As we sat at the bar, Fred casually brought up Scientology. I knew that there were a couple of Pizza Man employees who were Scientologists, so I was curious. He grabbed a napkin, borrowed a pen, and began illustrating the Ethics Conditions. I felt intellectual and scholarly in a hip and artsy sort of way, as if a Lautrec painting had just come to life.
I always saw Hubbard in a different light. In 1976 I watched a video made in the early sixties titled, “Introduction to Scientology,” in which Hubbard explains what Scientology is all about. He impressed me as an insouciant and salty character. Self confident to the point of impudence, he seemed like a classic nonconforming individualist.
In the book [History of Man], Hubbard described a number of these incidents which I found weird beyond description. Things like the “Ice Cube Incident,” and the “Jack-in-the-Box” incident were but a few of the implants that we received millions of years ago: forcefully administered discipline using elaborate electronic devices, designed to keep us obedient to the laws of ancient intergalactic societies.
The FBI raids of 1977 had resulted in legal proceedings for the 11 arrested Church executives, and pretrial hearings were now taking place at the L.A. County Courthouse.
A number of Westwood staff took time off their regular duties to picket the county courthouse. During the initial court hearings, hundreds of Scientologists marched around the L.A. County Courthouse, carrying large picket signs. It was well organized, and went on for days.
Although Peter had a few clashes with the Sea Org, his real beef was with the management of Church operations. He thought it was creating an adverse effect on the public at large. “The Mission game stinks right now,” he once complained to a high-ranking executive. “The field is dirty and needs to be cleaned up.”
I believed my loan transactions had occurred under the sanction of the Church. I assumed I had the full extent of the Church’s ethics and justice system to protect me. On the other hand, maybe my situation wasn’t as secure as I’d thought.
Little did I know then that the Church would bear virtually no responsibility for these flimsy loan deals. If the loans went awry, the Church would consider it my problem, not theirs.
I accepted my role of agent provocateur with enthusiastic relish. It was better than being Batman. Accompanying me behind enemy lines was an ex-GO staff member who was now a public Scientologist. I thought it was cool that I’d be working with a veteran of Church counter-intelligence operations who’d be showing me the ropes.
It seemed to me that I’d be embezzling money for non-business expenses, but Barry didn’t see it that way. He was totally confident that what he was proposing was perfectly ethical. Barry used the phrase “personnel enhancement” to make the deal sound more legitimate. It still didn’t seem right.
My part in this high-tech caper wasn’t much. OSA only needed me as a “front” to set up a personal internet account with a service provider. It worked this way: An OSA staff member or volunteer would log on to a newsgroup and start canceling messages.
As I like to say, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Soon after we made our $5,000 donation. Susie began getting phone calls from the IAS L.A. office imploring her to donate more money. They reasoned that since we donated money only days before, we should be able to do it again! I was insulted and outraged.”
Things started getting out of hand. Each time Susie turned down an IAS reg, she’d get a phone call a few minutes later from an exec higher up in the organization. We were beside ourselves—dumbfounded, and at a loss to understand these rude intrusions on our good nature.