Robert Vaughn Young on Scientology
Hello & Goodbye from Robert Vaughn Young
The following message was posted to the alt.religion.scientology newsgroup, on Feb. 23, 2000. It is reproduced here by the kind permission of its author, Robert Vaughn Young.
Saturday, February 19, 2000 Greetings, I haven't posted to ARS for awhile and am choosing this moment to say hello and goodbye. Because it has been awhile and since I'm signing off, I'll take the liberty of a few extra words. To those who don't know me, I was in Scientology for about 21 years. Until Jesse Prince stepped forward, I was the highest-ranking Scientology executive to speak about the organization without its approval. I served in and saw virtually every echelon of the organization, from a franchise where I started in 1969 to working directly with David Miscavige. About 18 of those years was spent in or senior to Dept. 20 (now called the Office the Special Affairs or OSA), the section that deals with the ''enemies'' of the organization, which comes to mean anyone who disagrees with or criticizes any aspect of Scientology, Hubbard or ''management.'' Thus it is Dept. 20 (and now also RTC) that deals with the media, the courts, government agencies, critics and ARS itself.
The Siege Mentality
I've seen that I'm still an occasional subject of discussion on ARS. Those whose job it is to discredit me continue to natter, bitch and whine (ref: ''Criminal Mind'' HCOB) in a most pathetic manner. But then, that is what Hubbard taught Dept. 20, and now is also applied by RTC as run by Miscavige. They both operate from a siege mentality that anyone who resists their intentions (called ''counter-intention'') and who speaks publicly about it is a ''suppressive person'' on the level as Hitler and should be destroyed. (Ref: policies re suppressives) Operating from a military mentality (ref: ''Sea Org''), their task is to wage a holy battle to clear the planet of any resistance (any counter-intention) so that Scientology is in complete control. Fortunately, some people recognize that attitude for exactly what it is. Sadly, not even the rank-and-file membership understands. They are the first victims. I know because I was one of them and one of those who manipulated them. (I told about it in the ''Quill'' article that was once webbed somewhere. It may have to be re-webbed.) A more modern instance can be found in what was East Germany. The citizens there firmly believed the West was evil and that they were the ones who had true freedom, until the wall came down and they came to learn the truth about their government and the world. The citizens of East Germany weren't evil. They were simply deluded by an evil government. That's why Radio Free Europe was blocked. That is why Scientologists are kept away from ARS, unless approved by Dept. 20/RTC. And the best example is the censorship that was covertly done when Scientologists accepted that friendly little CD on their computers, not knowing that there was a long, secret list of names (such as yours truly) and subjects that they would no longer be able to read on the Net. Dept. 20/RTC didn't ask permission and didn't inform the membership. They never do. If there had been an Internet when there was an East Germany and citizens had access, it is exactly what that government (''management'') would have done. It is what every totalitarian system does. It seeks to control what people can know, under some guise or excuse, because that sort of system cannot survive in an atmosphere of free and open information.
The Importance Of The Net
That is why the Internet is so important. It is the ultimate antidote to the poison of totalitarianism. Yes, it carries its own dangers. That is the price of free speech. Dept. 20 and RTC uses the Net to defame and inflame but they are the only ones who stupidly tried to remove this newsgroup from the Net. (Remember Helena's letter? Doesn't that seem like eons ago?) Unable to stop ARS, they took the next best tactic, to dilute it with shills and third partying. They've done a pretty good job too. It is their equivalent of the East Germans trying to jam Radio Free Europe by broadcasting on the same wavelength. In the end, it won't work. I said a couple of years ago that the Internet will be to Scientology what Vietnam was to the United States and I still believe it. Dept. 20 and RTC have continued to show all the wisdom in its fight here that the US did in Vietnam: bomb, burn, attack, kill, and destroy to stop the spread of an imagined evil, while lying to your citizens back home. It will catch up with Dept. 20/RTC as it caught up with the US. I've watched a lot of this over the years. I've also watched comparable acts waged in return. That happened in Vietnam too. Elements of both sides went over the edge. On the Net, that is the price of giving anyone access to a computer and I wouldn't change that for the world. Contrary to the Dept. 20/RTC view, I hope a free and open debate grows. I hope more people have access to whatever they want without some ''Big Brother'' controlling what they can read. It might even come to Scientologists. I'm one of those who feels that the response is not - as Hubbard taught - to silence the critic (''find or manufacture'' enough of a threat to cause them to ''shudder into silence'') but to open the debate even more. By their own words and actions, ye shall know them.
Don't Do What They Do
But please don't make the mistake that Dept. 20 and RTC does constantly. To them, anyone who offers one shred of criticism is an ''enemy'' and should be attacked. (Ref: definition of ''ethics'' - see ''counter-intention'' and policies on suppressives and speaking out) What would be comparable is thinking that Scientologists have the mentality of Dept. 20 and RTC and should be attacked. They don't and in my opinion, they shouldn't be. They are no different than the citizens of East Germany who didn't know any better, who believed what their government fed them and then parroted it back. Scientology is composed of a LOT of people who want to believe that they really can get those super-human abilities and make a better world. There is nothing wrong with that. Attacking them for that attitude does nothing. They aren't the ones making scurrilous attacks on ARS. Yeah, they might ''protest'' the way the East Germans protested against the West because they didn't know any better. Meanwhile Scientologists are the ones being DENIED information. That's why bus windows get covered. That's why they are prohibited from reading certain subjects on the Net. They are the first victims! Dept. 20 and RTC constantly try to characterize anyone who gives any criticism as ''attacking the religion of Scientology'' or to make them into an ''ARS bigot'' (ref: ''PR by redefinition of words'') but people are smart enough to know. Personally, I couldn't care less what someone wants to believe as a ''religion.'' But I do care what one DOES in the name of ''religion.'' That has long been the stance in this country and long sustained by our courts. You can believe what you want. As disgusting as it might be, you can even believe and advocate cannibalism as your ''religion,'' if you want. YOU JUST CAN'T DO IT.
Part Of The ''Religion''?
I would love it if Dept. 20 and RTC would stipulate that their polices in ''handling suppressive persons'' is part of the ''religion of Scientology.'' (Ref: Hubbard's touted ''cancellation'' of ''fair game'' where he says clearly that all that changed was to stop using the words ''fair game'' but that it doesn't change how one deals with ''suppressive persons.'') I would love it if they would stipulate that ''attack the attacker'' and ''use the courts to harass'' (ref: Hubbard saying don't sue to win but sue to harass) is part of the ''religion of Scientology.'' I would love it if they would explain why they renewed the copyright on the ''Fair Game Law'' policy letter and thus it is part of their ''religion,'' if ''fair game'' doesn't exist. Even their attempts to edit or rewrite Hubbard's policies to delete words and sections that could prove to be legal liabilities or PR embarrassments don't change the facts. All it shows is that they are doing what Winston did in ''1984,'' rewriting documents to fit the newest Party line so when the Proles or anyone else goes looking, history fits.
Reason For My Goodbye
The reason I said at the start that this is a ''goodbye'' is that I'm retiring from this engagement. I was diagnosed on 11/23/99 with an ''advanced and aggressive'' prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bones. It is called Phase D or ''end stage'' or just plain old ''terminal.'' No prognosis has been given or is really possible and when metastasized, surgery is out of the question. There is no ''cure'' at Phase D. Hence, end stage or terminal. So what I'm going to do is retire as an ''expert'' in legal cases or in giving media interviews. I have other things more important to do now. I'll get into those later. Being diagnosed with a terminal disease can be devastating or a blessing. From a lot of reading that I've done from others similarly situated, I've seen both. For me, it's been both but it's moved on to the blessing. There is an exhilarating perspective to be gained from sitting on the cusp of life. It is like climbing out of and sitting above the fracas and noise and distractions and wondering, I was doing what? (laugh) I was thinking WHAT was important? (laughing again) That sort of perspective. (smile) One could say it's a hell of a price to pay for 20/20 vision and they are right. But in many ways, it is well worth it. I've read stories and articles by others with terminal diseases that actually said they wouldn't trade it. They wouldn't take a cure of the disease if it meant losing that clarity and insight. That's sort of the way I've come to see it. Not all would agree. But some would. It also produces a better sense of one's priorities. When you realizes that your time is truly limited, you don't waste it with hate and rancor. (Hmmm...I wonder if a feeling of immortality lets one hate more. Interesting thought.) I've had a good chance to look back on my life and what I've done and what's been done to me and I don't have time for either regret or bitterness. It is what it is and what is important is what will be.
The McPherson Case
I filed a declaration in the McPherson case a few months ago. Well, the defense noticed me for a deposition in December, a few weeks after my diagnosis. At the time, counsel for plaintiff Ken Dandar didn't know of my condition. (Few did.) I told him and advised him that given my condition and since I might not be here for the trial, it might be best to expedite my testimony. He agreed. Of course, they objected. (Use the courts to harass - Hubbard.) At one point in my depo, they even insinuated that my cancer was a ruse by Dandar. Then they even took the challenge to the judge, questioning if I even had cancer. So my oncologist called the judge to tell him, yes, Mr. Young had advanced cancer diagnosed as end stage and it would be best to take any testimony sooner rather than later. Only an organization operating by Fair Game policies as ''religious scripture'' and believing that courts are there to be used to harass would undertake such methods.
Depos, Direct And Cross
Frankly, I don't even remember how many days total they examined me during my three trips to Tampa. The last one was for February 9-10. I think I was in depo or direct or cross for something like six or seven days total. Most of it was discovery depositions. When that was over, Dandar got to do his direct. Because of my condition, there is no guarantee that I will be available when this comes to trial so my trial testimony was taken, as if I was in court. It was videotaped, as was all my testimony. (This also gives them a chance to do a hatchet-edit on me the way they did on Gerry Armstrong's hidden-camera interview.) Dandar's direct lasted something like 5-6 hours, most of it establishing my history in Scientology and then it moved to my views on the three areas that he was asking me to testify as an ''expert.'' They were: 1. the religiosity of Scientology (is it a religion?) 2. the role of the Sea Org 3. the command lines of Scientology A day or two before the depos started, a declaration that I had written for the Wollersheim case about the role and power of the Sea Org (using their own material, from Flag Orders to Sea Org magazines) was filed. They hit the roof on this, of course. (How dare I use their own material to show that the Sea Org and David Miscavige are the true nexus and power source, respectively, in Scientology!) I think someone posted that declaration to ARS or webbed it.
Religiosity And Sea Org
Back to the McPherson case, on the religiosity of Scientology, I testified about my own role in creating the ''religious image'' that ranged from the programs that Dept. 20 had back in the early 70s (during the FDA trial) to do everything possible to make Scientology appear to be a religion, e.g., get crosses up, find a room and create a chapel, start ''Sunday Services,'' get the org listed in the phone book under ''churches'' etc. I also testified how I had obtained ''religious recognition'' for Scientology from the Labor and State Departments. (More on this in a moment.) When it came to offering my opinion, I said that I don't consider Scientology to be a ''religion'' because it wasn't being conducted as such in good faith. I also said the Sea Org was the power lines and not the corporations and that by their own testimony (a portion of their 1023 application for tax exemption filed with the IRS) David Miscavige was in charge. (I went into this in the declaration filed in the Wollersheim case. Miscavige had filed a declaration there trying to pooh-pooh the idea that he was the only ''captain'' and said there were others. It was very cleverly done, as long as one doesn't know about ''brevet'' ranks and what they told the IRS, that he was the only one without a brevet rank of captain. Nice try but no seegar.)
Their Foot-Bullet Cross-Exam
When Dandar was done, they got to do their cross-exam. He did his in 5-6 hours. They wanted a day and a half. It was a doozie. Now get this. They want to challenge my ability to claim that I have enough credentials to testify about the religious nature of Scientology. Got that? So what do they introduce into evidence to show this? Are you ready? 1. A copy of the very letter form the State Dept. to me (1975) giving Scientology religious recognition. 2. A copy of the letter from the Labor Dept. to me (1975) doing same. 3. A copy of my minister's certificate. 4. A copy of a marriage license of a couple that I had married, with my signature as the minister. 5. Laser photos of me in ministerial garb, including two weddings. 6. A copy of a newspaper story showing me in ministerial garb, back when was at the Davis franchise. I was thrilled! I didn't have copies of these documents. If I had them, Dandar would have used them! They were doing a better job at documenting my expertise than Dandar had! I was completely beside myself! I couldn't believe they were doing this! I think (from the questions that accompanied the exhibits) that they were trying to show that I believed that Scientology was a religion back then which is completely irrelevant to my current views. It is like finding a letter some kid wrote to Santa Claus when he was 8 years old to challenge his current statement (decades later) that Santa doesn't exist! (''So, were you lying when you asked Santa for a bike?'' snide snicker) Don't you just love it? THEY introduced the documents that proved that I had considerable experience with the ''religious nature'' of Scientology, the very documents that I wished I had to use. Only Dept. 20/RTC could foul it up so well.
They also wanted to know if I had written any ''scholarly papers'' on Scientology or had any published in any ''scholarly journals'' such as the stack that they pulled out and put into evidence. These were a bunch of papers by THEIR hired ''experts'' (it's okay for them to hire experts - it's just not okay for anyone else to do it). One of the papers was hilarious. Guess what ''scholarly journal'' was credited on one printout they put into evidence. Their own ''Freedom'' journal. I had to contain myself. (''Hey, I wrote for that one!'') The article was about ''apostates'' and how their views shouldn't be accepted, which means that anyone who leaves any group or organization cannot have a valid opinion about their former group. The view is so ridiculous that it is no wonder no one but ''Freedom'' would publish it. I hope they drag that one out at trial.
And Still More Amusement
At one point they were desperately trying to make the point that I was in such need of money that Minton was a godsend. After all, ''Minton bought the house'' (to use their false characterization) two years after we had declared bankruptcy so I had no assets, right? Nope, I said, I had assets. ''Well,'' the attorney said smugly, ''don't you recall our going through your bankruptcy and showing your assets?'' ''Yes.'' ''And it showed you had none?'' ''Nope.'' ''Should we bring it back out to refresh your memory?'' ''It's your nickel,'' I said with a smile, or some such words. (This is all from memory.) So he hauled it out and back we went through the pages. Yes, I said, that's accurate. ''So you had no assets.'' ''Nope, it shows here I did.'' And it did. I had computers and a few hundred dollars in the bank. 'It's more than I had in the Sea Org.'' I hope those were my words. They sure ran through my head because the truth was, I did have more than when I was on staff. I had my own computer(s). I had a home that I was able to pay the rent on. It was THEIR idea that such is ''no assets.'' He gave up and put the bankruptcy papers away, having just wasted a good 15-or-so minutes of his time.
One Last Amusement
There were so many funny parts to their infantile efforts but here's one last one. I think it was in the depos, after they had been hammering how I was so broke and destitute that we got around to Jesse Prince and the trip that we took from Minneapolis to Denver, via Chicago and Nashville. At one point the attorney asked, ''So did you tell Mr. Prince how much money you were making doing this 'consulting' work and how much he could make by doing it?'' ''I thought you said I wasn't making any money and was broke,'' I interjected. ''Objection!'' he quickly shouted. ''Non-responsive.'' ''Gee,'' said with a grin, ''awhile ago you were saying I wasn't making any money and was desperate and now you're saying I was making money, so which is it?'' ''Objection! Answer the question.'' I did. The answer was no, I never told Jesse that. Meanwhile, he put on the record that I wasn't broke. Go figure. One foot-bullet after another. But the best was yet to come.
RVY, Stacy And ''The House That Minton Bought You'' - NOT
In their depositions that preceded the direct and cross, they hammered for hours at the issue of me, Stacy and Minton and kept trying to ask about ''the house that Minton bought you'' and I kept answering no, he never did. ''Well, then, the house that Minton bought for you and Stacy...'' ''No, he didn't.'' ''Then who did?'' ''Who did what?'' ''Who bought the house?'' ''Mr. and Mrs. Minton were the owners of the house.'' And I would cite the bill of sale or whatever it was called that they themselves introduced into evidence which clearly showed that. Despite their own evidence and my testimony, they kept trying to sneak that phrase in, usually prefixing a question, e.g., (for example only), ''After Minton bought you this house, you started traveling?'' ''No.'' ''But you said you started traveling.'' ''Yes.'' ''So you left the house Minton bought you and started traveling.'' ''No.'' When one undergoes deposition by Scientology attorneys, one has to listen carefully. They kept objecting, saying I was playing ''word games'' and I kept responding that I was trying to be accurate, responding exactly to the question, which I was. Their problem was that I wasn't responding to loaded questions.
For The Record, Folks
Because of my condition when I was first noticed back in December (the diagnosis was only a couple of weeks before), I requested that my testimony be made confidential. I just didn't want my condition known and I knew they would make it an issue, which they did. I hadn't come to grips with my condition nor had I told certain friends and family. Since then, I've been able to tell friends and family. Plus I have (I think) matured considerably so I don't think there is a need for those depos to be sealed and I'll make them available. A primary reason for my wanting them open is that I was questioned incessantly on a number of topics that Dept. 20/RTC has made an issue here on ARS, such as my relationship with Stacy (we're good friends) and if I had received any money from Minton (not a dime). I responded under oath and I want that record to be available. It won't do me one whit of good to explain anything about me and Stacy and Minton here on ARS because the Dept. 20/RTC shills just call me a liar and at that point it is just my word vs. theirs. But since they got to ask all of their questions, time and time again, from every possible angle for days and I responded UNDER OATH and I want that to be my response. I don't think it will stop Dept. 20/RTC and their shills. Truth never does when you have your own fixed idea as to what it is and have to ''find or manufacture'' (Hubbard policy) evidence. (Can't find any? Hey, make it up! It's on policy!)
Objecting For The Record
Speaking of which, to anyone who reads them, take note of some amusing tactics of theirs. Any time Stacy was in the room or if she arrived late and walked into the room or when she would leave, they would always put it on the record and refer to her as my ''ex-wife'' or ''former wife.'' This occurred in the questions too. I found this really amusing. It is such a clear instruction to the attorneys. ''Make sure you always refer to her as his ex or former wife.'' It is supposed to push my buttons and cave me in. How pathetic. Another is their use of objections. Many times I would start to answer a question and be cut off merely because they didn't like the answer. Several times I would have to insist that I be allowed to answer and counsel would say I'm not answering and I would have to say just because he doesn't like the answer doesn't mean it's not an answer and try to answer. In the transcript of the direct, read what they do. I don't know the percentage of questions they objected to but it seemed like 90-95% of the time. It results in a very jagged transcript. It is like this (for example only): Q: [by Dandar] So what did you do then? A [by RVY]: I... Counsel for defendant: Object to the form of the question. A: I went... Counsel for defendant: And it calls for a narrative. There's an actual Scientology drill where this is practiced. I don't recall the name or number but it is called something like ''dirtying the needle'' where you are taught how to ask a question and then interrupt the person when they start to answer with another question, ensuring that they never get to finish the first and when they try to answer that one, do it again etc. Done in a deposition, it also clutters the transcript, not that they would want to do anything like that, would they? (laugh) Naw!
Packing Up & Moving On
As I said, my plan now is to step down from this line of work and move on. I was telling people that a couple of weeks ago. I was even telling Dandar about it over a lunch and Jesse Prince over a dinner while I was in Tampa. I was hoping the cult's attorneys (as they so often did) would ask me who I had met with during breaks in my testimony and what we had discussed, so I could get it on the record, not that it would have mattered. It would just have been nice to say it under oath and see what their follow-up questions would have been. But they didn't give me a chance. Oh well. (shrug - smile) What I've decided to do is to dedicate my time, interest and talent to the issue of prostate cancer. It is such a devastating disease that one can fully grasp it - like any disease and disaster - only by the experience. It touched me briefly when I lost my mother to cancer a few years ago but I never imagined it would finally be me. I knew a few weeks ago that I wanted to step away from this ''expert'' trial work and do something else but it wasn't until maybe a couple of weeks ago that it came together for me as to what I can do to help other men diagnosed with it. There are a lot of ''us'' out there (and there are going to be many more as the male Baby Boomers come of age) but very few have the inclination to do anything to help others. Go into a bookstore or prowl the web and there are basically three types of people who work or write in the field of prostate (or any) cancer: the physicians, the men with prostate cancer and the loved ones who learned what it is like to live with a man dying of the disease. The oncologists can give the scientific, statistical, medical analyses and advice but it is the others who will tell you from the gut and the heart what it is like. They are the ones who have come to grips with it and are trying to help others do the same. For some, it is how they fight it, by helping others. They know the despair, anger and fear of this disease. They know what it is like to be lost in a foreign medical terminology that comes down very simple words, viz., ''You have cancer.'' It is frightening. And then there are the ''treatments'' that are equally alarming.
The Parallel To Breast Cancer Support
It is not unlike what women face with breast cancer. There is the terror of the disease itself and then there is horror of the ''treatment,'' what it can do to one's identity. That is why women who have faced the challenge can bring more emotional and spiritual support to the newly diagnosed or treated than an oncologist, just as men can do for their own gender. The problem with both sexes is having the initiative as well as some talent to do it. Me, I'm a writer. Always have been. I love to find and compile data and then write about it. That's what I did in the cult. Those biological warfare stories (''Big City'') and others they like to cite (such as the BZ chemical) were mine. Well, I just want exercise that skill and interest for a cause that is more important to me right now than dealing with a ''Lord of the Flies'' navy. And quite frankly, I would prefer that my legacy be whatever contribution I can make to help other men with prostate cancer than all of these declarations and media interviews about Scientology.
Bringing A Balance
I've enjoyed my work and my visits to ARS. I've enjoyed my opportunity to express my views and experiences and to help people understand the Scientology-experience. It sort of helped to balance what I did in my 21 years in Scientology. I especially remember the times when someone would come up to me (this was back in my San Francisco days in the early 70s) and say they wanted to thank me for getting them into Scientology, usually from some radio show that I did. I just don't know how many people I brought in or how many of them ended up working in Dept. 20/RTC to ''dead agent'' me. I really wish I could tell those people today that if they listened to me then, I wish they would listen to me now. Maybe what I did in the last years was my way of trying to reach them. Maybe it's the attitude that I've gained having terminal cancer but I know I've mellowed considerably about these people. I know which ones high-fived on hearing about my diagnosis. I just feel sorry for them that they have to live that way, praying for the demise or death of someone deemed an ''enemy.'' That's no way to run a ''religion.'' I pray that they get a new perspective on the value of people and life in an easier way than I have.
Thanks For All The Fish
Anyway, guys and gals, thanks for all the fish. (Apologies to Adams.) I remember the days when the arguments on ARS were about Hubbard and Scientology, rather than people who post here. Maybe that is just part of the evolution. My moving on is part of it. I have a couple of extra posts to make. There is one is about my role in ''Mission Earth.'' The claim I had nothing to do with the text was so laughable that I just had to tell the story of how ''Mission Earth'' came to be. Besides, I was Hubbard's last editor, a dubious distinction if there ever was one. Excuse me if I choose not to answer emails or questions or comments to this post. I prefer just to close it out rather than be dragged into more dialogue. That means Dept. 20/RTC and shills will try to have the last ''dead agent'' word, which is fine with me. They've been doing it for years and it hasn't worked. Meanwhile my friends can fill the vacuum. I wish you all well, especially the ones who have to excerpt this and report soonest with a ''recommended handling.'' I already have mine, thank you. Love, Robert Vaughn Young