Claire Headley is taking us on our journey to train as Scientologists. She and her husband Marc were Sea Org workers who escaped from Scientology’s International Base in 2005. She spent years working with Scientology’s “tech,” and was trusted to oversee the auditing of Tom Cruise. Go here to see the first part in this series.
Claire, you wanted to interrupt our journey up the Bridge this week?
CLAIRE: That’s right. Once again, Scientology has managed to create public uproar with its bald-faced lies, denying that it engages in the forced disconnection of families.
THE BUNKER: Yes, the church seems to have stepped in it again. Following Leah Remini’s defection, news emerged that her Scientology friends were being forced to “disconnect” from her, but the church denied that forced disconnection exists. We asked our readers to respond, and we were quickly sent many personal stories of families being ripped apart.
CLAIRE: Disconnection has done more harm for Scientology, I think, than any other practice or person. That’s just my opinion. But it’s one of those things that no one in the real world can understand. It’s hard to imagine a “religion” that breaks up families left, right, and center. Yes, there are similarities in one or two other groups, but Scientology specializes in ruthless and outright leverage of its members, with disconnection as their heavy-handed weapon of choice. And there are thousands of destroyed families as a result. I’d guess there are more distraught family members who have suffered disconnection than there are Sea Org members at this point.
THE BUNKER: A strong statement, to be sure. We’d estimate Sea Org membership at about 3 to 4 thousand.
CLAIRE: If you don’t mind, I thought it might be interesting to do a review of some policies on disconnection from the Scientology ethics book. And I think readers will see for themselves just exactly how manipulative Scientology “PR” is.
Scientologists love to quote Hubbard policy. I know from personal experience. I’ve walked in those shoes.
So here we go. Please keep in mind this is by no means a complete study of the subject. I just happen to have the ethics book in front of me.
These days, a “suppressive person” is anyone who doesn’t agree with Scientology leader David Miscavige. But according to policy, you have to commit certain Crimes and Suppressive Acts to be declare an SP.
Being or becoming a potential trouble source without reporting it or taking action.
High Crimes (Suppressive Acts):
Suppressive acts are defined as actions or omissions undertaken to knowingly suppress, reduce, or impede Scientology or Scientologists.
These consist of publicly departing Scientology or committing suppressive acts.
Any PTS who fails to either handle or disconnect from the SP who is making him or her a PTS is, by failing to do so, guilty of a suppressive act.
A suppressive declare order upon a person or group and all of the conditions inherent within it remain in force until the order has been officially cancelled by an authorized and published Church issue.
The validity of this policy is borne out by the fact that the US government raids and other troubles were instigated by wives, husbands, or parents who were actively suppressing a Scientologist or Scientology, or who were acting under the influences of persons or agencies who had deliberately misinformed them regarding Scientology. The suppressed Scientologist did not act in good time to avert the trouble by handling the antagonistic family member.
No money particularly may be accepted as a donation or loan from a person who is “family” to a suppressive person and therefore a potential trouble source. There is no source of trouble in Scientology’s history greater than this one for frequency and lack of attention.
THE BUNKER: Some help with terms for the new people around here: In Scientology, if you are judged to be failing the church in some way (even for something as trivial as having a head cold, for example), you are labeled a “potential trouble source,” and it is assumed that you are connected to a person who has evil thoughts about the church — a “suppressive person.” If you don’t cut that person out of your life, you may be labeled an “SP” yourself, and then everyone else will have to “disconnect” from you or risk being labeled SPs themselves. In that second example, the church is saying that it was raided by the government (1977, FBI) because its people didn’t root out SPs well enough, and wives didn’t turn in husbands, sons didn’t turn in parents, etc., like they should have. Amazing.
CLAIRE: I can guarantee you that these rules do not apply to Tom Cruise. I’m sure David Miscavige has given some excuse as to why it’s OK that Tom stays in touch with Katie Holmes even after she very publicly departed Scientology. And I can assure you his donations are still forthcoming.
If evidences of disconnection are given, the Committee of Evidence findings and recommendations and the convening authority, once the findings are duly approved, must remove the label of potential trouble source from the Scientologist.
Any HCO Secretary may receive evidences of disconnection or disavowal and, on finding them to be bona fide, must place copies of such evidences in the ethics file and in the Central files folders of all persons named in them.
The disconnecting person then ceases to be a potential trouble source…
More from the same policy below:
The enturbulence of the society around us is fantastic. There is no just civil law left, really. It is that lawless and disorderly condition in the society about us which makes it hard for us to work. Shortly we will be even more powerful. That power must not be lawless or we will have anarchy and dismay, enough to stop our growth.
Yep, David Miscavige truly nailed it. Not only has he stopped their growth, but he’s managed to shrink the movement more than ever in history. Unprecedented shrinkage.
And then there’s this from the section “How to Disconnect”:
To fail or refuse to disconnect from a suppressive person not only denies the PTS case gain, it is also supportive of the suppressive — in itself a suppressive act. And it must be so labeled.
The technology of disconnection is essential in the handling of PTSes. It can and has saved lives and untold trouble and upset. It must be preserved and used correctly.
The one sentence that Scientology is using to justify their lie about forced disconnection is the following:
The term “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.
As you can see from the above quotes I’ve provided, and I’m sure from the huge response on this subject, there is simply nothing that is “self-determined” about any of the many examples of disconnection that I’ve seen. Saying that something is “self-determined” simply does not make it so.
THE BUNKER: What you’re showing in these examples is that Scientology tells the public that a member has a “choice” about disconnection, but in practice that choice is no choice at all: either disconnect from your mother or father or brother or son who has been labeled a suppressive person, or you will be labeled one as well. And there goes all the time and money you’ve invested in the church — which for some who grew up in it is all they’ve known.
CLAIRE: To end this on a personal note, when I escaped Scientology in January 2005, I was able to have a small amount of e-mail correspondence with my mother before she disconnected from me. These e-mails were handed over to the Office of Special Affairs (Scientology’s intelligence wing) and were produced by church lawyers in our lawsuits.
I’ve excerpted some applicable sections of those messages from my mother below:
Kirsty called for advice because she received your e-mail. Of course she has been instructed that she cannot communicate with you. Hugh said I should let Chantal know which I did and Kirsty will need to forward your message to Chantal without reading it, per Chantal’s instructions.
(Kirsty is my sister, Hugh is my stepfather, Chantal is the Sea Org member who told my parents and siblings I was declared a suppressive person the day after I escaped.)
Would it work if I checked in with Bernie once in a while? I am frankly not sure whether that would be a violation or not although I know it really wouldn’t be OK. But it isn’t direct communication….This e-mail address is private — for the moment anyway — but the one Kirsty gave you is not, nor the work one of course….I will tell Hugh all when he is back and will have to have no further communication with you. Perhaps I am blind to the ramificiations of what I am doing here. He said this morning that they wouldn’t let him back on Solo NOTs if they thought any of the family were in communication with you. I hadn’t gotten that from the issues….There is very little privacy in my life. All of this is very clandestine for me. I am not letting the kids know. It would be a very bad example for them. I am not letting Hugh know. That would not work. I love you very much darling.
Honestly I can’t tell you how upsetting and hurtful it was to be handed this correspondence in deposition. On the other hand, I had no doubt the evil of the Scientology organization right at that moment.
What I just don’t understand is why Scientology insists on lying about disconnection.
They should either admit to it or stop doing it, but lie about it? Who do they think they’re kidding?
Any intelligent person in today’s world will simply Google “disconnection,” a search that yields thousands of examples of the destruction of families.
On a separate note, in case you’re interested, we finally have our site up: www.stopdisconnection.com.
THE BUNKER: Thank you, Claire. Another punch to the gut in this great series.
Posted by Tony Ortega on July 23, 2013 at 07:00
E-mail your tips and story ideas to email@example.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.