The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.

An antidote to success stories
by Phil Spickler
11 Jul 00

Greetings, fellow Listers and IVy-subscribers --
        As a follower of the Middle Way, I'd like to propose that we maintain
balance in connection with the flood of success stories that have recently
graced the electronic outlook by offering herein a failure story, and I hope
others will find some of their best failures to add to this, 'cause although
success stories are fine, I personally have heard enough of them over the
years to (a) always give thanks that someone is pleased with their results,
but (b) I'm somewhat jaded in this department, and bored by repetition;
whereas failure stories are scarce and in high demand, and are usually quite
interesting, if not downright unique.

       And although failure has gotten a bad name (don't ask me why), it
still has a proper and noble position as a part of life, and sometimes even
results in a learning experience.

        If people tried to hang onto their failure experiences as hard as
they do their success experiences, they'd soon see that failures vanish just
as readily as successes -- the agreements about time certainly play a part in

       Anyway, one of my favorite failures was an experience with L. Ron
Hubbard that more or less took place around 1976; and although that's a
quarter of a century ago, roughly, the experience was memorable, the failure
complete, and each time I've hauled out this story to tell it, most of those
hearing it have usually enjoyed it as a hysterical/historical moment.

      I may have to tell this story in two installments, lest I wear out my
readers and my faithful scribe; so this evening's adventure will mostly set
the stage for the grand event.

       And so the story begins.  Once upon a time, in the 1970's, in a
country called USA, a chap named Phil happened to have a Scientology mission
located in a lovely area about 40 miles south of the city of San Francisco.
Phil in those days was enjoying a great deal of success in spreading the word
of Scientology and having a happy staff and lots of people participating in
the activities of said mission.

       This was a time that preceded the arrival of the Dark Ages when the
Church of Scientology, with the help of the GO (Guardian's Office) and the
Sea Organization, started the reigh of terror that ultimately resulted in the
sad condition of discredited unhappiness that just the word "Scientology"
brings to the minds of so many.

       But enough of that!  In the early '70's us Scientologists with
missions were having a lot of fun and helping a lot of people.  One of the
staff at our mission was good friends with the then-quarterback of a football
team called the San Francisco 49ers.  The team that year was losing most of
their games, and the quarterback was in big trouble, and it looked like he
would soon be removed from his position.  Well, after a little bit of
auditing and a little bit of information, the team and the quarterback turned
around in such an extraordinary way that they came within one game of going
to the SuperBowl.

       This created quite a sensation in this part of the world, and as a
result a great deal of positive press came out regarding yours truly and
Scientology, and what seemed to be a succession of miracles regarding
changing losing to winning.  As you can see, dear reader, this failure story
was preceded by a giant success story.

        And in the next installment of this exciting adventure, I shall
complete the success story (in those days, miracles of this proportion were
routine, so no big deal), and get into the really interesting and main
subject of this memoir, which is the Great Failure.

     And so, hoping to keep you on the edge of your seats until the next
installment, I remain, your humble historian --
       Phil Who Was