Why I was declared a suppressive person

By Travers Harris

In 1980 my wife Corrie gave birth to our baby daughter. I had just completed a mission as Commanding Officer Johannesburg Org so we decided to take a leave of absence. In 1986 I received a phone call from the flag land base in Clearwater that they needed me to report for duty as they wished to purchase a new ship and they needed my expertise due to my past experience. I was reluctant to go but then received further calls from Dave Engelhard including Sue Price who was the CMO missionaire at the ship project and they begged me to come over. I told them we had 3 children to care for and it would be difficult for us. Sue promised me that they would help take care of the children and we would not be separated.

So we gave in and purchased tickets and flew over to Flag where we were cordially met at the airport by Dave Engelhard. I knew Dave from Flag where I was ships programs chief. It was late at night so we were taken to a small rather dilapidated little flatlet where we spent the next week. There were no beds only matrices but we made do. My daughter was 5 and we put her in a public school but the boys went to True School, a Scientology school. Corrie was not very happy about this. Then Corrie who was a reg at FOLO was put on as a flag reg and worked from 9am to 10 pm. Then she was made to babysit from 10pm until 2am sometimes 3am for another reg who worked a later shift. She was dead tired and could not care for our children properly. Then the elder boy was taken out of the true school and transferred to the CMO.

I was then told I must fly down to Miami and see the owner of the ship and negotiate with him. There were no mission orders which was what had to happen while I was still on the Flag Ship but just told to go. I asked for my flight ticket and money for food and they stared at me with a big Ohhh. So they called the FBO and she went and fetched money from treasury, no purchase order nothing, totally off policy. So I got the money purchased my ticket and flew to Miami and negotiated with the owner for 12M dollars. The next day I went to Tampa Bay met the captain and inspected the ship and I approved the purchase.

Then Corrie was getting into trouble for wearing make-up and perfume and the other girls were looking at her as if she was crazy for wearing it. Then I was attacked by Dave Engelhard and it became rather not very nice to put it mildly. I was going to be separated from my family and go on the ship. Corrie was not getting enough sleep, the 2 boys were not getting their education and it was just not a place for a family so we decided to leave. My wife phoned her father and asked him to purchase tickets for us to return to South Africa. One morning early, after receiving our flight tickets we left and flew back to South Africa.

I then went to see a lawyer and got him to write a threatening letter to Sue Price to pay us back the money we spent on the air fares which they did. After a couple of weeks I was phoned by Anne Hogarth and told to collect my cheque for $6,500.00 and I was declared suppressive. I spent 22 years with the movement and today at the age of 73 I am still paying for my involvement with that outfit.


29 thoughts on “Why I was declared a suppressive person

  1. Thank you for helping Travis.
    Sorry you had to get a rude awakening by trying to help out in a nut house.
    I have always felt that there is a thin line between an OT and a nut. Some people really do exhibit OT characteristics such as honor and ability and excellent communication and wisdom. A nut can mock up ability which is really a delusion. A nut can talk big and do some very irresponsible things but can try to make it appear as if they are doing something “OT”. It is amazing to me how many people can buy into the nuts PR and propaganda.
    I hope your life has been smoothing out since you have gotten way.

    • So true Tony. The nut OT must be called a NOT.

      I attended a special Flag briefing where the powers to be attained on OT VII were part of the gig. Edi Lundeen was the main speaker. The main benefit that was promoted by more than one OT was the lucky way they all managed to get opportune parking spaces when they were looking for a spot……….

  2. Hey Travis, I get your pain! For the church your family was not important, it was the church that took preference. Its so insidious and yet, you, your family were declared. This is the problem. the church teaches us to look, dont listen. We are taught obnosis. We are told to communicate, but in the end, all we are taught works against us. The church is possibly the most unsafe invironment to practice the tech. It is possibly the most dangerous environment to just be. My thoughts are with you and your family. I know what the betrayal feels like. It stays with you no matter how hard you fight it.

  3. Thank you Travers for sharing this story on this blog.
    Sue Price has been a long term “executive” on Freewinds….
    I have a story about her.
    I received some gentle communications from a young guy some 3 years ago.
    He had a story to tell.
    He got into some kind of trouble at INT Base. (Gold Base)
    At which point, he was kicked off base. He was about 16 years old.
    He was driven to a Greyhound Bus station with a back pack, given $300 and told to
    more or less get a life !
    His parents disconnected from him and never once was there any communication, his letters to him were unanswered.
    As we talked back and forth, I asked how he was doing.
    He is a young man now, doing really well in the computer industry.
    He landed on his feet ! But the reason he was in touch with me was he was now a father with a young child..
    His Sea org parents, having disconnected from him did not know they were grandparents !
    Longingly he asked if there was anyway I could find out how they were doing.
    “What is your mother’s name?” I asked.
    “Sue Price” was the answer. “Sue Price, CMO.”
    Still on Freewinds “saving the planet !”

    • A horrible, horrible story. You can really lose your conscience when you think what you’d like to do to this kind of parent. Thanks, Mr. Hubbard for setting this kind of behavior in motion. You have many destroyed families to account for. Including your own!

  4. the church teaches us to look, dont listen. We are taught obnosis. We are told to communicate
    I hate to differ, but those are the things that Ron taught us. The ‘church’ taught us something quite different.
    The church taught us things like,
    blind allegiance to the organization in the face of their abject failure to abide by even the most basic policies and technologies of Scientology.
    Things like bankrupting oneself or committing gross financial irregularities to pursue an increasingly expensive course of self improvement that the founder desperately tried to keep within reach of working class men and women.
    Things like closing ones eyes and ears to justifiable criticisms of church management and practices.
    Things like shutting our mouths when outpoints within the church are abounding all around us.
    Things like shunning those among us who dare to openly object to such outpoints.
    Things like accepting a worsening set of circumstances across the organization, such as dwindling student numbers and well done auditing hours.
    Things like the major shift of focus from making auditors and OTs, to erecting drywall palaces and meaningless membership statuses.
    Things like blatant changes and alterations to the basic tech of Scientology.
    And many, many more…
    I could go on, but you get my drift. The organization has drifted so far off its original course, it’s a wonder that anyone still supports it. It no longer bears the slightest resemblance to anything contained in its scriptures or policies.

    • Very much ‘on the money’ Ronnie. In fact, so much so, that the lack of resemblance, should hardly be surprising! The switch, of course, was accomplished through the utmost stealth, that would have confounded even the late, great, Harry Houdini. Latterly, the incredible David Blaine, would probably have some interesting commentary, were he convinced to do so.
      Of course, the whole essence of the game of the “church” has become pure “mind control” and of course the ‘flock’ thereof, become it’s “sheeple!”
      Therefore, the CO$ is demonstrably now in the “sheeple farming” business!
      The VFP? “Fully ‘fleeced’, compliant, CO$ brow beaten, adherents, with NO remaining self determinism to prevent total self sacrifice, (to the ‘group’)
      Hard to conjure up how an innocuous little creature called a ‘squirrel”, could have it’s ‘name’, so maligned, with depravity of this insane group.

  5. The ‘official church of scientology’ a synonym for the group is all,
    the individual nothing, a synonym for the group is all the familiy is nothing.
    In todays world it stands for the things one ascribes to heartless, unfeeling, devil oriented and without any granting of beingness or knowledge of life and livingness. The opposite of all L.Ron Hubbard and his family stood for. Today it is a Church from Hell.
    I knew Travers when he was Chief Officer on the Athena , a bit wild but a real person, the new bunch clearly tried to enslave his family and failed. To be a slave one first has to agree.

  6. Travers, you had the chance to be able to leave quietly the base, which is not the case of everybody!!
    I am sure you enjoy now your children and grand-children (?), but for sure it is always a big disappointment to see the group you had chosen turning evil and mad.
    I wish you all the best!!!

  7. Well, of course you were declared, Travers. Taking charge of your own life and responsibility for the care and long term well being of your family…what crimes!
    My husband and I stole away in the night from PAC SO in1979 with our 15 month old son – for the same reasons….the organization was so dysfunctional it was clearly no place for us to learn and mature let alone raise children. We were lucky we had a small car and a few dollars saved. You were lucky to have family to call on. And what fortitude to get an attorney and stick to your rights!
    And Karen’s story about Sue Price!!! The only way I can imagine how Sue Price allowed her young son to be offloaded, disconnected from, is understanding the depth of disassociation from familial feelings that is a “must” in the cold, steel armor of loyal and true Sea Org members. By the time her baby boy was 15 she must have felt nothing for him except pity and contempt as a traitor….or merely nothing.
    We are the fortunate ones.

  8. Unfortunately another story of abuse and the typical “I don’t care about you” attitude once they have used you. Lets keep going with the blog and other actions until these abuses really come to light and the desperately needed changes by the Church does occur. Thank you Travis for what you did then and for the story.

  9. Travers, thanks for sharing your ordeal. I hope you are able to take some degree of solace from the fact that, you are among a huge number of Scn’s world wide, that have been through similar hardship. Some less so, but some definitely worse.
    Just a few years younger than you today, I thank my lucky stars , that I put my foot down HARD over 30 years ago, when recruitment tried the same stunt with us!
    At least, if nothing else, Travers, you have the advantage of increasing self determinism, once extricated from the total “mind control” of the CO$.
    Here on Scn Africa, you have the ideal platform to rebuild the positives that were formerly
    available in the original LRH brand Scientology.
    Open Communication is/always was, the key.
    Calvin, Durban.

  10. What a heart wrenching story. Yet another horrendous situation where the importance of family was tossed aside in lieu of what was in the best interest of the group. But I have a question about which ship Mr. Harris is referring to, just for clarity sake, since it isn’t specifically named.
    Historical clarification: A ship purchased in 1986 would seemingly be the Freewinds. However, the Wikipedia article on the Freewinds states that ownership of the ship passed into Scientology-related hands on 1985. That dating is also supported by reputable citations. So I’m wondering if maybe this first hand account is off by a year? Or is this testimonial about a different ship? Or was there perhaps several stages of ship ownership changes involved here related to initial purchase of the Freewinds vs. approval for the ship to be put into use by the FSO/FSSO?

    • It was commented on that the ship was purchased in 1985. This is
      > incorrect.>
      > My family and I arrived in Clearwater in March 1986. Flag had not yet
      > purchased the ship. I went to Miami shortly after my arrival to see
      > the owner of the ship who’s first comment to me was “I liked the look
      > of your companies bank account”. This was sent to him earlier. He gave
      > me permission to visit the ship which was I think docked in Palm Bay.
      > He also told me not to tell the Captain that we were to purchase the
      > ship but to tell him that our company was to hire the ship to take us
      > on a sea cruise.>
      > After returning to the base I went with a colleague to visit the ship
      > and meet the captain who was a Dutchman. We had lunch with him in the
      > ship’s dining room and discussed various issues and after lunch my
      > colleague and I inspected the ship and took photographs. This was all
      > done in > 1986 the year > of LRHs death. The dates are all stamped in my passport.
      > So if the Wikipedia article says 1985 it is incorrect.

  11. Thanks for your contribution at the time Travers. I hope things are well with you today.

    I trust your kids are grown up and doing fine?

    Well done for still contributing here. Our combined stories all add up and push the little mielie cob a bit further down the road of his demise.

    I had the same question as well. Was that the Freewinds?


  12. As I read these stories I keep thinking : “Promise? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think that it means.”

    Based on the memoirs I’ve read promise from a Scientology official seems to fall somewhere between “suggestion” and “meaningless babble” on the sincerity scale.

  13. I have a difficult question for the forum. (But open discussion is my only intention!)
    So many of these stories of abuse come from a time when LRH was still alive, in charge and fully involved.. How do indies reconcile themselves with this fact? No person is perfect even Ghandi had critics but the culture of abuse started during LRH’s life.
    Did DM simply take over the reins and use that existing abusive, controlling culture to start the ideal org program and make himself a billionaire?

    • There was Ron the author, LRH the tech writer and then the Commodore. The change came about in 1962 with introduction of the Ethics Tech. Originally the thrust was to address the individual to create greater self-determination and ability. Then the thrust became to wipe out contenders like psychiatry by having an unassailable organization.
      This change is well described by Dennis Stephens in “reminiscences of Ron.” Just google.

  14. Travers I’m sorry myself sometimes for having been a part of the problem 1974-2012. I read an interesting tale yesterday you may find helpful: I’m a finance gal and was reading P.T. Barnum’s 36 page write-up called ‘The Art of Money Getting’ p19 “… he will learn something every day, and he will find he will make mistakes nearly every day. And these very mistakes are helps to him in the way of experiences if he but heeds them.”
    We spent a lot of our life, our time, our money, some of us our mind and some of us our health. IF we can try to heed the lessons we have learned along the way we are in fact better off after all.
    I wish you and your family health and happiness and have much respect that you have all stuck together.

  15. I would like to further comment The only ship that was at the FLB in 1986 was LRHs yacht the Enchanter later renamed the Diana. But this was no longer a ship or a yacht it was just a shell, a piece of scrap metal. Everything removed including the sails and the masts and the instruments, it was basically a piece of scrap metal. Part of the ship project that was formed at that time was to restore her to her former beauty.

  16. Hello Travers — I don’t know if you remember me — this is Leonard (Len) Bolton — you got me into Scientology in Johannesburg1974.
    I emigrated to the US and went up to OTVII but left the church in the great schism of 1982. At first I went with David Mayo (his wife Julie had audited me at Flag) and did a few things before leaving Scientology completely in 1983.
    I learned a few things in the subject, didn’t ask for my money to be returned but have never looked back or regretted leaving. I went on to prosperity, good health, a successful grown family with three kids and have pursued other (and better) spiritual practices since.
    Unlike many scios you had a lot of credibility with me and I’m glad that you seemed to have untangled yourself from that complicated church and prevailed.
    Best wishes,
    Len Bolton

  17. In 1986 when I finally resigned from Scientology it was because of the abuse suffered by myself in the sea org also in 1964 to 1966 in Cape Town org when ethics virtually destroyed that org. My first introduction to auditing made me decide that being an auditor would be my new career and I gave up my lucrative profession in the graphic arts to become an auditor. Cape Town org was flourishing at the time and I worked day, evenings and weekends. Pay was not good but OK. In 1964 and 1965 the ethics policies were written and introduced by LRH and in 1965 a mission arrived from Joburg and declared a few key staff suppressive like Raymond Bester who was the Qual Sec. They also appointed an ethics officer, Errol Savige who started to declare the public suppressive for not attending course. I introduced my best friend to Scientology but he got married while on course and was on honeymoon and he got declared. That episode virtually destroyed Cape Town org and they had to vacate their beautiful premises and moved into a dismal little house. I completed my contract and got a job in my profession to earn some cash.
    In 1968 I joined the Sea Org at the AO in Alicante Spain. It was being run by a senior SO executive who was a South African by the name Jill van Staden. There were students from all over the world and it was what I expected from an AO and it was a wonderful experience. The AO was then moved to Scotland and the Spanish one closed down and I along with others were transferred to the station ship Avon River. After filling all the forms in I got to bed at 3:00 AM the next morning at 5:15 AM I was awoken by a 15 year old kid and told I was to stand quarter master watch. He gave me a guided tour of the ship and I noticed there were several young girls chipping the rust off the deck and they were all exhausted and half asleep, all assigned penalties and put in non-existence or liability. These girls were also minors. I was still groggy and totally out of present time. I was given an old pair of overalls a bit tattered and there I was the quarter master of the watch.
    At about 9:00 AM the same morning a young girl came up to me and assigned me a condition of non-existence for wearing the tattered old overalls and told to report to the ethics officer who then assigned me a penalty to paint the ship’s bridge for the next 24 hours together with the little 15 year old kid who gave me the overalls. By this time I was absolutely exhausted and my mind started wondering and I thought of blowing. I worked through the night and the next morning allowed to go sleep.
    After a few hour I was awakened by the chief engineer Dick Winfield and told that I was appointed as a greaser in the engine room and told we will set sail the next morning to North Africa where we will meet up with LRH on the flag ship Royal Scotsman. We set sail and during the voyage the piston rings broke on the main piston so when we reached our destination we were all assigned a condition of doubt and ordered to work non-stop for 72 hours and repair the piston.
    Then LRH arrived on his ship and our chief engineer was recalled to the flag ship to be comm-eved with a charge of criminal neglect to the engines of the flotilla. I was then appointed chief engineer. Needless to say I knew nothing about ships engines but here I was the chief engineer. Later a commodore’s messenger arrive to see me said the commodore wants to know when I will be ready to sail as they needed the ship to sail urgently. The engine room was in an absolute shambles with pistons and rings lying all over the show so I said to the messenger to tell LRH if he sent me someone who knows what is going on we can maybe sail in the next couple of days. So he sent back the Chief engineer and we repaired the engines and set sail for the Greek Islands.
    That was my introduction to the Sea Org. We spent around 8 months in the Greek Islands and they started the class 8 course where I witnessed every morning how terrified students were thrown overboard for mistakes they had committed. To me this was all just insanity.
    22 years later after returning from flag and having experienced that suppression all over again I decided that I had enough and I would not allow my family to be subject to that abuse. It was a difficult decision as Scientology was my life. However I was introduced to some other spiritual practices and later realised that Scientology is not the only road. Today after the discovery of quantum physics, a new branch of spirituality has been created. It has become a new science and takes spirituality further. In the new science one of the discoveries made is that illness and disease can be cured even such dreaded diseases as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can be cured. I thought these new discoveries could enhance the subject of scientology further. My goodness what a boost if Scientologists could heal cancer and heart disease etc. The independent movement would fly ahead of the official church.
    There is LRH policy stating that things never stay the same, they either contract or expand, get better or get worse. There is also policy that absolutes are not attainable. If LRH were alive today he would take cognisance of the amazing discoveries made in science of the new spirituality and he would without a doubt incorporate them in his tech. So I thought of posting a few comments on the Indy Website about these new discoveries but it appears that I got excommunicated by Sinar and I do not receive further posts or allowed to post further.
    My take is as follows: David Miscavige is creating an image of an insane organisation in the public eye and is destroying the movement. He is a psychotic individual undoubtedly, I have worked with several in the SO and I know them. They made the lives of many miserable. All the guys who worked closely with LRH including his messengers have been declared suppressive. By preventing the now independent Scientologist from accessing the new discoveries in science and technology is short sighted and selfish. I feel that this new technology should be embraced which would greatly benefit Scientology. Dianetics was involved with a process of visioning and many others as well. The new science also involves visioning and laying on of hands.

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