A queer story about Scientology, gender, and L. Ron Hubbard's sweet pile of Swiss cash - 2018-10-13
One of our favorite stories at the Village Voice was the chance we got to write about Kate Bornstein's unique journey in Scientology and later as a well-known New York transgender performance artist, captured in the 2012 memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger. Kate has had an amazing year with a run on Broadway and ever-increasing fame as a gender theorist. We're thrilled to get the chance to run this lengthy excerpt from Kate's deliciously-written book. This is chapter 11, "All Good Things," and we're in the 1970s as Al Bornstein, the former first mate of the flagship Apollo, had been through one marriage, to Molly, which had produced a daughter, Jessica. But now Al was alone and working around the clock for the Sea Org in New York…
Fighting the good fight in the Sea Org had made me the good guy I'd always longed to be. After a decade of 24-7 loyal active duty, I was at the top of my game. I was a full Lieutenant. Only fifty people in all of Scientology outranked me. I'd been First Mate of the Flagship; and a few years later, I was working directly with the Commodore, planning public relations strategies for Scientology worldwide. I managed an entire fucking continent for them. Then I crashed and burned on Southern Comfort and Coca-Cola, sex, junk food, and tranny porn—it's what got me through my months-long bone-deep loneliness after Jessica left. My job performance took a nosedive and I was summarily removed from my post in middle management and demoted to sales, where, phoenix-like, I rose from my own ashes brighter and stronger than ever.
I was a terrific salesman, a natural. I'd spent my life trying to make people happy with me, and there's nothing more happy-making than selling someone their dreams-come-true. In Scientology sales, we were taught to find a person's "ruin"—whatever it was that was making a person's life miserable and keeping them from achieving their goals. I could find anyone's ruin in minutes—and in less than an hour, I'd've sold them thousands of dollars worth of Scientology services to handle it. I put together a crack staff, and together the six of us pulled in close to a quarter of a million dollars a week. I was a real man in every aspect of my life—and it all came down to money money money. After all, what are your dreams worth to you? How much money would you spend if that's all it took to make your dreams come true? You needed what we had, and we needed your money—most, if not all, of it.