In Scientology, there are two kinds of disconnection. There is blatantly enforced disconnection, but there is also a more subtle kind, known as estrangement.
I was a staff member at a Church of Scientology for about a dozen years. Before joining staff I was a public person for a few years. As soon as I became "serious" about Scientology, I started down the path of becoming estranged from my childhood friends and most important, from my family.
Did I ever intend to become estranged from my loved ones? Did I ever think I would be? Never. Looking back, it is weird how it seemed to "just naturally happen". It is a sort of sub-conscious process that takes place. A "separation" from your old life as you become entrenched in your new life. You get a whole new reality as you study and learn and apply a wonderful new technology that indeed has the power to change you. All for the better, you think. So why not go forward? If your loved ones "don't get it", you simply leave them behind. Here is the important part. NO one tells you to do this, directly that is. No one says to you, leave them behind, this is your new life. At least no one said this to me. I did not witness this estrangement happening so much with the public at my Org. That does not mean it did not take place. By virtue of the fact that the public are heavily pressed continually to put the maximum amount of their "spare" time in at the Church, on course or in auditing sessions or auditing others, it becomes difficult if not impossible to nurture outside relationships. But the public can take the occasional break from Church activities. For staff it is much harder. For Sea Org members, it is impossible to have normal family relationships.
How it begins: When I was public in the first few years, and I was on course in the Academy, I was pressed to put in a lot of extra time to finish my course. But, there was a conflict in that, that weekend, I needed to attend an important function relating to my husband's work and career. When I disagreed, I was sent to ethics to be "handled". In hindsight, this was a demeaning process, as if I was a child being sent to the principle's office for having behaved badly. Psychologically, this technique worked on me. I was a "straight A" student and I was never sent to the principle's office for anything, so this weighed heavy on me, and I bought into the illusion that they had some kind of power over me.
Later, I reached a point where I decided to make Auditing my "career" in life. It was a logical choice. I was young, in my twenties, and I wanted to make a difference in the world. For years, I thought it would be the Peace Corps. But once I was trained as a professional auditor, and I saw auditing work right before my eyes, and Oh how it did blow my mind, I thought there was no other choice for me. I saw the "preclear" get better, I saw the e-meter phenomenon, I saw the happy face, and the "floating needle", and so there was no more room for skepticism. I really was changing someone's life for the better. This was true help, something I had been searching for. A bona-fide way of helping others. Not like the psycho-drug-pushing charlatans with their endless stream of useless labels (as I saw them BEFORE Scientology). This was the real deal. At that point I became staff.
Once on staff however, there was literally no time for family or old friends. I was at the Org 14 hours a day, first studying, and later working. Seeing my family, well, honestly I did not bring it up very often. I did not fight for it. My mistake. But it was quiteobvious, in the culture that I was living in, that families were not important. I was the kind of person who avoided confrontations and fights with people whom I am intimately involved with. I saw no one else whining about not getting time off to see their families. There was the incident when I was a public person on course. That certainly set the tone of the environment. There was nothing more important than what we were doing. Our mission took precedence over everything else. We were engaged in a battle for eternity. What about our family, and our friends? We could be with them in another life. Once the planet was cleared, and the mission was accomplished, (though this was never talked about) things would be utopian, I guess, and we would see our families then, maybe. Or another view, we've lived so many lives, we've spent lifetime after lifetime with our loved ones, it is now time to do something bigger and save the planet, not just for ourselves, but for them too. The big picture was all we saw. We are not bodies experiencing only one lifetime, we are spiritual beings, above the necessities of physical bodies. And then there is the worst justification for this insidious anti-family culture: they are wogs, or worse, degraded beings, therefore a waste of time. If your family members do not get with the program, as you did, they just aren't the "able" ones (the ones with money, really) worthy of any kind of help. (Remember that? Scientology is for the able- the rest can go shrivel up and die, I guess)
As a result of this brainwashing, in the many years I spent as staff and public, I saw my family very little, if at all. Christmases, Thanksgivings and Birthdays all canceled. If you ever brought these things up, it was clear that they were considered very unimportant. I could have picked up the phone and called them, but I felt I had nothing in common with them any more. The only interest shown in my family (by Org people) was whether or not I was "disseminating" to them (selling Scientology to them). In hindsight, I am glad I did not attempt that so hard, because, if I had, and they turned out to be very against it, I would have been forced to "handle or disconnect". Perhaps deep down inside I knew the risk involved.
The people at our Org with children were alloted some "family time", which was precisely two hours at dinner time each day, then back to their 16 hour work day, 7 days a week. Plus, maybe, a few hours here or there, if your "stats were up". That was all the "family time" they had and it wasn't nearly enough to raise children on. Then the Sea Org decided to cancel family time, and from then on they had only one hour for dinner instead. That's one hour to drive home, prepare some kind of meal, eat, and return for "muster". At one point the Org had "Nannies"- full time staff who cared for the staff's children. But there were so many problems with that system. But, rather than solve those problems, the Sea Org simply chose to cancel the Nannies as well. After that the staff were left with no choice but to leave under-aged children home alone to fend for themselves, if they couldn't afford sitters (which they certainly couldn't afford on staff "pay"). There are many cases of children winding up harmed, in trouble and abused by these policies and practices of neglect of children.
At one time, I was ordered to disconnect from a very close friend, another Scientologist, because they were in "ethics trouble". I was ordered not to speak to this person for about 6 months. And they weren't even declared a suppressive person. The "officers" simply did not want us speaking, because they thought this person would be a bad influence on me, as if I were a child, incapable of making up my own mind, like they were my parents telling me who I could and couldn't communicate with. But I was not a child. Perhaps that is the point. They want to replace your family, become your parents and treat you like a child for the rest of your life, to make you feel small and insignificant compared to them. ("Them" being the officers, executives, ethics officers, those who wield the power in Scientology, and even if you are an executive yourself, there is always some bigger executive ready to spank you if you step out of line) It is very degrading, really. And I consider my experiences "light" compared to others.
Eventually I left staff, after being unable to properly care for a sick family member, who later died. In hindsight I regret this, not spending the time with this person before they died. I am older now, and it is the little things in life that are important to me. My health. A smile. A friendship. A relationship with a sibling. A grandchild. Living my life totally free. Not free because I went to the top of the OT bridge, but free because I freed myself.
I have redeemed myself with my family. I have made up for the lost time. I've gone above and beyond making up. I could only have done this by leaving Scientology behind me. I have a wonderful family and I am glad to know them. They deserve my love and support. We are all very close now. I miss the girlfriends I grew up with- their names have changed and we've all moved and now I can't find them.
I believe you can join Scientology and still have a healthy family life, in some circumstances. But the circumstances vary greatly Org to Org and your chances are slim. Public, yes, if its important to you. Staff maybe, if you're very strong on this point, and lucky enough to be in a more favorable environment. (But you'll always be seen as having "other fish to fry"). Sea Org, definitely not. If you are lucky enough to have your family work in the Sea Org too, you'll still rarely see them except occasionally while working. If you leave the Sea Org, or they leave, even without official enforced disconnection, you'll be lucky if you see them at all. But in any circumstances, if you want to have an actual relationship, you will have to hold your ground, and fight extremely hard for it. If it gets crazy and you hold your ground, you will wind up declared like so many others.
In the bulletin called PTSNESS AND DISCONNECTION (PTS = Potential Trouble Source, becoming a potential source of trouble to the Church) Hubbard writes "When an Ethics Officer finds that a Scientologist is PTS to a a family member, he does NOT recommend that the person disconnect from the antagonistic source." Unfortunately, like so much of the Scientology data, it is not applied. Hubbard failed to later emphasize his own rule, he failed to make it iron-clad, in fact he violated it himself, with his own family. And now, disconnection among family members happens rather casually.
If you are public, and have a family member who is showing concern about your involvement with this controversial group, because they care about you, and don't want to see you harmed, you will be sent to the ethics officer. The family member's crime? Communicating to you. The EO will indoctrinate you, and if the family member is unhappy that you are involved in Scientology, you will be instructed to "handle". The gist of this handling will not be to openly discuss the issue, but to simply tell the person "I do not complain that you are a janitor, so do not complain that I am a Scientologist". That right there, begins the campaign of making nothing of the family member, and degrading the family member in the eyes of the Scientologist. You say, but aren't they the masters of communication? Couldn't this problem be handled with TRs and effective communication? In my opinion, yes, if they used it, along with ARC and KRC and all the other "tech" that they never use. But, unfortunately the true intention is to create a divide between the Scientologist and the family member and make the noisy family member shut up and go away, the family member degraded in the Scientologist's eyes. If the family member is bold enough and smart enough not to eat their degradation pie, then you will be told to disconnect from them, or you will disconnect on your own and just stop speaking to them.
The biggest crimes in Scientology? Honesty and Integrity. Try practicing them and you will soon be declared. I have committed the "crime" of deciding that Scientology is not for me, something the Church claims is ok to do. Yet if I reveal this to my loved ones in Scientology I will be declared suppressive and disconnected from them. They say "think for yourself". Do it. The fastest way out of Scientology IS to start thinking for yourself.
So, in the end it is about enforced disconnection after all, and what lengths one has to go to in order to keep the Church from disconnecting family members, in the small world of Scientology, like a small town where the culture runs deep, and the "outsiders" can never know what is really going on. When Church officials claim that people are lying about this subject of families and disconnection, they are the ones lying. They support a culture within all areas of the Church that completely negates the family in its value and importance. It takes a lot more than selling people expensive marriage counseling to keep a family dynamic going. Scientology is THE most anti-family group on the planet. You can tell, not by their words, but by their actions.
Last edited by Dorothy on Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.