Why so serious?

Posted: 18th August 2010 by ensifer in Scientology ~ before the RTC

It’s possible I’m wrong… but… the general impression I have of what it’s like to be a Scientologist now is unlike what it was like to be a Scientologist before 1982. It’s simple stuff…

Everybody used to smile. All the time. No really, except for the times when smiling and laughing were inappropriate the one thing I saw most for 21 years was people in and around Missions and Orgs smiling. And if they weren’t smiling they were laughing. Or at least walking around with a look of contentment or perhaps expectation on their faces.

The other day I spent about an hour reminiscing on the phone with a fellow who I’ve known since about 1970. He pretty much followed the same path as I did professionally. Got trained. Became a Cl VIII, did a boatload of auditing, worked around the US at various Centers and such. Even became a Mission holder. The last time we physically saw each other was in October of 1982 at the San Francisco Hilton. He’s a smart guy because he took one look at the new regime and did what I did. Walked away.

So during the conversation he says to me – “If it isn’t fun, it isn’t Scientology.”

I’ll admit, I haven’t been in many Orgs or Missions since 1982. But, I have been around Scientologists and you know what? They are a pretty serious bunch of people. Forget the glossy magazines and pictures of beaming Public holding up OT certificates for the camera. I was the Div 6 boss at ASHO back in 1969 and I know what a success “stat” is. I also know that people completing something, a level or training cycle are generally happy. What I’m talking about is the general attitude or tone. Even those people who I’ve known for decades and are still on lines are more serious and concerned than they should be.

So it was pointed out to me that the whole “Clear The Planet” goal has fallen by the wayside and the current leadership has now morphed the goal into something a lot less distinct. I’ve looked over some of the magazines and promo pieces I get daily in the mail and I can see that. Is it now about buying buildings? Or fighting off government malice? Or suppressing evil on the internet? I’m confused. Maybe that’s why people on lines are so serious.  30 years ago you got into Scientology because you wanted to be a happier and more able person. You bought some time in the chair or a training course and, for the most part, you became more able and thus… happier.


People who can do shit and have a reasonable degree of personal ethics about the shit they do are generally happy and smiley. Whereas, if you are already reasonably affluent and your primary contact with Scientology is an endless procession of auditing cycles to repair, prepare or augment your “case” so you can do some freakish OT section without total theta death… then I can see why you might be a just a bit grim.

Add to that the constant and unrelenting demands that these barracuda SO teams have on your cash. You must pay for buildings and Ideal Orgs and the make-wrong that goes on in those reg sessions is not something that generates a beaming smile. I know what those teams (missions) are like. They came to my Mission in California frequently and they were not happy people. They had a stat to get and that stat was to leave with money I controlled and people I got into Scientology. That was it… they either got my money and my staff or public, or they failed. And the Sea Org has never been compassionate about it’s members failing.

If you worked for me, worked with me, were audited by me or just knew me then you probably understood that everything for me was about having a great time and winning. I believe most professional Scientologists back then had similar goals… to make a good living, get laid as often as possible, buy some decent things to wear, drive, eat and sleep in and spread as much of the joy of just “being there” as they could. Yeah, the whole Infinite Being thing was there, but it’s not as if that sells a lot of intensives or Comm Courses. People just wanted to feel better and live a less stressful life.

I had my own way of dealing with the relentless Sea Org missions that were fired off to get my cash. I typically had the receptionist bring them into my office when they first arrived. I set the tone of what their visit would be like. Here’s a picture of how I set the tone:

"Now then... what was it you boys wanted?"

The SO Reg Teams weren’t exactly my enemies… not on a personal level, but they were the foreshadowing of what Scientology was going to become in the 80’s and 90’s. They were serious people who had serious problems and they were going to be in serious trouble if they couldn’t get people like me to understand that all this fun we were having was contrary to LRH purpose lines and we’d better get serious ourselves out there in the field or some serious shit was going to happen that would have a serious impact on our lives, our futures and our immortal thetan-thingies.

Any of you guys reading this who were tasked with getting money from me can probably verify that the picture above is a fair representation of the tone I tried to set for your visits. But it was also fun for the staff and, for the most part, fun for the Sea Org flunkies. Along the way I was actually accused of having too much fun from time to time. As far back as when I was on the SHSBC the small percentage of  “serious Scientologists” – future Sea Org members – wrote a considerable number of Knowledge reports on me. Primarily for violating the “joking & degrading” clause of some HCO PL Hubbard penned. I read that PL and despite the fact that I admitted to being the guy who taped a sign on Joey Allessandrini’s back that said “I’m a Pud”… while we were on the Class VIII course… I still contend that having fun is not exactly the same as degrading someone or something. Joey smiled, and retaliated. Even the supervisor couldn’t keep a straight face.

It’s not as if getting better at stuff requires seriousness… does it?

I guess it does now. And despite all the pomp and circumstance, the gorgeous buildings, the imagery of the vastly competent saviors of humanity, led by David Miscavige, the one thing I do understand is that the whole thing has become way too serious to be effective. If it’s not fun, it’s not Scientology.

Oh, I almost forget. Recently a picture has surfaced of Miscavige taking over the Missions in 1982. I thought I’d pass it along to you all…

  1. Victoria says:

    Ah, the old joking and degrading trick. I remember it well.
    No wonder the internet drives them nuts.
    This was a funny post! Thanks.

  2. I am all grins after reading this. This rehabs some of those fun, insouciant times during the Mission Days! Thanks!
    During that era, there was high adventure. Often ethics was a light touch grin.
    Having been born in Oklahoma, and being young at the time, my senior at last casually mentioned to me one day: “…you know, it would probably be a good idea to stop slapping the girls on the butt as they are walking up the stairs in front of you.” Fortunately, over time Dianetics helped to raise my IQ.

    • Tintin says:

      Thanks for reminding me of the good old days!

    • ensifer says:

      You mean a friendly pat on a nice butt isn’t cool?


      I agree that for the most part the E/O (or MAA for you Sea org types) was typically an enlightened soul… up until maybe the mid to late 70s’. Comm Ev’s were rare and even staff in liability blew through the conditions in a matter of hours… not months.

  3. Wonderful post! I love to sit with friends and see them and myself burst into laughter. I believe we can rehabilitate this ability with ourselves and friends. It’s worth everything to me.

    The girl with the tulips, that’s a fantastic photo.

    • ensifer says:

      We had entire staff meetings at the Fresno Mission where the whole meeting was a series of line charges and laughter. One in particular I recall was when we got on a roll about the “Bodies in the Shop” stat. I always hate, hate, hated that image… bodies in the shop. So, of course, one thing led to another and it was like Improv Comedy, each person shouting out another ridiculous way to get “bodies” in the door.

      I’m with you on the value of laughing, Stefan.


  4. Conny Lundberg says:

    Great stuff, David!:)
    Per my vievwpoint, when you stop laughing, you start dying! And so the Church as we knew it is itself Dead!
    Better to laugh outside with friends who appreciate having fun in life!:))

  5. Tara says:

    The J&D policy was totally misunderstood. I think the correct understanding is more like what you might see in society with the 1.1 jibs and jabs “joking” that seems to have started in the late 80s and continues today. I see it in some schoolmates of my teenagers and their parents. It’s not hard to mistake. It’s nasty.

    In the mission with Peggy Westerman, Rhett, Michelle Killabrew, Kelley Shields, others, we had so many hours of laughing with tears pouring down and no breath left in our meetings.
    It was fun until Tom and Cathy Steiner from Buenaventura took over. It didn’t take me long to get the hell out when it got so damned serious and all about the nookie (money).
    Ah, just realized…Tom Steiner(OT Ate) did make “jokes” that were really sexually graphic and degrading to me. Of course I read them as straight up degraded. I guess he did try to make them sound like a joke. haha MoFo not funny. Your only auditor and C/S don’t play that! Bye-Bye!

    Now I can get a good laugh out of that!

  6. Took me time to read the whole article, the article is great but the comments bring more brainstorm ideas, thanks.

    – Johnson