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Brainwashing in Scientology's
Rehabilitative Project Force (RPF)

English version as published by:
Interior Ministry
Behörde für Inneres - Arbeitsgruppe Scientology
und Landeszentrale für politische Bildung
on September 13, 2000

Introduction by Ursula Caberta
Head of the Scientology Task Force, Interior Ministry


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.

Stephen A. Kent (Ph.D.)
Professor--Department of Sociology
University of Alberta
December 3, 1997 (2nd Draft)


Revised Version of a Presentation at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, San Diego, California (November 7, 1997).

This paper is webbed on four pages, approximately 37k each. If you want to go to a specific section, a Table of Contents is also provided for your convenience.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 <== This includes the Postscript added September 13, 2000

The following is the Table of Contents for this paper, with a link provided for each corresponding section.

  1. Introduction
  2. The "Brainwashing Debate" within the Social Sciences
  3. RPF Accounts in the Courts and the Media
  4. Methodological Issues
  5. Ideational History of the RPF
  6. Hubbard's Brainwashing and Psychopolitics Manual
  7. Hubbard's Discussions of Brainwashing in the Late 1960s
  8. Organizational Forerunners to the RPF
  9. The Creation of the RPF
  10. The Creation of the RPF's RPF
  11. RPF Consistencies and Variations
  12. Children and Teens on the RPF
  13. The Impact on Some Scientologists Who Saw the RPF in Operation
  14. Conclusion: Brainwashing as a Practice in Scientology and a Concept in Sociology
  15. Bibliography