This is the second in a series of “I Am Out – Life Is Good” postings. Mark was profiled on Marty’s blog in 2010. He is a very smart guy who was a driving force behind Dianetics returning to the New York Times bestseller list. His story is worth reading – and his perspective of life after the Sea Org is invaluable. Mike Rinder
Hi… My name is Mark McKinstry. I was introduced to Scientology in 1975 at the Davis Mission while attending UC Davis. I joined staff shortly thereafter and later transferred to St. Hill where I worked in the Guardians Office and Mission Office Worldwide.
I joined the Sea Org in 1988 at Bridge Publications and was the National Sales manager from 1988 until 2004. I routed out of the Sea Org shortly after I completed the RPF program in Pac. I was assigned for being a “stat crasher” based on the international sales of Dianetics. Needless to say these sales continued to fall long after my removal to the point that there is virtually no LRH book presence or marketing being done to raw public. So maybe I wasnt the “why” for this.
I thought completing the RPF program would give me a new lease on life and handle any evil purposes I had as well as get me moving on the Bridge as I had been stuck on OT IV since 1979 with no prospect of getting NOTs while on staff.
What I saw and communicated about before being sent to the RPF and verified afterwards was the dismantling of the raw public dissemination lines. The pattern that I saw develop was that some “reform” was being done of an existing action that stops that activity and then the “reform” never comes to pass.
Example: It was determined that Central Marketing at Int was not effective, full of dead wood (despite the fact that people like Jeff Hawkins, Steve Hall, Bill Dendiu and others created NY Times bestellers and kept Dianetics on bestseller lists years). A new “Marketing Unit” was being formed with 50 or 100 members, being trained at Flag. That was in 2005.. No word from them since.
One of my SO recruits, Viviana Churin, who was helping me get LRH books into South America at a good rate was called off of this to join this unit. She called me some years ago from Flag. She was on a call in project to recover OT VII’s (another situation in itself).
It was a hard decision to leave the SO after 18 years in the same Org and post. My wife, my friends, my crusade. But, I was not happy and could see the writing on the wall as to decimation of raw public marketing and Div VI in general.
I had some influence as was known to many people. My ex-wife, Renee McKinstry, had been a public reg at AOLA for years and was also known by many Scientologists.
While routing out, I was informed that in essence I was a degraded being for doing so, I would not make it, etc. I was 51 years old at the time with no assets. It was a hard decision to make, but I have never looked back since or had any regrets.
In short, the 6 years since routing out have been the best of my life. It took a couple of years to decompress. I would have dreams at night about Miscavige and it took some time to destimulate.
The first thing that I noticed was that the “WOG” world was not so wog. I found good, honest, caring people who went out of their way to help me. In fact, they were much more tolerant and understanding than many of the people that I had been dealing with.
My main loss was the friends that I had in the S.O. But, I soon realized that it was they who were in the trap, constantly being fed PR with no real contact with the world.
If Scientology is built on truth, then it’s members should not shy away from encountering data, whether it is on the internet, in contact with people outside Scientology, family, whatever.
A blanket term of “entheta” is given to any information or individual who holds contrary views of facts to what Miscavige says is true, even if it aligns with LRH policy. Witness Debbie Cook’s email.
I believe many SO members know this in their heart of hearts, but the S.O. environment punishes any contrary view with penalties that are greater than what the average person deals with. Because all of your fellow staff endure the same hardship and discipline, it becomes an accepted fact. But when you step out of that world it becomes more and more clear what a control operation exists.
I was on a tour with John Travolta promoting the Battlefield Earth movie. We did advance screenings in cities across the US for the media. What I thought was going to be a highlight of my SO career was in fact one of the worst experiences of my life. The movie was mocked in theaters.. the critics killed it. Friends in publishing that I had invited were at best disappointed, many of whom had ordered large quantities of Battlefield Earth for their stores.
I could not really tell anyone about this, as the staff at Bridge were so excited about the movie’s release. It was like telling a kid that Santa Claus didn’t exist.
My wife, when I returned from the tour saw that I was upset and was trying to get at what it was. I told her..”Didn’t anyone watch the movie before releasing it?”.
She reported my comments and a day later I was under investigation and later removed from post and sent to the RPF. This was despite the fact that some time earlier I had been highly commended by COB which by policy cancelled my ethics file.
But that is all past history.. and a glimpse of the insanity that everyone involved has their own slice of.
My life now?
I live on the ocean in Hawaii. I run my own business, set my own schedule. I travel from Hawaii to the mainland 4-5 times a year to visit family. My passport is full. I went skiing in Austria two weeks ago for vacation and take 2-3 vacations a year in Asia and Europe. I tell people that I feel like I am on summer vacation.. I keep waiting for someone to tell me that vacation is over.. time to get back to school.
Our training and propaganda would prompt.. well, he is living for the first dynamic only.
It is true that coming out of the S.O. with only the clothes on my back, no phone, computer, bank account, car was a bit daunting. But in fact, it was a total adventure as I could do what I wanted to do. In short order I got myself established and used my skills to create a nice life.
Now that I have that safepoint established, I am again working on the 3rd and 4th dynamic projects. Not just selling people leatherbound books for some PR cause that rarely gets implemented beyond event videos.
Last week I joined the local Rotary club. I volunteer to help clean up beaches in Hawaii. My brother and I are starting a school in Cambodia for kids there. We also donate time and materials for Habitat for Humanity to help build shelters for those in need.
Know what I found? That the “wogs” I am involved with are as caring as any Scientologist. They might not have all the tech that we do, but it doesn’t stop them from contributing. There is life beyond attending an Int Event, watching a video and then donating. Even if all of the projects presented were real, there is no substitute for getting out and helping one on one. A privilege that very few Sea Org members have.
The catalyst for me was meeting with my two brothers after I completed the RPF (and could not speak with them for 2 years). I observed that they were both doing better in life than I was. That was hard to confront, as I was the one with the tech.
So..I guess my message to anyone who is contemplating a change of path and venturing out into the world.. go for it.
Your worst days are behind you, believe me.
Remember the story LRH tells about the prisoners? One finds an escape and comes back into the prison to inform his friends that there is a way out. They don’t believe that it is possible. They have given up hope. He knocks one unconscious and drags him out the escape.
The Data Series, a lost technology, states that in order to evaluate something you have to have something to compare it to. I am not asking you to believe me or that your experience will mirror mine, but you should at least see for yourself. Isn’t that a basic truth of Scientology?
Anyone who tells you it is not safe to look or experience something different is not your friend.
Trust your own eyes and experience. Don’t let others tell you what you see.
In any case, life is out there ahead of you. Reach out for it.