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Scientology Years as Remembered by Steve Andrews the Bard of Ely

My personal experiences in Scientology

My good friend the author and writer CJ Stone has suggested I write about my experiences in Scientology many years back so here goes. The years in question would be from 1986 to 1990, so you can see I had plenty of time to find out about it.

You have no doubt read all the bad stuff in the press about Scientology, and indeed, so had I when I was a teenager, and dissatisfied with the world and my life as I was, what I had read about an evil cult leader who brainwashed people with an electronic machine on board a ship, was enough to put me off. I was to change my views drastically many years later when I became one of the people who was following L Ron Hubbard's teachings and had my own E-meter, which was the so-called brainwashing device.

Introduction to Scientology by L Ron Hubbard

Woody Woodmansey on drums backing me at a Celebrity Centre London party at the Marquee Cafe.

Woody Woodmansey on drums backing me at a Celebrity Centre London party at the Marquee Cafe.

The Truth About Drugs

The Truth About Drugs

Bard of Ely with Robin Williamson

Bard of Ely with Robin Williamson

Saint Hill in East Grinstead

Saint Hill in East Grinstead

In my Dianetics and Scientology boilersuit.

In my Dianetics and Scientology boilersuit.

How I got involved in Scientology

I got involved after my friend Pixi Morgan turned up again at my house where he had been staying but had gone away to London to see Dylan in concert and hadn't returned. Anyway in those days I was used to seeing Pixi dressed in hippy clothes or biker gear - he had a motorbike at that point in time - but never neat and tidy and smartly dressed in a conventional way. But that day he arrived back at my house there was complete change. His hair had been cut, he was wearing a clean shirt and even his trousers had been ironed. It was like a complete makeover.

"Pixi! Come in," I said , "but you must tell me where you've been and what has caused this remarkable change." Pixi went on to explain that after the Bob Dylan concert he had sold his bike and ended up joining Scientology at Saint Hill Manor as a member of the Sea Org (organisation).

I wanted to find out more and he suggested I wrote away for a book called Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health and gave me the name of a lady called Eileen who was the Letters Registrar at Saint Hill. This I did and soon had my Dianetics book which I began to read. At one point in it Hubbard explains that every field of human endeavour has mistakes in it but that he had found out why and what could be done to resolve this. That was it - I was hooked because this was something I had been aware of since I was little kid. I used to ask my parents to get me books on nature, which I was fascinated by, but I always ended up finding mistakes in the books with stuff that didn't add up with what I found in the world.

Hubbard reveals that the sole cause for all human problems is generated by what he calls "engrams," which are full recordings stored in what he terms the "reactive mind" that steps onto play when the conscious mind is shut down by a serious injury for example, which has knocked the person out. These engrams then get restimulated by similar situations and stimuli in future and wreak havoc by attempting to replicate what went on in the past in the now.

Hubbard claimed to have found a way called auditing of getting rid of all the stored engrams and eventually producing a "clear" who no longer has a reactive mind or any engrams and whose full memory is restored to their conscious mind.There's a line in the Leonard Cohen song Famous Blue Raincoat that asks "Did you ever go clear?" Leonard's one of my favourite writers and I wanted to go clear.

I read on and soon after sent for Self Analysis, a book by Hubbard that helps you tone up your senses and memory by going through lists that ask you to mentally focus on things. I found it worked and it is one book I have kept.

I had learned that Hubbard recommended supplementing your diet with vitamins and that B1 and Niacin were particularly good. I had seen how they sold "Vits bags" and how most Scientologists took regular supplements.I began to spend my money on doing this too instead of wasting it on alcohol. I remember feeling so much better for it and to this day I still use a range of supplements and vitamins.

I wanted to read all his books and began building my collection and going through them as well as doing extension courses that could be done at home and were cheap. Eventually I made a trip to Saint Hill in East Grinstead to meet staff there I had been writing to and to have some free introductory auditing, which is a process whereby an auditor listens to answers you give to set questions. It is like a confessional in some ways and gets you to look into your past.

Some of the staff at Saint Hill Foundation did what they could to entice me to join them as a staff member and give up my house in Cardiff but I wasn't prepared to do that. I definitely wanted to learn all I could though and had the idea I have so often had and then found later that I was wrong, of thinking at last I have found the type of people I have been looking for.

By then I had made lots of positive changes in my life - I had overcome a seven-year addiction to valium and I had quit drinking alcohol completely. I had read that because it lowers your consciousness it can help create engrams and leave you open to the reactive mind. Of course I didn't want that and knowing I didn't have the sort of money needed to pay for the auditing to clear, I wanted to do all I could to stop adding to my problems and help me make it in Scientology. I was trying to reach the state of clear whilst living as a single parent on state benefit.

Besides getting off the tablets and booze I had found that I had gotten rid of all sorts of people who had been in my life and none of whom really did me any good. By talking about Scientology all the time and becoming such a clean-living guy that I didn't even drink anymore was too much for them to handle.

I spent any money I saved up on books and tapes by L Ron Hubbard and going to Birmingham, Saint Hill and Celebrity Centre London orgs to pursue my studies. Because I was a singer and songwriter, even though I was a poor and unsigned one, still allowed me to be a celeb in Scientology!

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For me it was great - I was getting flattered about my talents and encouraged to be flamboyant and to promote my creativity. I got to perform at Celebrity Centre events and to meet people like Woody Woodmansey who was actually backing me on drums in a scratch band we put together at a party at the Marquee Cafe in Soho.This was the Woody Woodmansey, who as drummer for the Spiders From Mars, had backed David Bowie, and here he was drumming along to my songs.

I got employed as Robin Williamson's secretary too. Robin lived in Cardiff and needed someone who was a Scientologist to help out with his mail-order business. For me this was really exciting to be working for and to know as a friend a guy I had seen many years before when he was in the Incredible String Band playing on the big stage at Sophia Gardens Pavilion in Cardiff.

I had been doing some cheaper courses and had been mainly going to Birmingham to do them because it was a lot nearer. I started working part time as a Field Staff member, which mainly meant getting as many flyers out as possible advertising books and courses. As a reward for this I was getting awarded courses and books I couldn't have otherwise afforded so was able to begin my "Bridge," properly, which consists of a planned progression of courses and auditing steps you need to have done and received on the way to achieving clear and above it.