The Guardian’s Office, known as the GO, was initially created in 1966 as a unit to deal with the Church’s legal and external affairs. It no longer exists. It was permanently disbanded in the early 1980s by current Church management.
The GO had been set up by unethical church members to fail in its mission to protect the Church. It was influenced to abandon its original mandate and established itself as an independent, autonomous unit, answerable to nobody. It became isolated not only from the mainstream activity and management of the Church, but even from the Founder of the religion, L. Ron Hubbard. Some GO executives actually tried to gain exclusive control over Church corporate and financial affairs.
The first warning that all was not well with the Guardian’s Office came in the late 1970s. Confronted with criminal activities done by members of the Guardian's Office representatives of Church management realized that the GO no longer had the best interests of the Church and its Founder at heart. Not only that. At the same time the GO’s management of the Church’s external affairs was notably deficient and many parishioners and staff began to suspect that matters for which the GO was responsible were not being dealt with in accordance with the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. In fact, by this time, the Guardian’s Office had abandoned any pretense of following the principles described in Hubbard’s writings.
It subsequently came to light that a handful of GO staff members had been influenced to adopt an “anything goes” approach in dealing with government discrimination against the Church. The dupes infiltrated and burglarized several U.S. government offices to obtain copies of files maintained and circulated about the Church. Obviously such activity was highly illegal and directly violated Church policies.
However, while such illegal conduct was afoot, the GO managed to keep its operations secret from Church management, staff and membership. Its autonomy shielded it from accountability. Most Scientologists were altogether unaware of GO clandestine activities.
Even the government prosecutor in the later criminal case that arose from this illegal conduct testified that only a handful of people in the GO had engaged in or even knew about these illegal acts. The rest, including thousands of staff and millions of parishioners, had no involvement or knowledge of such unlawful activities.
When the GO’s criminal activities were discovered by those who today form the core of the Church’s leadership, the GO was disbanded, no small feat since it was the GO officials who held corporate control. Its functions were completely reorganized and brought under the control of the Church’s ecclesiastical management officers. Many of the GO staff were not involved in any of the unlawful activities and, wanting to conduct their affairs in accordance with the Founder’s teachings, abandoned their former GO leaders. They then gave their full support to Church management in the clean out and disbanding of the GO. Those who participated in or knew of the GO’s illegal conduct in any way were removed from Church staff and forever banned from future Church employment.
Sadly, there were also some people in the Church, but outside of the GO itself, who sympathized with the GO because of their own agendas to achieve autonomy and gain control of the Church’s finances. In some cases, it was the Scriptures themselves they wanted to pervert for their own ends. Given these people had proven themselves to be avowed enemies of L. Ron Hubbard and the religion, they were excommunicated.
Today, some of these same people, no longer part of the Church, are loudly and bitterly critical of the Church’s current management. It is these few apostates who are most often the ones who spread vitriol in the media about Scientology and Church leaders. When they make allegations of wrongdoing, they are referring to the acts of the GO, of which many of them were either a part or in sympathy with. They fail to mention their involvement or the fact that they were kicked out of the Church because of their GO involvementor the fact that the very people they now try to tarnish with their allegations are the very people who permanently rid the Church of those who committed or supported such misdeeds.
This cleanup of the GO was led by Mr. David Miscavige, who removed all corporate control from the hands of the GO and dismissed all personnel who had been involved in illegalities or attempts to alter Mr. Hubbard’s technologies. Mr. Miscavige and a team of Church executives then set up an entirely new corporate and administrative structure for the Scientology religion which has since served to keep the religion pure and in accordance with the teachings laid out by its Founder.
Outsiders familiar with these events leading to, and culminating in, the disbanding of the GO, have often commented on the decisive and thorough manner in which the entire situation was managed. Relations with the U.S. government have been restored and the Church has obtained from the Internal Revenue Service full recognition and tax-exemption as an exclusively charitable, religious endeavor.
Virtually all major religions have gone through periods of trial and upheaval, especially during their formative years. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, underwent numerous schisms which splintered the faith. Sometimes history lingers. It took its leaders hundreds of years to come to terms with and acknowledge that the Inquisition was wrong.
One of the steps taken to ensure that nothing like the GO could ever occur within Scientology again was the formation of Religious Technology Center (RTC). RTC is responsible for ensuring the purity of the religion and the Scientology Scriptures, and provides a policing mechanism for the Church.
Indeed, the reorganization of the Church in the wake of the GO debacle marked the beginning of a new era. The Scientology religion not only successfully weathered the storm; it emerged even stronger, more stable, larger and more influential than before. In 1980 there were 328 churches, missions and groups around the world. Today, more than 3,000 churches, missions, related organizations and groups minister the religion to parishioners in more than 130 countries. Dianetics and Scientology books are on bestseller lists all over the world, with Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health having sold four times as many copies since 1980 as it did in the prior 30 years.