I was lucky to be allowed to bring my baby to work with me for a short time although it was extremely difficult. There was no running water or facilities and trying to keep him quiet and entertained was almost impossible. Another GO staff member, Joy Allsop, also had her baby there and often there would be two babies crying for attention. I was allowed to work only ‘day’ hours during those months but then was ordered to be on post for the fulltime schedule, which was 9am – 10.30pm with Sunday afternoon off, and I think that happened to Joy as well. It’s surprising we managed to do that for the time we did. I had no real support and the stress was so great that my husband blew staff (left without permission) in order for us to survive financially. He was almost expelled from the “church” at this point but managed to sort it out and come back to work part time. I found day care for my infant, something I had never wanted to do, hand him over to a stranger to raise. I still had to cope with a baby ‘on post’ after day care hours were over, and study as well (a staff requirement) and I was desperately unhappy trying to juggle it all. The only times that had been real fun were in the early days when a group of us would go and have pizza and play Pacman once the dreaded ‘Thursday 2pm’ was past for the week, and those days were long gone.
I remember one time there was a “Garrison Mission” and still being ‘on post’ at 1am with a small, tired and unhappy baby trying to pass a “White Glove inspection”. That meant that every surface had to be totally clean, an almost impossible task in an old building, especially considering the inspection included tops of doors and skirting boards etc. I thought I would never get to go home, though eventually I ‘passed’.
My job at that time was basically as a recruiter for the GO, something I hated. It was extremely hard to find people who met the strict requirements and therefore we had an “Expansion Unit” (XPU for short) where I wrote ‘programs’ for recruits to follow until they were qualified. I loved the interaction with people, however anyone who has recruited staff for scientology will understand the pressure to ‘get that signature on that contract’. Elaine was the real recruiter; she would do whatever it took to get someone to sign up, from screaming matches behind closed doors to being their best friend.
I forgot to mention earlier that her husband Laurie had passed away in the time before the move into the city. This was a devastating loss to not only Elaine, but his many friends. At that point she was recruited for the Sea Organisation (SO), although still fulfilling her post as Assistant Guardian Melbourne. This wonderful lady who had been my friend began to change from that point, and become a true Sea Org member. I was promoted to be her ‘Communicator’, which is basically like a secretary/personal assistant and helping out with typing for Bureau One (Intelligence). There were more and more incidents of Elaine giving someone an “SRA” in her office – Severe Reality Adjustment – during which we became very busy elsewhere and hoped one was never aimed at us.
My baby was starting to get sick more and more often, running fevers and hardly sleeping. I decided I had just had to leave, but was ‘handled’ to stay with reduced hours, i.e. I went home at night. Immediately my son started to sleep and wasn’t so sick. My husband was able to mind him sometimes, and that reduced the pressure on me. One day my toddler pulled a cup of hot tea onto his arm and face while I was distracted, resulting in a 3 day stay in the Hospital Burns unit. I was devastated and became even more highly stressed for his safety and our future. I felt bad about not being a good mother on one hand and on the other knew that my leaving would mean a whole new world of pain.
Yet again I was persuaded to stay, “for the greatest good”. Your life as an individual becomes almost worthless compared to the all encompassing need to be part of “clearing the planet” and the carrot of possibilities for your own spiritual gain that scientology promised us all. If you ‘broke a staff contract’ you would be given a “Freeloader Bill” to pay for any services received and denied the “Bridge” until you did all you had to do to regain ‘good standing’.
It was suddenly decided my past “blow” at Saint Hill made me a ‘security risk’ for the Guardian’s Office. Someone made that decision and it didn’t matter the years of hard work and dedication and hardships I had endured to be a staff member. So I could no longer be Elaine’s Communicator and was made the Project I/C for a huge international event, which took 5 months to organise. I was pregnant again, yet managed to pull it off somehow with great success.
At the end of that marathon I was a physical and emotional wreck and when I started to have false labour pains at about 5 months, my doctor became very concerned and said I had to rest. This was the crunch point and once again I faced the decision between being a mother in the best way I could, or following the path scientology decreed. (That being that I continue to work, no matter the risk to the baby or myself and “make it go right”.) It’s funny how life does that for you, give you another look at an issue and a choice for a different approach to it.
I finally decided that the health of both my son and unborn child – and myself – was more important than anything else and I had to take a break. Woohoo for a flash of sanity!
I remember the day I told Elaine I was leaving very well, early 1982. I actually only asked for a Leave of Absence until the baby was safely delivered and the result was one of the dreaded SRA’s (Severe Reality Adjustments) from her. I was screamed at and basically reduced to rubble by someone who I had shared a great deal of my life with the past few years, that I had shared a house and ‘family’ life with…. I couldn’t believe that she would do that to me. I know now how naive and unrealistic I was back then but its how I felt. She called me “one of the black hats”, that is “those who leave when things are getting better”, presumably because of their own ‘evil purposes about the expansion of scientology’. I know… I know….unbelievable. In fact it was this concept that made me decide to totally leave. To see my ‘friend’ accuse me of such things, to be so vicious and scathing and treat me as the lowest lowlife you can imagine was more than I could bear. I turned around and walked out of that office and away from scientology staff forever.