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In Memoriam

November 13, 2010

James D. Beebe, who died of lung failure on 29 August 2004 at the age of 73.  He was a notable jazz musician and band leader.  But for most of his life he was also an ex-Scientologist and a persistent critic of the cult.  He became a Scientologist in the late sixties in the days when it was still mostly a Mom & Pop operation, but towards the end of his life he described Scientology as (a) a slick mind-control operation disguised as a religion to save paying taxes; (b) quack psychotherapy; (c) a UFO cult; (d) a world domination scheme; and (e) a Nazi cult – all of those.   He was a staff member in CAN before it was taken down by CoS.  He advocated canceling the tax benefits enjoyed by religions in the US.

Ida Camburn, died 1 September 2010. This lady had lost her only son Ronnie to Scientology some thirty-six years earlier.  When Ronnie Watson (born 4 July 1941) became a Scientologist in 1974, Ida saw the immediate danger to his family but could not have imagined that she would from then until her death have virtually no contact with him. “In my wildest dreams I could not imagine this once sensible man who dearly loved his wife and children could let a woman or a cult break up his marriage. But then we were wrong. It was over when his wife refused to join the Org and take her children into that filthy place to be taken care of by teenagers.”

Over thirty years Ida protested, wrote letters, joined anti-cult groups, demonstrated. She read Dianetics from cover to cover and marked each line that mentioned abortions. Her conclusion: that it was written to confuse — not help the reader. Her comfort: that she lived long enough to see the explosive growth of Web activism: what she called a modern Dickens to expose the Fagins of the cult.  She was, as one tribute put it “a mother to be proud of.”

John McMaster, a gentle, ethical man, joined Scientology around 1962, having experienced relief of chronic stomach pain after his first auditing session. He became a leading public spokesman for Scientology and later a member of the Sea Org. But he left very publicly in November 1969, expressing continuing love for LRH and belief in the Scientology tech but his strong disapproval of the brutality of the GO. Did LRH exploit his homosexuality? There is a very strong undercurrent here.

Hubbard never offered an explanation for the origin of homosexuality, he simply considered it “out-ethics”. This allowed him to bully and exploit homosexuals, while secretly encouraging them. Perhaps the most noteworthy victim of Hubbard’s manipulation was John McMasters. John was one the the first St. Hill Special Briefing Course students and was held in the highest esteem for his impeccable auditing skills. I had the opportunity to meet with John when he was at the DOrg in 1969, while on a world tour. His compassion filled the auditorium while he delivered a brilliant lecture on the purpose of ethics and personal responsibility.

John was a early member of the Sea Org and was verbal in his protest of Hubbard’s heavy use of drugs, his brutal discipline, and his mishandling of the “Commodore’s” flotilla of rusty scows. The first true Clear fell from grace in 1968 when he challenged Hubbard for chain-lockering a little deaf-mute girl for a week. He was subject to hard labor, sleep deprivation and other hardships. “Hubbard wanted to break me,” he states.

Several weeks later he was excommunicated at Hubbard’s behest. The Condition Order read “John McMasters is assigned a condition of Treason for rendering himself liable to blackmail by reason of his homosexual activities.” His certs and awards were cancelled and he was declared a Suppressive Person. Hubbard reasoned that perhaps one of his many imaginary enemies would blackmail John, obtain the “Confidential” materials and enslave the world. That privilege was to be Hubbard’s alone. Meanwhile John had his own reasons for confronting LRH.

In 1969 McMaster resigned from Scientology, and was declared “suppressive” by Hubbard.

McMaster stated in an interview: “I was so excited about the function of auditing that I was willing to overlook Hubbard’s faults. That was up to a point of course, the final point being my realization that his intentions were entirely self-serving. I saw that he was in it for the money and personal power, and his actual intentions were not as stated. The basic function of auditing is a wonderful thing, but Hubbard perverted it.” John McMaster, first true Clear, was interviewed two years before his death in a Manchester, England, transient hotel (flop house). In a tiny room filled with dead flowers, he told of being tormented and taunted by Hubbard for being gay. He died of cirrosis of the liver due to a long bout of alcoholism. One more Scientology “success story”.

References: John Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky; Bent Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard Jr, L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?


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