Chick Corea, Heber Jentzsch, Ingo Swann, and Scientology’s 1977 OT Summit!


Scientology has been rocked by so much bad news lately, with all of the divorces and disappearances and defections and schisms and death investigations and torture programs and unnatural relationships and forced abortions and space opera and weird kids and weirder movies, we thought it might be time to take a moment and remember Scientology when it was still on top of the world — January, 1977!

We recently discovered this gem in a copy of Advance! magazine: the first ever “OT Symposium,” starring some of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s brightest pupils. Just wait until you see who gathered to talk about their enhanced abilities as high-level Scientologists — join us, and you’ll be reelin’ in the years!

We’re going to reproduce almost the entire article here as it appeared in the January/February 1977 issue of Advance!, with a few cuts here and there to keep everyone from falling asleep.

But first, just a little background. According to their introductions, the participants of the Symposium had each attained Operation Thetan Levels, from Three through Seven, and I wanted to know what that meant in 1977. (There were substantial changes to the OT levels a few years later that have remained in place ever since.) So I turned to Chuck Beatty, a former Scientologist who studies the church’s history.

He tells me that OT 3 hasn’t changed since that time, so all of the participants in this summit would have learned OT 3’s tale of Xenu the galactic overlord, the source of disembodied alien souls infesting us on this planet.

But for the higher levels, Chuck says, the 1977 version of OT levels would have been much less about exorcism of those alien souls than they are today. (In OT 4 to 7 today, Scientologists are dealing with clusters of souls — called “body thetans” or “BT’s” that are innumerable. They spend years identifying and neutralizing the “charge” from these invisible spirits which are hovering inside and near them at all times. They do that in auditing sessions that run up to $1,000 an hour.) But in 1977, only a few dozen BT’s might have been encountered by someone who had achieved OT 7, according to Beatty.

“OT 7 was a brief cleanup of any residual body thetans. The rest were pretty cool dissections of things like the Xenu implant, and then old OT 5 was an ESP level for real, making the OT Scientologist do some ESP stuff, and OT 6 as well,” he says.

I don’t bring these things up in order to get into a deep discussion about Scientology’s arcane upper levels themselves: the point here is that you’ll see, in the Symposium, that Scientologists are remarkably good at talking in the vaguest terms about what they’re getting out of going “clear” and then moving on to OT (a journey that today reportedly costs hundreds of thousands of dollars). There’s a good reason for their vague talk, as we discussed in our recent story about the Xenu material: as wild as a Scientologist’s auditing may be, with space opera tales and disembodied souls full of “charge,” and other oddnesses, church members are held to the strictest secrecy about their own cases. With their fellow Scientologists, they must not discuss what occurs in these sessions.

And so, as you’ll see in this summit, while these upper-level Scientologists would have been likely to discuss wild “whole track” stories in their auditing sessions, and also yearned for superhuman powers to affect matter with their mind, they talk about nothing so outré (and sadly, nothing so interesting) as they try to explain what being OT means to them. Without further ado, then, here is the summit…

OT Symposium

The first ever OT Symposium brings together a distinguished and very active group of OTs to discuss questions not only pertinent to the world-view of OTs, but also to all who are following Ron’s Bridge to Clear and OT.

[Boring stuff redacted.]


MODERATOR, Heber Jentzsch: A well-known stage, TV and screen personality. After going OT IV Heber took responsibility for a wide range of social reform work in the United States. He has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows and his activities have received extensive coverage in the press.

He and his wife, Yvonne, have both been recognized by the state of California for their community contributions. Currently, Heber is the Public Affairs representative of Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles. He is Clear 1745, OT IV, a Dianetic Auditor and a graduate of the Organization Executive Course.

Chick Corea: The celebrated keyboard artist and composer. The latest in his long list of awards includes being named the Best Composer and Best Electric Pianist in the prestigious 1976 “Downbeat” magazine readers’ poll, and the best Keyboard Artists of the year in the 1976 “Playboy” magazine readership poll.

In addition, his group “Return to Forever” recently won the coveted National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Award for best performance by a jazz group for the release, “No Mystery.” The music of Return to Forever contains elements of rock, jazz, Latin and classical and defies dogmatic categorization. One writer simply described its sound as “a timeless journey through psychic vistas of past, present, and future.” Chick is clear 3000, full OT VII and a Dianetic Auditor.

Ingo Swann: Ingo is a well-known modern artist whose works hang in many public and private collections and have been featured in several exhibitions. He states Scientology had a decisive influence on his art as he expanded his awareness and increased his abilities by going up the Grade Chart. Then in 1971 after Ingo completed Section III OT, he began demonstrating his regained OT abilities under strict scientific conditions with trained scientists.

This included changing the state of objects at a distance without physical means. In 1975, among hundreds of other experiments, he did “out-of-the-body” explorations of Mercury and Jupiter, astounding the scientific community with the remarkable accuracy of his descriptions of those planets later verified by unmanned rocket flights. Numerous articles and mentions of Ingo and his advanced abilities have appeared in newspapers and magazines, including “Time,” “The Smithsonian,” and “Psychic.” He is Clear 2331, full OT VII, Class VI Auditor.

Yvonne Jentzsch: Formerly a well-known Australian personality, Yvonne is today prominent in bringing Ron’s technology and philosophy to a wide spectrum of society. She is, of course, the Executive Director of Celebrity Centre, Los Angeles, which is dedicated to creating a world of peace and self-respect by providing knowledge to the able.

As an outstanding representative of Scientology, Yvonne has given numerous radio, TV and newspaper interviews as well as made personal appearances in many areas in Mexico and the United States. She is also mentioned in the 1976 edition of “Noteworthy Americans of the Bicentennial Era.” She is Clear 43, Full OT VII, Class VIII and a graduate of the Flag Executive Briefing Course.

Bonnie Bishop: Bonnie is helping to spearhead the movement to bring Ron’s study technology and the safe environment of Scientology to our greatest natural resource: children. Bonnie is a member of the California Association of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of English. She has been a teaching consultant for schools all over the United States.

She is the present Educational Consultant to the A.M. Los Angeles television show. Wherever she goes, she fully promotes Ron’s study tech. Bonnie is the Executive Director of a growing number of private schools (Apple Schools) based on an exact application of Ron’s study technology and standard supervision. She is Clear 5123, OT III, Class VI.

HEBER: We’re starting from the viewpoint of how OTs can apply their abilities and the tech to help Ron achieve the Aims of Scientology. So taking the concept of OT and looking at the Aims of Scientology and how we achieve them as OTs, let me read to you the first paragraph of the Aims and then I’ll start into the questions:

[Boring stuff redacted.]

So with that in mind, when looking at clearing the planet, let me open the first questions. How has becoming OT improved your ability to assist getting this planet cleared faster? That’s open for discussion. Anybody want to start?

CHICK: A very simple thing happened to me right in the very beginning which I’m sure has happened to lots of people who’ve used LRH’s tech. I regained an ability to communicate with people. I discovered another thetan in front of me and I could recognize the fact that he was a person and had a viewpoint and I learned how to get what I wanted to say across. But even better than that, through the use of auditing technology for myself, there were enough of my own barriers that I had broken through so that I would actually be interested in this person too, so that I would be able to receive a communication that he has. This definitely began a whole new world which I still kind of feel young in.

HEBER: When you look at what you’re doing in music, what kind of effect do you feel it creates as far as helping clear the planet? With aesthetics and music and communication?

CHICK: I experience this in live hundreds or thousands of people in front of me — I now have the ability to give across a musical communication with clear intent. I know what I’m doing and who I’m communicating to and I give the communication across and I see what happens in front of me.

HEBER: Get immediate results.

CHICK: I get an immediate result. I communicate to people on a very, very basic theta level and what I get back from them is real interest in who I am. At first, this was a little bit hard for me to have. But then I recognized the purpose line of making a saner world and getting Scientology used and applied. All I do, in my own way, is refer to Source. When this comes my way I say, “Well, it’s this fellow, L. Ron Hubbard, you see,” and I say all the things that I say about him. People become aware of him and consequently become aware of Scientology and begin to use it.

YVONNE: Before you’re OT you have all these dreams like ideals and a new civilization and how you want it and all that sort of thing. And even before you come into Scientology you have a dream of how it would be and so on, but you have no tools to make it real.

BONNIE: Exactly.

YVONNE: And then you come into Scientology and you go up the levels. The first thing I found was that the more OT you are the more able you are to confront what is. Then you can see how it is and what has to be done to change it.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

BONNIE: Before I got into Scientology I was really almost afraid to dream. I was always pretty excited about things that I was doing but as far as putting long-range goals there I put that off.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

Going up the Grade Chart and going Clear was just like the kick in the pants that I needed. I stopped being afraid at that time.

YVONNE: And taking responsibility becomes more of a game.

INGO: I think that the great motion of my life started after OT III. Suddenly there I was all by myself with myself. There’s lots of other beings around but I had finally isolated me from everything else going on. And here I was. (Group laughs.) It was really a shock. (More laughter.) I had assumed a new level of cause…So after this great shock of finding myself after OT III this is how I ended up (everyone laughs). From being some sort of an individual who was sort of caved in and thinking that the universe and the world was somewhat greater than I was to actually going in and in a very short time tackling what I feel is a basic suppression on the planet Earth: that Man is not allowed to think of himself as a cause-oriented being.

BONNIE: I think one of the things that has been also a real strength for me in having done Clear and OT is the sheer being able to hold a viewpoint. I know who I am. And it’s going to take a powerful force to change that knowingness or alter it in some way. So if I find myself being overwhelmed or having some sort of counter intention coming into my environment there is a stable datum there and that’s me. So being able to assume that viewpoint and hold that viewpoint has just been a real saver sometimes.

INGO: Yes, for me too. Nobody can really accomplish anything unless they can hold a viewpoint for a length of time.

BONNIE: Exactly right…sheer persistence.

INGO: Now whether it’s ten minutes or ten thousand years, I’ve gotten very good at it.

YVONNE: Ron really describes this beautifully in the Policy Letter of 29 July 1971…

[Boring stuff redacted.]

INGO: Another thing that helped me very much was, of course, doing the Briefing Course.

HEBER: From my view becoming OT — looking at how that helped my ability to get the planet cleared faster — I think it’s pretty much what Bonnie was saying earlier and what Yvonne was saying: the ability to hold a position.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

YVONNE: Ron says that once you’re on the Road to Truth you can’t go back. If you try you’ll have nothing but trouble.

HEBER: Right. There are times when I don’t want to go and handle a particularly difficult situation (in the course of social reform work). There are times when I don’t want… Then I think, well, I know that I’m immortal and I know that I have a certain intention and I know that I can run against all of that, because LRH did it.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

I find sometimes you go through something with such a velocity that you don’t have time to get into thinkingness about it.

INGO: As a result of the tech and auditing I’ve learned that you can hold your viewpoint if you don’t put up ridges. I don’t have to create a ridge to anything that’s coming in my direction. I just see it coming and it passes all the way through. It goes on its way and here I am in position still.

HEBER: Okay, let’s look at another point here. In your own experience how is OT the ultimate solution to current fourth dynamic insanity and wars?

INGO: You’re OT to the degree that you’ve audited out your own insanity. In a society that has sufficient OT contributions to disarm the insanity floating around you would have a society less prone to war and things like that. If you had an all-OT society, of course, it’s likely to be rather startling. We can only dream about that and what it might be like because a great deal of attention in my own pace, anyway, goes to figuring out how to create something in terms of science and culture and aesthetics bypassing all the reactive banks that are lying around waiting to chew you up. So a great deal of attention goes just to plotting a course through the maze of reactivity on the planet rather than just sitting down and saying, “Hey, it’s all Clear now and now let’s really get to work and see what it’s going to be.” I think that OTness is subtracting insanities.

BONNIE: One of the things that I feel is so important in the line of work that I’m in is providing an environment for children that is sane. It’s just extraordinary working with these thetans, giving them a safe space, providing them with sanity, with technology, to decide what they want to do with this world.

HEBER: Yvonne and I have both visited schools which had no Scientology technology and looked at the confusions and things that went on there, and then you go to these kids in Apple Schools and they’re all individuals.

YVONNE: You walk in and you just feel the destimulation that is there and the creation.

BONNIE: That’s OT. I believe every parent should be an OT. When you’re dealing with children you can’t afford not to be OT.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

HEBER: To sum up what OTs are doing: we stay connected, we keep in communication and we continue to change the conditions of an entire universe. That is the game we’re going for. And that is our responsibility. Now, let’s look at another point here. What is the principle stable datum you’ve found in the tech which you use to handle your day-to-day life?

[Boring stuff redacted.]

HEBER: I think we’re establishing that we are utilizing Ron’s technology, the Technical Bulletins, the books and the Green on White [HCO Policy Letters, printed in green ink on white paper.] It always comes back to that. LRH establishes the stable data and if we keep referring to it the insanity of the planet keeps getting handled.

INGO: Do you now what I do when I have a situation that I can’t really resolve in my own space? I got to the Scientology books and I just sort of psychometrize [the ability to divine facts about an object, or its owner through contact with it or proximity with it] and pull it out and the page opens up. And there’s the…

BONNIE: It’s always there, isn’t it?

CHICK: It’s amazing but almost any policy letter, technical bulletin or book will give me what I need, which is not necessarily the actual concept that I’m reading but that viewpoint again. LRH’s viewpoint.

YVONNE: When there is a situation I think, “Now what would be the right thing to read from LRH that would resolve this. And now I’m going to find it.” And I always open it and right there is exactly what the answer is.

HEBER: Now let’s cover another point here. How do you feel you can be even more effective in supporting Ron’s goal of clearing this planet?

CHICK: I’m bolstering the admin area of my life, using the view of the tech, admin and ethics. I realize that once I get some real stability and control as an artist in that area, I can vastly expand, and create effects so much easier, so much quicker and so much broader.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

HEBER: Let’s look at one final point now. What advice would you give to others who are on their way across the Bridge to Clear and OT?

YVONNE: Get on the Bridge and go up the Bridge. The hardest part of Scientology is getting into it (all laugh) because people can’t see the forest for the trees.

INGO: Well, there’s another one. It’s also very hard to stay out of it.

YVONNE: (laughter) Yes.

INGO: My advice is to get audited and trained.

YVONNE: You’re only causative to the degree that you’re trained.

[Boring stuff redacted.]

HEBER: …Get the training and processing and we become what we are looking for. Then we create what this planet is supposed to be instead of a bare billiard ball. And believe me I’ve met some of the top people who are working on that. Ingo, you’ve met them. We all have in each one of our fields but we’re winning. We have achieved that point.

INGO: Don’t you think we’ve won? I think that we’ve won.

HEBER: Well, I think we have won.

INGO: But we’ve got some mopping up to do.

HEBER: Does anyone else want to add anything to the advice you’d give to others who are on their way across the Bridge to Clear and OT?

INGO: Hurry up.

HEBER: Yes, very much so. Hurry up.

YVONNE: The more there are, the less Dev-T [developed, unnecessary traffic] we’ll have to handle.

HEBER: Well, just let me end then with a few lines from “The Adventure of Scientology” from Ability Minor 6 1955 by the Founder:

[Boring stuff redacted.]

In other words, for those out there, your universe of you is awaiting you all the way and especially in Clear and OT. (Applause.)

Just a few months after this happy symposium, things began to turn sour for Scientology. In July, 1977, the FBI raided the church’s offices in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. after uncovering Scientology’s massive, years-long program of infiltrating federal offices, Operation Snow White. Prosecutions of eleven Scientologists (including Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue) would send L. Ron Hubbard into hiding a few years later. He spent the last six years of his life in seclusion.

As for the participants in our symposium, Heber Jentzsch was named president of the Church of Scientology International in 1982. He was the face of the church for many years. Then, in around 2004, he was no longer seen in public. For the last eight years, except for a few rare appearances, he’s reportedly been confined to The Hole at Scientology’s International Base.

As Skip Press wrote last August, Yvonne Jentzsch later lost her position running the Celebrity Centre, then developed a brain tumor and died.

Ingo Swann is no longer involved with Scientology, but continues to work as a psychic. (Not everyone is so impressed with his abilities.)

Chick Corea is still a celebrated musician and a dedicated Scientologist.

Bonnie Bishop now leads something called the Leadership and Learning Center, and her official biography says nothing about Scientology, which we hear she has left.

We hope you enjoyed this look at Scientology’s heyday. Tomorrow, we have another fun one for you — with the help of Andreas Heldal-Lund, I finally check off one of the most elusive items on my bucket list: Chill EB‘s official IAS video.

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
Scientology leader David Miscavige’s vanished wife: Where’s Shelly?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting

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Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, 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.