Commodore's Messenger Organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
TypeUnit in the Sea Org, the paramilitary wing of the Church of Scientology
PurposeEnforcement of the Religious Technology Center
HeadquartersHemet, California, United States
David Miscavige

The Commodore's Messenger Organization (CMO) is a sub-unit of the Sea Org, a paramilitary[1] wing of the Church of Scientology, comprising the church's most dedicated members.[2] Its members communicate and enforce policies of the Religious Technology Center.[3][4]


The first Commodore's Messengers were appointed by L. Ron Hubbard in 1968 while he was living aboard the Sea Organization ship called the Apollo. These messengers were his personal administrative assistants and operated solely under his direction, ensuring that Scientology management was following Hubbard’s policies.[5]

The original four messengers were Janis Gillham (aged 11), Terri Gillham (12), Annie Tidman (12) and Suzette Hubbard (13), who was later replaced by Claire Popham (13).[6][7] In 1975 while sailing in the Caribbean, due to the heat and humidity, the Messengers devised their uniforms themselves: white shorts, tie tops and platform shoes with knee high socks.[7] Messengers conveyed messages from Hubbard and they were trained to mimic Hubbard's exact tone and mannerisms.

One Sea Org member recalled inquiring why Hubbard chose young girls for the role of messenger. Hubbard reported that "Hitler was a madman, but nevertheless a genius in his own right and the Nazi Youth was one of the smartest ideas he ever had. With young people you had a blank slate." [8] Hubbard further argued that he picked girls because women were more loyal than men.'[8]

Watchdog Committee and All Clear Unit[edit]

In April 1979, Hubbard created the Watchdog Committee (WDC). In 1981, the All Clear Unit of the CMO was set up with the purpose of ensuring an "All Clear" for Hubbard to emerge from hiding.[9] As head of the unit, David Miscavige took orders only from Pat Broeker, who was accountable only to Hubbard.[9]

Notable members[edit]

Janis Gillham, age 11, joined the Sea Organization in January 1968.[10] She regularly attended to Hubbard for the next 11 years, until he went into hiding in 1979. In 2017, she authored Commodore’s Messenger: A Child Adrift in the Scientology Sea Organization.[11]

Annie Tidman became a Messenger at age 12.[12] She married fellow messenger Pat Broeker and they were among the few people in direct contact with L. Ron Hubbard during his final years.[13] In November 1992, Tidman made an unannounced departure from the group, but returned after church members intercepted her at the Boston airport.[12] She died in 2011.[12]

In 1967, Sharone Stainforth, age 10, joined the Sea Org and became one of Hubbard's original Messengers on the Apollo. After leaving Scientology, she became a critic of the organization.[14][15][16]

Michelle "Shelly" Barnett became a Messenger at age 12. She later married fellow Messenger and future Scientology leader David Miscavige.[17] She has made no public appearances since August 2007.[18] The Church of Scientology denies that she is missing.

Mike Rinder joined the Sea Org and worked under Hubbard on his ship the Apollo in 1973.[19] He joined the CMO in 1978, later becoming the church's international spokesperson. Rinder left the church in 2007 and has since spoken out against it.

Pat Broeker was aboard the Apollo and, along with his wife Anne, were taking care of Hubbard at the time of his death. An order was issued promoting Broeker and his wife to the rank of "Loyal Officer", but that order was later cancelled.

Marc Yager joined the Sea Org in 1974 and sailed with Hubbard on Apollo. Yager became a messenger and assisted Hubbard in video production. Yager was appointed Commanding Officer of the Commodore's Messenger Organization, Chairman of the Watchdog Committee, and later, Inspector General for Administration in the Religious Technology Center (RTC).[20][21] Ex-members of the Church have alleged that Yager was sent to "The Hole", a Rehabilitation Project Force facility.[22][23]

In 1977, David Miscavige, then aged 16, joined the Messengers. After Hubbard's death, Miscavige emerged as the leader of the Church of Scientology.


  1. ^ Stark and Bainbridge 1996, p. 213.
    • Dawson 2006, p. 38: "Members of the paramilitary Sea Org sign billion-year contracts of absolute loyalty and service to the highest leadership of the Church of Scientology."
    • Former member Aaron Judge in Squires, 29 November 2009: "The Sea Org is like a military organization. You live in cramped quarters, are served food in the cafeteria area and you basically work from 8:30 in the morning through to 11:15 at night."
    • Former Scientology auditor Bruce Hines in Cooper, 2 December 2005: "It's very much a military organization. You wear a uniform, there's saluting, marching, standing at attention."
  2. ^ "WHAT IS THE SEA ORGANIZATION?". Church of Scientology International. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  3. ^ accessed 2006-10-21
  4. ^ accessed 2006-10-21
  5. ^ Miller, Russell (1987). "18. Messengers of God". Bare-faced Messiah, The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard (First American ed.). New York: Henry Holt & Co. pp. 301–304. ISBN 0-8050-0654-0.
  6. ^ "Scientology: What happened in Vegas, Part 2 of 3 in a special report on the Church of Scientology". Tampa Bay Times.
  7. ^ a b Lawrence Wright [2013] Im Gefängnis des Glaubens, S. 164, Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, ISBN 978-3-421-04535-5
  8. ^ a b "Bare-Faced Messiah: Chapter 19".
  9. ^ a b "A Piece Of Blue Sky - Part 6, Chapter 3: The Young Rulers".
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c Tony Ortega (30 January 2012). "Death of a Scientologist: Why Annie Broeker, Famous in the Church, Had to Die in Secret". Village Voice.
  13. ^ "Mystery of the Vanished Ruler". TIME. 1983-01-31. Retrieved 2007-08-10.
  14. ^ "Going Clear (Enhanced Edition)".
  15. ^ Sharone Stainforth (LRH Commodores Messenger at age 10) at the Dublin Offlines Event. 12 July 2012 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Tessa Whittington. "We're the Brits who escaped Scientology".
  17. ^ Ned Zeman. "Read Why Shelly Miscavige, Once Scientology's Queen, Was Dethroned by Her Husband David - Vanity Fair". Vanity Fair.
  18. ^ Edwards, Jim (13 July 2012). "Tour The Compound Where The Missing Wife of Scientology's Leader Might Be Living". Business Insider. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  19. ^ "About Me". Mike Rinder's Blog.
  20. ^ "Blown for Good".
  21. ^
  22. ^ Ortega, Tony (August 2, 2012). "Scientology's Concentration Camp for Its Executives: The Prisoners, Past and Present". The Village Voice.
  23. ^ "Marc Yager and the IAS". Moving On Up a Little Higher.

See also[edit]