[Note: Andrew & Shelley’s story is compelling and we feel it should be told in full. We will be serialising this story over the next week or so. Here is part one]
It’s difficult to know where to begin when one has spent their entire lives connected to and living within a belief system like Scientology. Possibly one of the worst things about this is trying to “separate” the subject of Scientology from who the being really is – in other words, what part is Scientology, and what part is the person? Both Andrew and I have grappled with this quite a bit as we continue to find our way out of the Church’s convoluted labyrinths and traps which have been cleverly set-up to hold one under control. Not that we think this was ever LRH’s intention, but it is certainly has become the operating procedure of the Church today.
Both our stories in SCN are complex and multi-faceted. We couldn’t possibly cover everything in just one article, so we have decided to break our story up into “chapters”. This way, the readers don’t go into overwhelm, and our story can be told in bite size pieces, making it easier to digest. Certain stories or incidents deserve to stand on their own as entirely separate articles, and we will also post these from time to time.
How it all began
Interestingly enough, both of our mothers worked for and with LRH. My mom (Rhona Smit) in the 50’s. She both audited and was audited by LRH, was the first ever appointed HCO EXEC SEC WW. She also arranged the purchase of Saint Hill on his instruction (but sadly never got to see it as she left for Australia shortly after).
Andrew’s mom (Monica Quirino) worked with LRH in the 60’s and is possibly one of the longest serving Sea Org members on the planet – we believe still on post at FLB. Andrew accompanied his mother and 3 siblings on first embarkation onto The Royal Scostman ship (later to become the Apollo) in 1967.
Andrew was one of the first appointed LRH CMO’s, and expected to hold a post just as anyone else aboard. He was assigned his first lowered ethics condition by LRH for mucking around in an out-of-bounds area. He was also over-boarded despite not being able to swim (he was only 7 years old), and like many others, spent time in the chain-locker – courtesy of Otto Roos who was the E/O at the time. He was close friends with Arthur Hubbard, and received Power Processing C/S’d by LRH. He finally returned to South Africa at the age of 10 having experienced more adventures than many people have in an entire lifetime.
Andrew’s and my paths crossed in the Polly Street Org in March 1976 at an LRH Birthday event. Those were the days when an event was a real party, accompanied by champagne and beer (which us kids would sneak out and drink on the balcony of the academy) while listening to loud music, much merriment and everyone getting it down on the dance floor (who remembers those good ‘ol days?). Andrew asked me to dance, and so began a life-long relationship which although only lasting 5 years that round, eventually came full circle in 2002 when we “found” each other again – and have never been apart since.
By 1976 I had completed the HAS and HQS courses, and had a substantial amount of auditing – especially objective processes. Because I was always in the org during school holidays, I was the “guinea pig” PC for any student needing to do a practical drill – as a result, I have no idea what auditing processes were being run on me, but I do know that I became very touchy about being overrun – which obviously happened many times.
Andrew joined staff in 1976 and I followed suit in 1978. I was the Dir Comm in the Guardians Office, and Andrew the Course Sup for JBG Day (which then became Day, FDN and weekends – not by his choice). Between the two of us, we have served a combined 15 years on staff. During this time, Andrew was sent to Flag twice – first on a Pro-TR’s pilot which was supposed to take 3 weeks and ended up being 13 months, and then to do his Flag Course Sup Internship – he got a TR’s pass from LRH personally. (No longer valid of course, thanks to GAT).
In late 79/early 1980, an order was received that ALL GO staff had to do the Ministers Course and be ordained. I finished the course in under checksheet time, and at the age of 16, would have been the youngest ordained minister ever, but my auditor, Gisela Metzner, using PC session data, felt that I should not be ordained due to “moral turpitude” (in other words, I had divulged during session that Andrew and I had slept with each other, and this was a total no-no in Gisela’s opinion) – not that there was any policy on this (we did not fall under Sea Org rules), it was just the personal viewpoint of Gisela – very straight-laced, sanctimonious holier-than-thou member of the former Nazi Youth German Arian race. So no dog-collar and cross for me.
By this time (early 80’s) things in the GO were becoming hot and heavy with constant and imminent threats of being raided by the police. PC files were being removed off the org premises and sent as far afield as Mozambique. Obviously being in South Africa, we were somewhat remote to what was going down in the USA with Mary-Sue and the FBI raids, etc, but none-the-less, the edict came down from the top that all Ethics files be vetted, and so began the “vetting parties” of removing incriminating evidence from Ethics files. Originally, it started with black koki pens, striking out all the “sensitive” data (who, what, when, how) but then the order came down that the whole word had to be permanently removed by means of a razor blade. Eventually, so much was being cut out of each page, it was any wonder the entire page didn’t disintegrate when held up to the light.
An O/W write up would look something like this. On (CUT OUT) myself and (CUT OUT) went to (CUT OUT) in (CUT OUT). We (CUT OUT) and we (CUT OUT) and then we went to (CUT OUT) where we (CUT OUT). This happened on (CUT OUT). The people who know about this are (CUT OUT- CUT OUT- CUT OUT).
For the record, I was the one who vetted Rena Weinberg’s ethics file (she went on to become ED ABLE INT after the GO was disbanded). And here I was, this young (maybe not so innocent seeing as I wasn’t ordained) 16 year-old vetting the ethics file of a B1 GO staff member. It was a joke, to say the least.
While we were on staff, both Andrew and I attested to Clear in 1979 after doing the DCSI. (Dianetic Clear Special Intensive – forerunner of the CCRD). I also did Gr0 (in those days, DCSI was done before the Grades). My Clear certificate wasn’t ready at the time of attesting, so I went to get it at a later stage and was told by Katie Botha (no e-meter, no session R-factor, just in the HGC hallway) that as far as she was concerned, I was not Clear, and refused to give me my cert (she also happened to be a schoolteacher of mine and didn’t like me for some or other reason – probably due to my inherent rebellious nature at school, preferring to be the class clown than one of the clones). I was devastated at her invalidation of my state, and I must admit this sent me off the rails for a number of years after.
By this point Andrew and I had drifted apart, married other people and started our own families – although we still remained in touch socially throughout this period right up until 1990 or thereabouts. Between the two of us, we racked up two marriages each and 7 children from those marriages.
From around 1986 I was very much on the fringes of Scientology – only attending the occasional event – including of course, the one where LRH’s death was announced.
Andrew, in the interim eventually left staff in 1984 as his first child was due and he had to earn a living to support his family – so he too, went off lines for a while. He also had a number of ARC Breaks which occurred around this time:
- His father (Owen Jackson) who had joined the Sea Org got beaten up by Owen Starky, resulting in Owen (Jackson) blowing the Sea Org and later on contracting cancer, despite being OTIV.
- Andrew was having trouble with his wife who kept going out 2d, so he sent her to the org for an ethics handling. The Ethics Officer (Des Khoury) who handled her cycle also ended up in bed with her! This ultimately led to the end of Andrew’s marriage, leaving him with two small boys under the age of 4 to raise on his own. This, for Andrew, was the ultimate betrayal by the Church and the end of his association with Scientology for the next 15 years.
Around 1993 I decided to go back to the org to try sort out my situation – I did my 2nd Purif (the 1st one I did while on staff in the GO), and then went for a D of P metered interview with Peggie Labuschagne who validated my state of Clear, indicating the previous invalidation had been gross out-tech. I was elated and promptly bought HGC auditing, only to be declared an illegal PC by Des Khoury who was the Snr C/S at the time (long story) – again, dashed hopes of going up the bridge.
In 1995 my illegal PC status was lifted as having been incorrectly assigned, and once again I was allowed on the bridge – I did all the “lower bridge” actions including re-running and checking Objectives, and then onto the SARD, WTH RD, Drug RD, ARC X Wire in preparation for the grades (in the days of the DCSI, NED was run first, many people attested to Clear, and THEN went on to do the Grades etc).
By this point I was becoming more active on-lines and helping the org with various activities, including running a “Sunday School” for young Scientologists. I also did a lot of CCHR work “behind the scenes”. I couldn’t be overtly working for CCHR as an ex-GO staff member (in those days, telling anyone you had worked in the GO was akin to telling a priest you were a Satanist who had sacrificed babies on the alter). I got involved in FSM activities, achieving Power FSM for bringing 25 people into the org in one week, and I was active on the Parents Committee of Summerhill School (the Applied Scholastics School based in Midrand) which all 3 of my kids attended. Around this time I also started working on the Southern African Arts Festival (sister to the Saint Hill Arts Festival).
At some point, the decision was made that the org had to move. Johannesburg City Centre was a dangerous environment and public were starting to refuse to come into the org (a few people had been mugged – including my mother, and one person was even shot dead in front of the org). And so new premises were found and bought. This, I believe, was the first time the idea of “straight fundraisers” started, and I attended all the early fundraisers – in those days, you were considered an absolute hero if you gave more than R500. I remember pledging R300 which to me was a small fortune. In comparison to today’s fundraising, we were playing tiddlywinks.
In August 2002, Andrew’s and my lives crossed paths again and I recovered him back into Scientology. The rest, as they say in the classics, is history. We finally tied the knot on the 27th June 2007 – on the day it snowed in Johannesburg!
And so began our 10+ year journey of all-out support of Johannesburg Org. This started when the org was still in the Main Street building, and we spent hours on CF and Treasury files as well as working on the new building, sanding, painting and anything else required of us.
The intention of moving out of Johannesburg was to establish a safe space so that Scientologists could continue up the bridge without the fear of being mugged, shot or having their car stolen. The new org in Kensington was on the constant verge of being done, but new directives kept coming down from Int to build more and expand further, and I believe this was the beginning of what we now know as “The Ideal Org Strategy”.
Right up to and through the move into the new org, we worked alongside staff helping in every way that we could – this was a time of camaraderie and one of the few times I can honestly say that the field and staff were one team. It was a major affair for Joburg Org and the South African Scientology scene in general. Finally, when our brand-new org was unveiled in November 2013, we were incredibly proud of our achievement – and so, the concept of “Ideal Orgs” was now the new yardstick internationally.
END OF THE BEGINNING