10,000 Scientologists Got This E-Mail Today About "Disconnection," their Church President, and a Mysterious Death
Heber Jentzsch, when he was still allowed to breathe free air
UPDATE: HOLMES-CRUISE DIVORCE SETTLED. So far, looking like how we predicted it in our previous story.
This morning, more than 10,000 Scientologists found an e-mail from Karen de la Carriere in their inboxes, written in jargon that they will understand, and informing them of the controversy surrounding the death of her son Alexander Jentzsch.
As we reported first on Thursday night, de la Carriere learned about the death of her 27-year-old son more than two days after he was found, unresponsive, at the home of his in-laws in Los Angeles. (The manner of his death is still being investigated, but the county coroner says there is no suspicion of foul play.)
She had not been notified that her son had died and was lying in a morgue, and only learned about it through Facebook chatter that eventually was passed to her. In 2010, Karen was excommunicated for speaking out critically about Scientology, and her son had been forced by the the church to "disconnect" from her. Now the church was also keeping her in the dark about his death, and she was barred from the mortuary and could not see his body.
What made the situation even stranger is that Alexander's father is Heber Jentzsch, who since 1982 has been the president of the Church of Scientology International, but who has not been seen in public since about 2004.
According to Mike Rinder, the former top spokesman for the church, Heber has spent much of that time as a prisoner in Scientology's strange office-prison at its international base east of Los Angeles. (Rinder was himself a prisoner in "The Hole," where he saw Heber.) Rinder tells the Voice that Scientology won't hold a memorial service because it doesn't want to produce Heber for a public event.
Taking a page from Debbie Cook, whose New Year's Eve e-mail about problems with Scientology's leader David Miscavige has fueled a growing split in the church, de la Carriere told us she wants to make sure church members learn something about what's going on.
She believes that Heber, 76, may not have even been told that his son has died.
(Several days ago, we e-mailed Scientology attorney Gary Soter, asking if Heber had been notified about the death, and asking about Heber's whereabouts, but we have not received a reply.)
For several days, Karen has been gathering mailing lists of thousands of church members through the help of sympathetic Scientologists. She says that she wrote her letter with the sensibilities of church members in mind, and not for the general public (as will be obvious as you read it).
Here's the text of what she wrote. We've put in some annotations in brackets to help with some of the jargon...
I am emailing you as a friend and fellow Scientologist to let you know about the mysterious and sudden death of my son Alexander Jentzsch at 27 years of age on July 3, 2012.
Although I am not in the Sea Org right now, I served aboard the Flagship Apollo where I was trained by LRH to the level of Class XII C/S. I am one of only seven Class XII C/S' LRH ever made. [Originally, members of Scientology's hardcore Sea Organization literally sailed the seas with L. Ron Hubbard, and some were trained to be auditors -- counselors -- up to the level of Class XII.]
After LRH took Flag ashore in Clearwater, I met and fell in love with Heber Jentzsch. We married and Heber went on to become the President of the Church of Scientology International. I remained devoted to LRH and to my duties as a Class XII C/S at Flag. I won "Auditor of the Year" at Flag numerous times. [In 1975, tired of running Scientology from his flagship for eight years, Hubbard moved the operation onshore in Clearwater, Florida -- and to this day the place is known as "Flag" to Scientologists.]
In 1984, I gave birth to our son Alexander.
Alexander Jentzsch was born in the Sea Org. He formally joined the Sea Org when he was eight years old. Despite the promises that Sea Org recruiters made to Alexander, he did not receive a proper education. While other children were in school, Alexander was cleaning toilets and mopping floors at Flag. As a child working in the Sea Org, Alexander was made to work long hours and would sometimes sneak away to call me on the phone in tears.
While LRH had made family time a daily requirement in the Sea Org, things radically changed under COB RTC David Miscavige and family time virtually disappeared. Unless there is a death or a PR flap of some kind, Sea Org members are almost never allowed to see their families. Alexander seldom saw his father, Heber. Factually, years would go by between the times Alexander was allowed to see his father. Alexander called himself "The Boy with no Dad". He saw Heber less than 11 times in 14 years. [Hubbard died in 1986 and was succeeded by Miscavige, whose formal title is chairman of the board of the Religious Technology Center, or "COB" of "RTC".]
COB RTC David Miscavige ordered Heber Jentzsch and I to be divorced and has utterly destroyed our 2nd dynamic.
I was suddenly a single mother with a child to support. Heber was unable to pay any child support.
Indeed, Heber could not even support himself on his $50 per week Sea Org pay. I did not protest this as Heber was the President of the Church of Scientology International and I did not want to create a flap for the Church. The Church had me sign affidavits on video camera that I would never ask for child support. [Even high-ranking Sea Org executives make only about $50 a week, despite working 100-hour weeks and helping the church to bring in huge amounts of money from its members. Cheap labor and its tax exemption help explain why Scientology is so flush with cash.]
I was suddenly a single mother with a child to support. Heber was unable to pay any child support. Indeed, Heber could not even support himself on his $50 per week Sea Org pay. I did not protest this as Heber was the President of the Church of Scientology International and I did not want to create a flap for the Church.
I routed out of the Sea Org in 1990 and took many years to pay off my $90,000 Freeloader Debt. I paid my Freeloader Debt so that I could remain a Scientologist in good standing. I knew LRH and knew the Tech worked miracles. [Sea Org members receive counseling and other services at a reduced rate (reflecting their miniscule pay), but if they leave the Sea Org, they are hit with a "freeloader debt" and are asked to pay full price for the discounted services.]
After I left the Sea Org, I remained a loyal member of the Church of Scientology. I raised Alexander by myself and supported him financially when he entered the Sea Org. Alexander served on many posts during the sixteen years he was in the Sea Org. When he was a young man, Alexander married Andrea Kavon, a fellow Sea Org member.
Alexander and Andrea Jentzsch routed out of the Sea Org in 2010 due to the fact that Andrea was pregnant and babies are not allowed in the Sea Org. (She miscarried.)
Sometime after they routed out, I made the decision to publicly depart the Church in 2010 for the same reasons Debbie Cook outlined in her letter of January 1, 2012. Like Debbie, I saw the Church engaging in extreme over-regging and gross out tech. Having been trained to deliver the highest technical levels of Scientology possible, I know what Standard Tech is and is not. My decision to leave the Church was based upon my deep respect for LRH and my 100% commitment to preserve his legacy and technology. I could no longer be a part of what was happening in the Church under the deeply suppressive management of David Miscavige. ["Over-regging:" pressure applied by registrars, whose job it is to convince church members to spend more money on services or give donations. "Out-tech:" deviating from L. Ron Hubbard's "technology."]
I was declared a Suppressive Person. My son Alexander and his wife were forced to disconnect from me by OSA when I left the Church. [When the church excommunicates someone it declares them a "suppressive person." All members in good standing must then "disconnect" from that person entirely, even if it's a family member. This is enforced by the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), Scientology's intelligence and legal affairs wing.]
In 2010, Alexander's father Heber Jentzsch was 75 years old and had not been allowed to see our son for many years. Heber has been locked up in the Int Base RPF for many years and remains locked up with other International executives.[Contrary to what is on Wikipedia, Karen tells me that Heber was born on November 30, 1935, making him 76 currently. The RPF (Rehabilitation Project Force) is the Sea Org's prison detail, and can take years to route out of.]
Due to the policies of Disconnection and RPF, Alexander effectively had no parents in 2010.
After he left the Sea Org, Alexander took a job in sales at a Scientology-owned company in Dallas. During this time in Dallas, Alexander was involved in a traffic accident that injured him to such an extent that he began to take prescription pain pills. Alexander lost his job and began on a downward spiral.
Because Alexander did not have $10,000 or more, the Church of Scientology would not and give him any auditing to handle the engram from the traffic accident. The Church would not even give Alexander any charity Chaplain auditing. It did not matter that Alexander's parents had served more than fifty years in the Sea Org. There is no compassion or mercy in the Church in present time.
As a Class XII C/S, I have the technical skills necessary to help anyone. I could have helped my son Alexander handle the engram from the traffic accident. However, due to the policy of Disconnection no one from the Church of Scientology ever called me to let me know that my only child had been badly injured in a traffic accident. [Scientologists believe that a traumatic experience leaves behind a sort of scar on the mind called an "engram" which can be removed through auditing.]
As an art dealer, I have a good income. I would have immediately paid to give my son the best medical care possible. Again, however, due to the policy of Disconnection no one from the Church of Scientology ever called me to let me know that Alexander had been badly injured in a traffic accident.
It came as a shock to me, then, when someone called me to let me know that Alexander had been found dead in his bed on the morning of July 3, 2012.
Alexander died at the home of his in-laws in Los Angeles. Both of his in-laws are New OT VII's. [The highest level of spiritual attainment in Scientology is Operating Thetan level Eight, and someone who has reached OT seven -- one step lower -- has spent many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in counseling to get there.]
It was only after I began to ask questions that I learned of the traffic accident and that Alexander had allegedly died from a high fever.
Through its spokesperson, the Church was very quick to publicly state that Alexander has left no suicide note and had over-medicated himself. This was a strange and suspicious claim coming from the same Church that claims to have the most powerful technology on the planet. I am working very hard to find out the truth about my son Alexander's death because the Church will not tell me anything and has forbidden Andrea or her family from telling me anything.
The behavior of the Church raises questions:
Where was the tech when Alexander needed it? He served 16 years in the Sea Org. Why not a lifeline in his time of need?
Why did two New OT VII's allow a fellow Scientologist in good standing to over-medicate himself? Why had two OT's failed to help Alexander? This is a gross violation of point one of the Code of Honor written by LRH in 1954:
Never desert a comrade in need, in danger or in trouble.
Alexander was clearly in need, danger, and trouble and yet he was utterly deserted by the Church of Scientology.
I wanted only to cremate my son quickly per the scriptures of Scientology. When I sent a messenger over to the home of Alexander's in-laws to ask for his body, I was told:
-- Any communication between Andrea and myself must go through OSA
-- There would be no funeral or viewing for Alexander
-- Worse, I was told that I would not be allowed to take one last look at my son
This is the Church of Scientology in 2012 under David Miscavige:
-- An LRH-trained Class XII C/S cannot use the tech to help her own son
-- A grieving mother cannot see her son's body one last time
-- No one will help a comrade in need, danger, or trouble for fear of incurring the wrath of David Miscavige or OSA
The Church did not tell me that Alexander died. I had to find out from someone who cared enough to tell me.
The Church never told you why Debbie Cook left as Captain of FSO. Instead, Debbie Cook sent out a letter herself to tell you why.
The Church is not telling you that LRH's granddaughter Roanne Horwich recently blew from Int Base.
The Church of Scientology under David Miscavige is a Church full of secrets, lies, and injustices.
The Church of Scientology under David Miscavige uses Disconnection and SP Declares only to keep the truth from being known.
I am writing this letter to let you know that the Church has tried to keep secret the news that Alexander Jentzsch -- whose father Heber is still the President of CSI -- died.
The Church is keeping other secrets from you as well:
-- Why is the Super Power Building still not open after almost twenty years?
-- Where does all the money go?
-- Why are the Ideal Orgs empty?
-- Where is the expansion claimed by COB?
-- That the entire Dror Mission in Israel just left the Church, and why.
I am a Scientologist and will always be a Scientologist for I know the power of the tech.
I love LRH and care enough about the tech and the church he created to send you this letter.
I close by quoting what Debbie Cook said very well in her letter:
"We all have a stake in this. It is simply not possible to read the LRH references and not see the alterations and violations that are currently occurring. You have a very simple obligation to LRH. Don't participate in anything off policy, and let others know they should not either. If every person who reads this email does nothing more than step back from off-policy actions we would have changed direction. If we took all that energy and directed it into auditing, training and raw public dissemination, we would be winning."
You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen de la Carriere
Class XII C/S
Crew member, Flagship Apollo
Karen tells me she's received thousands of e-mails in the past few days since our first story about her son appeared, and after we printed her open invitation to attend the memorial service she is creating for him, she quickly filled up about three quarters of its capacity.
When I talked to her last night, Karen could barely get through the conversation. If she had maintained a strong exterior in the first days after learning about her son's death, yesterday it seemed to catch up to her. "I'm jelly," she said through sobs, and then said she was having a hard time dealing with how she'd been treated by the church. "I can't deal with the fact that I gave my life and my soul to such a cruel thing," she said. "I blame myself for bringing into the world a second generation Scientologist. He's just ashes now. They've cremated him."
She didn't get to see him one last time.
We'll show Alexander to you one last time this morning, in a photo with a friend.
A young Alexander Jentzsch, in comm with his friend John Travolta
UPDATE: Our Alexander Jentzsch Coverage:
On Thursday, July 5 we broke the news of Alex's death after receiving word from his mother, Karen de la Carriere.
On Saturday, July 7 we reported that Karen was being denied a final look at her son before he was cremated because she of her excommunicated status.
On Monday, July 9 we broke the news that Karen had sent out an e-mail about her son's death to more than 10,000 Scientologists.
On Wednesday, July 11 we were first to report that Scientology had relented and was holding a memorial service for Alex, but his mother wasn't invited.
On Tuesday, July 17, we reported that the LA Coroner's office was unhappy with unusual answers given by Alex's in-laws regarding his death, and was investigating.
On Thursday, July 19, we published an e-mail sent out to Scientologists which blamed Alex's death on "reaction to a prescribed painkiller."
On Friday, July 20, we reported that Alex tried to call a friend at 1:30 am on July 2, less than 7 hours before his in-laws first saw him "sleeping." Also: David Jentzsch, Heber's older brother, says the last time they spoke, Heber told him "I'll never get out of here alive."
See also: What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids Scientology's new defections: Hubbard's granddaughter and Miscavige's dad Scientology's disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group Katie Holmes will get custody of Suri: L. Ron Hubbard tells us so
Ramana Dienes-Browning Talks to Steve Cannane
One of our favorite story subjects ever, Ramana Dienes-Browning, was on Australian television this morning with Steve Cannane, as the current explosion of Scientology in the news continues unabated.
Steve e-mailed us to give us the head's up about it, and tells me that in retaliation, "Scientology is threatening to disconnect Ramana from her mother." Typical.
There's a New Issue of Freedom Magazine, Sort Of!
When we heard from a reader that there was a new issue of Scientology's propaganda magazine, Freedom, attacking Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Amy Scobee, Tom DeVocht, Jeff Hawkins, the Headleys, and Jason Beghe for doing stuff like talking to the Tampa Bay Times guys, we said they must be mistaken.
They've already done that issue, we said.
But then we checked the Freedom website, and sure enough, it looks like Jim Lynch and the wacky crew over at the Office of Special Affairs has rehashed everything they already wrote in 2009! Hey, how come Jim gets paid so well if he's just going to repackage his old work? That's not fair!
Here's the cover...
We looked through the articles and were stunned to see Jim still gnashing his teeth over Rinder and Rathbun talking to Joe and Tom at the Tampa Bay Times, and carping about Headley writing Blown for Good.
I mean, it's been a year since the last issue, and this is the best they could come up with?
Even Miscavige couldn't be entertained by this weak rehash. What's going on over there?
Mysteries upon mysteries. But while we try to sort things out, remember to check our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.
********** Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, a Tumblr, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories.
As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and was sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.