Michael Silverman was a much beloved figure at AOLA for many years spanning the 70’s, 80’s and into the 90’s.
This is the only photo I could coax out of him, but for those who knew him back then, apart from being follicle challenged, this smiling face looks just the same as I remember it at AO.
Michael reached out to me and asked that I publish his thoughts about his life in the Sea Org and scientology. I am more than happy to do so.
Hello Mike. I have occasionally read bits of postings over the years and feel compelled to post something significant that may help others both ex-scientologists and those still currently
involved. So here goes – a very lengthy story regarding myself and adventures in the cult.
In 1969, while tutoring math in my spare time (while not title searching – an activity involved in the legal aspects of buying and selling property (real estate)), one of my students told me about Scientology. His mother asked me to go and see what it was (she was concerned about his well-being), and so I marched down to Avenue Rd. in Toronto Canada to find out. I then started on the comm course. I met a number of staff and was amazed at the number of intelligent people in one place. 5 or 6 were already Class 8 auditors!
I was also very curious about a possible spiritual side to man. I had already discarded religion as a sham, under any guise, but something intrigued me. I was an accomplished magician already and entertained the staff with tricks which they regarded as OT phenomenon being displayed. I never corrected their viewpoint and deliberately declined to answer any questions. (I do not lie and so by not answering any questions about my magic, I was retaining my honesty). One day, one of the OTs in the org told me that he/she could also do a trick that I had just done. (I had given them the deck to shuffle and then took the deck and found all 4 aces). I begged him/her to show me and after much persuasion, they agreed and right in front of my face that person found all 4 aces – without trickery!! I was amazed and that desire to be able to do things for real projected me down the pathway in the Toronto Org and then to AOLA.
As an aside, and for those of you disillusioned about OT and it’s ramifications as being promised and not delivered by Scn. , spirituality is real, you are real and the only mistake we all made was expecting that Scn would take us to some elevated awareness where we would attain the promised states. The tech of Scn is feeble at best but well codified. Roman Catholicism delivers similar relief through its confession – but no OT. Buddhism has a route but it requires lifetimes and there is no guarantee, but definite rehabilitation of ones basic essence.
An interesting exercise to rehabilitate oneself is to sit alone, quietly, relax for a few minutes, eyes closed, and then recall any negative event in your life and just view it without comment or justification or complaint. Just see what happened. Nothing defensive on your part — just look like an observer and see what actually occurred. Then forgive those who committed that act against you. ‘For real’ forgiveness. Then look at what you did to them and forgive yourself. No justifications or explanations, just see what you did and forgive yourself. That activity, repeated as necessary until you are blown away, will clean you up as good or better than what you have tried or experienced before, and help relieve you enough to let you “pop” out (more of this would be for another time or discussion – but not here).
I noticed things while in Scn right from the start. We all made the mistake of seeing outnesses, I mean really obvious wrong things and overlooking them. We had goals and a little error or misunderstood should not block our route to total freedom. My first (of many dozens) were the 2 HCOBs describing the number of SPs. One said 2 1/2 percent were SPs and the other said 25% of people were PTS and 2 1/2% of them were SPs. These mathematical results are totally different and not a typo (as the HCOB volumes were corrected and recorrected comparing the volumes themselves to the original writings) One or both of those statements cannot be true. And there they sit unchallenged.
In retrospect, original OT8 (a misnomer if ever there was one) promised ‘the ability to be at cause, knowingly and at will, over matter, energy, space, time, life thought and form subjectively and objectively.’
I have not done new OT8 but it would have to be better than the first. I’d love to meet one who has the above ability, and who is fully exterior, perceptions intact (old OT6). Of course they don’t exist. At least not as a result of Scn’s efforts.
I helped boom Toronto org (I was full time staff) and we were on a roll. Renting new spaces to accomodate the influx (a few dozen personality tests daily with the new public and then MANY signups for the comm course and away we went. ) Several months later I was on a plane to the Flagship Apollo (at that time in Casablanca) to do the New OEC/FEBC courses. (I was graduate #111) I did the pilot for hard TRs, did LTMX (experimental) got some auditing and was sent home early as my dad was ‘flapping’ about where I was and that he had not heard from me and was concerned. All got sorted out and shortly thereafter the rest returned from flag and we started an org boom.I handled Tech services and we delivered over 500 WDAH weekly for many months, and everything else was also booming at the time.
Sadly, my enthusiasm made me overlook obviously wrong things. A former public got upset and was declared and then constantly harassed. I knew her and liked her. But I took the Church’s stance and mentally vilified her. This occurred a number of times with various people. I ignored the obvious. “they must have pulled it in.” I witnessed unethical registration and was around for the original postulate check era. Not a participant, but knew it was wrong. Fast forward a bit (end of 1973) and I’m on my way to AOLA to become a tours reg. I knew nothing about regging and generated almost $1.00 first week – I was on tour in New York, and you know how tight they can be with their money!! I actually regged less then 100 cents on my first week. It doubled the second week and again on the third. I was on a roll. After 3 weeks. I had generated almost $5 for Scientology’s coffers. Once I got the hang of it, why the rest is history. I toured North America and even got into the missions which were practically impenetrable. With a lot of help from Carol Craig (Woodruff) this was possible and we started getting mission public. I went to them all, a goodwill messenger and often regged for them not for AOLA. The game changed again and I was made the Chief Reg AOLA . I regged so much money that I was given the status of Kha Khan – an LRH P/L that forgave me anything 10 times. Soon after, a few other regges around the world were given the same certificate and and a new PL came out saying only LRH or ED Int could award such an honor. This was not retroactive as my cert remained intact. Some time later, while at a mission in Northern Calif. I was asked a question about the SO1 line (Letters directly written to Ron Hubbard) I had found out much while on the ship and it didn’t take a genius to recognize a hand stamped signature and little initials added to some signatures. So, I gave a reasonable explanation of the line and left out the magic ability to read, dictate and sign 30,000 SO1 letters in a week, but acknowledged that LRH saw all the letters, read those that were not simple ‘thank yous’, sometimes even added a handwritten addition and off the letters went. I was recalled from tour, put into treason etc and was then forgiven because of my Kha Khan status and got on with my life. (Years later I was comm-eved for god knows what and the comm-ev cancelled my Kha Khan status! A remarkable event considering I would have had to committed quite a few real bad deeds to lose all my lives. That was never an issue but the status was cancelled.
Sometime around this time, I, along with a small army of others was RPFd. A few weeks later I was reprieved to help on a book release.
By the way, there are many rumors and stories about me. Let’s say some are true and some are not. I did reg many 10s of millions of dollars. I never took a dime (stealing). I was not the initiator of credit card scam and misuse. I was on the RPF when that started and had never even seen a credit card up to that time. It soon became an urban legend that Joe Bueno and I were the ringleaders. They even had an amnesty for all the PAC regges if they wrote down all their O/Ws regarding credit card misuse. I asked and received permission to leave that event AS I HAD NEVER USED A CARD AND THEY KNEW IT.
As another aside, we all witnessed actual wrongdoings that should NEVER have happened and looked the other way. Such was the environment loaded with pressure, threats and whatever. Ironically, it wouldn’t have helped. No one actually cared. The ONLY thing that really mattered was $$$$$$. Everything else was local, internal, and often handled with conditions and back to work (head down—shame shame). If I had a wart–there was whatever I needed to facilitate my health. Absolutely anything. I was the money machine. My best week was $437,000 for AOLA (not including monies for ASHO and FLAG).
Once there was a girl (new AOLA staff ) working in the bookstore. I used to go through the un-filed invoices to see who sent in money as a potential reg cycle. To my amazement, I found invoices written for library donations from some of my prospects who had finished at AOLA except for the OT8 that they had paid for and not yet used, or they had money from years earlier and not used. I called a few concerned that they were unmocking their services. Some were address and phone unknown, while others knew nothing about it and still others were told that they could not get their OT8 as sold so they spent the money on book donations. The new bookstore girl was just writing invoices without asking anybody or even speaking to the public and then collecting HUGE commissions on the thousands of dollars of book sale weekly. I reported her, she blew and absolutely nothing was done about it. The public who had lost services from false info I contacted and gave them the opportunity to replace their old $ with new money and retain their old services.
Somewhere, along the way, I was regularly attacked for supposed financial irregularities (like if the income was not always going up). I won’t tell about them all but needless to say they were sheer madness. At least 5 times, I had to throw a commodore’s messenger out of my space (often me cursing) to get rid of the crap being thrown at me. ALWAYS just nonsense. The “financial irreg” I was accused of –the biggy– was giving away services! Hah!. I was the one who fought with FLAG and Management to deliver what was promised regarding original OT8 . Many times the prices of services delivered at AOLA were a fraction of the then current rates. That of course is simply because the person paid for them many years earlier when they cost very little (like OT1 was $75 and later was $1000) Prior to price increases, if you came for service and needed a 12 1/2 hour intensive but didn’t have the money available, you would just use money off your account and replace it later and continue. When the increases had been going a while, suddenly “if your account is not designated what every cent is for , it is just money and buys nothing except at current rates”. This is screamingly unethical and I refused to do it. I wrote it all up to everyone who needed to know, got back that old OT8 would be honored at FLAG at the original paid rate and got no further comments about my using the public’s old money to secure whatever it could have at the time of payment. Then when I was declared and thrown out, this money matter was resurrected as proof of my financial irregularities for 14 years!!! I would do it again without blinking an eyelash. I gained nothing from it. The public now had value for the money that they had paid in advance. I was attacked and accused of owning a car dealership, as well as New york George’s restaurant and many others. Enough said.
Since being out of the SO, an old timer, who was directly involved in getting me declared, let me know that they wanted a head on a pike and if “Silverman was not safe then anyone not toeing the line was next and could be — no one was irreplaceable or safe”. This could only have been a Miscavage idea since I was the money maker for the org — so much so that after I completed the RPF’s RPF and then the RPF, and was returned to the org as Advance Course Admin (the OT materials were in the worse shape imaginable and without ANY SECURITY — easily denied but totally true nevertheless), ED Int walked in the door, asked where I was and 10 minutes later I was back regging. “He was a good guy!” Money $$$$$$$$$$. That is the name of the game.
While on the FLAGSHIP, a paper I was given for clay table labels, was the backside of the prior (just completed) week’s FP. There were mathematical errors and even though the FP sheets ‘balanced’, they were fudged. I brought this to the purser’s attention. ‘NOT TOO WORRY–END OF DISCUSSION’.
At AOLA in the late 80s, I found a staff member resubmitting for service completion awards, invoices for 2nd and third payments for the same service. The money going back (with the public’s permission) onto account and raising the regges stats. I reported this. Nothing done!!! I wonder what a financial irregularity really is!!??
THE PERSONAL ATTACKS WERE FATIGUING. My trip to the RPF’s RPF was written on a provisional SP declare (whatever that is) and I went and did the RPF etc and graduated, getting my twin up the whole grade chart through enough OT5 to graduate. When I was subsequently Comm Eved late 1991, early 1992(?), I had a real Kangaroo Court. I was there for 1 meeting and 5 months later they found me guilty without me seeing any witnesses, being able to challenge or prove any KRs as false etc. I brought this up the the IJC who issued a goldenrod on the fact that one meeting of my comm-ev had only 3 members but the 4th was present for all subsequent meetings and she also listened to the recording of the 1st session to be brought up to speed. Sounds credible?? NO!!??
The only problem is that there had been an amnesty the prior fall and as I was off post recuperating from a severe back problem (I was never once questioned about this even though I was off post for months before being thrown out). Gary Jacobs, then MAA AOLA had come to me with the amnesty and convinced me to take it — “it can only help.” Good as gold I thought . For those of you who are uninformed about amnesty policy, if you “take the amnesty” (accept it) you are forgiven for all bad deeds known or unknown. That translated means forgiven for anything prior to the date the amnesty was accepted by yourself. There are no further provisos or comments that need to be made. Accepted and forgiven–forever. DONE! As I had not been on post or connected to the org for a month or so prior to the amnesty and not again connected in any way from then until my being thrown out, there could have been no KR’s to support my declare as all evidence written about me would have been about things prior to the amnesty which I had taken, and was already forgiven for. Get it? Temporary Freedom from persecution due to absolute forgiveness.
From the Comm Ev and higher ups, the intention to scapegoat me requires absolute guilt to allay any fears of injustice, and so to accomplish this already planned event (me being expelled) it was necessary to omit, ignore or change anything that would have had me escape the hangman’s noose. The above is true, and for any who doubt it, check out the fall 1991 amnesty, it exists. Every SO member always took these amnesties to shake off the accumulated shit and to get back to work. And so I took it and even if I was really guilty of everything I was accused of and even more, I was forgiven by LRH policy. And yet, here I sit, expelled. Perversion of justice at its best, impossible to deny. That gives you the mindset of those running the show. It’s not about freedom and a return to OT,, it’s about control, money, power and every other dastardly motivation. It takes some confront to absorb this and make sense out of it. One can always justify anything. But, your justification is based on an unmovable belief in something, regardless of fact. If you believe in LRH tech, then the above amnesty violation, which can be proven to be true, breaks the mold and shatters the illusion. I’m not telling this to be right. My tenure and subsequent leaving took its toll on me. It took years to shake off the guilt, fear and much more, until I came to my senses. Those claims you “know” are exaggerations or just outright lies…..you were right. Those stats ARE false. The numbers ridiculous!
Expansion is non existent, the orgs empty for the most part. Hubbard personal claims are false. You can never find out while in the church cause you will be “connected to an SP” and “buying into enemy lines” and away you go. But there is truth. As painful as it is to realize one has been duped, sucked in, or whatever is the right wording — it takes an almost superhuman effort to come to grips with this. It’s really almost unconfrontable and yet “the truth shall set you free.”
Look what’s going on and step back and observe the obvious. Something is really amiss and you either put your head back in the sand, or you hold your breath, take a peek, and hope you don’t have to go and find Silverman and wring his neck.
For years, ASHO D & F had literally millions of bad address letters stacked floor to ceiling untouched, unopened and unhandled (some with cash in them ), with each weeks mailings going out to the same bad addresses at an enormous cost. All for higher stats???!!!
Believe me, this was known everywhere. I wonder if 40 years later it has even been honestly taken care of. You should doubt it – although 27 years ago ASHO was looking at the pile. I could be wrong. But the wrongness of that and it being ignored is startling. The addresso with multiple repeats for thousands of people and the financial waste for years, it’s just criminal. I could list the serious outnesses for pages. You got the point. None of it should exist. Each post being taken care of properly, would result in highly efficient and successful organizations. But the reverse is true. Does one overlook the obvious… this has been ongoing for 40 or so years and is still wrong. I know a few OT8s who are in a horrible state. They aren’t all SP’s. Sorry. Management has changed hands over and over and the old are declared SP’s. Seems like all the SP’s of the world found scientology. Remarkable. The illogic is palpable!
It’s scary contemplating returning to the world you left and scorned with nothing but an older body, a few personal possessions, and probably no money. I know!! But you don’t realize that your old friends and fellow staff who are alive will give you more support than you ever imagined.
YOU DESERVE SOME FUN AND HAPPINESS. Escape!!!!
One last note: many years ago I was submitted to an interrogation that the NAZIs would be jealous of. I somehow survived. My friend, also so tortured, basically succumbed. One of the perpetrators of this heinous act apologized to me, and meant it. And I forgave him, and love him for his bravery. We all jumped into the shark-infested pool. Usually eyes wide open.
OK. Time to realize the truth –oops — you made a mistake.