I was a member of Scientology for many years. The only counseling I ever received was from official, authorized Scientology.
A few years ago, at the hands of some of its most trained members, I went through a devastating experience that left my mind and spirit shattered. I was no longer a whole person. Only now, am I able to even talk about it. Stories like mine are the exception, rather than the rule. However, mine is not the first, nor will it be the last.
I am posting this anonymously because I do not wish to be outed. I am doing better, but I need time to continue healing in private. Of Course Scientologists in the Office of Special Affairs International (OSA Int) and Religious Technology Center (RTC) will recognize who I am because it was under their care that this happened.
The story I wish to share began almost three years ago in 1996. I did not know it at the time but my saga began eight weeks after Lisa McPherson died on December 5, 1995, in Clearwater, Florida. Several aspects of my story are similar, if not the same as Lisas; we both had a Scientologist Doctor, we were given the same vitamin and herb concoctions as well as the Drug Chloral Hydrate, and both of us had complete mental breakdowns including hallucinations. Luckily, there were some aspects that were quite different, especially our endings.
Lisa and I had both been long term Scientologists. I had spent over 10 years on Scientology staff (the Sea Organization) as a full time employee or staff member in one of their organizations. Several of those years were spent in Scientology International Management (Int.). After leaving the Sea Organization, I spent another ten years as a public Scientologist with varying degrees of activity.
While I was a Scientologist, I encountered many conditions and situations within the church that I disliked or disagreed with. However, I rationalized them and placed them into perspectives that allowed me to feel I could and should continue as an active member. I guess I always hoped that these conditions would eventually be changed for the better.
By the early 1990s, I found my hopes were wearing thin and my doubts and disagreements werent so easily put to rest. I took some Scientology courses intending to get these doubts and disagreements resolved. Instead, the doubts got stronger.
Towards the end of l994, I received a call from someone at OSA Int. who wanted me to join a new group that "Wolly" had started on the Internet. (Note: "Wolly" is the name that staff at OSA Int. use for Larry Wollersheim, a former Scientologist.) She wanted to know what "Wolly" was up to. I turned her down, saying that I did not know my way around the Internet.
However, her call made me curious and I soon learned how to get online. That was how I discovered the Internet. During l995, I found and read many court cases, court decisions, affidavits and press information in support of and against Scientology.
While this information answered a lot of questions for me, it neither eased my doubts nor made me a stronger Scientologist. I took a few trips into AOLA (the Advanced Scientology Organization in Los Angeles) and CCLA (the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles) to get some help in sorting out my feelings. These actions did not help either.
A few of the points that I wanted sorted out were:
These were a few of my feelings and concerns, as I wandered about the Internet.
Around New Years 1996, I realized that I had to tell my husband how I felt, even though it was a High Crime to tell another Scientologist about ones disaffection with Scientology. I also told him that I might not want to be a Scientologist any longer. He was visibly upset and very clear with me that that would be a problem for him. I knew that if I continued in my current direction, my marriage and children could be at risk. So I stopped talking about my feelings.
On Monday, February 5, 1996, I received a call from a member of OSA Int. who I knew personally. She wanted to meet with me. I met with her and her associate in the boardroom of OSA Int. on Hollywood Blvd. To my amazement, they handed me a private E-mail message I had sent to someone several months earlier. Scientology had declared this person a Suppressive Person, meaning that the Church had dismissed him from membership, severed his ties to the Scientology and to active Scientologists, and forbad all Scientologists to have anything to do with him. The person, in his message to me, marveled that I, a Scientologist in good standing, still trusted and communicated with him. I replied that I did not distrust him personally, but that I was concerned about the spies that I was certain that Scientology had positioned closely to him.
The two women at OSA Int. never admitted how they obtained my private E-mail message. I told them I was not hiding anything, in that I had signed my real name to it, and knew they had observers and spies everywhere. I also told them about my visits to AOLA and CCLA to try to sort out my thoughts and feelings about Scientology, including some thoughts I had recently resolved.
I told them that I disagreed with many of the operations that OSA Int. instigated against its so-called "enemies," as they were unethical. I disagreed with the Scientology mindset, "the end justifies the means," that governed their actions and decisions, including those I had personally been involved in or had personal first hand knowledge of.
They really did not seem interested in my point of view, but instead zeroed in on specific names I mentioned, wanting to know if I had talked with this or that person, all of whom, of course, were on their enemies list.
They offered to help me sort through my doubts and confusions. They said that a wonderful auditor, whom I had known but hadnt seen for many years, had been studying my folders and that she wanted to help me.
I was not adverse to an offer of help, so went in for a D of P interview. Only to find out it was not a D of P interview like any I had ever had, but more like an interrogation. I was asked if I knew people who are off the bridge. Did I know anyone who is an SP? How bout people I chat with? How bout what I think??
I returned home NUMB. I didnt want to talk about it. I knew if I refused their handling I would be declared, and I knew my marriage (and other facets of my life) were at risk if I got declared.
That night I happened to get a call from a Scientology friend of mine. She was troubled. Her Org (AOLA) had ordered her to disconnect from her best friend (disaffected as a Scientology member, but not a declared enemy). Her husband told her that if she didnt disconnect, she wouldnt be moving on the bridge and if she was not moving on the bridge, he could no longer be married to her.
I felt I was in a similar corner to her and that I had no choice but to appear at the scheduled session the next day. I call it a "session" because it was not an interview; the interview had been done the previous day. It was meant to be an informal interview before the more formal auditing began.
The next day the two OSA Int. women walked me back into the auditing room to meet the auditor. They followed me into this tiny auditing room. At first I looked at these three women and their stern faces and wondered if this was about to be a "Gang Bang Sec Check" that I had heard about years ago. But it wasnt, and they soon left me alone with my auditor.
What transpired over the next several days was like no "auditing" I had ever experienced. "Grueling" is a word that comes to mind. The sessions were hours long, and went on for several days.
I remember on the second day, the auditor had me read these different bulletins to show me that this was truly for my benefit and that these sessions were not meant to be an inquisition or to attack me. The auditor said that she really cared about me and that this was being done to help. But then she would begin yelling at me over something I said or that she disagreed with.
For example, I remember telling her about something that I had done to a suppressive person that I considered to be an overt, only to be yelled at. She shouted at me that what I had done couldnt possibly be an overt, that "You can not commit overts on Suppressive People."
We had several disagreements about the definition of an overt. I said that I did not agree with the definition, "Greatest Good for Greatest Number," as it had been used to justify a lot of wrong actions I had done. I said that I felt that "Do Unto Others," or what goes around comes around had immensely more validity for me, and I used them to decide if I transgressed. The auditor vehemently disagreed with my point of view as it did not comply with either Hubbards or Scientologys beliefs and, right in the auditing session, this led to several more yelling episodes.
These session days lasted about a week. When I wasnt in session, I talked very little. I felt numb all the time. Although I tried, I could not sleep. I forced myself to eat in order to "pass a metabolism check," the needle phenomenon that shows your body is rested and fed and allows the session to begin.
At night I would feel these sessions repeating constantly in my mind. It was like the session never ended. I brought the auditor home with me. She was in my mind, disagreeing with me, screaming at me, and digging into my head.
February 9 or 10, 1996
This was the longest session I had, about six hours. I remember desperately wanting to leave. However, I was on one of the upper floors of OSA Int. When I pictured the difficulties in getting past my auditor as well as the hallways and stairs that had cameras everywhere and were always full of staff and security guards trained to prevent "session blows", I ended up remaining. I spent most of those six hours sitting in the tiny auditing room sobbing, or doubled over a trash can with the dry heaves.
Sunday night February 11, l996
I went to sleep. Around 2 AM I was awakened with the cracking of my mind, my self, my soul. I dont know how else to describe it, other than my mind broke. I was driven to do something, but I did not know what. I was yelling at my husband, but it didnt feel as if I was yelling the words.
I left the house running. My husband, who was chasing me, caught me before I left the driveway. I paced around the car and tried to touch the trees. My husband calmed me enough to get me back into the house.
I was scared to death. Something had happened to my mind and I knew I was now in a different place. My husband called OSA Int. and spoke with my auditor (who happened to be up at 2AM) She spoke with my husband and then myself. All I remember of our conversation was her saying "There is no tech to handle this". I remember feeling as though I was off in the distance, while thinking, "she could at least have lied to me "
It was either on February 12th or 13th that someone arranged another auditing session with my auditor. As soon as she started the session, the auditor pulled out the "Security Check Correction List," an auditing action that was supposed to detect and resolve the difficulties so often encountered in Scientology Security Checks. Most of these difficulties were thought to come from one or more secrets that the preclear had not divulged. I immediately felt devastated. "They," (meaning the C/S and Auditor), thought that this problem with my mind was nothing more than a "missed withhold." I knew that this was not what was wrong with me. I also felt that the case supervisor and the auditor could correct what had happened to me and I could not understand why they had not. The auditor talked with me until my "needle floated," and then ended the session. I remember asking her, "But what about fixing whats wrong with me?" She never answered me. I was sent home and told they would call me.
Over the next few days, I stayed home. I was extremely anxious, fearful, and unwell. I would try to fall asleep, but would soon be awakened by things going on in my mind." It is difficult to communicate what those shadows and demons were. I just wanted them to stop. I just wanted my clarity of thought back.. I increased the dosages of vitamins my auditor had me taking - Melatonin, Calcium and Magnesium, and vitamin B1. However, the condition worsened and I found it harder and harder to maintain my grip on the world.
I spend the night of February 13th pacing in the garage so as not to wake any family members. I was trying to keep my racing thoughts calmed down, trying to keep the world from melting around me. At this point, my husband did not understand what was happening to me, and I felt very alone.
At 5:00AM, I called another public Scientologist who was both my friend and an auditor. I thought he might be able to give me the help I needed. He was a great comfort; he likened what I was experiencing to a very bad LSD trip hed had many years ago. It was a comfort to know that someone had been where I was, but at the same time, I was perplexed as I had not taken LSD.
My friend knew the people at OSA Int and promised to find out why they werent fixing me.
It is important to know that during all this time - from the time my mind broke till this day (about 4 days later), I was aware that I had had a breakdown. My mind was broken, and it had broken in the middle of my Scientology Counseling. But I remembered that L. Ron Hubbard had said, "The Way Out, Is the Way Through," and, "What Turns it On Will Turn it off," so I waited for OSA Int. to fix what they had broken. I felt they had the tools to fix my broken mind. But things worsened. It had been days, hours upon hours and I was beginning to feel that they were witholding their help on purpose. I began to get paranoid.
FEBRUARY 15th 1996
Someone from OSA Int. called and told me that the case supervisor had ordered I see a Scientology Doctor. I did not have one. I knew enough about Scientology techniques to know that the case supervisor wanted a medical opinion about my condition.
By this time I was starting to wonder if Captain Bill (Robertson) was really right after all. Captain Bill was a major Sea Organization Executive. He had gone "off the deep end" back in 82 when he left the Sea Org. He had spun stories of how the higher echelons of the Sea Organization had been taken over by aliens, called Marcabians, from the planet Marcab. I had never given his stories a second thought till now. These OSA Int. staff were acting so cold hearted, they appeared to be alien. What if Captain Bill had been right all along? The doctor I was being sent to was an OT8. Perhaps the OT8s were involved in the alien mind control program and remote viewing?? Perhaps that is how my mind had gotten broken.
Despite my fears, I was taken to the Scientology doctor in Los Angeles. She told me to continue with the Melatonin, vitamin B1, the Calcium Magnesium that my auditor had me taking. She additionally recommended that I get some other herbs and she gave me a prescription for Chloral Hydrate. She said that Dr. Denk (another Scientology doctor who had been with L Ron Hubbard when he died) had done research and found that Chloral Hydrate was the best "non-psych" drug that I could use.
Over the next four days I continued to deteriorate. I was hallucinating more often. I was pacing. I was not eating. I felt the universe constantly disappearing on me. I found that movement kept the world present, and kept the demons at bay.
The only helpful advice that my auditor from OSA Int. gave during this time, was to tell my husband not to let me drive.
I felt as if I was on a Ferris wheel. I had periods of partial sanity wherein I would know that I was insane. But these were brief and did not last. Each time I came out of my delirium, I knew the moment would not last and that the frightening power of my broken mind would soon suck me back under. I was drowning, and felt that the people at OSA Int. were watching me disappear.
I tried many things over the next few days in an attempt to help myself or get the Scientologists to help me. I spoke with people at OSA Int. repeatedly and even gave them my personal diaries and other personal papers thinking that they might help the case supervisor understand me and what I was experiencing.
I told them I was in hell, it was like Dantes Inferno in my mind. I told them I really, really needed them to give me a session to put my mind back together. The only response I received was that my preclear folders were at the RTC (Religious Technology Center) for technical review and I had to wait till they returned before any auditing could be resumed.
During this time, I religiously took all medications as recommended. Thinking it might help, I increased the dosages and started taking handfuls of Vitamin B1, but I still could not sleep other than for brief bursts of 30-40 minutes. I would awaken from a dream and think that what I had dreamt had really happened.
My husband was not really understand what was happening with me. I was truly alone. I remember once being in my closet in the dark, curled up in the corner, sobbing, hitting my head against the wall. I just wanted my mind back.
I remember once my auditor telling me to stop talking to my Scientology auditor friend (the one that wasnt on staff). She said he shouldnt be involved.
Months later, I asked my FSM" why he hadnt been around during this incident. He told me that OSA Int. told him they had it under control and for him to stay out of it.
During the night of February 20th l996, I didnt sleep at all. I was now certain that Captain Bill had been right in his theories or views. The Marcabians had taken over Scientology top management. Captain Bill had told me that the Marcabians had placed (invisible to humans) "tepaphones" on top of the Big Blue Scientology campus in Los Angeles. It was through these tepaphones that they practiced their mind control of the humans. It made sense, that that was how I lost my mind. And it also explained why the people at OSA Int. were so cold hearted to my pain they were either aliens or controlled by the aliens.
It was clear to me that OSA Int had no intention of help.
Many irrational things occurred that day.. I was fully paranoid, fully psychotic and hallucinating. I can remember darting across a busy street and arriving in wonder on the other side. I had been so sure I was going to be hit, that I didnt know what to do next.
It was shortly after that that I physically collapsed on the sidewalk. I remember trying to get my body up off the sidewalk, but I could not stand, or even sit up. I was now physically out of it, as well as mentally. I was combative. I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital in restraints.
My husband showed up pretty soon after my arrival in the hospital. I was so completely out of it, I did not recognize him. Reportedly, my blood levels were crazy and I was dehydrated. My husband brought them the bottle of Chloral Hydrate the Scientology doctor had prescribed. Several of the hospital staff were incredulous at the Chloral Hydrate prescription. "This is what they gave her to get to sleep!!!" a couple of them laughed.
I found out later that as the prescribing physician, the Scientology doctor had been called about my collapse and mental state. She alerted OSA Int. who sent people there to prevent a psychiatric admission.
After several hours, and with a little coaching, I was able to answer the key emergency room questions "Who are you?" "What day is it?" And, "Where are you?" The doctors wanted to keep me in the hospital, but allowed me to leave in the care of my husband and I was signed out "Against medical Advice."
I had an informal babywatch after the hospital excursion. I say informal, because a) it occurred in my own home, b) the Scientologists who watched me were people I knew, and c) they were not forbidden to talk with me. Once my husband was home, they would leave.
February 22, l996
Someone from OSA Int. came to my house to give me a note from the Case Supervisor. I dont remember what it was, but I do remember that it sent me off into a long babbling tirade with the woman who brought it.
In addition, the "people" (they were invisible people who only I could see) who arrived with her started a fight with "my people".
Needless to say, after that visit my husband was not hopeful of any help coming from the Case Supervisor/Auditing side of things. My husband called the Scientology doctor for some help. Incredibly, he was told there was nothing she could do, as my only relief was in psychiatric drugs and she could not prescribe them.
After that, my husband came to me and just held me. He told me that there was no help coming from OSA Int. and none from any Scientology doctors. He said that we were on our own, and that we would come through this together. Even in the turmoil of insanity, I was happy not to be alone any longer. I felt some hope. I remembered the doctors laughing about the Chloral Hydrate, and I felt that we had to do the OPPOSITE of what we had been told. My husband agreed, and I stopped all vitamins, herbs, and medications as advised by anyone connected to OSA Int.
Instead I took only aspirin because I had read somewhere that the drug "shut off mental pictures and imagery."
February 23-March 1
Over the next week, I was still did not sleep. The hallucinations and paranoia continued. However, I was no longer alone. The only way I can describe it is that my husband got inside the insanity with me. He saw what I saw and heard what I heard, or, at least, he made me feel that he did. He helped me calm down. At night, when the waves of terror where the worst, he stayed with me. It was as if he created a lighthouse in my shattered and drowning mind, and I followed his beacon back out of the terror.
My husband still likens it to the movie "Poltergeist" where the father goes into the "other universe" to rescue his daughter who had been sucked in through the television. Thats what my husband basically did, he came into the psychosis, found me, and got me out.
Slowly I began to sleep more. Slowly the terrors dissipated. The hallucinations were still there, but they became more gentle. The voices I heard were nicer.
During this time period of initial slow healing, no one from OSA Int. called. At one point, I felt an urgent need to get back my books and journals. My husband called OSA Int. and did in fact get bunches of my personal things back. The journals had been opened flat (like on a copy machine) and certain pages (where I mentioned Scientology) had been dog eared. But at least I had my originals back.
I remember trying to put normalcy there. In the past I used to get up in the morning, have juice and coffee, and read the paper. So I started going through the same routine - getting up, getting my juice and coffee and opening the paper. Even though I was unable to concentrate and could not read more than a word here and there, I focused on two small statements -"act as if" and "fake it till you make it." I stayed on a newspaper page about as long as I thought it would take if I was really reading it, and then turned to the next one.
I was struggling to get my mind back in order and to arrive back in the real world and live day to day.. Every night I slept a bit more, and every day I was a bit better.
March 6th l996
I got a call from that auditor friend, the one that had helped me with his LSD story and other actions before my husband understood what was happening. He wanted to interview me and record my experience.
I had already decided that I would never "pick up the cans again". However, I trusted him and agreed. I wanted MY point of view documented. I did not want my preclear folders, that Scientology would never permit me to possess, to be the only record of my experience. We met in a private, safe location.
Afterward, my friend stated that, as a trained auditor, he could see misapplications and errors in the techniques I had received. His statement didnt fix anything for me, nor did it tell me anything new, but it helped me feel that I had not lost my mind through my fault.
Friday, March 8th
I got another call from my friend, the auditor. He told me that a woman from OSA Legal wanted me to sign some affidavits. He told me that OSA Int. had originally asked his help in getting me to sign these affidavits. OSA Int. had not cared for my information, and had no interest in interviewing me for my feelings about what had happened. He told me that it was he who had demanded that the interview be done for the record.
I was upset. I took the OSA Legal phone number. I was angry that this legal person didnt even have the decency to call me directly. In fact, my husband and I had received NO phone calls on my behalf after the Friday when he realized that OSA and Scientology would not assist us.
When I called the woman from OSA Legal, she told me that she had a short affidavit and a longer waiver for me to sign. I told her I wanted copies and the time to read them first. As I talked with her, it hit me that after all I had gone through, this was all I would get in exchange from Scientology. Non-Scientologists had sent flowers and good wishes. Scientology wanted me to sign legal documents. I started to sob and hung up on her. A while later, I called her back and she agreed to mail the papers to me.
I was in grief at this turn of events, saddened and deeply disappointed that this was all I would get from my supposed church. My husband, on the contrary, was not sad but incensed that all "these people" cared about was covering their own asses.
The affidavits never came in the mail. Even so, I wondered about signing them or not. I knew that if I did not sign them, OSA Int. would consider me a threat and would take further actions against me.
Even though I was doing better, I was still unstable and there was a part of me that worried about the alien takeover and those tepaphones the alien Marcabians had placed atop the blue Scientology building. I also knew they could send me right back to the hell I had just climbed out of.
The OSA Int. legal woman called and said she couldnt mail documents, but would like me to read them (in her presence) and sign them.
My husband was unavailable that day. The only friend I could contact recommended I sign them so that Scientology would leave me alone.
I would not meet the legal woman in the Scientology building. We agreed to meet in a restaurant, but I was too upset to get out of the car and we made it no further than the restaurant parking lot. It was only a bit more than one month from the beginning of my ordeal and only a week since I began to pretend I was normal. Not yet having anchors in to the real world, I was shaky. I sat with her in the car in the parking lot, crying, while she read the two documents to me. She said that normally a lawyer would explain them so I knew what I was signing, but as I was in no shape to go into her building and meet with her attorney, I couldnt.
We changed some wording. They called what happened to me my "stressful period." They wanted me to sign that I knew this was not their fault and that Scientology had helped me.
The other thing to sign was a waiver, she said it was standard. She said that it is signed my many people every day now. Its a real common act. Everyone leaving staff signs one. OSA Int. keeps them in boxes in a closet in the legal office. They hope the leaving staff never turn into enemies and that these waivers never have to be used, but just in case they get them signed before letting anyone leave the Sea Organization.
She agreed to change some wording. She was going to make clean copies and we arranged to meet to sign them. I was about to leave when she turned to me and said "Oh, one more thing, I would like you to sign these on video. That way, if Arnie Lerma ever finds out about this, "we could prove that they werent signed under duress."
The irony of sitting in a car, in a parking lot, with tears streaming down my face, unable to make it into even a restaurant due to the stress I was feeling, was unbelievable. I told her I would not be in her video.
My husband was still unavailable. I wasnt sure what to do. I did not want to become involved in a war with Scientology over signing the documents. I just wanted my mind back. I reasoned that if signing the papers would keep them from harassing me (and aiming those tepaphones at me), I should do so and get on with my life.
I went back to Hollywood to meet with this OSA woman and a notary public. I picked them up in front of the OSA Int. building and we went around the corner and parked. I signed the documents in my car. I got my copies, which she cautioned me to keep safe and not to show anyone. It seemed as if it was unusual for people to get copies.
My husband was not happy, especially when he found out OSA Int. had arranged this on a day he was unavailable. But fine, whats done is done.
Life goes on. Life went on. I continued to slowly mend.
I remember the end of June, or early July l996, when I felt the walls return to my mind.
In those months, I never spoke of what happened, even to my closest friends and family. I did not discuss it even with those who knew what happened. At that point it felt better to just move forward and not think about it.
In June l996, a friend told me she had seen my auditing folder at the Advanced Org. I was pleased to hear that at least my folder had moved out of the OSA Int/RTC loop. Calling the D of P, I asked her if there was a note for me from the case supervisor. Not only wasnt there a note, but the interview done by my auditor-friend that documented all the errors was missing. In fact, several things were missing. There was nothing in my folder from the time I had been ordered to see the Scientology doctor - no information about my collapse, or the ambulance, or the hospital visit, or the hell I had been through - zero. It was as if none of it had ever happened. My auditing folders had been "vetted". Any and all incriminating evidence removed. OSA Int. and RTC do not like lower orgs knowing their business.
August 14th 1996
I got a call from a very young guy who said he was from OSA Int. He said he wanted to schedule me to come in and complete the auditing action started in February. I was shocked beyond surprise. I thought I wasnt hearing him clearly. Then he said that my auditor told him to call. He said that I "hadnt gotten very far in the program written out for me." I asked him if he knew anything about what had happened to me. He replied just that I had not gotten far and it needed to get finished. I replied that I ended up in the hospital after the last action was done. He batted back my comment as if it was entirely my fault saying, "Ive never heard of Scientology giving a bad result."
Overhearing the conversation, my husband took the telephone into the other room to have a few words with the gentleman. I dont know all of what my husband said, but the young man never called back.
It was in early l997 that I first heard about Lisa McPhersons death. It was very sad, and struck me very hard. Like me, she had been a long term Scientologist. I saw many similarities. When I read the daily notes that her caregivers had written, I understood Lisas seemingly crazy comments and actions. I knew exactly where she was in her mind. It was where I had been, and it was not a place I would wish on anyone.
I did not make a connection between the drugs, vitamins, and herbs that Lisa and I both took until I saw a TV show in the summer of 1997. I had already studied sleep deprivation and its effects on mental stability. After the TV show, I looked further into the side effects of Chloral Hydrate and other pills. I realized I had taken similar medication to Lisa and had suffered similar effects. Only after I stopped taking the medications did I begin to get better.
In September of l997 I wrote to David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board RTC and head of Scientology, informing him about my experience and the connection with the drugs and vitamins, as I was concerned that this not happen to another Scientologist.
He never responded.
I have since shared my story with some close, personal friends. I have changed jobs. I have moved.
I am still recovering from the effects of my ordeal. I am not mentally or emotionally as strong as I was. It may take years more, or it may take the rest of my life, but I am so grateful for each day that I wake up breathing, and know the difference between a nightmare and the real world that I used to take for granted.