GREG BASHAW, killed himself June 2001, aged 46
“In memory of a trained journalist, disciplined and hard-working, an honored writer of substance and creativity and imagination, loved by family and friends, respected by his contemporaries, who in the prime of life, because of his needs and naivete trusted wrongly an entity that crushed his sweet and sharing spirit. He found his journey through life too painful to continue and was blind and deaf to all of those who loved him. May God bless you, Greg, and may God bless us all.”
If his own account of his problems is difficult for a lay person to understand, this in itself demonstrates the barriers that Scientology creates between its members and the normal world, their parents, and often their spouses and children. He posted the following account to the forum known as Operation Clambake Message Board (OCMB) not long before he died.
“I was declared for objecting strenuously to some things that I saw as so out tech, off policy, out KSW that it broke through the fog and I refused to go along with it. I “enturbulated” so many people I was declared despite the fact my Comm-Ev agreed with me. I enturbulated them too, I was told. I was shocked to find myself on the street with nothing. I begged to be allowed to do the RPF. After many appeals and reviews I developed some serious medical problems that I knew would prevent me from getting up the bridge or back in the Sea Org this life time.
“Scientologists believe there is no such thing as death, you are a thetan occupying a meat body. I decided my only choice was to drop the body and pick up another one. I was not suicidal, it just seemed like the only logical thing to do. I didn’t tell anyone. I decided to wait until my children (whom I had abandoned to my ex to join the Sea Org years before) were grown and independent, because we had become close and I knew it would hurt them to be abandoned again.
“Meanwhile, I went back to finish my degree, and got on the internet. I found Clambake and couldn’t stop reading. There were so many stories of people I knew! Clambake and all the people who cared enough to tell their stories and make the truth about Scientology available on the Internet saved my life.
“For the last 10 years I was fooling myself regarding the services I was taking [with Scientology], and whether they were advancing me. I wanted them to be… In retrospect, I would have been better the last ten years to have focused on simply building a family life, and on work, as most people do… Being on the services the whole time was almost unbelievably demanding in terms of time, money and commitment. The fact that it did not ‘pay off’ has been an exceptionally bitter pill to swallow. The fact that at the end of the road I ended up in worse shape than I’d ever been in my entire life… well, that has been completely irreconcilable with any concept of reality.”
But Scientology’s abusive mind-control had damaged him beyond repair and left him with no way forward or back. After several thwarted attempts, Greg killed himself in June 2001 at the age of 46, leaving a wife, a 17-year old son and a father to mourn him.
Greg never blamed Hubbard, as he should have done, but blamed himself for the damage done. Because he had had psychiatric counseling and psychiatric drugs at college, he should not have been on the advanced levels. His psychoses – he was having dark thoughts about himself and felt he was covered with alien Body Thetans which he could not get rid of – were his inheritance from Scientology. Greg felt a glimmer of hope after speaking to a former member of the church’s Sea Organization, which is made up of full-time employees who hold its “most essential and trusted positions.” Greg got the impression that the man could use Scientology practices on him to correct the damage that had been done. After speaking to him, Greg promised his father he wouldn’t kill himself. But this person said Greg was “really stuck.” Greg wanted “more than anything” to get back into the church but Gregg had failed a security check in Clearwater and had been declared a Potential Trouble Source. “The only place he could ever reach his spiritual freedom was gone,” he says. “His dreams were gone. Life was taken away from him.” He had been taught to believe Scientology was the only solution for his problems. “He was taught to believe psychiatry was evil – now he was in the hands of the most vicious, perverted people.”
Bashaw had spent more than twenty years of his life in Scientology. He gave the group everything he had, spiritually, socially, mentally, professionally, and financially. He wanted to lose his “reactive mind,” but in the end he just lost his mind. His father said: “There were periods of time he was rational and he realized he was losing it and it was a terror, a horrible thing to him.”
Part of this story is less attractive. Greg was one of the Scientologists most involved in the attack on CAN (Cult Awareness Network), targeting individuals with black PR. This opens up the question of how commands to do harm are passed down within Scientology, to be followed with such fidelity by individuals whose every natural tendency is to do the opposite.
“The trip to Clearwater had been a disaster. “They threw him out,” Bob says. Greg told him the church staff had said he had some kind of medical or physical condition they couldn’t help him with, then sent him away, telling him never to return. “That’s when I said, ‘Hey, holy shit. Look what he’s been involved in.’ This is when the whole thing hit the fan with me. I realized what the hell it had done to him.”
Scientology lies when it claims to have the solution to all your problems. What it offers as solutions are its most dangerous procedures. When it is too late you realise that Scientology created most of them, from cancer to insanity. A former member, who met Bashaw but realised he was unable to help him, concluded: “Greg Bashaw could not let go of the mental indoctrination he’d swallowed hook, line, and sinker — he had a hard time struggling with the fact that he’d been living a lie. Everything he thought was real wasn’t real anymore.”
He left a note for his son: “Goodbye, you were a good buddy. Love, dad.”
Scientology and its fiendish creator have a lot to answer for.