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Scientology Claims No Forced “Disconnection” — So Tell Us About Yours

The last time Scientology denied forced disconnection -- with Tommy Davis on CNN in 2008 -- it backfired badly

The last time Scientology denied forced disconnection — with Tommy Davis on CNN in 2008 — it backfired badly

Scientology is spinning as madly as it can.

Today, in order to deal with an avalanche of bad news about Leah Remini’s defection, the Church of Scientology put out a statement denying that it forces members to disconnect from each other when it excommunicates someone — or, in church parlance, declares them a suppressive person.

Here’s the church’s statement: “Contrary to myths spouted by…anti-Scientologists, the Church cannot and does not ‘order’ any parishioner to disconnect. Such a decision always has been and remains a deeply personal choice made entirely by the individual. This has been spelled out clearly on our website for years.”

Here we go again. In 2008, Scientology’s then-spokesman, Tommy Davis, went on CNN and denied that families were subjected to disconnection. That shocked people like Paul Haggis, who knew that his own family had experienced the toxic policy. We’ve talked to many former church members who say Davis’s performance on CNN helped convince them to turn their backs on the church.

We hear again and again from Scientologists (in and out of the church) who say they have lost all connection to their children, or to their parents, or to longtime friends because the church ordered it. And now, we’d like to hear from you again.

If you went through forced disconnection, please tell us your story in the comments or send us an e-mail. We’re compiling them below as they come in…


Make sure you see our past story with Claire Headley about disconnection, and our Village Voice piece about the time Tommy Davis was secretly recorded intimidating a young church member, threatening that if he didn’t quit a job working for someone the church didn’t like, he’d never again see his family.

We’ll start off our compilation of responses with something very rare — an actual disconnection letter written to someone who was being tossed out of his family. We’ve written in the past about Derek Bloch, an intelligent young man who discovered, once he joined Scientology’s “Sea Org,” that he was gay. He returned home, and then expressed his doubts about Scientology anonymously at the ex-Scientology Message Board. In several postings, Derek explained that he was losing faith in the church, but didn’t want his parents to be harmed by his decision to turn away. Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs deduced that Derek was behind the postings and presented them to his parents, who then disconnected from him. His sister also disconnected, and wrote the following letter to Derek on behalf of the family. For the first time, Derek is making it public…

I’ve been holding back my responses to you because you’re not worth my time or my words. You never loved or cared for me. Not since i was born. It doesn’t hurt me and i could care less. I’ve always been there for you as your sister and a friend. But as far as what i have seen you do in life and in regards to our relationship you’re completely insane. The way you see life and what goes on is the most distorted view i can’t even comprehend what universe you are in. Our parents have been there for you more than they have for me. And yet again that never hurt me. I never asked for anything. And i never expect things. I knew you were gay before i graduated high school. It didn’t matter to me. You were still you. And unfortunately you are still you now and that’s why i don’t want you in any part of my life. You’re out to destroy and cause pain. I love myself my life and everyone in it. I unblocked you to send you a message just as you did me but i had changed my mind and decided not to. And no i could care less what you say or do with our family. I enjoyed my vacation and enjoyed being with them and unlike you they respected that i was there for them and did not once bring you up. I didn’t talk bad about you or good and i certainly didn’t tell them how you talked mad shit about them all the time. Because my life is MY life and you’re no longer part of it. We’re not stuck on you so i suggest you move on and be happy because you’re finally free from your “suppressive” family and can live happy. So do it and forget about us. I am going to block you now. Because im done having this in my life. There’s bigger and better things out there i suggest you go find them as well. Be happy and live well because now….you’re all you have. Good bye.

And here are more disconnection stories that are coming in…

Marc Headley: My mother who lived in Ohio, my sister who lives in Canada and Claire’s mom who lived in La Cresenta, California, somehow all managed to write disconnection letters to my wife and I. The letters were all written on the same day. They were addressed to an address of ours that we had not shared with them and the letters were all postmarked from the Scientology HQ building in Hollywood. The letters pretty much read the same between the three of them and were all about disconnecting from us for fabricated reasons that Scientology were accusing us of. Oh did I mention that these were all submitted by Scientology as evidence in our legal case? So somehow these people all decided to disconnect to family members of 30+ years all on the same day at the same place even though they lived thousands of miles from each other and had met only once some 13 years prior. And somehow they knew our brand new address that was not even publicly available. And Scientology had copies of these very “personal & difficult” letters that they wrote… My Dad who is NOT a scientologist has not seen of spoken to my sister since 2005. His crime? He helped me escape the Int Base. My mom told her family, that are not scientologists, that she was “not allowed to speak with us” and that if she did speak with us that she would be “threatening the the future eternity of all mankind.” Needless to say, they thought she was nuts. But there is a website that says “they do not do it.” Oh, well that clears it up for me. Good news. I am going to continue my mission until Claire and I get to talk to our entire families and everyone else I know can too. And you no doubt know who I talk to on a regular basis and how much of your current and future nightmares I am contributing to. So you bitches can either put them in touch with us or brace yourself for continued epic. Put that in your website and smoke it.

Lori Hodgson: I’ve been disconnected from my two Children Jessica and Jeremy since Feb 6, 2011. It’s beyond a heartbreak for me and my family!

Gerhard Waterkamp: In our case an ethics officer from Flag mobilized a local church member to contact every single Scientology Facebook friend of my wife and gave them the message from the Flag ethics Officer to unfriend and disconnect from my wife. She had worked as a teacher at Delphi Academy and had many former Scientology colleagues as Facebook friends. Next a Scientology business associate of mine came to me and said he had been contacted by the same person from Flag to disconnect from me. I was able to delay that, but finally he did so as he was afraid losing contact with his family members specifically a daughter that works at CCHR. So he disconnected for fear losing his family. Additionally Scientology reached out to parents of the boyfriend of one of our daughters and other school friends to make them disconnect from us and our daughter. For that purpose they were called in to Scientology Offices and shown documents to convince them to disconnect. My daughter actually got a good bye letter from one of her Scientology friends almost sobbing that he had to disconnect from her, although she was her best friend. A friend of mine who was after 40 years no longer willing to continue to ignore the corruption of COS management lost his whole family. His wife of 38 years filed for divorce and all family members refuse to have contact with him, as they fear retaliation from the COS.
The COS statements about the nonexistence of disconnection are blatant and hideous lies and my case alone has enough documentation to prove in any court of law that their statements are nothing but dirty lies to mislead the public about their actual business.

Quiet Guy: Tommy’s statement is as far from the truth as you can get. When I refused to disconnect from a mutual friend of Jeff Hawkins who I knew was not an “SP,” I in turn was declared an SP, and my son was persuaded to disconnect from me by similar leverage.

Jefferson Hawkins: Only an organization with the overweening arrogance of the Church of Scientology would state that the matter has been settled because they “spelled it out clearly on their website.” Don’t they realize that people can SEE what they do? As a wise man once said, “Don’t tell me what you believe, tell me what you DO and I’ll tell you what you believe.” Sure, Scientologists are given a “choice.” “Either disconnect or you’ll be declared Suppressive along with them and all of your family and friends will be disconnected from YOU. It’s up to you, what’s it gonna be.” Sure – that’s a “deeply personal choice” all right. My brother was given that “choice” by OSA. Either disconnect from Jeff or be declared SP yourself. He told them to go to hell and he quit the Church. I hope more and more people will find the integrity and courage to do the same.

Valeska (Paris) Guider: I have a brother and father who have disconnected from me. And in 1996 I was forced to disconnect from my mom and sister, and in 2009 when I reconnected with them I got declared and lost my brother and dad.

Cindy Plahuta: I read the St. Petersburg Times article on Marty Rathbun in 2009 and mentioned it to my daughter, Kara Landry. Kara is a staff member in CA. Within two days, I had an e-mail from the South Coast Mission requesting that I call Orange County OSA as I had false data. My daughter stopped calling me and would not return my calls. My daughter and I have been close her entire life and usually talked every day. I tried calling my son-in-law, nothing. I called my stepdaughter, Cara Plahuta. She did not return my calls. Then a friend told me I was declared an SP. My husband was then called by Flag and requested by an Ethics Officer to divorce me. My friends of 25 years sent me letters of disconnection. Then my husband was declared Suppressive. I can tell you about Disconnection and how painful it is to not be able to speak to your child that you love very much. I can tell you what it is like to pick the phone up to call your child to tell them something without thinking about it. Then I remember. My daughter is not ALLOWED to speak to me. Personally, I can tell you what Disconnection is like on my daughter’s birthday, and Christmas, and Thanksgiving. And I can really tell you about Disconnection on Mother’s Day. So when the “Church” of Scientology states there is no such thing as Disconnection, they are lying. The “Church” absolutely enforces Disconnection.

Mountain Eagle: I made a clean and quiet break with COS around the year 2000, although I had only been on the fringes or the prior two decades; my own “true believer” status lasted a mere year before the Sea Org, overboards and heavy ethics had me scratching my twenty-one year old head. My daughter, with her mother’s family, chose to remain associated with COS, and I had no choice but to accept her decision made as an adult. She still called and visited and we maintained a family relationship. Then quite suddenly, in 2005, she told me that she had been advised that she would not be allowed to do her upper levels if she remained connected to me. Nothing I knew of precipitated the change, although it is possible someone in COS updated the records and put me on the suppressive list. Shortly after I received an email from her saying that I was not to call, write, visit or in any way attempt to contact her. I respected her request for some years although I did send her a birthday email or a bit of family news from time to time until my emails began to bounce—she had blocked me. Earlier this year, I tried again, thinking that time may have healed some wounds. I called her and perhaps surprised her into answering. When I requested to get together and talk, all she had to say to me after eight years was: “I still don’t want to have anything to do with you.” That was it. I am quite sure COS would maintain that my daughter was not ordered to disconnect, but did it as a “deeply personal choice.” I would challenge the use of the word “choice” with this question: how can she make a choice when she cannot communicate with me to determine what is happening on my side after so many years?” An interesting note: Julian Swartz, who features in the Leah Rimini story, was the Ethics Officer who “counseled” my daughter at the time she “decided” to disconnect in the early 2000’s. Some of these folks have been at it for quite a long time.

WhatWall: When one of my children was attempting to leave the Sea Organization (SO), she was threatened with a Suppressive Person declare by her Fitness Board, which was followed up by them reminding her that her friends and family would then disconnect from her. So not only is disconnection practiced by the Church of Scientology, it is also used as a threat to keep SO members in line.

Anette Iren: I lost some 50-100 friends on Facebook overnight. The DSA (the OSA boss of the local org) sent a message to all my Scientology Facebook friends asking them (read demanding them) to make up their minds if they wanted to be my friend or not, after I announced my relationship with Geir Isene (#1 declared SP in Europe), November 2012. 5 people contacted me directly, some 95 people disconnected without any questions. They complied with the order not even hearing my side of the story. This was before I started to blog about Scientology: The 200 remaining Scientologists on my friends list have left one by one by now. A few brave ones are still hanging on. I’ve gained many new friends – real ones! That’s awesome!

Richard Lloyd-Roberts: How about when my wife and I joined the Sea Organization and her mother and father were declared A-J. Her Father was branded a criminal and her step mother was declared not there on her own intention (and she was OT7 at the time. Who’s intention was it?) Anyway she and I were forced to have no communication with both parents and told, yes TOLD to write a disconnection letter or be labeled a suppressive. When I was declared many of my friends were told to disconnect from me on Facebook. There is a way that the church does get round this though. They will tell you that there is no “official policy” forcing you to disconnect but instead all manner of threatened punishments await you. IE You will no longer be able to do courses, you will also be declared etc. This is the manipulative way you are told its your determinism. Does disconnection officially exist as a rule? No. Does it exist by manipulation and pressure? Yes.

I Am: I was pretty new to the church but had purchased a 25 hour intensive and some courses. After a couple hours of services delivered, I was sent to ethics. I did the formulas . The officer said I had to disconnect, divorce, from my husband before any services could be delivered. I had paid a lot of money and had come for marriage counseling with my husband and children. My husband had walked out, refusing services. That was what prompted my forced visit to ethics. I did not receive service until divorced, six months later. It did change my life. I was mission staff and Apple School Staff for a number of years until the push for money and the takeover of the most valuable missions woke me up. I have been free since then but I still have scars. One of my children sided with his dad and still has not forgiven me. The forced disconnect divided the children, too. It is so sad.

Dean Blair: I left Scientology for good in 2009 after 40 years. I had started reading stories on the internet written by others who had left Scientology. I read and watched the Tampa Bay Times articles and videos about “The Truth Rundown”. I went to Marty Rathbun’s web site and read what he and many others had written and their stories were similar to the experiences that I had had when I was still in. I read several books written by others who had left and wrote about what they experienced. Finally I arrived on Ex Scientologist Message Board and began to read what they had to say. I started posting there and in other places and even went on a protest march in Southern California at the building where I used to work. When I tried to warn my brother and sisters back in Michigan they all disconnected from me and would not communicate to me at all. My daughter too has disconnected from me and I am unable to see any of my four grand children. She was briefly in communication for a while but unfriended me on face book and won’t respond to any of my communication. I am certain that OSA had a hand in this because I have never tried to hide behind an avatar and have written and posted as myself.

Anonymous: The way this stupid policy has effected me is that my mother got my dad and us kids by default into the church when I was about 4 (I’m 30 this year). My dad gave up on it in about ’96, Id say. My mother still lived the word but wasn’t involved. On my own – so I guess I can thank myself — went to Celebrity Centre International with a friend just to check it out, because I hadn’t been in a church since about ’96 — this was in 01. Well, I graduated high school, and a few days before I was to move into the dorms — already set aside for me — my mother took me in and pretty much insisted they recruit me. So they did, and they won. I joined. My sister joined a month later (she was 14, I was 18). And then about 3 years later we both left, her a month after me. My point was only that we have all been ‘out’ for years. However, my mother is so brainwashed on certain things — like the validity of the disconnect policy — that she has disconnected from me and my sister. The breaking point was when she was in the hospital with me while I had had my first child, and she went thru my phone — which was open to Facebook — and saw that I was talking to her sisters, whom she has been disconnected from since their mom died in 94. She lost it and disconnected from me. That was in February of 2010 and she is still going strong.

whingeybingey: I had been working long hours with no pay for the cult for five years when my primary school aged daughters, who had nobody there to help with their homework or supervise them after school, began getting into trouble with shoplifting. I realised that I was trying to save the world while my own family was going to rack and ruin. Additionally I had been donating much of my own meagre government allowance to the cult since they did not provide me with even the most basic facilities or materials I needed to perform the duties of my post, and they never paid me more than fifty dollars – but usually it was nothing. So I decided that after working for them for five years, it was time to leave for the greater good of everybody except them. Leaving was not a simple process, like handing in a letter of resignation and attending your farewell party. It involved leaving my family to travel to a different city to carry out the steps they required me to do to leave in “good standing”. If I failed to complete these steps I would be declared “suppressive” for leaving without their permission, cut off from the group I considered my church and what I considered to be my only hope for salvation, and not allowed to communicate with any other Scientologist except the International Justice Chief. This is written in their own policies and every staff member studies it, so I don’t know how they hope to deny the existence of such documents. Typical Scientology stupidity I suppose. Anyway, I remained there, away from my family and outstaying my welcome with my newlywed sister and brother-in-law for NINE WEEKS while they stone-walled and assigned me to menial work such as scraping the mouldy plaster off the walls and washing the dishes with no detergent. Additionally they were rude and disrespectful with one executive barking, “Stand up when you address me. You’re on the decks!!” I can only hope that the contempt I felt was truly mirrored in my eyes and my body language. I had tried my best to do the right thing and had been treated to “non-co-op” on their part. This strategy is outlined in a Scientology policy letter dated June 7th 1965 and entitled “ENTHETA LETTERS and the DEAD FILE, Handling of”. Hubbard explains it like this: “We used to have an HCO category known as ‘Non-Co-op’ meaning no co-operation from US. People who demanded 90 per cent of our time comprised only a small per cent of our people. Such we put on a private non-co-operate list. We just didn’t do anything for them. When they called and demanded action we’d say ‘uh-huh’ and forget it. After a while they’d wander off our lines and we’d be free of them. “Dead File is actually only an extension of ‘non-co-op’. “It was we who didn’t co-operate.” So meanwhile I was there abandoning my family for yet another nine weeks while they were farting around and ignoring me and attempting to drive me into apathy on ever getting out of there in good standing so I would change my mind and continue to work for them. Eventually I returned to my home for mother’s day, but I just couldn’t bear to go back. At this point the local org issued my husband with a written order to break up our marriage and leave me. After all I had done for them, and despite all my legitimate concerns for the welfare of my children, they thought they had a right to interfere in our personal lives and command my own husband to “disconnect” from me – just because I wanted to quit my job and invest some time in my children. So it boggles my mind that they would even attempt to perpetuate this “There is no disconnection” lie. When my husband refused he was ordered to the continental liaison office for an ethics handling, but instead of getting on the bus to that city he caught the bus back to our home. They lost him as a staff member as well from that day. Now I can only be glad for their greed and stupidity and that they tried to cross that line because I am free of them and their controlling, impoverishing ways forever.

Chrissie Weightman: Yes we have been through this recently again 3 1/2 years later. OSA was trying to get a friend to disconnect from me, my husband and our children. When it was brought up that Shane’s parents were ordered to disconnect from us by OSA International the Church denied it and said Shane’s parents didn’t want to speak with us anymore because of our Facebook friends. Which, if it wasn’t so sad is actually really insanely funny. Shane’s parents have never brought up Shane’s Facebook friends to him. Shane’s father disconnected without letting him know but Shane’s mother spent hours with him on Skype. She told him OSA International ordered her and her husband (Shane’s dad) to disconnect from Shane or else they would lose their spiritual freedom and no longer be able to progress up the “Bridge”. So yes they were given a “choice” — your son or Scientology. It was under tremendous duress with Christine crying to Shane that she didn’t want to do it. Martin on the other hand made his choice easily. So that left Christine choosing between her husband or son. She kept repeating she didn’t want to do it but she chose her “Religious Retreat”. She said that over and over “I choose my religious retreat”. That is scary. I have heard more recently that she hopes an Amnesty will come along so she can speak to her son and grandson. We have another baby on the way and they will have no part in her life. Ironically the name we have chosen for her has the initials S.P. Weightman. Gotta find humor wherever you can! It sickens me every time I hear these BS lines they use. Every single ex-Scientology friend I have has been impacted personally by disconnection. The fact that they say its “voluntary” is such a lie. Of course the other line I heard recently was that WE did it by our devilish actions. Apparently by leaving Scientology and by me calling the police because Shane was being imprisoned at Flag against his will we are harming Shane’s parents personally who according to the email I read have never done anything to me personally and they are the victims of me. Which again is laughable since they spent at least a week trying to convince him to leave me and that by being with me he was helping evil SP’s. Scientologists are NOT sane people. They are brainwashed to really believe that they are the victims even when they are the ones attempting to victimize others. What Shane’s parent’s failed to realize was they dug their own grave by being manipulative and straight out lying. What they have accused me of was what they were doing. Shane is an intelligent guy way more intelligent then they ever gave him credit for. He saw Scientology for the scam it was and that was the end of the story. They can blame me as the “why” and SP all they want but the bottom line is Shane saw Scientology for what it is and moved on really fast!

Chris Mann: When I left Scientology a few years ago the two Orgs I was connected with went to work to make sure people disconnected. They called in my friends and family who were Scientologists and showed them an SP Declare (which I was never shown despite multiple requests) and some sort of pack of materials on me. They convinced long time friends including my brother in law/best man/20 year best friend to disconnect from me. It may be “voluntary,” but if you don’t disconnect you will be labeled an SP or PTS as my wife was, and can’t participate until you handle it. Also, the Ethics Officer from Nashville working with my brother in law went to work on my wife for many hours on multiple phone calls and convinced her through fear that there was something wrong with me and she should disconnect, which she did for six months. I was separated from my son and her until an independent auditor helped us work it out and now we are back together, but I lost many friends. They generally just turned cold and go out of communication. You become the enemy. I wasn’t even against anything, I just wanted out and to be able to speak freely. If you contact them you get “Please don’t communicate with me by any means”, or “You should be ashamed. go to hell.” My brother in law wont even let my son see his son through his grandmother, as if some disease will be transferred to him.


Posted by Tony Ortega on July 17, 2013 at 17:20

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