A scientology school 1988 – 1990

A strange thing happened to me in late 1988. I had a dream, one that is still burned into my memory to this day, and I am not one for remembering dreams.  I won’t go into details, it concerned me being ‘judged’ by a panel of ‘judges’ that did not seem to have a solid form and they told me that I was “not doing what I should do or using my gifts”. It was very unsettling and I thought about this long and hard and came to the conclusion that somehow I needed to get back to “saving the planet” or something. No other explanation made sense, I didn’t feel that there was much I could do in my life as a wife and mother other than what I was already doing and I had no apparent alternative path in sight. I was enjoying my life and felt a guilty pleasure in it versus working on staff so I let the dream take it’s place in background unconsciousness and laughed off the thought of a dream telling me what to do.

I love gardening and worked hard at it growing wonderful food and flowers. One day a few days after the dream my right knee began to swell and hurt, I thought I had sprained it while gardening. It began to get worse and after seeing different doctors and specialists I had an exploratory operation to check on the cartilage. That wasn’t an answer though and my left knee began to swell as well.

Around this time I was approached to help start a scientology school in Melbourne, something that hadn’t ever been accomplished despite many attempts,. It was to be called the Phoenix school (later renamed Yarralinda).  A school appealed to me as I still believed in the “study tech” and I wanted my kids away from the threat of the drug society in public schools. The woman who was doing the set-up was from scientology standards, unacceptable. (A declared PTS Type III in the past, she had been kidnapped and babysat etc but that is another story.) She wanted a school both for her own daughter and for other scientology kids and knew that she faced enormous challenges in ‘making it go right’.  She knew I was more acceptable to the field, so wanted me to be the public face while she worked behind the scenes doing what was needed. She had recruited enough parents with young children to make it viable and now faced the challenge of making the school “legal” per education authority requirements.

So began one of the nightmare periods of my life. It was so bad that even now I am unable to organise memories into any kind of real sequence or make sense of the insanity that ensued. I also don’t want to name names right now as from where I am sitting years later I also know that the parents involved in the massive dramas and betrayals were acting from a view that they were protecting their children and every parent has that right and duty. The fact that those opinions and viewpoints mostly resulted from insane scientology policies is something many of them still need to understand and I hope one day those that are still “in” have that opportunity.

Long story short, this ‘unacceptable’ person doing the set-up became the focus of the parents and hounding her was more important than combined support for the school. It was inevitable per Hubbard policies and something she had anticipated. Within a short time, and within sight of the final steps to having the school accredited, it became a massive, unbelievable drama. The woman who started it finally took off, as she had always planned to do, and as her chosen replacement as Headmistress would not take on the job, it fell to me. (Later I was told that was exactly why I had been recruited, as the fall guy.)

Trying to do the right thing I asked ABLE (or Applied Scholastics, can’t remember which it was then) to become involved in sorting it all out. Represented by Martin Bentley, he sided with one set of parents, as the school was divided down the middle, approximately 5 families on each side.  Martin sided with the “other” set of parents and the original families (including mine) who started the school were kicked out, so I left and I put my children back in a normal public school. And in so many ways that was a tremendous relief.

During this period I had become very ill. What had started as a swollen knee turned into a raging deterioration of all major joints in my body. I saw many different doctors, specialists, chiropractors, naturopaths and no-one could diagnose or help with what was happening. I lost a great deal of weight and had sometimes unbearable pain in my hips particularly, but also knees, ankles, elbows and jaw. About the only thing I could eat was peanut butter sandwiches, and after about 6 months my legs actually started to turn outwards. I carried a little stool to sit on as I could barely walk, suffered fevers and nausea so badly I thought I was dying. Now this was while I was trying to help set up a school! As long as I was there every day, no-one seemed to care, and being a ‘make-it-go-right” sort of person, I just kept on. I remember taking a walk with Martin late one night, to discuss the school situation, in such agony I thought I would fall down in the street. He didn’t seem to notice, though on reflection I am sure he did and it may have been the deciding factor in which set of parents to support. I was obviously “PTS” and therefore not trustworthy.

After leaving the school I had time to try to find out what was wrong, I think that saved my life. I finally found the right specialist and X-rays showed that my hips had turned in their sockets by 20 degrees. Deterioration of the joints at this speed was unheard of, and the fever and raging illness was dangerous; he arranged for immediate hip replacements and medication to arrest the disease. It took a few years of constant medical attention and medication and almost dying in surgery but I finally recovered enough to walk again. It’s an unclassifiable inflammatory arthritis and it took me many, many years to finally accept that it was not due to “something I had pulled in” per scientology but rather genetics.

The fallout from the school saga continued for some months and the woman who started the school was Comm Evd (a scientology trial) and found guilty of everything under the sun except starting a school! I owe her no favours, but that does not sit well with me and is typical of the scientology “justice system”.

I feel sad that those lovely children I knew back then had to go through the reflected horrors of that time and have their own lives disrupted. I am very glad that my own children survived it ok, though with scars. After leaving the school I found that I had no “friends” anymore, no support or care in any way from any scientologist.

That was my real wake-up call and truly the moment I left scientology. Even though I paid it lip service for another decade and appeared to do the right things, I knew it did not hold the answers for me when basic humanity and compassion were foreign words. So back to my dream – it was in 1989-90 that I began the very slow path of finding my gifts and perhaps doing more of what I ‘should do’ – finding a happier life. I still question the dream’s meaning or wonder if it had any significance at all, yet events since then have led me on a path that does seem more aligned with who I am – I just needed to realise it would never come via scientology.

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