Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Security Check (Sec Check)

"Security Checking: Running lists of questions on a PC or patient using the Meter to find criminal behavior that can be used as potential blackmail, should the PC ever blow or become critical of the cult. Similar to a confessional; the PC is lied to and told the revealed secrets and overts will remain confidential, yet the cult often publishes and distributes the items found by Sec Checking, which are written down in folders at the time of the session." — The ARS Acronym/Terminology FAQ v3.5 by Martin Hunt

Radar (March 17, 2008): "Cult Friction" by John Cook
[...] One day, when Hill was 16, the local head of the Religious Technology Center, the body in charge of enforcing Church doctrine, told her she needed a "sec check," or security check—a lengthy inquest using an E-meter. "I was interrogated eight hours a day for six weeks," she says. "I couldn't talk to my friends. I had to put on a grubby uniform, and when I wasn't being interrogated, I had to clean the bathroom. When I slept, there was always someone guarding the room." She was never told why.

After six weeks, she was flown to L.A. When she arrived, she was told to go to the Office of Special Affairs' boardroom, where she found Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun, Miscavige's second-in-command. "[Rinder] said, 'Your parents are leaving, and you're going with them.'" The sec check was standard operating procedure for anyone—even a 16-year-old—leaving the Church. "They wanted to know if I had any evil intentions toward my uncle," Hill says. "They wanted to find out if I was going to speak out." [...]

Rolling Stone: "Inside Scientology" by Janet Reitman

Eventually, Jeffrey found himself on "PTS watch," monitoring Sea Org members who wanted to leave the order. According to church officials, Sea Org members can leave anytime they want. But in practice, the attitude is "the only reason you'd want to leave is because you've done something wrong," says Jeffrey. This would call for a round of "sec checks," which would continue throughout the "route out" process, which can take up to a year. During that time, former Sea Org members have asserted, they are subjected to so much pressure they often decide not to leave after all.

The Mirror (Nov. 2005): "Mirror investigates: Inside cult castle" by David Edwards

"I had to leave." But leaving the cult was not easy. Richard, now 42, was taken to see a senior member of staff who screamed abuse at him.

"Before they let me go, they gave me some security checking and fed me lots of vitamins which made me feel very strange and I entered in a very dreamlike state," he says.

"It was not quite like having hallucinations but I couldn't tell between thoughts and reality.

"I went into a very passive state, I felt I had committed bad acts - what they call 'overts'.

"I went to past lives and got into a very, very strange but euphoric state.

"I wrote lots and lots of confessions and was videotaped while this was going on...

"Only then was I allowed home."

Chris Owen: "The Control Agenda: Control, Responsibility and Freedom in the Church of Scientology"

One final point about the nature of the organisational control practiced by Scientology. Both in this and in the previous sphere of interest, personal control, things which non-Scientologists would regard as being desirable have been jettisoned in the pursuit of the goals of Scientology. In the first sphere, the burden of mental blockages has (supposedly) been relieved but at the cost of suppressing individual emotionalism and effecting what amounts to a personality change. In the second sphere, the risks of disunity and misuse of Scientology technology have been reduced by establishing a tough disciplinary code, rigorously enforced, but at the cost of suppressing individual expression and liberty. It is surely a deep irony that an individual who has gained control over "matter, energy, space and time" should simultaneously be prohibited on pain of expulsion from expressing views dissenting from those of Scientology's leaders or official policies. The same trend of sacrificing something important for the sake of achieving a Scientology goal is carried over into the third sphere, with disturbing consequences for Scientologists and non-Scientologists alike.

Affidavit of Martin Ottmann (19 April 1996): The Means Of Control

I received about 20 Security Checks in various forms from August 1990 until July 1992:

a. Standard Security Check — I was questioned by an auditor or MAA from a prepared list. That happened in a secluded room and I was attached to the E-meter. The questions dealt either with my personal background or with my situation on post.

Affidavit of Jonathan Caven-Atack (9 April 1995)

57. Scientologists are periodically subjected to confessional interrogations, where printed lists, sometimes numbering hundreds of questions, are asked [JCA-122]. Scientologists pay #200 per hour for these "confessionals" [JCA-32]. Confessional lists are checked with the subject connected to the "E-meter" [JCA-103]. Such interrogations are now generally styled "confessionals", "integrity processing" and "eligibility confessionals" but were originally styled "security checks" or "sec checks": "In the early '60s LRH [Hubbard] developed the technology known as Sec Checking. As issued it was used for two purposes: as a general tool to clean up a pc's overts and withholds and as a security tool to detect out-ethics persons and security risks. [JCA-123]. In "The Only Valid Security Check", details are requested concerning potential past misdeeds, including: shoplifting, theft, forgery, blackmail, smuggling, drunkenness, burglary, embezzlement, cannibalism, drug addiction, sexual practices and counterfeiting. There are also 21 questions relating to Hubbard, his wife and Scientology [JCA-122]. A Scientology "Bulletin" says "The specific details of each misdeed must be gotten." [JCA-124].

Forbes: "The prophet and profits of Scientology" by Richard Behar

Schomer, who never saw or spoke to Hubbard after 1975, says that when he became visibly troubled about these matters, he himself was subjected to a ten-hour "gang-bang sec check," an increasingly common experience among church members, which in this case included being accused of being a CIA spy, threatened with jail and physical harm and spat upon by Miscavige.

Jon Atack: "A Piece of Blue Sky - Chapter 2: The Scientology War"

Samuels explained that he could not pay the additional tithe. His Missions were non-profit, tax-exempt corporations, and Bridge had been separated from the Church and made into a for-profit corporation, and such donations would be illegal. Samuels was taken into a side room by eight members of the International Finance Police, and given a "Gang Sec Check." He was threatened with a "Suppressive declare" if he did not make "personal payments to L. Ron Hubbard." So he handed over $20,000 and a $10,000 wrist watch to a Finance Policeman.

Robert Kaufman (1972): "Inside Scientology/Dianetics / Appendix I - Security Checks"

Security Check Children


What has somebody told you not to tell?
Have you ever decided you did not like some member of your family?
Have you ever taken something belonging to somebody else and never given it back?
Have you ever pretended to be sick (ill)?
Have you ever made yourself sick (ill), or hurt yourself to make somebody sorry?
Have you even wanted something every much, but never told anybody about it?
Have you ever gotten yourself dirty on purpose?


The Only Valid Security Check


Have you ever lived or worked under an assumed name?
Have you given me your right name?
Are you here for a different purpose than you say?
Have you ever stolen anything?
Have you ever done any shoplifting?
Have you ever forged a signature, cheque, or document?
Have you ever blackmailed anybody?
Have you ever been blackmailed?
Have you ever cheated?
Have you ever smuggled anything?


Affidavit of Mary Tabayoyon (5 March 1994)

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.

Affidavit of Hana Eltringham Whitfield (8 August 1989)

I finally left at the end of March 1982, after three harrowing months of security checking, being screamed at, being threatened, being asked angrily and threateningly over and over again while hooked up to Scientology's lie detector, whether I was in contact with the FBI, the CIA, the US Government, the Mafia, the Secret Service, the AMA, the FDA, the AFF, or with hundreds of named Scientology dissidents. I was accused of being in their pay. I was threateningly asked whether any of them were paying me. I was angrily accused of being in phone communication with them. None of it was true. I painstakingly wrote down every misdeed I could ever remember committing and worked long hours late in the night, night after night for a week, "to make up the dreadful damage I had caused". I started making up, imagining greater and worse misdeeds in my written admissions to try to reach the "evil" in me again. Not even that worked.

Affidavit of Howard "Homer" Schomer (18 March 1986)

32. During the period 1974-1977, [handwritten: as well as the rest of my tenure in the Sea Org] I know it was almost impossible to leave the Organization and the only [handwritten: sure] way to leave was to escape. All kinds of threats would be made and an individual would be subject to "Sec Checks" (Security Checks). I myself was subject to two horrible such "Sec Checks" where I was deprived of sleep, food, water, and toilet facilities. I was punched, spat upon, threatened, intimidated and completely humiliated as a human being. In order to leave, people were forced to sign releases against their will as I was. There was no choice in signing the releases because you were [handwritten: threatened to be] imprisoned and threatened with criminal "frame ups" and possible kidnapping.

Affidavit of Tonja Burden (25 January 1980)

In Los Angeles I was locked in a room and forced to undergo a 'security check' on the E-meter.  I was very scared and crying, and told them I had a family reunion to go to during the Holidays.  I told them I had relatives on the police department in Las Vegas, and that I would come back after the Holidays.  I convinced them to release me, and I returned home by bus.  For weeks after I arrived home, they constantly called me to find out when I would return.

Monica Pignotti: "My Nine Lives in Scientology"

Whenever a person wants to leave Scientology, the first action taken is to "pull their overts and withholds", meaning to get the person to disclose what harmful acts he has committed against the group and any other crimes the auditor can dig up. This is done by what is known as a security check, or "sec check", which is a series of questions designed to discover crimes.

Willamette Week (1985): "Scientology on trial"

The Security Checks described throughout the trial involve questioning of an individual who is attached to a crude lie-detection device known as an E-Meter. Questions on one Sec-Check form included in part:

Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about LRH?
Have you ever had am thing to do with Pornography?
Have you assisted in an abortion?
Have You ever practiced Sodomy?
Have you ever been a newspaper reporter?
Do you know of any plans, to injure a Scientology Organization?
How do you feel about being controlled?

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