More on Dan Garvin - Disconnection letter 2003 and Published Letter by James Randi Fnd
Dan Garvin on INCOMM
Hello, everybody. My name's Dan Garvin.
In July of 2001, I left the Sea
Org, just two months shy of qualifying for my solid gold 25-year ring.
That's right, I broke my contract when I still had 999,999,975 years left to
serve. I went through the "security check" and other red tape they call
"standardly routing out," in order to avoid being declared a Suppressive
Person (which would have forced my wife and all Scn relatives and friends to
disconnect from me and possibly subjected me to Fair Game treatment). It
took a little under three months (I started in April). Because of stuff I
had to sign in order to not be declared, there's a lot I can't say, at least
not yet. (No free legal advice, please, thanks--I'll get it all resolved in
Within a few weeks I decided I was also through with Scientology.
I'm not going to explain all the terminology or insider concepts in what
follows. It would take too long. If you're new around here, you'll have to
study up a bit to follow it. If you're a regular, you won't have any
trouble. If you're generally Scn-savvy but still don't get something, let me
know and I'll try to clarify it.
For nearly all of the 25 years, plus a couple years pre-SO, I was a 100%
true-believer dedicated Scientologist. I joined the SO the day before my
19th birthday. I spent much of my EPF (SO basic training) renovating the
newly-acquired Cedars of Lebanon former hospital, now the PAC Base in LA.
After that I spent the next 7 1/2 years at Flag, in the FB (Flag Bureaux:
COS international management that is not International Management--go
figure). Then, in LA, after a short stint as an evaluator (woo-hoo!), I
worked in OSA for about ten years. >:-[ In 1995, after getting caught
up in a bizarre and vicious purge, I was banished in disgrace from OSA.
Allowed to choose the org of my exile, I picked PAC Renovations (aka SIPRO,
and now Construction Branch CLO WUS). In 1997, I was musical-chaired into
ASHO Day. After a few weeks, I requested to route out of the SO, for
pre-existing reasons unrelated to the transfer. This caused me to be
transferred back to PAC Renos. After a month or so, I withdrew my request to
leave (on my own, no "handling" or pressure). PAC Renos is where I stayed
until I actually did leave the SO last summer.
Before I got involved in Scn, I was a very good student (when I cared
enough to bother with it). I was interested in scientific and technological
subjects, as well as mystical and spiritual stuff, which I already had
accepted long before Scn found me. The moment I heard, from trusted
relatives, that Scn could promise godlike OT abilities through a proven,
100% effective routine, I was hooked. The only services I paid for as a
public Scn, before joining the SO, were the Basic Study Manual and the Comm
Course (which in that instance was closer to Pro TRs than to today's STCC or
any basic TRs course). The BSM was no great shakes, but, being apparently
non-religious, harmless study-training, it was the only thing my parents
would sign off on. I was still a minor. It got me into an org and talking to
real Scientologists, and that was what I wanted.
Meanwhile, I read nearly all of Hubbard's books and fitted the new
"knowledge" and technology into the worldview I already held. If this was
even partly true, if it could deliver even some of what it claimed, man, I
was IN! And the people I talked to spoke as if those results were a
commonplace and Scientology was crawling with real OTs with magical
abilities. I forgot to ask any of them to demonstrate those abilities.
After I was 18, I got onto the Comm Course. That experience, along with
the material I had to read as part of the course--some truth, with the
occasional unsubstantiated miracle claim thrown in--really did change my
life, and I would say for the better despite the unintended consequences. I
have to respectfully disagree with some critics who call the TRs hypnotic.
Perhaps they could be for some. They were not for me. I agree instead with
Bent Corydon, who in *LRH: Messiah or Madman* calls the lower levels of Scn
the cheese in the mousetrap. Because of the impressive actual changes, I
failed to question the promises of things I had not "yet" experienced (and
never would, nor would anyone else, ever), nor the credibility of Hubbard,
nor the statements of the eager, enthusiastic, friendly, sincere
Scientologists I spoke with. I was young, and far more gullible than I knew.
By the time I understood more, it was almost too late.
By now I was convinced that Scientology held the secrets to salvation
for mankind. That being the case, the only sensible thing to do was to Clear
the Planet. It had far too many stupid and messed-up people on it for me to
be comfortable. Along came the Sea Org--this was exactly what I'd been
looking for. I was IN. Nobody recruited me. I went and *found* a recruiter
and had to shut him up from his spiel, to get him to let me sign the
From that point forward, I wore invisible, theta bifocals. The lenses I
saw Scientology through were rose colored; everything looked great, no
matter its true nature. I saw the rest of the world through shit-colored
lenses, exactly as it was portrayed in all the writings of L. Ron Hubbard
and his other minions. I enthusiastically embraced the whole Scn and SO
indoctrination, and interpreted everything I encountered through the filter
of Scn "philosophy." Every new fact, after being digested in this manner,
reinforced what had gone before.
You see, Scientologists don't lose their intelligence or their ability
to reason. They reason, some very intelligently and logically indeed, from
the basic premises and claims of Scientology. Once you accept those, the
rest is inevitable. They do it by tricking you into believing it's "true for
you." They don't even know they're tricking you; as far as they're
concerned, they're helping you arrive at the Truth, your own Truth, the real
Truth that everyone will eventually discover--if all Scientologists work
hard enough, quick enough. Whether Hubbard had his tongue in his cheek while
inventing all this is a subject for debate, and may never be known for sure.
His head was too far up his ass for anyone to see his (facial) cheek.
With my mindset as it was, most of my time in the SO, up till the 1995
purge, was not unpleasant. In fact, most of the time I was happy as a clam,
and yes, the pun is intended. (Hubbard said in *Science of Survival* that
puns are favored by 1.1's, so Scientologists take secret, guilty pleasure in
them, and chastise each other for it. Sort of like sex in some other
religions, but not half as much fun.) SO members, the ones who lasted, were
the tough, proud few who sneered at hardship, deprivation, and even
injustice. Although we never let the public in on the secret, we despised
the selfish weaklings who wouldn't toss their own billion years into the
pot, and most especially the ones who joined the SO and then quit. They were
letting their shipmates down, and we had *such* a monumental job to do and
*so* little time to do it before the wog world committed suicide.
At this point I would like to thank all those involved in the
aforementioned "bizarre and vicious purge." I can't say more at this point,
but you know who you are, if you're among the few allowed on the internet.
What did you do to earn my gratitude? You showed me the the dark side of
Scientology's best and brightest, in a way that even my rose-colored glasses
couldn't obscure. You brought me within sight of the dimly lit hallway that
leads to Tory's famous door. If not for that, I might still be there,
clammier than ever.
My time in PAC Renovations was therapeutic. When you're making or
renovating buildings, you're dealing with reality, the kind that isn't
defined as "agreement" as in Scientology, but genuine structures that fall
down or equipment that doesn't work, if they're not made according to wog
principles. Also, later on, I spent a lot of time driving, doing purchasing
for the renos. Eventually, I got bored with music and discovered talk radio,
and then books on tape. I was starting to view the outside world in ways
that were not in the Hubbardian script. I still viewed the SO and
Scientology world the "right" way, but holes in my mental armor were letting
in cold air, and I was getting uncomfortable. Clams: you probably should add
talk radio to the internet and television on your list of banned input for
Concurrently with all this and at first not related to it, I had another
reason for becoming disaffected with and eventually disinfected from the Sea
Org. Years earlier, I had conceived plans that would, automatically and with
relatively little effort, bring about a snowballing expansion of Scientology
that would sweep the globe and result in actual planetary Clearing within
just a few years. For a long time, I kept low-key about it. After all, the
big cheeses (no offense to El Queso) in Scientology were the smartest guys
in the world; they knew what they were doing and were doing the best
possible things in the best of all possible worlds, and I was but a lowly
grunt with relatively little training and no OT levels. What did I know?
After my descent from the glory of OSA, I started considering the
possibility that maybe I knew, well, just a little bit more about just a few
thangs, than just a few of my bodacious bosses. I started getting
respectfully pushy about my super-duper plans to save civilization. I
started privately copping an attitude. I'm not sure if it's possible to
*privately* cop a 'tude, outside Scientology, but it sure is, inside the SO.
Forbidden *thoughts* were something to get worried about. They could come up
in a sec check. And believe me, if you're a loyal Scientologist who believes
e-meters are infallible, boy, sec checking *works*--on you. And if I allowed
myself to be disaffected with our fearless, fearsome leaders and it got
caught, as it surely would, that would for sure nix any chance of my great
plans being accepted. Still, it was hard to ignore the fact that these plans
were things Hubbard *said* to do, and the geniuses at Int Management, RTC,
and so forth *should* have already been doing them without my having to beg
them to. And beg I did. Nothing was beneath me if it ended in the salvation
of our endangered little mudball of a miserable planet. Not even the
disgrace of leaving the Sea Org, as you're about to see.
There I was--getting increasingly frustrated with what appeared to be
resistance, at the top, to what would actually bring peace, sanity, and
civilization to all Earth, in a Scientology world of Cleared *homo novis*.
The only way these plans could fail would be if they weren't done (or if the
whole set of Scn premises they were based on was a stinking, rotten pile of
hammered dogshit, but I was nowhere near that thought yet). It was so
obvious to me, I couldn't figure out how the brilliant minds at the top
could remain oblivious to it even when I was shoving it their faces. Be that
as it may, I willingly shouldered the burden of my knowledge and determined
that, whatever the cost, I would see it done. By 1997, when my last hope of
internal acceptance died, I knew I had to go outside the SO to be free to
create this awesome gift I would give to Scientology. I said so, and
reluctantly started the process of leaving.
My lingering reluctance, and my still-strong faith in the Ultimate Truth
of every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Ron, were my undoing.
After a month, in a brief, friendly conversation, I was successfully
convinced by an MAA (SO Ethics Officer) that I hadn't used all the tools of
"the tech" to get my ideas accepted. I needed to apply the PR Series and the
Marketing Series, for starters. It wasn't until much later that I realized
he was telling me, without meaning to, that the big dogs at the top would
not respond to a well-reasoned, sensible suggestion backed up by obvious (to
a Scientologist) facts, even when it meant the entire and immediate success
of all their plans. No, they had to be persuaded to respond emotionally,
with PR and Marketing. How putrid. How typical. How true.
So, I tucked my tail between my legs and determined to do more, and
better, to get the mental giants in command to be able to see the truth and
value of my offerings. I wasn't much good with PR and Marketing, but it just
meant I'd have to [spend several more years to] learn those parts of
Time passed. Shit happened. My enthusiasm flagged, my disaffection grew.
I gradually lost my conviction that I was the lame idiot who couldn't sell a
terrific idea to sensible people, and that only left ... the people in
charge of my world, who were looking less and less sensible, the more I
dealt directly with them. That, of course, led to other issues, like, if
these people are the best that "the tech" can produce, something is awfully
wrong, somewhere. Such was the strength of my conviction that I still
managed to think in terms of using the glorious and immaculate technology of
Scientology to save the world--but despite the inexplicable incompetence of
some of its leaders. They'd be forced to acknowledge the truth once I
brought home the goods. Only results mattered. The end justified the means.
(Not the Scientology org version: "The end of the week justifies the
I starting thinking again that I might have to leave the SO to
accomplish the SO's goals. An awful thought, but Scn and the SO life taught
us to be able to confront *anything*. Of course if I left I'd be out in the
cold for years, till I'd paid the freeloader debt I'd earned by contributing
22, 23, then 24 years of my life, at hard labor, to the SO. I didn't *want*
to go, or *plan* to, but just in case, I started listening to all the LRH
tapes I could, from the Qual Library, while driving my truck and doing
purchasing. If the worst happened, I could use the tech in those to take
care of my own case till I could get back onto org services. And if I
stayed, well, it was vital information that would vastly improve my life
Except it wasn't. In my recalcitrant frame of mind, I was no longer
glossing over or explaining away all the inconsistencies,
self-contradictions, and outright horseshit in the material I was listening
to. Where I could accept it, I did, but some things were just too
outrageous, even for me. Those things are not the things that make most
people go, "Huh???" at Scientology, or fall into fits of hysterical
laughter. I had no problem swallowing whole track, space opera, clams and
sloths and photon converters, oh my!, all that. What stuck in my throat were
the logical and factual impossibilities concerning the immediate world: How
he'd seen it mathematically "proven" that the brain could only hold 3
months' worth of memories (math, my ass: Hubbard couldn't even add water),
despite its 10^21 "neurones" (which would require a head at least ten feet
in diameter to contain); how the speed of light was not fixed or
unsurpassable, but varied measurably with the frequency (a fact no one else
has noticed in over a century of constant experimental and practical use of
this figure); how absolutely nothing, but nothing, except overts and
withholds could ever cause anyone to leave any group, especially one as
spiffy as the Sea Org (yet they leave by the dozen, despite the superb
administration of Golden Age of Tech confessional procedure, which roots out
and thoroughly handles overts and withholds); and so on, and so on, and so
If there is any concept central to Scientology, and known to all
Scientologists, it is that of "Keeping Scientology Working." Fundamental to
that concept is that "the technology" of Scientology is 100% workable, and
infallible, and if it *ever* seems not to work or be correct, the fault is
in the misapplication or misunderstanding of it, not in the tech itself.
Failure in any way to fiercely uphold each and every point of Keeping
Scientology Working (he lists 10) ranks with the worst crimes possible in
Scientology, including murder, mayhem, and publicly resigning, as I'm doing
here. Point #3 is "Knowing [the technology] is correct."
This was a problem. "The technology" included every word L. Ron Hubbered
ever scribbled or blathered, except where and as he himself corrected it in
a later writing or speech (after all, it *was* a new and developing
science--as long as he was the only "scientist" involved). Well, these were
claims that stood. They were, absolutely, "the tech." But they were
bullshit, no matter what anyone said. They *could not* be, yet they *had to*
And that is the beginning of how a mind pulled itself back from far past
the brink and thousands of feet down.
One pinhole pops the whole balloon; I had several. More led to more, and
within a few months I was thinking things like, "Gee, you know, I've never
actually experienced any 'theta' phenomena that couldn't be explained as
coincidence or wishful thinking," and, "Matter of fact, I've never actually
*seen* anybody else do anything 'OT' that couldn't be explained the same
way." This increased my discomfort. Everybody around me still took it for
granted that all this OT business was as obvious and ordinary as the sun
rising at morning. I couldn't talk about it to anybody: I knew I wouldn't be
re-convinced without real proof, and doubts equalled severe out-ethics, and
trying to convince others of my rightness constituted interfering with
*their* KSW and could earn me an SP declare. And I had the unwelcome
suspicion I'd only learn that there really was no proof, that if this stuff
really existed, it'd be shown off at every chance.
My dissatisfaction at not being allowed to save the world with my Big
Ideas slowly reshaped itself into an unwillingness to devote the rest of my
life, which might well be considerably shorter than a billion years, to a
technology that might just be entirely specious.
One thing was certain: Things were not going to remain as they were.
After dancing all around it, I finally faced up to the necessity of leaving
the Sea Org, and I knew that this time it would be for real. I got my ducks,
what few ducks I had left, in a row, and made my announcement. If I'd known
then what I know now, of course I'd have simply blown and let them declare
me. But I didn't, and couldn't. I had a wife; I hoped I might get her to
leave the SO with me, but she'd never consider it if I were an SP. More than
that, I hoped against hope that I was overlooking something, that there
really was a top to the Bridge, that I still had a chance of being OT and
flying around without my body and zapping planets and stars and living
forever, you know, stuff like that. I wanted to be damn sure before I shut
the door on that.
It didn't take me long. I started by looking on the web for any signs of
real and verifiable OT powers. That went nowhere, fast. Up to the point I
was actually gone, I had never looked at any of the Scientology websites,
pro or con, or a.r.s. That was part of the self-policing that any hard-core
Scientologist does; premature exposure to the OT III and above materials
might kill me or make me horribly ill and seriously mess up my "case"; it
would damn sure get me in a world of hurt with the Ethics people, as would
reading any "entheta" information. However, once I was safely out the door
and out from under the unimaginable oppression that I only noticed when it
was gone, I continued up my own "bridge to rationality." For instance, if
the OT III materials were so deadly, where were all the bodies? Really,
where were they? Where were the epidemics of pneumonia with each new illicit
publication? Why weren't those pesky critics dying off on their own, why did
OSA have to bother with them? Could it be that (the possibly still awesome
but now definitely suspect) Hubbard had made yet another mistake? I decided
So I took the red pill (Matrix fans, please explain this to your
uninitiated friends). I went to www.xenu.net and searched out the Seeecrut
Scrrrriptures. There they were, and in LRH's own handwriting. Hmmm. Nothing
too outlandish here, sounds about like what I've been reading and hearing
since I was nearly raw meat. Is this what the furor was over? It didn't
answer any questions for me, except that I didn't seem to be dying from
reading it or anything. It was neither more nor less likely to be true than
the rest of the space opera stuff Hubbard put out for 35 years in the name
of scientific research. Would I have to go on wandering around with a lit
lantern in the daytime?
Fortunately, no. I soon came upon Peter Forde's article, "A Scientific
Scrutiny of OT 3." He points out what I at first overlooked: Hubbard got too
specific on this one. Forde patiently and painstakingly documents the age of
each of the volcanoes listed by name in the OT III materials. And what do
you know? Most of them didn't exist 75 million years ago, when they were
supposedly serving as sites in which to H-bomb those trillions of unhappy
galactic citizens into BTs. I cross-checked his references!) AND there are
no leftover traces of the explosions. AND there are no traces of the
*hundreds* of billions of humans who inhabited Earth before the great
I had reached my limit. Some things just can't be explained away. *This*
was the Big Secret I'd spent more than half my life defending, supporting,
striving toward, hoping for. *This* was what waited for me from OT III to
the very top of the Bridge. No. *This* was why there are no goddamn OTs.
This was not too weird to be believed--that was normal for Scn, who cared
about that? No, it was just plain impossible. The motherfucker was either
lying or completely wacko. I didn't care which. I was gone, done with that.
After that I read a whole lot more entheta, and gave it a whole lot more
credit than I ever could have done as a Scientologist. That doesn't mean I
believe every random gripe or claim: you don't have to be a Scientologist to
be a liar, although it helps. I formed a very different picture of my former
religion. Yes, I do call it a religion, albeit a very strange one. Calling
it a religion is not complimentary, however. It merely acknowledges what
Scientologists admit when they want special treatment, privileges, and
protections from governments, as opposed to money from new suckers: that it
is NOT scientific, that it does NOT get results, that it is based only on
BELIEFS that cannot be proven and must not be tested, that it has no
concrete value and merely fills a "spiritual" [emotional] need in its
parishioners. That the beliefs are weird beyond imagining is irrelevant.
That they're dead wrong is irrelevant. That the official church is evil and
deceptive and disgusting is irrelevant. Lots of respectable religions have
that in their past. That some of the practices of Scientology may be harmful
is irrelevant. So is snake handling, but it's religious, all right.
Scientology's a religion. If you want to say it's also a cult, you won't get
any disagreement from me there. If you want to say it's a bizarre,
destructive, loathsome religion unlike any religion you're familiar with,
I'll give you that, too.
They want to have it both ways: the reconciliation of Science and
Religion. Well, they're religious, in a rather unsavory way, but calling
Scientology scientific could not be further from the truth. Of course all
Hubbard's claims of introducing scientific method to the humanities were
pure hogwash. He didn't know scientific method from the Palmer method, and
he thought "control group" meant something you *do*. I've communicated my
conclusions to several Scientologists, including my former wife from the Sea
Org (she immediately divorced me when I routed out of the SO, and before I
left Scientology itself), and, under one or more pseudonyms, several
defenders on a.r.s. Of course, not one ever could or would reply to the
salient arguments, because those points are indefensible. I could not have
successfully argued those points myself, at my most committed, and I was a
pretty clever arguer.
Well, I'm living life, my own life, really for the first time ever,
since kids rarely have lives entirely their own and SO members never do.
It's great. I love it. It's like being a brand new high school graduate,
only with more belly and less hair. The world is my clam, I mean oyster. I'm
having fun, I got myself a real job, and I can't complain. Much. I wouldn't
say I've been permanently harmed by Scientology, if you don't count the 25
years hornswoggled out of me, the loss of my otherwise devoted wife,
disconnection by relatives and friends, a complete lack of any job
experience or training worth anything to anybody, and probably a couple
other adversities I may have forgot to mention. You know, the usual stuff.
What do I think about losing my lifelong dream of infinite godlike
powers? How about, "Good riddance to bad lunacy!"? Without the rose-and-shit
bifocals, reality is just swell, thank you very much.
I should add that, in their own pathetic way, my astonished and
disbelieving fellow SO members treated me with what passes in Scientology
for decency and respect while I was routing out. I was never physically
restrained, badgered, or yelled at. I got plenty of sleep. I ate reasonably
well. I was never coerced into working, although sometimes I did do some
light work, just to be nice. I even kept on getting the same miserable SO
allowance I'd been getting before. If I hadn't been leaving town and
declined their help, they would have insisted on making sure I had a job and
a place to live, before cutting me loose. On the negative side, I was
watched 24 hours a day, and I was expected to remain on the Scn property
unless I had approval to go out, which usually required some special reason.
My sec checking proceeded at an average of one hour a day (less than 12 1/2
per week is "out tech"), and didn't start till a week and a half after I
requested to leave. I knew (and was told) I would be declared SP, if I left
without undergoing the whole routine. I knew what being SP would entail,
including losing my wife (whom I lost anyway merely by quitting the SO),
friends, and some relatives, and the very real possibility of fair game
treatment despite all their claims to the contrary. I knew that part of the
routine I needed to comply with to keep from getting declared SP was to sign
documents stating that I was under no duress or threat, giving up my right
of free speech concerning all Scn entities and any right to litigate against
That, for them, is apparently pretty good behavior on their part. A big
improvement. Maybe they're learning.
So why am I now doing what should get me declared SP, after going
through all that effort to avoid it? Well, it needs to be done. I want my
position and reasoning known; it's unlikely to reach or affect any hard-core
Scientologists, but I feel obligated to offer it in case there are any who
may on the verge of thinking freely. More realistically, if I can get the
truth to minds not yet lost to reality, I may help prevent their loss. I do
this for entirely selfish reasons, in the objectivist sense: I'm
emphatically not an altruist, but I recognize the potential worth of any
human to me, and if by sharing knowledge I can increase that worth or
prevent its loss, then I have gained.
What about the other concerns? My wife and ex-friends were all SO and
lost to me anyway; ex-SO members are mainly despised by SO members, who are
forbidden to maintain contact with them. The relatives--well, that remains
their choice and responsibility, not mine. As for Fair Game: (1) I may not
be important enough to bother with; professional harassment isn't free, you
know, and OSA clampower is severely limited; (2) they may be hoping to keep
me relatively quiet; what I could say about them might not be devastating,
but it would certainly be embarrassing; and (3) hey, give them the benefit
of the doubt: maybe fair game really is being curtailed; they certainly
haven't directly messed with me yet, even after I revealed that I was no
friend and made a direct appeal to my ex-wife to get the hell out of Scn and
offered to help her; maybe they'll keep it that way. What about it, OSA? You
leave me alone, and I won't have any harassment to report. Sound fair? I
won't lie about you.
OK, boys and girls. Thanks for staying with me. My work keeps me on the
road nearly all the time, and I don't have a way to get to USENET while I'm
on a wireless connection, so I may not see your replies before they expire.
Unlike the usual NG practice, if you have something you really want to say
to me, do feel free to e-mail me as a cc to your NG post, because I may
never see it otherwise. (I don't promise to respond to everything.) If I
manage to get reliable remote USENET access, I'll announce it on the NG.
I've been lurking and occasionally posting since last Fall, so I'm pretty
familiar with the scenery and the actors. You're a terrific
crowd--mostly--and I wish I had enough hours to read everything and reply to
everything I cared to.
Take care, all, and happy new year.
aka Rip Van Winkle: I went hunting one day, encountered some strange
characters playing a strange game, drank their brew, fell asleep,
woke up 20 years later.