When a reporter for Lisbon's Expresso newspaper went underground for three months to investigate the local hubborg infestation, the result was an amazing diary, written and published in Portuguese and originally webbed at http://www.expresso.pt/ed1303/pu13.asp though it may be gone now.
Given the importance of this article and the completely inadequare machine (?) translation posted here recently, readers may be interested in this new version by Ludwig Krippahl (firstname.lastname@example.org), who generously prepared it at my request, and who was shocked to discover the extend of the clam infestation in his own country. It would be good for someone to web this, perhaps. --anima
===================== Diary of a "Believer"
Scientology announces itself as a "religion of religions". Despite the growing success of this church, in part due to the joining of movie stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, its activities are still densely shrouded in mystery. A Portuguese reporter joined the Lisbon scientologists for three months, and made some surprising discoveries. Here is the tale, in the form of a diary, of an hallucinating experience.
April 5, 1997
Just as in Los Angeles in 1984, they would eventually harass me. I would only have to wait some seconds near the shop window where the books by L. Ron Hubbard were stacked, in 91B of Rua do Conde de Redondo, in Lisbon. "Do you know about scientology?", Teresa asked me. I answered that I'd heard about it, and was invited to make a test, through which I would know the state of my mental health. The result wasn't all bad, "but there were some ups and downs in my life and I was a nervous person". The diagnostic was made with a computer program and took six minutes and a few seconds. They quickly suggested to me, amid L. Ron Hubbard citations, that I take three "courses": Success Through Communication, Ups and Downs of Life and Integrity and Personal Values. To be eligible for a discount I would have to be a member of the church. I agreed: two courses, 8,000 escudos, and 1,000 more for the "membership". I picked the first and the last and after much insistence agreed to start the next day. In everything that was spoken, the word "God" was never mentioned. It seemed strange for a religion...
The Integrity and Personal Values teachings don't go beyond what you learn from your family or in Sunday school in any religion, including some childishness, like distinguishing good from evil or what to do when you observe some crime. I "loved" the theory that the criminal always leaves some clue in the crime scene because, subconsciously, he wants to be caught. The monitor, Joana, is tough! She insists that the exercises be repeated until perfectly understood. All easy, but I must demonstrate with objects (like Legos), that I understood. I end the day exhausted. It's my first real test. Outside each session there is always someone trying to sell me some scientology or dianetics books, because the more I study the subject the faster I will "climb the bridge". I take it easy, giving in here and there. I need to know where I can or should go.
No more humiliations and we start talking adult stuff. The hostile acts and occultations are the next step and, learning nothing, I realize that if I'm not careful, I'll change my vocabulary. The language seems sometimes strange and, above all, repetitive. I start to hate the word "handle" ["manejar" in the original]. It is as used as bread. I'm into the "dynamics of existence". There are eight and they define them as the "motivational forces for survival". They go from Me to Infinity. He pointed out the fact that the second dynamic is not defined as a marriage but as a division in two separate compartments: sex and procreation. Today I begun to understand that when I have a more philosophical doubt I should not insist on the subject, as that will result in a repression process, and the punishment is simple and practical: to endlessly repeat Hubbard's theories or to leave the building forever. I'll have to moderate my comments and doubts.
I finished the dynamics, and I feel that they are beginning to trust me, because in the 15-minute intervals following each two-hour work session the dialog is more fluent. Teresa is completely fanatic. Every time we cross she asks if I am having "gains" and throws LRH quotes at me, because "ha has the answer to all life's problems". I dare finally ask which god scientology follows, and the answer is another quotation: "Truth is what you believe is true", so each one has the god he wants, because scientology is the religion of religions. I knew I shouldn't insist, but, more than that, I definitely get the idea that the Portuguese Church of Scientology is just the tentacle of a book selling multinational. The Portuguese government is one of the few that still accept scientology as a church. This way this organization is exempt from taxes. What most arouses my curiosity is the aggressive fanaticism and the nearly perfect hierarchical organization. Nothing is debatable in scientology.
Today I completed the Integrity and Personal Values "course". After "learning" what were hostile acts and ocultations, there was only one last step for my "graduation": to write the crimes or sins I might have committed in my life. I was given six letter-sized sheets, but I only returned one. Joana read it, looked at me sternly and demanded I write more. In face, for my age, not even a saint would have such a clear conscience! I filled the five remaining pages with made up sins, and returned them. She asked me to sign, and guaranteed that only she and the executive director, a man called Mendez, would have access to the papers. Later I found out that was not true. The auditors and the ethics officer also have access to these documents, that are, in face, a psychological prison. Even lying, the confessions must be credible.
The "graduation" ceremony was at half past nine in the evening. The presentation of a diploma in front of a dozen people and the invitation to say some words. It is not easy to speak before a group of fanatics, under the circumstances. I took the easy way and, using their language, I stated in a steady voice that I had obtained many "gains" with the work I had done. The applause broke in the room and everyone, amid congratulations, wished to know what I would do next.
I began the Success through Communication "course". Sheer torture! The first practical step consists in sitting in front a stranger, with whom I cannot exchange a word. For two straight hours I must sit in a chair at a perfect 45-degree angle, legs slightly apart, hands over the knees and the eyes closed. The idea is that I remain so still that not a single muscle moves. I am only allowed to breathe. At the slightest movements I am told two words in a robotic voice: "Fault!... Restart" I try to contain my twitches and that is really not easy. It is a Spartan discipline, and my body starts to ache.
The suffering lasted three days, on an average of four hours a day with one 15-minute break. The clock in the room is two minutes late. Finally, I was considered ready for the next exercise: my position on the chair is the same, and so is the other person's. Only now I have to keep my eyes open and confront the other person. The schedule is the same. The violation is so painful I start getting angry, But I must go on. First they place me in front of C..., a nine-year-old girl who quickly gets her eyes burning red. They keep me at it for over half an hour. Then I have to face D..., a 12- or 13-year-old teenager. She cried a lot and looked upset, because she could not stop fidgeting and averted her eyes every time the monitor turned her back. It is expressly forbidden to speak. Any person entering the room cannot speak without first having the monitor's authorization. I got out of there tired, and I didn't want to come back. Today, more than ever. I didn't even imagine what lay in wait.
Two Spanish women arrived today, dressed in what looked like navy uniforms. One of them looks harmless, but the other one, Tania, watch out! She speaks in a tone that allows no reply, and, as soon as they arrive, they seem to dominate everything. They all pay homage to Tania, which I think is due to the three stripes she displays. She is a truly sinister figure. I wonder who she is. I'm already used to asking no questions, but at the restaurant I hear someone saying that they are there to boost the ORG (how they refer to the "church"), which is going through some hard times. That's all I manage to find out.
I go on with what I call the "sad life" lessons. For the first time I will have to face an adult in the staring confrontations. They are always brusque. "Fault!... Restart!" "Fault!... Restart!"
They take shifts, I have to bear with them all. I've got it! The one that follows is always tougher than the previous one. The only pleasure I get is that after 15 or 20 minutes they are already blinking, with watering red eyes. I learned to defend myself by looking, shifting my stare between their left and right eyes. So far they have all have lasted less than me, without exception.
I admit I am tired. "You'll be ok" is the best answer I get. However, the well trained specimens they have brought to face me all break down before I do!
Today they sent in Tony. The confrontation (that's what it's all about) is hard, even more so because he does not keep the regulation distance of three feet, but comes closer than two feet away. His eyes seem to pop out of his face and to shoot sparks! I think I see some hatred.... He hangs on and so do I. For two straight hours I don't hear "Fault!.. Restart!" a single time. Two hours without blinking! I pass the test. I lost five pounds. I wonder what is next.
When I was leaving the ORG I felt some pride, but all I could think of was a nice shower. I was accosted by the ethics officer, Sara, who invited me for dinner the following evening. I accepted. What does she want from me? Tomorrow (Friday) I'll see.
The tests that follow in the Success Through Communication "course" are not getting easier. We are in the dialog stage. I have to, confronting several persons, convince them to talk to me, to never change subject and not to leave the dialog while I do not wish it. I was being trained to be a scientologist, that is, a salesman for the services and products of the Portuguese Church of Scientology. This became evident after the invitation to become a part of the staff. I excused myself with my work, but could not avoid participating on Sundays in what they called the "New Future without Drugs", a campaign conceived by Elisa that took place in Serafina Park. It was (to my knowledge) the only way the Portuguese Church of Scientology used to recruit children and teenagers. The participants (and they were not few) would swear an oath not to use drugs, and would fill out a form with their names and addresses, the most important part of the session.
I had dinner with Sara. She talked about scientology, of course! This woman is harmless, I felt. At first sight very competent, she is the only one on the staff who does not really believe in what she does. She has an enormous need to assert herself and prove she is aware of everything. It was from her that I discovered that the PSC had major financial problems, and that the building's rent was 700.000$00 [$4.000] a month, which they had not paid for some time, so now there was an eviction process against them.
I thought I had to lead her on carefully, but she turned out to be a real snitch, and I was sure of that when she showed me several forms of a questionnaire that they had her fill to officiallise her position as part of the staff.
The perfect questionnaire! The only question missing was about the favorite color for underwear. Everything else was there, and I doubt even the Inquisition would do better. Two questions drew my attention: "Are you or were you at any time in the past a member of any country's secret services? Do you have any family or friend who is or once was a part of any country's secret services?" The question was repeated for journalists. A good birthday gift, besides the phone calls from my family.
Today is Sunday, but in scientology we work seven days a week. The dialogs now are spoken with numbers. What is important is the tone given to each word. Using random numbers we build dialogs and, through tone alone, I must figure out if I am being questioned, answered, understood or even insulted. This exercise too involves some form of violence, and I don't understand its use. It seems that Joco dislikes me, because he gives no truce. And, as usual, they continue with the staring confrontation with the instructors taking turns. I've been taking this for four days and it is still not over. They are all very proud of their work.
I'm about to finish Success through Communication and the siege is already starting, as they all try to sell me new "courses" and books every day. Studying scientology is more expensive than going to college. Of course I can earn some money, and there is no lack of offers to become a staff member.
My mission is not to sell scientology, but to understand its practical aspects. Every night I read LRH's books, whether about scientology or dianetics. I want to understand this "science" and I finally believe that its mentor is a failed psychiatrist. The man invented nothing, discovered nothing. All his literature is simple, elementary, instinctive. Any human being of average intelligence already knows what he "teaches". There must be some purpose behind all this... And I'm back to square one: scientology is just a well put up business, hiding under a bunch of writings that say and repeat words that our society already knows by heart.
By this time I already discovered that scientology is a danger. The internal regime is totalitarian, it uses repression and is oppressive. All this is counter to the Portuguese Constitution.
I do not doubt that to call this millionaire business a church is a fraud. What I still have to find out is what is done inside the forbidden doors, and where the audits take place.
They start to put up posters announcing the movie they are going to show on May 10, and that only advertise the subtitle: "The movie psychiatrists begged us not to make". From reading LRH, I new the way he always despised psychiatrists, but this seemed too much. That's when I took the hardest choice: I'll buy two audit "intensives". By this time I felt that I had to get into the forbidden rooms. I don't know how much longer I can take this, so I have to make the most of it while I can bear it.
The audit "intensives" in scientology are a small fortune. The cheapest package is, for PCS members, 260.000$00 [$1.500]. And that, according to Mendez, is only to begin your integration. It's the initial stage, but many more "intensives" are needed until you reach "clear", that is, a person with no engrams. The perfect scientologist.
Bull's-eye! Does scientology brainwash people? A man from Azores, Terceira island arrived today. He was audited and no longer needs glasses, although his doctor diagnosed three diopters for him 15 years ago. Does Manual really see better? Or is it just suggestion? He still needs to wear sun glasses because he misses the weight on his nose. Shouldn't this be easier to solve than fixing his poor eyesight? The man was truly euphoric...but could he really see well? He had also quit smoking with the same method, but he asked me for three cigarettes in less than an hour!
Today I finished the tiring "course" in Success through Communication. I really don't recommend it to anyone in his right mind. I'm still studying LRH's theories and each time I'm more convinced that only submitting to the audit will I be able to find what kind of cures does scientology spread that can be less than sher brainwash. My doubts grow each time I read news from germany. If this is really what it seems, then why should the german secret service conduct surveilance operations, and create in Bavaria a help line for victims of scientology, but don't close the local organizations and, as in Spain, Israel, Mexico, Venezuela, Belgium, Austria among other countries, accept them invoking a democratic state but deny considering them churches and granting them tax exemption.
A German diplomat once asked me why John Travolta ever got into scientology and I answered that, probably, for the same reason anyone else does. After all he is just as human as anyone else....
I had read enough about the audit to visualize how it would be. In a way I was somehow afraid, above all I feared that they discovered what I really wanted from the PCS. The reality was that I was not an ordinary PC (a "pre-clear") in search of a miracle cure, but a reporter looking for the truth and, if possible, facts that could prove my theory that scientology was not a religion - that was more than proved - and after a month there I had the feeling I was in a criminal association, even if only for the crime of fraud. But I felt there was much more than that.
There was a lot of people today at the ORG to watch the movie that "the psychiatrists begged us not to make". A full house to watch a movie "made in USA" with a lengthy talk about the successes of scientology, in the voice of the scientologists. More than an hour! Finally, the long awaited movie.
From the first to the last minute, the movie tries to prove that the psychiatrists represent all the world's evils. Since the Stone Age. Not surprising, after reading what LRH wrote: "Psychiatry is making people insane". Nobody famous was present. The scientologists' fury would have been better served if the last minutes of the movie were not blatantly used to sell the house products. The session ended with a cocktail and the sale of some books and services.
I am enrolled for the audit. The PCS always sells everything pre-paid. The first advice: sleep at least eight hours every night and eat well, take a daily dose of 300 mg of vitamin B1, which I could buy in a natural products shop in Rossio, or the right dose, much better, brought in directly from the USA, which Barbara would get. The price: 6.200$00 ($310). I took the offer, and asked myself: smuggling too? Right on...
A New Perspective on Life was the book they sold me today. I begin to doubt that the author is really LRH. The theories are always the same, all books are merely a repetition of all others, but the texts are different. However, this book in particular, in its almost 300 pages, lacks the traditional enthusiasm of scientology's mentor, aside from being too technical.
I finally got into the ORG's most protected area. The auditor presents himself with a timed punctuality. His name is Vital Silva and he's the one who'll take care of my mental health. In his professional resume only a single work experience: taxi driver. He audited in the ORG and also at home with PCS' authorization.
According to him, I would need many hours for the audit. We split it on an average of two hours/day, though often we passed the time limit.
"Let's do it?"
The time had come to enter the PCS' "dungeon". Vital Silva is the kind of man you can call a "good fellow". He loves to dominate minds and fervently wished to rise on the "bridge", be "clear" and make everyone else "clear". The expression "mental cloning" came to me for the first time.
"Sit down comfortably and tell me when you are ready" - and he was cutting several paper sheets in halves, which he placed in an open folder. "Are you ready?" I said yes. "I'll count to seven, and during that time you close your eyes. When the session ends I'll snap my fingers and you return to 'present time', you understand?" "understood."
I closed my eyes at the count of four. He counted to seven and then switched off one of the two lamps in the small seven by five foot room. He sat with his back to the door. There were two soft lights were at eye level, on the wall on my left, and one other on the ceiling. The session is about to begin and I am rather tense.
"Think about some incident that happened to you recently... Whatever it is... try to remember something that hurt you, something recent..." He sits there waiting. I quickly mention a car accident. He wants all the details. "What are you doing right now?" "What's the color of the car approaching you?" "When do you realize you are going to hit?" "What is the car's model?" "Who's driving it?" "What do you feel at the moment of impact?".
The questions are many and some times he repeats them. I hear him scribbling continuously as he takes notes. At some point he insists: "What do you feel at te moment of impact?". I try to describe my fear. "Do you feel pain?" - the questions are always posed as if the accident was happening at that moment. While I fight against drowsiness, I try never forget what I just said, because I'll have to repeat it until he's had enough. As the idea is to make me stop feeling any emotions on this, I slowly condescend, until I convince him that that "engram" is "healing". My shirt is stuck to my body with all the sweat.
It is a great relief to hear him say "Henrique, I'll count to five and when I snap my fingers you will be back into 'present time', in a good mood, and forget all we spoke". I follow the procedure to the letter. As soon as I open my eyes he asks me "what day is today?" and "do you know where you are?" I answer him.
Vital must have suspected something. He says it gets easier with time, and that feeling tired is normal, but he warns me not to stop taking my vitamin.
The cat and mouse game is over. So far I've managed to elude my auditor, but the truth is that the incidents I make up are no use. I bring the lesson studied to the smallest detail, and so I can never find out if the audit works. I decide to let go this once. There is an incident that marked me deeply and even today I feel great emotion remembering it. I'll risk it, even being something very private. I must find out whether or not this works and I feel I'm wasting my time if I keep on lying.
His tone is laconic: "One, two, three, four..." I close my eyes and hear the light switch twice. He either switched off both lights or just simulated it, turning the same light off and on. This "game" had happened before.
"Go back to the first incident that comes to mind""
I go back to 1984, but I start experiencing some difficulty.
"Where are you?", he asks. And insists.
"I see my house in Los Baqos, California"
"Travel to that moment and live it in the present. So, talk as if everything is happening right now"
"I'm in the living room with my ex-wife...."
"you mean your wife"
"Then you were already divorced then?"
"What are you doing?"
"We are talking."
"What are you saying?"
"What are you saying?" "What are you saying?" "What are you saying?"
What I recall from the session I can resume in a few key words; "Look at the key hole!" "Are the cars side by side?" "Go back to the road, at the moment you look at her!" "What's the color of the coat? Go back to when you hug!".
Those two and a half hours are a complete black out. When I get back to the present I am sobbing and the tears run down my face, hot and salty. I'm ashamed to come out, but Vital pushes me out the door, patting me on the back. From the happy looks Teresa and Dulce exchange with Vital, I realize I'm being exhibited. Vital had won quite a trophy.
I leave the PCS apprehensive and confused. I go straight home. All I meant to tell that day, regarding the incident, I had written down with detail the night before, to know whether or not it would be forgotten.
I read the text and I find out two things: I had forgotten nothing, but on reading the five pages revealing some of the most hurtful events in my life, that always had touched me, I remain serene, impassive, as if I was a stranger in that story. What until today left me terribly emotional now left me absolutely indifferent. Scientology owes me for this. I want my emotions back.
This was done by an ex taxi driver... who got his auditor "course" in two weeks. I wonder what the professional auditors, that abound in England, the U.S., Denmark, Germany and Spain won't achieve!
I don't know what I risked with this, but I made up my mind never to let it happen again. A headache starts bothering me, and I take two aspirins. I recall my talk with the Spaniard Mendez, who runs the PCS: "The Scientologists are mankind's Salvation Army"
What the scientists want, I guess, is to create a unique race that, disregarding creed or color, is composed of "clears", people with no emotions or past, from whom the octopus head can demand anything. If the world does not open its eyes and pays more attention to these people, the dangers are unimaginable. There is something evil in this "Science" (I'll have to take the quotes off this word).
What I call the "octopus' head" can only be in one of four places: London, Copenhagen, Los Angeles (the four nerve centers of scientology) or, most likely, in the yacht "Freewinds", permanently cruising the Caribbean. Why does "Freewinds" never leave that region? This can be much more than just a "simple" big business.
I still have a headache and I take two more aspirins before lunch. When I get to the PCS they ask me, as usual, if I'm all right and I comment that not even two aspirins can get me rid of this headache. Dulce snaps at me "You took aspirins?" and she calls (shouts) Teresa, who rushes in. "Henrique took aspirin!" There is some confusion around me for moments. I almost panic.
"So you took an aspirin! You cannot be audited!"
And Vital Silva, who arrived in the meantime, after some calculations informs me that we are not "going to work" for five days. "Just imagine that you had taken a Valium, for instance... It would be impossible to audit you for a month... I wouldn't even be able to enter your mind!"
They wouldn't let me go before explaining: next time I get a headache I should use only natural drugs or wait until it goes away. During the days I cannot be audited, they tell me I can keep practicing with the other students in the courses I already took. They do not want me to stay away from the ORG for five days. I study the books I bought.
This Hubbard book claims my attention: according to LRH, the auditor must do his job under any circumstances, even knowing he can cause his patient "headache, various suffering and even light physical illness, even when the audit is performed carefully..." (Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, by L Ron Hubbard, pages 235/235 [Portugese edition])
This is what is taught and practiced in the Portuguese Church of Scientology. I wonder if the Health Ministry or even any doctor know what is happening in downtown Lisbon, and what would they think if they knew.
The e-meter appears to be a harmless work instrument for the auditors, but it is much more than that. It's reputed to have been invented by LRH, and it works like a lie detector and the PCS uses it every time there is doubt about some staff member or customer. The scientologists are especially afraid of two people: the police (particularly the secret police) and the journalists, not necessarily in this order.
The machine has a dial that registers the smallest change in the nervous system of the subject, connected to the instrument by two metal pieces through which an electrical current runs. The power is alleged to be 1.5 watt, but it can be increased depending on the resistance of the subject, that is, the victim. As the subject sets up the instrument himself, the PCS can always allege that the subject was not forced. However, once the session starts, the person is completely dominated by the auditor, through a questioning that is far from subtle.
The e-meter is the auditor's most important tool. While a person is questioned, the dial registers every emotion. After hours of questioning, the questions can be repeated and the reactions compared to see if the subject is evading the questions or lying. It is the auditor's job to lead the interrogation to its objective of cleaning the "patient" of all engrams - a being with no feelings for the past. Finally, one more "clear" to fulfill L. Ron Hubbard's dream. In his words the auditors are never to take "even for a second, the eyes off the e-meter dial, for that would be the greatest error of the auditor"
The e-meter costs, in its simplest version, approximately one million escudos [$5.000] and can be acquired by any auditor. Many audit at home with the ORG's authorization and can charge what they want.
I'm back for the audits, but now I'm sure they'll never dominate me. One hour before each session I take a Valium and, although I have some trouble focusing, I let Vital lead me, and he takes me in large journeys. This are fascinating and simultaneously ridiculous. But the horror begins, in the shape of nightmares.
At this stage I begin to be frightened. Just before each audit, for which I try my best to be late (and it shows), I get very scared. Afterwards the fear is permanent and for three days and nights I can't sleep. When I confess my trouble sleeping they recommend I take Calmax, another American drug that Barbara brings.
I don't risk taking anything, though I don't admit it to them, and I begin to think the nightmare is ending. Of course I can always just quit, but my work here will not be done. I've invested so much that I can't quit now. On the other hand, if I'm even a few minutes late, I get bombarded with phone calls and they look for me at the restaurants I usually frequent. The pressure is constant.
The hardest part is protecting myself from the auditor's commands, who began to go back in time until he commanded me "Go into your mother's vagina!". When he repeats the order he is a bit more polite: "Go to the moment of your conception!" these commands repeat times without end, according to him "This is to clean the engrams from the moment you were created in this life, so we can, afterwards, travel through your former lives."
But before that he tries to take me to the moment I was born, and make my "thetan" (spirit) watch my birth outside my body. I have great difficulty in describing what I "see", specially because I have to repeat it many times, but I manage to convince him.
At that moment he is specially pleased, and promises to take my "thetan" to the USA so that I can see for myself how my ex wife and daughter are doing. The hours of the audit are sheer torture.
Today, Vital Silva intends to take me to my last life before this one.
I enter a train filled with German soldiers. My job is to carry firewood. I invent a tunnel from which the train leaves, and a left turn, until an explosion derails the train. That's the moment of the "death of my former life",
The story was good and after the two hour questioning, including all the details (both from in and outside the body), he is pleased. After "bringing me back to the present" he smiles and exclaims "you nazi!"
Although it is risky, I keep making up stories at night and I study them carefully. When I've had enough I pretend to have a headache or having slept little, so the audits are only on every other day. Sometimes I hear groans from the next room, sobbing or heavy breathing like the breathing taught to women for childbirth.
The journeys no go back thousands of years. My knowledge of history and Jurassic Park support my defense. The "mouse" beats the "cat" however he can.
When Vital gets tired of travelling so far back in time he looks for more recent incidents. Unwillingly I am caught up in the death of my father and for the second time I struggle to keep my past untouched. My resistance is larger now, but I still suffer when I must repeat over and over the details of the funeral. One more session ends in tears of despair. When I get home I review the events and this time the emotions are still there. Valium seems to work.
For the first time I am invited to become a member of the PCS staff. After much insistence, I promise to think about. Each passing day I'm more certain that scientology, when applied to an unwary individual without a research purpose like I had, can make him defenseless. He'll be totally in the hands of the organization, like so many already are, and will have serious trouble surviving without the very expensive services of the PCS. The only way out will be to also depend economically of the ORG, selling their products and services, and recruiting more adepts for scientology. And that's what the big bosses want.
I found out my mother is seriously ill. I keep contact with her by phone, but she has trouble speaking because of a stroke. My state of mind changes and I inform them I am temporarily canceling my audits. "On the contrary" says Vital. He takes me to the audit room where he informs me my "thetan" will see exactly how my mother is doing. I let him lead, I just say yes to everything. What I want is to get out of there, but before I can they teach my how to help my mother "heal" through the assists. They sell me the book, give me a brief explanation and encourage me to try it.
The "assist" is a method created by LRH that the scientologists should apply to any sickness, except only for headaches. Apart from that, anything goes, from broken legs to coma. The principle is that the "thetan" causes 70 percent of all disease and inhibits or delays healing. It works by softly touching the body of the patient, with the purpose of getting the individual back in touch with reality, aside from relieving pain, etc..
In his theories, LRH defends that the "assist" does not replace medical treatment, however the "healer" is to decide. "The assist must not interfere with the doctor's work. The medical exams and diagnostics should be procured 'as needed'..." (the scientologist decides). And, further on: "It is doubtful that a total cure can be obtained only thorough medical treatment, and it is assured that the 'assist' can speed the healing process".
The audits are a permanent test. Vital Silva returns to several incidents. He no longer asks me to choose and he recapitulates all previous work, demanding an even greater effort not to miss the details that are part of the interrogation. One day, as I closed my eyes at the count of seven, I felt just like I did in 1971, doing a report on the Angra do Heroismo prison for 24 hours, when the jailer closed the cell door. A most unpleasant feeling, the loss of liberty. I noticed the same symptoms on the other audit subjects, but it was forbidden to talk about what went on during the audit, and I learnt that no one trusts anyone. I feel sorry for them.
Someone shows up claiming to be a reporter, but does not mention what company he works for. He is tested and asks for the courses available. Sara tells me the man will be subjected to the machine (e-meter) before he can initiate the courses. But he never comes back. Too bad...
Four hours before I leave to the airport I get a telephone call from the ethics officer. She says that she is going near the airport and asks me for a ride. She goes with me to the airport, to the check in , and all the way to the boarding lounge. For nearly two hours she stands by me. It was not by chance. Sara stresses the importance of using the "assist" on my mother. No way!
The days I spend in the Azores are used to read and reread all the documentation I have on scientology, from the philosophical principles of LRH, containing a "perfect" mix of the Buddhist and Christian teachings, and that could well turn any man into a modern day ascetic. A highly disciplined servant of a New World Order, with no country or gods, no past or present, just the "infinite look", never questioning the neuralgic centers of scientology, where the living is good on account of this army whose will was taken by, curiously, very expensive teachings. Scientology always presents itself as an alternative to psychiatry and psychology, less expensive for the patients, whom it never calls followers.
A beginning scientologist, interested and zealous, will have to spend for the first stage, lasting between one year and 18 months, something like six million escudos ($30.000) on books and services. This requires a full time presence at the ORG and, if some money is to be earned, he will have to sell scientology products, thus closing the vicious circle.
These numbers may make my German diplomat friend understand why the scientologists in his country are mostly high/middle class people. As for myself, I realize the smallness of the PCS and its as yet little noticeable influence on the Portuguese society. However this influence is growing, partly because of the Internet and a growing marketing aggressiveness, especially in the Lisbon area. The costs are probably a deterring factor. The scholarship grants in scientology pay, at most, 30 percent of the bill. However, these grants only supply extra materiel, and not a real discount on the amount paid.
This "church" deals this way with the "believers", and even so, it pays no taxes in some countries, like Portugal.
I return to Lisbon. The first question I'm asked is if I accept the invitation to be a part of the staff. They offer me the highest place available on the PCS: to help the executive director, the Spaniard Mendez. My task would be to help him prepare the work programs, as if I didn't know these not only are already made, but are the same for all the existing ORG.
They tell me [original in Spanish] "I am that son of a bitch! The one no one likes and you only have to tell them what to do".
I would be the middleman for the orders he had for the other staff members. As the orders, aside from strict, are not easy to follow, my task would be to make sure all projects are completed, and every day more ambitious.
I may as well go all the way: I accept. Looking back on these last four months of work, I think I have collected more than enough information to seriously contribute to a police investigation of this organisation. Having gained their trust is perhaps my biggest chance of achieving my final goal: to find out where they keep the written confessions and publish this report. The confessions are kept on the first floor, in Joana's locker.
After signing the papers that bind me to the PCS, I am informed by the ethics officer that I must sign some more papers and pass several tests, one of which is the lie detector (E-Meter).
I don't appear impressed. After all I know the test is not prepared, but since it is better to be safe than sorry, I excuse myself alleging some unfinished business that I must resolve, but that I will return in a week, maximum two, to dedicate myself entirely to scientology. Sara tells me that Tbnia (the Spaniard that put the PCS on their toes) and Mark (a German living in Madrid), who had been here twice, were thrilled with my joining scientology as a staff member. I show appreciation for that. My presence in the PCS is waning, being now reduced to brief meetings regarding the functions I "will" have.
Elisa and Joco meet me at the restaurant and insist that I do the E-Meter test as soon as possible. I think I see in A.C. a challenging look, specially when she insists on being present. A Spanish professional auditor is ready to test me and, among other questions, to ask me the one that may make the E-Meter jump: "Are you here to harm scientology in any way?"
I decide not to risk it, because the consequences are unpredictable. I know the fiendish machine and I know myself. I know the question will be put to me time and time again, in unexpected ways.
Scientology is over for me.
Left behind are the days of torture, the sleepless nights, the hallucination with machines commanding the brain, the mental struggle and the promiscuous life with an organisation that should be very well investigated by the police. This is just the contribution of someone who knew that on July the 26th, and "assist" was performed on an individual with stroke symptoms. Instead of taking him to the hospital, the man was left for six hours in the care of Teresa and Juan, in a tiny room. A former sales person and a Spaniard of unknown occupation caring for a man in critical condition.