The Scandal of Scientology, by Paulette Cooper | Next | Prev | Cites | Index

Chapter 10

The Suppressives

People don't deserve to have Scientology as a divine right, you know. They have to earn it.
-- L. Ron Hubbard{1}

Even worse than what happens to an outsider who tries to attack Scientology is what happens to a Scientologist who turns against or displeases the group. They too may be investigated, although in that case the investigation is quite simple. The Scientologists can go right to the preclear's file and his intimate secrets and confessions are all there.{2} Furthermore, Hubbard made it clear that he wanted these secrets. "If anyone feels like leaving," wrote Hubbard "just examine the records and sit down and list everything done to and withheld from me and the organization and send it along. We'll save a lot of people that way."{3}

In a Policy Letter of April 19, 1965, Hubbard also laid down similar guidelines. "Any preclear blowing an Org [getting up and leaving] without reporting to the [Technical] [Secretary], [Director] of [Processing] and the Ethics section first, and who will not permit an auditor to handle the matter at the Org where the auditing occurred, must be fully investigated by the Ethics section at any cost."{4}

The following is a letter Hubbard wrote to the Secretary of the Melbourne Australia headquarters about a boy who apparently "blew an Org" i.e. left, or did something equally heinous:

Horner blew up in our faces and had his cert[ificate]s canceled. We have criminal background on him. Rape of a girl pc [preclear] in Dallas and countless others. This will do something to [name omitted]. Now I firmly believe you will be able to find a criminal background this life on [two more Australian Scientologists] as no such occurrence anywhere in the world has failed to find one. I'd grab him when he comes in and security check it in to view. Run one on [two names out]. If they won't cooperate you have suspected criminal activities. It's a thrupenny push now. Horner ... possibly Nibs -- all tie in to a neat network. We're pulling it apart.{5}

This same Horner, the one who allegedly raped a preclear, was once such a dedicated Scientologist that he wrote a book on the subject, and in it referred to Hubbard as "one of the great geniuses of the Twentieth Century" whose "discoveries will make possible a new era of living for man." In addition, the man referred to above as "Nibs" -- whom Hubbard apparently saw as part of this "conspiracy" or whatever -- is the nickname for L. Ron Hubbard Jr., Hubbard's own son, who was a Scientologist until he quit in 1959.

The Australian Inquiry which reprinted that letter, also had a few comments on the veracity of the statements:

It is now said that accusations against Horner of "criminal background" and "of the rape of a girl pc in Dallas and countless others" were unfounded.... Subsequently ... Horner returned to the fold and when last heard of was a leading over-seas Scientologist who probably would be extremely surprised to know of his "criminal background" so irresponsibly publicized by Hubbard. There was no justification for the [other] accusations.... Hubbard was merely irresponsibly asserting, as was his practice, that anyone out of line with Scientology had a criminal or communist or homosexual background.{6}

It appears that few other Scientologists have gotten out of it or spoken against their group though, perhaps because one of the Scientology codes stated that no member was permitted to speak disparagingly of Scientology to outsiders or members of the press.{7} This seems to work both ways, and in addition to not speaking against Scientology, Scientologists rarely listen to arguments against it either, and have little opportunity to hear both sides of the story.

In fact, Hubbard told them never to discuss Scientology with a critic. "Just discuss his or her crimes, known or unknown. And act completely confident that these crimes exist. Because they do."{8} As a concomitant to this, Scientologists rarely participate in panel discussions, perhaps because of their aversion to confrontation with critics, but also because Hubbard wrote them "why ... give some other subjects an audience before which it could air its views?"{9}

Most Scientologists are anxious to adhere to this code and not speak against Scientology, so much so that when one alleged Scientologist committed suicide in England, he left a note saying his suicide had nothing to do with Scientology or with his being a member of the group.{10} (Later on, another case will be presented of someone who wanted to commit suicide, but was afraid that if he did so it would "invalidate Scientology.")

But in the past, if a Scientologist did decide to say something against Scientology, perhaps to publicly disavow it or report or threaten to report it to civil authorities,{11} he was immediately declared a "suppressive person" and sometimes an "enemy of Scientology."{12} A "suppressive person" was immediately dropped from Scientology and no Scientologist in the world was permitted to associate with him.

Perhaps this doesn't seem like much of a punishment to the reader, but remember that the Scientologist has often withdrawn from his former friends and family and spends his time mainly with Scientologists. He may not have a job to go to since he may have left his job to work for the Org, and he may have divorced his former spouse and remarried someone in the group -- none of the people can have anything to do with him.)

At various times the Scientologists have treated suppressives in an even worse manner. In 1965 they wrote that the "homes, properties, places and abodes of persons who have been active in attempting to suppress Scientology or Scientologists are all beyond any protection or Scientology ethics."{13} In an earlier code it said "I pledge myself to punish to the fullest extent of my power anyone misusing or degrading Scientology to harmful ends."{14} At one time an enemy of Scientology was defined as someone who could be "deprived of property or injured by any means by a Scientologist ... may be tricked, sued, lied to or destroyed."{15}

Anyone who was "connected" to a suppressive, in other words, anyone who knows him, no matter how vaguely, was "reviewed" -- and had to pay for this review.{16} If it came out that he was indeed "connected," this friend or acquaintance was declared a "Potential Trouble Source" (P.T.S.), and also could not receive Scientology processing until he "handled" (in other words, persuaded) the errant person to make amends, or "disconnected" from that person, meaning that he too could have nothing more to do with the suppressive, even if it was his spouse, lover, child, parent, etc.{17}

The P.T.S. also had to publish the fact in one of the Scientology publications,{18} and then take "any required civil action such as disavowal, separation or divorce."{19} Since the P.T.S. was not permitted to talk to the suppressive, he usually disconnected by sending him a letter,{20} usually on little scraps of paper and sometimes signed off with "love," stating that he could no longer have anything to do with the suppressive, and implying or stating that the suppressive reconsider and reform himself{21} -- which meant taking more Scientology courses.{22} If the P.T.S refused to "disconnect" from the suppressive, he was charged with "high crimes" and became a "suppressive person" and outcast also.{23}

A person did not have to be a Scientologist to be suppressive. In the New York Org the night watchman was said to have been declared suppressive for misdeeds that ranged from stealing from the petty cash box to saying that Scientology didn't work.{24} Nor does the suppressive have to be an adult. One ten-year-old boy was declared a suppressive -- because he refused to "disconnect" from his father.{25}

Another Scientology "suppressive," now an outspoken critic of the group, called Scientology "the beginnings of a Nazi party" in court, during an American tax case. Mr. Raymond J. D. Buckingham, a very accomplished English basso who administers a voice school in Manhattan, initially got into Scientology through one of his pupils. She agreed to give him $30 worth of processing in return for an equal amount in voice lessons.

At first he was so impressed with Scientology that he convinced several of his students, along with his fiancé to undergo auditing. But he began to get disillusioned when he discovered that his auditor was revealing personal information about him to a friend of hers, and worse still that his fiancée's auditor (a Reverend) was propositioning her.

When he complained about the situation to the Scientologists, however, they said they would speak to him about it only if he would agree to pay them $25 for the first session of "advice." He agreed, but they then said they wouldn't talk to him unless he "disconnected" from a business partner. It seemed that the Scientologists had also labeled the partner a "suppressive person" because he was connected to a suppressive.

Buckingham then had the incredible courage to speak against Scientology on a radio show, and the Scientologists countered by declaring him a "suppressive person, outside their protection," and "fair game." Those of his students who had become Scientologists (at his recommendation) were ordered to "disconnect" from him -- and also from any money they legally owed him. (This represented a loss of about $200 a week for him.)

One of his students, a famous singer, in whom he had invested almost $30,000 as her agent, told him that she had learned in her auditing sessions that "you killed me in my past fifteen lives." Then she not only disconnected from him, but also from the arrangements he had made for her to perform in summer stock theatres. The loss almost ruined him, and her as well, since she was fined by Actors' Equity and left the country.

During this time, he was also receiving phone calls in the middle of the night from men and women threatening to kill him. And his fiancé, who at first didn't leave Scientology and join him, was held in a room at the Org for four hours until she agreed to sign a statement saying that Buckingham had threatened to kill her. The story does have a happy ending. Three in fact. Mr. Buckingham and his fiancé eventually did get married. The ten-year-old child who was declared suppressive four years ago is now one of Mr. Buckingham's voice students. And all three have left Scientology. (Scientology, however has not left them, and they still receive mail urging them to "step into the exciting world of the totally free."){26}

Two other stories of Scientologists who left the group did not have such happy endings. In the first case, the Director of the Scientology Institute in Bulawayo, Africa, a man named John Kennedy, was said to be responsible for the success of Scientology in Rhodesia.{27} Naturally Hubbard was pleased with him, and in an early issue of Ability, he wrote that Kennedy and his wife "both knew which side of the E-meter is up, they respect you, they are Scientologists, they have goals."{28}

Unbeknownst to Hubbard, one of their goals was leaving Scientology and setting up a similar organization called the Institute of Mental Health. They set up headquarters in Johannesburg, and brought in a large number of Scientologists with them, naturally infuriating the other Scientologists. Kennedy died shortly thereafter in a shooting accident. "It is said he shot himself accidentally while cleaning his revolver" stated the Daily Mail on July 14, 1968, "but an open verdict was returned by the coroner."

Another case of someone who displeased the Scientologists is shrouded in mystery and will probably always remain so. According to the London Observer,{29} James Stewart, a thirty-five-year-old encyclopedia salesman from South Africa was suspended from Scientology because the Scientologists allegedly said he had a "history of epilepsy and as such was refused permission to continue Scientology training."{30} Robert Kaufman, a former Scientologist (whose own story will be presented later) was at the Edinburgh Org at the same time as Stewart and reported some things that happened that were not printed in the newspaper.

He believes the Scientologists placed Stewart's[*] name on the bulletin board and put him in a "condition of doubt" for having seizures or fits in public and thereby "invalidating Scientology." Kaufman was horrified that someone would be punished for a physical ailment over which he had no control, especially since the "doubt penalty" meant this ill man would have had to work at menial chores for eighty hours straight without sleep.

A few days after the man was placed in "doubt," Kaufman was even more upset to see the man's funeral and cremation notice posted on the bulletin board. A short while later -- Kaufman believes it was the afternoon he saw the funeral notice -- Kaufman was more shaken when it was announced that the deceased's wife had just gone up another (very high) level in Scientology. Kaufman's suspicion that the eighty-hour penalty was connected to this man's death was heightened when he returned home and one of his Scientology instructors told Kaufman that he had heard that the man hadn't really died at all and that it had all been a mistake.

[*] Footnote:
Kaufman is not 100 percent certain of the man's name but believes that it was Stewart. Stewart and Kaufman were in the same Org at the same time. In addition, it certainly seems that the man whose name Kaufman saw on the bulletin board was Stewart, because it would be extremely unlikely that two men in the Edinburgh Org at the same time, with their wives, were both suffering from seizures, and both died at the same time.

That's not what the London Observer said. They reported that Stewart was found dead fifty feet below a window, and that it was not a suicide, because the story of his death had been printed in the public press in Scotland where they do not print names of suicides, but rather incorporate them into the statistics of the annals of the Chief Constables. According to The Observer, Stewart's wife said she did not know how her husband's death occurred, "but she did know that it had nothing to do with Scientology."

Not many Scientologists leave the group voluntarily. Most of them firmly believe in Scientology and believe that it is helping them. But someone who is growing a bit disenchanted may think twice before quitting. Any Scientologist who has ever been thoroughly audited has revealed a great deal of intimate information about himself to an auditor whose qualifications and ethical standards could be subject to some question.

The Rand Daily Mail in Africa reported that an auditor told the South African Inquiry that he was criticized because he kept the files on his patients "clean." The same auditor also told the Inquiry that the Scientologists wanted him to jot down the more "meaty" stuff people disclosed. He told the Inquiry that when he left Scientology, he removed his files for fear of blackmail, adding that he had often seen preclear's files with information circled, and with such statements as "we can use this" printed on it.{31}

Perhaps it is not surprising that he was afraid of blackmail. Not only is intimate information kept in files, but the contents of the files are sometimes discussed among Scientologists. At one time, these files were even accidentally accessible to outsiders.{32} A former Scientologist, photographer Michael Chassid, said they were once kept in an unlocked area in back of the secretary's office in New York;{33} in Washington, Hubbard's son said "it wasn't difficult for anyone of the Founding Church to gain access to these files;"{34} and in England, the Scientologists were so careless with their records that personal files and documents concerning two Scientology P.T.S.'s were allegedly found in a garbage dump, read by a workman, and brought to the Sun, who reported the story.{35}

The Board in Australia stated that Hubbard himself was "not to be trusted to preserve confidences." They cited the case of a preclear who was trying desperately to get back in Hubbard's good graces after he had been kicked out of the group. In the hopes of a pardon, he abased himself by writing a letter to Hubbard in which he confessed to a number of sins, which "range[d] from the stealing of five shillings from the mantel piece when he was six years old to very disgusting and depraved behavior in adult life." The Scientologists produced this letter at the Australian Inquiry in an attempt to discredit this witness, and felt that they were justified in doing so because the confession was not made during an auditing session.{36}

In Australia, Anderson said, he found "no evidence of blackmail in the popular sense" but added that the existence of these files "containing the most intimate secrets and confessions" of thousands of individuals was a "constant threat." He added that it was "even more serious because copies of these reports are also held at Saint Hill Manor."{37}

There is no known case of any Scientologist actually having been blackmailed (although someone being blackmailed would not be very likely to admit it). But another question to consider, in addition to whether a person is being blackmailed, is whether he thinks he might be.

If a Scientologist was wondering whether or not to leave the group and he heard his auditor discussing his case with a friend, as happened to Ray Buckingham,{38} or he had been criticized for not recording "meaty" stuff, and saw files ringed "we can use this," as in the case of the South African witness,{39} or if he knew that Hubbard had requested files of people who wanted to leave{40} and had said to "investigate at any cost" someone who had left,{41} or if he knew that his files were easily accessible and that they could be brought out and openly discussed at any time,{42} wouldn't he think that he might be blackmailed and hesitate to leave Scientology?

Hubbard may even want preclears to think that their secrets might at some time be revealed. It is hard to interpret his statement below, which he wrote in Why People Fight Scientology, in any other way. After ambiguously stating that the E-meter can be used "in other ways than mental health," he wrote:

Every professional Scientologist is bound by his "Code of the Scientologist" which is more strict by far than the codes binding medical doctors and psychiatrists. Clause Nine of this Code is "to refuse to impart the personal secrets of my preclears." Anyone's secrets are safe with Scientology until the person himself no longer considers the matter important.{43} (Author's Italics)

A fear of blackmail can keep a Scientologist as tied and subservient to Scientology as actual blackmail -- perhaps more so. When someone knows that there is a great deal of personal information that could be revealed and he is led to believe that it might be revealed, even though no overt threat has been made or payment requested, he must simply sit and wait and wonder.

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Citations & Notes

{1} initial quote [95]
{2} go to files of people who leave [255]
{3} quote on send files [80]
{4} tries to leave [96]
{5} Letter about Horner [261]
{6} Australian comment to letter [261]
{7} Scientologist can't disparage Scientology [11, 12, 262]
{8} don't discusss Scientology with critic [26]
{9} panel discussions [29]
{10} Scientologist who committed suicide [229]
{11} disavow or report Scientology [104]
{12} become suppressive [104, 255, 261]
{13} (43) homes of suppressives aren't safe [99]
{14} (44) punish someone misusing Scientology [29, 200]
{15} (42) enemy may be injured or tricked [194]
{16} (13) pay for review [255]
{17} (14) PTS [104, 255]
{18} (15) publish fact [99]
{19} (16) take civil action [99]
{20} (17) disconnect letters [262, 178]
{21} (18) suggest reform [255]
{22} (19) sign up for more courses [255]
{23} (20) PTS can't be processed [99]
{24} (21) night watchman [277]
{25} (22) 10-year-old boy [277]
{26} (23) story of Ray Buckingham [255, 277]
{27} (24) story of John Kennedy [175]
{28} (25) Hubbard comment on Kennedy [46]
{29} (26) James Stewart [199]
{30} (27) epileptics permitted [277]
{31} (28) auditor kept files clean; fear of blackmail; files ringed [247]
{32} (29) files brought out [255]
{33} (30) files in New York [177]
{34} (31) files in Washington [255]
{35} (32) files in garbage dump [207]
{36} (33) Hubbard revealing letter [261]
{37} (34) no blackmail in Australia and quote [261]
{38} (35) discussing cases [255]
{39} (36) files ringed [247]
{40} (37) Hubbard wants info [80]
{41} (38) investigate those who leave [96, 255]
{42} (39) files accessible [177, 255, 207]
{43} (40) Hubbard quote on revealing (author's italics) secrets [26]
Extraneous citation notes:
{44} (41) on suicide [229]