My friend Gary Reisdorf sent me this article from is early days (around the time I first met him). His wife, Lois, provided us all with a wonderful series of posts about her history in the Sea Org with L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige.
Tales From The Apollo
One of the hardest things to do while on the ship was getting approval to purchase items you needed to do your job. In most companies, if you were running out of copy paper or pens, you would merely send an email to the appropriate person in the company and let them know. The next day or 2 we would have a delivery from Staples and you would have the paper. Not in the Sea Org. We had to go through Financial Planning.
If you needed some paint brushes, in order to paint the ship, you would have to write what is referred to as a CSW, or Completed Staff Work and submit it to the FP or Financial Planning Committee. The CSW consists of explaining the situation, providing the data and finally the solution. You needed to do this for most problems that require approval in the Sea Org. A CSW for paint brushes would be something like this.
SITUATION: I need to paint the ship in order to keep up a good appearance and keep it from rusting. In order to do this we need paint brushes to apply the paint.
DATA: You would then go into details of how one cannot apply paint with your hands but brushes are needed. The last brushes were old or worn out and had to be replaced etc. You basically had to explain what happened to the other brushes and why you need new ones. There will be 2 deckhands painting the ship and we will need 2 different size paint brushes for each painter so therefore we will need 4 brushes.The brushes cost $5.00 each 4 X $5.00 = $20.00 and so we will need to have $20.00 allocated for this purpose.
SOLUTION: Approve the allocation of $20.00 to purchase 4 paint brushes.
Approved______________ Not Approved ______________
Usually, the CSWs are returned, not approved, with questions like, brushes don’t really wear out so you either lost them or did not clean and care for them properly. Did you lose brushes over the side of the ship? Did you not care for them properly? Getting something approved thru Financial Planning was often a lost cause. We would then try to clean off the old brushes and use them the best way we could. If we lost one over the side, we would have to buy the brushes with our own money, where 1 brush was ½ a week’s pay. That wasn’t a pleasant idea.
This type of nonsense would occur on almost everything we attempted to buy. Rope, block and tackles, paint, rollers etc., every item needed to maintain the ship had to go thru this same CSW procedure and often it was shot down. It had to be proven that the items being requested were a true necessity. But, it wasn’t just the Deck Force that had this problem but every department of the entire ship had to go thru this same procedure.
Financial Planning made it seem like the ship did not have enough money to barely even operate. I would find out in later years though that people would be sent on missions from the ship with briefcases full of money (millions) on their way to be deposited into Swiss banks. Not that it would matter though, knowing that information wouldn’t have made it any easier to buy $20 worth of paint brushes.
Well, finally the deckhands had enough of this Financial Planning bullshit.
The Apollo was in Lisbon, Portugal and there wasn’t enough dock space for our vessel. The only solution to remain at a dock rather than going to anchor was to dock alongside an abandoned ship called the Caroline. The Captain went with that option.
The Caroline was a ship around the same size as the Apollo, 300 feet long. It was some sort of old rust-bucket cargo ship. We knew though, since it wasn’t a Sea Org vessel, that it would actually have equipment on board. This got a few of the deck apes thinking.
Pat McCullough and I were in the Bosun’s Locker preparing our paint brushes and paint for a day of painting. “Hey, Gary, did you hear what’s happening tonight?” Pat asked.
“Nope” I hadn’t heard a thing.
“Well, we are all going over to the Caroline tonight at midnight. We are going to raid it.”
“What do you mean, raid it?” I still didn’t have a clue.
“Look it, we are sure they have a bunch of shit on that ship that we can use on the deck. You know, ropes, block and tackles, tarps, hammers, paint brushes, we are going to borrow them…. permanently.” Pat explained. “No one is on that ship, it isn’t running and those things are being wasted. We can put them to good use.”
I was a bit shocked but replied, “Oh that sounds cool man. I’ll be ready”. But, this was coming from one of the most innocent 18 year olds in the world. Hell, being brought up as a perfectly ethical Scientologist, I had never even stolen a piece of penny candy from a jar at the corner shop back in Mason City, Iowa. I was nervous already and it was only 7 a.m.
We carried on working away but the thought of grand theft was on my mind the entire day. God, what if we got caught? I have never been in jail and sure as hell do not want to start my prison experience in a Portuguese jail. What about the bad things that would happen to me for creating an overt of this magnitude? Similarly to karma, Scientologist strongly believed that if you commit an “overt” or bad deed, you were going to have something bad happen back to you. This was sort of the control over me my entire youth. I was nervous alright, but I was one of the deckhands. They were my best buddies and I had to be right alongside them. I was in, damn it! Also, it made sense that our purpose to save the planet and have a well maintained ship would be worth the risk. It was the greatest good to do this.
I finished my work, finished supper and my course studies and quickly got into my bunk so I could get 2 hours of sleep before midnight. In a way, I was excited but it was not a happy excitement but more of a nervous excitement.
I was just about to roll over on my worn out, tired, old pillow and fall asleep, when one of my fellow, senior deckhands, Steve Nichols came into the cabin. Steve was a great guy. He was about 39 years old I figured and was the perfect stereotypical deckhand, without the drinking and the whores. He was about 6’ 2”, over 220 lbs and pretty much solid muscle. He was truly one of those strong, silent types that no one argued with.
“Kid, you aren’t going tonight.” Steve said, not expecting anything but a “ok, Steve” out of me.
Steve always called me kid. It was kind of a term of endearment but at the same time keeping me in my place.
“What? Aren’t we going to raid that ship tonight?” I was a bit shocked after all of the mental preparation I put into this.
“Kid, you are too young and we aren’t taking you with us. We’ll let you know in the morning how it went”. He was pretty adamant about it.
“Oh, fuck! I want to go with you guys.” Even though I truly only wanted to go to be part of the deck force, I had to pretend that I wasn’t afraid and that I was ready to take one for the team, right along with them.
Steve, didn’t want to hear another word and walked out of the cabin. Not a big talker.
That was that, I wasn’t going to commit my first grand theft. Whew! inside I was completely relieved. Looking back on it now, I don’t know if he felt that I was too incompetent and young to sneak around a ship that was manned by a full time, on-board security guard or was it that he felt I would breakdown, not being able to live with myself, having committed such a horrible deed and would spill the beans. I don’t know his reasoning, but he cut me from the team without even getting the chance to fumble the ball! Most people would say at this point, I was devastated, but really, I wasn’t.
The next day the boys were all safe and back on board. Pat was right, that ship had the coolest shit ever. We had new tarps, buckets, mallets, lots of rope, all of the things we could never get through the normal financial channels of the Sea Org. It was a great feeling. I wished that I could have been a part of that adventure and helped to get these things but the only thing that made it okay was that I was ordered by Steve to stay behind. I tried.
“So, Pat, tell me what happened.” I demanded of Pat.
“Well, it was actually pretty damn scary. We went on board and down into the deck storage area, similar to our bosun’s cabin. We all started packing up shit that we wanted to bring back. We then decided to go into another hold of the ship. It was pitch black and we were being quiet as hell. Then, all of a sudden we saw another flashlight coming from the other side of the hold we were in. I almost shat my pants. I figured, right then and there, that we would be arrested. Gary, you won’t believe it, but it was the snipes. Those damn engineers had the same idea that we had and were ripping off all of the engineer shit they could get their hands on”
“What?” I was shocked. “They decided to do the exact same thing at the exact date and time?”
“That’s nuts. All of you must have been scared out of your minds”.
In retrospect, there had to be more to this than just coincidence. I’m sure that the 1st Mate, who was in charge of the deckhands and the Chief Engineer who ran the Snipes, planned this raid together but didn’t inform their staff of the other group’s participation. They probably didn’t think they would run into each other as they would be in different parts of the Caroline looking to rip off different types of equipment. They were looking for Engine Room stuff like wrenches, pipe cutting equipment, welding equipment etc.
The fun had just started for this little adventure. It seems that one of the guys informed a young girl, Valerie Schomer, what went down that night. Valerie, who was around 11 years old, really liked the deckhands and used to eat lunch with us often. We all looked after her like we would a younger sister. It turns out though that she wrote up a Knowledge Report on us all. A Knowledge Report or KR, as it is called, is a report that SO members wrote when they found out about someone doing something out-ethics. I guess stealing from a ship would definitely fall into this category. I didn’t blame Valerie for doing this whatsoever. She was just being a good little SO member and she was doing the ethical thing, by reporting us.
I wasn’t too worried though as I didn’t participate in the theft. Steve ordered me to stay in bed. Whew, I wasn’t going to be Comm-Ev’d.
Now that this crime was reported to the Master At Arms (MAA for short), a lot of wheels had to be put in motion. A comm-ev has to be typed up and issued, ensuring everyone involved were interviewed so that no one person slipped thru the cracks for the wrath of the Sea Org ethics procedures. Then, someone has to figure out what we are going to do with the equipment.
Both the Snipes and the Deckhands managed to get onto the ship and bring all of the equipment back without being seen by the guard so in actual fact, they could just let us keep the stuff. But, the chance of being caught out and our crew being convicted of a crime was too great. It would probably mean jail time, bad press for the ship and perhaps blowing our cover of being OTC, Operation & Transport Corporation, but actually being the international headquarters of the Church of Scientology. Someone had to get very creative here.
The powers that be came up with a plan. Gerry Armstrong was assigned the task of getting the stolen goods back onto the Caroline. Gerry was in the Port Captain’s Office as some sort of Public Relations Officer. He could speak a bit of Portuguese and was friendly and outgoing. The Port Captain’s Office was responsible for ensuring the ship had good PR with the port, that our OTC cover was maintained and they handled all legal matters of the ship. This was right up their alley. They should have just made the Deckies and Snipes just do another midnight raid, but in reverse this time. They were experienced at it, didn’t get caught the last time. Perfect plan.
What happened to the stolen goods was this. Gerry went over to the Security Guard that was posted on the Caroline. He brought him a couple of bottles of good whiskey and proceeded to tell him about a problem we had on our ship. You see, it had been raining a few days back and we need to build some protection from the rain. We didn’t have the necessary equipment on the Apollo so a few of the guys from the ship borrowed some equipment from the Caroline. It was kind of an emergency. We needed tarps, rope, block and tackles, buckets, etc to create this MacGiver rain shelter. We know that was wrong of them to borrow this without permission, so we are now returning it. The whiskey he brought to the guard was for the hassle he had to endure while we returned all of the items. What that all translates to was, you and I both know some guys from our ship stole from the Caroline but you take this bribe of some whiskey to keep your mouth shut and everyone will be happy.
It worked. The goods were returned to the ship and nothing was ever said publicly about our grand theft of the Caroline. Knowing the Snipes and the Deckies as I did, I would imagine that they kept ½ of the items that they had stolen as we didn’t keep an inventory of our stolen goods.
Now for the Committee of Evidence – Scientology’s Criminal Court. The MAA did his due diligence of interviewing everyone involved and got all of the names of who he was going to be included as Interested Parties. The Ethics Order was issued and it was all the buzz on the ship. The problem is, my name was listed as an Interested Party. So, I was getting comm-ev’d and I didn’t even get to participate in the theft. They included me because I knew it was going down and didn’t report it to the MAA. Heck, I could have stopped it or at minimum squealed on my buddies after the fact. There was no way in hell I would have done either of those 2 things. I think I wrote maybe 1 or 2 Knowledge Reports on fellow SO members my entire 11 years in that horrible organization. Nowadays Sea Org members and even normal Scientologists turn in their friends and family, by writing Knowledge Reports on them for the slightest, perceived infringement. I didn’t work that way and neither did any of my buddies. Allegiance to family and friends actually meant something in those days. Heck, before my youngest son disconnected from me, he wrote a Knowledge Report on me, because one of the things I did was bragging that I hated the Philadelphia Eagles, just because David Miscavige, the leader of the church, was from Philly and the Eagles were his favorite team. He wouldn’t have had too many friends on the deck force of the Apollo in 1972.
The Comm-Ev went down as they all did. There was probably a total of about 15 Interested Parties (like defendants for a court trial). We all pleaded guilty to every Misdemeanor, Crime and High Crime that we were charged with. It was rather standard to always plead guilty with Comm-Evs because they were going to find you guilty 99.9% of the time and if you pled not-guilty the penalty would increase. Some of the charges were Theft, Causing an Out-PR situation with the church, overworking executives due to negligence or out-ethics behavior, failure to report Crimes or High-Crimes etc. I fell into the last category and I’m sure they trumped up other stupid crimes to make us all look bad.
We were all assigned conditions and had to lose our liberties that we would normally have once every 2 weeks. The loss of liberty probably lasted for a month or 2 while we got thru our conditions. We had to do the usual amends projects which was work done after hours in addition to our normal work, giving us 16 hour work days.
Another day in the life, in the Sea Org.
So far, I’d been comm-ev’d for breaking a boat I didn’t break and was at least a mile away from, and for robbing a ship that I didn’t rob. I was off to a good start in the Scientology ethics system.
Andro Villans says
This was really interesting. I love reading about the goings on aboard ship. These speak more to the core of how Hubbard ran things than more scholarly dissertations.
I’m a never-in too and have been following the Scientology saga for a few years now. Fascinating story, Gary. Whatever happen to Steve Nichols?? Nomnom Any way to scan those old OOD’s and the Comm eV ??
I don’t know what happened to Steve Nichols. He was a heck of a nice guy. I have a feeling he is still in.
That would be sad!
Great story, Gary. Thanks.
Regarding FP Committee — It operated exactly the same on land: All night meetings; Never enough money, even for necessities; Re-doing the numbers over & over. In the days following we had to face the crew, whose POs we’d cut or, worse, we’d cut their pay and/or put them on rice & beans. What a thankless, demoralizing, spirit-crushing task!
FP did give the div heads the opportunity to share info about what was going on throughout the org, but that info wasn’t usually uplifting: Details about impossible targets; The details on why someone disappeared (psychotic break (Type III) or had blown); The skinny behind some disturbing incident (e.g., why a crew member was suddenly taken off post, given a box of his belongings and escorted off the premises); Severe illness or injury to crew.
On the positive side, there was a camaraderie between FP Committee members, although mostly born of a siege mentality. We genuinely cared about each other & the crew and wanted to do good, be competent and succeed in clearing the planet. I’m one of the lucky ones who got out with my health and a relatively sound mind, although I still occasionally have realizations about decisions and viewpoints that are rooted in my SO days.
Can’t tell my story in much detail yet as we still have family affected by Miscavige’s cult.
I don’t say it often enough — Mike, thanks for this forum and all you do.
FWIW I am not the Valerie who snitched. However, had I been on the Apollo at the time I may well have been that person had I not been part of the group stealing the items. That’s the way life worked there.
In this revealing anecdote, Gary laid bare the basic inner workings of day day life as a Sea org member.
*Never have what you need to do the job at hand.
*Required to do absolutely insane things in order to get the minimum requirements to do your job, therefore never being able to actually do your job well.
*It’s your fault if you don’t have what it takes to do your job well, and you will be in trouble for that.
*Always watched by others.
*Make it go right.
*Any crime committed is ok if it is “the greatest good”.
*Unless you get caught then you get in trouble for either not or for making it go right.
*If you don’t commit the crime and others get caught you get in trouble for not telling on others.
What did I miss?
Bruce Ploetz says
At the Int Base we always said “We’ve been doing so much with so little for so long that now we can do anything – with nothing at all!”
And of course the famous line from Hubbard himself: “Having to have before you can do.” (Stated as a crime). So any careful explanations that things like plaster and paint and wallboard screws were needed to put up a wall, for example, were met with “Having to have before you can do! Go talk to Ethics!”
He also told us that “Stating that it takes a long time to build anything is a lie.” So everything had to be done right this instant if not sooner, leading to horrendous screw-ups that took years to unravel.
The famous tale is that someone asked how long it would take to do something. Hearing but not liking the answer “Two weeks”, the executive asked: “OK, how long if everybody stays up until it is done?” To which the honest but daring answer was “Three months”. (Of course no human could survive staying up for three months, but you learn to take cat-naps and get by).
Meanwhile the world turns and life goes on outside the bubble, nobody noticing the frantic thrashing inside unless somebody has to be taken to the emergency room. Exactly like the Truman Show, thank you Tory Magoo.
Mat Pesch says
Imagine if everyone, EVERYONE, in scientology decided at once that the whole thing is bullsh** and just walked away. Just do it.
The contempt I feel for this miserable organization has no limits in its depths.
Scientology will be destroyed, its members ridiculed and despised, and LRH will be about as beloved as Herman Goering in human history.
Terra Cognita says
Great tale. Well told.
Ronn S. says
Awesome story Gary, and so so telling!! I’m so glad to have Co$ CSW’s behind me, and the quickly learned fact “ethics” is never ethics, its always quickly justice action. What a mind bend for a teenager it must have been, to say the least. Thanks for sharing your adventure… gawd. lol
I came into Co$ while still in the military, and almost from the beginning it struck me how similar, if not exact in many applications Hubbard’s “Admin” was to established military operations.
I LOVE this story, awesome though sick as it is. I was on the Apollo too. Saw a lot of crazy stuff.
Mick Roberts says
Thanks a ton for sharing this Gary. It’s very interesting hearing about what life was like in the Sea Org aboard the Apollo back then. You’ve reminisced a few times about it in your comments. It’s great to see a post about one of your experiences.
I had never heard about the Financial Planning Committee before (its great to learn new stuff), but it sounds like their main purpose was probably to prevent as much money from being spent as possible. I suppose this was done in order to reserve more resources to….I don’t know……maybe help those in need who were less fortunate and maybe provide better facilities, meals, and essentials for their workers? Or maybe it was so they could send more cash to Switzerland in order to line the pockets of Hubbard for purposes of tax evasion? I’m just a never-in, so I’m not really sure….I suppose it could go either way on that one…..(I hope the sarcasm is obvious enough).
If anyone reading this was on this FP committee, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts as well about how this department operated.
It’s also amazing to me that your friends (and you) got in trouble for doing something “unethical” (or not snitching), yet they got a fella drunk, lied to him, and “concealed the crime” themselves. Oh no, that’s not hypocrisy at all…..
Hope you write more of these types of stories to share with us Gary. Truly fascinating stuff.
Mick, it’s so good to have never-ins notice and point out things. I just now read Gary’s story and did not have the slightest thought about the hypocrisy you mention. To this day I still can’t see half of what a normal folk like you see. But ‘it’s getting better all the time’ Beatles. Thanks for pointing out XXXX stuff like this 🙂
Mick Roberts says
Thanks Cece. Hubbard stole most (or all) of his “research”, but one thing he apparently missed was that whole “leading by example” philosophy. The hypocrisy of this organization, which was birthed and projected onto the world by his imagination alone, is simply astounding.
Bruce Ploetz says
Well, Mick, since you asked … FP committee is the Division heads. FP happens after the Thursday statistics are turned in. It has been different in different places, in the 80s there was no staff meeting on Thursday so it got started soon after all the statistics were reported. Later on the staff meeting interfered, so FP was a late night affair.
In any Scientology organization there is a Sea Org member called the Flag Banking Officer (FBO). All the money that comes in that week is turned over to the FBO, who deposits it in the bank. For the most part all checks on those accounts require the signature of the FBO and the head of the organization (Commanding Officer in the Sea Org, Executive Director in the orgs). The FBO figures out how much money is going to management and other organizations that week and he or she just takes it. Then the information of how much money is left over that week is sent to FP Committee and they can get started.
Every single expenditure, from pens and pencils to gas for vehicles to food to medical costs to rent has to be submitted as a Purchase Order on red paper (hence the term “Red PO”). It all has to fit in the money left over from the weekly income. No money comes from management or reserves or any other source except what the organization has sold or taken in that week. Rare exceptions are made, like an IAS grant to buy an “Ideal” building. Any such exceptions come directly from Dave Miscavige, on his direct order or as part of some program that he has approved. And the money is spent by someone outside the Org, not considered to be part of FP. You can be dying of cancer or the organization can be years behind on rent, but no pleas for mercy will be heard. The money goes out, never back.
So now FP can commence the feeding frenzy. Every Division Head has urgent requirements. Without food money the crew will be on rice and beans. Without pencils the course room will have to shut down. Without a few bucks for an operation Fred will die. Everybody brings in their piles of Red POs and everybody knows most of them will be cut. They try to negotiate a path that will somehow make it possible to go on operating. I have seen some really nasty fights at FP but for the most part everybody knows the score. And the longer you go on fighting the less sleep you get.
In those days it was all figured out on paper or with a printing adding machine. Every so often somebody says “OK, let’s run the numbers” and the totals are checked. They are always short, so it is back to the cutting. Later on at Gold there was exactly one Mac computer, owned by Don Bateman, and he would do a spreadsheet on it. Now it is probably all done on PCs.
After the Division heads are done it has to go through the CO or ED and he may make a few adjustments. But mostly it is done in the committee. Then the approved Red POs go to Purchasing in the Treasury Division. The next day the FP Committee members have to return the cut Red POs to the staff that needed items and try to explain, but usually all you can say is “There wasn’t even enough money for toilet paper, you will have to go another week with your teeth falling out of your head”.
In the FP Committees that I served on in the early 80s it would often go on almost all night. I was always up all night on Wednesdays to get the statistics up for Thursday, then up all night again on FP, then usually a late night on Friday. So Saturday, often a day off in those days, was sleep in day. In later years that was impossible and you just had to “suck it up”. Vitamin C (coffee or the real thing) and surreptitious naps.
Hope that gives you some of the flavor of desperation that inspires the FP Committee. It must be worse these days. Probably why you see such desperate looks on the faces of those who hand out leaflets on the streets. They are the only chance the system has to get some new blood, some new paying customers, other than the kids of the whales. And they are failing miserably.
Bruce, thank you for your accurate description of the FP process. Hubbard’s finance policies & procedures were designed to ensure that he got his cut first, right off the top.
Mick Roberts says
Many thanks for the insight Bruce. Sounds like the entire organizational structure of this “church” ends up pitting one group against the other, making it easier to point the fingers of blame at some other group.
And those body routers certainly do look desperate when handing out leaflets. It’s a sad state of affairs what this organization does to decent, intelligent people who started out in this “religion” with the best of intentions.
Handing out leaflets to raw public is a miserable fail. When we were in New York we saw them in Times Square which is 1/2 a block from the New York Org. Now, we did not go into New York org of course but recently Mike wrote an article mentioning NY Org’s Facebook page which showed the last Clear made in this place was back in May of 2016. Times Square is known as “The Crossroads of the WORLD” (emphasis mine). There are hundreds of thousands of people traversing Time Square every day. NYOrg is half a block away. And the last time this org made a Clear was a year ago. And this is an Ideal Morgue. Funded in full by the IAS! One Clear, in one year! The People rest, your honor.
POSTSCRIPT: At just about that point Apollo crew started showing up in LA who were rumored to be off loaded from Flag for the caper/theft described here, assigned to the SO vessel Excalibur,:
Main Flag Engineers, the kind who got mentioned in Apollo Orders of the Day, like Karl Rosencranz & Wak Alcock who semed like good guys and competent snipes; Dave Murphy, posted as Excal Captain; Don Crom might have come along then, too. Not sure about that, anyway, he was a competent engineer and a good guy,
Also some who seemed like rejects from Flag admin posts, who I won’t name: husband and wfe A.J. and S. J., eventually comm-ev’ed on Excalibur and expelled (!) but were allowed to work their conditions aboard and were soon messing sh*t up again. Thanks, Ship Programs Chief Peeter Alvet. So sad you wound up on the RPF soon after!
R.E., the last Master of Excalibur b4 she was sold; still a SCN afaik.
M.B. the Supercargo (overall head of income, tech and qual divs) who is now a Cantor (Music Master) in a synagogue somewhere. if you can believe it.
Bruce Ploetz says
Wak Allcock (I think his real name is Richard) was at Gold for a while, last time I saw him was on the Freewinds. He is a really good engineer, I learned a lot from him. His brother was called “Wick” and last I saw him was at the Mad Hatter Studios in LA.
Norman Starkey always used to tell us that the “Three week yearly leave” on the Apollo was usually spent studying the Org Executive Course. Every Sea Org member is supposed to get three weeks off every year according to Hubbard official policy. I don’t know anyone who has actually done it. You would have to get someone to “replace” you (do your work) and who could do that? Everybody is busy though nothing is getting done.
When Lois and I were at AOLA a few years ago, I heard from Wak’s ex-wife that he passed away. Wak (Richard Allcock) was a heck of a nice guy (even if he was a Snipe). He almost always had a smile on his face. I don’t recall what caused his death but I seem to think it was cancer.
I’m not sure where his little brother “Wick” (Warwick Allcock) is working but Mike has posted a number of brochures from orgs promoting Wick speaking at events about his “life working with LRH”. He was a Snipe and had about as much interfacing with LRH as I did – near zero so not sure what he spoke about.
Bruce Ploetz says
That is hard to hear, Clearly
At Gold Wak was in charge of the cassette duplication line for a while, and showed me how to use a screwdriver. Most folks already think they know all about driving screws, but the trick he taught me of backing off the screw until you feel it snap into the mating thread, and then driving it forward has gotten me out of a wild variety of possibly disastrous situations. No more cross threaded screws! Lots of other useful information like that.
He had one of the original Osborne suit-case style computers. With the tiny screen. And WordStar.
Wak was one of those who you could always count on to lend a hand, even when he was pressed on his own projects.
Scientology is bad for you, but most who are in it are trying to save the world. I condemn their delusions but love them for trying. If only some of that dedication and sacrifice could have been applied to a more worthy cause.
RIP Richard Allcock.
Mike Rinder says
I agree Bruce. Wonderful guy. So too his brother John. Little brother Warwick (Wick) was also a nice guy til he went a bit wild and got caught shoplifting in Clearwater. Three Kiwis who had that basic down-to-earth genuine friendliness that is prevalent in that part of the world.
The Allcock brothers were a great bunch. They worked hard AND played hard, especially John and Wak. I remember the day we had the Funchal Rock Party (where the locals threw rocks at the Apollo), Lois and I were on libs in town and had to be taken back on a tug boat – well John was passed out drunk laying on a bench on the boat along with another smiling, happy Kiwi, forgot his name now.
I’m not trying to disparage them but just saying all of those Kiwi Snipes did give it their all in work and play. Nice bunch of guys.
RIP Wak. Oh, I think his wife was Sally Allcock and she was the examiner who I visited after each sec-check a couple of years back.
“I condemn their delusions but love them for trying”.
A tale directly related to this topic
Scroll down to comment #7.
correction: comment# 87 (eighty-seven)
What is a “Snipe”?
It was we called an Engineer – the guys that made all the engines and generators work. I don’t know if that is normal sailor speak or just SO speak but it is what we called them. We (deckhands) were called Deckies or Deckapes. The two groups acted like we didn’t get along with one another but in reality the Snipes were the closest friends of the Deckies, if that makes any sense. Sort of a love/hate relationship.
Gary and the deckhands and boiler gang were good sailors. Their ‘raid’ got needed equipment and no one was caught. In the US Navy, they would treat this as a ‘team building’ exercise.
The raid was necessary because Lron wouldn’t take a few bucks out his Swiss bank account. I wonder if all of it got back to Miscavage when Lron bit the big one?
Gary, Do you remember the year that this incident happened? I have some old OOD’s and the Comm eV may be mentioned.
I’ll try to find out for you. It’s a bit of a blur. I arrived in Aug ’71 so I think it was about mid or late ’72. I’d love to read the OOD’s from that comm-ev period. Must have been about 20 people getting nailed for that one.
In 1972 the Apollo was in Lisbon in April, June, July and a long stretch in October (through Xmas into 1973). I’ll take a look.
Janis Rae Gillham-Grady says
Hi nomnom, what years and months do your copies of the OODs cover?
Another ex so says
so your saying Scientology is Filthy Rich because there Cheap or Frugal same thing & the powers that be pretty much care about there well being & Not the workers yeah sounds about right & like Scientology DM steals,lies,abuses ppl & pays Nothing for His Crimes guess we ca see how he feels about the ppl or a better planet,time to take the rubbish out ala DM….. smh glad your in a better place Mike & others Freedom is Good… 🙂
mimsey borogrove says
Why, oh why, do they have to run a can’t have on staff? It is so shortsighted. Or is it misdirection so the staff won’t question where the bulk of the money goes? Or !!!! Ask for better pay. There were plenty of bloodless turnips when I was on staff, that’s for sure. And the funny thing? We NYO staff ( believing the lies) were proud to be supporting the Flagship back in the 70’s, not realizing it was making plenty of dough.
I think that financial deprivation sort of goes hand in hand with sleep deprivation as a control and indoctrination tactic. Besides obviously maximizing the financial take of the leadership, it’s one more piece of an environment that gets people accustomed to submitting to unreasonable rules and making extreme sacrifices.
PeaceMaker, 100% correct. It is baked into the cult tactics. If you keep your cult members SO beaten down and near collapse (financial & bodily) they are less likely to spot the scam and that they are slaves.
Maxim Zbitnoff says
Nice story, Gary. Love your innocent naivete at the time. I guess we all get to grow up.
Thx 4 the retro. 🙂
Cringeworthy story. It’s amazing how much stupid shit we put up with as staff or not. The church’s stupid systems of ethics…. and we sit there and plead guilty. Oh! and the Snitching Culture is Way Out of Hand!!! Like you said, stupid stuff like not liking the same football team as DM.
There was no report but the head MAA at the Sandcastle went ape shit when I said that I had probably given more in relationship to my income than Tom Cruise. This is where I learned, “Do not say ANYTHING even remotely derogatory about Tom Cruise.”
I’m pretty vocal about hating Tom Cruise. I love to boo him every time a trailer runs for one of his upcoming movies. He’s disgusting and I’m embarrassed for him that he thinks he’s an actual Scientologist and knows anything about the subject – I guess he IS an exemplary “Scientologist” of today.
…the third biggest being on the planet, unless you don’t count dead people (LRH). Then he’s the second biggest being on the planet. “There’s LRH, there’s David Miscavige, and then there’s me.”
Mick Roberts says
I remember Leah saying that Tom put him and Miscavige on the same level…..something like him saying “LRH is here” (hand above head), “David and I are here” (hand at chin level), and “You are here” (hand at waist level).
I wonder if Miscavige feels that his BFF Tom is his “equal”? Does narcissism leave room for equality Dave?
I was never in, but hearing all these stories & watching Leah & Mike’s show (along w/ Going Clear, THAT’S what really got me looking into all this) my brother & I are so disgusted that we’ve started boycotting anything w/ Cruise or Travolta. And pretty much any Scientologist in Hollywood.
I Yawnalot says
All that and more from the most ethical group on the planet. Not even mentioning they have ALL the solutions to any and all of mankind’s problems, plus posses the only road out for the salvation of spiritual beings. Oh the warm and fuzzies of being staff and the grateful willingness to contribute to the only hope mankind has (wiping tears from my eyes). The way the public are serviced is just… well… too much to mention without needing the use of a straight jacket.
I Yawnalot says
What a great story! Where was Hubbard during all this & did he comment on it at all?
“Financial Planning made it seem like the ship did not have enough money to barely even operate. I would find out in later years though that people would be sent on missions from the ship with briefcases full of money (millions) on their way to be deposited into Swiss banks.” (Hubbard’s own private version of the affluence attainment formula!)
If this doesn’t reek of criminal intent I don’t know what does. Your story Gary paints a couple of scenarios of just what Hubbard was truly like and the contempt with which he created for his “shipmates.” The true unworkability of Scientology unfolds with historical accounts such as these. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Yawn. You know, I actually don’t remember what LRH thought of this. I would love to hear from Janis or Terri or possibly my sis – DeDe, if they remember his comments or thoughts. Deep down inside he probably thought we were doing the “greatest good” and was proud of us but would never say so publicly. Or maybe it was during the time he was off the ship. I’ll ask Janis and DeDe this weekend coming.
I Yawnalot says
If one even uses the tech Hubbard himself developed and pieces together reports such as this, that wonderful series by Lois, plus Mike’s thoughts, the numerous books about Hubbard etc, it is pretty easy to spot that Hubbard was a walking,talking, breathing MWH! Plus he was extremely PTS to any form of authority. His shore stories and many other lies generated are not a sane long term operating basis.The secretive money systems needs no further explanation. He obviously thought he was above any tech, even his own, plus any judicial judgement but he ended up in hiding (such hypocritical arrogance!). He truly was a piece of work. From a military viewpoint he was a wicked officer to treat the people under his command the way he did.
Gary Reisdorf, that was a really interesting story, thanks for sharing. A rare insight into earlier days, and good recall of those events. I’d love to hear more of your stories. This situation is typical of how Scientology has always been, they scrimp on necessities and items for staff, while amassing huge amounts of money for church use, it has always been this way and is still happening today. Instead of disciplining you all, they should have looked at the cause of this behavior and realized it was due to their own actions of denying necessities – you guys were just trying to “make it go right” and get things done. If your actions were unethical it was made that way by them. I hope your son is able to remove himself from this group and that your family is reunited very soon. <3 – T.J.
Gary, I second T.J.’s request.
I plan on posting a few old ship stories. It isn’t very heavy or controversial but does give a picture of what life was like back then. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the criminal Ron’s world of projection.
Old Surfer Dude says
The Church of Total Insanity. Sign up and lose your mind! And don’t worry…they’ll give you a brand new one!
I Yawnalot says
The Cof$, the business that never gives a warranty or guarantee with any of their products, services, employment or offered spiritual levels of attainment. They do however offer a rather unique “take it or leave it” situation, where they take and they take and they take until you leave.
Judge Whittenmore is trying to set up a phone them up hotline though, to see how just how far the rabbit hole goes.
Both you LOL 🙂
Awesome tales Gary! I love going back to those early days and the stories of injustice just like today.
So Gary, what did it make you think and feel about Ron, that you lived in squaller and could not get things to you needed while Ron was funelling millions to personal offshore accounts?
I would love to know your take.
When I moved from the deck force to the Action Bureau, that fired “missions” to do various tasks, anything from booming an org that was in trouble, to finding a new port for the ship, I ended up firing a mission with Fred Hare and I think Bob Young. They had to deposit what I remember as $2 million dollars into a Luxembourg bank account of LRH’s. It was cash and 5 of us spent an entire night, into the morning, counting the money. They were driven to the airport in cabs followed by a number of motorcycles. My thought at the time? I was probably thinking this was from 30 years of his hard labor, devising this brilliant tech and writing all of those brilliant books and saving the planet for us all and so was much deserving.
Wow, you have some good stories Gary. Thank you for sharing them with us. I hope you continue.
Writing my thoughts on these blogs have helped me process what I let happen to me. I think that is true for all of us.
It’s been cathartic and unburdening.
Wow! At the tax rates of the day El Con probably owned millions to the IRS when he left Earth to go “run around a star”.
Crime DOES pay. And LRH showed us how.
Chee Chalker says
The most ethical people on the planet in action!
LRH was probably upset that Valerie blabbed and some of the stuff had to be returned.
Alex De Valera says
Excellent! What á marvel. There were a lot of great, daring people in those days. In kept deteriorating and going downhill since then. When I think of all the abuse Gerry had to cope with and Mary Sue, Quentin, Hanna, John McMaster. ….
Sara, Poly, Mayo, the children in chain lockers, Nibs, Parsons, Warner Erhard, Paulette Cooper, BT’s getting electro shock.
I’m sure the list is bigger.
Only a morally depraved human could leave such a trail of betrayal. Consistently.
Brian, how was Werner Erhard “betrayed”? Wasn’t his real name Jack Rosebaum? Not challenging or disagreeing you on this, btw, just very curious. Before I got into Scientology I did the EST Training before they started calling it something else. Didn’t get anything out of it but it didn’t hurt me either. LOL’ed at the movie satirizing it with Burt Reynolds and Jill Clayburg.
Betrayed and abused probably is more accurate.
Maybe I am wrong about Erhart, but I remember we all hated him and thought he was an evil tech destroying demon.
Didn’t Ron do black ops on Erhart?
Maybe someone can talk with more authority than me on him.
But hey, these other names sure fit the bill for abuse and betrayal by man’s best friend. Don’t you think Aqua?
Scientology definitely went after Erhard, as covered here:
Founder of est Targeted in Campaign by Scientologists : Religion: Competition for customers is said to be the motive behind effort to discredit Werner Erhard.
‘Vicki Aznaran, the top ecclesiastical official in Scientology from 1984 until she left in 1987, said she saw secret files that showed Scientologists were instructed to enroll in est seminars and “act crazy” and “heckle” the program leaders to cause disruption of the seminars.
The plan was run by one of Hubbard’s daughters, Aznaran recalled, and involved sending “lots of people into est and copying it.” But, she said, for one reason or another, the Scientologists could never make it work as well as Erhard had.’
What I also recall, that this article doesn’t cover, is that one or two of his daughters were reported to have accused Erhard of abuse – which they later recanted, or said had been misrepresented. They apparently did so as part of some interactions with someone representing themselves as an author, and the implication was that it was orchestrated by Scientology – and it sounds like a typical GO/OSA op.
I get the impression that Erhard probably fell somewhat into the guru trap of succumbing to the temptations of power, but he doesn’t seem to have taken it to far, and ultimately removed himself from the situation. He seemed to have learned from the failings and pitfalls of groups like Scientology, and to be trying to figure out how to improve on them. And if I recall, he was always pretty forthright about the less seemly parts of his background, and his personal shortcomings.
Peacemaker, I disagree on this assessment of Erhart’s character, and not because I’m defending the GO’s tactics. I did EST and it was a total con and a waste of $300 which back then was a lot more money than it is now.
And after “the Training” there were seminars that we were all HIGHLY pressured to attend, and I do mean “HIGHLY”. In fact, if you refused, they’d insult you, outright. They’d SCREAM at you, all kinds of insults and put downs. This was verbal abuse. I’m not making this up. “Be Here Now” was one of the seminars offered to EST Graduates. And the pressure to tell others about the EST Training and bring new people to the seminars (to get signed up for the Training) was YUUGE. I’m not exaggerating. Ask anyone who did EST.
The EST training I believe got sued a lot so they changed the name to, I think, “The Forum”. Same BS and the price went up. Erhart was a flim flam man who bragged about having ditched his wife and kids. The EST training is a hash of Scientology, Buddhism, some other stuff. What can I tell you, it did nothing for me. I had had high hopes. As for Erhart, I believe he truly was an SP, or, if you prefer, a sociopath, and not because he pissed of L. Ron Hubbard.
Sounds like Scientology lite.
Aqua, sounds like a Ron mini-me
Brian, thanks for answering. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hubbard and the GO did Black Ops on Werner Erhard because the Est Training definitely lifted from Scientology. There are parts of it that I recall, just off the top of my head: “Recall a time that was really real for you”…straight out of ARC SW…other things which are too long to explain here which in Scientology are auditing processes but in the EST training are Group Processes. So, yeah, that must have made LRH nuts. And I know that Erhard is considered a MAJOR SP by Scientology. That said, the man is / was no angel himself. He was a phony and a con man in his own right. Changed his name to avoid legal stuff as re his first marriage, left his wife and kids, just like that…not a nice guy, IMO. But then, certainly the rest of the names are of those who were truly betrayed and abused. Couldn’t agree with you more about them, Brian.
The moral nature of these folks attacked by Ron was not the intention of me bringing them up.
It was simply making a list of all of the human beings Ron abused and betrayed.
The name Warner Erhart, back in the day, was the same as Satan. So to Otto Roos.
Ron create a religion, that justified hate as a moral duty.
Hubbard Stole the CSW Idea Too says
For folks that may not know, the “CSW” is another Hubbard “invention” that was taken, nearly verbatim from another source.
The HCOPL that describes the format and working of the CSW is a near direct lift from a much earlier document that was used in both the US and Canadian militaries.
Almost every single word is the same in Hubbard’s version, except he deleted the lines from the original that suggests that the user rewrite / reformat the document to suit their intended purpose.
A few minutes on Google searching under the acronym CSW will affirm the above is true. Steer toward online links that go to US or Canadian Navy docs and the originals can be found.
Hubbard Stole the CSW Idea Too says
Here is but one link to a much earlier source than Hubbard’s HCOPL on CSW.
Note the extreme similarities between this document (circa WWII) and Hubbard’ much later issues.
Hubbard Stole the CSW Idea Too says, all that proves is that the US & Canadian gov’t stole it from the Galactic confederacy too. 😉
Or, what El Tard said it was called.