WMNF Radio talk show with Gerry Armstrong, 12/9/99, Part 1
Transcribed by Batchild (Sue M.)Converted to HTML by Batchild (Sue M.)
ROB LOREI: Good afternoon, welcome to Radio Activity, I’m Robert Lorei. The Church of Scientology, which has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, is locked in a battle with critics and ex-members who say the church is a dangerous cult, bent on accumulating money and power and eventually taking over the planet. The church says it is a victim of a campaign of religious intolerance and that its members are harassed by the critics. Scientology was started by a science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard, in the 1950s and is largely based on his approach to psychology, a system he called Dianetics. In recent years there have been many lawsuits against the church and countersuits against church critics. When Scientology member Lisa McPherson died mysteriously four years ago while in church custody in Clearwater, the critics blamed the church for her death. Criminal charges and a lawsuit are now pending against Scientology. Today we’ll meet a former member of Scientology who worked with L. Ron Hubbard. Gerry Armstrong was a member of the organization for 12 years before he quit in 1981. Today on Radio Activity, an insight into why Scientology critics are so fearful of the church. Well, Gerry, welcome to WMNF, thanks for coming by.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: You bet.
ROB LOREI: Uh, tell me, uh, how long were you in the Church of Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Uh, 12 and a half years.
ROB LOREI: How did you get started?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: In Vancouver. I was–Vancouver, Canada. Just a friend had been in Toronto, returned to the little town I was living in, Chilliwack, British Columbia, and told me about all the fabulous things of Scientology.
ROB LOREI: What kind of fabulous things did you hear?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: That they had the, essentially the solution to the human condition, were able to, through their technology, auditing technology, make people smarter, um, get rid of human aberration and increase people’s abilities to levels and states which had never been seen on planet Earth before.
ROB LOREI: Did it work for you? Did it–did it match those promises?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: No. It in fact doesn’t do anything. That’s the essence of Scientology is that it is illusory and the so-called gains which people get are gains which people could get anywhere.
ROB LOREI: What were you doing in 1975 when you first entered the Church of Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: 1969.
ROB LOREI: I’m sorry. What were you doing in 1969 when you first entered the Church of Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, after I got out of high school, which was in about 1964, I logged on the west coast of British Columbia for four years, and, uh, then almost immediately stopped logging and got a job in Vancouver and joined the organization there. It was a franchise, it’s called Scientology Little Mountain.
ROB LOREI: It’s a franchise?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Scientology has organizations, which they call churches, and franchises, which they now call missions. In those days they were simply called franchises, and they paid a percentage of their income to Scientology headquarters in order to operate as a Scientology franchise.
ROB LOREI: Where did they get their income from?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: From people like myself who came in to do courses, be audited. Auditing is their psychotherapy.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. Well, so, in order to, to learn about Scientology, um, you had to pay money.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right.
ROB LOREI: Was there anything that was ever given for, for free? Did you ever learn any of the church doctrines for free?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I don’t think that anything in, in there is for free. Books you must buy, auditing you have to buy. After a while, the beginning of 1971, I joined the Sea Organization.
ROB LOREI: What’s that?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: That’s the group of extremely dedicated Scientologists who all sign a billion-year contract.
ROB LOREI: A billion-year contract.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right, yeah. And work for peanuts. I started out getting $10 a week and then by the time I left the organization I was getting perhaps $20, $25 a week.
ROB LOREI: Why were you willing to work for so little?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Because of those promises, the promises of Scientology, the promises that–the promise that it is the only workable technology, that it is the only hope for mankind, that through it these greater abilities can be gained.
ROB LOREI: Did, did your parents or your family say anything about your entry into the church at this time, back in 1969?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They were opposed to it, um, my mother, certainly, um, but I was an adult at the time and so didn’t pay much attention.
ROB LOREI: Were you raised in a, in a religious tradition?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I was raised, up until the age of revolt [Rob Lorei starts chuckling], I was raised as an Anglican, in the Christian tradition, so I had a Christian understanding which I brought to Scientology. Scientology was represented to me as completely non-religious, and it was a science, demonstrably true and did–did not incorporate faith or belief and required no faith or belief.
ROB LOREI: Well, it’s interesting that you say that because certainly now Scientology says it’s a religion. Has it changed its position? Has it changed from declaring itself a, a science to declaring itself a religion over the years?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: The–yeah, from the beginning when it was a psychotherapy and sold itself as a psychotherapy. Somewhere along the line, it actually in the early ‘50s, um, Hubbard decided to incorporate as a church, and he had it as, as a church from there on. However, to those people who are being recruited into the organization, the promises are made on, on a scientific basis, not on a religious basis.
ROB LOREI: You mentioned Hubbard. L. Ron Hubbard was the founder of the church; you knew L. Ron Hubbard, correct?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I was on the Apollo, which was the flagship of the Sea Organization, from 1971 through 1975, and most of that time Hubbard was on board. And then I was with him, uh, in Daytona Beach and then in Dunedin and then in Culver City and then in La Quinta, California.
ROB LOREI: Why was he on the boat?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I would say that he was fleeing and spent really his whole life fleeing from one thing or another. But Scientology had run into tremendous difficulties in England, where he had, previous to taking to the sea, he had Scientology’s headquarters. But it was a place from which he operated all of Scientology from on board and he–the policy was one of remaining Fabian, so as a ship, you could move around, and if you got in any trouble, move to another country. You could, in a matter of minutes, be in international waters. So it was a way by which he could move personnel around and operate, um, outside of, of any national jurisdiction. We were on board the ship, not Scientology, but Operation and Transport Corporation, Ltd., a Panamanian company, which we pretended to be. The ports that we visited, uh, in Morocco and in Spain and in Portugal and then later on in the Caribbean, uh, we were not allowed to say that we were Scientology. So he had–he was both outside of any national jurisdiction, being a Panamanian registered vessel, plus we were operating in countries where we could, um, be something other than what we were. We had a cover, an intelligence cover, the whole time.
ROB LOREI: How many people were on the boat?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: About 400.
ROB LOREI: And what was your role?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I–when I first came on board, I did menial things like the dishes, wash the dishes, and did stores-man job for a month or so, and then I became the driver of a small car that we had on board, and then my second, third–and third year, I was the legal officer on board the ship, called the ship’s representative, and I dealt with immigration, customs and the police and the port authorities wherever we went, and, um, the ship’s agent and the chandler and that, that sort of thing, supplier for the vessel. And then I became the public relations officer and the port captain and so dealt again with the same set of people but from a public relations, rather than a legal, position. And then I became, in my final year on board, I was the intelligence officer. We were in the Caribbean at the time, so my last–all through the Caribbean, I was the Intel Officer.
ROB LOREI: Why did the Church of Scientology–why did L. Ron Hubbard need an intelligence officer?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Scientology is actually at its core an intelligence organization.
ROB LOREI: What do you mean by that?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: It’s senior to every aspect of Scientology. It’s senior to its finances, it’s senior to its personnel, senior to auditing, senior to its religiosity–is intelligence.. That’s what is important to Scientology. And it has a massive intelligence gathering apparatus. The Guardian’s Office was its intelligence, um, program, its intelligence apparatus before its present intelligence operation, the Office of Special Affairs.
ROB LOREI: Well, how do they gather intelligence?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They gather it overtly and covertly, legally and illegally. Eleven Guardian’s Office personnel were sent to federal prison for illegal intelligence gathering operations against the U.S. government.
ROB LOREI: It’s sometimes said by ex-members of Scientology that during the auditing process, you confess everything that you’ve ever done, everything that you might be ashamed of, and that, um, Scientology is supposed to keep those files of what you confess secret. Um, are those files ever used in the intelligence operations?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They are available to intelligence personnel and used by intelligence personnel routinely.
ROB LOREI: Did you ever use an auditing file?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Uh, there were people who were my responsibility whose, uh, auditing files were culled, so excerpts were taken, information was taken from auditing files, and people who sought to leave the organization were required to sign lists of these crimes which they’d confessed in their auditing before they could leave. People that I was responsible for were locked up and guarded and held until they signed their lists of crimes. It was very routine inside the organization, and the only reason that they did this was to retain control, have some blackmail-able material, over the person who’s leaving.
ROB LOREI: Were people that tried to leave ever blackmailed to your knowledge?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I don’t have, uh, an awareness–I don’t know of anyone who was specifically blackmailed. But Scientology has used my own information against me.
ROB LOREI: How so? How do they do that?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They’ve done it, um, both inside–that is, information taken from a preclear folder, an auditing file, is circulated inside in order to destroy someone’s reputation; and I have seen references from documents which I have been able to get through litigation through just, the discovery process in litigation, been able to see that. And then additionally, they culled excerpts from my preclear auditing files and presented them directly to the judge in one of the cases I was involved in.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. Let me get back for a moment to your role in the last year on the ship as the Intelligence Officer. What kind of things did you do, you personally? What kind of things did you supervise or carry out as the Intelligence Officer on the ship?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Because we were always moving, the level of intelligence was very limited. We were not in a position to infiltrate government offices in the ports that we were visiting, nor was it the sort of thing which was required. So–so mine was mainly a security, uh, gathering information for security purposes. And that concerned–our biggest threat was from people on the ship itself, our own crew who might defect, our own crew who might leave the organization. So that was where the, my emphasis was during that year.
ROB LOREI: How often did people try to leave the ship or defect or leave Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: It was very, very regular. There were–at any given time, there was probably someone who was a security threat, who was locked up and kept guarded and whose–who would be writing up his list of crimes in anticipation of, of being offloaded. It was very common; it was common in every Scientology organization I’ve been a part of.
ROB LOREI: Well, why did people want to leave?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: The conditions are abusive. It does not deliver on its promises. So there’s an inherent fraud in Scientology which people wake up to at some point. But I think that the–that the biggest motivation, the thing which drives people away, is really the abuse which is heaped on, on people inside.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. For a time, you were in, uh, what’s called the Rehabilitation Project Force. What is–what’s that group?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah, it’s the–it’s Scientology’s prison system, its gulag, to which anyone could be sent for really any infraction. For the most part, the vast majority are Sea Org personnel. There have been instances in which someone other than, than Sea Org personnel were assigned but it really is for Sea Org staff members. You can be assigned for a, a meter read, reading, a particular motion of the needle on the e-meter; a rock slam can get you assigned to the RPF. Um, down stats can get you assigned. If there’s a–if you have a, um, a flirtatious relationship with the wrong person can get you assigned. I was assigned my first time because I swore at Mary Sue Hubbard’s secretary, her communicator, Nicky Merwin, who was being pretty witchy. And, um, so that, uh–on that occasion I was–on Hubbard’s order, I was taken and locked up in the Guardian’s Office in Los Angeles in the Intelligence Bureau of the Guardian’s Office; this was in 1976.
ROB LOREI: How could they lock you up? What do they–what do they do?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, uh, I was taken to a room, put in the room, and a guard was placed outside the door.
ROB LOREI: Did you object?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: No.
ROB LOREI: Why not?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I think that, you know, the short, short form is that I was brainwashed. But in order–you know, what makes the Scientologist a Scientologist is obeying orders. If you do what you’re told, you’ll remain a Scientologist. So to remain a Scientologist you have to do what you’re told. I was told to go into the room, and I did what I was told. So it wasn’t until years later that I had enough common sense to rebel and in fact to end up escaping.
ROB LOREI: Um, what would the guard have done had, had you tried to leave the room?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Prevented me.
ROB LOREI: Physically?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Physically.
ROB LOREI: Was the guard armed?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Not to my knowledge. But we were in the Intelligence Bureau. In an instant he could have had 20, 30 people there.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. Did you ever see anybody physically restrained?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen people lifted up bodily and taken away and locked up.
ROB LOREI: Um, how did they treat you while you were behind that locked door?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, I was taken out each day, and this was only–this was about a two-week period. So I was taken out each day and taken to, uh, UCLA Library to do research for the Guardian’s Office. This was just to keep me busy during this time that I’m being locked up and being interrogated and writing up my crimes, and, uh, they want to make sure that my will is sufficiently broken.
ROB LOREI: Hmm. You say you were so brainwashed that you didn’t have the will to escape.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right.
ROB LOREI: How–how did they brainwash you? Just by simply telling you that we have the answer and if you stick with us we’ll give you all the answers to all the questions you’ve ever had about life?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: That’s–that’s what brings someone in. After that, it’s just a matter of following orders until you really have no control, no will of your own, and anyone who demonstrated a will or willfulness was silenced immediately, put in the RPF, locked up, neutralized, whatever is necessary. There was no counterintention to the organization’s intention, so I think that it is such complete domination, every aspect of, of someone’s life. Inside, it was who you–who you could marry, how much toilet paper you could have, what you ate, and ultimately what you thought. You learned that, according to Scientology and according to Hubbard, a critical thought about the organization or about Hubbard was evidence of a crime. So you learned to not even bring into consciousness a critical thought; otherwise you, you will suppress that thought because you dare not be a criminal. The ramifications are so grotesque.
ROB LOREI: Does the RPF just simply operate or does it just simply operate in California where you were held, or does it operate everywhere that there is Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: It operates at the major bases of Scientology–
ROB LOREI: So, for instance, in Clearwater?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right. In fact, my first assignment–I, I said I was locked up for a couple of weeks. Then I was ordered by Hubbard to the RPF in Clearwater, and I was the founding father of the Clearwater RPF; my wife and I were the first people assigned.
WMNF Radio talk show with Gerry Armstrong, 12/9/99, Part 2
Transcribed by Batchild (Sue M.)Converted to HTML by Batchild (Sue M.)
ROB LOREI: Well, we’re talking with Gerry Armstrong, who is an ex-member of the Church of Scientology. I’m Rob Lorei, you’re listening to “Radio Activity” here on 88.5 FM. So you were one of the first people, uh, to be held by the RPF in Clearwater?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right, I–my wife and I, Terri and myself, we were the first people assigned to the Clearwater RPF. So it began with us on July 1, 1976.
ROB LOREI: In some–in some interviews I’ve done in Scientology, some ex-members compare the RPF to a slave, slave labor group, uh, doing everything that Scientology needs, uh, on the cheap. Is it a slave labor group?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: That’s really what it is. It is extremely cheap labor. I was getting $17.20 per week as a regular staff member, and that was reduced to $4.30 per week as an RPF member. And out of that, you would have to buy your, your basic needs.
ROB LOREI: Did they give you a W-2 at the end of the year? I mean, can people go back and look at your tax records and verify this?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Uh, they began around that time, so I have W-2s from that period.
ROB LOREI: That showed that you were paid this little?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right.
ROB LOREI: Yeah. There are many people that are in Scientology, um, that have never seen this kind of treatment, and, um, there are people that go for auditing–auditing courses, pay for auditing courses, uh, and they’ve never been in the RPF. Why–why is it that there are so many people in Scientology, uh, that don’t know about this, that haven’t seen this side of it?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I think it’s the same as any huge organization, that what might be going on in the inner circle that people on the fringes might never find out about. And there–there are public Scientologists who are ignorant of these things, oblivious to these things. Uh, and it’s our job, my job as, as an opponent, as a critic of Scientology, to get that information to those people. The–the organization is able to get away with these human rights abuses of its members because of the support that it gets from the ignorant.
ROB LOREI: Hmm. Um, would you recognize people that are in the RPF if you saw them on the street of–streets of Clearwater?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Uh, that’s really hard to say, and because Scientolo–Scientology is so PR-oriented, they could easily dress their RPF crew up in regular civilian clothes or any other kind of clothes. An RPF member standardly had to wear a black boiler suit, so if they were wearing a black boiler suit, they’d be recognizable.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. So, if–if you’re on the streets of Clearwater and you see somebody in a black boiler suit–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Pretty good chance.
ROB LOREI: Pretty good chance that they’re in. Um, why did you leave the Church of Scientology? You said you escaped a moment ago.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right. During my last two years inside, 1980 and 1981, I had the job of doing the research for Hubbard’s biography. During the course of doing that research, I, um, uncovered and documented the fact that he had lied about pretty well every aspect of his life and lied about the promises which were made to me, to everyone else, lied about the workability of Scientology. And, um, I pretty well deprogrammed myself while reading Hubbard’s personal documents.
ROB LOREI: For instance, give us an example of where Hubbard li–Hubbard lied.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: He lied about being a nuclear physicist, about being a civil engineer. He lied about his children, about who his actual children were. He lied about his marriages. He lied about his, his education. He lied about his military history. He lied about the medals that he got in–
ROB LOREI: How did you discover these lies? Uh, did you actually look at documents that he had in his possession showing his educational background or his marriage certificates?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, I had–I had two sets of documents. One was the, the public statements which were made by Hubbard and made by Scientology about Hubbard, and one was the–his actual archive, his personal archive of documents which went back to his birth and beyond. So it contained correspondence between him and his family, it contained his, um, actual naval records, it contained information of all kinds about every aspect of his life.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. And when–when you say that he lied about the promises to you and to your fellow members of Scientology, what do you mean by that?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: For example, he claims that, uh, Scientology auditing raises I.Q. a point per hour. And by this time I had something over a thousand hours of auditing and I was just as stupid as I was the day I entered the door. It frankly and honestly doesn’t work. And all of the other promises of Scientology–the removal of human aberration–it doesn’t work. When I left Scientology 12 and a half years later, I had exactly the same problems that I had when I entered the door of Scientology to handle those problems.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. Did you confront Hubbard, or, or–how did, how did the ending take place?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, um, during the last coup–my last couple of weeks inside–and I knew they were going to be my last couple of weeks, because I was, um, very vocal inside about correcting what I saw as lies which were being presented to the public, and in my efforts to get the organization to correct the lies–I ran into a lot of opposition, and one of the heads of Scientology ordered that I be security-checked. Security check is a, an interrogation using the e-meter to get at one’s crimes; in this case my crimes were that I was criticizing L. Ron Hubbard and I was criticizing Hubbard while still inside Scientology. And it became clear to me that there were both the lies and there was the fact that Hubbard and Scientology were not going to change, and I knew that I was at risk. So during my last couple of weeks inside, I ferreted out of the organization my, what little personal effects I had and then, uh, one day just took–took the last and threw it in a truck and took off.
ROB LOREI: Where were you at the time?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: In Los Angeles.
ROB LOREI: And did you go north to Canada?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Uh, yeah, via–via Utah. I made my way to Canada, and then, uh, returned to southern California and worked there in a law firm for a number of years until–right after I left, uh, Scientology sued me because of what I was saying, and they claimed that I had stolen documents from the organization when I’d left. And that went to trial in 1984.
ROB LOREI: And did you have stolen documents? Did you take things that–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: No–
ROB LOREI: –didn’t belong to you?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: No. Uh, inside, uh, during those last two years I was working with an outside, non-Scientologist writer by the name of Omar Garrison. And through Hubbard’s attorney, we had contracted with him to write the biography. And so I dutifully provided him with copies of all of this material which I was assembling inside. And so after I left and the organization came after me and sent private investigators around and threatened me and, um, published a Suppressive Person Declare–
ROB LOREI: What’s that?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Suppressant–Suppressive Person inside Scientology is someone who is considered an enemy of the organization. People inside divide the world up into really three sets of people. There are the normal, good people and there are the evil people, who are Suppressive Persons, and then between them there is a group who are Potential Trouble Sources, and that is people connected to a Suppressive Person. A Suppressive Person in Scientology is someone who becomes a target, and he’s a target of the philosophy and practice that Scientology calls Fair Game. And a person who has been declared Fair Game, declared a Suppressive Person, can be, according to Hubbard policy, cheated, lied to, stolen from, sued and destroyed.
ROB LOREI: Now the church says that that policy is no longer in existence.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: That policy is completely in existence. It exists right now, it’s active right now. They are restrained because of the publication of that policy and because the eyes of the world are on them, but that’s the only thing that restrains them from the most heinous of acts. I believe that they would kill in an instant to get rid of Suppressive Persons, except that society would come down so hard on them that they’re restrained.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm. Um–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: But back to, um, Omar Garrison and my providing him these documents–after I knew that I was a target of the organization, then I went to Garrison and got from him the same documents which I had earlier provided him pursuant to the contract that we had. So those documents–in order to defend myself from Scientology attacks and the Suppressive Person Declare which they published on me, I then sent them to a lawyer, Mike Flynn of, then of Boston, the same lawyer who conducted the Clearwater hearings in 1982.
ROB LOREI: You–you write that, um, “acts against me by Scientology agents pursuant to this basic Scientology policy of Fair Game include filing five lawsuits against me, following, surveilling and harassing me and my wife, spying in our windows and upsetting our neighbors, attempting to involve us in a freeway accident, assaulting me, striking me bodily with a car, threatening to put a bullet between my eyes and attempting on more than 12 occasions to have me prosecuted on false criminal charges including by the FBI.” They’ve–they’ve threatened to put a bullet between your eyes?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: That was Scientology’s lead private investigator, Eugene Ingram, out in California. Yes, in a telephone call, he did indeed threaten to put a bullet between my eyes.
ROB LOREI: When they threatened, um, when they threatened you or threatened your friends, what did they say?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: People were threatened–I think what you’re referring to there, being threatened basically by the presence of these people. Scientology had private investigators, uh, on me and my wife and coming on to our property 24 hours a day for over a month. And, uh, so my neighbors and friends have all been intimidated by this kind of activity.
ROB LOREI: They came on to your property to do what?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: To intimidate.
ROB LOREI: They just stood there? Or–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah. To be–to be a presence.
ROB LOREI: And, and they want to scare you; they, they came on your property and stood there and just kind of looked in your direction? Or–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, they were ostensibly, uh, surveilling, staking out our place. But it wasn’t a covert stake-out, it was an overt stake-out. So they made their presence known and made it known that they were not leaving and that they were going to hound me.
ROB LOREI: Hmm.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: And they continued to do that until a judge warned them off.
ROB LOREI: What did the judge say?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: The judge, uh–there were two judges. One of them ultimately laid out many of those details which I have there in a decision in 1984. But in–in, um, the fall of 1982, there was another judge who said that, if indeed this was happening, the surveillance that was going on, and he warned Scientology about it.
ROB LOREI: Hmm. Well, what happened–what happened to the court cases involving you and Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: The first case–that went to trial in 1984, and a very important decision came out of that by the judge, Paul Breckenridge in Los Angeles Superior Court in which he ruled that my actions in sending these documents to my lawyer were justified. He reference the Fair Game policy. He also referenced, uh, Scientology’s use of auditing material against people, and he declared L. Ron Hubbard a pathological liar. That was the first time, that was the first lawsuit. My lawsuit, because I filed a counterclaim against Scientology, did not go to trial because that case was settled in December of 1986. And subsequently, even though the, the spirit of the settlement was certainly that Scientology was going to cease Fair Game, not only against me but against others as well; but they continued. And so I really have been, even though that case settled, I’ve still been locked in a battle with them ever since.
ROB LOREI: Well, uh–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: There were three more lawsuits which were, from their perspective, to enforce the settlement agreement with the organization, whereby in their mind I am precluded from saying anything about Scientology and they can say whatever they want about me. To me, that–it’s an impossible situation and so I’ve resisted it and, um, continued to speak out.
ROB LOREI: Are, are you risking yourself right now by, by speaking out on the radio?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I am in violation of a, an injunction in California.
ROB LOREI: Um, you–you mentioned a moment ago, um, that, uh, Scientology is nothing but a big intelligence gathering agency. Um, and I wanted to follow up on that for just a moment and ask you–you said that they keep files on the members. Do they also keep files on people outside the membership of Scientology? And if so, who do they keep files on?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They will keep files on anyone who has really any kind of contact of any significance with–with the organization or with Scientologists. So, like yourself–you’ve done a number of shows which have been critical of Scientology; you’re in their files. They have–they research you, and you are an enemy of Scientology. But it goes right up to the top of government. It goes into financial people, public relations people, media people.
ROB LOREI: And what do they use the intelligence for?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: It’s–number one is to continue the intelligence, so the intelligence apparatus must be preserved at all costs. And beyond that, then it’s to ever extend their areas of control and domination.
ROB LOREI: Well, how do they do that? Do they blackmail people, or what do they do?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They–they would have all of the techniques of every intelligence organization on the earth. So in exactly, exactly the same way, feeding information to their–to their public relations people for use, compromising people, buying people, blackmailing people, all of the tools, all the techniques of intelligence.
ROB LOREI: Buying people, meaning that they bribe people to stay on their side?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Sure. They pay.
ROB LOREI: How do you know that?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Look at–look at, um, take for example my, um, my lawyer, Michael Flynn. Uh, he was a huge target of Scientology’s Intel ops for years. Scientology went to a, um, a man held in an Italian person and paid him to execute a phony declaration implicating Michael Flynn in an effort to pass a forged $2 million check on an L. Ron Hubbard account. It’s that level of operation that they get involved in.
ROB LOREI: So what happened to Flynn? Was he brought up on charges?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Uh, no, they never prosecuted, and of course it was–it was bogus. It was a–it was an attempt to frame him. But they used this for public relations purposes, so, and legal purposes, filing this affidavit in various court cases in which Flynn was representing someone against Scientology and, uh, going to the Boston Globe and other media with this information.
ROB LOREI: Is, is Flynn currently active in, in the fight against Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: No. Flynn settled at the same time that I settled, in December of 1986, and he presently has nothing any more to do with Scientology.
ROB LOREI: What, what do you think the aim of the Church of Scientology is?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Its number one priority is to get away with whatever they’ve been getting away with. So they don’t want to go to jail, and they want to retain their power. And then they want to extend that power. So it has a very sky-high goal of, really, the control, domination of the planet. That’s what they’re aiming for. But they’re very realistic in the way they go about it. And number one is to protect what they have.
ROB LOREI: Uh, I’m curious, for an organization that, that seems to be, uh, controlled by people that come up through the ranks, that, you know, you said that you started off, um, being, doing sweeping and doing menial jobs and then you were an intelligence officer. For an organization that seems to be, um, populated with most people like that, how does it have the skills to be an organization bent on taking over the planet, or even an organization that is as, as skillful as the CIA at intelligence gathering? It doesn’t–that doesn’t seem to add up.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: It, uh, it devotes its, uh, resources to doing exactly that. If you were to–if you had hundreds of millions of dollars to devote to, uh, training intelligence personnel, having those intelligence personnel go out and perform intelligence duties. There’s a, a learning process involved, and after a decade, after a, a generation of doing exactly that, you gain a certain amount of proficiency. You learn by your, your errors. But there’s always that drive that’s always there in front of them. You’re not–you are a radio person, right? And that’s where your resources go. If you were to shift all of the station’s resources into intelligence, you could have an impact.
WMNF Radio talk show with Gerry Armstrong, 12/9/99, Part 3
Transcribed by Batchild (Sue M.)Converted to HTML by Batchild (Sue M.)
ROB LOREI: Hmm. Um, in, in–do they have power now? You mentioned power a moment ago. Um, do they have power right now?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They have a certain amount of power, and power–the drive towards power is paramount in Scientology. Sure, they have, they have the power of 50,000 people, extremely dedicated people.
ROB LOREI: That’s their membership right now.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I’d say that there are 50,000 Scientologists around the world–
ROB LOREI: I believe the church claims millions of members.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah. But there aren’t. There are probably a core of 50,000 people around the, around the globe and, uh, concentrated in a few areas.
ROB LOREI: Where–where do you come up with your figures and how does the church arrive at its figures of millions?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Mine–well, the church arrives, the church decides whatever it wants to, to say. They–and they can justify it in any number of ways. I go by an observation of the various organizations around the planet, the adding up of what is known of membership, uh, even from their own International Association of Scientologists list, is something in the 50,000 range.
ROB LOREI: What role do Hollywood stars play? We, we know that John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, the jazz player Chick Corea, they’re all involved in the Church of Scientology? Do they know this side of Scientology that you’re talking about?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They’ve heard it, but they accept that everything that someone like myself is saying–a Suppressive Person like myself–is a lie. So they know what the truth is, but they also buy the lie at the same time.
ROB LOREI: How can that be? Are you saying they have no conscience?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, actually, the product of Scientology is the removal of conscience from an individual. So they have a conscience, but it’s pretty suppressed. They’re not allowed to bring their conscience up to consciousness; otherwise they would be faced with a critical thought. They cannot bring a critical thought up to consciousness. They–
ROB LOREI: They can’t have any self-doubt, is what you’re saying.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right. Someone with doubt would be on his road–on the way out the door.
ROB LOREI: How important are these Hollywood celebrities in the Church of Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Extremely important. They’re a major, major source of their public relations persona. That’s what they put up in lights. They use them for legal, they use them for lobbyists. Uh, I think that society itself, right, has been on a road towards further and further glorification of celebrity, and Scientology has plugged right into that, and, uh, they have a network for their celebrities which enhances their stature, which guarantees them jobs and which guarantees them the, the fruits of the intelligence organization. So they use their intelligence to enhance their celebrities, and the celebrities in turn enhance Scientology.
ROB LOREI: How–how does the intelligence enhance the celebrities?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: If you had an intelligence organization op–operating in Hollywood in, in the entertainment industry, you would gain tremendous advantage. There are lots of deals being cut in Hollywood. And that’s what they’re involved in: Lawyers, intelligence and deals.
ROB LOREI: It–it’s sometimes written, too, that, uh, people, young people who go out to Hollywood, um, knowing that John Travolta and some of these other stars are, are Scientology members, it’s sometimes said that people, young people will go out and join Scientology thinking it’s a ticket to advancement in Hollywood.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I’ll bet–I, I would bet that Celebrity Centre is a big draw and that Scientology celebrities bring new, aspiring actors and actresses in.
ROB LOREI: Is Scientology a religion?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Well, in that any organization essentially can call itself a religion in this country. It is–in my opinion, it’s antithetical to religion. Hubbard himself was very irreligious, and he did not want Scientology to be viewed as a religion.
ROB LOREI: What was Hubbard’s view of other religions?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: He was, um, cynical. He was opposed. He was anti-Christian. Of all of the religions, he chose to attack Christianity more vehemently than any other religion. He did not claim that, that there was no Muhammad, but he definitely claimed that there was no Christ.
ROB LOREI: You have a tape by L. Ron Hubbard, I believe. Could we, could we hear a little bit of this tape? This is, um, this is what Hubbard had to say about the Christian religion, I believe, right?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Yeah, on this tape he just says, uh, “there was no Christ”.
TAPE OF L. RON HUBBARD (the “Nochrist” Real Audio file): Everyman is then shown to have been crucified so don’t think that it’s an accident that this crucifixion, they found out that this applied. Somebody somewhere on this planet, back about 600 BC, found some pieces of R6, and I don’t know how they found it, either by watching madmen or something, but since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity. The Man on the Cross. There was no Christ. But the Man on the cross is shown as Everyman. So of course each person seeing a crucified man, has an immediate feeling of sympathy for this man. Therefore you get many PCs who says they are Christ. Now, there’s two reasons for that. One is the Roman Empire was prone to crucify people, so a person can have been crucified, but in R6 he is shown as crucified.
ROB LOREI: What’s R6?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: R6 is the reactive mind. R6 is the–is the part of the mind which contains the implants which Hubbard says are common to all humans. And in the R6 bank, the reactive mind, in these implants is the idea of Jesus Christ, and it is simply an idea to control and dominate people. And Scientology is the way to remove the idea of Christ from the human mind.
ROB LOREI: Hmm. Um, what do you think ought to be done? I mean, what, what do you think? I mean, do, do you want the church banned? Do you want it–what do you want done with Scientology?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I think there are some reforms which must be made, and I continue on in this battle, uh, in the hope of getting those reforms made. I think that if the organization itself reformed, I think its opposition would go away.
ROB LOREI: So what–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: They have to–they must stop locking people up. They must stop trying to silence people and deny them their constitutional rights. And once those two control mechanisms are stripped from Scientology–either by themselves, either voluntarily, or if not, then by legislation or, or by public outcry–then, uh, I, I think that everyone can co-exist with Scientology. But they can’t as long as the abuses which really flow from those two efforts to dominate people, to stop them from speaking–that’s what they’re trying to do with me–and to stop them from leaving.
ROB LOREI: Um, we’re–we’re taping this interview about the time of the anniversary of Lisa McPherson’s death. She died while in the care of the church, some say custody. Um, what do you think happened to Lisa McPherson?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I think that Lisa represented to Scientology a shore flap, a security risk, and the–very, very important to Scientology is to minimize any shore flap, to neutralize any risk.
ROB LOREI: Shore flap is their term for security risk?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Right, it’s for any relationship with, with the outside world, with the wog world, that goes wrong and reflects badly on Scientology. If they had just allowed Lisa to leave when she wanted to leave, none of this would have happened. But what they seek to do is control and dominate, and they want–the way to control Lisa was to get her, get her locked up, which is exactly what they did.
ROB LOREI: The church says that she was having a psychotic episode and that she needed to, uh, just rest and relax in that room at the Fort Harrison and she was free to leave, but, um, she was clearly not in a good frame of mind so that’s why they had her there.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: She was clearly not free to leave. She was locked up. She was guarded and what Lisa really needed was medical attention and she really needed professional help.
ROB LOREI: Do you know of any cases where, where people that wanted to leave the church or people that are being in, in the care of the church, are denied water? Is that one of the ways that Scientology has dealt with people that want to leave?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: No. And I don’t believe that she was denied water. But I believe that she did not take the liquids which were offered to her. The record which survived, which was kept by her keepers, uh, indicates that she was not drinking. They should have picked up–they should have had enough brains to know that she was getting dehydrated.
ROB LOREI: Hmm. Well, Gerry Armstrong, thanks a lot. If folks want to find more about your perspective on the Church of Scientology, are there web sites that they can go to to find out more information about this?
GERRY ARMSTRONG: I always say to go to www.xenu.net, xenu.net.
ROB LOREI: And that has this kind of–
GERRY ARMSTRONG: Xenu is X-E-N-U.
ROB LOREI: Um-hmm.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: You bet. And there are a couple of books which are available.
ROB LOREI: Recommend a good one.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack and, um, Bare-Faced Messiah by Russell Miller; those are a real good pair to start with.
ROB LOREI: Gerry Armstrong, thanks a lot, thank you for coming by.
GERRY ARMSTRONG: You bet, pleasure.
ROB LOREI: Well, that was Gerry Armstrong, who for 12 years was in the Church of Scientology and worked with L. Ron Hubbard. That’s it for today’s show. I’m Rob Lorei. Thanks for listening. Next week, next Thursday at 1 o’clock, we will have a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology on; Pat Jones will be here from 1 to 2 o’clock to talk about the discussion that we had here today for the last hour. You’re listening to 88.5 FM. This is WMNF in Tampa, and if you have comments about today’s show, you can call us at (813) 238-8001 and leave a message on extension 18. That’s (813) 238-8001 and leave a message on extension 18.