After unpacking my bags in my room, I sat down at the little round table next to the window and looked out onto the parking lot. People were streaming in to the front doors of the hotel below me. Just 30 days earlier, we had gotten word that CAN had elected a new Executive Director.
And already we had taken him out.
It turned out that CAN had elected a sex pervert as their leader.
Once he’d hit our RADAR, OSA agents had looked into his past and found a conviction for soliciting a male prostitute on his record a decade earlier. Digging further, they had been able to obtain the transcripts of the undercover arresting officer, the pretty boy standing on the street corner in Baltimore when CAN’s leader had approached him. The officer reported that a man had walked up and asked what he could get for $50. The officer further wrote that, “Subject said to me, ‘I want you to put clothes pins on my nipples and suck my dick.’”
This quote had appeared in the Church of Scientology’s newsletter that they sent nationwide to every member of CAN, along with their new Exec Dir’s mug shot, after they had obtained CAN’s mailing list. He had been quietly forced out, and CAN was presently a headless organization, decapitated by OSA.
So the Good Guys were winning.
I made my way down to the conference. The place was packed. Off the lobby, there was a hotel bar, a restaurant, and then further down the hallway was a large conference room. People were standing in line, waiting to get in. They were checking a list of registered attendees, and handing them their yellow badges.
After a few minutes of getting myself oriented, and seeing no one else I recognized, I headed into the bar to collect my thoughts and figure out what my strategy would be. Maybe I could overhear some conversations in there and get some valuable intelligence. Maybe I would see those girls again. Maybe I could get a break that would blow this whole thing wide open.
So I sat down at the bar and ordered a beer. I thought, “What the hell. It’s Friday, it’s about 3pm. Well, 2:30 anyway. And I want to blend in, right?”
Scattered in small groups, some at the bar, and some sitting around tables, you could see the yellow badges of religious intolerance huddled together. My inner contempt must not become outer derision. I must act curious, and oblivious to what is going on. I need a cover, a suitable guise, as LRH had instructed his OSA agents: I am an insurance salesman, here on business.
My beer came, and I took a drink of it. Two men and a woman in their forties, wearing badges, sat down at the corner of the bar nearest me. They ordered beers. “They’re probably alcoholics” I thought. I listened to what they were talking about while pretending to scan the different beers on tap behind the bar.
One of the men and the woman were married. The other guy seemed to be alone and they had just met. The woman was talking about her son, and how he had joined a cult a few years earlier and had changed over night, she claimed. She said that every time they talked, he seemed to go further and further away.
That’s because of your own invalidation and evaluation, I thought. If these people only knew TRs, and how to communicate, none of this would have happened to them. I downed the rest of my beer and ordered another.
Soon, the bar began really filling up with people. Maybe there was a speech that had just ended, or maybe it was just Miller Time for these wogs. I sat and looked around the room. All these people seemed to have some family member who had joined an alternative religion that they did not approve of, and they had driven them away with their milque-toast, middle class values and robotic, materialistic ways. Their sons and daughters and husbands and wives had broken free to pursue their own dreams, and these people were here, plotting how to deprogram them and pull them back in to their small minded hells.
As I finished my third one, and ordered my fourth, a badge sat down next to me at the bar. Our eyes met and I smiled. He nodded. This is it, I thought. My mission has begun.
Pointing to his badge, I asked innocently, “What kind of conference is this?”
“The Cult Awareness Network.”
“The Cult-Awareness-Network” I repeated back, as if I was learning a new phrase from a foreign language.
“Yes. It’s a group that helps people who have lost others to cults.”
“Oh. Lost others to cults. Seems like a lot of people.”
“Yes. We deal with over 1200 cults across the US. We send out information to people so that they can try to get their family members back. What are you doing here?”
“I’m in insurance. Taking a class. Here on business.”
“I see. “
We sat in silence for a while, looking at the others in the bar.
I began thinking about pan determinism, the Scientology concept that if you could take responsibility for both sides of a game, you could rise above it. There were definitely two sides here, and if I could keep my TRs in and really try to understand this whole thing – outside of my own viewpoint – then maybe I might be on to something. So I asked him
“Did you lose someone to a cult?”
“Yes. My wife and daughter. About 5 years ago, the three of us joined a group in Montana that turned out to be a cult. I saw it but my wife didn’t. When I started speaking up about what I saw, they immediately began working on my wife and daughter. They kicked me out. My wife and daughter stayed and now they want nothing to do with me.”
He looked very sad. I could tell he was being restimulated by this whole conference and this problem of his was being made more acute by the environment he was in. They were all restimulating each other into a frenzy of religious intolerance.
“Don’t you think they have a right to their own religious choices?”
He looked at me. “Of course. But why can’t they talk to me? Don’t you think there’s something wrong when whole families are destroyed just because of a religious choice?”
My family had not been destroyed by my religious choice, I thought. In fact, my family had come closer together over Scientology because I had recruited every one of them into it.
I said, “That’s a good question. I hadn’t thought of that.”
He picked up his beer and walked over to some other attendees.
I ordered another beer.