Not quite in the poorhouse, but…

by Nathan Hamm on 6/30/2005 · 26 comments

Those who pay attention to the rare mentions of my personal life know that I am soon leaving Philadelphia to head back to the wonderful Pacific Northwest (here specifically). So, I was leaving my job soon anyway, and I want to be clear I’m not at risk of moving into a refrigerator box in an alley or anything.

All the details as to why are in the extended entry, but I am unexpectedly out of an expected one last paycheck before I make my way west. Like I said, not a tragedy, but it really sucks for someone who is about to go back to the ever-so-high-paying life of being a student. So, if you enjoy, and think I’ve put together a nice and informative site, please consider hitting the tip jar–the nice color-coordinated “donate” button on this post and the sidebar.

Or, if you strongly disagree with me on something, stuff the tip jar until it’s overflowing. I can be bought ๐Ÿ™‚

Or, instead of seeing War of the Worlds, throw a couple bones my way. (See the extended, it’ll all make sense.)

I think I said something to the effect at one time that I’d never actively ask for money, but here I am doing so. I was just a professional fundraiser for three years after all.

For the curious here is a little more about what went down.

Some of you also know that my place of (now former) employment has been a particular pain in my ass lately and that the only reason I continued to stay was the money and that I’d be leaving soon anyway. My former boss is a Scientologist–something I’m entirely fine with so long as the workplace remains secular. My apologies to any Scientologist readers, but I have never met a Scientologist who doesn’t blur the line dividing the religious and the secular.

For those who haven’t had much contact with the Church, there are a number of “secular” and “independent” nonprofits that promote the use of L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings/”technologies.” My boss became a member of WISE, meaning she committed herself to using Hubbard Management in our place of work. Now, I’m not entirely cool with this even being used in normal commercial businesses (especially as it’s normally applied), but when a nonprofit dependent on public support and obligated to good stewardship of of donors’ funds decides to use a management system that draws heavily from the concepts, terminology, and practice of a religious institution, I have quite serious ethical concerns. Additionally, when said nonprofit suddenly decides–without input or approval from the board of directors–to implement programming from another Scientology front group and teach L. Ron Hubbard’s brand of morality, there’s an even bigger problem.

Rather than recount the whole tale, the past couple months have been extremely uncomfortable. They have included a vicious and nasty verbal attack on me from a Hubbard management consultant, plummetting morale amongst coworkers (many have left), having my concerns dismissed by my boss, and much more. What really brought it to a head was my boss acting like the staff’s unhappiness and the concerns I brought to her about WISE and ABLE make her a victim of religious persecution. Let’s repeat that. Disagreement equals persecution.

I was treated as the root of that persecution because I have shared my criticisms of Scientology with my coworkers. In other words, my negativity infected them–a truly insulting idea not only to me, but to my coworkers, who had plenty of problems without me saying a single word. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was formally thought of as a suppressive person. I certainly felt like I was being treated as one.

The last thing I need for the next two weeks is to be absolutely and utterly miserable, so I got out early. And in the last 24 hours, one additional staff member has left (making this week’s total 3) and another has announced he’s leaving next week.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Katy June 30, 2005 at 4:16 pm

Your boss & Tom Cruise: giving a bad name to Scientology? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope that being at home for a while gives you a much needed break!

Nathan June 30, 2005 at 4:19 pm

Your boss & Tom Cruise: giving a bad name to Scientology?

That implies it had a good one!

Katy June 30, 2005 at 4:21 pm

Okay, I read this:

That’s pretty out there. I can’t believe that you had to go through that.

Some day this will be a funny story… not that that helps right now, but…

Nathan June 30, 2005 at 5:22 pm

Well, the only thing that really bothers me right now is not getting the next paycheck. I could use the dough.

It is disappointing to see an organization I’ve devoted the past three years to utterly destroy itself. It absolutely infuriates me that my former boss would ignore the problems she’s caused and point a finger at me as being the problem.

JM June 30, 2005 at 5:56 pm

Best of luck at the Jackson School. Seattle is absolutely beautiful this week, and the summer should last into October.

Nathan June 30, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Thanks. I can’t wait to get back. I really miss the Pacific NW. I grew up in Southern Oregon, went to school in Eugene (must resist urge to wear green & yellow at UW), and haven’t lived in the area for about 5 years now.

And, God, I can’t wait to be back in a place where the summer is just hot, not humid!

Curzon June 30, 2005 at 11:39 pm

Mr. Hamm —

Alas, I am scheduled to see War of the Worlds tonight, and have already bought my tickets for me and my date. Nonetheless, I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve donated more than twice the cost of my ticket (at Tokyo prices!) to you through paypal as a small token of my sympathy for your situation and for appreciation of what you do here. Best of luck with the move and your imminent entrance to grad school.

Fellow readers, don’t you want to help out too?

G. N. Curzon
(donated under the name you know who)

Curzon June 30, 2005 at 11:50 pm


Readers, check out that wikipedia article above. Do you have any idea what Nathan was dealing with?!

Most famously, those who reach OT level III will learn about Xenu, the galactic tyrant who stacked hundreds of billions of his frozen victims around Earth’s volcanoes 75 million years ago before blowing them up with hydrogen bombs and brainwashing them with a “three-D, super colossal motion picture” for 36 days. The traumatised thetans subsequently clustered around human bodies, in effect acting as invisible spiritual parasites that can only be removed using advanced Scientology techniques. Reportedly, the cost of reaching OT III approaches $360,000.

Nathan July 1, 2005 at 12:00 am

Thank you kindly! And a warm thank you to others who have donated as well! I sincerely appreciate it.

And Curzon, re: WOTW, in protest of Mr. Cruise’s recent public behavior (of which my boss exhibited a milder variety), I watched the 1953 version last night. Superb. I mean, how cool is this? Or this?

Nathan July 1, 2005 at 12:13 am

Oh, I didn’t have to put up with any of that, I doubt my boss was even a clear, let alone an OT. If anything like Xenu had been brought up, I’d have been told it was a lie.

What was going on was more the “secular” tech stuff–LRH tech that is almost identical to CoS stuff but doesn’t specifically deal with or teach the bizarre concepts about the mind or the soul.

As far as putting up with things goes, a lot of the pre-clear training deals with communication strategies and controlling one’s environment. After all, LRH thought that humans naturally have godlike powers that are denied us by engrams (if you’re pre-OT III I guess)/body thetans (I suppose post-OT III) so control is a big deal. (Hell, it’s probably why the management tech tries to spell everything out in such damned detail.) So, what I had to deal with more was the aggressiveness, hostility, and more from someone who uses the strategies. I mean, heck, look at the suppressive person ad, taste the paranoia, and understand that Scientologists are taught that they can do just about any dishonorable thing to an SP if they don’t just downright cut off all contact. Hell, check out number 12. Just about everything is set up to protect the group–doubt is a serious crime for example–and all objections are dismissed as part of a campaign to smear the only group out there trying to “restore sanity to the world.”

Call me glib and ignorant as to the horrors of psychiatry and medicine, but I throw in my lot with Xenu.

Mark Hamm July 1, 2005 at 2:06 pm

I feel sorry for these scientologist, all these suppressive people out there. Where can I get an ‘I,m a suppressive person’ t-shirt to help them out a bit?

Mark hamm July 1, 2005 at 2:19 pm

Went to one of the linked sites above. That ‘way to happiness’ program is creepy! Their response to the tsunami disaster is to send a book(let) on how to be happy? Note it’s involvement in the schools. Wonder if they receive federal money that the Bush administration is giving out to faith-based social programs?

upyernoz July 1, 2005 at 3:14 pm

hey nathan,

its for the best that you got the hell out of there. how much longer are you in philly again?

Nathan July 1, 2005 at 4:00 pm

I’ll be here until the 23rd.

Nathan July 1, 2005 at 4:27 pm

This is not at all meant to be partisan, but Scientology seems to get in best with Democratic administrations. Buffalo had it’s Scientology Day in 2003. San Francisco Unified Schools used Narconon in its curriculum until public pressure forced it to stop. And, of course, it was under the Clinton administration that they finally got their tax-exempt status back and enjoyed quite a bit of State Department support in their efforts to gain acceptance in Europe.

Quid July 1, 2005 at 8:15 pm

It’s mind control, not a religion. Ugh and yeeaahhkkptui.

Best of luck at Scoop U.

Nathan July 2, 2005 at 12:17 am

Here’s the SP shirt

carpetblogger July 2, 2005 at 11:30 pm

sorry to hear about your problems. What a nightmare. Carpetblogger is an Issaquah native, most recently of Pdx. Missing the NW summer.

Nathan July 3, 2005 at 12:46 am

Ahhh, Issaquah… PDX rules. I think it takes the cake as my favorite city in the country. Though I am quite biased.

I too miss the NW summer. It’s ungodly humid here most of the time. Thank goodness it wasn’t today for Live 8 (where I happened to see two University of Oregon hats–quite a good find for a day in Philly!).

David July 3, 2005 at 8:17 am

Sorry to hear about your run-in with the Scientologists, Nathan. Sounds suspiciously similar to the way the UK Foreign Office deals with its employees! Maybe HMG has been taking lessons from L Ron Hubbard, too…

jodi July 5, 2005 at 6:55 am

I’ve had brushed shoulders with those who have ties to Scientology and I know where you’re coming from. I would have gotten out much sooner, I think. I hope things work out for you…can’t wait to hear about your experiences once your studies begin! Good luck!

Grendel July 5, 2005 at 2:24 pm

In any case, staying away from dangerous sects like Scientology is better…

Dan July 5, 2005 at 8:04 pm

For three years? Wow.

The harm an intelligent idiot can do to an organization is incalcuable.

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