Addition to Chapter 12
Scientology’s Ethics and Justice Technology
Following the paragraph on print pg. 107, “For more information about disconnection, suppressive persons….” Continue to this excerpt:
LEARNING ABOUT “ETHICS” from Hubbard’s perspective was also like a lesson in volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes have two particularly interesting characteristics: Volcanoes are a channel for things from within the earth’s core to be spewn and revealed on the earth’s surface. The other is that the active elements of volcanoes—lava and fire—share the dual qualities of being able to create as well as destroy. Anything in the path of molten lava is going to be obliterated, but destruction can also make way for something new to be created.
NO SHADES OF GREY IN THE TECH
Scientology is laced with opposite polarities, such as handle or disconnect, survival and defeat, good and evil, with us or against us, two types of people (white hats and black hats), two types of behavior (constructive and destructive), two dominant behavior patterns (building things up, tearing things down), in-ethics or out-ethics, on-policy or out-tech, keyed in and keyed out, and on.
In Hubbard’s Introduction to Scientology Ethics book, the “Two Types of People” chapter is rife with this opposite-polarity thinking. There is only behavior calculated to be constructive, and behavior calculated to be disastrous; there are only people who try to build things up and people who try to tear things down. “And there are no other types. Actually there aren’t even shades of gray” (p. 109). Hubbard says the problem with humankind is not a problem of sanity or insanity, but is a problem of disastrous motives and constructive motives, and the degree to which either one is suppressed (p. 110).
Hubbard has normalized the black/white thinking of Scientologists by constantly framing ideas in these extremes, with no gray circumstances in between. This limited approach to life circumstances encourages extremist thinking when it comes to assessing problems, making decisions, responding to others, and on. Through the rest of my story, you will read first-person explanations of how these extremes affected my life.
Scientology celebrities and general public alike know the power of Scientology’s brand of ethics and justice. It has its own specialized language and procedures that leaders use as leverage to invoke cooperation, loyalty, fear, and a string of other reactions. Ethics comes first in a Scientologist’s life, before the technology of Scientology will be able to work. Ethics has to be “in” before tech can “go in.”
As a Scientologist, my actions and reactions in life were watched, assessed and judged by various authorities who staked a claim in my life as an active Scientologist or Sea Org member. And life, like a volcano, can erupt without warning. For example: I once thought I was doing a good thing when I wrote a knowledge report on a senior executive for implementing an off-policy order. Keeping Scientology Working, right? Wrong. It brought the wrath of Scientology executives down on me. You’ll read the full story in detail later about the debacle that happened afterward. Meanwhile, just know that rivers of molten lava erupt regularly from senior execs who intend to take down anyone standing in their path. I learned that being near a vengeful executive who is likely to erupt is like lying down on a busy road. Stay there long enough and you will be burned or rolled over. And I don’t enjoy the smell of burnt ashes.
ETHICS TECH IS WRITTEN IN STONE – NOT
Ethics shouldn’t be scary. But in Scientology, “truth” and “right” or “wrong” is determined by Hubbard’s policies and Scientology authorities, not the individual Scientologist. This is sadly true, despite the fact that there is a Code of a Scientologist that itemizes rights, a Code of Honor, precepts in the Way to Happiness to live by, the Aims of Scientology, and stable datums from Hubbard, such as “What is true for you is what you have observed, and when you lose that you have lost everything.” Depending on who you are (a celebrity or a general public) and your status in Scientology (how much do you give to the IAS?) and if you continue to move up the bridge despite all odds, ethics is either going to be used as a light touch, or as a battering ram. For example, a female Scientologist could get raped by a male Scientologist celebrity, and then she gets in trouble at her organization for wanting to report the male perpetrator to the police. (Google the Danny Masterson stories about an alleged rape that hit the news in 2017 to get details about this example.)
When a new Scientologist without many experiences in the organization, I felt strangely unsettled reading Hubbard’s philosophy about ethics and justice. I sensed that I was entering a danger zone, so my gut (conscience) tried to warn me against moving in the direction of high risk. I had to keep my thoughts about Hubbard’s ethics system private, not to be discussed with anyone else or I would be seen as “off source,” out-ethics, with counter-intention to Scientology. Being the adventurer that I was, I moved forward despite the risks.
SCIENTOLOGY BRAND OF ETHICS: A REVELATION OF L. RON HUBBARD
The Introduction to Scientology Ethics book describes 270 pages of the philosophy of ethics and behavioral actions considered to be small transgressions, high crimes, and everything in between. The ethics conditions assess what state you are in, based on your adherence to Scientology policy or your production of statistics, with formulas for how to improve each condition. You also get a glimpse into what should be done to bring an “ethics particle” or offender to justice within Scientology’s justice system.
Although the Ethics book purports to help Scientologists restore and increase personal survival and freedom, the book is packed with irony. If you want to capture a profile of the organization, read this book. Scientology reveals itself as an extremist organization that grants no freedom of thought or behavior to Scientologists in its legalistic system, and grants even worse to critics or its perceived enemies. So I constantly grappled with many of Hubbard’s ethics policies within it.
Although we read that the whole purpose of Ethics is “to get tech in,” I’ve observed otherwise. Sometimes it’s used more like a battering ram against individuals who deviate from leadership’s dictates, or as a tool of control over a Scientologist’s life. Following this chapter, you’ll read my stories that illustrate what I mean.
I’d like to read you aloud this paragraph, with a megaphone:
A religion (which in the U.S. currently includes the Scientology organization) should not be given license to individuate from agreements about law and order, to practice moral exclusion, or to devise separate systems that put them outside of or above the law under the banner of religious freedom.
The rest of this chapter explains many of the elements of ethics technology that are as much a part of the Sea Org members’ life, and any Scientologist’s life, as the air they breathe.
ETHICS AND THE DYNAMICS OF LIFE
A key chapter, “Ethics, Justice and the Dynamics” (p. 13) is an indoctrination into how to compartment one’s life into eight units, or dynamics, and how to juggle decisions and behavior to keep all dynamics thriving. I explained the eight dynamics of life earlier. I learned that when making a choice in life, I had to assess the circumstances according to the greatest good for the greatest number of my dynamics. It’s a very narrow look at life because it’s all about my dynamics. This is not a very workable system because none of us live alone on planet Earth. We have to care about the people in our life who have their eight dynamics, too, but Scientology tends to make public Scientologists focus on their own first dynamic and Sea Org members focus on their third and fourth dynamics.
Peter and I, as did many of my friends, developed a growing caution about doing anything that would risk our chance for immortality and future lifetimes in Scientology. This mindset made me more dependent on Scientology and less in control of my own free will, although neither of us saw that at the time. As I got more deeply involved, I found that my choices were less and less my own when it came to deciding on the greatest good for my dynamics. Depending on who was trying to accomplish something with me, that person would try to influence my choices with a slant toward Scientology’s third dynamic versus my third dynamic.
For a very basic example, the church monitors the attendance and progress of all students, and took action on me if I wasn’t towing the line according to the rules. They claimed the rights to setting my schedule and questioning deviance from it. The Code of Ethics even punishes a student for passing up misunderstood words. In the Sea Org, my ability to communicate with my Mom or family was controlled, for the sake of “third dynamic security” despite the fact that this hurt my family dynamic.
My sense of being in an environment of total spiritual freedom gradually slipped into a sense of living within a Big-Brother police-state type operation, which I couldn’t see until I got out of it. The application of ethics is greatly escalated as one ascends to higher levels of responsibility within higher echelons of Scientology. I watched friends who joined the Sea Org relinquish more and more control over their life. Their first and second dynamics became obliterated by the group think and pressure to focus on group life, the Sea Org third dynamic, and its purpose to save mankind, the fourth dynamic. Persuading parents in the Sea Org to have an abortion instead of leaving the Sea Org to have a family was considered “the greater good” because it supports the Sea Org (third and fourth dynamic), regardless of whether it destroyed the parents’ family (second dynamic) or the baby’s life (first dynamic).
As if that process wasn’t tough enough, the framework of the highly-legalistic Scientology ethics and justice system dictates a 270-page code of discipline that covers offenses and penalties, many which are distinctly separate from laws of the land. This is supposed to be a church we are talking about here, not a civic penal code, or a corporation (which it actually is), or a business (which it actually is).
At first I unknowingly thought this was a useful system that worked with Hubbard’s pattern for the life cycle, “create, survive, destroy.” Like the circle of life, this was an elementary approach to creating, surviving, and ending actions on each of my dynamics. Reasoning about the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics usually gets muddled when it comes to the third dynamic, groups, where you take into account your group membership in Scientology, the IAS, or the Sea Organization. When I joined the Sea Org, I was motivated to help on the fourth dynamic of humankind, by joining the third dynamic group of the Sea Org. I discovered too late that Sea Org life (third and fourth dynamics) dominated my life entirely and wiped out the rest of my dynamics, particularly my first and second. Hubbard even writes, “As soon as you knock out one of the dynamics on a human being and say, ‘For this individual, this dynamic cannot exist,’ you get trouble, because they all get knocked out”
(p. 15). This conundrum points out the very significant problem that Sea Org members meld into Scientology as if the member’s individual dynamics disappear to be replaced with Scientology’s. Sea Org members lose themselves, lose their individual identity to take on the cult identity. A Sea Org member who attempts to thrive on the first and second dynamics is heavily criticized because the group must always come first. For one example, I distinctly remember Sea Org member Marion Pouw Dendiu telling me that after her husband Bill Dendiu blew, she would never join him by forsaking her third dynamic for the sake of her second dynamic.
CONDITIONS AND EXCHANGE
Scientology ethics are framed by a code of agreement among members that they will conduct themselves in a Scientological manner that will lead to the optimum solution of their problems. Hubbard designated three “conditions of existence”—BE, DO, and HAVE—and twelve different “ethics conditions” that any human can be in. Each condition is an operating state that reflects the success of the person’s ability to survive or produce on their jobs.
Be, being, or beingness, relates to one’s identity. Do, doing, or doingness relates to our actions and accomplishments. Have, having or havingness relates to owning, possessing, and commanding spaces, material things, and even people. We can apply ethics conditions to any of these conditions of existence on any of our eight dynamics.
The ethics conditions tend to be stumbling blocks for Scientologists who are challenged by being able to recognize when they are in any of the twelve conditions, which are listed here from the best to the worst: power, power change, affluence, normal, emergency, danger, non-existence, liability, doubt, enemy, treason, and confusion. Each condition is described in Scientology policy letters and the Ethics book, along with a formula for how to get out of each condition or how to maintain it, if it is one of the higher conditions. Learning materials for being able to spot ethics conditions include “stat graphs”, numbers plotted on statistical graphs with a trending line that provide a visual example of how a person’s production would look in each condition, such as an uptrend, a normal trend, a down trend. Sea Org members have to maintain stat graphs hanging at their desk showing weeks of their production statistics on post. Any executive walking past their desk should be able to see on the graph whether this is an up-trending or down-trending staff member, and they will be treated accordingly.
The issue of “keeping stats” and maintaining a stat graph was often a nightmare for me and for many of my co-workers. Even Scientology public knew the horrendous pressure that staff members were under to “get their stats up” every week, under the psychological fear of having to face a firing squad every week, which ended on Thursdays at 2:00pm. How to bring in more gross income than the previous week, raise those student points, the number of books sold, the hours audited every week, became the ultimately stressful routine that I would like to forget.
In the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course of 1962, Hubbard says that “there are apparently certain formulas which have to be followed in this universe or you go appetite over tin cup” (lecture number #SH Spec 62, 6505C25). Getting tangled in the spaghetti junction of these ethics conditions and formulas, and how to navigate them becomes the nemesis of many staff. Instead of ethics being used as a light touch to help staff improve their production, ethics conditions get used like battering rams, which you will soon read about. One of the worst situations to be in is for a senior executive to assign you a condition that is wrong, having to apply the formula steps that don’t match up to your actual circumstances. It’s truly a nightmare, as you will soon discover.
This information about ethics conditions is included specifically to tie in with another Hubbard concept—conditions and exchange. This relates to a key Scientology tool that I have NEVER seen the Scientology organization apply to itself: Hubbard wrote, “One has to produce something to exchange for money. If he gives nothing in return for what he gets the money does not belong to him. It is interesting that when a person becomes productive his morale improves. Reversely it should be rather plain to you that a person who doesn’t produce becomes mentally or physically ill. For his exchange factor is out.” (HCO PL 4 Apr 1972). You’ll read a stories about David Miscavige announcing to us that “no one in Scientology could audit,” yet all the auditors had paid Scientology organizations to teach them how to audit, and evidently the training was seriously flawed. This is what Hubbard describes as criminal exchange, which is “nothing from the criminal for something from another. Whether theft or fraud is used, the criminal think is to get something without putting out anything.”
Some customers request a refund from Scientology organizations, which is nearly impossible to receive without getting expelled from Scientology. Others request a refund after making a donation of thousands of dollars to the IAS or to a campaign, and then come to realize they have been defrauded.
I cannot think of one organization in the United States other than Scientology that goes after its unhappy customers for requesting a refund. Please keep this in mind as you read upcoming chapters about Scientology organizations selling training courses and auditing services to customers, who then are not satisfied with their services.
CONDITIONAL RIGHTS TO THINK FOR MYSELF?
In another key policy, “Safeguarding Technology,” (Ethics book, p. 186, or OEC Vol. 0, p. 21), Hubbard sets conditions on the right to think for oneself. We learn here that Hubbard is sovereign over the Scientologist’s choices: You have the right to think for yourself only if your personal ideas do not “bar the route out for self and others.” This is an example of how the third dynamic again overrules the first dynamic. It’s all about the group’s tech, the safeguarding of it, not the individual using it.
In other Scientology materials, he says that you are in Scientology to achieve total spiritual freedom—free to think, be, do, and have for yourself—whereas in this policy he is saying that you only have the right to think for yourself if you meet his criteria. Which one is true? By deciding to adhere to safeguarding technology, a Scientologist subliminally hands over the controls of one’s own thinking and behavior to Hubbard. This is one of the traits of mind control, and how the organization gets you to belief that they hold the keys to your eternity if you do not Keep Scientology Working.
“Truth” is studied as a matter of ethics. In Scientology, truth is supposed to be what is true for the individual, based on his/her observations. Based on this, veracity is in the eye of the beholder, and is interpreted through the impact across one’s dynamics. This can be irresponsibility and madness at its best. One example is a woman who claims she was raped by a Scientology celebrity. She reveals this incident in an auditing session, and then gets in ethics trouble that she got raped because she “pulled it in” for being part of an out-ethics situation with the man, also a Scientologist. This can bring on further Scientology discipline. The organization tells her to keep her mouth shut about the man, so as to not cause an out-PR situation for the Scientology organization. She doesn’t even think about reporting this to the police at the time, because the organization told her to be quiet, and she doesn’t want to lose her keys to eternity.
This is also an example for why Scientologists do not automatically think of reporting crimes to the police—we were not allowed to think of police as protection, or a resource for help. In fact, the Ethics book states that it is a “high crime” to report a Scientologist to outside authorities! The Scientology organization “protects and corrects” the Scientologist, so there is no need to go outside—just one of the phobias implanted by the organization in Scientologist’s minds. In this way, Hubbard’s principles pit Scientology ethics against “wog” ethics. Scientology action must always win over wog ways. Here’s why: “While wog law at the worst can only cause him or her some pain and a body by execution or one lifetime’s loss of liberty, we threaten his eternity” (p. 156).
Another example is a Scientologist on a courtroom stand who could wantonly commit perjury per the law of the land, as long as it was in the interest of Scientology’s ethics guidelines, “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics.” Susan Scientologist frames Joe Smith, and believes that she did the greatest good for the greatest number of her dynamics, because Joe wrote a book criticizing Scientology’s practices. She believes his book hurts her third and fourth dynamics of group and mankind, as well as her seventh spiritual dynamic, and her first. Harm on all these dynamics poses a threat to her eighth dynamic too. The prosecutor asks, “Did you commit the crime of framing Joe Smith?” Susan thinks, I did the great good for the greatest number of my dynamics, and answers No. Back at her organization, Susan Scientologist will receive a pat on the back for framing Joe Smith because she helped the organization across those dynamics.
A more recent real-life example of this is found at Tony Ortega’s site, tonyortega.org (3/16/17) where he published a legal deposition of Mark “Marty” Rathbun, David Miscavige’s former right-hand man, after Rathbun escaped the organization in the mid 2000s and became a staunch critic warrior. Marty battled Scientology attorney Bert Deixler during this deposition taken in San Antonio on Dec. 22, 2014 for the Luis and Rocio Garcia case. The Garcia’s sued Scientology for fraud, believing they had been lied to when they gave Scientology hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. The Garcia’s were denied a refund and told they had to submit their grievances to Scientology’s “internal arbitration” procedures. Tony reported that “Rathbun had filed a declaration in that lawsuit, saying that those contracts and the arbitration procedure itself were shams that he had helped design while he was a church executive in order to keep Scientologists from getting justice.” Church attorneys grilled Rathbun over those claims.
In one exchange between church attorney Deixler and Rathbun, sits a perfect illustration for the mind-twisted ethics of a Scientologist:
Deixler: Did you think there was something unethical, improper or dishonest about the structure of the organization in which you were working during the time that you were a member of the Church?
Rathbun: It’s a difficult question because you justify everything so much, you know, at the time. You know, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. But, yeah, I mean, yeah, absolutely, it was intended to – to, but you know, at the time I – it was – you – it was just sort of intuitive. But I know it now after all this time has passed and I’ve done all of my study and I know all of the facts that I know now that, yeah, I think it was unethical and immoral.
Deixler: Did you think you were acting unethically?
Rathbun: At that time, no, because I was under the ethics system that – and this is the Scientology ethics system in a – in a nutshell. If it forwards L. Ron Hubbard in Scientology, it’s good. If it doesn’t, it’s bad. And so I had – I was part of that ethics system and, therefore, it seemed ethical at that time.
Deixler: OK. So you were living an honest, ethical life during the time you were with the Church of Scientology; is that fair?
Deixler: You weren’t living a honest and ethical life at the time you were in the Church of Scientology, correct?
Deixler: Well, which is it?
Rathbun: Well, it’s not one of the two.
Deixler: Explain to me what your view is –
Rathbun: You’re not listening to me.
Deixler: – of your honesty.
Rathbun: You’re – I don’t think you’re really listening to me. Because I just told you that at the time – and I’ll repeat it again. At the time it seemed ethical because I was abiding by the Scientology ethics system. In the broader scheme of things, knowing all of the facts I know today, it was not really ethical.”
ENFORCED SELF-DISCLOSURES, INTERROGATIONS AND INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION
Disclosing personal transgressions is a far greater focus in a Scientologist’s life than it is in other religions. When I was a young Catholic girl, I went to confession and did my penance once a week. I have seen Scientology spokespeople try to compare Scientology’s ethics practices, such as security checking and writing up one’s “crimes,” to the ways of Catholics who, in the privacy of a confessional booth, confess their sins to a priest, or to Protestants, who confess their sins to God. Either these spokespeople clearly don’t understand either one, or they count on listeners to be uneducated in both.
Scientology confessionals and making up for one’s transgressions exist in the form of verbal interrogations, metered interrogations, judgment, ethics conditions, justice actions, discipline and punishment. Some confessionals are done on the e-meter in the form of a “security check,” while another is done solo by writing up transgressions on paper. I have, as has any Scientologist, been made to write up my O/Ws (“overts” and “withholds”, or acts, and withheld thoughts, that harm the greatest number of dynamics), only to be told that what I wrote wasn’t enough, or that I had not confessed all, or had not confessed the “right” transgressions. Any time I was in ethics trouble, I would write my O/Ws and then see the examiner who would have me hold the cans while s/he watched the e-meter and ask, “On this O/W write-up, has anything been withheld? falsified? not-ised? tried to make management look bad? tried to suppress Scientology? and other such questions. I would be sent back to write up more overts and withholds if the meter did not show a “floating needle” indicating that I was “clean” on these write-ups.
Any tick of the needle was probably because I privately protested the fact that whenever I got a meter check, I was subject to these leading questions that implied guilty until proven innocent. I also had little confidence in the persons’s ability to operate and read the meter. I could never voice this reservation about the tech or the procedure, at risk of being called disaffected.
My O/W write up could have been complete, but if the meter operator didn’t know what s/he was doing, or made a mechanical or technical mistake, the burden of proof was shunted back to me: “The needle shows that you need to keep writing your O/Ws” or, “The needle shows you’re not clean. Keep writing.” So, off I go to write more. At some points, I’d make mountains out of mole hills and write about actions that I considered inconsequential, just to “write more.” This is called “overrun,” doing a process long beyond the point of release or closure. Overrun usually happens because of examiner or auditor error.
SEC CHECKS: METERED INTERROGATIONS
Another similar but more elaborate ethics process is the security check or “sec check,” that strikes terror in some Scientologists. Sec check interrogations have nothing to do with religious processes. This is an investigative action, mainly to look for “crimes” (Hubbard’s definition of crimes, not crimes per the laws of the land) the individual has committed against Scientology or its management. This is brutal interrogation at Scientology’s best.
A security check interrogation is usually done similar to an auditing session, in a private room at a table with the sec checker who uses the meter like an auditor and asks interrogatory questions. Sometimes they do “gang bang” sec checks with more than one sec checker in the room, which is very intimidating. The individual holds the cans and must answer the questions until all the questions are asked, and cannot leave the room until the sec checker says s/he is done. In an auditing session, the auditor begins with that hypnotic phrase, “This is the session.” In contrast, the sec checker says, “I am not auditing you.” That means anything I say can be held against me. These worksheets go into the same file folders as the ones marked “confidential priest/penitent privilege” in the folder lockers, but these worksheets are not kept confidential. (Neither are the auditing worksheets, but they tell you they are.)
The sec-check questions try to root out secret thoughts or acts that a person has been withholding, such as leaving Scientology, and any degree of transgressions or misdeeds. These acts could include information about other people’s involvement in the acts, or another way the sec check serves as a tool of investigation. It also serves as a resource for the church if they want to write a magazine article or post a hate webpage on someone who has left Scientology. They have massive personal information on Scientologists in their folders and draw from it to expose transgressions, personal connections, and other personal details that might be highly incriminating, such as sexual relationships and personal sexual behavior.
Celebrities and other Scientologists who have something to worry about if the church decides to hold something against them, are never thrilled about getting a sec check. They know that all their transgressions are written on the session worksheets and put in their session folders. It is common knowledge within the Scientology world that management goes mining into these folders for information about church members who criticize Scientology. And this information does get spread around to the Scientology world, printed on goldenrod paper, often pinned on bulletin boards for all the public to see, like scathing gossip intended to diminish the person’s credibility.
The threat of this happening is a form of blackmail, though the organization denies this act. For a while, the organization stopped circulating goldenrod after they realized it reduced their public relations image for carrying out such practices. They modified their system to the creation of hate websites accessible online, where fake news and twisted information is posted about their critics and enemies and presented as if it’s true.
For example, whatever John Travolta or any other celebrity discloses in sessions or sec checks about sexual activities, those statements are read not only by his sec checker, but also by a subsequent chain of people who have a vested interest in knowing what Travolta has disclosed about himself. This info can travel from the auditor to the case supervisor and on up the control chain to Miscavige himself. Thus, if Travolta ever left Scientology and spoke out against it, the organization has fuel to use against him to damage his reputation, depending on what is in the files.
I remember hearing from friends about Leah Remini, who landed on Scientology’s “Truth Rundown” as a disciplinary action in response to her bold questioning of leader David Miscavige about the obvious absence of his wife Shelley. Her book Troublemaker describes how, after having the guts to pose the question, “Where’s Shelley?” at Tom Cruise’s wedding, Leah had to spend about $300,000 out of pocket at Flag to get through the grueling interrogation that makes up the Truth Rundown, the most brutal form of questioning, as an act of discipline as well as intelligence gathering.
Karen de la Carriere, a former Sea Org member and Flag top-trained Class XII auditor and Case Supervisor, produced a YouTube video (July 2013) explaining the Truth Rundown to which Leah Remini was subjected. Karen describes it as a form of brainwashing, because it poses questions in such a way as to get the person to conclude that she is bad and only the church is right. Any of the statements Remini made in her Truth Rundown, past sec checks, or other auditing will, predictably, be mined and compiled into stories and damaging statements to defame her for leaving Scientology and sharing her views in the media. I’ll take this moment to share a short story about Karen DLC. She is the former wife of Scientology president Heber Jentzsch, and has been a highly vocal critic following unimaginable circumstances after she left the Sea Org at Flag when her son, Alexander Jentzsch, was made to disconnect from her. Tragically, Alexander died during this time of estrangement—and no one from Scientology notified Karen of his death because she had been declared a suppressive person for leaving Scientology some years before. She was not even allowed by Scientologists to see her own son at his funeral. Karen has been subjected to Scientology’s slanderous comments on the Internet along with vigilante tactics including being trailed by private investigators and other worse nonsense because she is an activist who works to expose Scientology’s anti-social policies against ex-members and critics.
As a baby Scientologist, I thought everything that I said in a session was kept confidential. However, I eventually learned that celebrity files were sent from Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles up to the Senior Case Supervisor International where they were read at the International Management headquarters by a number of people, often by the Chairman of the Board RTC, David Miscavige and other staff. I learned this while working at the Int base after 1989 and saw stacks of celebrity folders on the floors, desks, and in boxes in the Senior C/S International’s office, in RTC offices, and in the transport office that drove them back and forth from LA to the Int base. Probably a dozen people read many of these folders. Why does this matter? Because, in the case of any celebrity, if s/he chose to leave Scientology, their darkest secrets could be fuel for vengeance and blackmail, slipped to unscrupulous media who might feast on the details and subsequently spread that private information.
The scary truth is that there is nothing 100% confidential in what is disclosed in a Scientologist’s files. The point is that all information a Scientologist discloses becomes fair game for church retaliation through smearing one’s reputation in whatever way they deem necessary to bring down the critic and destroy their life.
Scientology doesn’t leave any stone left unturned when it comes to knowing about its members’ transgressions. It uses a strong intelligence-gathering system with practices as described above, in addition to the “Knowledge Report” (KR) system. Scientology purports this to be a good tool for Scientologists to use, to “help others” who have made mistakes or other transgressions by making them known so they can be corrected, when this is really squealing, whistle-blowing, and a CYA action. We reported actions that appear to be out-ethics, inappropriate, or that violate some policy. Any Scientologist who sees something like this must write a KR, or they will otherwise be counted as an accessory to the matter. A copy of a KR goes into each Scientologist’s ethics file, but copies may also go into a general file on a topic, to build intelligence.
For a basic example, if I was late to muster, someone might write a KR on me that I was late. Several KRs build up, and the ethics officer or the Master at Arms in the Sea Org reviews the KRs and believes this intelligence will reveal something big underlying my lateness. They “pull the string” through an interrogation and voila, I confess that I’ve been staying up late at night reading books. “What kind of books?” “Adventure stories.” “Where do you get those books from?” “I buy them at the thrift store in town.” “When do you go to the thrift store in town (knowing I never have time off). “Sunday morning.” “Sunday morning, when you are supposed to be cleaning your room?” “Yes.” I then get assigned a condition of treason for lying.
KRs are a major tool for intelligence gathering on much more significant scales than my example. KRs have revealed Scientologists connected to a person who has left Scientology who had been declared an SP. This causes a larger interrogation, a sec check, O/W write ups, enforced disconnection, and on. The ultimate is expulsion from Scientology. Knowledge reports can even be used as a black PR tool to purposely cause a disconnection. Such was the case with Milton Katsales, the Beverly Hills Playhouse coach whose career was pulverized by knowledge reports written by Scientology actors about alleged out-ethics issues, and who distributed their reports that also encouraged “everyone” to disconnect from Milton.
VERBOTEN: MIXING SCIENTOLOGY WITH OTHER PRACTICES
Despite being aware that the Scientology ethics system dictates personal choice through rules and regulations, some Scientology spokespeople say that anyone can be a Scientologist and a member of another religion at the same time. Yet, Scientology ethics dictates that personal beliefs must stay true to Scientology, contrary to its public relations statements that a Scientologist can be a member of another religion at the same time. The Code of Ethics and other policies speak against “mixing practices” such as getting alcoholic counseling, an astrology reading, combining yoga with Scientology, or practicing rituals of another religion.
There are numerous ethics offenses that relate to this point, such as “continued membership in a divergent group” which condemns affiliation in Scientology offshoot groups, for example. There are countless points of Scientology philosophy and statements that restrain or restrict the Scientologist from being free to follow other religions or practices while also practicing Scientology. For example, a person educated in world religions knows that Christianity and Scientology hold antithetical ideas. Christians believe the Biblical account that God created the universe and all things in it. Conversely, Scientology teaches in “The Factors” that thetans existed since before the beginning of time, and we created time, and then the physical universe. So how can Christianity and Scientology coexist within one person’s beliefs? It makes no sense. I heard Tom Cruise say in an interview that a person can be a Christian and a Scientologist at the same time. Yet, that would only work if either the Christian or the Scientologist had no idea what they believed.
A Scientologist can even be thought of as anti-social for mixing practices. Anyone who disagrees with Scientology, or who leaves it and criticizes it, is an anti-social personality (p. 111).
THE ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY: THE ANTI-SCIENTOLOGIST
Hubbard groups anti-social personalities with notorious historical characters such as “Napoleon, Hitler, Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd…” and other famous criminals (p. 112). The book lays out twelve characteristics of the antisocial personality, a must for all Scientologists to know.
Once we learned this tech, our radar was always on high alert to detect anyone in our vicinity who had any of these 12 characteristics of the anti-social personality: spoke in broad generalities, dealt in mostly bad news, alters communication when relaying a message, doesn’t respond to Scientology auditing or training, people around them are cowed or ill, usually selects the wrong target, cannot finish cycles of action, confesses to alarming crimes with no remorse or responsibility, supports only destructive groups and rages against helpful ones, is driven berserk about helping others, and believes that nobody owns anything for real. If a person has a majority of these characteristics, then they are a suppressive person (SP), according to Hubbard. SPs and PTS’s make up about 20 percent of the population, and of those, the worst SPs are in the top two percent.
Hubbard’s Ethics book says that an antisocial personality cannot detect these characteristics within him/herself. An anti-social person cannot afford self-criticism; only the sane, well-balanced person tries to correct his/her conduct. So, if I thought I found myself in any of these points above, according to Hubbard, I am most certainly not antisocial (p. 118). This is a perfect time to point out that the current church leader shows no signs of recognition of any anti-social characteristics, which I’ll explore later.
I’ve heard Scientology spokespeople say that Scientology doesn’t practice disconnection, and some have even denied that the disconnection policy exists. Do they count on people being stupid and mindless to fall for that lie, when it’s so easy to pick up Scientology policies on it? For example, look in the Intro to Scientology Ethics book, and turn to page 143 for the chapter, “Disconnection.” Disconnection is referred to as a vital tool, and elaborates on why and and how disconnection should be done. Or pick up a copy of the Ethics Extension Course, and look at Lesson 17, Question 135: “Define disconnection, and Question 136: “Give an example of a situation in which disconnecting should be used in handling a PTS situation.”
Disconnection is defined as “a self-determined decision made by an individual that he is not going to be connected to another. It is a severing of a communication line.” (p. 144). This definition is misleading, compared to practicing disconnection in the real world. Scientology officials enforce disconnection through ethics. Refusal to obey brings grave consequences, such as being declared a suppressive person, or getting expelled from the organization.
As a new Scientologist, I re-read the “Disconnection” chapter in the Ethics book multiple times to see if I was misunderstanding it, because some of the text sounded unbelievable and inhumane. The extreme action Hubbard says to take against loved ones was unconscionable to me. Disconnecting from a family member? That’s an anti-social act in my eyes, certainly not a sane one. It was as if I should cut myself off from my family (second dynamic) which would hurt my personal life (first dynamic) in order to “defend” myself as a member of my group (third dynamic). To me, breaking family ties to prove loyalty to Scientology, or in a twisted way, to protect myself from family because they don’t agree with Scientology, is demented and destructive. Only extremist believers who value their group more than their family could disconnect from a loved one like that.
Yet, to not disconnect from someone who leaves or is critical of Scientology means that this could cause a disaster from being connected to someone antagonistic to my group. Hubbard says that we either handle people or disconnect from them. There are no other options. I had never been part of any group that believed in only two extremes of handle or disconnect as Scientology does.
My first experience with disconnection that broke up a family happened in the early 1980s. My close friend Raven Kane Weller told me that she was going to disconnect from her husband, Roger Weller, because he wanted to leave Scientology. I had only known Roger for about six months before this came up with Raven. Later, I learned that Roger had become disillusioned with Scientology as no longer the right thing for his spiritual path since it seemed to be so focused on getting money from people. He had also experienced a decline in his personal business life once he became a Scientologist, and had a bad experience in a potential business arrangement that involved a Scientologist member of WISE who wanted to make too much money off the deal. After Raven told me she was splitting up with him, I asked, “You mean you’re splitting up from your husband and will never see him again because he doesn’t want to be a Scientologist? Didn’t you love him apart from his beliefs?”
Evidently, loyalty to Scientology mattered more to her. She said, “Well, he doesn’t want to be in Scientology, so why would I want to be with him anymore?” They had a daughter Alyssa together, which meant that Roger would not be able to see his daughter until she was old enough to decide whether or not to remain a Scientologist.
Scientology’s cold-blooded approach to dealing with family through disconnection didn’t sit right with me from the beginning. Disconnecting from friends, like Peter and I had done with Bob Fisher, was already bad enough. I thought about my mother who occasionally sent me newspaper clippings saying that Scientology was a cult. I sensed that her skepticism of Scientology was going to become a problem for me in the future, but I didn’t want to tell any leaders about this. I didn’t want to give up my freedom to make my own choices about my mother. Although she and I had had our conflicts, she surely never deserved to have me disconnect from her because of Scientology. But when I talked about Mom in my auditing sessions, I got sent to ethics to handle my mother or disconnect from her. I never complied with disconnection. My relationship with my mother and family has proven to be the greatest possession I have in my life, though it took me many years to fully appreciate this. Scientology’s suppressive disconnection tactics would become a pivotal issue in my personal life after 1998, as I cover later.
I’ve known of dozens of other similar disconnection stories over the years, as have many of my friends—too many to count.
When Katie Holmes left Cruise and Scientology in 2012, she took Suri with her. In my interviews with CNN and the CBS Morning Show, I expressed concern for Katie, since Tom could want Suri raised as a Scientologist. I explained that because Scientology bends its rules for celebrities, I doubted Katie would ever be declared an SP—it would cause widespread public relations issues for the organization. Any other departing Scientologist who divorced a spouse and enrolled their child in a private school away from Scientology like Katie did would be automatic grounds for Suppressive Person declare. I’ve read stories about TC not seeing Suri for long periods of time, and I can’t help believe that this is due in large part to not wanting any connection to Katie.
For non-celebrity Scientologists, if a spouse leaves while their partner or child remains in Scientology, s/he loses her right to that relationship, as in the examples I wrote about Karen de la Carriere and Vickii Ford. Scientologists have the right to believe whatever they want. But Scientology abuses the protections afforded by the First Amendment to cover up destructive practices while the American justice system turns a blind eye and explains this away under religious freedom. What about violations of the law of the land? Why should a religion be allowed to violate federal or state laws?
Having been in the Celebrity Centre network for so long, I have seen the church’s double standard for years. When it comes to dealing with celebrities, church officials develop special handlings that depart from the written-in-stone policies of L. Ron Hubbard. Like the world saw when Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman left Tom Cruise, no open action was taken by the church declaring either of them to be suppressive persons. Yet in the case of non-celebrity individuals, declaration would have been automatic. Dealing with departing celebrities is one of the only times when the church’s hands are in at least some kind of restraints, because labeling a celebrity an SP would bring on a media frenzy and thus worsened PR for the church.
In the face of media scrutiny, the Church of Scientology compromises their own iron-fist approach of applying standard tech to the celebrity world, while making a loud and clear implication that non-celebrity members matter less by not having power to garnish media attention, will feel its ruthless iron-fist approach.
It’s ludicrous to say that the Scientology ethics and disconnection system isn’t a form of blackmail. In the least, it reflects badly on the humanity of Hubbard and Scientology proponents. With the disconnection policy and the twisted use of ethics to control a Scientologist’s life, I see families split up and friends turned against each other. We’ve seen suicides and deaths because of misapplication of ethics and other Scientology technology that entraps the individual. I could go on with these details, but these are easily accessed online and reported by journalists in great detail. Try Tony Ortega’s site, The Underground Bunker for starters.
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SOURCES AND SPS
Suppression, suppressives, SPs, potential trouble sources, PTS, PTSness, PTS handlings—these words are part of any Scientologist’s ethics training, learned in early Scientology. PTS means “potential trouble source;” SP means “suppressive person.” An English dictionary will not provide you the meanings of these words as coined by Hubbard. Scientology offers criteria that define SP, but is mostly known as someone who is destructively antisocial and who actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist. Anyone connected to an SP becomes a PTS who must handle or disconnect from the SP. S/He’s considered a trouble source because s/he’s going to make trouble for him/herself or for Scientology.
Not all PTSes are the same; there are Types I, II and III. Peter and I were told that we were Type I PTS when we were connected to Bob Fisher, until we disconnected from him. A Type II PTS has trouble naming an SP because it might be someone from a past life or who is otherwise not easily recognizable in the person’s environment. A Type III PTS imagines that SPs are everyone so they appear to be psychotic, and need to be institutionalized.
None of this has ever sounded religious to me, so the whole topic of ethics correlates more with mental health than “ethics,” in my opinion. I often thought Scientology was practicing mental health counseling without a license, assessing people to be worthy of institutionalization. In the outside world, people seek medical assistance for such analysis and treatment. In some countries, Scientology has been sued and even lost their ability to practice for this reason. America has been allowing it.
At one of the Scientology Management events that all Scientologists must attend, the senior execs released a new course that everyone needed to take right away: The PTS/SP Course. Next to Science of Survival, artists and celebrities are taught that, because they are so important, many people with evil intentions will try to stop their careers. Since an SP can bring down an artist, the SP can bring down a culture, even a civilization. Hubbard strategically targeted opinion leaders important in the fields of the arts, sports, management, and government to become Scientology adherents, because they are seen as the solutions to cultural problems. Consequently, Hubbard issues special warnings that artists will be subject to criticism, attack, and overall suppression of their innate talent and abilities. This PTS/SP course trains how to detect and handle suppression, and how to disconnect from SPs.
I felt the course requirement stemmed from a different real life issue: not enough celebs were winning with Scientology, or talking about Scientology and bringing new people in. The point? Ethics has to be “in” before “tech” can work, because a Scientologist who is out-ethics or PTS will not be able to apply the tech, will not win with Scientology or tell others about it. Scientology wanted to make more money than the $7 million per week they were already bringing in. So the solution was to de-PTS the Scientology customers to get them actively moving up the bridge and FSMing.
Celebrity Centres usually try to get customers onto the PTS/SP course as soon as possible to prevent its newest members from developing doubts about Scientology while they are learning it. The indoctrination begins with the idea that it is their connection to an SP, not any flaws of Scientology, that would cause a person to have doubts about Scientology (bold emphasis mine). This idea ties into Hubbard’s 1965 policy letter, “Scientology Makes a Safe Environment.” He expresses how he is working to “make a safe environment for Scientology and Scientologists everywhere.” Note that he’s not working to make a safe environment for all people. He says, “The dangerous environment of the wog world, of injustice, sudden dismissals, war, atomic bombs, will only persist and trouble us if we fail to spread our safe environment across the world.” Scientologists thus develop a growing belief that they are surrounded by enemies in the world—psychiatrists, medicos, government officials, media, judges, and suppressive people who criticize, attack, or don’t like Scientology—so the only way to survive is to get trained in the PTS/SP technology, and seek cover in the Scientology world, where one is protected by the tech and its management while handling SPs.
Scientology’s war on clearing planet Earth relies on artists to be the foot soldiers for the battle. Hubbard draws the artist deeper and deeper into conflicts. By being told about the macrocosm of so many enemies and suppressive forces, the Scientologist’s focus moves away from larger and real global threats such as terrorism, and onto the microcosm that is the life of Scientology. This sets the stage for destabilization of an artist’s creative life, to align with and support the higher cause of supporting Scientology’s efforts. This helps to explain why many artists leave their career path to join the Sea Org, like Peter and I did. The lofty goal of taking responsibility to clear the planet becomes one of the buttons that Sea Org recruiters push to divert artists from their career goals. Yet, although the Scientologist population is tiny, and a shrinking one at that, Scientology is EVERYTHING in a Scientologist’s life. Celebrity Centres don’t want outsiders to wreck this illusion that the group works so hard to create.
If an outsider gets a Scientology celebrity to consider it possible that what critics are saying about Scientology is true, even for a moment, it would destroy the spectacle of their lives as celebrity Scientologists and the honorable battle they are fighting. This applied religious philosophy of Scientology is its unique brand of spiritual extortion.
A recent illustration of SP and PTSness became quite a public display. When Leah Remini left Scientology in 2013, Scientologist Kirsti Alley requested action from the Celebrity Centre to “handle” Leah for committing this “suppressive act” of leaving, and how Leah’s “friends” didn’t want to become PTS to Leah. It’s a perfect illustration of the PTS/SP tech with disconnection at work. In a radio interview on Issues, Etc. (July 2013), I reviewed the circumstances I had read surrounding Leah’s departure—her whole family left the church to support her, her “friends” disconnected from her, and Scientology launched a smear campaign against her—which is a common, predictable outcome. It’s all part of Scientology’s self-proclaimed right to treat certain people who have stepped out of Scientology’s control as Suppressive Persons without rights.
Scientology artists believe they can become PTS when someone criticizes them or their work. One example is Peter’s reaction to some music industry commentary he received about Peace in Our Life, the theme song to Rambo: First Blood Part II that he co-wrote with Frank Stallone. It received Hollywood’s Razzie award, deeming it a lousy song. Although that song still brings in songwriting royalties thirty+ years later, I believe that criticism reduced his confidence as a composer among his Hollywood peers, despite his many successes. I wondered if Peter went PTS to the music industry, influencing him to withdraw from his public career to join the Sea Org. Ironically, inside Scientology, Peter’s musical accomplishments have been pummeled by critical, dominating Sea Org leaders who have nullified Peter incessantly and reduced his creative spirit to a cinder. More on that later.
This last example is probably the largest category of the church’s perceived enemies, who in the organization’s eyes, have no rights. SPs are also described as people who try to destroy or harm efforts calculated to make human beings more powerful or effective in general. This refers largely to people who leave Scientology or the Sea Org and become critics, implying that the critic is trying to harm Scientology, which gets extended into the critic’s intent to harm human beings in general. Here, the Scientology ethics system clearly ignores Constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech by perfunctorily discriminating against the ex-member, under the cloak of religious rights. In truth, a Scientologist is not free to leave his/her membership, nor is a Scientologist free to speak in public about leaving, without disciplinary ramifications from the organization. More proof of this is listed in the Ethics book under suppressive acts, “It is a high crime to publicly depart Scientology,” and “Public disavowal of Scientology or Scientologists…” and make “Public statements against Scientology…” and one may not speak freely in a lawsuit when the testimony is interpreted by Scientologists as suppressive: “…testifying hostilely before state or public inquiries into Scientology to suppress it…”
The hundreds of pages of policy describing suppressives and potential trouble sources sharply point to the stark absence of an equal number of pages suggesting how to love others, how to use tolerance and forgiveness, and how to and build harmonious relationships.
Since 1965, Hubbard has provided an outlet for Scientologists to take whatever action they deem necessary against people who criticize Scientology organizations. “Fair gaming” someone essentially means trying to make a person’s life a living hell until they stop what they are doing. Hubbard suggests this can be done whether or not the action is legal according to the law of the land. The mindset for this is, “the end justifies the means.”
One of his infamous documents, the “Fair Game” policy written December 23, 1965, was claimed by the church as cancelled on paper, but the actions of fair game are nevertheless still practiced. The best explanation I have ever seen of L. Ron Hubbard’s voluminous statements that authorize and condone Scientologists to take action against enemies, was assembled and written by Hubbard’s #2 person from the 1960s-‘70s, Hana Eltringham Whitfield, the former Deputy Commodore of the Sea Organization. Hana assembled a list of policies written by Hubbard that have never been cancelled, which remain written-in-stone documents that must be followed by Scientologists. She provided this information in a legal declaration dated April 4, 1994, used in one of her lawsuits with Scientology (I discovered it on former RTC member Jesse Prince’s blog, princejesse53.blogspot.com and won’t repeat it all here.) She proved the point that while one “Fair Game” policy was cancelled, all the other relevant ones have not been, and the practice still continues. Many other testimonies about destructive fair game acts have been published in legal documents, and aired in TV shows and radio interviews that prove Scientology’s vigilante justice is still alive and well.
I devote an entire chapter later to being fair-gamed personally, covered in “Merchants of Fear, Fair Gaming & Vigilante Justice.” And the degree that I’ve been fair gamed is moderate compared to certain other recipients of their tactics.
One of the more horrendous true stories happened to someone I connected with after I got out of Scientology—journalist Paulette Cooper, after she published Scandal of Scientology in the 1970s. In brief: The church planted a spy who befriended her in her apartment building, with the motive to gather information about Paulette’s life and report it to Scientology officials, so the information could be used to damage her reputation. She was framed in an act of writing a damaging letter which caused trouble between her and the U.S. government. She was dragged through years of financial disaster and legal defense at great costs to her pocketbook and life overall. At the Int base in the 1990s, I heard various Sea Org members still gloating about Scientology’s Operation Freakout against her. Paulette had been viewed as fair game; anything could be done to her under the banner of protecting Scientology’s interests. She was, after all, criticizing Scientology. Some said that it was the greatest good for the greatest number to destroy Cooper’s life in vengeance for publishing that book. After I started writing my first book in 2000, a mutual writer friend introduced me to Paulette via email, and I had the opportunity to speak with her by phone. Here I was, talking to a woman that had been known as a rabid enemy, the most significant SP in Scientology’s history. Connecting with Paulette was one of the first incidents in my new life outside that caused me to see just how fanatical, extremely indoctrinated and thought controlled I had been, while totally unaware of it, and with no consideration of Paulette’s humanity. Scientology’s biases had become my biases. Scientology’s enemies had become my enemies. Now that this stigma of Paulette had disintegrated, I learned that she is a very warm, intelligent and outrageously brave and resilient woman who claims the rights of freedom of speech through her profession as a journalist. She explained in detail the damage that the Church of Scientology had done in her life. Her story was excellently documented by journalist Tony Ortega in his book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely (2015).
Hubbard wrote in Scientology 0-8, “We will never betray your faith in us so long as you are one of us” (p. 16). From my first reading of this line, it appears safer to never join the group at all than to join it and leave it. Operation Freakout against Paulette Cooper originally affected me personally by instilling fear to not speak out, write about, or criticize Scientology, in any form or fashion. But I wondered how the Scientology organization could claim the rights of freedom of religion and speech for their actions, while not granting that same freedom to the ones who criticized the organization.
I could see that the rights are there to protect only the Scientologist, the superior and righteous ones saving this planet, without care or concern for anyone else’s dynamics.
In the early 2000s, my friend Vickii Ford Cook, former Scientologist and OT VIII, left Scientology while her son George was in the Sea Org in LA. Scientology policies dictated that she lost her right to speak to George, and her son promptly disconnected from her. For years Vicki tried in vain to reach George through letters and phones. I helped Vickii try several times to make connections with George at the CLO WUS in Los Angeles, to no avail. Meanwhile, Vickii was followed by private investigators who collected information about her actions to report to the organization. A Scientologist would never think to call the police in the case of human rights violations like this, and instead, would tolerate it for the fear of committing a suppressive act in a twisted way, and for fear of receiving Scientology’s wrath and hate actions. Vickii, no longer a Scientologist, did report some things to the police, including having evidence of a private investigator trespassing on her property and stalking her. The Scientology Code of Ethics calls it a suppressive act to “report or threaten to report Scientologists to civil authorities in an effort to suppress Scientology” which is why Scientologists think of reporting trouble to Scientology first instead of to the police. For example, if a Scientology leader physically abused or harmed a staff member, we wouldn’t call the police because of the twisted thinking that the abusive leader was trying to help correct the erring staff member. To report the abusive leader to civil authorities would be total betrayal of command intention. Also, the police are so far outside the realm of the Scientology world, they’re not often considered a resource for help or even to report crimes.
Knowing more about Scientology’s ethics system will help anyone to understand the organization’s reasoning, motives and actions better, as you move through the rest of my story, or listen to other people’s stories on special shows like Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E. In summary, Scientology ethics is about making choices based on the greatest good for Scientology, not about making choices based on other’s good sense about attitudes, values, morals or beliefs, or even according to the golden rule or what is legal or illegal according to state or federal law.