November 11, 2003 Veteran's Day
My name is Dave Sweetland. I was a member of the COS from October 1969 until August 2000 when I resigned. I was declared a Suppressive Person in Sept 5, 2000.
My introduction to Scientology was from Robert "Vaughn" Young who was teaching philosophy at the University of California - Davis in spring of 1969. Vaughn, his wife Toby, and their infant son David and I shared an apartment then a house in Davis in 1970 and 1971. My condolences to his family and friends. We spent a day together in late September early October 2001.
I was the tenth staff member in Martin Samuel's "Davis Mission" which grew throughout the 70s to have Missions in Davis, Sacramento, Portland, San Francisco as well as founding the Delphia "Foundation" which became the Delphi School in Sheridan, Oregon. I was a Class IV auditor (literally thousands of hours "in the chair") as well as Course Supervisor; and many knew me for the thousands of introductory lectures I gave. I completed OTIII in 1978 while working for "Artists International" Chic Corea's management group with Martin & Diana Samuels, Paolo Lioni, Bruce Wiseman, Kevin Burke. I possibly remebrer some guy hangung around called Slatkin, but I may be mistaken. Heber Jentch (or however he spells it) was not a happy camper at having Martin Samuels invade his turf!! When I left LA to return to my wifge and baby daughter in Portland the Julie Christoferson case was just getting going. MArtin Samuels had written to Hubbard imporing him to please allow us (COSMOD -- COS Mission of Davis) to justallow us to refund Christofferson her money. The appeal was denied with orders from Hubbard to follow the orders of the Guardian's Office. My understanding was that she had made her request for refund outside the 90 day window and the COS did not want to set a precedent of refunding donations more than 90 days after competion of a service.
My relationship to Scientology was ambivalent throughout the 1980s, butI did try to get reinvolved in the early and mid 1990s.
I went to the Freewinds in February of 1996 to seek help to "resolve my hypocrissy as a Scientologist." I was no longer "aboard on the same terms" as I used to be. "Win or die in the attempt" was not the way I viewed Scientology. An instructor ith the attitude that "we would rather see you dead than incapable" seemed a bit over the top to me. After a week aboard the Freewinds and refusal to discuss my concerns I submitted my resignation from the COS while aboard the Freewinds. This was greeted with the threat of SP declaration, which I unforuantely feared. Our daghter was about to graduate from High Scholl. Our son was turning 16 in a week... I took being declared very seriously. My wife worked for a Scientology company too. Unfortunately I tacitly retracted my resignation as part of a "plea bargain" in which I agreed to sign a legal document which I first had to read into a video camera. It took years to get a copy of that document and video and then another number of months to get it nullified, which I did.
From 1996 until 2000 the COS steadily demanded that I submit to Sec Check which I refused to do. Finally I was Comm Eved in July of 2000.
Fast forward............ I have been silent these past three years (with the exception of two posting I made to "bernie.cnc.family" and which I asked him to remove one year ago which he did. I will request that he repost them. The reason for my silence is that I have not wanted to further alienate my adult children (and their mother). How much more alienated can they be?
Lauren Elizabeth Sweetland, my daugter, a Sea Org member at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood for five years; and my son E. Reilly Sweetland a former staff member at the Los Gatos Org have complied with the moral code of the COS and have "disavowed and disconnected" from me since August 2000 (prior to the SP declare) .
I will defend to my death their right to hate me; to shun me; to remain disconnected from me. They are adults and have the freedom to choose. Many of you disagree with that premise insisting that they have been "brainwashed". While I do not argue with the fact that Scientology greatly reduces the critical thinking skills of an adult and tends to revert one to a more childlaike, accpeting, and maleable state, I still insist that all adults are responsible for their choices. (Unless declared legally incompetent mentally.) The exception to this is the literal "gun to the head" scenario.
I am posting here on ARS in order to make my "story" known. My adult children may dedicate the rest of their lives to L. Ron Huibbard and to Scientology. That is their right. But .... I also have the right (and even the duty) to speak out publicly about my thirty years of experiences in Scientology. My wife of 28 years Susan Sweetland (now ex-wife for over three) mother of Lauren and Reilly is also a devout and dedicated Scientologist. She too, in compliance with L. Ron Hubbard's code of ethics has "disavowed and disconnected" from me for these past three years. She too is exercising religious freedom.
I do not say this out of a sense of any "political correctness". I say it out of a deep seated conviction that protecting the rights of the marginalized, protecting the rights of the odd balls; the "weirdos"; the "freaks"; such as the KKK; the neo-Nazis; Communists; Catholics; etc.;etc... is necessary in a truly free society. Nobody has the right to murder, torture, rape, murder, harass. kidnap, intimidate, racially discriminate, practice medicine or bigamy or pedophilia or human sacrifice in the name of religion. There are adequate laws on the books to prosecute violators.
Enough for now.... My attempts to communicate with officails within the COS has been fruitless. They too have the right to their silence .. cowardly though it is.
On this Veterans Day when we celebrate and acknowledge the courage and sacrifce of men and women (glorious "human beings") made in order to fight for freedom --- or at least what they though was freedom --- let's put religious squabbles into the appropriate perspective. I thank God my children and their mother are alive!! Also .... they may be right!!!! L. Ron Hubbard MAY be right (that the whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman, and child on it depend[s] upon Scientology. " I don't think it is true because Scientology prohibits aopen discussion, debate, dialog, disagreement (all of my D words). To seperate the intellect out and insist on blind acceptance and compliance is repulsive to me.
Dave Sweetland P.O. Box 940397 Simi Valley, CA 93094
P.S. There will be delays bewteen postings. I won't get a chance to even look at ARS for days. as Arnold says ...... "I'll be back."
P.P.S. Tory is right. There is a growing number of Scientologists who are fed up with David Miscavige (the TTK - temper tantrum kid) his team; his oppulent lifestyle; his incompetence as a leader; and his fundamentalist interpretations of Hubbard. While I am NOT a Scientologist (I am a practicing Roman Catholic --- nothing in Scientology is quite as weird as Christianity in general and RC specifically).... I respect the religous choices of those who are Scientologists (which is essentially a modern form of Gnosticism). The Scientology schism is under way and picking up speed. Truth does eventually win.... it always does..... it's a question as to how many have to go to the metaphorical or literal ovens before the truth does conquer.