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Martin Samuels

Former scientologist.
Library: “Martin Samuels”

Jon Atack: "A Piece of Blue Sky - Chapter 2: The Scientology War"

Martin Samuels was a legend among Scientologists. He ran a chain of five Missions. The Church's magazine Center, devoted to the Mission network, was always heavy with praise for Samuels. A 1975 issue says that in a single year 3,000 new people started the Communication Course in Samuels' Missions. His Missions usually came out at the top in the quarterly Mission statistics, even taken individually. In Center 23, Martin Samuels was "Particularly COMMENDED" for his "brilliant application." Out of the fifty listed, his Sacramento, Portland and Davis Missions were the top three in the Center "Award of Merit" contest for that quarter.

In early 1970s, Samuels started the Delphian Project. It began as a center for research into Alternative Energy, but a school, the Delphian Foundation, was established for the children of Project staff. The school used Hubbard's "Study Technology." It soon generated interest from other Scientologists, so the school became Delphi's main activity. By the time of the Mission Holders' Conference Samuels had twelve schools, with over 600 pupils.

Scientology Missions report various performance statistics to the Church every week. The Mission income figures are listed and distributed to Mission Holders to show which are most successful. For the first week of September 1982, just before the Conference, the total income of the eighty or so Missions throughout the world was $808,435. For the U.S. Missions it was $643,737, and Samuels' Missions made up $172,825 of that. Which is to say they represented over a quarter of the U.S. Missions income, and over a fifth of the worldwide income. Incidentally, Kingsley Wimbush's major Mission made $154,101 that week. So between them Samuels and Wimbush accounted for more than half of the U.S. Missions income. Ten percent of this was paid straight to the Church.

But at the end of the Mission Holders' Conference Samuels spoke out. On top of their normal ten percent tithe to the Scientology Church, the Mission Holders had been ordered to pay five percent for a promotional campaign to Bridge Publications. Samuels explained that he could not pay the additional tithe. His Missions were non-profit, tax-exempt corporations, and Bridge had been separated from the Church and made into a for-profit corporation, and such donations would be illegal. Samuels was taken into a side room by eight members of the International Finance Police, and given a "Gang Sec Check." He was threatened with a "Suppressive declare" if he did not make "personal payments to L. Ron Hubbard." So he handed over $20,000 and a $10,000 wrist watch to a Finance Policeman.

Samuels' access to his Missions' bank accounts was frozen. His wife was warned that she would have to "disconnect" from him if he was declared Suppressive. He was ordered to Flag, in Florida, to undergo more Security Checks, for which he had to pay $300 an hour.

Within a month Martin Samuels had paid $40,000 to the Scientology Church. This still was not enough, and he was ordered to the International Finance Police Ethics Officer at Flag. At the meeting, Samuels was told he had been declared Suppressive, and shown the confession of a Scientology executive who had admitted to being a transvestite with homosexual tendencies. Samuels claims that he was ordered to publicly confess to "acts that were similarly degrading." Otherwise the Church would file both civil and criminal prosecutions against him that would keep him "tied up in court forever." He was also warned that he would be watched and the Church would "keep tabs on him forever."

Samuels refused to demean himself by signing a fictitious confession, even though his Missions were now in the hands of the Church, and he had surrendered control of his personal accounts. The Scientologists now launched their campaign in earnest. Samuels' wife, family, business associates and friends were told he had stolen funds from his Missions, and that he was "insane" and an enemy of the Church of Scientology .

The Suppressive declare was published, and Samuels' wife left him, taking the children with her. She "disconnected" and started divorce proceedings. His children were told he was a "criminal and would probably be going to jail in the near future." Scientologist business associates and friends were ordered to disconnect from him or be declared Suppressive themselves. Even Samuels' stockbroker, who was a Scientologist, was ordered to disconnect, and refused to take instructions to sell stock. As he had been declared, Samuels was told he must leave his sister's house, where he was staying, or she too would be declared Suppressive.

In a few weeks, Samuels had lost the business he had built up over thirteen years, with an annual turnover of millions of dollars. His seventeen year marriage was destroyed, and he was deprived of his possessions. Samuels felt like a college kid again, rolling up penniless on his parents' doorstep. He responded by filing a lawsuit against Hubbard in 1983, claiming damages of $72 million. A jury awarded $30 million, and the Scientologists appealed the decision. The case was finally settled in 1986 with an out of court payment of $500,000 to Samuels.

Willamette Week, 1985: "Scientology on trial"

Martin L. Samuels, former bead of the Portland mission, testified that he thought the sales rooms were bugged in Portland during his tenure in accordance with the policy.