Of the 4 big international events put on by the C of S, the LRH Birthday Event is by far the most important.
It's important because Scientologists get to hear all about the "rising statistics" the "highest evers" and the "unprecedented expansion" since the last LRH Birthday Event.
This event is mainly about the staff of Scientology and how well they are doing. It's to celebrate LRH's Birthday by doing what LRH wanted for his birthday and that was applying LRH ED 339R - The Birthday Game.
The Birthday Game is played by every org, mission, and every member of the Sea Org. A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into playing this "Birthday Game". The awards are given based on a point system that is briefly explained here:
The 2004 LRH Birthday Event was held live on Friday, March 12th, at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Tampa and shown on video on March 20th and 21st at outer orgs. It may be remembered less for what was said and done than for what was not said and not done.
The Hubby and I decided to make a night of it. We got all dolled up and went out for an early dinner. We opted for Thai and it was delicious. I had the crispy duck, and Hubby went for some sort of spicy shrimp dish. The Hubby still demands a week's worth of back rubs with no complaints for accompanying me to these events. He has no real interest in the event but he feels more comfortable being there with me rather than letting me go alone.
The first surprise of the evening was that attendance was down. Jeff Jacobson usually wants to know about the attendance and all I can tell you, Jeff, is that is was about 20-25 % down from the last event. It was noticeable.
The major news for this event was that Tampa Org was announced as having gone Saint Hill size. This is really no surprise based on the fact that the Sea Org has pretty much been running the Tampa Org for more than a year. An inspection of the license plates in the Tampa Org parking lot will show that most of them are from Pinellas County (meaning Clearwater) and not from Tampa.
Tampa was scheduled to go Saint Hill size last year but they didn't make it. This was a pretty big flap. Think about it. Tampa is right outside of the Mecca of Technical Perfection and Ben Shaw claims that there are 12,000 Scientologists in the Tampa/Clearwater area. How embarrassing would it be for all those Clears and OT's to NOT make a Saint Hill size org?
There was incredible pressure for Tampa to go Saint Hill size, and I am fairly certain that Tampa is not booming with brand new public. More likely, those Pinellas County license plates mean that it was booming with Scientologists who jumped on the bandwagon and bought services for themselves and their kids so they could "back up management and play the Birthday game". As an "incentive" everyone gets commendation chits to their ethics folder. <snort>
When Tampa Org was announced as having officially become Saint Hill Size, the Executive Director, Wayne Fuller, gave a nice acceptance speech and of course thanked LRH and COB (Chairman of the Board) David Miscavige for "knowing" they could do it and "insisting" that they do it. Big applause for DM from the adoring crowd. His smile looked forced.
One very interesting part of this ceremony was that DM announced that as a reward for going Saint Hill Size, all of the Tampa org staff would be getting all of their OT levels at Flag! This is a big departure from what is supposed to happen. When an org goes SHS, it is supposed to get the Universe Corp sent into their org to get all the staff to Clear and through the OT levels. This is per an LRH policy and it seems DM is taking the liberty to set new policy. This will be seen as an outpoint by some Scientologists, but a BIG outpoint by FLAG staff because they're not getting THEIR OT levels and now they have to deliver these FREE OT levels to more than 100 Tampa Org staff!
I can only imagine the suppressed resentment some of the Flag Staff must have for this. These poor stupes have been slugging away in the SO for years and years and the only "auditing" they've seen is sec checks when they screw up. Now they have to deliver free OT levels (that won't even show up on their stats) to Class 5 staff who aren't SO and most of them probably haven't been on staff for even a year!
Another thing very odd about this event was that there were only two speakers. I'll have more to say about the no-shows later. The only two speakers were DM and the LRH biographer, Dan Sherman, who has been making up (oops, I mean researching) the LRH biography since Christ left Cincinnati.
They drag Dan out for each LRH Birthday event to feed the crowd tidbits about LRH's life. All good news of course. Never any mentions of stuff like Chris Owen's biographical research on Ron The War Hero. ;->
Dan did a similar shtick at the last 2003 Birthday event. He showed videoed interviews with people that knew LRH back in the 50's and each one had nothing but nice things to say about LRH. Scientologists love them because they show LRH how they want to see him and how they've been indoctrinated to see him. No flies on Ron.
One of the videos was a guy who was a local reporter in East Grinstead. This reporter, whose name I do not recall, wanted to interview LRH after he purchased Saint Hill Manor from the Maharaja of Jaipur because it was big local news.
It seems this reporter swallowed everything LRH had to say and wrote some glowing articles about him. That led to LRH offering him a job as his press secretary. He was earning 11 pounds a week at the local paper but LRH played the rich Yank and offered him 19 pounds plus free meals at St Hill. The reporter jumped at the offer. Like all people interviewed for these videos, the guy had very nice things to say about LRH. If he also explained why he left the job after only 5 months, it wasn't shown in the interview.
One thing the reporter said that caught my attention was that LRH used to send out a lot of memos and if he was happy with you, he would sign the memo "Best, Ron." If he signed it "Best, LRH" then that meant he wasn't pleased with you and you were in trouble.
Scientologists do something like this. When your senior in a Scientology org sends you a written dispatch, telex, whatever, and is happy with you, it's signed ML, for Much Love.
Examples of this are:
Thanks for the report. ML, Sue, ED
If they are not happy with you it's like this:
I have not received your report. L, Sue, ED
L is for Love. They are pissed at you so they remove the M in ML. Of course if you are in real deep shit, they don't bother with the L either.
It's one of those crazy things that Scientologists do because LRH did it. You shouldn't be too nice to somebody if his stats are down.
Then there was an interview with this old Hell's Angels kind of guy. The story goes that he was sitting on LRH's car one day, which was some kind of fancy American convertible, and LRH saw him sitting there and asked him what he was doing. The guy was looking for a fight but LRH schmoozed him and gave him a ride in his car. LRH then told the guy that because he'd given him a ride in his car, he would like to ride his motorcycle. The guy was very impressed by this.
Later they talked in the Manor and the guy sees the small lake on the property. He likes to fish. When he tells LRH, LRH tells him he can fish there whenever he wants and asks if there's anything he'd like to do in exchange. The exchange was mowing around part of the lake because that would attract ducks. And as a matter of fact they were both happy when geese came and settled in.
The guy commented how generous and helpful LRH was and seemed to be truly appreciative of some advice he'd given him but that he wanted to keep private. His last comment was that LRH was somebody who would try to help you any way he could.
The next interview was with Irene Thrupp who was LRH's personal secretary for many years. She doesn't seem like the gushing type so didn't carry on about how great LRH was, but she was impressed by what a good organizer he was and how hard he worked.
The other video was with one of the two brothers that developed the British e-meters, starting with the Mark 1. He told about how LRH explained the working of the e-meter and what he wanted from them by putting his brother on the meter and auditing him, while he watched over LRH's shoulder. Whatever LRH did, the brother couldn't stop talking about it on the way back to London. He said he felt like he'd left the universe for a while.
None of these people were Scientologists and that's one of the big things in these videos. Scientologists know that other Scientologists will only speak highly of LRH. They're impressed and pleased when wogs do the same.
Some of the LRH stories really are interesting and very nice. The fact that they want everybody to believe he was godly and that there's no such thing as LRH horror stories makes them hard for critics to appreciate.
Very nice or not, the videos took a long time. DM had taken a long time in his opening speech, which he doesn't usually do, and I was wondering how long this event was going to be. It was at this point that I looked over at the Hubby and we had one of those conversations that required no words. He gave me a look that said, "I can't believe I agreed to go to this thing with you." I returned a look that required no words. My "look" said, "Oh, be quiet and don't start any shit". He replied with the look that said, " OK, but you are going to pay dearly for this" and I returned the look with "I love you too, Baby!"
If any of you have been married for a long time you will know that you don't need to do OT levels to have a completely wordless conversation with your spouse.
OK back to the event.
DM spoke both before and after Dan Sherman. He dragged on and on. I've never heard him take so long to say so little.
There was a video on Tampa Org because it went Saint Hill size. But there were also videos of the orgs in Cape Town, South Africa, Buffalo, New York, and San Francisco, California. What these 3 orgs have in common with Tampa is that they were also targeted to go Saint Hill size. That's why the videos were made but they didn't make the target.
These orgs have all had millions of dollars dumped into them for newer, and very upstat buildings and furnishings. DM showed us a short video of a Sea Org office, possibly Int Landlord, where all the work and plans are done to make every Class V org an "ideal org." They have a very high tech set up for doing this and are well staffed.
DM is willing to spend all the money it takes so that each org will be very upstat in its MEST. He may be thinking that it's too difficult to sell $25,000 in services when the "prospect" is sitting on a chair that is patched with duct tape and standing on a rust colored rug that was installed in the 80's.
The video of the San Francisco org included the Grand Opening. SF Mayor Willie Brown was interviewed and he is an obvious wog ally. Another interview was with a SF Police Official and he also went on about the great value of having a Church of Scientology in their city. Then there was this one guy, whose name I didn't catch, but I think he was an Asst Attorney General in California. He also said how great it was to have the Church of Scientology in the community, but what stuck out was that he called it an "org."
The biggest lead up DM gave was to the video on the Buffalo Org. He said "When vectors are aligned, you have real power". He meant that the city of Buffalo was 100% behind C of S's goals. Heh, I wonder how that vector called "Jeremy Perkins" is aligning!
They must have really bamboozled the Mayor of Buffalo. Not only did he speak at the Grand Opening of the new org but he showed up with an official proclamation proclaiming that day Church of Scientology of Buffalo Day. The C of S loves that kind of shit.
The Mayor made it sound like the city of Buffalo just loved Scientology. But what brought the house down was when he talked about St Hill when LRH was running it, and how it had such a big impact world wide, and ended off saying "And Whereas, blah, blah, blah, the City of Buffalo, blah, blah, blah gives its best wishes for the Church of Scientology of Buffalo to become the size old Saint Hill!" He couldn't have sounded more like a Scientologist if OSA PR had written his speech for him. <hint>
DM was serious for the whole event. I've never seen him *that* serious for ALL of an event. If this was a celebration of LRH's birthday, he was NOT celebrating. At one point he said he could talk about "how far we've come" but that wasn't the point. The point was how much farther we had to go.
He kept talking about "orders of magnitude" in expansion and how nobody, but him of course, had a clue what the correct order of magnitude was.
Usually his speeches elicit positive responses with many standing ovations of approval all the way through, but not this time. As a matter of fact, there was one point where he stopped for what he thought was going to be a big standing ovation but nothing happened. This was the first time I've ever seen this. He had been talking about the "ideal orgs" and how their new "Public Divisions" are going to make the right orders of magnitude expansion happen overnight. But it sounded so not exciting and was so drawn out that when he stopped for the standing ovation, nobody was ready for it! Dead silence.
You can't help but notice a moment like this at these events and he was one of the first who did. It only took him a fraction of a second to pretend that nothing had happened and to start the next part of his speech. It was so weird because it has never happened before.
Nobody missed the cue for the next standing ovation and I took the opportunity to look at my watch. There was still no sign of the awards being presented and I wondered if the event was going to go on until midnight. Thank goodness we'd eaten dinner before because my Hubby gets grouchy when he's hungry and he would have started complaining by now.
There is a name for the orders of magnitude expansion that's supposed to happen, but isn't happening even with the new "ideal orgs". We have the Golden Age of Tech and that's doing its job beautifully, if you can believe DM. What could possibly follow that? The GOLDEN AGE OF ORGANIZATION!
DM takes some time to explain how Scientology has gone through these different phases of expansion that align with the Scientology Org Board. Div 1 HCO was establishment, Div 3 Treasury was handling the IRS. Tech and Qual was the Golden Age of Tech. So what's the Division that corresponds to the expansion phase we're in now? That would be Division 6. There are actually 3 Division 6's: 6A, 6B and 6C. They are known as the "Public Divisions" because they're there to get in new public and give all kinds of free or cheap services to brand new public but also old public. Sunday Service is in Division 6.
At one of the points when he was droning on about orders of magnitude DM asked the audience "Do you agree that things should be done on a gradient?" Gradients are a big thing in Scientology and every Scientologist knows that you do things on a gradient. Even though he puts some doubt into his expression that makes it obvious the question is a set up, alot of heads are still nodding and people are answering sure, yes, of course. DM shakes his head and says, no. According to LRH ED 339R (the Birthday Game Executive Directive) LRH says it takes only weeks or months to build a Saint Hill Size Org.
Huh? Doing something on a gradient (one step at a time) is one thing and taking a long time or a short time to do a step is something else. So WTF is he talking about? Why is he asking a question that's a set up that makes everyone wrong? And when is he going to give out the damn awards!
Well, it seems there wasn't as much expansion this year as DM postulated last year. Only Tampa Org made it to St Hill size. The other 3 orgs that were targeted didn't make it. This is no surprise to critics who follow the stats from Scientology magazines. But it's LRH's birthday and they have to have an event. If you can't show the expansion you wanted to show, you have to PR your way through somehow.
Some of the PR this year was of the same kind it is every year. The Great Leap Forward Plan. You don't hear much about these plans the next year because they're never great. Usually they're a flop. But this year's had some of the weirdest stuff I've ever heard.
Well, in the past DM invented the Golden Age of Tech, which is a more robotic way to teach people Scientology. Prior to that, LRH made course packs with drawings to go along with the words (like the Key To Life Course) because he thought people were so fucking stupid that they couldn't grasp his concepts unless they were given Walt Disney cartoon drawings to show what he meant.
DM thinks Scientologists are even more contemptible than LRH did, so he has come up with "Column Tech" to disseminate 100% standardly. How does this work, you ask?
Well let me tell you. As part of each org being upgraded in their MEST, they will be getting these columns installed. Lots of them in nice big rooms that anybody can walk into. One column has the most important data of a Scientology concept written in big letters on it. The other has a monitor that plays a video not longer than 2 minutes that explains the concept.
According to DM, the video is there because today "people would rather watch something than read about it." I suppose two minutes is tops because today wogs are supposed to have short attention spans.
An example is that a wog or Scientologist walks up to one of these columns and pushes the "PUSH ME" button and the monitor tells him as much as he needs to know about the "ARC Triangle" to get hooked on Scientology.
Now imagine a big room full of nothing but dozens of these columns.
"Column Tech" is one of the bright ideas on how to handle people staying away from orgs in droves. DM obviously doesn't think much of staff or FSM's disseminating Scientology one on one, so he is going to automate it to ensure it's 100% standard.
I don't say what I'm about to say lightly and I don't like to exaggerate but I really think he's losing it. Stats are down, entheta is high and going to get higher, most of the orgs in the US are doing horribly and he's coming up with solutions like fancy MEST and Column Tech.
Instead of taking this opportunity to find out what's really screwed up in Scientology, he keeps trying to make it more "standard." He doesn't know it but one of the problems he's trying to solve is that Scientologists are more indoctrinated than ever and have become almost totally robotic. Making them more "standard" is only going to make them more robotic.
It was more than two hours into the event that he finally gave the first award of the night to Tampa Org for going Saint Hill size. Then what happened? Well, the next thing you know he is wrapping up his speech! It takes a minute for it to dawn on me that the event is over! Everybody stands up to hip hip hurrah LRH and that's it! DM signs off with a "see you at the next event".
The event is over?
Where the hell are the LRH Birthday Game Awards!!
Well, there weren't any. No trophies with the running horse. No jockey shirts. No vestal virgins blowing kisses at the crowd. NADA.
For anyone who was "in" Scientology, especially for ex staff, this should be BIG news.
The entire Scientology machine is wrapped up around the LRH ED 339R Birthday Game.
The LRH Birthday Game awards have been given out at each Birthday event for the past 22 years and all of a sudden, without any explanation, they stop.
The Birthday Game Awards are a Big Deal. They are the biggest deal that you can imagine!
Awards have always been given for the top mission, the top Class V org, the top Sea Org org, and the top Continent. They give out a big trophy of a racing horse, and the ED of the Org gets presented a jockey shirt by the two vestal virgins who blow kisses to the crowd. It is practically a ritual!
THAT WAS MISSING! And no explanation of WHY was given.
This was one long and mostly boring NON event. Scientologists generally dislike going to events but they always end up enjoying the "wins" and finding out who the winners are for all the awards that are passed out. It's a celebration. There was no celebrating in this event.
The event ends without any of the usual announcements and without the usual monster Birthday Cake and the Int Execs leading us in singing Happy Birthday to LRH. No enthusiastic send off. Just a limp "See you at the next event."
My analysis of what happened is this. DM had one of his tantrums.
The targets he'd given his juniors for St Hill size orgs this year weren't met. At the end of last year's LRH birthday event he was all enthusiastic and said there would be "many more" orgs of St Hill size "very soon." It didn't happen. Instead three of the four videos made to show off the new St Hill size orgs had to be used to PR Column Tech.
What does DM do when he has a tantrum? The same thing LRH would do. Punish people. He can punish staff as much as he likes because he knows they're under his thumb and deathly afraid of losing "their eternity" if they step out of line. This year he punished them all with a NON event and no awards. He is such a little shit!
Flag got extra punishment with a job that isn't theirs of getting Tampa Org staff through the OT levels.
The event was really a big make-wrong and one of the meanest things he could have done to invalidate staff in public. Who knows what he's been doing to some of them out of the public eye.
I really think DM is losing it. The stats are looking very bad (watch for upcoming separate report on recent stat trends), and the actions he is taking will make matters much worse. The diehards will go along with whatever he does but for many others his actions will help to get them out the door. Wish them luck!
I hope you enjoyed my report. Hubby is certainly going to enjoy those back rubs. ;-)