Hi all. After a short hiatus I’m back to it. This is going to be a good one, dirty tricks and all.
I’ve decided that from now on, I’m not going to capitalize the words scientology, scientologist, l. ron hubbard, or david miscavige—or really any scientology terms—because there’s nothing proper about those nouns.
Today, I’ll tell you a tale of how I was recruited to be on staff at the mission in Mountain View while I was on the purification rundown. This was done without the knowledge of my field auditor Jim who, I found out later, had wanted to recruit me himself. Tough luck, Jim—you snooze, you lose. But really, I was the one who lost.
It began when I met the other mission holder, or owner, whom I’ll call Mike. He’s no longer a mission holder, and hasn’t been for a long time, but he’s a really charismatic guy who can spin a tale, believe me.
Anyway, he spoke with me a few times while I was on the purif, and he seemed like a nice enough person. He also seemed super successful, and he attributed it to scientology. I would later find out that he was from a rich family so had plenty of money already. However, I didn’t know that at the time, and he didn’t mention it—of course not.
NOTE: I just spent the last half hour scrolling through pictures of “Mike” on the internet, to find out what he’s up to now. Apparently he’s a successful photographer and hangs around with other successful scientologists like Grant Cardone (whom I have met and can’t stomach). I don’t know what his marital situation is currently—I’ll tell you more about that in a future blog post, since it’s a juicy tale!
OK, back to the recruitment. Mike had been checking in on me regularly, asking how I was doing, making sure I was being taken care of. I figured he did that with everyone, but I’d soon learn that he was singling me out. One day, after I’d been on the purif for about two weeks, Mike asked me if I’d come to his office for a chat after I finished up that day. I said sure.
His office was really nice—much nicer than the rest of the building. The bookcases were filled with hundreds of books, all of which, I soon realized, were written by l. ron hubbard. Mike talked to me about my experience so far, my current life, and what I envisioned for my future.
As you may recall from an earlier post, I was rudderless at the time I found out about scientology, so I just said, “I’m not sure where I’m headed in the future, but I know I need to be doing something creative.”
Well, he jumped on that one, and started telling me about how he was a photographer and a writer, but nothing had fulfilled him more than seeing other people achieve their goals with scientology. He gave me a book to look at, which was filled with hubbard’s writings about art and artists and how they change the world. He said we’d talk more later, and I thanked him for the book.
About two weeks later, I was done with the purif and was about to head home. I didn’t think I’d see these people again, as I was supposed to do the rest of my program at Jim’s office. Before I left, however, Mike met me in the hallway and asked me to step into his office.
At this point, I was highly susceptible to commands, as I’d been through the communication course and the purif, so I just headed on in. It’s wild to think about it now, because I really wasn’t thinking for myself by this point. I’d never understood why it had been so easy for them to get me on staff, but now I can see what occurred.
Mike sat me down and had a huge stack of books on his desk. He started to talk to me about joining staff at the mission, just part-time, while I continued with my design business. He said I’d be paid and would also get as much free administrative training as I needed. He also said they’d send me to Clearwater for that training, free of charge.
Oh, did I mention that back when I was doing the communication course with Jim, he convinced me to purchase a training package for $7,500? I forgot about that one. Yeah, more money run up on my credit cards. The reason Jim did this was because he got a commission on anything I purchased from the minute he started working with me. It’s called the “scientology field staff member program”: Anyone who brings a person into an organization and signs them up for a service gets a percentage of any services they buy from that point forward. So yeah, he was all about me buying training. I’ll talk more about that in another blog, as well as my first impressions of walking into a scientology organization (hint: they weren’t good).
But back to my mission recruitment. I thought, WOW! What a great deal! I can keep my business and still do this to help people! Plus I get to go to Clearwater for FREE! Yippee!
I said sure, I’d join staff, but that I could only do it for a few hours a day, a few days a week. Mike seemed fine with that, and had me sign the first of what would be MANY contracts. It was a 2-1/2-year staff contract, which I don’t even think they do anymore. I think it’s 5 years. Still better than the sea org contract I signed later for a BILLION years!
After I signed the contract, it was as if I was the most important person in the world. You’ve heard of love bombing, I presume? If you haven’t, here’s how clinical psychologist Margaret Singer defined it in her 1996 book, Cults in our Midst:
“As soon as any interest is shown by the recruits, they may be love bombed by the recruiter or other cult members. This process of feigning friendship and interest in the recruit was originally associated with one of the early youth cults, but soon it was taken up by a number of groups as part of their program for luring people in. Love bombing is a coordinated effort, usually under the direction of leadership, that involves long-term members’ flooding recruits and newer members with flattery, verbal seduction, affectionate but usually nonsexual touching, and lots of attention to their every remark. Love bombing—or the offer of instant companionship—is a deceptive ploy accounting for many successful recruitment drives.”
That’s exactly what happened to me. All of a sudden I was the most wonderful, most important, most intelligent, most LOVED person in the place. “Wow,” I thought, “how wonderful these people are. They really think I’m awesome.”
I couldn’t understand why everyone was so happy to have me there for only a few hours a week. I’d find out soon enough.
In the next post, I’ll cover how that part-time “job” turned into a full-time obsession, leaving behind everything and everyone else in my life.
To be continued…