Berrington learned that at the end of last year he was “declared a suppressive person” by the church — in other words, he’d been kicked out, and all church members who want to remain in good standing will be forced to now “disconnect” from him or risk being declared themselves.
We have copies of Berrington’s “declare,” his responses to its charges, and also a letter from the church he recently received when he asked for a refund of money that he had on account for services that he cannot now use.
As Scientology continues to hemorrhage membership, more and more veteran church members (Berrington had joined in 1998 and was in for more than a decade) are learning that they’ve been declared SPs. But few, we find, end up with copies of their “goldenrod,” the official declaration itself. Sometimes, as in the case of Derek Bloch, a member who is being excommunicated will be asked to come down to the local org to look at the document in person, but cannot take home a copy.
But Berrington has his. And here’s what it looks like. (Berrington has his declare because a friend grabbed a copy of it that was posted at a Scientology church. Because of the dodgy image, we’ve typed up the actual words after each page.)
Church of Scientology in South Africa
Joburg Day Ethics Order #1476
Dec 30, 2011
SUPPRESSIVE PERSON DECLARE
Robert Berrington of Johannesburg, South Africa, is hereby declared a suppressive person and is expelled from the Church of Scientology pursuant to HCO PL 7 March 1965RB I, SUPPRESSIVE ACTS, SUPPRESSION OF SCIENTOLOGY AND SCIENTOLOGISTS.
Robert has remained affiliated with persons who have been declared suppressive by HCO due to their squirrel and suppressive acts.
Robert has been attempting to covertly divert Scientologists in good standing to join this band of squirrels. He has refused any attempts by Church members to resolve matters with regards the Church and the applied philosophy of Scientology as founded by L. Ron Hubbard.
Robert has attempted to sell squirrel “services” to other public, in violation of the laws of the land, including trademark laws.
Robert is guilty of the following Suppressive Acts:
1. USING THE TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS OF DIANETICS AND SCIENTOLOGY WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OR LICENSE FROM THE OWNER OF THE MARKS OR ITS AUTHORIZED LICENSEE.
2. ORGANIZING SPLINTER GROUPS TO DIVERGE FROM SCIENTOLOGY PRACTICES, STILL CALLING IT SCIENTOLOGY OR CALLING IT SOMETHING ELSE.
3. PUBLIC DISAVOWAL OF SCIENTOLOGY OR SCIENTOLOGISTS IN GOOD STANDING WITH SCIENTOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS.
4. PUBLIC STATEMENTS AGAINST SCIENTOLOGY OR SCIENTOLOGISTS BUT NOT TO COMMITTEES OF EVIDENCE DULY CONVENED.
5. CONTINUED ADHERENCE TO A PERSON OR GROUP PRONOUNCED A SUPPRESSIVE PERSON OR GROUP BY HCO.
6. SEEKING TO SPLINTER OFF AN AREA OF SCIENTOLOGY AND DENY IT TO PROPERLY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY FOR PERSONAL PROFIT, PERSONAL POWER OR “TO SAVE THE ORGANIZATION FROM THE HIGHER OFFICERS OF SCIENTOLOGY”
Any certificates that Berrington has are hereby canceled per HCO PL 7 March 1965II, CERTIFICATE CANCELLATION. Any licensing agreements he may have signed to use the marks of Dianetics and Scientology are cancelled as well. He may not use the marks in any manner whatsoever.
Should Robert come to his senses an recant, he is to do steps A to E as laid out in HCO PL 7 March 1965RB I, SUPPRESSIVE ACTS, SUPPRESSION OF SCIENTOLOGY AND SCIENTOLOGISTS.
His only terminal is the International Justice Chief via the Continental Justice Chief.
ETHICS OFFICER HCO JBGD
LRH COMM JBG
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
in SOUTH AFRICA
D/INT JUSTICE CHIEF
A couple of notes, if you’re not familiar with Scientology lingo…
— Although Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986, the millions of words he left behind in books, lectures, and “policy letters” are still considered sacrosanct to his followers. So you’ll notice several references to Hubbard’s policies in the declare, identified as “HCO PL” — Hubbard Communication Office Policy Letters.
— As for “squirrels,” the church officials here are not actually referring to the small furry mammals. In Scientology-speak, a squirrel is someone who makes use of Hubbard’s “technology” outside of the official church. A big part of Scientology is making sure that Hubbard’s processes are used in a completely standard way — the way Ron intended it — and so altering those methods or using them outside official channels is forbidden. People who violate that rule are considered heretics and have to be punished.
We asked Berrington about the charges leveled against him, and he sent us this response…
Charge 1: USING THE TRADEMARKS AND SERVICE MARKS OF DIANETICS AND SCIENTOLOGY WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OR LICENSE FROM THE OWNER OF THE MARKS OR ITS AUTHORISED LICENSEE.
Completely false, I want nothing to do with Scientology, or Hubbard. Where is their evidence that I did this? Why did they never call me to a “Committee of Evidence”?
What I did say to three Scientologists is that if they wanted to do Scientology outside of the confines of what is commonly called “corporate Scientology,” they could get all the Scientology policy and technical information off the Internet, and I told them that I had seen it all available there. I never tried to sell Scientology to them, or tried to set up my own Scientology group.
Charge 2: ORGANIZING SPLINTER GROUPS TO DIVERGE FROM SCIENTOLOGY PRACTICES, STILL CALLING IT SCIENTOLOGY OR CALLING IT SOMETHING ELSE.
Same as above.
Charge 3: PUBLIC DISAVOWAL OF SCIENTOLOGY OR SCIENTOLOGISTS IN GOOD STANDING WITH SCIENTOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS
Correct, I did publically disavow Scientology, and I’m proud of it! I do find this clause a bit vague though, as it could apply to Scientology itself, or to a particular Scientologist.
Charge 4: PUBLIC STATEMENTS AGAINST SCIENTOLOGY OR SCIENTOLOGISTS BUT NOT TO DULY CONVENED COMMITTEES OF EVIDENCE
Charge 5: CONTINUED ADHERANCE TO A PERSON OR GROUP PRONOUNCED A SUPPRESSIVE PERSON OR GROUP BY HCO
True, although I do not know how they would know this. I think it was more of a guess on their part.
Besides which, if Scientology is about creating “total Freedom,” one should be free to communicate to whomever one wants to.
Charge 6: SEEKING TO SPLINTER OFF AN AREA OF SCIENTOLOGY AND DENY IT TO PROPERLY CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY FOR PERSONAL PROFIT, PERSONAL POWER, OR “TO SAVE THE ORGANIZATIONS FROM THE HIGHER AUTHORITIES OF SCIENTOLOGY”
That last part “To save the organizations from the higher authorities of Scientology” sounds like something David Miscaviage added to a Hubbard quote in order to protect himself.
I have no desire to create a splinter group of Scientology. Like I said, I want nothing to do with Scientology, or Hubbard.
I did, however, have a desire for people to leave the cult at that time, and I actively tried to get them to leave.
Berrington tells us that he had spent more than $10,000 on services that he cannot use. He asked for a refund, but he recently received the following letter…
This is the same line that Scientology has been taking with the exodus of members who are leaving, as we’ve seen in cases like the Hoverson/Schippers lawsuit.
The church characterizes a refund as a religious matter, and do you see how clever that is? If you’ve left the church or been declared, you cannot get your money back without getting yourself back into good standing — but if you were in good standing, you wouldn’t want your money back.
In this case, the paradox is even more mind-boggling: The “International Justice Chief” tells Berrington that he cannot have a refund without filling out a particular form, but because he’s been declared a suppressive person, he can’t go into the org (the Scienotology church) in order to get the form.
It’s a genius Catch-22 that, so far, the church is getting away with.
But soon, we hear, there’s going to be a new court challenge that is going to zero in on this church scheme.
For now, however, we want to thank Rob Berrington for sharing with us these documents. We’ll have more about him and his journey in Scientology at another time.
Links of Note
There’s a very well-written rememberance of growing up in Scientology penned under the pseudonym “Stella Forstner” which was posted on Tuesday over at The Hairpin. It should be helpful in particular for those who were never in the church and have a hard time understanding its appeal.