Editor’s Note: We received the following article from Antony Phillips – a pioneering Scientologist from the 50’s who worked in London. He and Rhona Smit got back in comm earlier this year, and after Rhona left, her daughter Shelley maintained the comm line with Antony. He talks of his early days in Scientology and has a special message for us here at back-in-comm.
In February 2014 Rhona Smit contacted me. She knew me from when she was HCO Secretary in London in 1957, and had seen my home page. I was overjoyed. I am working on documenting some of the things that happened in the 50s in London, and there are not many live sources around any more. It was also glorious to comm with someone who remembered those times.
We carried on a lively communication via Skype and email, and I anticipated getting up speed when she had got some things sorted out around her.
And then she died in connection with an air trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town. That was a surprise and a shock.
I was thrown out of the “Church” of Scientology 30 years ago, and after a while I lost interest in what was happening in the “Church” (I felt had done sufficient amends for my part in building up what became a suppressive monstrosity). Since being thrown out in 1983 I have done a bit of auditing, run a magazine for “Free Scientologists”, participated in “Free Scientology” conferences and generally got on with life. I got less interested about what was happening in the “Church”. I have also done some “odd” things like participate in a Class Action Suite (legal thing) against the “Church” (which “fizzled out”).
However, since Rhona contacted me, and I learned a bit about what is going on in South Africa, I got interested again and concerned, and wondered how/if I could help. Hearing other peoples stories has helped me, so perhaps hearing mine will help you or others reading this blog. It is possible that I got “thrown out” before some reading this heard the word Scientology (I’m an old grey beard!).
From 1980 to 1982 I participated in some very successful courses, two levels of the Saint Hill Briefing Course, The Professional Product Debug Course, the first (later cancelled, I understood because Sea Org Members blew after receiving it) Happiness Rundown Course – 1981 check sheet and materials which do not exist so far as present Church records I have seen show. I was also receiving NOTS auditing (NOTS did not have an OT number at that time), and (coincidentally!) when my money ran out a long and peculiar chain of actions took place where I was required to write up my overts in various places ending up at some thing called Deck Project Force, which was only for staff, and I was not on staff. Most weird. But weirdness of various (off policy!) types is not a stranger to most who read this, so no need to go into detail. Except that one day I got routed to an Ethics Office (or was it Master at Arms), who told me I was a Suppressive Person, that I was to leave the org, not talk to any one (I guess she meant any Scientologists) except her, and was to come back to her when I had found my overt.
Uncomfortable – all my friends were Scientologists – I got a tape and a book I had lent to two people back in the post with no sender address. Sort of “rubbing salt in the wounds”.
Now this is the point (I think 🙂 ) In 1957, I had run for six months a weekly Personal Efficiency Course by a special method. See this link:
For about 26 weeks I had a new group of people each week and worked to get them to understand so they could use basic Scientology data (affinity, reality, communication, eight dynamics, create-survive-destroy, Tone Scale) and get them to give examples of using them in life. Since that time, my experience had only confirmed the validity of these things.
In 1983 all my friends were Scientologists, and with a stroke I had lost all my friends (the Ethics Officer telling me I must not talk to any of them, and to my knowledge and they would have received instructions not to contact to me). I was completely in the dark as to why this had happened to me, and what was going on in the so-called “Church” (I had always been doubtful about calling it a “religion”). But the basic data I knew from years of experience was true for me and I got to work using that data to get a better job (I was working at a poorly paid night job, hoping to make my living teaching business people LRH Admin Tech as a member of WISE – and that chance was apparently gone).
While I was quite confused as to what happened to the organisation I regarded as the official Scientology body I still had stable data about life which I gained from Scientology and the core of that was things I learned “teaching” the Personal Efficiency Course in 1957. I knew those things worked.
I was lucky. A friend who I had met on the Briefing Course (he lived with me every three weeks when he got a week’s leave from his medical orderly oil rig job and went on the Briefing Course in Copenhagen) sent me what was called “The Dane Tops Letter”. I showed it to one fellow, who had also been “declared”. He looked at it wisely and said “If you send this to anyone, don’t put your address on the envelope” (looking back, I think this was silly advice!). I sent it anonymously to four or five others, and next day one of them rang me (we had telephones those days, not mobile, and no Internet) and asked if I sent it. And from that day there was a group of six or so, apart from me still in the “Church”, who met in my flat weekly, and this early group blossomed out to a somewhat richer life than that I had had the previous years.
We formed something called Det Europæiske Informationscenter (DEI – In English, the European Information Centre), where we offered information packs on the “Church” and and Scientology services and terminals outside to addresses we knew of in Scandinavia, and exchanged information with up to 40 people in various parts of the world (all by post, using old fashioned copy machines – Internet and Personal Computers were still dreams in some nerds’ heads). At that time there came into existence some Free Scientology magazines in English, and there was a demand for something in Danish, and something was set up (Uafhængige Synspunkter – Independent Viewpoints). Later I started, with help from other parts of the planet, the magazine IVy (short for Independent Viewpoints), which went all the way from create to destroy – fortunately some of the many helpers set all issues up in pdf form at http://articles.ivymag.org/
Now, being rather forced to by meeting Rhona again (thanks to Skype and email) and then suddenly losing her, I begin to wonder: Do the people who came into Scientology after I was thrown out have such a deep understanding of Scientology basics as I had then? Are those basics part of their (your) stable data?
There is life outside the official Scientology bodies – the possibility for a rather a rich and varied life, with freedom to join and leave various groups existing and even form and close your own group and little inhibition on free communication (Internet is a marvellous tool, which Ron, despite being a Science Fiction writer, I do not think ever dreamed of). I wish you, each and everyone reading these words lots more fun and freedom than loyal “Church” members” have.
Antony Phillips – firstname.lastname@example.org