My dad is a pretty amazing man, having re-invented himself a few times during my life.
When I was a kid growing up in Maine, my dad helped keep food on the table by running a successful electrical contracting business in Camden, Maine, and later in Connecticut and Boston as we moved closer to the rest of civilization. He re-invented himself in my teens though, as we moved cross-country to Oregon, and he became a schoolteacher at The Delphian School where my sister and I would go on to get an amazing education. However, after 8 years as a middle-school teacher, he felt it was time to move on and he re-invented himself yet again, deciding to devote himself to work full-time at the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C.
My Dad’s 20 Years as a Scientology Church Staff Member[/tweetthis]
And so, 20 years ago to the day, he packed up his gear in Oregon and moved cross-country, picking me up on the way where I had been working as a systems engineer in the middle of Illinois. The two of us got a rental house together in Virginia (as I’d recently met a Virginia girl that would later be my wife), and as I continued my web systems engineering career, he embarked on a brand-new one as a church staff member.
After several months though, I’d end up joining him (as well as my then- fiancée) as a church staff member, working in an administrative capacity to train up the personnel and ethics areas of the church while also helping the church’s executives be more effective at their jobs. We got to spend a lot of quality time together, both from our official capacities as well as personally, and ended up working together on a lot of great projects for the church and for the community, working with embassies, implementing anti-drug education campaigns, coordinating volunteer efforts in the wake of 9/11, and also working extensively on the lengthy process it takes to train up Auditors, who deliver Scientology counseling to our parishioners.
I’d end up moving on, working for the Church in other capacities in New York and LA, while he stayed in DC. He soon decided that he wanted to become an Auditor himself, and ended up switching roles entirely, training intensively for the better part of a few years, first running the Church’s Auditor training academy, and then becoming a full-time Auditor himself.
It’s in this capacity that I’ve seen him thrive as an individual. Having watched him as a role model for me growing up, it was always easy to see when he was working just because he had to, or when he was working because it was something he genuinely loved – and this job for him has certainly been the latter.
To get an idea of why he’d find this so rewarding, read through this overview of what it means to “Go Clear” in Scientology, and then realize that he’s the one on the other side of the table helping folks through this. Meeting him for our traditional late-night, father/son coffee-and-pie outings that have become a tradition since I became an adult, I’ve gotten so many bright-eyed stories from him of folks that he’s helped overcome all manner of personal demons – chronic depression, life-long battles with personal ethics, relationship nightmares and post-traumatic stress, it’s all addressed in the steps leading up to the State of Clear and he has had the privilege of administering it.
There have been so many people I’ve run into that have come up to me and told me how much my dad helped them in his capacity as an auditor, and that sort of thing makes me pretty proud. I already knew he was a meticulous electrician, and the fact that he still maintains his Master Electrician license in multiple states and occasionally flies out to Oregon to help me with my home wiring woes also helps him have plenty of excuses to hang with his grandkids and crack them up.
But it’s the fact that he chose to forego the life of a successful business owner to dedicate his life to helping others, is an example I am proud to point out to my kids on this 20-year anniversary of his life as a staff member of the church.