Edith Ervin's Story on Scientology

Edith's son Jeremy en route to a high school dance, before he got into scientology.

What "church" hires private investigators to follow, harass and threaten its opponents? The "church" of Scientology does. I've been confronted by three of Scientology's private investigators. This is a religion? Our own IRS granted them the golden opportunity for tax exemption in 1993. What a windfall!

What caused me to go onto the internet with my endeavors to expose this group? My two sons in Scientology visited me in Seattle this past summer to "handle" me. They told me if I didn't stop picketing Scientology I wouldn't see them or my granddaughter again. I refused and when they returned to Albuquerque my younger son, Jeremy, closed his post office box with no forwarding address and my older son, Joel, sent letters back marked "Refused, Return to Sender."

Joel had been in Scientology about fifteen years when he persuaded Jeremy, who was beginning his fourth year of college, to join. Their father was pushing for a divorce and with that disruption and Joel's years of urging, Jeremy suddenly bolted from school and headed to Los Angeles to work for a Scientology-owned insurance company, David Morse and Associates. When he didn't work out as an adjuster (he's too decent and honest) he was sent to Albuquerque to work on staff at the Albuquerque org.

In my discussions with them I've always insisted that religions don't hire private investigators to follow, harass and threaten their opponents. Religions don't advocate a policy of "disconnect" from parents who are opposed to a group. Real religions urge their members to "connect."

In May of 1993 I visited Albuquerque and had made plans to have Jeremy, the younger son, speak with exit counselors who were very well acquainted with the workings of Scientology.

Two had been in the cult. I stayed with Joel, my older son, and told him I was meeting some friends for Saturday morning coffee. I left his house at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and as I started my car a white van that was parked on the street immediately pulled out and followed me. I wound in and out of residential streets and couldn't lose it. Finally I decided to go to the hotel where I met the counselors.

A friend was very accommodating in allowing us to use her house for the intervention. Friends of many years who know Jeremy and the family and who also wanted him out of the cult were there as support. When we drove up on our way to Santa Fe Jeremy refused to enter my friend's house, even when she came out personally to invite him in. for coffee.

A day later Jeremy wanted me to go to lunch and then asked me to go to Joel's house for a "surprise." I asked if I'd finally see Heather, my granddaughter, whom I hadn't seen during the visit. He said no. I went and in walked two men. One gave me his card. He was Jonathan Gaw, who worked as a private investigator for scientology. He said he wasn't a member. He introduced me to his assistant, Bobby (didn't get the last name; he wouldn't repeat it when I asked). Bobby was a member. Mr. Gaw said they were p.i.'s from Moreno Valley, California. He said he'd followed me to the hotel where I'd met the counselors.

They identified two of the three counselors and they demanded to know the name of the third counselor (the one with the beard, they said). They wanted to know how much I had paid them, how long I had known them, how I came to know them, how I learned about the Cult Awareness Network in Chicago (which has now been forced into extinction by scientology lawsuits and is now run by scientology). The p.i.'s also wanted to know where I got my scientology information. They said if I did not tell them what they wanted to know I would never see my sons or granddaughter again.

This is a religion?? And it receives tax-free status from the IRS!! The whole scene felt like something out of an old Edward G. Robinson movie. I told the p.i.'s those threats were blackmail and asked what rabbi, priest or minister would make such threats to the mother of one of its members in order to keep that member in their group.

As though the aforementioned p.i. threat weren't enough, on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend three years ago there was a knock at my apartment door. When I asked who it was, the reply was, "I'm a private investigator from southern California." I wouldn't let him in, so we talked through the door. I said that I knew he was from scientology but he quickly denied it. He then said that I might be Jewish, and I said, "Not might; absolutely am." Then he fished around to find out if I knew Robert Vaughn Young, and I said I knew of him and had heard him speak but didn't know him. He then said that I'd be interested in some papers he had which showed that Robert Vaughn Young associated with neo-nazis. When I pooh-poohed the idea he asked to slip the papers under my door. I allowed it. When I saw the papers areas had been highlighted in yellow for my attention.

There was also a picture of R.V. Young talking with Willis Carto of the Liberty Lobby. Young was busy talking, and Carto was looking smack dab, full-face at the camera. It turned out Carto had asked Young about Scientology and they'd met at a restaurant in Newport Beach. By my standards the whole incident appeared to be a blatant smear campaign. It continued when this p.i., Gene Ingram, the lead p.i. for scientology, continued his Seattle "tour" with a trip to the Youngs' neighbors in West Seattle to spread malicious gossip about the Youngs.

This is some religion!!!

Edith's son Jeremy in February of 1996, after he had gotten into Scientology. He was visiting his grandmother in the Kline Galland home in Seattle

One weekend this past summer, 1997, my two sons came up to Seattle to have a "talk." Another granddaughter had been visiting me for a couple of months. The boys were eager to see Sara as well. On the Saturday we were to "talk," I had Sara stay with a neighbor and I promised her that we'd all go out for Sunday brunch the next day. On the Saturday during our "talk," I reiterated my oft-stated argument that religions don't hire p.i.'s and that as of then I'd been confronted by three of them. Joel, the older, said at one point that I was a "liar, cheat, sneak." I said to wait, that I had to write it down. I got pen and paper and he repeated, in a memorized fashion, "liar, cheat, sneak, felon," that I stabbed my sons in the back.

I asked how I was a felon. Joel replied that I had thrown out scientology mail addressed to Jeremy that came to our house here in Seattle. I told Joel that years before in our house in Albuquerque his father had stood over the kitchen garbage pail dumping

his -- Joel's -- scientology mail. I said that if I were a felon so was his dad, that neither one of us had any use for scientology.

Well, the session broke up amicably. I knew my sons were well-trained by this corrupt group. I knew these were not the sons who had grown up in our household. The next day, Sunday, they came back to my apartment and met Sara; a nice, sweet reunion.

"Gosh, Sara, you've grown so tall." She hugged and kissed them both and was glad to see them. Joel took pictures of everyone. I was happy to see them all greeting one another so warmly. We left for Sunday brunch at a nice lakeside restaurant in Seattle. It was there, at the end of the meal, that Sara and my sons began playing tic-tac-toe and then Joel wrote down his telephone number for Sara, "in case you want to talk." Jeremy did the same.

When we left the restaurant Joel wanted to continue talking and I said that I was tired, that if he wanted to wind things up fast in the car that would be fine. They were due to fly back in a few hours and needed to get to the airport. I sent Sara to my car and I sat in theirs and Joel said that if I didn't stop picketing and other activities I'd never see them or Heather, my other granddaughter, again. I said in disgust, "That's it, you kids know where I live; you have my phone number," and I got out in disgust and slammed the door. I returned to my car and drove home.

A few weeks later I sent Jeremy a card for his birthday and it came back. His P.O. Box had been closed and there was no forwarding address. He'd told his sister to send his mail to their dad's house. I've sent post cards to Joel and Jeremy because the post office won't return postcards. This is a disconnect in scientology lingo.

In September I took some time off from work and flew down to Albuquerque. I stayed with friends and had a great time, but in the back of my mind I felt the emotional drag of this abnormal family situation that this despicable organization has fostered. The feeling was there that I should have been staying with my children and grandchild.

The day before I was to leave, I finally visited Joel's house. When my granddaughter and daughter-in-law came to the door, Heather, 16, yelled out, "Grandma!"

We hugged and hugged some more. Soon, my daughter-in-law, June, was open-mouthed with disbelief. She, too, is in scientology and a "disconnect" in scientology is the last word, I suppose. At any rate she recovered from her surprise and very graciously told me to sit down and we talked. Then June suggested to Heather that she show me around the house. Heather explained how much they had done to fix the house up. Then Joel appeared.

He'd come home from work. I went up to greet him and he looked at me and said, in a tone I'd never heard from him before, "You don't get it, you just don't get it." He went on about my not respecting his "religion." I told him that it's not about religion; it's about coming between a mother and a granddaughter. He ordered his wife and daughter out of the room, saying, "Get out of the room; I have to talk." They scurried. I thought, how obedient. How un-90's-ish. His father and I never modeled such authoritarian behavior.

He then put a hand on each of my arms and tried to lead me to the door. I told him to get his hands off me or I'd punch him in the nose. I'd never said that to any of my children before. He dropped his hands. He then said, "You can see Heather when she's of age." Just this week she reached her seventeenth birthday. This was some scene for a young girl to remember!

Anyway, Joel called to his wife, "Say good-bye, June!" She obeyed and said, "Good-bye, Edith." He called to Heather, "Say good-bye, Heather!" No answer. I then called to both of them and said, "My door will always be open!" I then left.

Joel sounded like a thug. He never was one and he'd never sounded like one. He was always likable, amiable and loving even if he was hyperactive and lacking in self-discipline at times. Scientology has trained him to act thuggish with its perceived "enemies." It's their fair game policy!

I've picketed Scientology for a span of years now. At the beginning of my picketing, scientology had Jeremy fly up here to stop me. He walked up and down with me, explaining the scientology position. At one point he went inside the scientology building to

get a book. He came out and read to me the scientology position on disconnect. If a member can't handle the critic then you disconnect. At one point I said to him that if grandpa were alive he'd be out picketing with me. All the grandchildren loved and admired my father who, at that time, had died a couple of years before.

Jeremy was at the funeral and was visibly upset, and said the prayer along with the rabbi. On this particular trip, Jeremy stayed with a scientologist who lived a block from the org in downtown Seattle.

The two signs I carry back to back when I picket read, "The 'church' of scientology hires p.i.'s to follow, harass and threaten its opponents." The other sign reads, "Should a 'church' that hires private investigators be tax exempt?"

This cult lures our children away from their chosen paths in life. Scientology cares not a whit about young people finishing their education and contributing to society as educated young adults. Scientology believes it is the ONLY education they need to receive. Scientology claims that becoming educated in its purification rundowns, introspection rundowns, e-meters, engrams and auditing, and reaching CLEAR is more important to a person than finishing his or her college education.

Scientology benefits from every recruit it seduces. Unending fees for books, courses, services (which cost tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars), tapes, and cheap or free labor as well. Scientology has its adherents cut ties with any family and friends who are critical of its methods. Typical cult!

The IRS needs to take a very critical look at this group and revoke its tax exempt status. The taxpayers of the U.S. are helping to pay the cost of scientology's private investigators to harass and intimidate critics. As long as scientology has its tax exempt status, it does not have to pay taxes and can use that money for its chosen goals. The time to end this cult's boondoggle is NOW!!!

letter refused from Edith

letter sent to org from Edith

Edith Isaacs Ervin
P.O. Box 185
Mercer Island, WA 98040

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