This is an open letter to L. Ron Hubbard.
Happy birthday, Ron! I hope you are doing well wherever you may be. This may or may not get to you, but in any event, I thought I would drop you a line.
I wrote to you a few times when I was a kid, on the SO1 line. I always enjoyed getting your response. When I was at Flag back in 1977, I was room mates with some of the SO 1 crew. They were a good bunch.
You left us 25 years ago. It was an interesting period back then – people power-pushing, your buddy Captain Bill Robertson splitting off into the Galactic Confederacy, the kid David Miscavige maneuvering around to become the boss. Heber keeping eveyone’s nerves calmed. Heber was a very calming influence. I remember he was the man who single-handedly (from my point of view) saved the Pac area from just splitting off back in the “Finance Police” days.
I am sure that if you are around, you have been following the situation of late with special interest. I remember your policies and policy corrections when someone went too far, and I remember your HCOBs and your corrections when someone went too far. When I was a kid, I did a two hour blinkless TR0 confront (actually, two of them). No blinks. All because in the TR’s bulletin you said that a blink was a flunk. So, naturally, people took it to the extreme. Same with the SO. You did not ask for a billion year contract. Some other over-dedicated wag dreamed up the idea as a way to show total commitment.
Ron, I never met you personally, and I wish I had. My mom met you and worked with you on the Apollo for a while. My step-dad worked with you as well. It would have been fun to meet you. I know you were one forgiving SOB. You were quick to temper, and quick to forgive. I remember how many times you busted and then brought back Otto Roos, and Captain Bill, and others. You always admired people of action, and always admired the policy “It is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.”
I always looked at being on staff as being a lark, a fun thing to do. It truly was “if it is not fun, it is not Scientology” back in the day. The RPF at flag when I was there was no picnic, but it was not a festering hole, either. I think a lot of your staff took the game way too seriously. It was always in check to some degree when you were around, but since you left… Phew!
Let me tell you something. I never wanted to be in a position where I would have to choose between the church and Scientology, and I know you never had this scene in mind. I know how you felt about splinter groups and “squirrel” groups, and criticisms of upper management. Frankly, I think Mr. David Miscavige has used your dislike of splintering off and your known dislike of people who criticize from outside to his advantage. Most Scientologists I know know that Miscavige has crossed the line, but also know that you frown on splitting up the team. So, they are either waiting for the Miscavige fiasco to blow over, or are trying to correct it in whatever manner they can from the inside.
This is noble, of course. But, there comes a time when trying to do the “right” thing in a manner you provided for a Church that is vastly different from what we have now is A. futile, and B. non-Survival.
We are gone from the era where the RPF meant a couple of months of humble quarters and humble food. Now it is or can be a decade long affair. How crazy is that?
We are gone from the time a section of the church could start squirreling on “de-dinging” or some such nonsense, and having a central technical trained authority come in with crams and chits to get people back on board. Now we have your check sheets completely rewritten or eliminated, fast flow training cancelled, redefinition of such basic things as a floating needle, and all being spewed from a the same central authority that is supposed to be safeguarding technology. As you wrote in Keeping Scientology Working,
On the other hand there have been thousands and thousands of suggestions and writings which, if accepted and acted upon, would have resulted in the complete destruction of all our work as well as the sanity of pcs. So I know what a group of people will do and how insane they will go in accepting unworkable “technology”.
Well, here we are. Miscavige has decided to improve upon that which was working.
There are a lot of good people who have left the Church. You know who they are. These are people who stood by you and your discoveries through thick and thin. These are people who worked in the church for years and years, and found the safeguards you had in place dismantled. These people left the church because they value your work and honor your legacy. They had to break the rules to save the situation. In other words, people like you. Again, you know who they are.
There are a lot of people in the church who aren’t quite up to the “breaking the rules” stage. But, they see the outpoints, and some are trying to follow the policies, such as they are, to correct the scene. Despite the evidence that the internal controls have failed, there are a number of Scientologists still trying to work the system from the inside.
Here is my position, Ron:
1. You have codified and mapped technology that is of immense value to those who would use it for improvement of conditions. For that, I am eternally thankful.
2. This technology requires free people to own it and administer it. It is too hot to be rote about its use and delivery. It is too hot to take it on faith. The only time I have ever heard you ask for someone to take anything on faith was the missed withhold tech. And, I found it to be sooth.
3. We need to trust people to take care of the technology without a central authority to monitor it. Central control was alright when you were at the helm, but since you left the scene, it has been a disaster. The good news is that the technology is in good hands and is thriving. People can be trusted to keep the tech.
4. I personally will use it and apply it, and applaud others that do the same.
5. I will condemn policies and actions that are disruptive, negative, and criminal. Forced abortions, enslavement of staff, putting staff at risk, putting other Scientologists at risk, extorting money. This is out ethics and wrong.
So, Ron, I may be in a position where I may need to “beg forgiveness” somewhere down the line, but, I don’t think so. On this, your 100th birthday, your tech is in good hands, and is thriving. People who love you and your work are getting the job done. It may not be exactly as we had envisioned it, but, you know, no one said it would be easy.
Here’s to you, Ron!