Atack: What David Mayo told me about L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology, and the upper levels - 2018-02-19
After we brought the news that prominent Scientology figure David Mayo had died last year in New Zealand, there was a pretty huge reaction from many former Scientologists, as well as a lot of discussion of his legacy. One person who had lengthy talks with Mayo after he left the church was historian Jon Atack, who tells us what he learned in those discussions.
David Mayo was an icon for many of us. His courage and resilience inspired us. He was a highly intelligent and kindly man. There is no doubt that he was once presented as Hubbard's successor, so the vicious attacks upon him from 1982 onward were the flash point for the departure of about half the membership of Scientology after his Suppressive Person declare and the bizarre publication "Story of a Squirrel," in which Hubbard alleged that David had been the "bird-dog in the control room" of Scientology.
My mum was on the Class II course when this propaganda piece arrived, and, as with many others, she could not fathom how Hubbard – the great expert – had been blind to David's "suppressive" nature for over two decades. I spent time with David in 1986 and 1988 interviewing him extensively. He was generous with his time, and candid in his responses. I particularly liked his apparent unease at the adulation of so many towards him.