when others are also.
    “Forceful, mean, evaluative, invalidative, relentless verbal abuse from a senior to a junior” was another contagious aberration which I have noticed over the years in the church.

    David, thanks for allowing my little rant.

    David, Did you ever know Vicki or Rick Aznaran? (Vicki was once married to Dean.)

    • ensifer says:

      Hey TL!

      And thanks right back at ya for visiting and commenting.

      I’ll take what you and Victoria say at face value. Mentioning the Simon Bolivar bit has the ring of truth to it. Dean was closely allied with Alan Walters – a man I know very, very well – and Alan was all about Simon Bolivar. For better or worse Alan saw himself as the primary OL in the field and I did see lots of transference of Alan’s personality and attributes onto Dean. Alan never underpaid his staff… well, at least not in the manner you describe with Dean. He did start one hell of a lot of Missions and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Dean substituted force and intimidation in areas where he wasn’t as skilled or charismatic as Alan.

      The singing bit is hilarious. Well, to me it is. Mainly because I never had to hear it.

      I did “know” Vicki and Rick. Just in passing. Dean was a friend/peer of mine but not in the sense that we would hang out together. I lived in California and he lived in Texas.


      • Raindog says:

        ACW passed last November. I believe it was cancer of the mouth or tongue or something like that. I don’t know if he ever gave up the cigars.

        He started his own thing called Knowledgism. You can google it.


  8. Tara says:

    Nice to meet ya!

  9. ensifer says:

    I didn’t know about Alan. No doubt he was still a cigar man till the end.

    I knew about Knowledgism. He was on the web with it quite a few years ago. Not anything I had an interest in. I wondered why I hadn’t seen him posting on the one ex-scn site where he was active for quite a while.

  10. David,

    I’m very pleased you got your scanner to work! Good job, mate.
    Your mother was beautiful aside from all I have heard about her charismatic personality, technical skill as a CS and other positives.
    I love the way you are honoring her here!

    To all those that decide to drop in and see what’s happening on this blog.
    I was “in” SCN for 40 years. I met David in the first couple of years. He is a theta being and smart as a whip. At a young age, he trained up to Class VIII. When he was “in” he was one of the top players in the game. His missions were successful, his pc’s won and all was good.

    He is a voracious reader and has a level of personal integrity that stands way above the crowd. Over 15 years ago, I personally made a trip to Boise, ID, to recover this man, and we talked for three days. I gave it my best shot and now I fully understand all as a person that has recently withdrawn my membership to the Church of Scientology. There is much good there and I achieved many wins but the organization has been stolen and the leader is the quintessential evil incarnate.

    In the last 5 years I had been swimming in an unwillingness to “get auditing” with a rising doubt condition as from my personal experience and what I had learned on the tech courses I had taken, something was not right. Auditors were missing my fn’s and I was being CS’d for unnecessary actions, kind of a fate worse than death, if you’re a pc.

    This May, I started to look, online and find out what was really happening.
    I found shocking information about my church, and continued reading. Found Marty’s blog and still continued. Any questions that arose in my mind, I’d Google and just keep sorting all out.
    I had not spoken to David in over 10 years, but if there was one person in the world, I wanted to talk to, it was him.

    Why? You’ll notice on this blog, he acks all and contributes to the comm. This is David.
    Superlative TR’s or possibly just a natural communicator. He is safe and he understands. Probably why he did so well when he used to audit.

    I had to look very hard to find him but I did it and you all can enjoy the result. A born writer and world class communicator is now here for all to read.
    You better post this DAVID!

    Thank you for being there for me!


    • ensifer says:

      Well damn Penny! Aren’t you sweet?

      As you say, I am wonderful. 🙂

      Since we seem to be forming a Mutual Admiration Society I ought to thank you for re-sparking my interest enough to begin this blog. THANK YOU!

      I do believe there is a place for talking about what being a Scientologist was like prior to the change in the early 80’s. Despite all the shortcomings of the Church (starting with it being a Church to begin with), there really were many good works done and thousands of people who got trained and audited and didn’t become zombies or mindless cult followers… they just lived better lives as a result.

      If I can add just a little bit of fun and immortalize on the Net some of the truly wonderful folks I knew and worked with then creating this blog is worth it.

      Glad you found me.


  11. Your humble servant says:


    I was reading your blog a while back and unexpectedly came across some references to what I think were materials from the OT sections. There may even have been representation on your blog of one of the “platens” in LRH’s own handwriting from these materials.

    As you know, Ron made a pretty strong point that these materials should remain confidential, not for any profit motivations, but for case reasons. Although I am informed that the OT materials are “available on the internet,” that doesn’t seem to be me to be any justification for publicly referring to their contents or bandying about references to the contents of the OT sections.

    I have not done these OT sections, but I have wanted to do them. I don’t care to be unwittingly exposed to anything that may be on the OT sections prematurely, whether anyone regards them as good, bad, indifferent, meaningful, meaningless, important, or unimportant. Regardless of your own view of the importance of these materials, I believe it is both disrespectful and unnecessary to make overt references to their contents on public forums. If you respect Ron’s view of the importance of their confidentiality, then you might agree that to make such references is potentially destructive. I myself felt slightly dizzy after seeing what you referred to on your blog, although I cannot say why that was.

    Accordingly, I would ask that you remove all references to confidential OT sections from your blog, if you have not already done so, and that you refrain from making such references in the future. I note that other blogs, such as Geir Isene’s, Marty Rathbun’s, and Scientology-cult.com, do not permit such references.

    Thanks for your attention to this point.

    • Dave Adams says:

      Careful also humble servant that you do not watch the Daily Show with Jon Steward, South Park, or for that matter any comedy show on TV, as the materials are discussed there too. And in Time Magazine a couple of decades ago, ALL OVER the internet, and in fact pretty much any place scientology is mentioned!

      My reading of “Security of Materials” in qual at an ethics officers insistence a couple of years ago, gave me the impression that Ron’s reasons for keeping the material confidential was to keep it out of the hands of people who would use it to harm rather than help. Of course this is “verbal tech” and you may want to look up that PL, (and correct me if I am wrong).

      The mind has protective mechanisms, material that is not confrontable is out reality. Perhaps that is why all the comedians don’t get pneumonia?

      My experience is that the confidential materials are pretty much all layed out in non confidential form in Rons writings of the ’50’s. If you can confront those, you should be safe. And what is the thing Rons says? You cant be the effect of things you are fully hatted on? Its the unknowns that make me dizzy!

    • ensifer says:

      Humble Servant ~

      Thanks for reading my blog.

      I’m pretty firm in my position that hiding information and unwarranted secrecy is how many human endeavors end up causing more grief than they do relief. Rathbun, Isene and the other sites, though interesting, are not guideposts for my blog.

      Check in any time and comment freely. You’re appreciated.


      • AnonMary says:

        Do you ever see Pete Runberg?

      • Don Filbert says:

        Hey David !! Remember me ? I was with you in Sacramento and during the first days in Fresno – running the training. I left around 1976 to pursue my career in Telecommunications Engineering – and just retired last month. In retrospect – my timing was impeccable. Now I am just casually catching up with some old Scientology friends. I am convinced I was in the Golden years of Scientology; 1969 – 1976; and maintained focus on getting and delivering gains the whole time despite the beginnings of insanity in the CoS; and those years with you were among the best !! I have very fond memories of working with you, Jana, and the rest of the team. I hope all is well with you – and would love to catch up.

  12. good post, added you to my RSS reader. Greetings from DC 🙂

  13. You are definitely a skilled writer. You definitely know how to write to keep the audience engaged. I hope to view a lot more of your wonderful writing style in the future.

  14. MostlyLurker says:

    David, please keep writing!
    Tell us more about Scientology history and your insights.

  15. Jeff Copeland says:

    Hello, David, my name is Jeff Copeland and I’m trying to find information on my second cousin Boyce Weeks, who disappeared about 40 years ago. I noticed you have a photo of him in your blog. Do you know his whereabouts? Thank you.

  16. Joe van Staden says:

    Yep, I knew your mom at St Hill. She was a wonderful lady and pretty dam hot as far as I can recall. Several other names you mentioned brought back great memories – Sandy Meher, Alan Walters and many others. The picture of Fred Hare: now there is a blast from the past. He and Herby Parkhouse were my first supervisors on the SHSBC in late 1962. Wow and there is a young Alan Walters – I audited Alan through the levels at St Hill.

  17. John Crowley says:

    David, do you remember me from the Boston Org. You left a package with me to protect for you while you went back to Texas. Sorry about that…really out ethics

  18. Roger weller says:

    Hi David,
    When we were doing nots at flag ,I remember telling you Delores did my power in 68.
    I’m still in touch with Pete R and recently spoke to joey a. Who is now a sports trainer,he got hosed pretty bad when they grabbed his Los gatos mission,
    In Boston was it pat and lea flannagan,they came to the Albany mission in 68, and really fucked it up.
    Loved your story had no idea how much you did,roger

  19. Chris Brown says:

    Hey Dave. You’ve got my email, drop me a line. We have plenty to talk about.