Scientology members in action: Eric and Gloria Anderson

In late summer last year a magnitude-8 earthquake rocked the coastal region of central Peru, causing more than 500 deaths and leaving over 1,800 injured. The earthquake destroyed nearly 60,000 buildings and damaged another 20,000. Although the town of Pisco was hardest hit, the earthquake shook the city of Lima more than 150 miles away and was felt as far off as Quito, Ecuador, La Paz, Bolivia and Manaus, Brazil.
On hearing of the earthquake, two Scientology Volunteer Ministers from Los Angeles California, Eric and Gloria Anderson, decided to join the Scientology disaster relief team that was forming up in Peru.

Here is their story in their own words.

Gloria: I am from Peru. I have three grown daughters there. These people are my brothers. They were suffering and we just had to go. We made the decision immediately and within four days we were there.

Eric: One of Gloria’s daughters contacted us 20 minutes after the earthquake. That’s how we learned about it-chatting with her online. When an aftershock hit she wrote, “Mom, I have to go, the ground is moving!”

The earthquake destroyed most of the homes in Pisco and everywhere you looked there was thick dust in the streets-dust that was all that remained of thousands of homes that disintegrated.

It was a really different feeling. There were so many people who needed help and so much that needed to be done that I found myself energized despite the harsh conditions.

Gloria: For me it was an incredible experience. I felt myself expanding and taking on so much more responsibility. I accomplished things I never had thought I would be able to do before.

Eric: Being in Pisco and seeing the amount of destruction was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. Most of the buildings in Pisco are made of adobe-unburned, sun-dried, mud bricks. The earthquake destroyed most of the homes in Pisco and everywhere you looked there was thick dust in the streets-dust that was all that remained of thousands of homes that disintegrated.

I was struck by the absence of people in the town. Thousands of residents were in tents that they pitched along roadsides. Although the people of the town gradually started returning home to salvage their property, when we arrived it was only the military and humanitarian relief organizations that were there, carrying out the salvage and relief operation. Soldiers and relief workers had been up around the clock for days and were in very rough shape.

Gloria: After what they had just experienced most of the people in Pisco were terrified of the possibility of another building collapsing on them. Even though there was a very large shelter set up for them, with plenty of room inside, many were too terrified to stay inside an enclosed space and they camped outside the shelters instead.

I had studied the basics of organization as part of my Volunteer Ministers training and I also had some training in disaster relief as part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Los Angeles. So I had an idea of what it would take to organize and run the shelters.

In the first shelter I went to, the military and police were afraid of riots because of food and water shortages. I put what I had learned right to work. We assigned people jobs and organized up teams of volunteers from the people in the shelter, and before long the whole place was calm, the people were feeling more relaxed and hopeful and the danger of any rioting was a thing of the past. People just started peacefully helping one another.

Eric: We also used Scientology assists to help the people in Pisco. Assists are procedures developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientology religion, to help people who are ill, distraught or injured. After a person has received any needed first aid or medical attention, assists can be used to help the person with the emotional and spiritual aspect of trauma. They enable the person to recover fully from injury, stress or shock.

Gloria: We gave Scientology assists to the people there, and showed them how to give assists to their friends and family.

One woman was devastated when her friends died in the cathedral only feet from where she was standing, and she was unable to do anything to save them. We gave her a Scientology assist, and for the first time since the tragedy she was able to forgive herself for living when her friends had died. She wanted to learn how to help others and I showed her the Scientology Handbook with its very simple directions and she started going up to people in the shelter and giving them assists.

Literally everyone in the town those first few days was feeling the effects of trauma-the survivors had lost everything, the soldiers and relief workers were working long hours under very trying conditions. But thanks to Scientology assists we were able to help people experience relief, which helped them to get on with what they had to do.

Eric: I used assist technology with the kids in the Volunteer Ministers tent in downtown Pisco. I wasn’t sure what to expect. In Los Angeles I’m a substitute teacher, and I work with kids all the time, but I have never dealt with kids who have had such a traumatic experience.

There was one boy who was crying and really disoriented. I decided to give him a Scientology assist to help him over the trauma. Within a few minutes he was laughing and he ran off to play with the other kids. It was great to see how the children responded to assists almost immediately.

One thing that really stands out for me was a Scientology assist I gave to one man. He was stooped over, in so much pain from his back that he couldn’t stand up or lie down. The assist was miraculous. After a few minutes, the pain in his back was gone and he was able to stand up straight. He was stunned!

Gloria: One thing you learn in Scientology is that there is an emotional tone scale. People tend to move through certain emotions. It’s quite predictable. One thing we know is that when people are grieving, they have to move up through other emotional tones such as fear, resentment and anger before they can feel cheerful again. Knowing this, we were able to warn the police and military that this would probably happen and they should not worry about riots, but should let people simply come up though resentment, anger and antagonism because they will get through those tones and be cheerful again.

We were particularly concerned about this with the children we were working with-when they started feeling angry they might break into fights. Because we showed the police this information in the Scientology Handbook, they were not caught off guard. Sure enough, a number of the children started acting feisty, but that was short lived, and it never developed into anything serious.

In addition to helping individuals I trained many of the soldiers, volunteers and other emergency response personnel in Scientology assist technology. We did a seminar for the Red Cross and volunteers from the Health Ministry. They were very happy to have these skills and pitched right in giving assists to anyone who needed help. We also trained soldiers, kids and anyone else who wanted to help.

At the beginning I spent all my time helping the military troops who were in Pisco for the salvage and recovery operation. I found one soldier who was very upset. It seemed that right after the soldiers arrived in the town it was rocked by a major aftershock. The soldiers were terrified and they started running up the side of the mountain to safety, but the commanding officer ordered them back to the valley to the see to their equipment. This soldier was terribly shaken by that incident but after an assist he pulled out of it and was no longer bothered by it.

Another soldier was in pain and was very upset. He had personally hauled out the bodies of 25 people who died when the cathedral in the center of town collapsed. I gave him a Scientology assist, which helped with his pain. But he was still introverted and suffering emotionally.

In the book Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health, L. Ron Hubbard laid out simple but effective techniques anyone can learn, to help people overcome painful and traumatic incidents that can cause fear and other unwanted emotions.

I decided to use Dianetics techniques with this soldier. After running through the incident that had just occurred, he realized there was an earlier incident that was similar to this-the death of his own father some years earlier. His father’s death had affected him deeply, and although it happened years earlier he was still grieving. With the use of Dianetics techniques he not only experienced relief from the horrors he had just lived through, but he also finally came to terms with his father’s death. He felt better and more energetic than he had in years, ready to get back to his responsibilities as part of the military unit protecting the people of Pisco.

Eric: When we decided to go to Peru I knew what we were about to do was important, but I had no concept of the impact our team would have. It’s pretty amazing to realize that you were the deciding factor in people’s lives. Scientology technology worked miracles in our hands.

The few weeks we spent in Peru felt like a lifetime. I think that’s because we did and accomplished more for the people we met and helped in a few weeks than most people do in their entire lives. I have been a Scientologist for 29 years and I have helped many people but I never experienced anything as rewarding and gratifying as this.

Gloria: As a Volunteer Minister my intention is to help people and I know how to do so. The wonderful thing is that all you need is the intention to help because with this technology, you really can.

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3 comments so far

  1. ppedersen on

    This is very commendable to Eric and Gloria. Do you perhaps have photos? I would really like to see these too.

  2. LuSmyths on

    Got one from scientologytoday.org and putting it in!


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