This is the twenty-fifth installment of the account of a journey into and out of scientology — written by one of our long-term readers. I hope you enjoy her insights, humor and style.
Lili also provided a glossary of terms.
Through the Bubble – Lili’s Adventures in Scientologyland
This is my quirky recollection of events. Others may remember things differently. Lingo is italicized on the first mention, capitalized after that. I’ve compressed complexities in the cult to simplify your reading pleasure.
Miss Picky and Failing at the Phases
L Ron Hubbard said, “Self-confidence alone is security. Your ability is your security. There is no security but you.” For me, this advice reinforced an, I have to go it alone, idiocy. I used this Stable Datum to insist on doing the homework-to-do list for promoting my new website all by myself. The reality that I didn’t know how to do most of the actions on the list didn’t impact my decision.
Optimistic me didn’t believe the web designer’s prediction that many people would call for jewelry work once my new website became more visible. This website cost more time and money than I’d budgeted for. Per my policies with myself, I needed to follow her advice since she was an expert in her field. I did want to get this website thing right. Finally. My stubborn decision to do it alone meant it didn’t get done if I couldn’t figure it out.
I learned an idea I’d loved years earlier while taking my Scientology MBA Course. That’s what the Registrar called it, and I’ve forgotten its real name. It was the idea of Phase One and Phase Two. In Phase One, you did a job yourself; in Phase Two, you wrote up the duties and delegated them to someone else. This fits perfectly with L Ron Hubbard’s advice on making money, “MAKE MONEY, MAKE MORE MONEY, MAKE OTHERS PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY.”
Slight problem, I was good at Phase One, but I had hit a wall trying to Phase Two selling jewelry. I did become the delegation queen in other areas of my life. Josh would say that wasn’t necessarily a good thing, but we won’t go there.
Based on my recent Strengths-Based coaching session, I addressed the list of tasks that didn’t lean on my talents. I trained my excellent assistant to do each one. I freed up six hours weekly by going to Phase Two. Yay!
Not so yay, my new website to-do list towered like a log pile across the 101 freeway. I paid Van to tutor me on executing some of the Bright Ideas I read about for doing social media the right way. I started blogging. The log pile of to-dos still stopped traffic. I fer damn sure couldn’t Phase Two something I didn’t know how to Phase One.
A jewelry client bragged to me about her awesome intern from UCSB, her whizzy modern grasp of best practices, and their great mutual relationship. This intern deal sounded like a Successful Action to me. And copying someone else’s Successful Action fit into my narrow Scientological worldview.
Lucky for me, Van’s best friend Mateo became my intern. In the past few years, he’d rarely spoken to me. Possibly because I’d slammed him for that time that his date got drunk, he’d brought her over to our house at 2am, and he and Van snuck her up to Van’s room to sleep it off. I had moved on. Mateo hadn’t done anything worse than climb in Van’s second-story window to avoid us parentals since then, so I looked at him with new interest.
Mateo and I discussed the duties I wanted help with and what I could offer him, my perspective on running a small business. I was happy to pay him for his time. I still stumbled with the steps for putting up blog posts and kept them pretty basic. Being Miss Picky, I wanted to do a better job of blogging. Mateo and I worked out a wish list of things I’d like him to do for me. Like helping me with social media posting, getting my jewelry business hooked up to online review sites, and tutoring me on steps to improve my blog posts.
Mateo had looked at the big to-do list from the web designer and suggested he get cracking on the backlinks. I had no clue. I said sure. He knew as much as Van about social media strategy or learned it by watching YouTube videos when I wasn’t looking. I threw Phase One and Phase Two out the window and just pointed at items on the to-do list and said, “Can you do that?” He’d say, “Sure,” and it’d get done. Perfectly.
I saw within days that whatever I had to teach Mateo was minor compared to what he brought to the business. So, I ditched the whole intern deal, hired him officially, and gave up on my rule — I must control everything. This sixteen-or-seventeen-year-old was fast, efficient, intelligent, and fun. Because he wasn’t my son, I got all the smarts of a young internet-savvy person without the judgment.
The website-visitor Stat took off after a couple of months of Mateo jazzing up the direction of my blog, checking boxes on the to-do list, and goosing up the backlinks. I’m sure my SMART group activities helped as well. I started getting more calls from people who found me online. Before SMART group and Mateo’s mad skills infusion, I’d spend five to ten hours per week Promoting my business. Whether Out-Flow phone calls or handing out free gifts and business cards at networking groups, I put in the time.
I took a fresh look at how much time I devoted just to getting a single new client. A lot. That first two-thousand-dollar custom job that dropped into my lap from online was like having someone walk up to me and through cash at my feet. Mateo said he’d like to see me get up to twenty-five percent of my business from the web. I thought he was delusional. Turned out he was not delusional.
I loved that the online inquiries came from educated, busy, and decisive people. Young people called too. And shocker, no perverts called. Except for that one guy who asked if I carried a selection of penis jewelry. Is that even a thing?
The Absurdity of Trying to Torpedo My Teenager’s Technology
Josh and I kept Sundays for family activities. We said no to being in the Scientology Course Room, attending any Scientology Events, or doing anything we didn’t want to do on Sundays. After a week of answering business calls during dinner and catching up on paperwork till nine at night, I needed one day to feel alive and free. Unlike some of our friends who found bagging deals at the outlet-stores great entertainment, we liked to find a cathedral in the trees and hike in beauty.
Van was climbing trees before he could walk and was great fun on our bushwhacking adventures. That is until he started digging in his heels over our Sunday family activities. He’d turned fourteen, and it appeared he preferred playing on his computer to hiking or biking with the parental units. I could not wrap my brain around this preference for cyberspace over Mother Nature. I fought this new reality with the ferocity of a jackal fighting a hyena.
In tuning-the-violins-while-the-Titanic-sinks insanity, I locked onto my mortal enemy, Van’s computer. I drove Van farther away from me by trying to place a time limit on his daily computer consumption. This was a hill I was willing to die on. Van’s desire to chat with me died right along with my power to control his screen time. I wasn’t winning any prizes in my mind as a workaholic mom either. One thing that assuaged the ever-gnawing mom-guilt was to have a pleasant conversation with Van.
Blasting the bazooka at Dan’s computer obliterated what crumbs of desire Van had left to make nice with me. I couldn’t talk about Grand Theft Auto or any other video games with Van. My increasing struggle to string a sentence together on a subject Van would respond to with more than a grunt, or a sly put-down took up entirely too much of my brain’s real estate. Or in Ron-Hubbard speech — Attention Units.
The only moms I talked to about child-rearing had girls or different-aged kids. Oh, and they were Scientologists. L Ron Hubbard had many terrible suggestions, I mean Courses full of advice on child-rearing and marital happiness. I took the courses.
LRH failed to support his two children from his first marriage and abandoned their mother, Polly Grubb. LRH kidnapped his girl child from his second and unacknowledged wife, Sara Northrup, to stop her from reporting his physical abuse to the authorities. And his third wife, Mary Sue, was told she was wife number two and bore him four children. One of their sons, Quentin Hubbard, sadly committed suicide at the age of twenty-two. Mary Sue Hubbard was incarcerated with four Sea Org workers for her part in administering Scientology’s Operation Snow White. On LRH’s orders, Scientology conducted the most extensive espionage operation against the American government in history. LRH amassed cash, dodged the FBI, and hid in Central California from the authorities till his drug-addled death years later. He never rejoined his felonious wife once she was released from prison. And yet I was told I should apply his brilliant advice for marital and parental happiness.
Sometimes I’d pay Van to fix some technical computer snarl I probably could have handled myself, just to spend time with him. In a funny dichotomy of worlds, I was offered side gigs to create tailored online-marketing programs for my jewelry clients. A jeweler across the country found me on LinkedIn and hired me to help her promote a prize she’d won. After measuring their fingers for ring sizing, I frequently helped clients with minor computer problems. But back at the house, I played the blithering idiot, subconsciously, to spend more time with Van.
Josh and I had discussed our income-property purchases with Van from day one so he’d know about investing. We’d also told him Santa wasn’t real, where babies came from when he was in first grade, and other topics some parents might grit their teeth at. I’d always felt we should be honest with Van and skip the baby talk. He was after all, an adult in a child’s body, according to L Ron Hubbard. In further great insight about children, LRH wrote in the Dianetics book that if an older man passionately kissed an eight-year-old girl child, that she shouldn’t react like it was a bad thing. You can look it up on the web. Anyway, I thought we could talk to Van, and it was all good. Until his pesky and unwanted eruption of independence.
My forehead knotted while I read magazine articles claiming computers would rot your brains, turn you into a mannerless troglodyte, and mold you into a selfish turd. These pronouncements sold magazines by the millions to credulous parents like me. Parents, baffled by their stand-offish, computer-mad teenagers, no doubt started support groups to share ideas about how to stop the slow-motion hijacking of their lost teenager’s minds.
After I died on that hill, and accomplished nothing, I decided to educate myself about kids and computer use. I did not seek L Ron Hubbard’s wisdom about computers and recommended screen time for teens, since he was the source of the ridiculous telex-usage edict.
I read a book by an expert researcher, Dan Tapscott, who focused on Millennials who grew up computer literate. His research exploded the myths I’d embraced. My Amends Project to Van included sharing the results of Tapscott’s research at the dinner table and quoting both the lies the media shelled out and the researched truth about the non-melted brains of Van’s generation. Mr. Tapscott even measured the volunteering and money donated to non-profits by Van’s Millennial generation. He found them to be generous and thoughtful in their targeted giving. I laid down the hatchet and granted more screen time to Van.
The Power of Postulates, or Goal Setting, but Sexier
When I first got into Scientology, I was looking for a wacky, magical circus of possibilities. I was looking for a tribe that would accept my belief that you could do magic things by sheer intention. In a tragic accident of crap timing, I was already in Scientology when the leader of a coven of Wiccans became my neighbor. I adored her and accepted her Pagan preferences, just like I celebrated my married Lesbian neighbors and other interesting people in my world. People that Scientology would have loved me to Disconnect from.
L Ron Hubbard wrote a lot about the subject of Postulates. This seemed to be the Holy Grail I was seeking. In Advanced Procedures and Axioms, a muddy tome of garbled dreck, L Ron Hubbard defines a Postulate as “that self-determined thought which starts, stops or changes past, present, or future events.” He also referred to it as “causative thinkingness.” Yeah, that and the whole changing past events was just bonkers, so I glossed over that bit and kept reading till I could find something I understood.
I struggled to understand Postulates from the various statements of wow, awesome, you can do anything if you are purposeful, spiritually strong, and ethically unsullied. The gist I got was that if you decided you wanted to reach some goal or had some wish and stated it as “X has already happened,” that goal morphed into a Postulate. So instead of “I wish I had an ice cream,” you’d say, “I had an ice cream on Tuesday,” then you’d make sure you had some ice cream when Tuesday rolled around.
It got more complicated when you upped the ante. For example, I’d postulate — “I got ten new jewelry clients by Friday,” and Friday was in five days. So, I ‘knew’ it would happen. I put my Intention on it, worked at it because all magic comes at a price, and I had my ten new clients by Friday. But happy, happy, joy, joy, I’d used Postulates, so now it was this Big Win. And it was this thing where the universe bowed to my super-power-spirit will. So sexy.
Yeah, this Postulating thing was just setting stiff goals and following through. But that sounds ordinary. And we wouldn’t want to be ordinary, would we?
Doing the OT Levels had given me exactly no superpowers. And I didn’t want to re-study all the Courses I’d already suffered through, like the other OT Level completions I knew. So, I grabbed onto Postulate study as my way of showing I was Participating.
This German Scientology dude was doing two-day Postulate Seminars at the Los Angeles Scientology complex once a month. The $200.00 fee went straight to the IAS. So, I got Participation points and Contribution points. Whee!
L Ron Hubbard wrote a ton about Postulates. Therefore, the German dude had months’ worth of quotes for his two-day seminars. I ate this stuff up. And enthused about it with a couple of Scientology friends. I managed to skate through my final years in the cult, just going to follow-up Postulate Seminars and making lots and lots of Postulates. And pushing myself to ever higher weekly sales goals. I’m now super good at goal setting. And making wishes. I do not use the convoluted, it’s already happened, Postulate method.