“We want a memorial of all the people who have died because of Scientology…”
When my friend Pete Griffiths approached me with this project last week, I was thrilled to do it because I had always wanted to do something concrete to show my support for those who stand up against the so-called “Church” of Scientology. I am well-known for biting off more than I can chew, but this was not the case with this piece; I threw myself wholeheartedly into it, not realizing that the most difficult part would not be the actual fitting of the names into the work. I was supplied with a couple websites (listed below) from which I took the names, and worked with various ex-Scientologists around the world to add to or subtract from my list.
For the most part, I had to lift the names from the stories of why they had died; over and over again, I had to sort through horrific tales of abuse, neglect, and callous disregard of human life from Scientology officials. Many of the people on this list were OT VIIs or VIIIs (the highest levels in the “church,” when people are supposed to be “superhuman” and never get sick) who had died of cancer or other diseases that went untreated while the person kept resorting to more and more expensive courses of auditing (Scientology counseling) in order to rid themselves of their illnesses – ultimately failing. Other names represented those poor souls – many of them young people – who resorted to suicide out of sheer desperation and despair due to feeling trapped by this “church,” often due to the stress of not being able to speak to parents or loved ones who have been declared S.P. (Suppressive Person). Other suicides come from the ranks of the “Sea Org,” Scientology’s clergy, who are trapped into thinking the only way out is death. Many on this list are victims of Scientology neglect and malfeasance – from the young woman who took a “personality test” and was told that she would not survive without Scientology (she committed suicide immediately), to the airline pilot, who, his senses dulled by Scientology processes, made a series of bad choices on the job, resulting in his plane crashing, killing all but four people on board, as well as another fourteen on the ground. In one heart-wrenching case, a young Scientology couple “on course” lost their 2-year old daughter from her eating paint in an ill-supervised “church” daycare, and their 18-month old baby from a fall down the stairs at the same organization not a year later.
This was not a technically difficult work, but emotionally it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I would like to thank the many ex-Scientologists who helped me add names to the list, confirming details and checking spellings. With every name I added, I prayed not only for the peace of that spirit, but also for justice. Now, more than ever, I am committed to bringing this evil cult down and ending the murder.
EDIT: I understand that I have missed several names. If you know of any, please let me know.
Karin “Spike” Robinson
The good folks at Tony Ortega’s “underground bunker”