Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Dr. Stephen A. Kent

Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF)

«This study examines the confinement programs and camps that Scientology operates as supposedly rehabilitative facilities for "deviant" members of its "elite" Sea Organization. These programs, known collectively as the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), put coerced participants through regimes of harsh physical punishment, forced self-confessions, social isolation, hard labour, and intense doctrinal study, all as part of leadership-designed efforts to regain members' ideological commitment. The confinement that participants experience, combined with forms of physical maltreatment, intensive ideological study, and forced confessions, allows social scientists to speak of the RPF as a "brainwashing" program.»

Scientology and the European Human Rights Debate: A Reply to Leisa Goodman, J. Gordon Melton, and the European Rehabilitation Project Force Study

«Scientology's restriction on RPFers from having contact with family members (including children) appears to be a flagrant violation of Article 8 of The 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The first paragraph of that article states, "Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence" (in Janis, Kay, and Bradley 1995: 471). Similarly, the twelfth article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights requires, "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks" (in Janis, Kay, and Bradley 1995: 507; see Kent, 1999c: 11).»

«It is not enough for Scientology to require that Sea Org members such as Franz Stoeckl "'sign [a statement] that you're doing it voluntarily and that you can leave at any time,'" as Scientology's European spokesperson, Gaetane Asselin, insisted (quoted in Collignon 2001c). The Scientology organization must be prohibited from demanding that these and other restrictions apply to its members under any circumstances, regardless of what internal status (including RPFer) they hold. Again, the European Convention is clear: "The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political, or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, birth or other status" (in Janis, Kay and Bradley 1995: 472 [Article 14]). Even if it were true, as Goodman and Melton assert, that the RPF resembles programs in "other" religions, Scientology still does not have the right (under international agreements) to restrict members' contact with their families. Clear and certain as this legal point may be, one must not forget the human cost, especially regarding children, for family members who toil (in one case that Collignon uncovered, for five years) under these restrictions.»

Hollywood's Celebrity-Lobbyists and the Clinton Administration's American Foreign Policy Toward German Scientology

«While reflecting on the relationship between celebrities and politics, sociologists David S. Meyer and Joshua Gamson concluded, "[t]he resources that celebrities bring to bear in social movement struggles do not generally include citizen education or detailed political analysis" (Meyer and Gamson 1995, 202). In essence, few celebrities have the educational and political skills that would allow them to do sustained, in-depth and nuanced presentations. Certainly this conclusion gains support from reading a CSCE transcript in which the Scientology celebrities floundered for answers to members of Congress about why Germany appeared to be so hostile to that particular group (Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe 1997, 16-17).»


«Without an effective lobbying presence in Washington, Scientology's opponents may never get their information to the decision-makers who need it. The advent, however, of an organization specifically opposing Scientology only metres away from some of its Clearwater, Florida facilities is the Lisa McPherson Trust (established January 6, 2000). The organization's name follows a pattern often seen in human rights battles, where advocates of a particular position rally around "powerful symbolic events" (Keck and Sikkink, 1998: 22). McPherson's death is such an event, since it occurred after she had been in the 'care' of Scientologists in one of their facilities for seventeen days while she apparently suffered a psychotic breakdown. In critics' minds, her treatment and death have come to symbolize all that is wrong with Scientology, and therefore the counter-organization named itself in her memory.»

Dr. Stephen Kent, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta

«Professor Stephen A. Kent researches new and alternative religions, combining perspectives from sociology with religious studies. Most recently he has examined controversies surrounding the ways these groups are researched and studied. Professor Kent has published research on Scientology, the Children of God/The Family, and other new and alternative religions operating in Canada and around the world.»

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