Scientology gets Picketed in Los Angeles, Oct 26, 2003
Cheryl Sola (Clamato) Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 02:59 am
It was a lovely, sunny morning on LRH Way. As we gathered in front of the IAS building across from Wendy's, a security guard came around the corner on his bike chattering into his walkie talkie, pretending not to look at us as he passed, but peeking after he passed. We picked up our signs and walked down Fountain Avenue and turned onto LRH Way.
The 'cobblebrick' street while aesthetically pleasing in and of itself lends a discordant note in juxtaposition to the aging blue buildings, like a failed attempt at making over an old Hollywood whore. It's sort of like wearing a a Victorian lace blouse with a 1970's polyester pantsuit, in other words, tasteless.
The 'cobblebrick' is like an ill-considered throwback to a more peaceful, innocent era, presumably an attempt at aging Scientology into a historical religion? What few people were seen were staff, scarecrow thin and looking anxious or hostile. The street had the feel of a ghost town, if not dead then in the throes of death. We walked slowly up to Sunset Boulevard then back down to Fountain. Passing LA Org someone mentioned that it had died after being renovated and has never come back to life and even the ED of OC, John MacArthur, couldn't resurrect it.
The Hollywood Guaranty Building was our next stop. It houses OSA and the LRH Life Exhibition. Tory was carrying the sign "Honk if you think Scientology is a cult!" There were many honks and thumbs up.
There was a security guard inside the foyer of OSA, who either ignored me or glared at me when I attempted to establish communication by waving to him. When we paused in passing the door he would pop out like a jack in the box whose spring only works when the SP's disappeared, then was yanked back in when we started approaching him. Obviously, the picketers yanked his chain. Someone should clue him in that Dianetics gets rid of fears.
A young adult female stopped many of us with non-stop questions. Tory finally outed her as an OSA op trying to tie us up.
After lunch, we picketed the testing center. Hollywood Boulevard was now in full swing: bumper-to-bumper traffic, crowded sidewalks. Feisty came with a short, blue friend and they strolled the Boulevard in high style. Many people gave verbal affirmations to the sign I was carrying: Disconnected: Scientology breaks up families.
There was a woman standing out front who was passing out small green invites. The words Dianetics and Scientology were in the very small print at the bottom of the card, a deceptive practice in my opinion. If D&S is so perfect and so wonderful, then why hide it?
This woman maintained a little 1.1 smile every time I passed her. Ah, the explanation. D&S is 1.1 on the tone scale, which is why its members are as well. Being covert and hostile to the society around it, that's why the names are hidden.
A male security guard came out and walked around. Neither he nor the woman spoke. A great testament to the power of Scientology's communication skills. At one point a young adult male asked me what Scientology was all about and the guard interjected a terse, uptight, "make your own decision." I replied, "yes, but make sure it's an informed decision." The young man looked at the guard then at me and shook his head affirmatively, then asked me to walk with him and give him a brief explanation, which I did.
Several other persons asked me what it was about and I gave brief synopses. I was asked by another person how we could stand in front of them picketing. I replied that it was free speech, we weren't obstructing anything and the sidewalk was in the public domain (oh no! maybe Scientology will put its name in a star in front of its buildings and then claim copyright violations if critics walk on it!).
If ever Scientology was doomed, it's from this comment made to me by two young adults. A male asked his girl friend, "What exactly is Scientology anyway?" She replied, "Man, it's that place that, like, makes you read books."
Tragically, it's, like, the death knell of society as well.
Scientology is not well-liked in Tinsel Town.
My First Picket
Picket Report by Fiesty
I attended the picket in Los Angeles on Saturday which began by the complex known as the 'Big Blue" on L Ron Hubbard Way. Being unfamiliar with the surroundings, it looked as though the entrance on the one side, across from Wendy's parking lot was some sort of postal outlet, because of the trucks in the driveway and the lettering on the side of the building that began IAS Western United States...
It is hard to believe that this whole complex is a church, as the starkness of the outside and shoddy blue color overall, with lack of symbols made it hard to believe. One picketer commented that high above the one complex where a tower or turret had once been, was boarded up, 'open to air' for a long time. Rough, rusty looking beams were exposed to plain sight.
It was a pleasure to meet the other picketers, Ida, Tory, Graham, Cheryl and others. We met, talked and donned the picket signs. We came around to the main entrance on L Ron Hubbard Way to see there was a police car parked diagonally in the middle of the road, and what was said to be a $cientology bicycle security patrolman. There was no confrontation, so it is assumed that they were mainly aware of our being there.
The first thing to note on this long open street is that the center of the road is made of cobblestone. This looks so out of place considering the look and words of the banners that hang on the poles lining down the street. The picture was supposedly a torch. The torch on the banner did not appear at first sight to look like that. In a science fiction type of way, with the shading and color, it looked like some subliminal robotic, metallic face, as the base of the torch took up most of the banner. I forget what the banner read, but I know it was that galactic type of science fiction jargon. With with the robotic-faced looking torches on poles lining the street, and the cobblestone street, it was quite odd. .
There was also a dark, wire or wrought iron lion that was in need of repair, off its concrete base. Repair equipment and boards were sitting there. Between the wire sculptured metal lion, the robotic faced torches and the cobblestone street, it was as if the Wizard of Oz had taken on some strange new dimension. What a strange trip it was.
We walked down L Ron Hubbard Way and it was like a ghost town. One car driving down the street was occupied by a middle-aged male that flipped the bird as he drove by. Several Scientologists uttered the words from one picket sign -"Ron Hubbard Died on Psych Drugs' and started laughing. It was a long street to walk down and it appeared that as we got further down and back to our starting point, there were even fewer people than when we started. Hard to say how these buildings are utilized with so few people.
As we got back to the area where our cars were parked, there was a biker patrol person waiting directly behind the one car, as though maybe he was to be an intimidating force. I would think rather than being 'OT' as far as knowing just where to be at the same coincidental time, it was more walkie talkie tech that showed his communications link to somewheres else. However when the camera raised, he made off fast.
We then went on to Hollywood Blvd where the L Ron Hubbard Life Exhibit building and what I understand to be the Office of Special Affairs. There is quite a bit more activity here, with people bustling around the town. Most of the $cientologists that we saw so far were outfitted in dark slacks and light colored shirts, blue I think.
Everyone notes that the doors in the side entrance of the building are no longer see through and this is the entrance where most of the activity was. There were very few that used the main entrance on Hollywood. One unmarked busload arrived with not more than 4 people and were quickly whisked inside the building. Many people took flyers and several people stopped to share what they knew about Scientology.
This was an interesting area to picket as it was discovered that across the street on Hollywood was a HELP tutoring center. Several of us went across the street and saw that there were children inside. There were several partitioned light walls directly behind the front entrance. Several of the children were unattended in the front of the building, frolicking and playing on the ground. One woman approached us and asked questions regarding the place, because she knew one of the tutors. She thought it was not directly tied to $cientology. She was informed that the same methods used at the center were in fact the same ones that $cientology schools employed for their own children and were part of Hubbard writings, now considered scripture. Furthermore, it was explained that there were no studies in the educational realm that were to prove it as the revolutionary method of instruction it claims to be, and it would be of interest to read what some of the people in educational circles have said (documented on the internet.) She was guided to read the studytech website on the internet as well as stories this past year in the news. She was given several flyers which she sat in her car and read.
It is interesting to picket. I have seen alot of people over time who pass up picketers when they see them. When it comes to $cientology, most people read the sign and will then take a flyer. Very few turned down flyers. Out of the very few who did not take a flyer, were people entering the Scientology building. It must not have even mattered what we were handing out, it's text or opinion. I think it is well known that $cientology has the reputation for influencing what materials members may read. I had never seen this happen right in front of me, and I can say that it speaks of a big problem, because how can $cientology actually know or change what they will not even look at or read? How can prospective recruits to this faith be told that they will have the utmost technology and power to communicate and then not even stop to see what is being distributed? It's kind of sad to see, that just by standing out there with a picket sign is enough to stop someone from communicating or even knowing or approaching a way of being able to be 'at cause' over anything. This also suggests a view that can only be against freedom of speech.
We stayed quite a while and then decided to go to lunch. Afterwards we headed on to the $cientology Testing Center on Hollywood. It is on a corner, down from the infamous Hollywood and Vine area. This is where Xenu accompanied the picket. Xenu of course is a direct descendant of the scientific OT III scripture that is not introduced to Scientology members until they have been prepared enough and have paid a good sum of money to know. This was the day that Xenu wanted people to know how to get to the internet to learn more of his existence. Little kids walking with their parents poked at him and some shared that they even had one too!
Xenu was a direct form of cult awareness-marketing - for major 'dissemination.' Xenu is a great 'direct point of sale' learning tool that any picket should not be without. Freedom of speech makes this all possible. Some knew the truth in an instant and some who wanted to know more, took these wonderful cards that had been printed up with critical information websites, thanks to another activist. After a while, Tory and I decided to take Xenu further into the Hollywood & Vine area where there are many tourists. Several took pictures with Xenu, and when some people saw the cards we were passing out, asked for one too.
Don't get me wrong here about Xenu. Xenu was not meant to set a joking and degrading example. However with limited resources and without actual evidence of any such real existence, it would be hard to make a proper representation of Xenu. A serious rendition of a Xenu may be too scary for some people to handle and it's probably not a good idea to duplicate something that has caused too many people to spend their entire life savings under much distress amongst other things.
That was the extent of picketing for the day. There are many stories that were exchanged by many of the people walking by, a definite idea that suggests the topic of Scientology is out there. Many people learned something and so did we, who stood out there listening to sad stories of people who could no longer communicate with their loved ones or acquaintances.
We broke up the picket close to 4:30 and prepared to meet at Tory's house for a party. Grateful to be invited, I helped Tory shop for some odds and ends to make the menu complete. No one was going home hungry! Ida made a delicious ham and others brought some yummy things too. It was a wonderful affair as there was plenty of food and conversation.
It was an honor to picket in the name of freedom of speech, and in memory of those who have
Picket Report By Tory Christman
We had a few friends who decided to fly in and visit, so we decided to do a picket in their honor. About 10 of us came, including 80+ year old, kick ass Mother, Ida Camburn who lost her son to the Cult, 30 years ago. ( A bunch didn't want me to mention their names, so pardon the lack of names...if they decide to post they were there, please add to this post :) Graham and I were there, and our friend from Riverside who often pickets with us. An X-Sea Org member joined us for awhile, as well as many critics, and a few X-Scientologists.
I had heard that LA was going to be 90 degrees on Saturday, and knowing just how hot the afternoons have been, I suggested we do a morning picket, and then meet for lunch.
We met at Wendy's behind the Complex. Our first picket was down L. Ron Hubbard way, and as we rounded the corner by AOLA, Class 12 auditor, James Fuller walked by me and told me, "Get out of here!" Such great usage of 'the tech', eh?
I knew James from years ago-so I said, 'Hey...what happened to Free Speech and "Man's inalianable Right to Free Speech?" He grumbled and huffed off.
We all continued down the road, past AOLA , ASHO, on up to LA Org. I noted to Ida and the rest that the woman who had been at our last picket who called the cops on us was the Commanding Officer of LA Foundation (the night/week-end org of LA DAY).
It was ~amazing~ to me to see how utterly D E A D this area is. Not a soul was outside, no staff, no public...Nothing! This area used to be booming on Saturday mornings, years ago. Quite amazing to see.
We then drove down Sunset and over to Hollywood Blvd. and Vine, where the HGB (Hollywood Guarantee Building) Is. This is the offices for all the International Executives. We picked here, and again it was rather quiet. Richard pointed out to me that the doors on the side, that used to have glass on them, are now solid wood. This way there is NO chance that the staff will see our signs.
Many people came up as usual thanking us, talking with us, as we talked and handed out both flyers and cards one Critic had made up with web sites on it. (an excellent tool, I might add).
I had the "Honk if you know Scientology is a CULT" and the horns began to blast, as well as people walking by going "Honk, Honk".
One lady told a few of us she had bought the Dianetics book, and wanted our feedback. She seemed very happy to know she did not have to join the C of S....and many had nice talks with her.
Hollywood Blvd is filled with people always, and it never ceases to surprise me how many people have their own stories about Scientology, and almost always not good ones, either. Some have questions and we each took time to answer them.
Two of the critics noticed the H.E.L.P group (which is the Hollywood Literacy/tutoring group) was across the street, so they went over to picket there too. One mother was going to put her child there, but sat in the car and read the flyer the critic gave to her.
A few young men came up to me and told me they had begun a T-Shirt company and were making one specifically against Scientology. I won't say the label, but it's HOT. It's always surprising and truly interesting to find out people's own create against this totalitarian organization called the Church of Scientology.
At noon we decided to take a break and eat, and then go to the testing Center. We met at the Sizzler, and broke bread together. Eating is always a joy, sharing various stories, and tasty food.
Around 1:30 we headed up to the Scientology Testing Center (where they had lied last time, after calling the police, and saying they had residence upstairs who lived there and we were disturbing them. I said, "get proof" and sure enough the Supervisor asked the OSA Int, Ed Parkin, for his drivers license proving he lived there. HA!
I knew he didn't have it, and he did not, so the cops left, and we won. This time, nothing like that happened: They were quiet as mice. One girl stood outside trying to pass out invites to take their personality test. No one would do it.
I had suggested we bring along a wheel chair for Ida, just due to the heat and we walking back and forth. Graham kindly pushed her around holding her sign, "Scientology: Stop Hurting Familes". Ida looked adorable, and helped greatly in getting flyers out, as well as speaking with people. They were a great team!
Once again a large Taxi (like a van) was parked outside the testing center, blocking the view of our signs. I leaned in and asked if Scientology had called him. He barely spoke English but said no, this was a Taxi stop. Ok, fine, I explained I understood that, but that we are protesting Scientology. He told me, "They hire me". I said, 'Fine...but by your van being HERE, you are blocking our signs, and we are protesting they trying to stop Free speech". All of a sudden he drove off. This has happened a few times. People ~really~ care about Free Speech, and they don't want to contribute to stopping it.
One of the critics had brought a blue blow up 5 foot tall Xenu Doll, with www.xenu.net on the front. I suggested she and I walk Xenu down to Grumman's Chinese Theater as I could see TONS of people there.
Tory Christman and XENU pose by Grumman's Chinese Theatre
Sure enough, people loved Xenu. I walked behind them handing out cards saying, "Find out why she's carrying this Xenu doll" or "Find out about the other side of Scientology". People almost always take the card or flyer. Only the people who say, "We KNOW how bad it is" don't.
Around 3:00 it began to boil, and we'd handed out all of our cards and flyers so we all agreed to call it a day. The picket was successful, and all are thanked greatly who joined in and helped :) Once again, we made a stand for free speech, and that is important.
At 6:30 I had a party at my house, and a grand time was had by all. Since it is Halloween, and I come from a long line of Halloween creators, I have my house all decorated for Halloween, with pumkins, witches, spiders, etc.
The evening was ~delightful~ for being outside, and I have my back porch area fixed up with tables and candles and twinklie lights, so it was perfect.
Inside everyone brought delicious food, and the discussions were terrific. I had painted my dining room, and it looked beautiful, as well as the people in it. I painted it in honor of Andreas, and it's a light pumpkin color. Really pretty :)
A few people met who knew others that each had wanted to connect with, so they thanked me profusely. I'm always amazed at the wonderful connections that occur at these parties....they really are great!
One of the X-Sea Org members had a birthday recently, so a friend had brought an ice cream cake and we all sang Happy B-day to him :)
One X-Scientologist called from the roof of his business to say he was fighting the fires, but if things got under control, he'd be by. Sure enough, he arrived, and we all wished him well :)
As the night went on, I realized it was early morning in Norway, so I called to wish Andreas a good morning and suggest once he woke up to give us a call, to say hi.
He called at 7 am his time, and chatted with many of the people here. Everyone loved talking with Andreas, myself included!
The final great gift of the night was we got an extra hour due to turning the clocks back! So the party went late...and was as always, a true joy!
I love all of my friends, and I cannot thank each one of you enough for being such good friends.
Happiness is parties on a warm October night :)
Love to all...............................
Tory/Magoo~dancing in the moonlight~ In Scientology for 30 years Out for 3 years, happily For thinking and speaking my mind, I am: Declared SP (SP 6 ^with Cumulative Cluster) Expelled from C of S (Woooo hoooo!) :) Free at last!!! For more information, please see: http://www.xenu.net http://www.xenutv.com http://www.torymagoo.org http://www.lermanet2.com/cos/toryonosa.htm http://www.altreligionscientology.org firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 841-3632 Burbank, CA