• Henning Benndorf

    Senior Vice President

    My name is Henning Benndorf. I’m the Senior Vice President of Golden Era Productions. I’ve been an executive here for, you know, many years.

    Working at Golden Era Productions is like… is a dream come true. Like I was, you know—I come from Sweden so I… I had a goal. I wanted to, you know, do something that I really wanted to do and that I… I could use my talent as an artist, to be able to contribute to the most, to actually make a difference. I saw people on drugs, I saw people not doing well, I saw a moral crisis that was happening. And it wasn’t just in Sweden, I saw it spreading across the world. And I wanted to do something about it but not just, you know, saying that I want to do something about it, but actually doing something.

    And when I got to Gold it was like, well, everything they said is true. Like it is the best place on the… on… on the planet in terms of being able to do what you want to do, to contribute and to move forward something that you believe in. In terms of making people better, to provide actual solutions for drug abuse, human rights issues, everything that we see every day that is not right about this planet. Here, you have a chance to do something about it. And not just because you are here, you’re in an organization that’s meant to do that and that’s built for that, but it’s for the team, like the people that are here. Like it’s… there’s no team like it on Earth because everybody’s got the same purpose.

    When you see somebody like Ron, not having that purpose, of course he sticks out. Like it’s something that is… it’s like here’s this, you know, thorn in the side, you know? And that’s how he was acting. And that’s—you know, he didn’t fit in. And that’s… that’s the thing. But we really wanted for him to make it. And we put so much effort into him, so much care, so much attention. Nobody had any better support than Ron, like in terms of actually making it.

    Working with Ron specifically, Ronald, on… on these properties, he’s… was always not trying to be part of those properties. There was always a reason why he was too busy doing something else or couldn’t quite make it to that quality level. And that was very peculiar because everybody here are very much into raising the bar, having the highest possible level of quality, a quality that’s been set in terms of its quality by the Chairman of the Board, that there’s no question as to what the quality is. It’s that, it’s what’s needed for our expansion to… to occur. So, evident by not providing the… that level of quality, or actually refusing to produce that level of quality was a, like a trademark of Ron’s.

    Well I found him many times, like on my routine inspections walking around, he would be in the kitchen, he would be finding something else to do, like… like a little fanfare maybe, instead of working on the mainline productions. And he was spending a lot of time trying to get me into sympathizing with him in terms of, well he can’t do these new things because our scoring officer, our main scoring officer, Adam, he was very much working on, like, the main line production and setting a high standard which is correct for what we’re doing, and Ron would…just would not reach that level to a point of where he was just basically saying, “No, I can’t do it.” And at which point, as an executive, like I wou… I would observe this and it was very peculiar because no one else was doing anything like that in terms of displaying those type of, you know, negative assertions about, you know, how some… something can’t be done.

    There’s a peculiar thing about Ron where he would actually be using the fact of his last name, Miscavige, as an excuse to get special services, and so on. And try to coerce executives, specifically like me, into, you know, giving him those excuses and making that OK. And, that was just something that he would do incessantly. Like I was, actually, you know, it was, it was odd that he would be doing that. Specifically, he would be saying “Yeah, I’m doing this I’m off here in the kitchen with the baker. I’m making these cookies and I’m, you know, I’ve got this Polish recipe. I’m… I’m doing this.”

    Like, literally like while everybody else is producing, he’s in there and trying to get me, because I… literally I walked around on a routine inspection, and it does take me through the galley and I walk in there. There’s Ron. Like, what’re you doing here? You know, and he’s there with these Polish or… yeah, Polish cookies. And it was pretty fascinating. And obviously I told him to get back to production because that’s, you know, that’s not his hat, his job. So, that’s what he was doing.

    I would go up to the audio area where… where all the music takes place, all the mixing, etc. There’s a huge music studio. There’s… three scoring rooms that are huge. And then there’s a small building where arranging rooms are and in the very back of one of those arranging rooms in a far end of a corridor, that’s where Ron worked. And he insisted on working there because, you know, he could hide out in there. And… for him to know anything about how the Church was running or any of it’s… what it… what’s happening, any dealings whatsoever from any level besides, you know, going to the dining room, he would know nothing. Like, there’s no information for him. Like, he’s the third trumpet.

    I know, for myself, that, you know, where there is a personal emergency, it’s not just that the organization sees to it, but also, you know, Chairman of the Board himself takes such care of you individually, you have no idea. Like I’ve never, ever met anybody else with more care. And I’ll tell you about that.

    So in… a few years ago my—I got word that my… my dad was, you know, dying. He was not doing well. He had cancer, like a lung… lung cancer. And he thought, you know, that he would make it, but, you know, he wasn’t going to make it. So it was in the middle of an event. We were putting together like massive preparations for a huge international event. And I was, you know, in the position where like, okay, I can’t go but I have to. And Mr. David Miscavige came and saw me. He was like, “Hey, I heard your dad is dying,” like, “What can I do for you?”

    Like… “Tell you what. I’m going to help you. I’m going to get you to—I’m going to cover you entirely, so you can go. I’m going to pay for your airfare, have somebody go with you, pay for his airfare. Whatever you need, you have. You have a car when you arrive there.” There was a car set up. Like I could drive there, I could handle everything.

    I would get phone calls from him personally to make sure I was doing okay. And I was, you know, I was in—I was so lucky that I had that support. Because it’s really tough going through that, and I’m sure a lot of people know that. So then when I was there, my dad died in my arms, like at the hospital. I could say, you know, fare… farewell. And it was… it was beautiful, but it was heavy, you know. So a few hours later, out of the blue, Mr. Miscavige calls me. I’m just, you know, so—you know, like really, the… the words I’ll never forget. They’re very personal. But I’ve never ever received such care in my life. And I cannot, cannot… still not understand how somebody could be so caring. It was really something that… has helped me tremendously. And I… I… I would never ever think that anybody could take so much… so much care about, about… one staff member, let alone hundreds of them. It’s unbelievable.