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Saturday, 22 December 2012
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The Demons of Freedom

by Ken Rose

The other day we were talking to a young man who had recently become a member of the Church of Scientology. This fellow's brother had become concerned when the new scientologist decided to quit his job and devote himself to full time study at the cult's "Technical Mecca" in Clearwater, Florida. We were asked to speak to the young man and help all concerned with the process of making a decision as to whether or not the family's trust fund should be used to finance the considerable expense associated with the training the young man was seeking in scientology.

We spent a couple of hours trying to explain to these two brothers what had become of us during our many years in scientology, and then, slowly, the young scientologist began to ask questions. One which we found compelling was this: was there nothing within the confines of this extraordinary organization that justified the loss and suffering we had endured? Was there not the promised freedom? Was it not somehow true that no matter what the price one had to pay, it was far short of the power and glory of the state of OT...of the state of Total Freedom?

At first we thought this was an easy question to answer. No...in a word. Scientology, in fact, offers no such invaluable freedom. But as we looked into this young man's eyes, it became clear that a further answer was needed. What of people's dreams of freedom? What of the power and glory that is supposed to lie behind each more confidential gateway to OT as one progresses up the "Bridge to Total Freedom?"

We told this fellow that he now found himself at a crossroads in his life. We made it quite clear that scientology is an all or nothing proposition, that one cannot pick and choose from it as if it were a spiritual smorgasbord. We informed him that he had a monumental decision to make. [In order to avoid any sort of climactic value which this story might otherwise possess, we'll tell you right now that this young man made the right choice. He is no longer a member of the Church of Scientology. Now we can proceed.]

How do we deal with the subject of freedom? Should you or someone you know and care about find him or herself in a position of having to decide whether or not to become or remain involved in scientology, consider the following argument. It concerns the First Amendment to the Constitution. Since this is an article of government which is frequently cited by people and institutions on nearly every side of nearly all issues relating to individual freedom, it is a statement of principle with which we should all be familiar.

It states in part:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances." Thomas Jefferson, who possessed more than a passing familiarity with and passion for such freedom, underscored the importance of this protection saying, "Our most fundamental liberties depend upon the freedom of thought and the freedom of expression; and you cannot limit either one in any way without destroying both." In recent years, scientology has attemped to style itself a champion of the first amendment and of the liberties and freedoms it promises to us all. But beyond its protestations of alleged intrustions against it's own freedom to defraud, coerce and conspire, the cult behaves in a manner which is inimical to freedom. To support this statement, let us examine the behavior of scientologists with regard to the subject of the freedom of speech and belief.

According to scientology policy it is a High Crime and a Suppressive Act for a scientologist in good standing to remain in communication with any person who has been declared to be a "Suppressive Person." What this means, of course, is that a scientologist's right to freedom of speech is abrogated...at least it is limited in that one cannot exercise free speech with respect to declared SP's. Savvy scientologists might argue that they accept this limitation knowingly and willingly and thereby retain full freedom of speech. But Jefferson's caveat stands: one cannot limit this freedom in any way without destroying it. And, in fact, a scientologist who wishes to exercise full freedom of speech, risks the consequences that accompany violation of the above cited HCOPL. One can, of course, be declared a Suppressive Person oneself for continuing communication to another declared Suppressive Person.

The point here is simply this: regardless of the arguments that can be made supporting such a limitation of free speech, it must be recognized that scientology advocates this significant abridgement of this freedom for its members. Though they cite historical, religious precedents for strict codes of conduct, etc., this fact remains. When it comes to talking to people who have been declared Suppressive or discussing the faults of the group, scientologists are simply not free to do so.

To understand the force with which scientology attempts to impose this limitation of the freedom of speech, one need only consider the consequences of being declared a Suppressive Person and expelled from the church. When one is thus declared, one suddenly finds oneself cut off from everyone with whom one has lived, loved, worked, and played.

This is precisely what happens (or what is supposed to happen) to a scientologist who is declared to be suppressive. This is disconnection. Think about it for a minute. Think of it in terms of your own life. Imagine that you live in a community heavily populated by scientologists.

For the sake of argument, let's say that you live in a community that has wholeheartedly embraces the tenets of scientology. After all, it's only a matter of time before there are such scientology communities? Isn't it?

Picture youself living in a world run by scientology. Let's pretend that scientology has achieved it's goal of world domination. The Zone Plan has succeeded. The planet has been "cleared." And while the Sea Org gears up for Target Two (the expansion of scientology to other worlds), the administration of Earth continues according to Hubbard's policy.

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