Jesse Prince had a criminal history prior to his first contact with Scientology in San Francisco in 1976. Unknown to the Church, he was then evading criminal charges brought against him in Macon County, Illinois, for having impregnated a teenager. At 21, Prince was an adult when the charges were filed. A felony warrant for his arrest on flight charges had been issued and remained in effect for years thereafter. Not only did Prince flee criminal charges, he left behind to fend for themselves two illegitimate daughters and their mothers.
This was not Prince’s only run-in with the law. Among other offenses, he had been convicted and fined in January, 1976, for disorderly conduct after he was found running nude through the streets, intoxicated from drugs.
According to the 1992 recorded interview, Prince described his lifestyle prior to Scientology as follows:
Prince: “I carr[ied] a gun. Pulled it out many times and threatened people with it; yes, I’ve done that. Womanizer. I f—ed about 250 women. Drinking, drugs, selling drugs. Hell yes, I was terrible. . . . I took every drug known to man or beast and loved every f—ing minute of it.”
Notwithstanding what the Church would later learn about Prince’s history and problems, at the time fellow Church members trusted his expressed desire to turn his life around, and his promise to uphold the ethical standards of the Church.
They helped Prince to reform himself into a relatively ethical and productive individual. As he was to say in the 1992 interview:
Prince: “I depended on selling drugs. Actually used drugs quite a bit and I was a pretty reckless individual. I was young. And quite factually it is my belief that had I not done something radical to change my life, as I did in getting into Scientology, I wouldn’t be available to talk. I’d just be dead somewhere.”
On November 1, 1992, at the time he chose to end his Church employment, Prince described his reasons for having joined staff and his feelings about what it meant to him to work for a Church of Scientology:
Prince: “So, I didn’t have any real direction for my life like anything that I was trying to achieve like maybe get a family, get a house. . . . Those ideals were not valuable to me at those times – at that time. I was very radical, very rebel. And I got into Scientology and I learned about survival, actual survival, and to be able to coinhabit [sic] with other individuals without necessarily doing it in a criminal way and to just achieve a better way of life, to just be able to better coexist with people. And then, above and beyond that, to raise the standards of living for others besides myself, and to take responsibility for other things that were going on in the world that I could effect a change on it. . . . The concept of having myself in a position and a state of mind where I’m happy and being able to do that for someone else, the concept of being able to give that gift to someone else was foreign to me.”
Q: “So no more drugs? No more crime? No more. . .?”
Prince: “No more drugs. No more promiscuity.”
Prince went on to explain how Scientology helped him solve his inability to study:
Prince: “I really couldn’t study. Because of all them drugs I forgot how to damn spell, forgot sentence composition. . . . I could go to any company and pass the damned aptitude test, but I couldn’t pass the damned IQ test. I went in there [Church] and learned about [misunderstood words] and stuff and that being a barrier and then I learned how to study. . . . That corrected my study problem so I was able to learn quite a bit.”