It’s not as if no one left the CofS prior to 1982-1983. But the mass exodus that occurred after the RTC takeover was unprecedented in the history of Scientology. People who had been the backbone of CofS delivery and administration, many of whom had worked closely with LRH, exited in droves. What’s more, lesser members of the CofS echelon who had been vital components in the organization, such as org and mission staff, also left in large numbers.
The CofS prior to the RTC takeover certainly had its problems, but the majority of the people mentioned above would not have left under previous circumstances. Before the regime change, people put up with all manners of organizational aberration and injustice without seriously considering leaving. They wholeheartedly believed in the total validity of Scientology technology and LRH as their spiritual leader. Even the greatest of problems in the CofS were viewed as glitches that would be corrected in time. But as the New Regime took power, it soon became apparent to a large portion of the devoted membership that their old CofS was gone and would never return.
After the brief revolution that culminated in 1982 was effectively squashed by the RTC, loyal members who had devoted their lives to the delivery and expansion of Scientology, left a life they had been completely dedicated to and re-entered normal society.
Even though their old haven for practicing Scientology had disappeared, dedicated members of the old CofS were unwilling to give up their life’s work. Their only alternative was to establish delivery facilities outside the CofS. In effect, the revolution which had been dampened by the New Regime was forced out into the field.
For the majority of highly trained people exiting, there was an unwavering belief in a continued standard delivery of the tech. Since the disagreements with the CofS were limited to management and administration, this was the area subject to dramatic change. But the administration of these new centers did not revert back to the pattern existing in the CofS prior to the RTC takeover. Previous administrative practices were reformed, with freer and more ethically administered delivery units established. Most of the heavy ethics and cult mentality that had been practiced in the CofS for years was eliminated. The high costs of services that had put the bridge out of most people’s reach were replaced by a more realistic price structure.
When word of these new centers reached the Scientology public, large numbers of these people began leaving the CofS to get their services in the field. Even those who didn’t leave began questioning their continued involvement with the CofS. Thus began what was to become known as the “independent movement” or “free zone”.
The CofS was ill prepared for such a movement. Not only were they losing millions in potential business, but many public Scientologists were demanding the return of advanced payments they had on account. Their usual tactic of threatening the exiting public was ineffective, so the CofS turned their attention to attacking the independent delivery centers and personnel operating these centers.
The first stage of attack was to discredit those people running independent centers in an effort to deter the CofS public from leaving. A massive campaign was launched against these free zone leaders. They were inaccurately blamed for all sorts of past problems in the CofS. Vicious lies were circulated regarding their history and character. But the most powerful deterrent was telling Scientology public that they would not receive a standard or competent delivery of tech in the independent field. Moreover, they were told that they would be thoroughly damaged by this free zone delivery.
The second stage of attack was unleashed upon people who were delivering the technology outside the CofS. Without concern for expense, the full arsenal of black ops of the old Guardian’s Office was brought to bear upon independent delivery people.
The intelligent independent centers were structured so as not to infringe on any copyrights or trademarks of the CofS. So aside from what the CofS continued to preach about these violations to their existing members, such legal attacks on the independent field had no real merit. But this didn’t stop them from engaging in a number of dirty tricks and tactics. A no-holds-bared effort to disrupt their delivery was loosed on free zone practitioners, who now carried the CofS labels of “squirrels” and “suppressives”.
Anyone involved with a successful independent center from that time has his or her own horror stories depicting CofS attacks. After leaving the CofS, I opened and operated a large center in Colorado. I, too, had my run-ins with the organization of Scientology.