Marty Rathbun announced the passing of Annie Tidman, who was a long, long time SO member, and who was at Ron Hubbard’s side as one of his best and trusted friends at the end of his life. She died of lung cancer at age 55. Far too young.
She was a second generation Scientologist, as I am. She was on the flagship Apollo as a messenger at a very tender age, and was in the SO ever since. She fled the Sea Org for a brief time in late 1992, to join her then-husband Jim Logan in Nova Scotia, but was hunted down by Miscavige and Rathbun and brought back to California.
She was flown back from Boston to LA on John Travolta’s jet. The story is told ably by the Tampa Bay Times.
I understand her loyalty to Ron and to Scientology. She did not fly back because Marty was holding a gun to her head, she flew back because she loved Ron and Scientology, and, I believe, wanted to help people do better, ultimately more than she wanted the nice life in Nova Scotia. She was not ready to retire.
There are three tragedies to this. The first is that she died at all. The passing of a human being is a tragic event, even if they will live on in a new form and in a new place. The church is incredibly nonchalant about death – when someone dies, they “dropped the body” – I have used that phrase many times myself. Funerals are rare in the church, and usually, if they happen at all, they are given by a few friends or the family of the deceased, with no involvement by the church. It is difficult for someone on a Scientology course or a staff member to get time off to go to anyone’s funeral, especially a non-Scientologist family member. Death is an inconvenience to the church.
The second is that she died in June, and it took Karen de la Carriere to uncover the record of her death months later. When her family members called the church only a couple of weeks ago, they were told “she cannot come to the phone.” Her death was covered up by Mr. David Miscavige. The same David Miscavige who usurped the “leadership” of the church from Annie and her then-husband Pat Broeker. Apparently, Miscavige’s intent was for her to die in obscurity, where even her family would not be told what happened. Thanks to Karen, this did not happen. It is, however, a tragedy that her family could not say goodbye to her before she passed on.
The third is that she died of lung cancer at such a young age, only 55. I have nothing to back this up other than my experience with Scientology and Scientologists, but my opinion is that her disease was discovered at a late stage, since healthcare is not a priority with Scientologists in general and SO members in particular, and that once discovered, her treatment was not what it should and could have been. I won’t speculate beyond that. Cancer is an awful disease, and it needs to be fought head-on. At the end, the best you can do is comfort someone in Hospice and try to let them go as gently as possible with friends and family at their side. The church did not even do that.
Vaya con Dios, Annie. It saddens me greatly to hear of your passing. Thank you for your dedication and service, and for being a great friend to one of my greatest friends. You lived a great life. You have put in your time, and God knows you have put in enough suffering. As the heartfelt tributes of your many friends only confirm, you are loved. May your new journey be sweet.
My condolences to Annie’s family and to all of her friends, of which she has many.