Human Rights, Opinion, World

Physical and Mental Abuse in the Church of Scientology

If you’ve heard of Scientology, you heard of them in mostly shady ways. A mysterious organization that presents itself in cryptic messages to the outside world. You may have heard that they are an expensive bunch, or that they work wonders on the mind, and you may find that either (rightfully) disturbing or very intriguing to say the least. But there is another side, a darker side, to the Church of Scientology, one that they fight hard to keep a secret. Reports of physical and mental abuse within the self-proclaimed church are piling up from all sides, and they are truly disturbing.

Keeping people in line is a strenuous task, especially when they recognize that you cannot offer them anything. Just like any other sect or cult, the Church of Scientology offers its members easy answers and false promises to lure them in, promises they cannot keep. Unlike other organizations, they even manage to put a hefty price tag on their miraculous services. Similar to any other belief, there are always people getting enchanted by the promises, by the unity, or just by the lore itself, and those are important, but they are hard to come by. So what do you do to make as many of your members stay, even after they’ve recognized your false facade? You make them more afraid of leaving than of being financially exploited for a false promise.

Physical Abuse Within the Church of Scientology

According to several witness reports, the sentiment within the Church of Scientology is that of optimism and importance. A sense of urgency to save the planet and its people by all, literally all, means necessary. Its founder L. Ron Hubbard was a known liar and not sparsely paranoid, his successor David Miscavige is apparently even worse according to the testimonies of drop-outs.

At the slightest hint of failing to comply with the sacrosant leader of Scientology in any way, he would physically attack members of his staff. We are talking alleged full-on beatings that were confirmed from several sources on several sides. He even took it one further, when he allegedly became so paranoid, that he imprisoned much of his leading staff in two even-level offices to be degraded and sleep for months and years on end.

Physical and mental abuse by Miscavige and among “prisoners” were frequent, as their mind and body slowly broke in accordance with their treatment. There are reports about other internal prison camps that aren’t for higher-ranking members. Although obviously not coordinated by Miscavige himself, they are also used to break the individual. Your place in those camps can be earned by anything other members and higher-ups perceive as a potential sentiment against the church and mission without any substantial evidence. Confessions are usually forced by endless mandatory Auditing sessions (at the financial and psychological expensive of the accused).

Mental Abuse in the Church of Scientology

While physical and mental abuse in their own correction facilities goes hand-in-hand, the mental abuse goes way further than that. It is astonishing that an organization that claims to heal your mind, soul (or Thetan), and spirituality, uses very deliberate practices to actually do anything but that. A blind obeying sheep does pay better.

The first two key phrases are Suppressive Person (SP) and Disconnection. When part of the church, you are urged to only keep in contact and socialize with friends and family that are also part of the Church of Scientology. The organization goes as far as to label anyone thinking and speaking critically of Scientology as a Suppressive Person, which one should not interfere with in a personal manner.

This encapsulates members of the Church of Scientology and not seldom rips entire families apart. It also deepens dependency and engraves their philosophy in their member’s heads. Tom Cruise, the celebrity pillar of the organization, is allegedly always surrounded by as many volunteering Scientology members (mostly dedicated members of the Sea Org) as possible to fill all vital roles in his life. The HBO series “Going Clear” even claims the Church of Scientology tried to find and groom a girlfriend for Tom Cruise internally.

These practices have deep emotional repercussions. They go hand in hand with their preached philosophy of your success being a direct product of Scientology and their practices and any failure being your personal fault for doing it wrong. The mental abuse intensifies exactly at the point where members leave, turning from honored friend to Suppressive Person, an enemy of the church which makes you subject of another term widely used (and officially canned, but still in use) in Scientology: Fair Game.

The Church of Scientology and Fair Game

Fair Game means that members of the Church of Scientology can treat Suppressive Persons pretty much however they like without fearing any repercussions within the organization. They are even encouraged to harass Suppressive Persons in any way possible. The Church of Scientology has, on multiple occasions, been known to hire Private Investigators to tail former members, to visibly film them and their properties, and to use information obtained during their Auditing sessions against them. Scientology works hard to silence and blackmail anyone that could harm them and their reputation in any way.

While many former high-ranking Scientology officials have quit the organization in recent years, such as Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun, as well as celebrity member Leah Remini, the Church of Scientology hasn’t changed much. It has become more low profile – sporting mysterious ads rather than making a fuss. It is the witness accounts of these former members that primarily allow us to see for ourselves, how members of Scientology are systematically abused and exploited for monetary gain and a crazy idea.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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