- Series: Commodore's Messenger
- Paperback: 484 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First edition (July 25, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 154720219X
- ISBN-13: 978-1547202195
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 76 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Commodore's Messenger: A Child Adrift in the Scientology Sea Organization (Volume 1) Paperback – July 25, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Janis was born in Australia to Scientology "royalty," the third child of Peter Gillham, the founder of Natural Calm, and Yvonne Gillham-Jentzsch, the founder of the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre. Her stepfather is Heber Jentzsch, known for many years as the President of the Church of Scientology International, and its primary spokesman. At age 11, Janis, along with her brother Peter Jr. and her sister Terri, traveled to the Mediterranean to join Scientology's inner core, the Sea Organization. Aboard the Scientology ship Apollo, she worked for eight years as one of the personal messengers of Scientology's controversial founder, L. Ron Hubbard. She had a front-row seat as Hubbard expanded his new religion into a worldwide empire. After 22 years working as Hubbard's direct representative as a member of the elite Commodore's Messenger Organization, Janis became disillusioned with the direction Scientology was taking under its brash new leadership and escaped from Scientology's desert headquarters with her husband of eleven years, Paul Grady. They were done with Scientology, but Scientology was not done with them, covertly sending private investigators to stalk and harass them for years.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 70%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
Read reviews that mention
Showing 1-8 of 76 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
But the book is much more than a memoir. It is, in fact, the definitive history of Scientology's fanatical inner core, the "Sea Organization." Drawing on the stories and recollections of many other early Sea Org Members, Janis stitches together a comprehensive and fascinating narrative.
Janis reminded me that when many of us first joined Scientology, we imagined that the center of Scientology, where Hubbard was, must be the most wonderful, sane, friendly place in the world. But when we got there, we found just the opposite. The closer you got to Hubbard, it seemed, the crazier and more oppressive and abusive it became. Janis recreates that world with honesty, candor, and a wealth of details.
Reading the book, I understood exactly why the Apollo was treated with suspicion and eventually banned from ports. It wasn't some vast conspiracy, it was the fact that here was a ship full of raggedy young people, including some children and toddlers, who were secretive and mysterious about who they were and why they were there in the port. The people in the ports found them vague and evasive because they were trained to be vague and evasive. Hubbard's showy, superficial attempts at "PR" - like shipboard parties - didn't do much to dispel the mystery.
I knew Janis' mother, Yvonne, as a good friend and an inspiring figure in Scientology. I wasn't aware of her trials and tragedies, so poignantly described in the book. How she had to contend with both Hubbard's advances, and, when she rejected him, his anger. Forced to live far from her children, she nonetheless created a friendly oasis for Scientologists, called Celebrity Centre. Her catchphrase, "If it isn't fun, it isn't Scientology," really encapsulates her approach to the subject. Scientology would have turned out vastly different if it had followed her model, rather than Hubbard's or Miscavige's. (And by the way, Dave Miscavige absolutely hates that phrase!)
For anyone who was in Scientology or interested in the history of the subject, Janis' account fills in a lot of blanks and provides a comprehensive account of that period that rips away the mysteries and the myths.
I was particularly interested in this book because I knew Janis' mother, Yvonne and her stepfather, Heber. I worked with them professionally and loved them both dearly. This book by Yvonne's daughter was a gut wrencher to me. She talks of the time she spent in the presence of LRH, while her mother was not allowed to be with her. She doesn't once place blame on anyone or even paint herself as a victim. She simply leaves it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions.
My conclusion was such anger that I waited to write this review until I could do it unemotionally. Hubbard stated in policy that children were simply adults in smaller bodies. Even Hubbard's children were treated as low paid slaves with little or no parental contact while on the same ship as their parents. That was an eye opener for me because the public persona always shows him as a devoted family man.
Janis wasn't even allowed to have either of her parents on the same ship or see them at all for the most part. Janis started working in the ship at age ELEVEN.
Those of us who worked at land bases dreamed of being allowed to work closer to LRH. Janis reveals that working closer was not all it was cracked up to be. I'm starting to read this book from the beginning again the minute I hear the release date of book two.
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to know the truth of what it was like to work with LRH.