“Highwinds Magazine” – How Scientology Would Like Members of the Sea Org to See Themselves

sea org in space

From “Freewinds Magazine of the Sea Org”
Issue 2 page 12

In 1967 L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, took to the high seas to avoid the legal consequences of his activities. He bought a number of redundant vessels and recruited an ‘elite’ group of Scientologists to crew them for him – the ‘Sea Org’ (short for ‘Sea Organisation’).

The Sea Org has an official publication –  “Highwinds: Magazine of the Sea Organisation”. After the break there are links to 12 issues  of “Highwinds” which you can download.

Hubbard took up residence in the flagship, served by Sea Org personnel. This had originally been the “Royal Scotsman”, an Royal Navy infantry landing ship. It had been converted to a passenger ferry after the Second World War and then sold to the Church of Scientology. After another refit, it was renamed the “Apollo.”

After Hubbard abandoned ship, returned to the US and went into hiding, Scientology’s fleet of ships contracted from its peak of four to just one – the “Freewinds”, an ageing cruise ship where the most secret upper levels of Scientology training  are still presented.

Despite an apparent lack of appropriate employment, the Sea Org endures.  However, they are now an almost exclusively land-based organisation which the Church of Scientology claims is a religious order (although they still wear elaborate faux-Naval dress uniforms). Under US law, the Sea Org’s ‘religious’ status releases the Church from many legal obligations (e.g. employment law) and critics observe that Sea Org members work long hours under pseudo-military discipline for minimal wages – and are discarded without compensation when found to be ‘unfit for duty’.

Members of the Sea Org are encouraged to see themselves differently – as an uncompromising military force engaged in a mission to save mankind over multiple lifetimes. Their motto is “Revenimus” – “We come back” because they believe that they have served the Sea Org in previous lives and will do so again in future incarnations.

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Sinking the Master Mariner – An Insightful Article From 1984

times-master-mariner1984 | Sinking the Master Mariner | Sunday Times Magazine (UK) | Report by John Barnes Photographs by Nik Wheeler

View Online | Download as .pdf

This article was published in 1984. When it was written, Hubbard had been ‘in seclusion’ in the US for five years – and nobody knew where he was. Many observers suspected that he was dead, and the Sea Org had concealed this fact so that they could retain day-to-day control over the Church of Scientology.

It is still well worth reading today because it  describes, in fascinating detail,  the genesis of the Sea Org – Scientology’s uniformed  ‘inner party’ and executive branch –  and also provides insights into other pivotal events – such as “The Mission Holders Massacre”.

In 1967 (as described in my previous post) L Ron Hubbard took to sea with his most devoted followers. He conferred the rank of ‘Commodore’ upon himself, and pseudo naval titles upon his crew of true believers. Barnes describes how Hubbard, ever paranoid, elevated the children of  Sea Org ‘officers’ to power by making them members of  the “Commodore Messenger org”.

Barnes observes that the children,

[…] weren’t much use to the ship particularly, so Hubbard used them as his eyes and ears, spies really, running around, asking questions, observing things. They were considered to be Hubbard himself and any discourtesy to them was regarded as a personal discourtesy to Hubbard. By the time they all got off the boat in 1975, some of the girls had been replaced by teenage boys. The worst part was when these kids started turning in their parents, getting them ‘declared’ [purged] as ‘suppressives’ – that’s evil people, to translate Church language

In  1980 (after Hubbard had retuned to the US) a young ‘Commodore’s Messenger’ called David Miscavige, who had worked closely with Hubbard,  established himself as the leader’s  ‘gatekeeper’.  All communications with Hubbard now had to pass through Miscavige. This gave Miscavige the ability to manipulate Hubbard – and de facto control over Scientology. His first action was to freeze out the ‘old guard’ and prepare to seize power. He did upon Hubbard’s death in 1986, and remains the undisputed leader of the Church of Scientology to this day. Continue reading