Post Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:38 am

Was born, 10 years growing up, escape wrong word

I was known as Chamba Skelton, Jim and Mary Skelton's son. My biological parents Mary (now Skelton) and John Cooke met in Dianetics 1950. Jim met Mary and John in London at some dinner with Ron in the early 50's. John contracted polio in Algeria in 56 while Mary was pregnant with me. Jim was sent in "Ron's stead" (I'm relaying Jim and Mary's story) to audit John. Using Ron's directions John's Polio went from just below the heart down to only the legs in three days. Ron blamed Jim for no more results after the three days asserting Jim must not be following his directions. It is my observation that of the three,Jim, Mary and John, Jim was the one more in awe, in a hero way, of Ron. So the accusation from Ron was hard on him. This was Jim's first break with Scientology and I don't get it was very long.

I didn't have the isolated community experience that I understand most have had. Jim and Mary married when I was about 6 months old and we traveled around the world while I was growing up. Jim was Australian. I understand that when we moved to Australia in 58 part of the idea was to bring Scientology there. That lasted only 6 months. the Move to Mexico (John recommended it and was living there) was next. We stayed in Mexico until I turned 8 and they did get Scientology off the grounds there. My first experience of a Scientology community was actually in LA when Ron asked Jim and Mary to go there to "clean it up" (Mary's words). Little memory of that trip, just of turning 6 and being around Scientologists. My 7th birthday was at Sainthill with the Hubbard family well in the Scientology community and that feeling of some how being better than the world at large, yet our family was still very much in the world at large. I understand that many who grew up in Scientology had little idea of the world outside of it, true?

In 1964 we moved to Sainthill and I went to Summerhill a famous boarding shcool some may know of. So I was well in the Scientology community when not at school. Somewhere in 67-68 Jim was "blacklisted" (that was the term used in explaining the situation to me). My only memory of that time was I got to be with my father alone while not at Summerhill. Kind of special for me. Later I heard that due to Phillip Phillips questioning Jim's status as "blacklisted" it was reviewed and found to be a mistake. Jim tended to blame Marysue and Mary thought Ron had declared him a supresssive to cover up his own mistake. As you may see through my writing Mary held Ron as a great man who was still just a man, no saint or savior.

I'm not sure what happened in the late 60's, maybe instigated by Jim's experience of being "blacklisted", my parents moved away from East Grinstead (it was still home base) and started spending much of their time in Tangier Morocco and Algeria Algiers. They had property in both and were ostensibly looking after it. I now see that Jim was in Tangier exploring his gayness and Mary had fallen for an Algerian man, Belkasem, who I came to hold as an uncle.

From the late 60's my interactions with Scientology were sporadic and I held our family as Scientologists until about the age of 15. At 15 I would have said my parents were grounded in the principles of Scientology but not part of it. In 1970 I was sent to Denmark during part of a Summer vacation to do some courses. In 72 I was going to the American School of Tangier and there was a sort of under the radar Scientology center which I had a little contact with. Mary was asked to do some transilation there of Ron's work into French. Arthur Hubbard, who I use to play with in Sainthill, was there and we got together. That was my last personal contact with Scientology except a short stint when I checked it out in my late 20s

My most memorable encounter with Ron Hubbard was when I was 10, or maybe 9. Jim, Mary and I were in Tangier. I remember Jim telling Mary with great excitement that we (he and I) had run into Ron on the streets. He had invited us to his hotel suite for that evening. My memory of that evening is one of Ron telling my parents that he had been working on remembering a past life in which he was a pirate. He told them some of the great adventures he was remembering. As a youngster who had heard play mates pretend stories and relate fantastical stories that were suppose to be true it was very clear to me that he was making it all up. I was especially confused because my parents were drinking it all up. I have a vague memory of asking Mary about it and her telling me not to worry about it. Reading "Going Clear" by Lawrence Wright with the background of that personal memory of Ron made it not a surprising view of Ron, yet sad, and emotionally disrupting. It brought forth for me how somewhere deeply in me, on an emotional level, I still had held on to my parents in a childhood story of greatness that was wrapped up with Scientology. The process I coming to that realization has given way to releasing that story.

I began writing this as a sharing and a personal unraveling. I was still searching for the source of the emotional disruption "Going Clear" had evoked. I now sit curious with interest on how others in this group may respond to my story.