Back in the 70s it rankled when I read a press article or heard some verbal statement that accused Scientology of splitting up families. That was the main attack line the very real enemy used back then, and a nauseatingly frequent newspaper headline it was too. Perhaps it had been true in the 60s but in the 70s disconnection as a practice was all but dead. As a Scientologist, I felt wronged by such statements, after all the family was an integral part of Scientology. It is one of the eight sub urges of survival man possesses and many would say the most important because without the family, procreation and the raising of children, most other forms of survival would cease.
So imagine my dismay now. The Sea Organization seems to have cared little for the family as a unit. It has acted in ways that blocked the creation of families for its own members which has heavily impacted the lives of relatives of Sea Org members, Scientologists and non Scientologists alike. It has also shown a blatant disregard for Scientologists’ families and friends by allowing a widespread resurgence of the practice of disconnection with countless injustices and other bully tactics amplifying the misery. This has all resulted in abortions, divorces, broken homes, fractured families and friendships.
In response, people who might have remained silent are speaking out, often publicly and protests are taking place around the world. And it rankles now too, but in this case it’s because the accusations have the ring of truth.
How could the greatest movement on Earth have been reduced to this? Why are prominent Scientologists or ex Scientologists speaking publicly on television, exposing its tactics and hundreds of protestors decrying its practices in locations across the globe? These people are not CIA-backed agents as they were some decades ago. These are very real people who feel violated and compelled to speak out.
And if Scientology is the greatest movement on Earth (which I believe it is) why are these protests and underlying grievances not being dealt with? Our ability to communicate, to apply understanding, the universal solvent, is our paramount virtue. If the powers that be wanted to really handle these protesters it would only take a matter of days to sit down with them, listen, understand and implement necessary reforms. The whole world would breathe a collective sigh of relief. After all, Scientologists above all others have the ability to accept change, don’t they?
To fully understand this sad state of affairs lets look at how it all came about, not a view of individual incidents no matter how tragic but the overall pattern from start to finish. Only when you see the history as well as the present will you see the whole picture, the fingerprints, the moving force behind it all and its sheer madness.
The Sea Org was formed in the 60s; L. Ron Hubbard was its leader and its headquarters were aboard ship which traveled from port to port. There were few if any regulations as regards the family and children. Why should there be? L. Ron Hubbard was a family man; the family was and is an important part of the Scientology and the children of Sea Org members were on board the ship with their parents. Sea Org members on the whole gave birth to offspring when and as they wished and L. Ron Hubbard encouraged Sea Organization parents not to get so caught up in their duties that they neglected to spend time with their children.
That’s all there is to say on the subject so lets fast forward more than twenty years to 1987. L. Ron Hubbard has passed away, the Sea Org is considerably larger and David Miscavige rules over the whole shebang. As Chairman of the Board (an unofficial, made up position, hereinafter) Miscavige begins to take a series of steps against the family and couples within the Sea Org as follows:
In the late 80s a rule is issued that any Sea Org member (couple) having a child will be shipped off, out of the Sea Org to a non Sea Org facility and will not be able to resume their Sea Org duties until the child is old enough to get along on his own. Now this is a big switcheroo for many Sea Org members as it’s not covered by any policy from L. Ron Hubbard and no such rule existed when they joined. All of a sudden they lose their status if they get pregnant or their wife becomes pregnant. It is at this point that abortions begin to occur in earnest to avoid any kind of punishment. For a Sea Org member, being shipped out, stripped of your rank, status and position was severe punishment.
During the same time period, Miscavige’s brother (Ronnie) used his “family time” (the term used for the time when parents got to see their kids) to look for a new car. Apparently he had his daughter Jenna with him at the time so this was a minor transgression at the most, but David Miscavige, “Chairman of the Board”, saw the shiny new car and took great offense at this “heinous crime” and banned all family time for everyone at the Int Base. No more spending time with your kids every Saturday, that was now over. The fact that he was punishing everyone for the (minor) transgression of one person and the fact that children would be left parentless did not seem to bother David Miscavige.
It wasn’t long before he spread the ban on family time to the hundreds of Sea Org members who had children in Los Angeles. They had been able to spend some time with their kids each day (not just Saturday) but not any more says Miscavige. One distressed but brave Sea Org member tried to get Mary Sue Hubbard to intervene in the matter so that family time could be restored. She was instantly assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force by Miscavige as punishment for her “treasonous” audacity.
The ban on family time soon spread to the rest of the Sea Org world. And no one queried it even though it had existed under L. Ron Hubbard for many years.
Around the same time the screw was turned on those Sea Org members still brave enough to want to have a child. The ante was upped by Miscavige. Any pregnant “couples” would now only be sent to the smallest and most failing of Scientology organizations in the far flung corners of the world to fend for themselves. And remember, as Sea Org members they might have little by way of personal possessions, money or even clothes so being sent away under these circumstances was double punishment indeed. That would certainly make any Sea Org couple think twice before having children. Consequently, the incidence of abortions increased further and it put great strain on married couples and often drove a wedge between the partners. On occasion some husbands even chose to divorce their pregnant wives rather than leave the Sea Org, because Miscavige had now made having a child a crime.
There was a very prominent case I recall during this time period, an extremely able and gifted woman who was an executive at the Int Base and who will remain nameless. She became pregnant and was immediately assigned to the Rehabilitation Project Force as punishment. She never gave birth to the child that’s for certain.
But at least the Sea Org parents in Los Angeles could see their little darlings when they finished their long work day at around 11pm, they could perhaps peer at them while they slept or spend a few hurried minutes at breakfast the next morning. But not for long, Miscavige made sure a ranch was found and bought outside Los Angeles and all the children were shipped there. A ranch for the kids sounds good, the problem was it was two hours away so how were parents who already worked all day long, seven days a week going to get out and see their kids? Well, some Sea Org members figured out how they could see their kids for a meager few hours a week and some didn’t. Could a ranch have been found closer to where the parents worked? Of course, but that wouldn’t have been a punishment.
A ranch was built for the Int Base too, for all the kids of Sea Org members at that base and the kids were housed there. Wonderful you would be forgiven for thinking, but no, not really. Miscavige now had them all in one place and a few years later, when they were a little older but still children, he took it upon himself to personally talk to them all, eliciting their agreement to join the Sea Organization and, even though they were minors, like the pied piper he shipped them all off to Clearwater, thousands of miles away from their parents. It’s not hard to imagine the anguish many of those parents felt as they realized they were never going to see their kids again. The children were now part of the system dominated by Miscavige. If the parents ever thought of leaving the Sea Org there was now no way they could take their kids along.
In common with all totalitarian dictators its clear Miscavige felt that the children of members did not belong to a family but were the property of “the state”.
By now Misacavige had tightened the screw even further for any Sea Org members who wanted to have a child. Pregnancies were still occurring so to counteract that and punish Sea Org members for having children he changed the rule yet again making it more threatening. It now read that if you got pregnant you were thrown out of the Sea Org period, with all the attendant penalties and liabilities such an action would bring.
But Miscavige wasn’t satisfied with utter dominance over the reproductive rights of Sea Org members and their rights to access their children, he began to really mess with married relationships as well. He invented “co-mingling” rules where one member of a couple could not live with their spouse if that person worked for a lower level organization or echelon. Not only did Miscavige dream up these rules but he took it upon himself to intervene and speak to Sea Org members personally about their spouses. He split up couples with such crazy rules and by direct intervention into their personal lives.
At the Int Base it was insane with many resultant divorces, some directly ordered by Miscavige others occurring because of the rules and atmosphere he fostered. But it wasn’t limited to the Int Base by a long way. I know of nine Int married couples that can’t live together because of these rules and others that dare not even sleep together for fear the wife might become pregnant.
The above timeline of Miscavige’s activities spans more than twenty years. But his aggression against the family does not end there. There is another line that runs parallel to what I lay out above – that of heavy ethics, the return of the practice of disconnection and widespread injustices which adversely affected families.
Disconnection had been dead for decades (you have Mary Sue Hubbard to thank for that) and ethics & justice had meant just that in days gone by. But that was all changed under Miscavige.
He made it so that if you left the Int Base, even if you stuck to all the laid down rules of leaving, you were still declared suppressive and all your family members would have to disconnect from you or undergo Miscavige’s wrath. There was a minor mention in L Ron Hubbard dispatches from the early 80s from which Miscavige manufactured a rule he perpetuated for all time, condemning hundreds if not thousands to a wilderness devoid of friends and family. Because of this rule many who left the Int Base chose to “blow”, leave suddenly, rather than follow procedure because they were going to be declared suppressive anyway.
And as with all dictators, ethics became increasingly harsh and justice became just a series of show trials, the outcome and your guilt a forgone conclusion. And if you dared to speak out or protest against such cruelty or lack of fairness you just mired down more deeply in injustice.
So why the incessant, long term campaign against the family, couples and children? Perhaps Miscavige has something against children and the family, his overall behavior and tone level would certainly indicate that, but that wouldn’t really explain the why of it all. I’m afraid it comes down to control and strategy. The campaign against the family didn’t begin until he had power over the Church and was looking to keep hold of it. His disruption of the second dynamic is just another mutated strain of the same disease -- Miscavige’s power hunger, his utter determination to stay in power no matter the cost to you, me and Scientology.
And why invent a rule that if anyone left the Int Base they were to be damned? That one’s much easier. Miscavige operated from the Int Base. Anyone leaving there would have at least some knowledge of his antics if not vividly clear details and evidence of his wrong doing. What better way to silence any would be rival or critic than to have them declared suppressive? There is no better way because all Scientologists in good standing have to immediately distance themselves and disconnect. The fact that it has created havoc is of no concern to Miscavige.
Why the increasingly heavy ethics and perverted justice? All the better to keep dissenters quiet by tarnishing them as unethical scum. Look, the line Miscavige most hides behind is this one: “I, David Miscavige, am utterly unreasonable (Scientology definition) so if you don’t agree with me one hundred percent and buy what I am saying you are less than me, unethical or criminal or unqualified or scum or perverted or an enemy of Scientology or you have something seedy to hide” etc. Anyone who has ever run into Miscavige may tick the version he used on them. But that’s why the apparatus of heavy ethics and unwinnable “justice”. It’s the machine that keeps him up and dissenters down.
Just look at the tactics at work here. Drive a wedge between people, divide and conquer, never let them organize, keep your enemy off balance, silence dissenters, cut their lines, fight battles on your enemy’s ground (family & children) and not your ground (the right to power), all sound like tactics of war don’t they? Yes, that’s right; Miscavige has been waging a war against his own people. Why? So none of us had any time or space and we were kept so busy with our own troubles we’d never figure out what he’s been up to. And we would never be able to unite against him -- the one thing he fears most. And let’s face it, it worked. A great deal of time has been spent by us worrying about our children or our spouses, marriages, relationships, relatives, brother, sisters, and/or parents. Not to mention the time we spent worrying about ourselves and whether we’d fall prey to his vindictiveness or apparatus.
And you would be forgiven for thinking that Miscavige was not alone in all this, that others were involved. That’s true, many fell for the “I am utterly unreasonable so if you don’t agree with me …” line, goodness we all did. But the “others” all came and went. Only one man remained constant. Only one was constantly fighting and punishing his people.
Believe me, the war Miscavige waged against the family has been just one of many battle fronts he used to stay in power but it’s one that is more visible and obvious because it was so vicious and unnecessary.
It’s known within Scientology that if you throw a barrier across this urge toward survival (the family) you automatically buy into a world of trouble. So it’s hard to imagine why people stood for these abuses for so long it. The family is a basic human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16 states:
(1)Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution ... (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Well, I guess some people are no loner standing for it; they are speaking out for their rights and protesting.
But Miscavige has traveled too far down his monstrous road to change now, which is why these matters stay unresolved and nothing will change until he is deposed. And remember he has no right to his position in Scientology. He was not appointed, elected or even nominated. He just grabbed it.
Its time we grabbed it back.
Written by T. Paine