Palo Alto, California, 28 August 1986
David Mayo spent 25 years in the Church of Scientology, making him one of the most experienced people to have served in that organisation; most do not stay longer than 3 years. His long experience as auditor to the most senior Scientologists, including L. Ron Hubbard and his wife, gave him considerable status (as shown in the 1980 advertisement on the left). Following factional infighting in the early 1980s, he left (or more accurately was expelled) in 1983 and was subsequently denigrated as a “squirrel” par excellence. He nonetheless remained loyal to Hubbard’s tenets and started an “Advanced Ability Center”, using Hubbardian techniques and derivatives thereof. The AAC now appears to be defunct. Mayo was interviewed in 1986 by Russell Miller, the British writer and journalist, for his unauthorised biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah. In the course of the interview, Mayo gave an intriguing account of his experiences in Scientology, the transcript of which follows below.
My first contact with Scientology was through a High School teacher who loaned me some of the books. This was in Auckland, New Zealand. I joined the org as an employee in late ’59. I was a student at the time. The org was in two parts, HASI [Hubbard Association of Scientologists International] and HCO [Hubbard Communications Office]. HCO was Hubbard’s own office within the org. I worked for HCO starting from end ’59 and I started having correspondence with him. The lady who had hired me, Betty Turnbull, was in charge of HCO and her husband, Frank, was in charge of the HASI. LRH was displeased with Frank and Hubbard started sending me letters expressing displeasure and asked me to do an investigation. They ended up quitting or were fired. He accused them of being Communists and they were in the org to try and destroy it and sabotage his plans.
I thought this org was supposed to be about improving people and helping mankind and all of a sudden, my opening correspondence with the founder was about plots and Communists. He sent me handwritten letters and telegrams and cables. It was quite a shock. I just figured I couldn’t understand these things. I just tried to rationalise the paranoia, after all he was a brilliant man and had written all these books. I had to do a security check on Betty Turnbull and my recommendation to LRH was that they weren’t Communists and had worked hard to try and keep it going. I said they were perfectly OK and he fired them.
I first met him at the beginning of ’62 when I went to Saint Hill to do the Briefing Course. He was friendly, down to earth and quite personable most of the time, though he would have occasional flare-ups. In later years he changed dramatically. Then he was one of the boys, would chat over breaks, insisted everyone called him Ron. Deification had not yet begun. I finished the course in late ’62 and went back to Auckland until the end of ’67. I made one more trip back in ’65 to Saint Hill. Then at the end of ’67 I transferred to the Sea Org and to Va1encia where the Royal Scotman was in Jan 68.
The literature I’d received prior to going was quite misleading. It described an OT base and talked about a land base in some foreign country. It sounded exotic and exciting, where LRH was going to be doing upper level research and a few, select, highly trained people were working with him and participating in it. Instead, when I got to Valencia I got in a taxi and was told to go to the port. The instructions were brief and mysterious. I went to the port in a taxi and saw this dirty rusty old cattle ferry tied up there. I kept trying to tell the driver we’d made a mistake. He kept insisting it was [correct]. I got out of the taxi, went over to the ship and realised, “My God, this is the place!” Read more