After I had finished reading all the bulletins in my course pack, I came to a section on my checksheet marked "Training Routines."
These were a series of drills designed to train a person to "communicate better." What I did not know, or even suspect, is that these drills are actually a sophisticated set of mind control processes designed to convert the newcomer into a confirmed Scientologist.
In the first training routine, called "TR-0" for Training Routine Zero, I sat with another student in two chairs facing each other, our knees almost touching, and we were to look into each other's eyes for two hours without blinking or moving.
In the instructions for this drill, Hubbard states: "To train a student to confront a preclear with auditing only or with nothing."
In other words, I was being trained to become an auditor, whether I wanted to or not.
In TR-0, if either of us were to blink, move, twitch, etc., we had to start the two hours over again.
At first, I found this drill very hard to do. The tears in my eyes burned unbearably. I wanted to blink so badly, but if I did, my partner would call out sternly, "Flunk for blinking! Start!" And I would have to start over again.
I went through all sorts of sensations trying to do this drill. My mouth began to drool and there was nothing I could do about it. The chair became unbelievably hard and uncomfortable. It seemed like every nerve in my body was screaming out for relief.
I began to see an aura around my partner's head, a flowing of colors and patterns of energy surrounding him. I became interested in this and it distracted me from my pain.
Eventually, what happens in TR-0 is that you dissociate. I experienced this after a couple of hours. I suddenly felt like I had floated away from my body and its pains and I had a peaceful, serene feeling like I could sit there forever. I had no desire to blink anymore. I had the fixed, trancelike stare that has come to identify dedicated Scientologists. Finally, I completed my two hours.
After this, I had to do another drill called TR-0 "bullbaited." In this drill, I sat doing my TR-0 while my partner began to ridicule me and "push my buttons," trying to get me to react. At any sign of a smile or reaction, he would again say sternly, "Flunk for smiling! Start!" And we were off again.
Sexual themes were common in bullbaiting. Also fair game for bullbaiting was my weight.
"Hey, look at this everyone," my partner would say in a loud voice so the other students could hear. He reached over to pinch me at the waist. "Baby fat! Margery still has baby fat! Say, you must be good in bed. I like my women with a little fat on their bones. Are you good in bed? Are you? Would you like to go to bed with me?" And on and on.
Occasionally I would start to smile or my lips would twitch or I would drool, and I would be flunked and we would start all over again.
Most of the TRs (there were fourteen of them) had to do with control, with learning to give and follow commands, and learning to manipulate conversation.
First, I learned to deliver a command to another person, using statements out of "Alice in Wonderland." Phrases such as:
My partner would simply acknowledge each statement as I read it out of the book in a commanding voice.
In the next TR, I learned to control the communication of others by giving acknowledgements.
When my partner would read a statement out of "Alice in Wonderland," I would answer in a loud voice, "Fine!", or "Thank you", or "I got that."
In one TR, I was trained to follow commands. My partner walked me around the room giving me various commands. "Walk over to that wall!" "Thank you!" (When I had done it). "Touch that wall!" "Thank you." "Walk over to that chair!" "Thank you!" "Touch the bottom of the chair!" "Thank you!" Etc.
Then it was my turn to give the commands.
In one drill, we were supposed to make an ashtray rise into the air simply by screaming at it with sufficient intention, called "Tone 40."
An ashtray was placed on a chair in front of me.
"Stand up!" I screamed at the ashtray. Then, when it didn't rise, I was permitted to raise it up with my hands.
"Thank you!" I screamed at the ashtray.
"Sit down on that chair!" I again screamed at the ashtray.
"Thank you!" I put the ashtray back down on the chair.
You were supposed to do this drill until the ashtray would rise on its own, simply from the force of your commands. Someone later told me that Hitler used to do this drill with his soldiers, only with an apple instead of an ashtray.
By the time I had finished these drills, I was well on the way to learning to control others, and to be controlled.
These drills are repeated over and over in Scientology. They are included on every course that one takes on one's way up the "Grade Chart," the hierarchical chart of all the courses in Scientology.
When I wasn't "on course" doing TRs, I usually went with Mario to his apartment on Lafayette Park Place to have dinner with him and Yvonne. (They were roommates.) Mario had a piano in his apartment and he was indeed a very accomplished pianist. Sometimes he would let me practice on his piano during my breaks from class.
It was during my visits to Mario's apartment that I made the discovery that he was gay. That shocked me. I thought that Scientology was supposed to cure you of all aberrations. That shows how naive I was at that point.
The way that I found this out is that there were frequently young men that came over for dinner, and on the nights that I spent on Mario's couch, when it was too late to walk back to the house on Burlington Street, the young men didn't leave. They disappeared into Mario's room with him and stayed the night.
One night, Mario asked me if I wanted to go to "Clear Night" with him. I accepted eagerly. I knew that these Monday night happenings at Celebrity Center were usually restricted to those who had attained the level of Clear or above (OT).
Mario managed to sneak me in the door. He was a celebrity, so he was not really questioned about me.
The place was packed. I sat in the back of the room on a wooden stairway so I had a clear view of the stage. The lights were darkened and the air was warm and moist from the bodies packed in the room on a balmy California evening.
Yvonne was the mistress of ceremonies. She was greatly beloved by everyone at Celebrity Center and when she came on the stage there was wild applause.
After a short talk about the progress and weekly statistics ("stats") of Celebrity Center and a pep talk about how well Scientology was doing all over the world, Yvonne got down to the real business of the evening: introducing all those people who had gone "Clear" that week.
One by one the new Clears came up onto the stage. Then they were expected to give their "Clear speeches."
One man talked about how wonderful it felt to be free of his reactive mind. "It's so peaceful," he enthused. "All the chatter, the internal voices are gone. I am free at last."
Another person talked about how he was able to exteriorize from his body and travel all over the universe.
"You won't believe what's out there," he said. He talked about flying over the waves of the Pacific Ocean, of flying out into space and visiting other planets which had cities and advanced civilizations.
I was enthralled. I had never heard anything like this before. I managed to get Mario's attention.
"Is this for real?" I asked him.
He just gave me a knowing, mysterious smile. Mario was not only Clear, he was OT3, which meant that he had completed the secret upper level on which one learns the great secret of the history of the universe. Scientologists were divided into three categories: Preclears, or those not yet Clear; Clears; and OTs, those who were on the OT levels.
The atmosphere in the packed, humid room grew more and more enthusiastic as Clear after Clear got up to give their speeches. One man talked about going into an adjoining apartment (out of his body) and stopping a murder. Others talked about controlling the weather, communicating telepathically, moving objects with their thoughts, etc.
The applause got wilder and wilder.
After everything was finished, Mario went down to the front and began to play the piano. He improvised something he called his "space music," and it was quite beautiful.
When we left at close to midnight, the stars in the sky looked brighter to me.
I wanted to be Clear. Of that I was sure. I told Mario and he smiled. "You will," he promised. "And soon."
The next day, on course, I had a new purpose to my studying. I couldn't forget the events of the previous night.
I listened to tape recordings of Hubbard that were on my checksheet, and he seemed to be a jovial person, full of certainty. Being an uncertain person myself, I found these lectures comforting and reassuring.
Soon it was time for me to receive some Dianetic auditing, part of the course.
I went into a small room with another person who was to be my auditor. He set up the table and the E-meter much as Jenny had done in Michigan.
I sat down and held the cans in my hands.
He asked me a series of questions.
"Locate an incident in which you experienced a panic attack." I did.
"OK," he continued. "What is the date of the incident?"
I remembered back to an attack I had had about a month ago.
"What is the duration of the incident?"
"About an hour," I told him.
"OK, move to the beginning of the incident. Close your eyes."
"Scan through to the end of the incident."
I mentally remembered the incident in question.
"Tell me what happened."
I told him.
"Is there an earlier incident containing a panic attack?" he asked me.
We went through the same sequence of questions.
Finally we came to the first time I could remember having a panic attack, that night under the bridge in Ann Arbor with Bill.
After we finished going through that memory, we seemed to get stuck. I couldn't remember anything earlier.
My auditor ended the session.
He took his notes in to the Case Supervisor for a "C/S" (instructions for the next session).
I was told I had to go for a Review session, which meant to me that something had to be corrected.
I knew from reading the bulletins in the course pack, that in Dianetics, one was supposed to go into one's past lives. That was just kind of accepted by everyone.
In the Review session, the auditor asked me what "considerations" I had about "running past lives." I said I didn't know.
The Review auditor took me back to the last incident I had run, the panic attack I had under the bridge in Ann Arbor.
Then he asked me the same question the other auditor had: "Is there an earlier incident containing a panic attack?"
"Close your eyes," he told me. "Just see if anything comes to your mind. It doesn't matter how far fetched it might seem. The idea is just to let the pictures come into your mind."
I was anxious to please. I knew I was expected to come up with something. It took awhile, but soon I had an image in my mind.
"It's a baby," I told him. "I see a baby."
"Good," he said with enthusiasm. "Now let's run it." And he asked me the standard Dianetic questions.
"I see my mother. I am in a crib. And I am having a panic attack. I am afraid of her."
"OK," he continued. "Is there an earlier incident containing a panic attack?"
Again, I sat with my eyes closed.
I was beginning to get the idea.
"I see a prison," I answered, my eyes tightly shut. "My arms are in chains."
"Good," answered my auditor. "Now, when was it?"
I was stuck again.
"Don't censor it. Just say what comes into your mind."
"OK," I tried to concentrate. "It's about 1400 A.D."
"Good," my auditor sounded pleased. "How long did it last?"
"About an hour," I responded. "I was going to be executed. And I was having a panic attack."
Now we were off. My auditor continued with me until I was proficient in "running past lives."
"When was it?" he asked.
"Six quintillion years ago," I answered. "I was just a particle in space. I was being attacked by laser beams by some enemy particles. I was having a panic attack."
It was getting easier and easier.
Soon the session was over.
I was returned to my regular auditor. I never had trouble running past lives after that. I did it for hundreds of hours.
Now that I was an accomplished Dianetic preclear, it was time for me to audit another student, as a prerequisite to finishing the course.
I was astonished when I showed up at class one day, and was introduced to my preclear. It was an eight year old boy. He was having trouble wetting his bed, and his parents wanted him to get some auditing.
I took him next door to my room in the house on Burlington Street. I set up a card table and put my E-meter (which I had borrowed from another student) on the table.
I told the little boy, whose name was David, to sit down and "pick up the cans."
He had been audited before. He knew what to do.
After going through several incidents of times when he had wet his bed, I asked the next question:
"Is there an earlier incident of your wetting your bed?"
He sat quietly for awhile.
"Yes," he answered slowly.
"Good," I responded. "When was it?"
"It was a long time ago."
"Close your eyes," I commanded. "Move to the beginning of the incident and tell me when you are there."
"Scan through to the end of the incident."
"Tell me what happened."
"I was a baby in a little crib on a ship," he seemed to be watching a movie in his head.
"I think it was the Titanic. My parents were gone. There was water in the room. It got into my crib. Then I drowned."
We went over and over the incident. He couldn't remember anything earlier.
"I drowned on the Titanic," he told me slowly. "I think that's why I'm wetting my bed."
His needle (on the dial of the E-meter) was "floating," a signal to me that the session was over.
I took him back to the Center to the Examiner. I sent my notes on the session to the C/S and waited anxiously for the results.
Soon the folder came back. "Very well done," it was marked on the top of my paperwork.
I went back into the courseroom.
"That's it!" the Course Supervisor called out in a loud voice. "Margery has just completed her Dianetics Course!"
Everyone looked up from their work. They all started to applaud. I had to give a short speech.
"It was really fun," I said to them all. "I can't believe I'm really doing this. I can't believe I really know how to help people now."
There was more applause. I was given my course certificate.
I was now a Hubbard Standard Dianetic Auditor.
Yvonne called me into her office.
"Margery," she said. "Mario and I have been talking. We want you to join the Sea Organization."
I was still flushed from my victory on the course and all the applause.
I didn't have to think long. There was nowhere else I wanted to be. I wanted to stay here with Mario and Yvonne and all my new friends forever. Most of all, I wanted to help people. I knew I could do that in the Sea Org.
"All right," I told her. "I'll join. I'm ready to make the commitment."
"I'm so pleased," she smiled at me.
She pulled out a piece of paper from her desk.
At the top of the legal sized paper was the Sea Org logo in blue and gold lettering. Underneath, I read:
I, ___________________________, DO HEREBY AGREE to enter into employment with the SEA ORGANIZATION and, being of sound mind, do fully realize and agree to abide by its purpose which is to get ETHICS IN on this PLANET AND UNIVERSE and, fully and without reservation, subscribe to the discipline, mores and conditions of this group and pledge to abide by them.
THEREFORE, I CONTRACT MYSELF TO THE SEA ORGANIZATION FOR THE NEXT BILLION YEARS.
I looked up at Yvonne. She was smiling.
"We want you to be one of us," she told me.
I walked back into the courseroom, my mind reeling. The first thing I did was to tell Mario. He was excited for me.
"Welcome," he hugged me. "Now you're really one of us."
I decided to take a walk. I wandered down the street and into MacArthur Park.
I had just signed away my future for the next billion years.
It would be the adventure of a lifetime ... and beyond!