Hi there! Nice to see you here again!
If you’re not familiar with the total insanity of the sea organization, what I’m about to tell you will seem completely bonkers to you. But this really happened to me. And it’s still happening to those poor, unsuspecting souls who still want to join the sea org today.
To them I simply say…
So back to my sea org recruitment saga. It didn’t happen overnight. It began WAAAAAAYYYYYY before I actually signed a sea org contract.
A few months after I’d found out about scientology, my field auditor invited me to attend one of the big events at the local organization in San Jose. I don’t remember which event it was, but they all meld together after a while. The only thing I remember is that it was a broadcast of a big international event that was held in LA or somewhere. I would soon find out all about these events, intimately, but that’s for another time…
These events are a huge affair, meant to be impressive and overwhelming. They’re mostly for people who are already scientologists, and they’re all about the “great works” scientology is doing around the world. Most of it is made up, but I didn’t know that at the time. I was new and all about this “amazing” thing I was just finding out about.
To give you an idea of how impressive these events can be to a newcomer, take a look at this photo from a recent scientology New Year’s event:
Looks impressive, right? Of course it does. It’s designed that way. And believe me, this photo is doctored to within an inch of its life. I did a lot of that doctoring back in the day. “Leave no seat unfilled” and all that.
Anyway, I was super into the event, except for the part where they stood up and cheered at the picture of l. ron hubbard about 700 times in a two-hour period. But at that point I was already hooked, so I wasn’t able to actually see how insane that was.
When I met with my field auditor a few days later, he asked me how I had liked the event. I told him that it was really impressive, but who were those people standing on stage and speaking? That was always my go-button: being up on stage and speaking to a large audience. I don’t know why I love it, but I do.
He told me they were all members of international management, the top of the top, and they were in the sea org. He then explained that being in the sea org was the highest level you could attain as a scientologist. “You know,” he said, “you could be on stage like that one day. You’d make a great sea org member.” Then he dropped it.
First shot fired in the recruitment barrage. And I never saw it coming.
For the next year or so, I must have attended five or six big events. Each one just reinforced the idea that scientology was SO big and SO successful, and that the people at the helm of all this wonderful expansion were in the sea org. Again, nobody spoke to me about it, but it was sitting there in the recesses of my over-controlled mind.
One day, a recruitment team came in the mission. This was the first time I’d seen sea org recruiters. I didn’t know who they were until I asked someone, but I knew they were different, because they all wore sea org uniforms. Wanna know what that looks like? Here’s a photo from a magazine I edited back in the day:
Most of these people aren’t in the sea org anymore, thank goodness. However, the guy in the front still is, dammit. His wife, pictured on the left, is still missing. (Those of us who worked there have a pretty good idea where she’s being held.)
Anyway, back to my first “recruitment cycle”. I was sitting in the treasury office after 2pm on Thursday, counting the “number of books sold” statistic by going through the handwritten invoices. This was the late 80s, remember—we wrote invoices by hand back in the stone ages!
As I was busy going through the invoices, I heard “Hi Anne, can I talk to you for a minute?” I looked up and saw the young recruiter there. I don’t even remember his name. What I DO remember is thinking, “He’s not trying to recruit me, is he?”
Of course he was. He sat there with me for a good half hour, telling me about the glories of the sea org, and how well I’d do. He tried to show me why it was my duty, how the planet was dying and we were the only ones who could save it, all that crap. I was only half-listening, but when he told me he was from LA, I tuned him out completely. I had moved away from Southern California mainly because I hated LA. So he got nowhere. Unfortunately, the seed was further planted.
I went through at least five recruit cycles in the next year, but none stuck until the int writer’s recruitment team came to town. I mean, I’m a writer, they needed writers, it was a straight shot to the top, so what’s not to like? Oh man…
I wrote the other day about how I ended up joining the sea org after I met and married Andrew, who was already a sea org member. What I didn’t tell you about was the contract I signed. Here’s a picture of it:
Back when I signed this in 1992 it was called a “Contract of Employment”. They changed it a few years later to “Religious Commitment” for obvious reasons.
I think you can read the wording on it, but in case you can’t read the paragraph in all caps, it reads:
“THEREFORE, I CONTRACT MYSELF TO THE SEA ORGANIZATION FOR THE NEXT BILLION YEARS.”
Why a billion years? I was told it’s basically to show you’re serious about your commitment. But don’t think it’s a symbolic gesture—it’s absolutely expected that when you “drop your body” (i.e. die) and “pick up” a new body, you report back to the sea org after a 21-year “leave of absence”.
I’m not making this up.
So I signed the contract, and then went to LA (but only for a few weeks, since I was heading straight up to “mecca”, the int base! Oooooooooh—I was special!)
In my next post I’ll go into some detail about what I did in LA to prepare me to go “uplines” as they called it. It was pretty damn intense, and by the time I was done, they knew EVERYTHING about me and my life. These are things they can use against me now if they choose to. But I really don’t care at this point.
Oh, and how do I feel about that billion-year contract I signed? Bite me, scientology.