Picket Report, Deana
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From: Deana Holmes
Subject: Picket Report: Salt Lake City, 03/04/00
Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 19:06:28 -0700
Organization: XMission http://www.xmission.com/
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Picket Report--Salt Lake City, Utah Org
Time: 12:55 pm to 2:55 pm, Saturday March 4, 2000
Weather: Gorgeous. Sunny, mild, probably in the low to mid 60s
Personae: Myself, Anti-Reg (aka Sean Ostler), another
ex-Scientologist, a man from OSA in Northern California (yeah, right),
Phil Parke (my usual OT7/OT8 handler), and a good friend of mine named
David. Oh yeah, and a sergeant from the Salt Lake City police.
I arrived at 12:55 and nobody else had gotten there yet. I was parked
in my car when I saw my friend David across 11th East. I poked my
head out and signaled to him. He came over and said that there were
four people in the Org lobby. I said, "Ok, I guess I'll start and
steal their thunder." So I got out my picket sign (one side of which
said: "Scientology's Sacraments: Celebrity and Money" and "Scientology
is a CLEAR fraud") and started picketing in front of the Org. My
friend wandered across the street to watch.
Phil came out almost immediately. He noticed that I had a huge grin
on my face and we traded some banter. I don't think he liked being
told that he was like a doggie on a chain and that obviously OSA had
told him to come here. This of course he denied. We walked back and
forth for a bit, waiting for the main event. We both knew who was
coming. In fact, Phil tried to Dead Agent Anti-Reg. "You know, I've
never really seen Sean here, he must have come in after 10 pm...."
But as Anti-Reg pointed out, Phil never goes to the Org really because
he's an OT8 that's retread to OT7 because the OT8s haven't
demonstrated the end phenomenon of OT8--and the SL Org doesn't do OT
levels. Phil has to go to Clearwater for those.
Finally, Anti-Reg showed up and parked right next to the Org. He
pulled out his sign which was extremely magnificent. One side said
"Scientology Lies". The other side said: "WARNING: GREEDY CULT ZONE".
Sean had gotten some of that yellow and black diagonal warning tape
and put it on the top and bottom of the sign, framing this message.
It really attracted the eye and we got a LOT of response.
We did a few turns in front of the Org, with Phil trotting along
behind. My friend was keeping a beady watch from across the street.
Then another man came out, shortish, black hair, balding, wearing blue
pants and a blue patterned sweater (he was overdressed for our
extremely nice weather). His name was
and he was from the Office of Special Affairs and he asked Anti-Reg if
he was Sean Ostler. Anti-Reg indicated he was. At that point, I
signaled frantically to my friend across the street to get himself
over here. The OSA guy had some things he wanted to show to Anti-Reg.
This OSA guy began by saying that he'd been trying to get ahold of
Anti-Reg for some time. First he showed Anti-Reg some check copies,
money that they were prepared to pay to Anti-Reg if he signed the
release that he, the OSA guy, had in another folder. He then pulled
out the release and said that he, the OSA guy, would be happy to
accompany Anti-Reg down to Anti-Reg's attorney if Anti-Reg wanted to
talk to an attorney, but "as you understand we really can't let this
out of our possession." Anti-Reg was rather disbelieving, but he
agreed to read the release. I was looking over Anti-Reg's shoulder at
the release, much to the OSA guy's annoyance, and expressing my verbal
disapproval of the contents. The OSA guy was pretty unhappy with me.
Anti-Reg finally handed back the folder to the OSA guy and said, "I
won't sign anything except number 7 [which was the "I will never take
Scientology services again" clause]." The OSA guy I think was
flabbergasted for a moment. Then Anti-Reg really put it to him about
how he really shouldn't have to sign a release to get money back that
he has on account and the OSA guy in response was trying to say that
this was typical and usual. I, being the wonderful person that I am,
butted in and noted that maybe Anti-Reg ought to write the IRS and
point out that Scn isn't living up to its agreement that it has with
them, which irritated the OSA guy. He finally said something like,
"You know this is extortion" and went back into the Org. I snapped
something I don't remember at his back as he retreated, but it wasn't
especially nasty (probably something like, "It's not extortion to ask
for a refund of your own money!"). Geesh.
My friend retreated back across the street and Anti-Reg and I
continued picketing. At that point in time, I believe the OSA guy
called the cops. We picketed probably for another 10 or 15 minutes,
when I decided that since the blinds were open on the course room, I
was going to wander by with my sign. My friend was across the street
watching me the whole time, and saw me walk along side the org with my
sign so that the people inside the course room could see it. I
finally got to the end, and Phil was yelling at me that I was
disturbing "church services" (oh yeah RIGHT church services are at 2
pm on Sunday according to the advert the Scienos put in the Salt Lake
City Weekly) but I did have two women absolutely agape at my audacity.
Anti poked his head around the corner and said something like "The
cops are here," so I walked back quickly and signaled my friend from
across the street.
I almost got things off on a bad foot by trying to butt in when the
sergeant started talking to Phil and the OSA guy, who had come back
outside. He asked me to step away and he'd talk to me in a minute.
My friend told me to calm down, but I was sure annoyed. I've picketed
outside Salt Lake Org for over two years and this was the first time
that the police had ever been called. I know the local orgites
wouldn't call the cops; it must have been that OSA dude.
We stood there waiting for the sergeant to get finished talking to the
OSA guy and Phil, and we could hear snatches of their conversation.
My friend said that from the body language (which I've never been good
at reading) it appeared that the OSA guy was not winning his argument.
We heard a few things such as, "There's picketing outside of the LDS
Church's Temple Square at General Conference, which is a month from
now" from the sergeant, and other things which basically indicated
that the sergeant was defending our First Amendment right to picket.
He also pointed out, in response to the complaint that I'd been
"poking" my sign in their window, that it was a public sidewalk and
that they could basically shut their blinds. It went on and on and
*on*. It reminded me of stories I'd heard of Scientology attorneys
who would continue to argue with the judges in various cases over the
years, even when the judge had told them he'd ruled against them. It
must be part of the Tech. The OSA guy went back inside at one point,
apparently to get Anti-Reg's posts and was showing them to the
sergeant, who was not impressed. I think the sergeant was having a
hard time explaining the concept of the First Amendment to the OSA
While this was going on, Anti-Reg and I had gotten so bored that we
started picketing again. When the sergeant got done with the OSA guy,
he came up to us and told us that we had every right to be out there,
but that we could not be disturbing the peace. He also looked over our
signs and said that the sticks were OK (the right thickness, not a
weapon). We explained that we were just out there to inform people,
and I noted that I'd picketed out there since 1997 and the cops had
never been called. We also noted that Anti-Reg had been trying to get
a refund of funds not used, and he had been accused of extortion for
doing same. The sergeant listened and basically said we were free to
keep on doing what we were doing. Anti-Reg was so happy with that, he
said he would never complain about paying taxes again.
During all this the OSA guy had gone back in. Phil stood outside for
a while, his lips pursed, a severe look on his face. Then he went
back in and we could see Phil at the receptionist's phone, presumably
talking to his wife. We continued to picket and wait for the officer
to leave. At that point, an old friend of Anti-Reg's, another
ex-member who had blown staff in 1991, came up. He didn't bring a
sign with him, but he was ready to picket. Introductions were made
all around. The officer finally left, and my friend left to go back
home since we now had another person with us. Phil also came back
outside and tapped me on the shoulder and said that he needed to join
his wife so he was leaving.
Well gosh, by then I don't even think we'd gotten to 2 pm! We stayed
out until nearly 3 pm. Anti's sign was hugely successful, although it
may have been the presence of three of us on the sidewalk that raised
our protest to awareness. We got a lot of thumbs' ups and waves and
honks. It was truly marvelous to behold. While we picketed, we
discussed future plans and laughed and joked. Anti-Reg is truly
jazzed by picketing, and he's decided that the money really doesn't
matter to him, but he is going to continue to picket.
Finally, we broke up for the day and went home. Boy, my feet hurt,
but I am happy that things worked out so well. I'd like to nominate
the sergeant who upheld our First Amendment rights in the face of a
determined member of the Office of Special Affairs for an SP award.
This page was last updated on July 10, 2003.