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A voice from inside the Church of Scientology: Yes, the ‘Survival Rundown’ drives you insane

TouchingWindowOver the past couple of weeks, we’ve been posting segments from a secretly-recorded audiotape that captures a Sea Org executive, Andres Rodriguez, talking to a group of Scientologists about their courses. We’ve posted three portions of the recording so far — part 1, part 2, part 3.

The tape gives us a rare glimpse inside a Scientology “org” and what it’s like to face the challenges of the “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

In particular, we hear Rodriguez complain about the way students have been cutting corners in the “Survival Rundown,” a set of processes that have been given special emphasis by Scientology leader David Miscavige. Although they occur relatively early in a Scientologist’s career, many high-level members have been asked to take or retake the “SRD.” As we reported recently, one of our sources inside the church told us that all of his friends who were “OT 8’s” — the highest achievement on the Bridge, which can take half a million dollars or more to reach — were now working through the SRD.

Imagine if you had a group of friends who all had masters degrees or PhDs, and they had all been instructed to redo the second grade, and you get some sense of it. (But some Scientologists would be quick to point out that the old “Objectives” course, part of what makes up the SRD, was among their most enjoyable and useful experiences in the church.)

Former Sea Org staff member Chris Shelton has been helping us interpret the Rodriguez briefing. He tells us not only that it’s unusual that so much emphasis is being put on a low-level course like the SRD, but the way Rodriguez describes it is really troubling. Instead of relying on students to decide when they had completed a process, Rodriguez repeatedly emphasized that students should finish lengthy sets of hours before being allowed to finish the course.

Shelton warned us that this was not only different than what he had known in previous years, but that it was actually dangerous.


If Objectives are run beyond that, you can end up with people going into semi-hypnotic trances and all sorts of other nonsense which I think is psychologically damaging. So what you have here is Miscavige altering the technology to ensure it is done in the worst possible way to the worst possible result on every single person. He is making sure that almost everyone who runs these Objective Processes are going to be on them for hundreds and hundreds of hours and that they are very likely going to be a bit insane when they are done with them.

After that story ran, we heard from a source inside the church who wanted us to know that Chris Shelton was more right than he probably knew.

We aren’t going to identify this person, for pretty obvious reasons, but we wanted you to see what they sent to us about what it’s like to be on the Survival Rundown today in the Church of Scientology run by David Miscavige. We hope you find it interesting, and we know you’ll have thoughts to share with us in the comments…


I have recently been on the Survival Rundown (SRD) and wanted to shed a little light on the subject.

A couple of years ago, I emptied my retirement account to buy the Purification Rundown and TR’s & Objectives course package.

I had finished the Purif, and went onto the TR’s & Objectives course. I was about a third of the way through Objectives when Golden Age of Tech 2 (GAT2) was released. The Objectives course was abolished; all the materials were destroyed and I was off the course and so, off the Bridge. I was off the course for several months.

To get back on the service, I had to buy the course all over again ($3,500 at Flag/LA) this time called the Survival Rundown. Every Scientologist is now required to do SRD, even if you’re OT8: if you’re a Scientologist, you’re required to do the SRD. There aren’t many new public in my org, so the people on the rundown are mostly Clears and OTs, people who have been around for 20 to 30 years, or staff members. Many of the people on the rundown I have never seen at the org (at least in the last 5 or so years). Even people who finished Objectives two months prior to GAT2 release have had to buy the course and do it again.

The SRD contains the original CCHs that were on the Objectives course, but also they have made available all the processes LRH ever wrote, (I say he wrote them, but I don’t know if LRH actually wrote all these) something like nearly 500 processes. These used to be called “undercuts” but now they are called “additionals” and the C/S makes a program tailored for you, selecting additionals — processes to supplement the original CCH battery. You may have three or four additionals to start, do the Objectives battery and then have 10 to 20 additional for “your program.”

A couple of the processes do have time associated with them like in the recording. I was on one that has a time requirement and when I was happy, bright, keyed out, I mentioned being keyed out to my auditor who called over the supe and was told “my wins were great but we need to keep going.” Of course I was enraged. I lost it on the auditor.

I was told by the supe that the one I was on had to be a certain number of hours. The EP of that process is (I’m paraphrasing) “when the PC is doing the process without protest or upset, is relaxed and self determined regarding orders.” It was a process specifically about receiving and executing orders without upset.

I was told on another occasion that Op Pro By Dup (also known as “Book and Bottle”) runs for 60 or more hours. The amount of time on SRD ends up equaling hundreds of hours.

You are expected to do 25 hours a week on SRD, so you and your twin each get an intensive a week. I work a 40-hour job, and doing 25 hours at the org is very difficult.

I have had to abandon everything in my life to do the 25 hours on the rundown. I don’t have hobbies anymore, I don’t see friends, I don’t drink, I don’t have a spouse nor am I dating, I don’t see my family, I don’t go to the gym or exercise.

Every twinship I know is taking a year to complete, in some cases over a year. Only one that I know of took less than a year and in that case, it took between 7 to 9 months, and those are people who have done Objectives before.

Chris Shelton has it right, I can personally vouch for being run and run and run on processes. I have also had to run, run, run my twin. Once, on a process he had a full blown panic attack and I had to acknowledge and keep going.

I personally have felt crazy, insane, not sleeping, waking up in the middle of the night crying, waking up in the middle of the night enraged slamming and punching my pillows. This is NOT normal behavior for me. I’ve been unable to focus or think at work for days in a row. This is not normal for me.

We want to thank our source for sharing this with us. We plan to follow up with them to find out how things go.

In the meantime, here are some definitions Chris previously gave us to help you with understanding our source’s account…

Objective Process: A Scientology procedure which focuses on commands the preclear is to carry out with his body in the physical universe. This is opposed to Subjective Processes, which involve the preclear sitting in a chair thinking or remembering things in his past. An example of a command in an Objective Process would be “Look at that wall” or “Walk over to that wall” whereas an example of a command in a Subjective Process would be “Recall a time that was really real to you.”

CCHs: A series of Objective Processes. CCH stands for Control, Communication, and Havingness. These processes are numbered, and each one is supposed to increase a person’s ability to control things, communicate, or be able to experience or have things.

Survival Rundown: A new series of Objective processes which seems to have replaced the “Objectives” step of the old Grade Chart since the Golden Age of Tech II was released by Miscavige. The difference is that the Survival Rundown adds a ton of new Objective processes. They went through Hubbard’s writings and lectures and dug up every Objective process he mentioned. They put all of these into a huge new volume called The Objectives Handbook and they use this book to choose whatever number of processes they want a preclear run on. There’s an initial series everyone is run on, with names like “Opening Procedure by Duplication” or “Standard Operating Procedure of 8C” or “Objective Havingness.” The Case Supervisor then selects more processes for the preclear to do until the C/S decides the person has reached the End Phenomena of the rundown. I couldn’t find what this EP is online but it has something to do with being in control of your body and having 100 percent of your awareness freed up from past painful incidents and in present time. Normally they sell this as a co-audit course, meaning that a person pays a flat fee and then gets paired up with another student and do the Objectives auditing on each other and under the supervision of a Course Supervisor. However, Andres mentions that you can receive the Survival Rundown professionally if you want to pay thousands for a professional auditor’s time.

C/S: A Case Supervisor, the person who reviews all the auditing a person receives in Scientology and directs what processes are to be run on a preclear in order to move them through the steps up The Bridge to Total Freedom

End phenomenon: The things a person says or does which indicate to a Scientology auditor that the person has reached the end result of an auditing procedure or action. Some procedures have very specific end phenomena and the processes are run over and over until that is achieved. A more usual, generic end phenomenon for many processes is a person realizing something new about themselves or life (a “cognition”) or feeling that they have spiritually gone exterior to their body.

Op Pro by Dup: Opening Procedure by Duplication, an Objective auditing process in Scientology. It involves walking back and forth between a book and a bottle over and over again for hours, each time picking up the book or bottle and telling the auditor its color, weight and temperature and then putting it back in exactly the same place.


Bonus photos from our tipsters

Using Tom Cruise T-shirts, caps and other paraphernalia to draw in the customers at a Dianetics booth in Buenos Aires…




On May 14, you will be able to purchase ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ from Amazon in either electronic or print format, and simultaneously in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

The Kindle edition is now available for pre-order at Amazon, and will be delivered on May 14. Go order your copy today! (Yes, our publisher changed his mind about that, and you can take advantage of it!)

On May 14, you’ll be able to order either a Kindle version or a physical copy. Pre-orders are being taken only on the Kindle version.

Our appearances…

May 16: Santa Barbara Humanist Society (with Paulette Cooper), 3:00 pm
May 17: Center for Inquiry-West, Los Angeles, 4773 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, 11 am (with Paulette Cooper)
May 17: CFI Orange County (Costa Mesa), 4:30 pm (with Paulette Cooper)
May 20, San Diego (with Paulette Cooper)
May 22: San Francisco (with Jamie DeWolf and Paulette Cooper)

June 11: New York City (with Paulette Cooper)

June 20: Chicago The Annoyance Theater, 5pm (with Christian Stolte)

June 22/23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper)

June 27/28: Florida (with Paulette Cooper)

July 12: Washington DC, Center for Inquiry


Posted by Tony Ortega on May 8, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to 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.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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