Interview - January 23, 2001
of Part Five
Astra was, like, 14 and then at 15, you know, she came to
me one day and said, "Dad, I want to get married."
And I said, "Are you out of your mind?" You know,
and she said, "Will you give me permission?" So,
I said, "No. I will not. I disagree with it." You
know, she had been going out with this guy who was seven years
older than her. And she had been caught kissing in the corridor
and they said, "You have to get married." You know,
she had been living in a dorm and then when you get married,
you get your own room with your spouse. And so, it's like,
everyone wants to get married. So, lots of kids at 15 will
get married. But anyway, I said, "Absolutely not. I refuse
my permission." So then her senior called me and said,
"You know, you have to give permission. It's a good thing."
You know, "She'll be more stable. She'll be happier."
You know, "We're going to make her do special courses
on marriage. And she'll understand what marriage is."
You know, "And they have matching tone levels, which
means, emotionally, they're well suited to each other."
So they wore me down and then my daughter would, like, day
after day, say, "Dad, come on. Give permission. Give
permission. You know, I'm not really a 15 year old girl. I'm
a thetan who's thousands of years old, you know? Give your
permission. Give your permission." And then she said,
"If you don't give your permission, I found out, you
know, you and mom have joint custody in the divorce settlement.
She will give permission." So, eventually, I said, "Okay.
I can't stop it. I might as well give permission," which
I did. But I never told my family back in England, you know?
I was too embarrassed. They were, like, "You let your
15 year old daughter get married?" Like, "Have you
lost your mind?" And, in fact, they did find out because
my cousin was a flight attendant with British Airways and
came and visited us and Astra showed up, you know. And she
was very much a Sea Org Member and she's like, "Look!
I'm married!" And my cousin said, "But you're
And then my cousin flew back to England and told my sisters,
I just can't tell you how embarrassing that
was for me. It just
they were just freaked! You know,
they promised me Astra will go to school. Astra will have
medical coverage. Astra will, you know
she will only
work a short week, you know. She would study. She would be
in bed by ten. She will get time off
blah, blah, blah.
So, she would come around and see me almost kind of secretively,
like on a Friday morning or something. She would sneak around
for an hour and, like, "Hi, Dad. I love you but I've
got to go." She'd be wearing her uniform. And I would
say, "Astra, how's school?" And she'd go, "Fine."
"What are you learning? How are you math?" You know,
"Tell me about algebra." "It's fine."
You know, "What about history? Do you know any history?"
"No, but we're going to." Like this. And then she'd
say, "Dad, you really need to get back on course. You
really need more auditing. When are you going to go back on
course? Come on!" And I'd go, "Astra, you know,
I've got debts, credit cards
but one day, I'll be back.
in a few months." And she'd go, "Well,
you really need to be back on course," you know. And
then I'd see her again. It would be the same thing over and
over and over. And I formed in my own mind that she wasn't
happy. I knew she wasn't happy as a parent knows his child.
You know, I would give her money and one time she said to
me, "Dad, I want to open a savings account," you
know, "will you start it off for me?" And I was
she said, "If you put $300.00 in," you know, "it
will pay interest." And I said, "Astra, that is
commendable, you know? You should have a little cushion
And she said "I won't tell anyone about it. I'll just
have $300.00." And I gave her 300 bucks and she opened
her own savings account. So, I thought, "Cool."
I like her to have
and I bought her a car,
an old used car so she had a little independence. She could
was the only way she could come and see me 'cause I lived,
you know, ten miles from the Org. So, but I knew she wasn't
happy. So then
and I knew, you know, I'm thinking my
Zoe is another whole issue. But
Astra I knew wasn't happy. She was 15. She was married. I
would see her husband. We would never talk, you know? We would
go out for a meal but we would never talk. So then, my mother
died in England in, like, 1997. And they said, "You've
got to come for the funeral," you know, "and you
must bring Astra. You must bring Astra." You know, "We
want to see her." So, I told Astra her grandmother had
died and Astra was like, "I want to come! I want to come!
I want to come to England!" And they said, "No."
You know, "It's just a funeral." And she's like,
you become skillful in Scientology of how to twist
things around. And so she said, you know, "If I don't
go to England
all of my relatives in England want me
to come for this funeral and they are going to be very upset.
And it's going to give them a bad opinion of Scientology.
And I don't know how to handle it." And that
don't want that. They don't like that. It's what they call,
like, a PR flap.
So they gave her permission to come, which is, like, to me,
it's like a miracle. So at the back of my mind, I'm thinking,
"We're going to go to England," you know, "it's
for a sad occasion. It's for a funeral but we're going to
stay with my sister. She's got a big house. They've got their
own real estate business. She's got cousins there she's never
seen. She's got aunts, uncles." So we went to England.
Astra is all excited. And
oh, it's a sad occasion. The
first day was the funeral. But then, (non-interview dialogue)
we had the greatest time, you know? We go around, we see all
the cousins. We go to dinner. We have a blast! And I knew
Astra was like, "Oh my God! We're going to dinner? Now
I've got a bed?" I could tell something was going in
her mind. She was having, like, family. She was, like
was getting close to my sister. Anyway, so I knew that I had
planted the seeds of doubt in her mind.
Why are you so sad?
Because there was, like, a big change in her, you know? She
was suddenly from, like, "Dad, you need to get on course!
Dad, you need to be doing more Scientology." She's like,
"Oh! My aunt's so cool! England is beautiful!" Like,
You know, we went there in the fall. She said,
I didn't know London was such a pretty
city. I didn't know the countryside, the house, the cars,
my cousins, the restaurants!" She's going, "I didn't
know it was so much fun to go bowling. I didn't know it was
so much fun!" And I'm going, "Yeah, you know, there's
a whole world out there, Astra." And she's going, "All
my cousins are at college and the university and I'm so stupid.
I don't know anything." And I'm going, "What? I
thought you were going to school?" And she's going, "No.
I don't know anything. I have no education." And I'm
going, "Astra! I thought you were going to school!"
"No. I never went to school!" "What?!"
You didn't know?
I didn't know. And she
I said, "Astra, why didn't
you tell me?" She said, "I was told not to."
And anyway, this kid, in front of my eyes, sees that there's
a whole world
It's really a battle for her mind, isn't it?
Yeah. And, you know, so I knew that I had succeeded in this
trip. I had, like, I knew that I had gotten through. So, anyway,
she comes back and she's, like, you know, she is so unhappy
to go back into that Organization. She's so unhappy. And she's
different. She's a different person, you know? She's not pushing
me, "Dad, go on course. Dad, you need to get your ethics
in." She's not barking at me. And then, something happens
she's demoted and she's really beginning
to hate it, I can tell. But I had no idea of what was really
going on. I knew my daughter was unhappy, as a father would.
I had no idea and then, like, she comes to stay with me one
night. She's, like, she's got the $300.00 in her savings account.
This is difficult for me. I would say, like, roughly four
months later, she sneaks to my house, she stays the night,
we go to the movies, you know. And then, the next morning
she leaves but she's not wearing her uniform. And I'm thinking,
"that's weird. She's wearing a pair of jeans and a shirt."
she leaves and then her organization
starts calling me, "Where's Astra?"
And it's lashing with rain outside. It's just a real bad storm
and I'm going, "Oh my God! She's had an accident! You
know, she never made it in her car." And I say, "Well,
let's wait a few minutes, you know. She might have just been
held up in the traffic in the rain." And they call back,
"No. She's not here." And I go, "Oh my God!"
So, I'm going
I'm driving down the freeway. I'm looking
for her-no sign. I get back
I go into the
Organization and they go, you know, "Tell us about Astra."
I speak to the Chief of Security, a guy called Jeff Porter.
And he said, "What's going on?" I said, "What
is going on? I think she's been car jacked," like this.
"Call the police!" And he says, "Well, how
come she was at your house?" I said, "Well, we
had the day off. We went to the movies." And he's going,
"Oh. We didn't think she was with you. She told us she
was with a friend." And I go, "So, look! Who cares
what you think? Let's call the cops! My daughter has been
kidnapped!" You know, I'm freaking! I'm just freaking!
And he said, "Well, had you given her any money?"
I said, "Yeah," you know, "she had a savings
account." He said, "You're not supposed to give
her money." I said, "Who says? I can give my kid
money!" (laughs) And I said, "Come on! Let's call
for Christ sake, let's start up
this is L.A.,
you know? Like car jack city. She's vanished off the face
of the earth!" Her mother's been called and then he said,
"Did anything weird happen on your day off?" And
he said, "Did she want to buy anything?"
I said, "Yeah. We went into a department store and she
said she wanted to buy a suitcase because you were sending
her out on a mission to recruit people." He said, "There
was no mission to recruit people." He said, "She's
blown." He said, "Go back to your house and find
her passport," because I kept her passport in my office,
you know, safe in a drawer. So, I went back. Her passport
had gone. So then I go back down and he said, "You know,"
he said, "she's blown," he said, "but don't
worry. We'll get her back."
What were you thinking?
I was, like, "Oh my God!" And, you know, this is
know, let's go search for her but where do we look? You know,
where has she gone? And I'm thinking, "Surely, she's
going to call me. She's going to call me." And her mother's
on the phone to me, "Where's she gone?" And then
Jeff Porter suddenly gets very accusative, you know? He said,
"You know, you haven't been on course in years. And you
are disaffected. She spent the day with you. You gave her
the money. You gave her a passport. You bought her a suitcase
to take her stuff." He said, "Come on. Cough up
the goods." And I'm, like, "You don't know what
you're talking about. I had no knowledge of this. Can't you
see I'm freaked out?" You know, I'm thinking she's carjacked,
kidnapped. And he's going, you know, "We hold you responsible."
And I'm going, "You know, much as I would love to get
her out," and I'm, like, saying stuff now, like, I'm
crossing the line. I said, you know, "in these circumstances,"
you know, "I didn't actually know that she was doing
this." And he said, "Come on!" He said, "A
few months ago, you took her to England. What did you tell
her? What did you tell her?" So, I'm, like, "Jeff,
I told her nothing." I said, "But, you know, she
got very close to my sister." They say, you know, "Well,
we're going to go to the airport. We're going to, like, track
her down and don't you worry," you know. So anyway, her
brother finds her at the airport, tries to stop her getting
on the plane and finds out at this point that she is pregnant.
So, like, like I am, just, like, "My kid's pregnant?!"
And, like, so I go back in to see Jeff Porter and I go, you
know, like, "I'm finding out stuff here that's freaking
me out, Jeff!" You know, you tell me you're looking after
my daughter, you know? Do you call this looking after her?
She's vanished. She's pregnant. Yet, the day before, you think
she's on post and perfectly happy? You're supposed to understand
communication. You're supposed to know what's going on! You
know nothing about this kid! You don't even know she's pregnant?!"
And, like, I'm just staggered. And he, like, he says, "Well,
you're holding up this whole process. And she's only blown
because of bad things she's done." And I'm going, "Jeff!
She's a kid! She's pregnant!" I said, "The Sea Org
needs to look at what's going on!" You know, like, "What
have you done to this kid to make her take off on a plane
to England?" So, anyway, you know, all the while I'm
slipping into their bad books and I'm not holding back, man!
I'm just mad as hell, you know? 'Cause, like, what have they
done to my kid? I've got to pick up the pieces here. So, I
call my sister in England and I say, you know, "My daughter
is," it's like 5:00 in the morning. I say, "My daughter
is on her way." (laughs) "Could you please go to
the airport and pick her up?" And then, Leslie says
calls me and says, "Don't worry. We're going to have
her met by people from Saint Hill." And I say, "Oh,
no you're not." I said, "You people have screwed
up with my kid. I don't know what her state of mind is. Is
she suicidal? Is she desperate?" I said, "She's
flown to England to get away from you people." You know,
"My sister is going to meet her." And I said, you
know, "If she comes
she knows the game
comes, you know, at Heathrow and there are people from Saint
Hill waiting for her in uniform, like idiots," I'm not
holding back at this point, you know, "she's going to
run." I said, "And I don't know
vanished, you know, and I'm not going to
you are not
going to do that. I'm going to have my sister meet her."
So then, the whole thing transpired that my sister meets here.
There's no one from Saint Hill to grab her. And then she goes
and stays with my sister. And then I'm on the phone with her
every day, you know. And she's eating better food. She stops
throwing up. And my sister is, like, after a couple of weeks,
like, "Larry, what are you going to do about this? Because,
you know, we can't have her living here indefinitely. She
can't really have the baby here." The Org is calling
her, like, her mother is calling her day and night, day and
night. My sister is going nuts! And she doesn't even understand.
She has no idea of what's going on. She's, like, "Larry,
you know, I'm your sister. I love you and I love Astra. You
better work this out, man." Like, so, I had to scheme.
I said, "Astra," you know, "I'm going to find
a hospital here," you know, "find out how much it
costs to have a baby in L.A., arrange the whole medical deal."
And then, you know, "You can fly back to L.A. in secret
and stay with me." I said, but, like, at some point because
I knew if she just blew and didn't handle it, eventually she
would be declared a Suppressive Person, pregnant or not. I
said, "You're going to fly back to Los Angeles."
And what was wrong with that if she got declared?
Well, then, her mother would be in the Sea Organization. Her
brother would be in the Sea Organization. Her grandmother
would be in the Sea Organization. They were getting ready
to declare Astra because she caused them so much trouble and
she would never be able to speak to her mother again or, you
know, her brother or her grandmother
Or her sister.
Her sister, yeah. So, I felt this is a mess, you know. It's
coming down to me to handle it. So, I said, "Astra, I'll
arrange with the hospital for you to have the baby here in
L.A. You fly here in secret. You can just come to my house
and no one will know you're there and you can chill out. And
then, when you're ready, you can go in and do what they call
routing out. Be in good standing. Have the baby."
What did she say?
So, she, after I worked her and worked her on it, she said,
'cause she wanted to have the baby in England, you know, with
the National Health Service. But I knew that wasn't going
to work. So, eventually, she said yes. And so she flew back.
I met her at LAX. And she came back to my house. She didn't
know they were there for, like, two weeks while she chilled
They didn't know she was there, you mean?
Yeah. They didn't know she was there. They were calling me
saying, you know, "You're a scumbag." And Astra
was standing there. And they were trying to fax us stuff in
England and call her in England. My sister would say, "She's
gone for a walk. Oh, she's sleeping. She's pregnant. She's
tired." They were calling. Then they would call me, "Why
can't your sister
call your sister and tell her we want
to speak to her!" I said, "My sister is not a Scientologist."
It was such a mess!
It's just relentless!
It was such mess! So, anyway then Astra was back at my house
saying, "I can't face them! I can't go in and speak to
them! They're going to tell me I'm scum! All my friends are
going to be against me!" And I said, "Astra,"
you know, "it's only words," you know? Like, "you
I love you. You are who you are." You know,
no words can hurt you, you know? They can call you what they
like but Astra, you know, at the end of the day, does it matter?
You know, they can think of you as scum. If they're not your
friends any longer, they never were your friends, you know?
Like, you've got your whole life ahead of you
And you're just trying to
I'm trying to build her up.
Build her up so that she
She's so scared of going back in
won't lose her. So that she won't lose her mother and
Exactly. Yeah. I'm really trying to act, you know, what I
think of her interest at the time. Yeah.
Did you explain that to her?
Did you talk to her about that?
Yeah. And she didn't want to be cut off from her mother. At
this point, she wanted to leave the Sea Organization but she
wanted to continue as a Scientologist. So, eventually, I built
her up and one day, she just said, "That's it. I'm going
in." So, I'm still kind of freaked out, like, "Okay."
So, I drop her over there. And then she
it takes a month,
you know. And eventually, she leaves. She signs away her papers
and she's free. And she comes home one day in
back in, like, April '98 and she comes back in May one day.
And she's, like, walks in the door, "I'm free! I'm done
with them!" Like, and she's like, "Oh man! What
a mood is she in!" And we, like, get out and celebrate
and then, imMediately, we think, "Now, what do we do
4xx Part 5 xzPart
to Lawrence Woodcraft