I knew Louise on the “Apollo.” I knew her being Treasury Aide during most of that time. Aides’ posts came with a lot of seniority, and she also had Sea Org rank and experience on me. I came on board in February 1971. I was on ship or shore lines throughout my time on board, and Louise was on international money lines, so we had little if any intersecting org business.
We were not friends exactly, but I had no unfriendly interactions with her, and have only friendly memories. On our pseudonaval ship and among the four hundred pseudonavy crew, it was the kind of relationship a Commander would have with a Swamper. The Aides had their own table in the officers’ dining room, and until I married Terri, I ate in the “Aft Lounge.” With Hubbard, I had the kind of relationship a Swamper would have with the Admiral.
Louise’s description of her first post on the Flagship gave me a chuckle, because it was my first post too. I don’t think I’d ever known she’d been the Flag Dishwasher. I only lasted one day, not because I didn’t wash dishes as a professional, or didn’t consider my post a trust and a crusade. And it wasn’t a gender preference. I just got very lucky and somebody posted me to Storesman.
During that one day on the Dishwasher post it was all by bare hands, no gloves. The rinsing was in a potassium permanganate solution. I had reasonably leathery logger’s hands, probably a bit more Skookum than Louise’s. But after one day my hands were cut, cracked, purple and painful. And I was saved by the screaming need for a Storesman.
Funnily enough, Terri testified in the trial of the cult’s first lawsuit against me that her first post on the ship was also Dishwasher.1
Welcome to the Sea Org.
I knew Mark Shekter too, of course, on board. Smart guy, musician.
In November 2007, Evan Solomon, the then host of CBC TV News: Sunday, plus the story producer and a camera man, came to Chilliwack, BC, and spent two days filming me. The producer later told me that soon afterward Shekter had approached CBC execs, and, because they knew he was a Scientologist, scared them and they killed the story.2
I did an interview for a Rogers Communications, Inc. TV program around the same time. The Scientologists shuddered Rogers into killing the episode, and I wrote a declaration about the flap. I mentioned the CBC similarly being scared off my story, but didn’t at that time mention Shekter by name.
I did tell Mr. Roth that that very day the producer of a story about me for CBC TV News: Sunday had called and told me that the CBC had killed the story because Scientology had freaked out the host and the CBC TV executives.
Mr. Roth asked what had happened with the CBC. I said that the same thing had happened as with Rogers although not because of an overt threat from Scientology as he had gotten from Susan Kerr. I said there had been a covert approach from Scientology to the CBC, and that what I’d been told is that everybody all the way up to the top started freaking out. I said that now the CBC execs were having the realization that Mr. Roth had been having, that Scientology is a lot more powerful than he’d thought and what I’d been saying about the organization had been right. He asked if the CBC was just cutting part of the interview, and I told him they have killed the whole show. 3
In an interview included in the 2021 book Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: From This Broken Hill, Volume 2, by Michael Posner, Shekter is quoted saying that he is still in Scientology.
- http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50k/legal/a1/2526.php ↩
- See this 2007 article about Shekter’s relationship with the CBC at that time: https://www.pressreader.com/canada/national-post-latest-edition/20070609/281483566960851 ↩
- https://gerryarmstrong.ca/a-press-magnate-on-your-side/ ↩