For the last two weeks, we’ve been asked one thing more than any other: what was Suri facing as a six-year-old in Scientology if she hadn’t been taken out of it by her mother, Katie Holmes? Does indoctrination in the church start at such a young age?
As we reported earlier, in 1961 Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard created a “security check” for children aged 6 to 12. This list of 99 questions was designed to be used to interrogate a child holding the sensors of an e-meter by an ethics officer outside of the presence of the child’s parents. Claire Headley told us she was “sec checked” at only 7 years of age, and she knew of other kids who went through it as well.
If sec checking is the dark side of auditing, we wondered about auditing itself — the counseling that Scientologists go through as they clear their minds of clutter in order to discover their true, immortal selves. How common is it for small children to go through auditing, we wondered, and we wanted to get evidence of it today, not from some policy Hubbard might have written years ago.
Well, we found an intriguing answer to that question, and from a pretty impeccable source — a website from a Scientology-affiliated school.
The Mace-Kingsley Family Center in Clearwater, Florida was originally founded in Los Angeles in 1980 by two women, Debbi Mace and Carol Kingsley. It’s been in Clearwater since 1989.
According to its website, the center “was founded on the concept that using L. Ron Hubbard’s technology to work with children and families is the key to resolving difficulties and problems they may have.”
The website features numerous articles about children and auditing. We were struck by the youth of the child in the photo that accompanied this headline…
That story includes this paragraph…
So what then can you possibly audit with an infant, baby or child? There are many, many processes that help a being get oriented to the physical universe and become in better control of his body and environment. The results of this have been a happier child, who grows well with little illness and accidents.
Hey, that sounds fun.
Then there’s this piece…
Which includes this heartwarming anecdote…
Our 7 year old daughter did not want to learn to read…It had gotten so bad it looked like our 5 year old daughter would be reading before our 7 year old. Her postulate to stay young was so strong, even her teeth were coming in late – at about the same rate as her younger sister. We took her to Mace Kingsley and bought her some auditing. She went through her program and lo, and behold, we had a beginning reader on our hands.
And then we noticed the opening line to this piece…
And if that weren’t enough, on another part of the website we later ran into this bit of reality…
We’re not sure how infants hold the cans, but at least we know a toddler can get a head start on ridding himself of engrams at Mace-Kingsley.
So now we know: Suri is definitely old enough to get auditing and begin her indoctrination into the Scientology way of thinking and talking. Katie had plenty of reason to get out of there, if her goal was to keep Suri from getting too deep into Scientology’s interrogation culture and mind-bending lingo.
A further note: Mention “Mace-Kingsley” to students of Scientology history, and they will wince. From 1987 to 2002, the Mace-Kingsley Ranch School was a notorious place that existed in California and later New Mexico where Scientology kids were sent and then complained about hardships and abuse, as Janet Reitman noted in her 2006 Rolling Stone article, “Inside Scientology,” which led to her 2011 book of the same name.
Steven Hassan and Karen Pressley Break It Down
A few days ago we complained that Steven Hassan had been wasted by Piers Morgan, who put on a segment about Scientology so rushed, Hassan hardly got a chance to get going.
Thankfully, he’s taped his own discussion of recent events with ex-Scientologist Karen Pressley, and their conversation is very watchable. They go into child sec checking and many more subjects. Enjoy.
Much more coming, so please check our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.
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
Scientology leader David Miscavige’s vanished wife: Where’s Shelly?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.