This dedication was fairly general amongst scientologists undergoing processing and for a period after processing had ceased, even though a perusal of HASI processing files showed that they were complaining that they were being impoverished and that their conditions were worsening. The development of this dedication took various forms. A pattern common to many scientologists was that they entered scientology because of the promises it made and the hopes that it held out that it would in a most dramatic and effective way improve them mentally and physically, that it would help them obtain their ambitions or goals by making them more able, and in general that it would greatly improve their happiness and position in the world. The promises of scientology appeal variously to the hopes, aspirations, vanity, anxiety, greed of people, who see in scientology the prospect of obtaining their desires or improving their mental or physical or intellectual or social or economic positions by newly discovered short cuts which are said to be invariably successful.
This dedication to scientology resulted in several persons who became students of scientology giving up particular courses of study at university or technical or high school level, and taking employment at the HASI where they could, with less interruption, pursue their studies of scientology; it involved others forsaking employment where they enjoyed good conditions and prospects of advancement and working in the HASI at greatly reduced wages and with very few prospects of material advancement, with long hours, on six and even seven days a week. Amongst highly placed scientologists who devoted their whole time to scientology were several former school teachers, a former surveyor, a former policeman, a former senior bank official, a former trained nurse.
There were others, too, who were employed in various ways as auditors, clerks, receptionists, &c., who were sometimes unremunerated or whose wages were merely nominal. Several such individuals worked at the HASI part time only, giving their labours freely as though for a worthy cause or in return for auditing either free or at reduced rates. In May, 1962, for example, for 40 hours or more of work per week members of the HASI staff earned variously £5 4s.6d., £7.14s., £6.6s.6d., £4.8s. For 50 hours, one married woman received £5.15s.6d.; for 45 hours a woman received £5.lOs. In September, 1963, for 40 hours or more of work the wage was variously £9.2s.9d., £10.15s., £12.18s. For 40 hours, some married women received £9.13s. 6d. In January, 1964, 40 hours of work returned as low as £6.10s.6d., £6.17s.6d., £7.5s.; and in the highest posts, £10.10s.3d., £11.12s., £12.13s.9d. There were instances when the remuneration was so low that economic necessity forced some members of the HASI staff to forego full-time employment at the HASI and obtain more remunerative employment outside, while still, however, devoting whatever spare time they could, at weekends and at other times, to their employment at the HASI. In several instances, both husband and wife were on the HASI staff and their joint earnings barely provided a living wage.
The standard of living of the Melbourne HASI staff is in marked contrast with the luxury in which Hubbard and his entourage live at Saint Hill. Hubbard appears to have adopted a deliberate policy of keeping the HASI staff on meagre salaries; and it was a matter of complaint amongst staff members that whenever the revenue of the HASI increased Hubbard directed that the staff be enlarged, thereby keeping the individuals' remuneration at a low level.
Generally, most of the staff received less than the basic wage; frequently, as the above figures and the records of the HASI show, the weekly payment was grossly inadequate. The weekly salary of staff members depended entirely on the amount of the cash receipts of the organization in any particular week. Each week the 10 per cent. levy was deducted from the gross receipts and, of the remaining amount, 55 per cent. was allocated to staff salaries, each member receiving a sum appropriate to the number of "units" which he or she had, and which had been allotted according to positions held.
The Board had the assistance of evidence from Mr. John Clifford Thomas, Chief Industrial Officer of the Victorian Department of Labour and Industry. It appears that there is no wages board appointed in respect of scientology employees as such. Whether such a board could be constituted under the Labour and Industry Act is at least arguable, since a wages board is appointed to determine conditions in respect of any process, trade, business or occupation. It is a question yet to be determined whether scientology is a process, trade, business or occupation. The word "process" in the Act does not connote anything in the nature of a scientology "process". Though
scientology may be said to be a business or occupation, it is not the function of this Board to investigate the eligibility of scientology employees to make application for a wages board to determine their conditions of employment and their remuneration.
From Mr. Thomas's evidence it appears that some of the employees of the HASI may be covered by certain determinations, such as the Commercial Clerks Determination and the Cleaners Determination, but the duties of many of the staff are of such a nature that they do not fall into any recognized category of work, and no conditions are prescribed for them under the Labour and Industry Act.
This Board does not recommend that scientology be given some entirely unjustified semblance of respectability by the appointment of a wages board to determine conditions of employment and remuneration of its employees.
Various scientology witnesses with orthodox scientific training showed their loyalty to scientology and to Hubbard, when, being unable to reconcile Hubbard's "scientific" writings with what they had learned in the course of their university and other formal studies, explained that Hubbard was nevertheless right because he was writing in a scientology "frame of reference".
One scientology witness, a bachelor of electrical engineering, considered that a thetan could generate electricity and produce energy and that, while a thetan could not now produce matter (whereas previously, "a tremendously long time ago", he could, because Hubbard had said so), scientology auditing and training could restore to the thetan his former ability to create matter. "Ron" had said it, so it must be true. Another highly placed scientologist, Gillham, the co-proprietor of the Melbourne College of Personal Efficiency, had no such reservations. He accepted as correct the scientology axiom that persons could create matter by postulation and agreement. All that was needed, he said, was that there should be a reality on it; and at the Inquiry one morning, an occasion memorable both for its comedy and tragedy, this witness solemnly swore that he and counsel assisting could create by postulation and agreement a log of wood which could even be ignited, and that if they had a reality on it, it would be there on the floor of the Board room burning and giving off heat, even though other persons present saw no log of wood and felt no heat. Another scientology witness, a master of science, could not reconcile Hubbard's writings on science with his orthodox knowledge of science but he justified Hubbard's writings as being correct because Hubbard was writing in a different "frame of reference". Another scientology witness, with some pretensions to scientific training, said that the proper approach to scientology was to realize that there may be a statement true in physics and tested as to its validity which in scientology would be utter nonsense, and vice versa. This was because Hubbard was writing in a different "term of reference" from other scientists.
This "frame of reference" or "term of reference" was a grand refuge for scientology witnesses who repeatedly sought to explain Hubbard's nonsensical and incomprehensible writings on subjects on which he claimed to be an expert by saying that they were easily understandable if only one viewed them from a scientology viewpoint and in a scientology frame of reference. When asked to explain some of Hubbard's writings, they were unable to make any sense out of them. One scientology witness said that Hubbard was "the most clued up" man in the last two centuries. He admitted, however, that it took him two years to understand Hubbard's axioms. Gillham, after many years, said he still did not understand them.
The dedication of such people, particularly those on the HASI staff, is a disturbing matter. Many of the HASI staff members are undoubtedly mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree. Generally, their introduction into scientology has come about because they possessed some social or emotional or intellectual deficiency, in much the same degree and kind as some of those whom they now seek to entice into scientology. The extravagant promises of success and advancement, without having to undergo the conventional travail of study and hard work and waiting, made to them the same deceptive appeal as it makes to those who today turn aside from their struggle with the realities of life and are ready to choose what is said to be the easy and quick scientology way.
This dedication was apparent in the manner in which scientology witnesses gave their evidence. The HASI presented its material to the Board competently and clearly. Its witnesses were fluent and were undeterred by cross-examination which revealed much of what they said as nonsensical and quite contrary to accepted norms of reason. They paid more than lip service to the "science of certainty", the science of "knowing how to know"; they immolated their reason in defence of Hubbard and his teachings. They proceeded on the basis that "Ron is right" and that scientology was "true". They believed that in order to "cognite" on the great truths of scientology it was necessary that one should be "in scientology", and that those outside did not comprehend, because being outside made them incapable of cogniting. Such outsiders, they believed, were aberrated and required the balm of scientology teaching and processing to raise them up the tone scale and so condition them to the reception and realization of the truths of scientology.
But for the fact that pity, sympathy, and allied charitable attitudes were anathema to scientology, the HASI witnesses would have pitied those outside their fold. As it was, they were cheerful in their exclusiveness.
Last updated 21 February 1997
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