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Affidavit of Yolanda Howell

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Dean Benjamin

Apr 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/1/96
to Tilman Hausherr
From the FACTNet archives -- one of about 30 affidavits in

See also



August 30, 1989

Dear Margery,

I read of your plight in the Free Spirit. I, too have a Scientology
horror story to relate. I, also, would seek some sort of recompense
(if it were possible to replace the lost lives, dreams, relationships,
income potential, etc.) but have not known where to turn as I was told
my "statute of limitations" was up. I was in such a state of shock I
couldn't even talk about it for the period of the statute of

In a nutshell, as I believe you need these statements to be brief, I
will relate my tale as follows:

1. In May of 1973, at 21 years of age, I joined the Church of
Scientology, Mission of Salt Lake City, Utah.

2. In November 1973, after unsatisfactory (and very strange)
"marriage counseling," I divorced my husband of five years. I had
three children, aged 4, 2, and 9 months. We sold our two-year-old
house and all of our possessions and my ex took all of the money so he
could get "audited."

3. In June of 1974 I was convinced to join the Sea Organization at
AOLA, in Los Angeles, where I would be "trained as an auditor in the
most ethical organization on earth, receive at least $5 an hour (good
wages back then!) after I was trained, receive a very nice apartment
for myself and my children to live in, and be supplied with clothing
and food for myself and my children. My children would attend school
in "a very upstat nursery." I quit a college accounting program I was
on to pursue this situation that seemed designed for a single mother.

4. After one night in a one-room "apartment," my children were taken
away from me and put in the Cadet Org which, at that time, was a
filthy, poorly managed, nursery for Sea Org Members' children. I was
escorted to the Excalibur where I received my Product 0 training. I
returned two weeks later to find all of my personal belongings had
been rifled, things stolen, and I was to sleep on a couch without
blankets in a foyer of the staff house.

5. In addition to my own schedule of 22 hours a night (we had
"all-hands" every night) it became apparent that my children were not
being fed, occasionally, at the Cadet Org. I approached the HAS to
see about my getting on Welfare to ensure my children got fed, and I
was reprimanded. I became so totally exhausted physically and
mentally, that I hallucinated (I have never done any hallucinogenic
drugs -- I smoked marijuana a little in 1972). I felt my mental
health suffered greatly during this time.

6. My parents came to visit, saw the conditions, and talked me into
leaving the Sea Org, which I did during a rare weekend off that I had
been given to prove to my parents how "normal" everything was in the
Sea Org. We got to my Uncle's in Nevada and I panicked: I thought
that if I blew and got declared "SP" I would die as a being and be
unable to care for my children. I told my parents to take my children
back to Salt Lake City, and I would return to AOLA and properly route
out. I told them I thought this probably took about three days.

7. For several days I attempted to see the MAA or HAS to route out,
and was put off. I finally got to see the HAS and, essentially, he
put me off and sent me back to post. I thought he was "working" on
it. This went on for three weeks. I was in a terrible condition of
grief from missing my children, confusion at the things I was exposed
to in the organization, and despair at ever being allowed to "properly
route out." I was terrified of the MAA (Margaret George). She
screamed almost incessantly, calling people "SP's", and soon I didn't
know how so many good Scientologists could also be considered "SP." I
finally got to see her and she yelled at me; she told me I had finally
gotten what I wanted. I asked what she meant and she said that I had
never wanted my children anyway.

8. Meantime, my ex-husband called (we had been on very good terms
when I left for the Sea Org. I have known him since I was 12 years
old and he had never deceived me before) and told me that my parents
had told him that they had to get back to work and could not watch my
children anymore. He offered to watch the children until I got back.
(Eleven years later, when I could finally talk about the occurrences,
my parents informed me that this was not true: they had hired a
permanent baby-sitter for my children during the day while they
worked. They said that my ex-husband had called them and said that I
had told him he could have the kids! They had repeatedly been unable
to contact me by phone, and I was disallowed from private
conversations with them except for one time).

9. After six weeks I was taken into "session," caused to rockslam,
and told I was being routed out for evil intentions. I flew back to
Salt Lake City with a ticket my mother had left at the airport for me.

10. When I returned to Salt Lake City, I immediately called my
ex-husband to let him know I was back. He seemed very cool and aloof
on the phone. I went to the mission thinking- my ex-husband had the
children there, or something. I had no idea anything was amiss. I
was physically grabbed and forced by the Ethics Officer, the minute I
walked through the door, into an inner office, where the Deputy
Executive Director (David West) acted as a "mediator" while my
ex-husband threatened me physically with a raised chair to "cave my
head in." I was still physically and mentally exhausted, and this
next situation threw me into total shock. As I said, my ex-husband
and I had been on good terms, and suddenly was threatening to kill me
in front of witnesses! I asked him what was wrong and he said that he
didn't want me back in town because he was getting married and he was
afraid that he still loved me. Attempting to appease him, I
congratulated him and reassured him: I had only come to get my

11. He then informed me that I could not have them back (I had legal
custody). I was numb and could barely argue. I couldn't believe this
was happening. I was told by Dave West that I have been so
third-parried while I was gone that he didn't want any Scientologist
talking to me. In fact, he didn't even want me on the same street as
Scientologists (SLC is not a very large town, and I lived a short
distance from the mission. One day I was spotted drinking an orange
soda at Dee's restaurant and I received a vicious call from Dave West
telling me not to be on 2nd South -- a main street in Salt Lake City!)

12. I pleaded with Dave and my ex to let me at least see my children.
Dave West and my ex-husband then told me to come up with $1,500 for
auditing and then I could see my kids. (Just this year my youngest
daughter told me that her father once told her that he once had been
very much in love with me, but that was before Dave West, his auditor,
set him "straight" on me! Apparently the whole incident was designed
and guided by Dave West, the Deputy Director! As my ex-husband was
being trained to be the registrar, I suppose he saw it as a good way
to start his career.)

13. I was instructed not to tell anyone of what they had said, or I
would be declared an SP and would not ever get to see my children!

14. To get the money, I badgered family members, causing my once
close family to separate from me, and begged in Sugarhouse Park from
total strangers for, not a few dollars, but the full amount! Finally,
my mother loaned it to me, although she still did not understand what
was going on. I was then allowed to see my children, once. I was not
allowed back at the mission, however, because, after they had my
money, I was told I needed $1,600 more to pay off my Sea Org
freeloader debt!!!!

I talked about this only in session for years, and never was any
ethics action called by an auditor on David West or my ex. The entire
topic was never actually directly addressed in session! In spite of
the fact that I did every ethics condition assigned to me to try to
get my kids back and suffered every demeaning blow to my ego they
hurled, underwent auditing for 10 years to find out what I did to
"pull this in," I was never allowed to get my kids back, or even to
talk about it.

I later found out from Phil Parks of the Salt Lake Missions that David
West had told everyone I had blown the Sea Org (and thus was declared
an SP so they weren't to talk to me). Phil Parks, and the others, to
this day still believe the slander that was spread by my ex and Dave
West. For up to seven years I ran into people I didn't even know in
Scientology who had "heard" about me. When I asked them what they had
heard, invariably they couldn't remember, but it was "bad," or heard I
abandoned my children and was starving them to death and my ex-husband
had to go get them from me, etc., etc. Four of these people were Sue
Cooper-Kimball Piper, Dee Barber, Gina Godwin, and Annie McGregor. I
was so slandered and so affected by the loss of my children that my
income-producing potential suffered (it is very hard to explain to
non-Scientologists, especially in Utah where a lot of value is placed
on the family, that your children do not live with you. I was deeply
ashamed of this, but could not tell anyone what had happened. The
question about children invariably came up in job interviews and I am
certain that both my emotional responses to this area of questioning
and my debilitated operational level because of this situation
decreased certain chances for advancement. I felt that I had to try
to make Scientology look good, no matter what. I had to be an
excellent Scientologist, or I never would get my kids back!)

The slander was so complete and I was so devastated, that I have never
recovered. My son, my baby, is dead now, hit by a car at five years
of age while crossing a busy street "protected by postulates." My son
never knew I was his mother. He just thought I was some strange lady
that came to visit that everybody called "Mom."

When I was in high school, I was in the upper 3% in the nation for SAT
scores. My IQ has always tested high -- 122 to 144. I had a lot of
potential and willingness. Unfortunately, I also had an equal measure
of naivety. Scientology took advantage of my better nature, convinced
me I was a totally worthless person, and destroyed my family life.
There is more to this story, but, after 15 years I still can hardly
stand to recall it, in spite of my being "OT."

David West was, as last I knew, the Senior CS for NOTs, AOLA.

I wish you the best, Margery Wakefield.

Tilman Hausherr

Apr 2, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/2/96
In <>, (Dean Benjamin) wrote:


Here another one from her:

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 94 17:33:02 -0800

To the inFormer:

The ill-effects of scientology on my family were
devastating and permanent. When we joined scientology we
were generally a loving and happy family. We had just built an
upscale house in the suburbs with all the amenities. My
husband and I sought to provide our family with the stability
and caring that they required. I was only 21, and had three
children, ages four months, one year and three years.

Within one year after joining scientology we were
divorced and had moved the children four times. My children
and I were living in squalor in the Sea Org.

I joined scientology staff at the local mission. This
quickly drove my husband crazy. He came to the mission to
kill everyone and threatened to blow his head off with a
shotgun. I acquired sole legal custody after the incident.
Someone at the mission "handled" him and he went on staff,
too. He could not pay child support.

I joined the Sea Org after being told by a Flag recruiter
that we would be given a "lovely" apartment. My children, over
my protests, were taken from me and sent to live at the Cadet
Org several blocks away. I was given training which I later had
to pay back as a freeloader's debt. The promises of a
wonderful environment -- the most ethical on the planet --
were lies. The slum in my home city did not even approximate
the vile conditions to which we were subjected in scientology.
My children were kept filthy -- their toys and clothing were
distributed throughout the Cadet Org. No one owned anything.

My husband spread the rumor that I was starving my
children when the Cadet Org did not feed them properly.
When I protested the conditions of the Cadet Org and said I
needed to route out of the Sea Org to support them or get
some welfare, I was told it was unethical to use welfare and I
could not route out. I sent my children to live with my parents
while I attempted to route out of the Sea Org. My husband,
aided by his auditor and girl friend, stole them.

The Acting ED of the mission and my husband (who
worked there) had spread lies about me. So after I routed out,
got back to the mission and attempted to retrieve my children,
no one would speak to me. They gave no thought to the
welfare of my children or the fact that I had legal custody.
"Wog" laws don't matter in scientology. My ex worked on
staff all day and night. So, from a very early age, my oldest
daughter was left to baby sit the younger children, including
neighbors'. He married a woman who believed Hubbard's idea
that it was better if the real parents did not raise their own kids
-- mutual engrams, you know. So, they proceeded to neglect
my children, causing my oldest daughter to become unstable
and criminal, and my five year old son to get hit -- and killed -
- by a car as he played, unsupervised, in a busy street. They
swore he was "protected by postulates."

I was ostracized by people at the mission and I was not
allowed input regarding my children's upbringing. But, at least
I could see my children occasionally. I had been forbidden to
criticize their upbringing. I feared loss -- yet again -- of my
children, if I spoke up.

Although I had said I was done with scientology, I was
told I could never see my children again unless I came up with
the money for auditing and my freeloaders debt. I was also
told that I would be declared (Suppressive) if I told anyone
what they had done with my children. The Acting ED said that
he intended to lie and say I had blown the Sea Org so no one
would listen to me, anyway. They paid no attention to the
harm they were doing to my children by abruptly depriving
them of their mother. I had been their major supporting parent
since their births.

When my daughter was five, she put razor blades in her
step mother's purse to "get even." My son clung to anyone
with long dark hair (like mine) and my second daughter was
also hit by a car. She was not killed. Her eye, however, was
permanently damaged when she was two. Another scientology
child of eight was left to baby sit her and five other children.
The scientologist whose house they were using was a
beautician and had left her supplies lying about. My daughter
had rubbed hair dye into her eye.

I baby sat other staff members' children and really
loved them. One thing was common in all families (most had
one or more divorces): the children were all deprived of a
normal, secure upbringing. In the Sea Org, many exec families
had me baby sit during my "enhancement time" because the
conditions in the Cadet Org were so bad. Later they all were
ordered to send their children to the Cadet Org, anyway.
Several children got in legal trouble for roaming the streets of
Los Angeles, unsupervised. Their parents got in trouble for not
handling their kids, in spite of the fact that they were given no
time to do so. Sea Org activities demanded the children and
parents were deprived of each others' company. The children
were deprived of adequate love and guidance. Instead they
were given Hubbard's trite phrases with which to guide their
lives. They were never taught to think or reason beyond using
a "Hubbardism."

One little baby I knew in the Sea Org got herpes during
a Cadet Org epidemic. A 14 year old girl disclosed to me how
she and a few other little girls were leaving the Cadet Org in
the daytime and performing sexual services for one of the girl's
uncles in exchange for money. A man who worked in the
Cadet Org admitted he was sexually molesting the children.
Although these incidents were written up, as far as I know they
were never "handled."

I saw one staff member's child, who had been declared
a Suppressive Person at age 12, turned out onto the street
with no means of support. When he tried to sneak into the
galley line to get some food, he was physically jumped by two
adults who forced him outside again.

One woman's baby became very ill -- thin and colicky --
after using the Hubbard's "baby formula." We were not
allowed to say it was bad, however. How I respected her for
saying that it was hurting her baby and she was going to give
him formula! He then recovered fully.

Another family always delivered their children at home
and never reported the births. If their children ever want to
join society, there will be no record of them. I knew of
another baby who died during a home birth with the cord
wrapped around its neck -- a simple procedure with adequate
hospital care. But scientologists don't believe in that sort of

My children, those who managed to survive a
scientology upbringing, are ill adjusted and have all sorts of
social problems. My middle daughter, who rejected
scientology as the thing that "broke up her family," has
managed to graduate from college through hard work and
scholarships. Her family made a lot of money, but it was
dedicated to the "bridge." She does not really want a career,
however. She says all she wants is a stable family where she
can share love -- something she never had growing up.

The atrocities that have been committed against children
by individuals using scientology "technology" are reprehensible
enough to provide cause to place the cult in government
receivership. But if government agencies cannot or will not do
anything, then we must. We must speak out via pamphlets,
books, films, videos, interviews and any other media. Only by
joining together and speaking out publicly can we protect other
children from the horrors to which our own were subjected.

Yolanda Howell


Yolanda, thank you for speaking out about the tragedies
scientology caused your family. My heart goes out to you.
With testimony like yours, perhaps we can prevent future
abuses of the cult's total power over innocent lives.

Rev. Dennis L Erlich * * the inFormer * *

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