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Thanks, Dr. Singer

Over a period of twelve or so years, I had the great privilege of spending many wonderful hours with Margaret Singer and having her call me a friend. We had a therapist-patient relationship, a professional relationship, a party relationship and a personal relationship. I am truly thankful for every minute of all those relationships.

We first met during the Julie Christofferson trial in the spring of 1985, where Dr. Singer testified as a psychological expert, and I testified about my experiences with Hubbard and the Scientology cult. I knew of Dr. Singer and her part in the opposition to cultic fraud and abuses because I had studied a lot of the anti- cult literature after leaving Scientology, and she had already agreed to testify in the trial of my cross-complaint against the cult, then set in Los Angeles Superior Court for the fall of 1986.

As anyone -- not a member of a dangerous cult, of course, or their collaborators -- who ever met Dr. Singer will attest, she was a very kind, caring, intelligent and funny soul. She was the best auditor (“one who listens”) I ever met. Unlike the Scientology cult’s “auditors,” who all betray their patients in every session every day, Dr. Singer kept her own counsel, and kept her own counseling safe and sacrosanct.

To prepare for her testifying in the trial of my cross-complaint, I met with Dr. Singer for a number of hours in the kitchen of her great old wood Berkeley Hills home above the UC campus. Thanks,  Dr. SingerThe kitchen was also her interview and counseling room, and I spent dozens of hours over the next several years at her kitchen table, sipping her tea and nibbling her cookies, hanging out and chatting with this great unassuming lady.

In the fall of 1985 I went to Boston to work for attorney Michael Flynn, so I communicated with Dr. Singer by letter and phone during that period in my capacity as Mike’s paralegal, and personally as the victim of Scientology psychological abuse for whom she would testify. As is well known, the LA case “ settled” before trial in December 1986 and she was thus saved from testifying. But then I moved to the Berkeley Hills myself after the “settlement,” only a couple of miles away, so she wasn’t saved from me arriving at her kitchen door every once in a while for a chat.

As is also well known, the Scientology cultists couldn’t quit fair gaming me after their “settlement,” which was terribly troubling to me, so my talks with Dr. Singer continued to be counseling sessions that provided some encouragement and stability. Just to have a person with Margaret Singer’ s knowledge and professional approach and stature understand me as a person, appreciate my intellect and my life and ethical choices, and grok my sense of humor, was such a Godsend.

During my Berkeley Hills period, I did some cartooning where I wrote a word or two in longhand, and then used the script to form comic characters. One of these cartoons I made into a Christmas card:
http://www.gerryarmstrong.org/50grand/fun/other-3-magi.html I only have a bad color photocopy of this one I drew one for Margaret.

Her name turned into this sly looking swami selling an obviously priceless signature technology to this relatively blind chump, which was sort of what she spent much of her life studying and writing about.

In 1990 I moved to Marin County, but still just a short drive from Berkeley, and I stayed in touch with Dr. Singer and continued to see her on our informal and irregular basis. In 1991 I started working with Ford Greene, so again I also had professional contact with her. Ford was, even more than Mike Flynn, a cult litigation specialist, and had worked with and been friends with Dr. Singer for several years. While I worked with Ford, from 1991 through 1995, MTS was involved in several of his cases, on his cc list for all sorts of cult-related matters; and many times I was the guy to courier documents to her kitchen door.

Ford’s birthday is the winter solstice, so every year he hosted an amazing Birthday/ Christmas party, luring in some incredible northern California rock- n-roll musical talent, half his Rolodex, and a good swath of the Marin legal and extralegal community. Dr. Singer always made the pilgrimage across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to this religious spectacle, and Ford always had a special bottle of sacred rum sequestered for her – not for her driver. I know that a recent article claimed that Margaret’s libation of choice was Bushmills Irish whiskey, and it may have been in the last few years, but the understanding between Ford and Dr. Singer was a good shot of good rum. She was great fun at a party.

Dr. Singer invited me to a very memorable party of her own, a garden party, which must have been for her seventy-fifth birthday, at another friend’s Berkeley Hills home, and may have been almost the last time I saw her. There was a bit of a joke among a number of us who knew MTS in her professional cult work that her husband, the alleged Jerome Singer, was an invention, perhaps of the CIA, to provide cover for her real clandestine activities. So it was a major thrill to be invited to this garden party where her husband was to make an appearance, and then to be able to report back to my cohorts that yes, Virginia, there really is a Doctor Singer.

Well, my Dr. Singer introduced me to her Dr. Singer -- who certainly could have been a CIA stand-in – and advised him that I was not a whack job and that he wouldn’t be in any danger if he listened to my theory for the Unified Field, over which I’d had the great good fortune to trip. Well, Dr. Jerome Singer really is a physicist in the way that Dr. Hubbard really is not, and when I told him my UF theory, he did listen and he did sit there for a moment. But he didn’t all of a sudden have a kind of a stunned look come in his eye, and he didn’t rush out, and he didn’t grab the phone, and he didn’t say, "Shut down the experiment in number seven!" But it was a beautiful day, and a fine party, and a wonderful memory of both of my Dr. Singers.

She was a friend. She was no fool. She was a funny lady. She was a trip. And at times she was God’s Unified Field for some of us with the great good fortune to stumble onto her. Thanks Margaret.

 

 

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