I originally posted this on my blog in 2013. I feel it is worth reiterating. I have updated it a bit.
While Scientology spokespeople have routinely denied that “enforced disconnection exists”, anyone who is familiar with the church of scientology knows only too well about disconnection. Like so much else in the scientology empire, its an ugly truth to be hidden from the “wog” world through a game of carefully worded deception of the same order as Bill Clinton’s infamous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
When you see a church spokespeople emphatically state “there is no policy of enforced disconnection” in Scientology, the language is carefully chosen. (You can see Tommy Davis doing even worse than that here though frankly, he is a pretty poor example of the art of careful wording. In his short career, Tommy set records for horrendous blunders that will never be surpassed.
If pressed on the subject, the church’s response is to dissemble in this wise: “those who disconnect CHOOSE to do so,” followed by “everyone has a right not to communicate with someone who is harming them, like an abused woman has the right to leave her abusive spouse.”
It sounds reasonable, but it’s not reality. And the church believes they can just keep asserting this and nobody will notice they are lying.
1. The fundamental theory of “disconnection” is based on common sense. Like the oft-used abused wife example above, the idea is that if someone is causing upset or pain in your life and you cannot deal with it, then get yourself away from the source of grief. “Everyone has a right to communicate and conversely you also have a right to not communicate”. Fair enough. And when disconnection is used for the benefit of the individual, it can be helpful.
2. There IS policy of the church of scientology that REQUIRES someone to disconnect from anyone declared by HCO as a Suppressive Person.
HCOB 10 September 83 PTSNess and Disconnection states the following: “To fail or refuse to disconnect from a suppressive person not only denies the PTS (person connected to a Suppressive Person) case gain, it is also supportive of the suppressive – in itself a Suppressive Act. And it must be so labeled.”
The “Suppressive Act” is specifically stated in the Introduction to Scientology Ethics book as: “Continued adherence to a person or group pronounced a Suppressive Person or Group by HCO.”
This is not for the benefit of the individual, but the organization. It is a way of keeping “undesirables” from speaking with scientologists.
3. An individual labeled a Suppressive, even if only due to continued association with someone ELSE who has been labeled a Suppressive, faces the reality of immediate family members (spouses, children, parents), friends, business associates and even employers who are Scientologists disconnecting from them. The consequences of being declared SP are real: Lost jobs, divorce, kicked out of school, refused service by doctors and many other ramifications — from life altering to merely annoying.
4. It is church policy that anyone declared SP has forfeited any right to participate in the activities of the church and is no longer eligible for auditing or training. This is the Scientology equivalent of being condemned to hell. It is a powerful motivating force.
5. Virtually everyone who is declared a Suppressive Person is someone the church finds objectionable, not someone engaged in “suppressing” an individual as described in point 1 above. To be objectionable to the church, and thus qualify for an SP declare, requires only questioning scientology or David Miscavige, disagreeing with the church or David Miscavige on anything, speaking to others about questions or concerns or remaining associated with someone who has done any of these things.
If I Hold A Gun To Your Head Are You Choosing Freely?
The statement that the church does not enforce disconnection is similar to the rapist claiming his victim “consented” after he held a gun to her head. “It was her choice, she could have refused….”
So too with the victims of enforced disconnection in the church of Scientology – they could refuse to disconnect from someone the church deems a trouble-maker (SP). The consequence is to have their own life destroyed by being labeled suppressive themselves. Or they could “go along with it”, save their own neck and let the other person fend for themselves. For most, it is a practical decision, not a moral one.
Disconnection Is A Constitutionally Protected Activity
The church claims the high ground (though only after they have been forced to admit that they DO enforce disconnection) — “This is our right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the US. We can practice our religion as we want and if anyone doesn’t like it they can go to some other church.” (Though it is quite incongruous that if this IS their “sincerely held religious belief” they don’t like to admit it in public?)
They are technically correct. Legally, they are protected by the law. But morally, there is nowhere to hide when in the name of religion and touting themselves as “champions of human rights” they are sundering families, friendships and livelihoods.
When scientologists seek to justify and explain this as their “right” they are little different than slave owners before the Thirteenth Amendment was passed or the “separate but equal” segregationists who proclaimed the moral and legal high ground before the Voting Rights and Equal Rights Acts of 1964 and the subsequent Supreme Court decisions that put a permanent end to government and court sanctioned discrimination in any form. Until then, they correctly claimed that they were “following the law” and were “protected by the constitution.”
Abuses that assault the sensibilities of decent men and women do not survive in a civilized society. Eventually, the checks and balances of an elected government, the press and public opinion conspire to outlaw abhorrent and abusive behavior.
The sooner scientology recognizes that enforced disconnection puts them on a par with the segregationists of the first half of the 20th century who proclaimed God and the law was on their side, the better off the church and anyone associated with it will be.
What Does Scientology Fear?
Corporate Scientology is terrified that allowing people to remain connected with Suppressives will erode their base of faithful followers by filling their heads with lies.
But isn’t this an admission that the followers of the church are incapable of making up their own minds and that if they have found something of benefit in scientology it is so unconvincing their faith could be shaken by “lies.” (The church vehemently proclaims that EVERYTHING negative said about them is a LIE).
Other religions operate in the marketplace of free ideas. While Scientology claims superiority over all other religions – producing standard results and having a technology like no other faith has – why would it fear that “lies and bad news” would undercut its membership? Surely such an advanced and strong religion would be far better able to deal with criticism or negative statements than others? You can find a virtually endless amount of negative information about Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or any other of the major belief systems on earth. And despite that, they all survive and do not try to control their adherents by seeking to remove anyone who may be negative or critical of their faith from their lives.
How Will It End?
The same way segregation ended. By bringing attention to the abuses. By the Rosa Parks’ of this battle refusing to agree to sit at the back of the bus – Lori Hodgson and Claire Headley and Cindy Plahuta and others fighting to recover their children and raising public awareness as a result.
By media coverage making the truth broadly known.
With testimonials on the internet and social media.
And eventually by elected officials being goaded into action.
Institutionalized abuses of human rights all come to an end when enough voices are raised in protest.
If you have a story of disconnection and are willing to have it published on this blog with your name, send it along. If I can, I will publish it.
We should all remember the words of Howard Beale in Network: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
Speak up. Speak Out.