By Pierre Collignon more
14 January 2001
Inside RPF Denmark: Franz the
Inside RPF Denmark(II): Susanne's nightmare
Inside RPF Denmark (III): Cult
accused of brainwashing
Inside RPF Denmark (IV): An Offer
[unofficial anonymous translation, original article available
For Susanne Elleby the RPF was a world of informers,
censorship, control, and mental breakdown. She felt like a
Susanne Elleby had joined the peculiar 'monastic order' of
Scientology, the Sea Organisation, because she wanted to fight
for a world "without crime, without war and without
insanity"--as the movement promised.
And she was in love. The 20-year-old girl from Randers had
met a German Scientologist, who was one of the 'pious' people in
the core of the group, and she married him and signed a billion
year contract with the Sea Org in order to be with him.
However, Susanne never came to believe 100% in the teachings
of Scientology, and she could not become reconciled with the
extensive control apparatus of the movement. In the autumn of
1989 - after well over a year - she decided to try to get out,
and the question was how? Susanne had heard that Scientology
persecuted people who left. She was also afraid of being met
with an enormous bill for all the courses she had taken for free
while in the Sea Org.
For these reasons she chose to join the RPF and deliberately
make some howlers. On an official journey to Germany she enjoyed
herself going out and flirting with another Scientologist in
stead of doing her work. Susanne was sent to the RPF and thought
that she would soon be thrown out - but she was wrong.
Scientology did not give up that easily.
Susanne felt a lot of pressure from the first moment on the
RPF in Copenhagen. She says that she was forced to admit to
"They kept repeating that I could only move forward if I
confessed my crimes. Three days went on like this and then I was
mentally broken. I started doubting everything and felt I was a
terrible human being, because I had erred. In the end I was like
a marionette. I did everything they told me to," Susanne Elleby
Susanne Elleby is one of the only former members of
Scientology who got all of her personal files out with her. She
can therefore display hundreds of intelligence reports, records
and declarations - and it gives an interesting insight into the
everyday life of the RPF.
There are long lists of assignments and practices that
Susanne should complete. Every time followed by a "flunk" mark
or a "success story", in which Susanne would write that the
course she had just gone through was "fantastic". There are many
notifications of jobs well done - but also knowledge reports
from other PRF'ers of different offences she had committed.
Maybe Susanne had thrown out her food in the wrong garbage
can, or she had stolen a cigarette, or she had forgotten to take
her vitamins, or she had overslept, been grumpy - or spent too
much time in the bathroom.
Most reports are followed by statements from Susanne that she
admitted her guilt and accepted her punishment - e.g. in the
form of "rounds". A round was a run up and down the backstairs
of the Hotel Nordland. Susanne herself participated in the
informing on others and turned in her friends for lack of
cleaning or violations of the security regulations.
"We were told that we could help our friends by turning them
in, but in reality people turned each other in because they
wanted to look good in front of management, so they would not be
punished themselves. The system builds a 'web' around each
person, so you cannot do anything without it being reported
immediately," Susanne says. Every offence set her further back
and she realised that she would not be set free for quite some
time yet. It also meant that Susanne had to live without her
husband. He wrote her several letters in order to get her to
achieve the yellow armband, which at the time gave the RPF'ers
the right to three hours of freedom every Saturday. So that they
could be together - but the couple only experienced this luxury
two or three times.
Susanne had to send written applications in order to go to
the dentist or write a letter to her family. Each time the
letter should be enclosed for the "Ethics Officer" to check the
contents. She was not allowed to go anywhere without permission
and she was never alone. Once, however, the Ethics Officer wrote
a report about the young woman being away from her post for 20
minutes. It turned out that Susanne had gone to the toilet to
rest because she was exhausted.
According to Susanne the RPF'ers were seldom allowed to study
for five hours daily as Scientology had promised them. Often
they had to work evenings and nights to do renovations or
cleaning projects that simply had to be done before an appointed
Other Scientology defectors have told of how they were
starved during their rehabilitation in Copenhagen, but Susanne
Elleby cannot confirm this. She was given enough to eat and can
only complain about the food being too unvaried at times as the
menu was rice and beans, when Scientology was getting bad
Little by little Susanne's inner resistance returned. She
felt bad about having to report on her so-called "twin" at the
RPF, because he masturbated at night. He confessed to this every
time he was in session with Susanne.
"In the world of Scientology masturbation was considered to
be a selfish act. I thought it was a pretty normal thing for a
young man to be doing, but there was no respect for privacy,"
She stopped writing up reports on her twin, and when it was
exposed Susanne was punished for the same crime as the young
man. She was considered an accomplice because she covered for
On November 1st 1990 Susanne got into serious trouble when
three books were found in her bag. It was two love-stories that
Susanne had read numerous times, and a songbook from when she
was a girl scout. She had kept them because she needed memories
from the world outside, she says today.
But back then she had to get rid of the books and declare in
writing that it was wrong of her to bring books to the RPF,
because it could delay her "penance" on the program.
Shortly thereafter Susanne was sent to the RPF's RPF - the
program for the most sinful among sinners. From then on Susanne
was a complete outcast. She was to sleep alone in a small room
on the floor, eat alone on the backstairs, and work alone all
day. At meals she waited on the other RPF'ers, served them their
food and cleaned up after them.
On November 18th Susanne asked for permission to call her
parents so they could come and get her. She wanted out. It was
denied with the following reasons from the Ethics Officer: "This
application is not filled out correctly. You do not state the
reason for wanting to go to your parents."
A few tried to escape from the RPF, but they were mostly
caught by security guards who convinced them to return. In the
end Susanne reached the conclusion that it was impossible to
leave Scientology by following their rules, and she invented a
dramatic story to create a panic. She told them that her younger
brother, who was in the military, would come and blow up
Scientology's building if she was not set free at once.
The threat worked. December 29th 1990 the Scientology
leadership made one final effort with a written recommendation
that Susanne disconnected from her brother. According to
Scientology she was to refuse to see him until he gave up his
resistance towards "the church". Susanne refused to do this and
she was then told to pack her suitcase.
Susanne was finally expelled from Scientology - after 14
months at the RPF.
One month later she contacted her husband to find out if he
wanted to join her outside the organisation and start a new life
together. At that time her husband had also been sent to the RPF,
but he would not hear of such a thing as leaving Scientology, so
they agreed to get divorced.
Today Susanne Elleby consideres herself lucky because she was
"only" in Scientology for two and a half years. "People who stay
in for many years lose their self respect. They are transformed
into small and fearsome people who let others decide for them.
If you as much as say "Boo" to them, they get scared," she says.