Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Scientology ethics

«A peculiar brand of morality that uniquely benefitted [the Church of Scientology] [...] In plain English, the purpose of Scientology ethics is to eliminate opponents, then eliminate people's interests in things other than Scientology. In this 'ethical' environment, Scientology would be able to impose its courses, philosophy, and 'justice system' — its so-called technology — onto society.» — Dr. Stephen A. Kent, "Scientology and the European Human Rights Debate: A Reply to Leisa Goodman, J. Gordon Melton, and the European Rehabilitation Project Force Study", Marburg Journal of Religion.
«Therefore if a staff member is getting production up by having his own statistic excellent. Ethics sure isn't interested. But if a staff member isn't producing, shown by his bad statistic for his post, Ethics is fascinated with his smallest misdemeanor.» — L. Ron Hubbard in HCO PL 1 September 1965: "Ethics Protection" (full version here.)
«The purpose of Scientology-ethics is therefore to impose one’s will on others. The purpose of the Sea Org, which is to get ethics in on the planet, is therefore to dominate the world. Scientology has exposed itself as a fascist organization, who reaches for world domination and nothing else.» — "How Scientology Ethics Was Applied", Martin Ottmann's affidavit of 19 April 1996.

St. Petersburg Times: "Is he a slumlord or ethical specialist?" by Shadi Rahimi and Robert Farley

In the world of Scientology, Scott W. Snow is a winner.

He has achieved the religion’s highest level of training, higher even than megastar Tom Cruise, a distinction that brings with it lofty ethical standards.

But in St. Petersburg, city leaders call him slumlord.

Snow, 51, is the owner of the Chinook Apartments in Midtown, which the city shut down May 2 after finding multiple fire code violations. Now two dozen Chinook tenants have hired a lawyer and are preparing a lawsuit. And the city is investigating 39 separate code violation complaints at Snow’s other three St. Petersburg apartment buildings.

Gerry Armstrong (Feb. 2004): "Complaint Report"

25. Hubbard and Scientology taught that the need for the severe “Ethics” penalties and conditions such as the RPF was because for the “technology” to work it was first necessary to “get in ethics.” Hubbard and Scientology taught that since the “tech” was mankind’s only hope for survival, it was necessary that the people using and delivering that “tech” be highly disciplined and ethical. Hubbard and Scientology taught that: “The purpose of ethics is to remove counter intentions from the environment. And having accomplished that the purpose becomes to remove other intentionedness from the environment.” In other words, anyone or anything that was “counter intention” to Scientology’s intentions or activities, and anyone with an intention that differed from the organization’s intentions was unethical and was to be removed from the environment. Hubbard laid down Scientology’s intentions by order and as policy, and his intentions were forwarded and opposition removed down through the organizational hierarchy.

Bob Penny: Social Control in Scientology - Scientology Ethics

Scientology's inability to tolerate disagreement makes it seem an act of loyalty to label others as enemy and to discredit non-group persons and values. In this authoritarian atmosphere, the Church is always right. In taking any independent position, the individual is always wrong. In the logic of Hard Sell, a clever person can produce an infinity of reasons why the individual is wrong-for-some-reason-or-other without regard to the facts of any particular situation.

Jon Atack: "The Total Freedom Trap: Scientology, Dianetics And L. Ron Hubbard - Ethics"

Hubbard stepped up his control over his followers in the mid1960s with the introduction of various so called "ethics" procedures. Anyone who criticises Hubbard or Scientology is labelled a "Suppressive Person", "SP" or "anti-social personality".

The Forbidden Side of Scientology - A Means to an End

By the way, if you have some kind of a beef with a Scientologist, better first check the donors list from the International Association of Scientologists. Scientologists who make large donations to the Church are far less likely to be subject to Ethics actions. In fact, the Church might start coming after you. As Hubbard laid it out, "When people do start reporting a staff member with a high statistic, what you investigate is the person who turned in the report."

Jon Atack: A Piece of Blue Sky / Chapter 2 - Heavy Ethics

Staff members are assigned an "Ethics Condition" every week in accordance with their stats. A slight upward trend on the graph is called Normal, while a level graph, or a slight downtrend, is Emergency. From top to bottom the Conditions are Power, Affluence, Normal, Emergency, Danger, Non-Existence, Liability, Doubt, Enemy, Treason, Confusion. For each Ethics Condition, there is a "Formula," through the application of which the individual's star is supposed to rise.

Cyril Vosper: The Mind Benders, Scientology - 10. Ethics

As religious zealots, Scientologists exceed any that have gone before. They have not simply a deep faith that theirs is The Way. They can present a comprehensible whole; an all-embracing answer to many of the problems that beset humanity. Normal procedures of democracy, socialism, capitalism, religions, laws and social standards seem incapable of saving us from a future, pointless and dehumanised. Hubbard does not bother to justify the inhumanity of his Ethics. If families are broken up, if friends are turned against friends, if suicides occur, if an entrapment of the very spirit that makes humans human should occur, then that is subsidiary to the aim to prove Hubbard right.

Affidavit of Jesse Prince (20 August 1999)

29. In 1987, I was at a place called Happy Valley, located behind the Soboba Indian Reservation in California.  Happy Valley is where the Scientology Rehabilitation Project Force, RPF, is located.  It is a prison/slave labor camp for Scientologists who no longer ascribe totally to the doctrine of Scientology. I, along with six other Sea Org members, were ordered to do a "isolation watch" on another Sea Org member who was having a psychotic break. Prior to having the psychotic break the person was very normal.  She had been deprived of sleep for many days due to a deadline she was ordered to meet on her job.  She was sent to "Ethics" and was constantly humiliated and degraded for making errors and for falling asleep at her work station.  When she was given to me to watch she was on her hands and knees and literally barking like a dog. She thought she was L. Ron Hubbard.

Affidavit of Nan McLean (23 November 1978)

7. I have copies in my possession in which ex-Scientologists were declared "suppressive persons" and made subject to the "fair game law" and a copy of Auditor #37 placing 4 persons under auditing process R2-45. In the context of such Ethics Orders auditing process R2-45 cannot be considered humorous or a joke, but a serious order. The document attached hereto and marked Appendix "D", is a true copy of an original copy of the Auditor. The reference to Auditing Process R2-45, found in paragraph 7, under heading "Racket Exposed", was known by me as a staff member of the Church of Scientology to mean to kill someone with a Colt 45 automatic Pistol.

Affidavit of Martin Ottmann (19 April 1996): How Scientology Ethics Was Applied

The Scientology-organization claims to be a religion with a high ethical awareness. Hubbard wrote many policy-letters about the subject ethics and within Scientology exists even an own judicial system. The Sea Organization, the fraternal organization on top of Scientology, is composed of the most dedicated Scientologists and should be therefore a treasure of applied humanity and kindness. Here are some quotes from different Flag-Orders (FOs) written by Hubbard, which reflect the claim of the Sea Org best to be a community with the highest ethical standard on earth:
  1. "The Sea Organization is composed of the "aristocracy" of Scientology. These people alone and on their own are all stars in the sky of their areas. It is like one of the old regiments of gentlemen where any private would be, in another but common regiment, a colonel."
    FO 137, 12 September 1967.
  2. "Our purpose is maintaining the exact degree of ethics, Scientology technology and policy on the planet. Our responsibility — the future of mankind. Our business — missions. The Sea Org is an organization of expansion. And our prize is a sane planet."
    FO 1686, 24 December 1968.
  3. "That organization which functions at a high level of confront and standard. Its purpose is to get ethics in on the planet and eventually the universe."
    FO 508, 16 March 1968.
  4. "The basic purpose of the Sea Org is to get in ethics. It also executes other projects, but all these are to assist getting in ethics or to assist the Sea Org itself."
    FO 228, 9 October 1967.

These Flag Orders were part of the "Basic Sea Org Member Hat" and the "Key To Competence"-course. A fresh Sea Org member was expected to consider them as basic Sea Org guidelines.

If it is true that the real character of an organization is revealed by the treatment of its own members, then Scientology and especially the Sea Org must be classified as highly schizophrenic, if the above instructions mean anything to the Sea Org and Scientology of today.

Declaration of Jonathan Caven-Atack (9 April 1995)

43. In 1968, Hubbard introduced the practice of "overboarding". A photograph of this practice was published in Scientology's magazine "The Auditor", issue 41, with the caption: "Students are thrown overboard for gross out tech and bequeathed to the deep!" [JCA-95]. Overboarding was used as a punishment for failure to comply exactly with Hubbard's orders. At about the same time, the tank punishment - where individuals were put into the bilge tanks and kept awake for 84 hours - and the chainlocker punishment - where individuals were put in the dark, cramped, waterlogged, rat-infested and filthy chainlocker. Witnesses have said that even children were put in the chainlocker at Hubbard's order.

Jeff Lee: Introduction to Scientology Ethics

That was enough to convince me that what Keith was doing was a Good Thing; his actions had disturbed people so much that they were willing to undertake illegal activity in order to destroy his credibility.

Affidavit of Mary Tabayoyon (5 March 1994)

Scientology's Senior management determined, we, at this high level, could not afford the time and resources it would take to raise children.  Having children was found to undermine our production and our purpose.  It became an Ethics matter.  An Ethics matter is an offense against Scientology.  An ethics matter arises when a Scientologist does something which detracts from the spreading of Scientology.  Ethics matters are dealt with through Scientology rituals administered to those who have "wandered off the straight and narrow". (See definition of "out ethics", attached as Exhibit 1).
48. If the student can't see why he should have to do one of the lower conditions and if the ethics officer can't convince him even with denigration, intimidation and incrimination, he would order the student to write up all the bad things he's done, especially to Scientology. The belief in Scientology is if a person has that much resistance to following the rules of getting his mind reconditioned in ethics he must have done harmful acts, especially to Scientology.  (Following the steps of the formulas of the lower conditions would have made him resolute to never go play basketball or anything else when he's scheduled to attend Scientology courses.
82.  I had had so many security checks and had told every imaginable smallest damaging thing I'd ever done, over and over, I really started to think that since this lifetime has been gone over with a fine tooth comb I must have a multitude of crimes in previous lives that I hadn't properly exposed to scrutiny of the Ethics Officer.  To help account for the bad experiences I was having in the present, I, like a number of other Scientologists, began inventing atrocious acts committed in prior lifetimes.  I conjured these up to explain why I was so unhappy and always being yelled at despite my efforts to do everything perfect.

Wikipedia (Feb. 2007): "Ethics (Scientology)"

According to the Church of Scientology, "Ethics may be defined as the actions an individual takes on himself to ensure his continued survival across the dynamics. It is a personal thing. When one is ethical, it is something he does himself by his own choice." [1]

According to Hubbard's teachings, Scientology ethics is predicated on the idea that there are degrees of ethical conduct. [2]

However, experts point to ways in which Scientology defines "ethics" quite differently from ethics in its generally understood meaning. Professor Stephen A. Kent quotes L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology) as pronouncing that "the purpose of ethics is to remove counter intentions from the environment. And having accomplished that the purpose becomes to remove other intentionedness [sic] from the environment" and "[a]ll ethics is for in actual fact is [sic] simply that additional tool necessary to make it possible to get [Scientology] technology in. That's the whole purpose of ethics; to get technology in". What this translates to, says Kent, is "a peculiar brand of morality that uniquely benefitted [the Church of Scientology] ... In plain English, the purpose of Scientology ethics is to eliminate opponents, then eliminate people's interests in things other than Scientology. In this 'ethical' environment, Scientology would be able to impose its courses, philosophy, and 'justice system' - its so-called technology - onto society."[1] [...]