Dan Koon responds to the letter his ex-wife sent to ABC 20/20. A copy of her letter is below with Dan’s commentary in red. Because of my familiarity with some of the matters raised in her letter, I have added my own comments which are in blue italics.
Knowing Sue for more than 30 years, I am positive that she cringed the first time she saw this letterhead
April 27, 2016
This was mailed 2 days before the 20/20 show aired on ABC.
Another perfect example of the Int/Gold Base’s set-in-stone operating motto: “Too little, too late.”
47 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
Re: ABC 20/20 program and book co-author Dan Koon
Dear Mr. Bentley:
My name is Susan Goodban. I was very upset to learn that you plan to broadcast a program about a book co-authored by Ronald T. Miscavige and my former husband, Dan Koon. I have read a draft of the manuscript and I want to share with you my extensive personal knowledge that undercuts what he has written as the co-author.
I was married to Dan for 27 years. The bulk of that time we were in the Church of Scientology together. I was with him the entire time he was in Scientology and I know what he knows about the workings of the Church and its leadership. I can tell you unequivocally that he was never in a position to know about many of the things he is claiming in the book.
Sadly, my former wife does not know the function of a ghostwriter. My job was not to claim anything but to help Ron tell HIS story. This reflects rather badly on Sue because for the longest time we both worked in LRH’s compilations unit where our job was to compile bulletins, policies, courses and other writings ostensibly FOR L. Ron Hubbard and which were to stand over his signature until the planet was clear. To enter in our own ideas was anathema in that unit. The bottom line is I did not make ANY claims in the book. Now poor Capt. Miscavige is going to have to go back through everything Sue compiled over many years including the Key To Life Course and Life Orientation Course and ensure that Sue did not enter any curves into those “LRH” works.
Before I get to that, though, let me tell you a brief story that illustrates the character of Dan Koon. The last time I saw him was on December 21, 2003. I was ironing his shirt for work the next day and he went out to do some Christmas shopping. I never saw him again. After 27 years, he left without a word.
Of course, that afternoon after I had left without a word, Sue called my mother’s house cheerfully asking whether she had heard from me with the shore story (in other words, a lie) that I might be coming home for Christmas. I wonder how fast she would have alerted Security had I told her, “Oh, by the way, Sue, I’m blowing right now. Bye-bye.”
It was only after he was gone that I found out that for months he’d been having an illicit affair with Mariette Lindstein, now his wife, and that they had gone to great lengths to keep the whole thing hidden. She secretly departed a couple of weeks later and joined up with him. I bring this up because Dan now lies by falsely claiming that the Church broke up our marriage and that it somehow means that the Church breaks up families.
I don’t ever recall claiming that the church broke up our marriage. Since I never even thought it to myself, I doubt I ever said it. As for my illicit affair with Mariette, Sue should know that Mariette did not leave “a couple of weeks later” because by then both she and Mariette were in The Hole, and in fact sleeping on the floor in the same office together. The fact is that Mariette and Sue became friends in The Hole and when Mariette began acting crazy to get herself sent down to the RPF in PAC so she could blow more easily, Sue was the only one who saw through Mariette’s ruse and told her, “You’re not that crazy.” Nevertheless, Mariette did manage to be sent to the PAC RPF and blow on March 31 2004 more than three months after I escaped and our “illicit affair” did not begin until then. I am on the record stating that the church did not break up my marriage to Sue. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t break up lots of marriages, though.
One final comment here, after I blew, Sue was brought onto the base (at the time of my escape most everybody lived in apartments on Kirby Street in Hemet) and she lived for a while in the G Units. Scientologist actors, sound mixers and others who came to the base for work lived in the Gs. There was an outside phone line for their use to stay in contact with their families and others in LA while they were away. In the early days of 2004 I was now living with my mother and the phone rang one morning. I answered it and it was Sue, who called me from that phone in the Gs. She called to say good-bye, to say she loved me and to remind me not to abandon Scientology. It was a sad phone call for both of us and still makes me sad as I write this. Some weeks later she was now in The Hole and eventually confessed to making that call to me. Getting off that “overt” was not well received by the mob of her fellow inmates. How do I know? Her fellow Hole denizen Mariette told me after she escaped and we met up.
The truth is it was Dan and Dan alone who shattered our marriage by moving in with his mistress. Any other tale he tells is a lie promoted by Dan. It had nothing to do with the Church, which supports and encourages strong families.
I understand Dan’s circumstances. I was confronted with a similar choice. When it finally becomes intolerable to remain you have to decide whether you are going to confide in your spouse and have your plans thwarted. Escaping the international base often leads to marriages being split. Sometimes people are fortunate — Becky Miscavige escaped WITH Ron. Claire Headley escaped later and reunited with Marc. Unfortunately, Sue is still befuddled by the KoolAid. Had she and Dan NOT been working for scientology, and especially not at the International Base, I would wager they would still be married. The difference IS scientology. And in no wise does scientology support and encourage strong families, especially in the Sea Org and acutely NOT at the Int Base where couples were forced to divorce only because they were in different organizations ON THE SAME PROPERTY.
One thing that upsets me is Dan’s pretense of having intimate knowledge of the activities of David Miscavige. Dan is no more qualified than I am to write a book on Mr. Miscavige, his position and the global issues he is dealing with as the Church’s ecclesiastical leader. I lived and worked closely with Dan for the vast majority of his time at Golden Era Productions. I was with him virtually the entire time over the years because we were co-workers on the same projects, in the same organization, with the same interests and functions. Given our jobs and expertise, we were naturally many rungs below the top of the Church of Scientology and not privy to the inside information that the book claims.
Again, I make no claims in the book. It is Ron Miscavige’s story, not mine. Yet, having known David Miscavige for 27 years and having worked with him closely from 1987 to 1997 and from 1999 to 2003, I could write a book about my countless meetings with him and my observations of his actions towards myself and others. Yes, I most definitely could. Sue is right that we often worked closely on similar projects over the years and I have to say that we got along so well that I can recall a couple years that there was never even a harsh word between us, much less an argument, even though we spent virtually 24 hours a day together and even worked in the same office.
Dan Koon, in my presence, had HUNDREDS of interactions with David Miscavige. There is no pretense that he has intimate knowledge of the activities and proclivities of David Miscavige. Though none of them are recounted in Ron Miscavige’s book, he certainly could write his own.
Neither of us has a clue about Mr. Miscavige’s time with the religion’s Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, for example, aside from seeing them together on the set, shooting instructional films in 1978. We may have seen them speaking together at the end of each day’s shoot, but we certainly didn’t hear their conversations. And from then on, we did not work in Mr. Miscavige’s office and did not see the million and one things he did in the name of the religion. Oftentimes, Mr. Miscavige would be away from the property handling all manner of things, leading our Church. My husband and I were not there with him. We got our information like everybody else, at Church events and gatherings. We certainly didn’t know anything about the stories Dan tells in this book—and neither did Ronald Miscavige who was even further removed since he wasn’t even on Church staff at the time.
By the logic in this paragraph no one is qualified to write a history of the Roman Empire. On the other hand, David Miscavige considered that the technical aspect of Scientology, that is, the courses, auditor training programs, bulletins and so on were of such importance that he personally gave final authorization to everything technically related while passing all administrative matters to his AVC Unit (Authorization, Verification and Correction), whose head was for some years, ironically, Mariette Lindstein. (Scientology must seem like an inbred West Virginia hamlet at times to the casual reader.) Since both Sue and I were the primary people on these lines we both worked closely with David Miscavige for years and years on virtually every single technical matter in Scientology, a period spanning from 1979 to 2000 and most heavily from 1987 to 1997. Take a look at a Scientology Grade Chart and virtually every single item on it was compiled by either Sue or me. Throw in the disastrous Golden Age of Tech, iteration 1, and the Golden Age of Knowledge releases and Sue and I have it all covered. Imagine how many meetings we had with David Miscavige over those years. A ton. I think we both got a pretty good idea about David Miscavige’s personality and character as well as his management style. But I digress; Sue’s letter is about Ron’s book.
For many years, Dan Koon’s primary job was to compile scripture for publication to our parishioners. It was while working in that position that Dan showed he can’t be trusted. It is crucial in our faith that we adhere strictly to the writings and recorded spoken words of our Founder, Mr. Hubbard. If Mr. Hubbard wrote something, we issue it exactly as he wrote it. If he left instructions how earlier writings or lectures should be compiled for public release, then those instructions are to be followed precisely. There is no more serious offense in the religion than to alter what Mr. Hubbard wrote. To a Scientologist, changing scripture is tantamount to mortal sin.
Dan violated that trust by adding to the scripture, making up his own religious teachings and fraudulently representing his own writings as having been written by the Founder. And not in a small way. His alterations were insidious and extremely destructive to the religion.
Oh, man, would I love to see some specifics here. I have gotten wind of a couple over the years. The first was the 1987 Grades Process Checklists, which were criticized by DM allegedly and blamed on me for making them overlong, which caused preclears to spend endless hours on their Expanded Lower Grades. Of course, the one who insisted that these checklists contain every process under the sun, moon and stars was none other than David Miscavige who went so far as to have me stay up one night to write 50 individual submissions for each change RTRC was proposing to make in these checklists. That was a long night.
Another fiasco laid at my doorstep is the infamous Golden Age of Tech, released in 1996. I admit to compiling the basic pattern of drills later used in auditor training as well as course checksheets and revisions to the E-meter drill books as well as everything else involved in the technical aspects of the program. I’ll take responsibility for any problems this evolution caused anybody and spent months after the launch with the rest of RTRC to correct mistakes in the drills from student reports. I, however, did NOT set the tone for how this program was implemented, that is, to invalidate every auditor’s prior training and the disastrous effects the implementation of the program had on auditors, preclears and the entirety of Scientology over the world. That is the sole province of you-know-who, the Master of Disaster himself, Capt. David Miscavige.
This is the same old line used forever by scientology. As soon as someone leaves and dares criticize scientology, or heaven forbid, David Miscavige, they suddenly become unethical, incompetent “criminals” who spent their entire careers messing things up and creating havoc for others in the church. This is a long tradition — from Reg Sharpe through David Mayo to Dan Koon and other contemporaries like me and Marty Rathbun. Funny thing is is these incompetent criminals were put in positions of great responsibility for years or even decades. How did nobody notice they were SPs messing everything up” Especially when it was mandatory for everyone in the Sea Org to do the PTS/SP Course.
During this period, Mr. Miscavige was away dealing with other Church matters. When he returned, he discovered what Dan had done and summarily removed Dan from his position. Mr. Miscavige has since purged all of Dan’s inventions from the religious scripture and brought the materials back to a pure state. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the harm done, it took the better part of a decade for Mr. Miscavige to assemble all of L. Ron Hubbard’s original works and ferret out the curves and twists Dan had introduced in them and bring these materials back to what Mr. Hubbard had instructed to be done.
Sue has lapsed into fiction in this paragraph. David Miscavige didn’t remove me from squat. I was thankfully removed from my position as head of the Snr C/S Int Office in 1998 but this was after DM had demanded that I assume the Snr C/S Int post (though I was not C/S trained beyond Class IV level, which gives you an indication of DM’s respect for technical qualifications in the church hierarchy), thus sparking the worst year of my 27 in the Sea Org. And fortunately this paragraph is fiction because otherwise it would reflect badly on DM’s ability to undo virtually everything he had carefully combed through and blessed with his papal seal. I won’t go into everything that comprises a technical submission but it is extensive, down to basing every technical decision being made on an existing LRH reference. In RTRC we had administrative people whose job was to assemble all these references, highlight and tab them and proofread the CSW to ensure every I was dotted and every T was crossed. For him to take 10 years to correct all that, sheesh, what a maroon!
Rather than confront what he had done and commit to reforming, Dan chose to sneak away like a coward just as he snuck away from our marriage. But the harm he caused to the Church continued to fester inside him. I know this from seeing the way he has tried to rewrite history in his postings on the Internet.
For example, in a 2015 posting that he co-wrote with another anti-Scientologist, Jefferson Hawkins, Dan claims credit for writing the contents of a large guide chart listing all of Mr. Hubbard’s books and lectures, including a short description of each. The chart was issued in 2007. Dan was long gone from the Church by then.
True, both Jeff and I were long gone, but it was a lot easier for DM to issue the Materials Guide Chart that we wrote and that Carrie Cook (also since long gone) designed than to redo the whole thing. When the chart was released in 2007 I got a copy to see what had been changed since Jeff and I worked on it and was shocked to see that it was virtually word for word what we wrote in 2003. I only say virtually because I could not compare it to what we wrote earlier, but I could not find anything that seemed newly written.
In another 2015 posting, he falsely claims that Mr. Miscavige reinstated a series of counseling steps called the Survival Rundown that Mr. Hubbard cancelled in 1979. What he doesn’t say is that Mr. Hubbard instructed that to compile this rundown properly, hundreds of counseling procedures would need to be extracted from the more than 2,000 lectures in which they were contained, organized, catalogued and compiled. Whereas this was far too much work for Dan to ever do, this is exactly what Mr. Miscavige did.
I will bet dollars to donuts that Mr. Miscavige did little more than demand that others do this work and then hector them when it was not done fast enough. Any takers?
These examples are to show you that Dan cannot be trusted. His level of resentment is clear, and this book should be seen for the cynical and unscrupulous act it is.
How strange it is that not a SINGLE thing she has said shows that Dan cannot be trusted? At best she has sought to make him out as incompetent? Though not even incompetent as a ghost writer. And certainly even taking her statements at face value it doesn’t demonstrate at all that the book is either cynical or unscrupulous…
Dan and his co-author falsely represent that Mr. David Miscavige treated people poorly. Dan knows this to be a lie. I worked with Dan extensively and witnessed the opposite. Here is an example: Even though Dan was in a very junior position, Mr. Miscavige saw that Dan felt uncomfortable about having amblyopia, or lazy eye. Mr. Miscavige asked Dan if he would like to have his eye corrected and then arranged for Dan to receive the necessary surgery. The procedure was successfully done to correct his eye. Dan was quite happy with the result of this purely compassionate act.
Among the many things that Sue and I shared, this included lazy right eyes. As a kid my right eye was crossed and at age 5 I had it straightened. As I grew older it began drifting out. I think Sue had a similar situation. She got hers fixed first and I got mine fixed after that because DM wanted me to begin doing appearances for management or something, which reason now escapes me. And, yes, I went under the knife again for another operation and was very happy with the results. Thanks, Dave, though why you were bypassing the MLO, I don’t know.
Another time, I had hurt my knee in an accident and could not walk easily. To help, Mr. Miscavige personally arranged for me to get an electric wheelchair so I could get around more easily and without pain until my knee healed.
In yet another example, one year Dan and I got stranded at the airport after coming home from vacation visiting our family. We called in on New Year’s Eve. Surprisingly, Mr. Miscavige was walking by and answered the phone when the rest of the staff was at the New Year’s party. It was pure happenstance. He then personally made the effort to get us a lift home so we could enjoy the celebration before it ended. That is what he is like. He always made sure the staff were well cared for.
I vaguely remember this now that she mentions it. To conclude that he always made sure the staff were well cared for is stretching things just a tad, however, as zillions of others’ personal stories all over the Internet will corroborate.
In addition, good work was routinely rewarded by Mr. Miscavige. Upon completion of a project he sent me and the entire unit to L.A. to see the live musical “Phantom of the Opera.” On another occasion we were treated to a day at the Raging Waters water park. On another occasion we were sent out to see a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. On yet another occasion we were treated to dinner and a night out to see the play “Art” in London. One Christmas, he sent the whole office a large basket of food and treats with a nice card thanking us for our work that year. These are just some examples which show Dan’s allegations to be false and he knows them to be untrue because he was a beneficiary of
Mr. Miscavige’s recognition when his work warranted it.
Yep, all these events did occur. Things were pretty good in the early 1980s and even as late as 1996 when Sue and I accompanied DM to St. Hill for the IAS event that October.
In typical Dan Koon hyperbole, he falsely compares Golden Era Productions to North Korea and the staff there to “prisoners.” This is absurd and ridiculous. Dan and I lived together during the years he was on staff here at Golden Era Productions. We lived in an apartment in town and commuted a half-hour each day to get to work. We owned a large blue Buick. We would go to the local shops on Sunday morning, do our weekly grocery shopping and so on. As a routine we would do studies on Scientology in the mornings and then Dan and I would do exercise and sports using the facilities. Sometimes we used to go out and play catch on the baseball field and during holidays and special occasions we would do jet skiing, baseball games, barbeques, etc. In the years we were here together there were more and more improvements to the property and crew facilities such as renovating ideal office spaces, brand-new dining facilities, a new fleet of cars for crew use, a building housing laundry facilities where our sheets and towels are washed and folded, new sports facilities (a baseball field, volleyball courts, a basketball court, tennis courts and a soccer field) not to mention the Olympic-size swimming pool. When we arrived here the property was literally a dirt bowl. Now it is beautiful.
This is more truth on Sue’s part. Of course the time period she refers to is the late 1970s and 1980s, which periods were also punctuated by years of hell as anyone who was at the base in 1982 will remember very unfondly. Also, Sue may be excused for failing to mention the year she spent on the RPF around 1984 or the abortion she was forced to have in 1985. Other than that life at Int/Gold was a paradise. Not.
She adds a new one to the worker’s paradise I had not heard before. A fleet of new cars for “crew use.” As if the vehicles owned by the church were used for anything other than church business. North Korea claims they have ski resorts for “the people” too — they do have ski resorts, the “people” are the friends and family of the Dear Leader. Another way scientology is like North Korea. The way they spin facts into misrepresentations.
The book falsely represents that staff members subsisted on “substandard food” and lacked proper medical care. It also falsely claims that staff members could not go to the doctor unless they were accompanied by an “escort.” Both of these assertions are simply fiction. The food at Golden Era Productions is excellent. Dan told me more than once that he thought the hamburgers were the best in the world. Additionally, neither Dan nor I ever had an “escort” when we left the Gold base for medical appointments or for any other purpose. For example, before Dan had his eye surgery, described above, he had multiple visits to the doctor on his own or with me in our Buick. On rare other occasions we received rides from staff to medical appointments in town but were always dropped off and never monitored in any way.
True, we used to get hamburgers every Saturday during lunch on renos and they were fabulous. Of course the food allocation was not 1 dollar per person per meal. At those times, which were frequent, it was chicken, chicken and more chicken. Or, if you were lucky, rice and beans.
Dan Koon has been gone from the Church for 13 years, having been expelled. Dan knows nothing of the Church today. He gets everything he regurgitates in Ron Miscavige’s book from discredited rants on the Internet from a handful of other disgruntled malcontents like him.
Life in the Church is more exciting now than it has ever been, with Mr. Miscavige’s work appreciated by parishioners and staff worldwide. He has brought about an incredible energy and resurgence of our religion, which is what people like Dan Koon and his small anti-Scientology clique froth at the mouth over. They missed out on it and resent it.
Dan is resentful of someone committed to making the world a better place because he, himself, is a total failure. Obviously, Dan harbors a grudge towards Mr. Miscavige because it is Mr. Miscavige who corrected the egregious alterations of the Scientology religious scriptures created by Dan. This bitterness undoubtedly will be woven through every page of the book Dan created for Ron Miscavige, which is just a vehicle for a tiny group of anti-Scientologists to vent their sick agenda.
Another standard scientology line — everyone who leaves is resentful because they are “missing out” on all the great times scientology is having. Ha ha ha ha. I cannot believe they keep saying this. I would literally commit suicide before returning to Riverside County’s very own Auschwitz.
Dan Koon once described himself as “on the evil side of the equation.” Now he’s publishing vicious lies in a book for money and fame. There is nothing Dan and Ron Miscavige can or will say that will honestly reflect the Church today. Dan is reviled within the Church as a fraud.
Dan Koon cannot be trusted to tell the truth. As someone who was married to him for 27 years, I know. If you have an ounce of integrity, you will not provide a platform to this hateful person and ABC will be honest with its viewers and expose Dan Koon as the heretic that he is.
There’s nothing like having a New York Times #1 bestseller to cover up the resentment, guilt and egregious alterations of scripture. The fact is that Ron was never going to tell his story until his own daughters disconnected from him at the behest of their brother David. Steve Hall and I had been on Ron for two years to write a book but he was going to let everything slide—even when David told the PIs following him to let him die—until his daughters refused to see or speak to him. After that, all bets were off and the rest is publishing history. Money and fame would be nice, but I would trade that in a heartbeat, and so would Ron, to see the church’s policy of disconnection done away with. I left many, many fine people behind when I escaped in late 2003 and would love to see them again.
That includes Sue. All said, I wish Sue well and always will.
Susan J. Goodban