Meter to Seal­ing” I call out as I walk the 15 feet to the next desk full of e‑meters, plac­ing mine on top the small pile. It’s done with cal­i­bra­tion and now has to be sealed before going through a final qual­i­ty check and then shipped back to the parish­ioner to whom it belongs.

I’m work­ing on a pro­duc­tion line man­u­fac­tur­ing the “e‑meter”, short for “Elec­tropsy­chome­ter”. A reli­gious device that, as I under­stand it, mea­sures men­tal mass. It out­puts a very small, imper­cep­ti­bly small, elec­tri­cal cur­rent. A per­son holds 2 cans with wires attached. This elec­tri­cal cur­rent flows through them. Past trau­mat­ic inci­dents have actu­al ener­gy, mass we call it, that can be mea­sured on this device, dis­played on a dial with a needle.

Our founder L. Ron Hub­bard described it as fol­lows “For the meter to be read, the tiny flow of elec­tri­cal ener­gy through the pre­clear (per­son receiv­ing coun­sel­ing) has to remain steady. When this tiny flow has changed the nee­dle of the E‑Meter moves. This will hap­pen if the pre­clear (per­son) pulls in or releas­es men­tal mass. This men­tal mass (con­densed ener­gy), acts as an addi­tion­al resis­tance or lack of resis­tance to the flow of elec­tri­cal ener­gy from the E‑Meter.” This “e‑meter” is used in spir­i­tu­al coun­sel­ing in my reli­gion and now, here I am cal­i­brat­ing this high­ly tech­ni­cal extreme­ly pre­cise instrument.

A few weeks ear­li­er a group of 12–15 of us were called into “Build­ing 36” the man­u­fac­tur­ing build­ing for the var­i­ous reli­gious mate­ri­als at Gold­en Era Pro­duc­tions (Gold for Short) where the e‑meters and oth­er audio-visu­al mate­ri­als for the Church are pro­duced. “Who likes elec­tron­ics?” The woman asked the group of us get­ting a tour of the e‑meter pro­duc­tion line. Her name was Lau­ra. I raised my hand “I do”. I’d always been inter­est­ed in tak­ing things apart, elec­tron­ic things, to see what was inside. Putting them back togeth­er, well that’s anoth­er story.

So a friend and I, who also raised his hand, were imme­di­ate­ly assigned to the “cal­i­bra­tions” depart­ment. Lit­tle did I know the “who likes elec­tron­ics?” ques­tion was a bit of a mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, per­haps just to get vol­un­teers, so instead of putting things togeth­er or tak­ing them apart I found myself with a tweak­er (a very small screw­driv­er) in my hand, an e‑meter in front of me, open with all its elec­tron­ic guts exposed and a check­list on the table. A set of very spe­cif­ic actions I had to go through to ensure these instru­ments worked per­fect­ly for the rig­or­ous test­ing that would fol­low. The first step was to write my name on the check­list, so if there were any rejects at the end of the line in the Qual­i­ty Con­trol (QC) depart­ment I’d be hear­ing about it.

Inside the emeter - main board

Inside the e‑meter — mainboard

I used the tweak­er (screw­driv­er) to adjust the nee­dle response, thus cal­i­brat­ing the e‑meter, by “tweak­ing” the adjust­ment screws on the ends of the ten blue rec­tan­gu­lar pieces.

Every­thing was already assem­bled inside. That part was done by oth­ers on the tables before me on the line. The “e‑meter assem­bly” depart­ment. That’s where I want­ed to be. Maybe I should’ve kept my mouth shut, or per­haps Lau­ra could’ve asked a bet­ter ques­tion. Some­thing more akin to “Who wants to work on the most stress­ful, high-pres­sure part of the pro­duc­tion line? The job that as you’ll soon see many peo­ple attempt and fail at” Now I sit here try­ing to learn the most tech­ni­cal part of the whole man­u­fac­tur­ing line, the most stress­ful, the most precise.

E-meter assembly line

E‑meter assem­bly line

There are no oth­er options. I can’t refuse a job once assigned, no mat­ter how hard. In the past, if I had prob­lems or need­ed help with a bit of work assigned the all to famil­iar line was spout­ed back at me “Make it go right, Alden”. Or if I replied to any order from some­one high­er up than me and respond­ed with any­thing oth­er than “Yes sir!” (whether male or female) it was quick­ly fol­lowed with a “That’s back­flash Alden!” Back­flash is defined as “an unnec­es­sary response to an order”. So pret­ty much any­thing oth­er than “Yes sir” when ordered to do some­thing was an “unnec­es­sary response” I’ve learned. I say “Yes sir” and do it.

An e-meter being used. Image copyright

An e‑meter being used. Image copy­right

This is an excit­ing time in the his­to­ry of my Church. Now we are all work­ing on some­thing called “The Gold­en Age of Tech”. I’m not sure exact­ly what it is yet as we are kept in the dark on any­thing that doesn’t imme­di­ate­ly per­tain to the area of this much larg­er project we are work­ing on. What I do know is that I am work­ing on a new breed of e‑meter, the Quan­tum! The cur­rent stan­dard e‑meter is called the “Mark Super VII”. But some of the smart tech­ni­cal guys have fig­ured out how to upgrade this cur­rent mod­el so it works bet­ter, more pre­cise. Some small cir­cuit board is added inside “Quan­tu­miz­ing” it. It’s a quan­tum leap in e‑meter tech­nol­o­gy I’m told.

Building 36 at Golden Era Productions

Build­ing 36 at Gold­en Era Productions

The e‑meter man­u­fac­tur­ing line where I worked is locat­ed on the sec­ond floor of Build­ing 36 at Gold­en Era Pro­duc­tions, pic­tured above.

We are all putting in long days, work­ing in the veg­etable fields in the morn­ing, then after a quick lunch and show­er we load into a van and dri­ve the 15–20 min­utes to the “Int Base” the top-secret loca­tion where my reli­gion is man­aged world­wide. This is the head­quar­ters, the top of the top and I am priv­i­leged to be able to help with this Gold­en Age of Tech.

Golden Age of Tech release

Gold­en Age of Tech release —

It’s stress­ful but I apply myself. A process that takes 2–3 hours at first gets faster and faster and they even send some­one high­er up to super­vise and work with me per­son­al­ly, read­ing off the check­list and tim­ing me. Although this seems like a bit of a waste of man­pow­er. I mean why have two peo­ple doing one per­son­’s job. But he’s nice to me.“Okay, are you ready Alden?” Tim asks me, ready to press the start but­ton on the stop­watch he’s hold­ing. His hair is per­fect­ly combed, always looks wet, and stays per­fect­ly shaped. “It’s very pro­fes­sion­al,” I think. And his naval style blue uni­form is metic­u­lous­ly pressed. I’m a bit ner­vous at first by him, after all, he’s a leg­endary “Mes­sen­ger” (a mem­ber of an orga­ni­za­tion that used to serve our Founder L. Ron. Hub­bard), but as I get faster he seems to appre­ci­ate me more as he is now looked favor­ably upon by his supe­ri­ors. I apply myself, I’m get­ting good at this job and peo­ple like me. I see many oth­er peo­ple, adults, try­ing and fail­ing at cal­i­brat­ing these machines.

At the end of the week I col­lect my pay. It’s just over $7. I can buy some snacks in the can­teen. And when I work here I’m even allowed to have sug­ar! I dis­cov­ered the “Nut­ter But­ter” cook­ies and can’t seem to get enough.

I’m 13 years old.

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