Travers Harris - The Athena and Other Sea Org Adventures
Travers Harris is a veteran Sea Organization member and longtime Scientologist who has some fascinating tales of adventure in the early days of Sccientology.
the day I saved the lives of 40 crew members[edit | edit source]
I was the chief engineer on the station ship Athena which was stationed in Copenhagen Denmark. I was approached by the then captain Stella King who wanted me to go on a mission to Copenhagen Organisation to take over the command while we sent 2 staff members to flag to be trained on the Flag Executive Briefing Course. After arriving on my new assignment I got 2 guys, Peter Jork and his fiancé and sent them off for training. This took about 3 months and when they returned I went back to my ship.
After returning to the ship I found the old captain was replaced by a new captain named Mitch Spence (now deceased) and there was also a new chief engineer. I was appointed as chief officer. I was informed by the new captain that we would be setting sail for Germany the next morning. I got the ship ready for sailing and the next morning we set sail.
I had a lot of experience on the Athena and knew her quite well. The weather was not all that good that morning ranging at about a force 5 on the Beaufort scale however the Athena was built for that weather and there was nothing to worry about. After about an hour or so out in the Baltic Sea the weather started deteriorating and it was now a force 7 bordering on a force 8. I was still not concerned but I started hearing a knocking sound coming from the engine room. She was a steam ship with a triple expansion engine with 3 large fires which heated the boiler and produced steam which got pressurized to 220 pounds per square inch which in turn drove the 3 pistons to turn the propeller. The ship weighed 450 tons and she used bunker fuel to burn and boil the 20 tons of water in the boiler producing the pressure.
I went down to the engine room and located the knocking sound and found it was the fuel pump which pumped the fuel into the 3 fires to keep the boiler making steam which ran the engine under high pressure, it was behaving very erratically. I was not concerned as there was a 2nd backup pump so I changed over to that pump. But the 2nd pump also started playing up which really concerned me. By this time the weather was at a force 9 and virtually a storm and I became seriously concerned as if the pump backed up the ship and all its crew would be in grave danger.
I immediately informed the captain that we must change course and return to Copenhagen or risk sinking the ship in this vicious storm with all crew. The captain immediately changed course and we set sail for Copenhagen. I returned to the engine room and nursed the pumps oiling the shaft regularly but that pump eventually packed up so I changed back to the first pump and nursed it until we arrived back at port. After docking that pump also packed up. If I was not on board and had the experience I had that ship could have gotten into serious trouble and quite possibly have lost her and all the crew.
The hijacking of the Commodore queen[edit | edit source]
I was the chief engineer on the station ship Athena (renamed earlier from the Avon River) stationed in Copenhagen. I had just returned from a mission at the org in Copenhagen where I was CO until the FEBC trainees returned from Flag which they did. Flag had just sent us a new captain Mitch Spence to replace Stella King who was ill, both have since passed on. This was my 5th captain since joining the Avon River in Valencia in 1968. The captain of the Athena was usually also the continental captain and responsible for the AO and orgs in Europe. As the orgs expanded LRH ordered us to start a FOLO in Copenhagen and appoint one of our crew members as the CO so we appointed my 1st engineer.
Soon after, Flag sent Bill Robertson known as Captain Bill to take over as the continental captain thus relieving the ship’s captain of that duty. My experience on our ship was great having sailed the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea and visiting so many countries I cannot even remember but I loved Denmark and Sweden. The Athena was not like flag where hard work and stiff ethics was the order of the day imposed by those fanatical idiots who could not think for themselves and followed LRH blindly. They already lost their soul but maybe they never had one to begin with.
After a meeting with the captain we decided to set sail for Sweden and sailed the next morning where I was also appointed as the conning officer. It was a beautiful sailing experience, the sea was calm, the beer tasted good and we arrived in Stockholm at around midnight but it was still daylight. As there are around 24,000 islands in the Swedish archipelago you had to call the harbour authorities to send out a pilot to guide your ship in else you might get lost amongst all those islands. About 2 hours the pilot arrived and guided us in to Stockholm port. Stockholm is beautiful.
After a few days Mitch our new captain received a message from Captain Bill that I must immediately catch a flight to France and meet him in Cherbourg. Well I quickly packed a suitcase and took a taxi to Stockholm airport and boarded a flight to Paris and later a train to Cherbourg. I arrived late that evening and Captain Bill was waiting to meet me and we then took a taxi to the military harbour in Cherbourg where the British station ship “Commodore Queen” was berthed in dry dock. I was immediately appointed captain of the ship and ordered to take responsibility for her refit by the harbour workforce. Bill then left and returned to Copenhagen to carry out his responsibilities but returned every now and then to see how things were going. Then one day a mission arrived from flag consisting of Wally Burgess and Art Web. Wally was one of my ex captains from the Athena and I knew him well, a very nice guy and we got on very well. His first words to me were, “Travers!! what the hell has he done” (referring to captain Bill). I asked why and they informed me that Captain Bill had gone over to England and hijacked the boat sailed it across the channel to Cherbourg and there was hell to play on flag. Now the reason the ship was in dry dock was because while captain Bill left the harbour in England, the ship started taking on water and started sinking as there were holes in the hull, so he radioed the port authorities in Cherbourg to prepare the dry dock. I was relieved of my command by Wally who took over the captaincy and we then refloated the ship.
I then returned to Stockholm and Wally and Art were instructed to sail the ship back to England where the authorities confiscated the ship. Captain Bill was ordered back to flag where he was to be comm eve’d by orders of the staff captain. In his write up Captain Bill said he had to take the ship out of England as it was his responsibility as Continental Captain EU after hearing that the authorities were going to confiscate the ship.
LRH was not aboard the flag ship at the time and got to hear about this situation, apparently he was not very happy with the Staff Captain for whatever and so he wrote a flag order saying that captain Bill was one of the finest officers in the sea org and promoted him to 3rd deputy commodore and then instructed him to comm ev the staff captain which he did and assigned her to the RPF. I really thought this entire experience was a gas, just another one of the funny experiences I had.
not all bad[edit | edit source]
I think I gave the impression that it was all bad while I was in the SO but this was not so. However I was from the very start of when LRH wrote his ethics policies against the punishment or penalties associated with the ethics policies. And put into the hands of the wrong people could be quite catastrophic as you can see what is happening today with the image of Scientology as caused by Miscavige.
The ethics policies are completely irrelevant in Scientology and has been very destructive to the image. All that ethics intends to handle can be handled by the policy letter THE QUALIFICATIONS DIVISION. All ethics cases are flat ball bearings and the mentioned policy covers flat ball bearings.
The heavy ethics in the SO was only in the beginning but later subsided. I did experience some real bad times because of the flat ball bearings I had to associate with but the majority of people were absolutely great and I still communicate to some of them today. I saw much of the world and met great people in several countries which I would never have been able to do had I not joined the SO.
The other big disagreement I have is that of being employed by the church. They do not supply any sort of retirement or medical. If you spend a lengthy time working for them and then leave, you will find yourself penniless unless you are wealthy to begin with. People joining the movement as a staff should force them to sign an ageeement about retirement schemes and medical.
The following example is what I call totally and utterly criminal by the church and Miscavige should be brought to book by the authorities: It is this that I call suppressive utterly so and Miscavige should be jailed for doing it.
This from a beautiful young female at the FLB I think all Scientologists around the world should speak up about this utterly inhumane treatment
During my final stages of routing out of The Sea Org in Clearwater four years ago, I was scraping off the O block exterior walls (home for us RPFers) day in, day out, thinking…. what happened to that dedication. Here I am, routing out after 20 years and on a ‘scrape those walls’- assignment. It was a very odd combination of mixed feelings and confused questions and had no one to talk to – talking to anyone is forbidden in the RPF and when you’re in the RPFs RPF you just have you. Now even the fellow RPFers condemn you – save 2 or 3 who did try to talk to me. But their talk was about changing my mind and staying. Staying wasn’t an option, I needed to understand what is the real reason for sayonara my friends, my group and the once burning purpose. I had seen spiritual rape of fellow staff; humiliation in front of the group by a senior executive, spouses sent to work in different continents, disconnection in full use, veteran staff who had worked with LRH had been routed off or RPFed, and the reasons for my questioning and disagreements went on like this. I had done my share of actions I regret. Unquote
Kirsi told me she was dropped off at Tampa Airport penniless.
After serving 20 years, and knowing she was a Norwegian/Finnish national with NO $$$ (RPF for 2 years is virtually penniless for 60 to 80 hour weeks of slave labor ~~ human trafficking) Kirsi was dropped off at Tampa airport without a cent to purchase a meal or drink, leave alone air fare. This was 4 years ago. Imagine the cruel and inhumane treatment of dumping a human being that has just served 20 years and 2 years in the RPF and draconian RPF'S RPF ~~ dumping them at Tampa Airport with no money. Imagine the GREED of an entitiy sitting with $1 billion in reserves in the IAS account, spitting a staff member out with NOTHING as punishment for asking to leave the group. The Church gives no pension, no 401K, nothing absolutely nothing to veteran staff and gets away with slave labor for cents an hour under the guise of "MINISTERIAL EXEMPTION".
She did a collect call to a friend who paid her ticket back to Europe and she now lives in the South of France. She made it through. Here's an image of Kirsi a dear friend.
L Ron Hubbard and the suppression of the 2nd dynamic[edit | edit source]
In 1979 I was no longer at Flag but at the FOLO Africa helping org's etc and I got my girlfriend pregnant. There was also a flag mission at the FOLO at the same time. When my girlfriend told me she was pregnant I was overjoyed, wow I was to be a dad. I really felt very good and happy. The mission got to hear of it and they called me into the office and asked me what was going on, I replied what do you mean and they answered me somewhat horrified "You got your girlfriend pregnant". I said "SO! what's wrong with that", we are going to be married and it's none of your business anyway, and I was dismissed. They then called my wife to be in and told her she has got to write a report and omit nothing, my wife told them "to go to hell" and walked out of the office. Anyway I got the chief flag missioniare to marry us and we had a little party and later had a court wedding as well. I paid no further attention to the matter and my beautiful baby daughter was born in July 1980.
We decided to take a leave of absence and I got a job and I was earning money again for a change. In January of 1986 we heard of LRH's death and attended a memorial service at the local org. A while later I received a phone call from Dave Engelhard asking me to come back to the FLB as they needed me for the new ship they were going to purchase. So I packed up my job purchased tickets for the family and flew over to Clearwater with our 3 children, my wife had 2 from an earlier marriage. We were greeted at the airport by Dave and then shown to our apartment about 6 miles from the base. The next morning we got the Scientology owned bus after breakfast which took us to the base. My wife immediately got attacked verbally for wearing makeup and perfume, she was told this was not allowed. I thought where the hell does this come from it sure was not LRH policy. As time went on I audited the CMO IC and she was going off about some guy was being out 2D and she went off about the out 2D. On Saturday evening all the young girls at the base took the bus to Clearwater for the evening out but none wore makeup or perfume.
This was very strange to me as back on the ship LRH did not interfere with people having a relationship or wearing perfume, as a matter of fact he spoke about how some people are prone to sweating and they should use a deodorant. Many couples even shacked up in cabins. LRH eventually published an article in the OODS promising unmarried couples that if they got married they would be given a promotion in rank and many did. One of the briefing tapes I had to listen to he spoke about an island nation where they slaughtered all the babies. He mentioned that that nation did not last very long and they vanished. He spoke about the dangers of interfering with the 2nd dynamic and the probability of the destruction to nations who suppress the 2nd dynamic. It's a long time ago and I do not recall all he said.
So what I see happening, is the SO and the official church going into a decline and probable failure if they continue their psychotic behaviour. Maybe the Freezone should gear up to take over. And now hearing that the women in the SO are not allowed to have babies. Wow that is really a dangerous game and a recipe for self destruction. ABSOLUTELY SO.
The seeds for the demise of Sccientology[edit | edit source]
When I was introduced to Scientology in 1964 it was called The Hubbard Association of Scientologists. I attended an introductory lecture and later did some of the basic courses. I was very impressed and later signed up for The Hubbard Professional Auditors Course all at my own expense. At the time I thought there was nothing like it in the Western World. It was about the philosophy of spirituality, of love and of friendship. I was so impressed with the information that when I was asked to join staff by the head of the organisation, Alison Parkhouse, at that time I joined without any hesitation and signed a contract for 2 ½ years. Much to the disgust of family and friends I gave up my profession and worked for a few cents a week. The course room was packed with students learning about Hubbard’s philosophy and really having a ball. From around 1964 Hubbard introduced his ethics policies, and that was the beginning of the demise of Scientology although I did not realize it at the time. There were many policies he wrote about ethics and the ethics conditions and the formulas on how to get yourself out of these conditions. You may read about Hubbard’s ethics at this link: Ethics
Maybe there is some truth in what he wrote but my experience with it was nothing short of abuse especially when put into the hands of uncaring people. I visited Scientology Organisations in many parts of the world and I found none who liked these policies especially their formulas and penalties. Organisations I visited were Malmo, Gothenburg, Stockholm in Sweden, and Copenhagen in Denmark. Then there were Lubeck in Germany, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria in South Africa and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. My own experience was that it was degrading. Often when a senior executive was angry with an individual he or she would put you in a lowered condition to suit their own egos.
Hubbard became quite fanatical about his philosophy at the time and ordered the executives of organisations around the world to lengthen the evening training classes from 3 to 5 evenings per week and weekend courses to run the entire weekend. He wrote a short article called “5 YEARS” IN WHICH HE STATED THE WORLD ONLY HAD 5 YEARS LEFT BEFORE NUCLEAR WAR WAS DECLARED BY THE SOVIET UNION AND THE UNITED STATES AND THAT SCIENTOLOGY WAS THE ONLY HELP FOR THE WORLD. Students were forced to attend courses 5 evenings per week which upset them as they say they had no family time left. There were some quite distinguished people, people in good positions in the work place, who could not always attend course or their counselling sessions.
And then an “ethics officer” was appointed to staff according to the new policies Hubbard had written and all hell broke loose. He started applying the ethics procedures to staff and public. Staff members were declared suppressive and kicked out and those who could not attend class 5 nights per week or attend their counselling sessions were declared suppressive. My best friend at the time who I had brought into Scientology recently got married and was on honeymoon, he was declared because he was unable to attend class. The results were that the course room started emptying out and the once friendly public became hostile. This affected the income of the organisation and my pay dropped to a few cents per week. I became the only technical person in the organisation able to deliver services to the public which made it very stressful for me. The organisation could no longer afford the lovely premises they were in and they had to find alternate cheaper premises. My family was very upset with me as they had to support me. This all happened at the Cape Town Organization around 1965 - 66. Even the press started getting hostile with bad articles. I became extremely unhappy with this ethics rubbish. When my contract expired in 1966 I left Cape Town organisation and found a job in my profession in the printing industry to earn some money.
I was still very interested in the philosophy of Scientology and when I was informed of the newly formed Sea Organisation I joined it in 1968 at the Advanced Organisation in Alicante Spain. I thought that this ethics nonsense would be discontinued or not abused as much as it was in Cape Town because I thought I was going to a higher level organisation, BUT OH MY GOODNESS, WAS I WRONG. The first 3 months of my new career in the sea organization at the advanced organization in Alicante, Spain was absolutely brilliant. Lots of friendly students from around the world, and the staff were amazing and friendly. The commanding officer, a South African was quite level headed and social and did not mess around with this ethics stuff. This was however short lived as instructions from Hubbard were to close that organization down and open a new advanced organization in Edinburgh, Scotland as we were informed the authorities in Spain were about to raid us, I never knew the reason. I was assigned the task of getting all the students, of which there were around a hundred, transferred to Edinburgh which I arranged flights for. I hired a car and drove all the course materials to Edinburgh with the help of a colleague.
On my return from Edinburgh I was assigned as a crew member on the Station Ship Avon River (later renamed the Athena) a small steam boat weighing around 500 tons. I arrived on the boat fairly late and after filling in all the papers required of a crew member on a ship I got to bed at around 3 AM. Later that morning at around 5:15 AM I was awoken by a 15 year old kid named Peter Gilham who informed me that I was scheduled to take the next quarter master watch. I had no idea what this was about but he gave me a briefing of what was required and showed me around the ship. I was still very groggy as I was still exhausted from the previous day and as I did not have enough sleep. I was quite astounded when being shown around the decks as there were young girls, must have been around 16 or 17, chipping the rust off the decks and themselves more than half asleep and battling to stay awake. It occurred to me that this ethics “stuff” has not gone away I was absolutely disgusted. I was then given a broken pair of old overalls to put on and at 6:00 AM started my Quarter Master watch.
At 9:00 AM that morning a beautiful girl named Nicki Freidman came up to me and assigned me a condition of NON-EXISTENCE FOR WEARING AN OLD PAIR OF OVERALLS while on quarter master watch and ordered me to report to the Master at Arms (Ethics Officer on dry land).
So I was assigned the task of painting the bridge of the ship for the next 24 hours and was not permitted to eat with the crew. After performing my penalty I went to bed and slept until the next morning. The next day I was assigned to the engine room as a greaser, which had the task of oiling and greasing the machinery. I had no experience of steam ships but started learning fast. It was a few days as we prepared the ship to sail and we received orders to sail to an unknown destination. We set sail for Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa and then were told our next port of call would be Bizerte in Tunisia North Africa. During this trip we had tremendous problems with the engine and the rings of the 1st high pressure piston disintegrated. We had other problems with heat but we eventually arrived in Bizerte and we were all exhausted. The captain in the meantime assigned the engine room a condition of doubt with its penalties and we had to work to repair the broken piston for the next 72 hours without sleep and were not permitted to leave the engine room. We were not permitted to bathe either. We became filthy dirty and absolutely exhausted. The Flag Ship Royal Scotman, later named the Apollo was due to arrive in Bizerte later with the commodore L Ron Hubbard aboard. Hubbard eventually arrived on his much larger ship with his crew and when he heard about our experience in the engine room, he recalled our chief engineer to his ship to face a committee of evidence with a charge of “CRIMINAL NEGLECT TO THE ENGINES OF THE FLOTILLA”. I was then assigned the post of Chief Engineer by the captain. The next day the Commodore sent a messenger over to me to ask me “when will I have the engine ready as he needed us to sail urgently”. I was still totally ignorant of the workings and the engine as it was partially dismantled so I informed the messenger to tell Hubbard that “we could probably sail in a couple of days if he sent me someone who knew what was going on”. So he returned the chief back to us and we fixed the engines and set sail for Corfu Greece.
After our arrival in Corfu the Flag Ship was already there and we docked close to her. There was a lot going on and we were going to build a university of Scientology on the island which would be the headquarters for Scientology world-wide. This would have brought a lot of money to the small poor island.
The Overboards[edit | edit source]
Hubbard later released a new course called the class 8 course. Students started arriving from all over the world to do this new course. But they had no idea what they were letting themselves in for, the penalty for making a mistake was that you would be thrown overboard. The Apollo was a 3,500 ton ferry with a flat bottom and a rubbing stake all around the bottom of the ship and maybe as high as 30 feet from where terrified students would be thrown if they made a mistake. From our vantage point on our smaller ship we watched students being thrown overboard from a dizzy and dangerous height for mistakes they had made. Some of these students could not swim and a life buoy was put around them making it even more dangerous. If by any chance you hit the rubbing stake you may have been badly injured or even killed. I was never in favour of this practice and thoroughly condemned it. My future “wife” at that time was thrown overboard and she told me she was absolutely terrified. We were married much later but the captain never sent the papers away so the marriage was never registered, so we were never legally married. I only found this out 7 years later. Pictures of these overboards were even printed in the local press. Around 8 months later we were advised by the Greek Authorities that we were no longer welcome in Greece and were told to leave Corfu, probably in part, due to this vicious and savage practice of throwing people overboard.
We were assigned a new Captain named Stella King and also received a new chief engineer, John O’Keefe with myself as 1st engineer and we set sail for Copenhagen with a staff to set up a new advanced organisation in that country. We docked in Naples and dropped of the staff for the new advanced organisation to be created in Copenhagen and we sailed the next morning for Copenhagen. The trip was mostly uneventful except the hydraulic steering gear burst and we had to weld some pipes together. This resulted because we changed the old rudder and put another bigger rudder on which put more strain on the steering gear. We arrived in Denmark about a week later and docked in Helsingborg and later sailed on to Copenhagen and our mission was to oversee the wellbeing of the new organisations in Copenhagen and Sweden. We did a lot of sailing around, between Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen. Our chief engineer then left with his wife and I was assigned to that post, but at this time I knew the engines thoroughly.
Our new captain on a voyage to Malmo in Sweden ran the ship aground on the way back to Copenhagen. In the process she holed one of the fuel tanks which caused severe problems in the engine room but I managed to contain the damage however we had to go into dry dock to have the tanks repaired. This was the 2nd time she ran the ship aground. She was recalled to flag but was sent back later. After returning to Stockholm we sailed back to Copenhagen and I was transferred to the Flag Ship which was docked in Madeira, a Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. I met up again with my fiancé who had left the Athena earlier and we were married on the Flag ship by the Captain.. I was then put on the flag internship to further my training as an auditor and in the process auditing many of the staff and crew clearing up their upsets etc. My then wife had 2 children back in South Africa who needed attention and we obtained a leave of absence for a year and came back to South Africa. After a year we went back to Portugal and joined up with flag once again.
LRH was not aboard the flag ship at the time and I was assigned the post of ships programs chief. This post put be in charge of all the ships in the sea organisation including the flag ship of which there were 5 but this was only the running of the ships. There was another organisation on the flag ship which was responsible for scientology around the world. Hubbard left the flag ship as he was ill with lung problems and my first assignment was to check all the air-conditioning units in his living quarters and where he did his writing and have them repaired where necessary. He also suffered from various allergies from certain textiles and I had to check that none of these textiles were in his living and sleeping quarters.
As I was in charge of all the ships an order was received from LRH to have me comm-eved for endangering Scientology in the Western United States. What happened was that there were many of the staffers children at the advanced organisation in Los Angeles where public came to study and receive counselling and the executives of this organisation wanted to send the children to one of the ships during the day to be cared for after schooling. The result was that the ship’s captain and the execs of the LA org started fighting and Hubbard held me responsible. I knew about this situation and ordered all involved to handle it but Hubbard decided to blame me. He ordered a committee of evidence to be held on me and face a charge of sabotaging scientology in the Western United States. I was of course found guilty by the committee because if I was found not guilty Hubbard would have fired the committee and have another convened. I was then put in a lower condition once again but this time I was too angry to do any of the conditions and penalties.
We returned to South Africa shortly after and took over the running of the local sea org mission in South Africa responsible for the running of all the Scientology org’s on the continent. However I was still very angry and took a leave of absence and found a job and started making some money for a change. In all my time in scientology and the sea organisation pay was virtually non-existent except when on the flag ship who received money from all the organisations around the world. My wife at that time and I split and it was only then that I discovered we were never married. I worked for a while and started earning money for a change but I was begged to come back and if I did not they would have declared me suppressive. I returned but I was already declared a “FREELOADER” and had to pay my freeloader bill which I did.
So once again I experienced disgusting food and no or little pay. I got over my anger and settled down. I was appointed chief officer and did what chief officers did. A while later, the commanding officer and her husband were transferred by their request to the Flag Ship and we received a new CO by the name of Norman Starkey. He was on a leave of absence from flag and when that leave was up he returned and took over the reins of our little outfit. Earlier when I was on the flag ship holding the post of ships programs chief, he was the captain of the flag ship and my junior but now my senior. This guy was a screaming shouting type of a character and I considered him quite insane. The 2 of us fought continuously and at one stage I landed up in the old hillbrow hospital with ulceration of the stomach. I overcame that and returned and he was later recalled to the flag ship. We received a new CO and a while later I was asked to run the Johannesburg Continental Org as it was not doing well and I ran that for a few months. During this period I also married again to my current wife. My previous wife died of cancer in 1994.
I was later removed from the position of CO Johannesburg without any reason given and returned to the continental headquarters. But this removal upset me and my wife and I decided to leave, this was in 1980. My wife also gave birth to my daughter Natalie in 1979. So I got a job in my profession once again and started earning money and for the time being moved in with my wife’s parents until such time as we could get a place of our own. I then started my own business doing graphic arts for the printing industry and things were going OK then in January of 1986 Hubbard died. I was quite shocked and later attended an event in Johannesburg for a memorial service.
About a month went past and I received a telephone call from Dave Engelhard and Sue Price who were senior personnel at the newly established Flag Land Base which was situated in the newly purchased Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater in Pinellas County, Florida USA. They wanted me to return with my wife and children as they needed my expertise as they wished to purchase a new ship. My wife and I discussed the possibility of returning but we were not keen. We received quite a few call from America over the next few days and were persuaded to return. This was a bad mistake however we closed the business and sold the machinery and my car and purchased flights the 5 of us and flew over to Clearwater USA. We were given a nice welcome and I was appointed to a position in the newly formed ship org. There were maybe around 15 of us. My wife was appointed as a registrar.
I was asked to go and see the owner of the ship who was based in Florida so I flew down to Florida and had an interview with the owner, seemed to be a wealthy businessman and we made a deal. Asking price was US$12M and we did a deal. He said he liked the look of our bank account which was sent to him earlier which was an offshore bank account in Europe. I did not see that account. He then gave me permission to inspect the ship which was docked in a port close to Clearwater. So myself and a colleague and myself visited the ship which I inspected and gave my approval. It was a nice ship! Then some time later Engelhard was not happy with me for some reason or the other which was not explained to me and he took me outside and he started roughing me up but not hitting me. I exploded and nearly attacked him as in my younger years I trained as a boxer but I refrained but warned him that if he tried that again I would break his neck. This really upset me.
My wife was also not happy with what she was doing in that as a registrar her job was to call people and register them and get them to pay for services. She had to phone people from around the world and work from after breakfast at 9:00 am until 10:00 pm. After that she was made to baby sit for another registrar until 2 or 3 in the morning. The baby was brought to our living quarters and none of us got a proper nights sleep. This carried on until one night I told this other registrar that we will no longer do this. She reported me to ethics for endangering her job. In addition to this we got our little 5 year old girl in a school but the 2 boys now aged 11 and 13 were not in school and my wife was not very happy about this. So my wife phoned her parents and asked them to purchase tickets for us in South Africa as we were coming home. They purchased tickets for us which we collected and one morning early we left and flew home to South Africa. My wife’s parents were not very happy with me. At this time at the age of 46 I decided that I had enough and would resign from scientology for good. But I owed my wife’s parents a lot of money for the 5 airline tickets they paid for. My family and I were now penniless and homeless and in debt. So I went to see a lawyer and asked him to send them a lawyers letter at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater demanding that they refund me for the airline tickets we purchased. They refunded the money without any problem whatsoever and I settled my debt with my father in law and purchased a small vehicle to get to work and back and lived with my parents in law until we could get our own place.
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