Review by Steve Hall
The birth, rapid growth, and implosion of Dianetics and Scientology is one of the more fascinating nightmares to come out of the 20th Century. No nightmare is complete without some part of the dollhouse that seems to be a warm, safe, and secure haven. And no nightmare is complete without its Jack-in-the-Box of impending personal destruction. Such is the story of someone who was embedded into the Scientology nightmare just about as deeply as anyone could possibly be.
She was an innocent, born into Scientology and thrust by the blind devotion of her mother into the eye of a psycho storm at the ripe young age of 12. As the personal assistant of L. Ron Hubbard, in some ways, she might just as well have been handed over to a raving maniac. Yet this book does not pass judgment on Scientology. It’s not the history of the Church of Scientology. It’s not even an indictment of L. Ron Hubbard. It is the harrowing and well-documented day-by-day life experience of a child told in the only way that story can be told: through the eyes and ears, and tears, of the child who lived it.
It will make you laugh. It will break your heart. It will make you curse. But Commodore’s Messenger is not even a condemnation of Hubbard or the labyrinth of insanity into which he dropkicked himself; for as we all know, striking a deal with the Devil includes the inevitable outcome wherein the Devil Takes All. In his delusion, Hubbard considered children the spiritual equivalent of adults just “pretending" to be children.
Hubbard followed one rule and one rule alone: "Do what thou wilt!” a law promulgated by a man Hubbard saw as a mentor: Aleister Crowley, known as "the Beast,” a name given to him by his own mother! Unbeknownst to his followers, Hubbard was the living embodiment of the Crowley’s nightmarish law who most certainly did only how he wilted! And most thoroughly did the wilt engulf him! His delusional mission to “clear the planet" put Hubbard 666 lightyears above the law and justified anything that flittered moth-like into his mind to do. Start his own navy — why not? Take over a country? Sure! Get people executed? His birthright. Infiltrate the US government? Without a second thought. Of course below his lofty ideals (justifications) was his more real and earthy agenda of self-aggrandizement.
Con Artist cum Moses never hesitated to manipulate anyone for Hubbard's own benefit including the children he enslaved. As a result, ensued years at sea fleeing a swarm of government agents, judicial orders, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies. As self-made Commodore, his orders were relayed robot-like by the only individuals he knew would never question his authority because they lacked the capacity to do so: children.
Little Janis hung on for deal life through typhoons and tropical heat, fighting off an attempted rape, longing for her mother thousands of miles from home, at ground zero of the L.R.H-bomb. How she survived its fallout is a monument to her strength of character. You see, children have no way of knowing the difference between love and hate. They have no choice but to perish or attempt to take their lot in stride.
L. Ron Hubbard engendered absolute trust and unquestioning loyalty among his acolytes. But investing their faith cost many their very lives including that of Janis’ mother, a beautiful and glamorous lady. And so in this book, you have the perfect blend of entertainment: a true story of tragedy from whence arises comedy, of devastation from which springs hope, and insanity that is a call to arms.
This is a story of an extraordinary child whose mother was persuaded to place her own daughter into an atomic cannon engraved with the initials LRH. By opening these pages you will be looking down the barrel of that gun. If the miraculous explosion leaves you momentarily blind, don’t blame me. In my personal opinion, Commodore’s Messenger will introduce you to one of the great treasures of the world. If you’ve ever had any experience with Dianetics or Scientology, or you find its slow-motion train wreck on the world’s stage mesmerizing and epic you will not be disappointed by the story you are about to read.