The sea-based operation continued until 1975. The first few years of the Sea Org were a time of great vigour and excitement. Hubbard was combining technical development of the OT Levels with refining the training programmes for Auditors.
Although from 1970 he did some valuable gap filling in further refining auditing routines, he concentrated more and more on developing techniques for managing and promoting the Church. From this time emerged the Flag Executive Briefing Course and the Administrative Series of Bulletins. Management of the Church did not just cover internal management but also dealt with the management of communication with the outside world. This included how to disseminate (spread the message of Scientology) and Public Relations. He also became involved photography, music and film making, as part of the promotional activity of the Church.
The Church itself was expanding all over the world. It is probably worth restating that Ron Hubbard claims that he was not at this time running the Church. Whatever the truth of this claim Hubbard obvious had immense influence on those whose job it was to run the Church an it must have been difficult for them not have been aware of Ron's keen scrutiny. His criticism of things that came to his attention as not being right could be extremely direct and withering.
From about 1970 it seems the sea-borne operation started to go sour. The events of this period are reported in the Zegal tapes - see Appendix B and the warning included there. After the romantic idea of a fleet of ships spreading the religious philosophy of Scientology throughout the world, came the further idea of finding a safe place to set up a central point which could become the world focus for Scientology, its own Mecca or Jerusalem.
To do this would not just require a suitable location but also a degree of sympathy and support from the local government. Hopes ran high for a University of Philosophy on the island of Corfu. This project reportedly went wrong when unjustified claims of Greek government support were made. It is reported that the ships were ordered to leave Corfu harbour in March 1970.
36 THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
The next prospect became Tangiers. Again negotiations broke down with the Moroccan government. The Scientology contingent and ships were apparently ordered out in December 1972.
It seems that good relations were then established with Portugal. A Telex office was set up in Lisbon and a lot of time was spent around the island of Maderia, which is a dependency of Portugal. It is reported that this prospect came to an end in a particularly unpleasant way in October 1974. The Flagship Apollo was stormed by an angry crowd on the quayside at Funchal, the capital of Maderia. The crowd believed that ship and Church were a cover operation for the CIA. Soon after this the Telex Office in Lisbon was raided by Portugese government officials.
The ships sailed for the American continent in late 1974 and spent the next year in the West Indies. This was not as pleasant as it sounds. The small island governments of this area were probably aware of the reputation of these travelling Scientologists for trying to exercise influence over government officials. In more and more ports it was made clear that they were not welcome for extended periods.
This period must have been one of increasing frustration and disillusionment for Ron Hubbard. He was actually on the Apollo when the incident in Funchal harbour had taken place. It must have seemed to him that more and more doors were closing against his hopes of establishing Scientology as a reputable movement for world improvement.
In October 1975 the ships were reportedly docked in the Bahamas and the crews dispersed to several different locations in the United States. For reasons that are unclear, Ron Hubbard and the Sea Organisation remembers were not expecting a warm welcome in the United States. The return was unobtrusive and from this time secrecy and security became high priority.
It was decided to set up a land base at Clearwater, Florida. This was to be the main management and training centre for the Church Worldwide. It became known as Flag, after the flagship of the fleet Apollo.
This obvious transfer of power and authority from the ships to Flag, accompanied by the arrival of the person of Ron Hubbard, indicates that by this time control and management of the Church was back in his hands.
For reasons of secrecy the buildings at Clearwater were allegedly purchased by a cover corporation called the United Churches. To further preserve secrecy Ron Hubbard himself lived in an apartment separate from the main buildings.
At some time in 1976, the local press discovered that Ron Hubbard was in Florida and the real identity of the United Churches came out. Hubbard himself went to Washington DC and laid low there for some
CHAPTER NINE 37
months. He then moved with a small staff to an inconspicuous location on the West Coast of the United States, near Los Angeles.
For the next five years Ron Hubbard stayed mostly on the West Coast. There seems to have been a lot of legal activity both against the Church and initiated by the Church. The background and justification for all this legal activity are far from clear. The priority however was to protect Ron Hubbard himself from being drawn into these legal battles. Hence the continuing restatement that he had not been involved in directly managing the Church since 1968, and keeping his whereabouts a secret.
His relocation did however coincide with a power-shift to the West Coast. An International Management Centre, known as 'Int', was set up in one of the many locations that the Church acquired in Southern California. Hubbard himself is reported to have moved around with a small retinue, living in a variety of ranches and apartments. We are told that during this time his health started to deteriorate. In 1978 he had some sort of stroke and in 1979 he had an operation. In both cases he reportedly had auditing and assists which helped his recovery.
People may wonder how someone with his technical knowledge on physical and mental health could get ill and have to have medical treatment. It is therefore worth remembering that he was probably a somewhat disappointed man. For nearly thirty years his ideas had bee subject to hostile attack. Although he had a dedicated following he had not achieved the large scale respectability and official recognition that he must have hoped for. By his own creed, ill health is usually a sign of failing to be self-determined in some aspect of one's own life.
Despite all the upheavals of this period Hubbard initiated and supervised continuing research for auditing the more advanced levels o spiritual awareness. From the mid-seventies we start to get some major new 'technical' developments. The term 'technical' is used by the Church to refer to anything to do with auditing processes and techniques. This is to distinguish it from bulletins or instructions of a management o promotional nature, which are referred to as 'administrative'. From some years previously, the levels of gain and ability available from auditing ha been organised as a progression known as 'The Bridge'. Each stage ha a definite completion point and predictable 'End Phenomena'. Different people would require differing programmes of processes to achieve the appropriate end phenomena of each stage. Both process delivery an auditor training levels were organised to coincide with these stages. The progression of stages would firstly get the individual's body into reasonably physical shape, including freeing it from the residual effects of drugs. The there are the Levels, a series of steps of mental rehabilitation leading
38 THE SAD TALE OF SCIENTOLOGY
to New Era Dianetics and then to the revised state of Clear. Clear was now seen as a staging post to achieving the state of a free spiritual being, known as an Operating Thetan or OT. This state is arrived at on completion of OT Levels I, II and III.
Prior to 1978, the highest previously released OT level had been OT VII, released in 1970. During this late 70's period Hubbard and his co- workers reviewed both the higher OT levels and a more streamlined method of running Dianetics. At first sight these would appear to be unrelated activities, at different ends of The Bridge. In fact the two were combined to produce a revised range of levels from OT IV to OT VII. These involved running the new form of Dianetics, New Era Dianetics, on people who were at OT III or above. This range of levels was known as NED for OT's, then shortened, inevitably, to NOTS.
To complete this last burst of activity we have a complete review of the lower part of the Bridge. This revised lower Bridge was released in 1981. It was so fundamental a change that it was unlikely that it would have been done without Ron Hubbard's involvement. It is actually necessary to state this because it seems likely that his increasing withdrawal and alleged failing health meant that much of this technical development work must have been done by other people.
The technical development team may have been located in Florida but the main link person with Ron Hubbard on this work was David Mayo. He was later to become Case Supervisor International, the top post in the technical hierarchy and also Hubbard's personal auditor.
During this period a subtle change was taking place to Hubbard's personal image. Prior to 1975 he had been referred to widely by his christian name, or more deferentially as Mr. Hubbard. From the mid-seventies or so the term LRH was substituted and his presence and influence was referred to in less human everyday terms. The practice of other people issuing both administrative and technical instructions, using his name, started to happen.
This on occasion led to some ludicrous situations. The supposedly real LRH would send out bulletins to cancel or amend others which he complains were not actually written by him. The trouble was that there was no way of knowing which one was really written by him. More recently the revocation of previous instructions as not being written by Ron Hubbard himself, but 'by others', has been used to restyle the management of the Church.
The underlying reason for this confusing practice was to provide a measure of continuity for the Church. The stable human figure at the pinnacle was very important. It has always been a practice to encourage
CHAPTER NINE 39
Church members to write directly to Ron Hubbard. In early days those letters were no doubt answered personally. Subsequently the volume would have made this impossible. It is widely believed that a clerical team handle this correspondence, most of which would follow predictable patterns, and could therefore be answered according to preset patterns
A further step in Hubbard's withdrawal process was the establishment. of the LRH Communicator Network International in 1977. All communications with Hubbard went up through this Communicator Network and came down through it. Although it carried the implied link directly to Ron Hubbard, there was no way of knowing who was producing the material that carried his name.
Whatever the balance of reasons, the withdrawal of Ron Hubbard from day to day management of the Church's affairs during this period probably allowed others genuinely to take responsibility for running the Church. The Church in the late seventies seems to have moved into one of its most productive periods.
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