My old friend, Andy Porter — maestro photographer and contributor to this blog over the years, — popped up with something new, inspired by a headline in the National Enquirer! I am sure you will find it interesting.
Leaving Scientology Staff
September 4, 2023
The problem with relaying any narrative about working on staff for the Church of Scientology is that ALL of it is so absurdly insanely crazy, you don’t know where to start.
I was the Executive Director of the Church of Scientology of Washington State, in Seattle (AKA: The Seattle Org) in the early 1990’s… Here we pick up the tale as I walk into the Los Angeles CLO (Scientology Management Office) and try to resign my post:
I hated my post, hated being on staff at the Seattle Org and wanted out. The statistics of the Org were horrible and I hoped that Scientology Management would realize what an incompetent executive I was and remove me. And this was partly true; Management did consider me a loser, but not enough to remove me! Once I realized I would be here, on the post basically forever I decided to act. I got some money and flew to Los Angeles and went into the CLO (Scientology Management office) and told them that I wanted to leave my post and route off staff. I explained that I was too much in debt personally, that I was a poor administrator and that they could do better than me.
The Sea Org person assigned to get me to come to my senses and stay on staff was Gavin Potter.
Gavin was involved with the insane recruitment cycle that started me on this road to despair but I don’t think he remembers me. He asks why I want to leave staff.
I have carefully prepared for this moment, knowing full well what’s coming. I try to sound as sorry and sincere as I possibly can, like I am totally distraught at the idea of not being able to stay on staff any longer… I tell him I don’t WANT to leave staff, but I have to, due to being in a mountain of debt. I promise him that as soon as I pay off my debts, I will return, ready to go.
Clearly, Gavin has heard all of this before. He looks over at me with a pitying sneer.
Standing, he tells me to walk with him to the staff canteen. Walking side by side he tells me flat out that I can’t leave staff. Planet Earth is messed up, and we’re the ONLY ones who can save it.
He stops for a moment, turns to face me, gets right up about 4 inches from my face to tell me that only a real pussy would bail out, that I’d be betraying the group, only a degraded scum bag would do that…and on and on…
We arrive to the canteen and he gets himself a 32 ounce coffee. I stand there watching him add endless sugar, stirring it in as he continues to lay into me about wanting to break my contract and route off staff.
At this point in the process I am strong in spirit and I tell him that despite his opinions I still plan to route off staff. He is completely surprised that I could possibly think to disagree with him. Outraged, he starts berating me and jerking his arms about. He manages to spill the entire cup of coffee all over his white uniform.
He jumps up from the seat, coffee streaming everywhere and screeches at me:
“This was you, YOU did this with your fucking evil intentions.”
It’s dead quiet. Everyone in the canteen is watching us.
He looks up, surveying the room…
Slowly his death gaze turns my way… I’m sitting rigidly still using every bit of self-control not to laugh. I’m squeezing every muscle, like I’m trying to suppress a fart.
I can’t help it. A smile escapes me and then a giggle squirts out.
As soon as he sees me smiling, that’s it! The flood gates open and he unleashes a tirade of cursing and threats. It gets rather ugly: with a horrible sneer on his face he says that I will get cancer and die, or become a child molester or drug addict if I ever leave staff. The fact that I can’t stop smiling eggs him on to further meanness. This goes on a while as he tries to clean up the mess…
He barks at me, ordering me to follow him back to the Management Office. As we walk back to the office he marches 3 paces ahead…at first I tried to keep up, but he stops to tell me that I’m supposed to follow along behind him, like a dog.
Back in the office he explains that because I am acting like a worthless piece of shit he is going to assign me to work on AOLA building renovations 16 hours a day until I come to my senses.
Just to give you some idea of how supremely bat-shit crazy I was at the time, I was $40,000 in debt. All of it was for food and rent, so I could stay on staff full time. My average pay as a scientology staff member was $150 a week.
I met someone while doing the renovations and tell my tale of woe, saying that if I could pay off the 40k in debt, I’d stay on staff. They convince me that if I write a letter (a CSW) to Matt Feschbach explaining my situation that he will surely answer and give me the $40,000.
I get excited and tell my captors that I may have a solution. They act as if the debt is fully paid, give me a great big hug and welcome me back, and immediately I am sent to Pasadena Org to make the staff there comply to orders for something…
The next day I get to the Pasadena Org. I speak to the staff there, the ones I have been sent to berate, and see how they look at me. I don’t know what to say to them.
In a day or two the reality sets in: Matt Feschbach is NOT going to give me any money. But I’ve agreed with these assholes to go back on staff…
The feeling of despair and hopelessness is overwhelming. I go for a walk, cross over a freeway overpass. Looking down I get an idea. I head back to the Pasadena Org, collect my belongings, walk back to the freeway and start to hitchhike home to Seattle.
I’d hitchhiked many times in the past, and honestly the feeling was wonderful. I decided to avoid I-5 and make my way towards Victorville. After a while I’m hungry and the adrenaline has worn off a bit. I stop at a pay phone and call my wife, tell her what’s happening, where I am.
Her advice is to go back to the base and tell them I simply can’t stay on staff any longer and “leave the right way”.
Reluctantly I agree, cross the highway and start to hitchhike back to the Sea Org Base…
When I finally managed to make my way back to LA and the Sea Org base, its maybe 1 in the morning. I am walking down L. Ron Hubbard Way to the house where I was sleeping when none other than Gavin Potter emerges from the ASHO Building.
He sees me under the street lights, scurrying by, and yells at me to stop.
I stand still, horrified that it’s him.
He comes very close and says in the vilest tone he can muster “You fucked up piece of shit…you blew a Sea Org Base and now you’re going to get declared.”
The next day I was told that I must stay in LA while they drew up the papers to have me declared a Suppressive Person, I was told there would be a Committee of Evidence first…
In the next days I managed to reach a Scientology person higher up the management food chain than Gavin Potter. I had met Greg Hughes years ago when he was the CEO of Sterling Management. Greg was in upper, upper management at the time, in the Watch Dog Committee for WISE.
Greg heard my story and decreed that I was not to be declared a suppressive person, but rather I was to be given a leave of absence from my post at the Seattle Org long enough to pay off all my debts.
I was happy: that was what Id requested when I’d first arrived. I packed to leave for the airport to go back to Seattle and happened to see Gavin for the last time.
He accosted me as I passed by and commanded me to stop. He gets very close, right in front of me, looks me in the eye and whispers: “You’re lucky, you little asshole…” (I’m 5 ft 2 inches tall) he turns and spits on the sidewalk…”You’re just lucky you have friends in high places…for now…” and stomps off.
This all took place more than 30 years ago. A lot has happened since then. I hadn’t thought of Gavin in a long while…
Then, yesterday while in line at the grocery store I spotted the current issue of The National Enquirer: The front page headline reads:
“Scientology CHILD SEX SCANDAL EXPLODES!” – starring Gavin Potter!!!
- “Twisted recruiter TARGETED young girls!”
- “Repeated RAPES & forced marriage!”
- “Church ordered chilling COVER-UP!”
I bought a copy (this one’s a keeper!) read the article and was motivated to write this Gavin Potter Character Reference.
How Cancer cured me of Scientology, by Andy Porter: Scientology and Cancer
I am approaching 3 years now, Cancer Free and healthy after 20+ years in Scientology. Here are a few recent images I captured at Cape Flattery in Washington State, my home.
Mike note: As I mentioned at the top, go to Andy’s website and marvel at his work.