April 27, 2016
47 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
Re: ABC 20/20 program and book co-author Dan Koon
Dear Mr. Bentley:
My name is Susan Goodban. I was very upset to learn that you plan to broadcast a program about a book co-authored by Ronald T. Miscavige and my former husband, Dan Koon. I have read a draft of the manuscript and I want to share with you my extensive personal knowledge that undercuts what he has written as the co-author.
I was married to Dan for 27 years. The bulk of that time we were in the Church of Scientology together. I was with him the entire time he was in Scientology and I know what he knows about the workings of the Church and its leadership. I can tell you unequivocally that he was never in a position to know about many of the things he is claiming in the book.
Before I get to that, though, let me tell you a brief story that illustrates the character of Dan Koon. The last time I saw him was on December 21, 2003. I was ironing his shirt for work the next day and he went out to do some Christmas shopping. I never saw him again. After 27 years, he left without a word.
It was only after he was gone that I found out that for months he’d been having an illicit affair with Mariette Lindstein, now his wife, and that they had gone to great lengths to keep the whole thing hidden. She secretly departed a couple of weeks later and joined up with him. I bring this up because Dan now lies by falsely claiming that the Church broke up our marriage and that it somehow means that the Church breaks up families.
The truth is it was Dan and Dan alone who shattered our marriage by moving in with his mistress. Any other tale he tells is a lie promoted by Dan. It had nothing to do with the Church, which supports and encourages strong families.
One thing that upsets me is Dan’s pretense of having intimate knowledge of the activities of David Miscavige. Dan is no more qualified than I am to write a book on Mr. Miscavige, his position and the global issues he is dealing with as the Church’s ecclesiastical leader. I lived and worked closely with Dan for the vast majority of his time at Golden Era Productions. I was with him virtually the entire time over the years because we were co-workers on the same projects, in the same organization, with the same interests and functions. Given our jobs and expertise, we were naturally many rungs below the top of the Church of Scientology and not privy to the inside information that the book claims.
Neither of us has a clue about Mr. Miscavige’s time with the religion’s Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, for example, aside from seeing them together on the set, shooting instructional films in 1978. We may have seen them speaking together at the end of each day’s shoot, but we certainly didn’t hear their conversations. And from then on, we did not work in Mr. Miscavige’s office and did not see the million and one things he did in the name of the religion. Oftentimes, Mr. Miscavige would be away from the property handling all manner of things, leading our Church. My husband and I were not there with him. We got our information like everybody else, at Church events and gatherings. We certainly didn’t know anything about the stories Dan tells in this book—and neither did Ronald Miscavige who was even further removed since he wasn’t even on Church staff at the time.
For many years, Dan Koon’s primary job was to compile scripture for publication to our parishioners. It was while working in that position that Dan showed he can’t be trusted. It is crucial in our faith that we adhere strictly to the writings and recorded spoken words of our Founder, Mr. Hubbard. If Mr. Hubbard wrote something, we issue it exactly as he wrote it. If he left instructions how earlier writings or lectures should be compiled for public release, then those instructions are to be followed precisely. There is no more serious offense in the religion than to alter what Mr. Hubbard wrote. To a Scientologist, changing scripture is tantamount to mortal sin.
Dan violated that trust by adding to the scripture, making up his own religious teachings and fraudulently representing his own writings as having been written by the Founder. And not in a small way. His alterations were insidious and extremely destructive to the religion.
During this period, Mr. Miscavige was away dealing with other Church matters. When he returned, he discovered what Dan had done and summarily removed Dan from his position. Mr. Miscavige has since purged all of Dan’s inventions from the religious scripture and brought the materials back to a pure state. To give you an idea of the magnitude of the harm done, it took the better part of a decade for Mr. Miscavige to assemble all of L. Ron Hubbard’s original works and ferret out the curves and twists Dan had introduced in them and bring these materials back to what Mr. Hubbard had instructed to be done.
Rather than confront what he had done and commit to reforming, Dan chose to sneak away like a coward just as he snuck away from our marriage. But the harm he caused to the Church continued to fester inside him. I know this from seeing the way he has tried to rewrite history in his postings on the Internet.
For example, in a 2015 posting that he co-wrote with another anti-Scientologist, Jefferson Hawkins, Dan claims credit for writing the contents of a large guide chart listing all of Mr. Hubbard’s books and lectures, including a short description of each. The chart was issued in 2007. Dan was long gone from the Church by then.
In another 2015 posting, he falsely claims that Mr. Miscavige reinstated a series of counseling steps called the Survival Rundown that Mr. Hubbard cancelled in 1979. What he doesn’t say is that Mr. Hubbard instructed that to compile this rundown properly, hundreds of counseling procedures would need to be extracted from the more than 2,000 lectures in which they were contained, organized, catalogued and compiled. Whereas this was far too much work for Dan to ever do, this is exactly what Mr. Miscavige did.
These examples are to show you that Dan cannot be trusted. His level of resentment is clear, and this book should be seen for the cynical and unscrupulous act it is.
Dan and his co-author falsely represent that Mr. David Miscavige treated people poorly. Dan knows this to be a lie. I worked with Dan extensively and witnessed the opposite. Here is an example: Even though Dan was in a very junior position, Mr. Miscavige saw that Dan felt uncomfortable about having amblyopia, or lazy eye. Mr. Miscavige asked Dan if he would like to have his eye corrected and then arranged for Dan to receive the necessary surgery. The procedure was successfully done to correct his eye. Dan was quite happy with the result of this purely compassionate act.
Another time, I had hurt my knee in an accident and could not walk easily. To help, Mr. Miscavige personally arranged for me to get an electric wheelchair so I could get around more easily and without pain until my knee healed.
In yet another example, one year Dan and I got stranded at the airport after coming home from vacation visiting our family. We called in on New Year’s Eve. Surprisingly, Mr. Miscavige was walking by and answered the phone when the rest of the staff was at the New Year’s party. It was pure happenstance. He then personally made the effort to get us a lift home so we could enjoy the celebration before it ended. That is what he is like. He always made sure the staff were well cared for.
In addition, good work was routinely rewarded by Mr. Miscavige. Upon completion of a project he sent me and the entire unit to L.A. to see the live musical “Phantom of the Opera.” On another occasion we were treated to a day at the Raging Waters water park. On another occasion we were sent out to see a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. On yet another occasion we were treated to dinner and a night out to see the play “Art” in London. One Christmas, he sent the whole office a large basket of food and treats with a nice card thanking us for our work that year. These are just some examples which show Dan’s allegations to be false and he knows them to be untrue because he was a beneficiary of
Mr. Miscavige’s recognition when his work warranted it.
In typical Dan Koon hyperbole, he falsely compares Golden Era Productions to North Korea and the staff there to “prisoners.” This is absurd and ridiculous. Dan and I lived together during the years he was on staff here at Golden Era Productions. We lived in an apartment in town and commuted a half-hour each day to get to work. We owned a large blue Buick. We would go to the local shops on Sunday morning, do our weekly grocery shopping and so on. As a routine we would do studies on Scientology in the mornings and then Dan and I would do exercise and sports using the facilities. Sometimes we used to go out and play catch on the baseball field and during holidays and special occasions we would do jet skiing, baseball games, barbeques, etc. In the years we were here together there were more and more improvements to the property and crew facilities such as renovating ideal office spaces, brand-new dining facilities, a new fleet of cars for crew use, a building housing laundry facilities where our sheets and towels are washed and folded, new sports facilities (a baseball field, volleyball courts, a basketball court, tennis courts and a soccer field) not to mention the Olympic-size swimming pool. When we arrived here the property was literally a dirt bowl. Now it is beautiful.
The book falsely represents that staff members subsisted on “substandard food” and lacked proper medical care. It also falsely claims that staff members could not go to the doctor unless they were accompanied by an “escort.” Both of these assertions are simply fiction. The food at Golden Era Productions is excellent. Dan told me more than once that he thought the hamburgers were the best in the world. Additionally, neither Dan nor I ever had an “escort” when we left the Gold base for medical appointments or for any other purpose. For example, before Dan had his eye surgery, described above, he had multiple visits to the doctor on his own or with me in our Buick. On rare other occasions we received rides from staff to medical appointments in town but were always dropped off and never monitored in any way.
Dan Koon has been gone from the Church for 13 years, having been expelled. Dan knows nothing of the Church today. He gets everything he regurgitates in Ron Miscavige’s book from discredited rants on the Internet from a handful of other disgruntled malcontents like him.
Life in the Church is more exciting now than it has ever been, with Mr. Miscavige’s work appreciated by parishioners and staff worldwide. He has brought about an incredible energy and resurgence of our religion, which is what people like Dan Koon and his small anti-Scientology clique froth at the mouth over. They missed out on it and resent it.
Dan is resentful of someone committed to making the world a better place because he, himself, is a total failure. Obviously, Dan harbors a grudge towards Mr. Miscavige because it is Mr. Miscavige who corrected the egregious alterations of the Scientology religious scriptures created by Dan. This bitterness undoubtedly will be woven through every page of the book Dan created for Ron Miscavige, which is just a vehicle for a tiny group of anti-Scientologists to vent their sick agenda.
Dan Koon once described himself as “on the evil side of the equation.” Now he’s publishing vicious lies in a book for money and fame. There is nothing Dan and Ron Miscavige can or will say that will honestly reflect the Church today. Dan is reviled within the Church as a fraud.
Dan Koon cannot be trusted to tell the truth. As someone who was married to him for 27 years, I know. If you have an ounce of integrity, you will not provide a platform to this hateful person and ABC will be honest with its viewers and expose Dan Koon as the heretic that he is.
Susan J. Goodban