Why I protest. This is why I protest against Scientology: I object to (1) use of bait-and-switch tactics, (2) illegal practice of medicine, (3) undue financial pressure, (4) physical abuse, and (5) psychological abuse.
1. Bait-and-switch Scientology is a bait-and-switch scheme. People come to Scientology hoping for increased intelligence, improved personality, and help in dealing with personal problems. They don't come in to learn a system of beliefs based on science fiction stories, infestations of alien spirits and exploding volcanos. People deserve to know the content of the upper levels when they sign up.
Bait-and-switch is also used by Scientology front groups. A school board isn't told that Applied Scholastics is Scientology.
A judge isn't told that Narconon is Scientology. A youth group isn't told that Drug Free Marshals is Scientology. Front groups hide the name Scientology from people who deserve to know exactly what they are being asked to contribute to or endorse.
Bait-and-switch is the point of the personality test. It is deceptive to let the people who take the test think that the analysis they receive of their results are based on their test results, when in fact the analysis is scripted, written before they ever take the test. The recommendation is always the same:
Scientology. It is deceptive to offer this as a genuine test of personality.
Bait-and-switch is the purpose of the "Now Hiring" signs posted at every Scientology church. This is not a genuine job offer, but a recruitment ploy. Even after the recruit understands that there is only token payment, they are led to believe that they will receive training or auditing (counseling) as a staff member. This offer is not genuine, staff are not routinely trained or given free auditing.
Bait-and-switch is the purpose of the claims that Scientology is compatible with all other religions. A devout member of another religion is assured that joining Scientology does not mean giving up hir or her previous religion. Scientologists are not told about tapes and writings by L. Ron Hubbard where he disparages other races and religions, belittles Christianity and Islam specifically, or about the filing Scientology made to the IRS where they admit that members are expected to give up other religion practices when they join Scientology.
2. Illegal practice of medicine / Criminal negligence The Lisa McPherson case is not so much a matter of practicing medicine without a license as it is criminal negligence. She died after 17 days of isolation, lack of food, lack of water, and lack of medical care. Even if the Scientologists who saw Lisa had been properly licensed, the care she received at Scientology's spiritual headquarters prior to her death was criminally negligent. She should have seen a non-Scientologist medical doctor.
Scientology pushes chiropractic and other "alternative" care as a substitute for medical doctors. Members are urged not to visit medical doctors for checkups or for chronic conditions, but to see chiropractors who are also Scientologists. Scientologists are urged to discontinue taking prescriptions from medical doctors, and discouraged from having physical exams that could reveal serious disease while it is still treatable. Scientology auditing is suggested as the preferred method of treating disease. Staff leave Scientology when a serious disease reaches the stage where it interferes with their ability to perform as a Scientologist. Scientologists have died from cancer and other diseases that could have been treated if diagnosed early.
3. Financial pressure Scientologists are encouraged to expend large amounts of money on courses and training. Those members who don't have the money are put under pressure to extend themselves by means of credit cards, second or third mortgages, borrowing from friends or family, emptying trust funds and retirement accounts, and selling off assets. Registrars are trained not to take "no" for an answer; they will even accompany members to the bank so the money can be taken from them as quickly as possible.
Scientologists are frequently sent directly from an auditing session to the registrar, so they can be sold additional courses while they are still on the auditing "high". Members are encouraged to keep the level of spending secret from non-member spouses and other family in order to avoid alarm for as long as possible.
Business owners are urged to join the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, where they pay a percentage of their earnings for no real benefit to their business. These funds flow back to the cult. WISE members are expected to implement management by statistics, overly aggressive sales techniques, and other of L. Ron Hubbard's business theories that can cause their business to suffer. WISE companies are expected to hire expensive Scientology management consultants and other experts.
4. Physical abuse Physical abuse in Scientology is best exemplified by the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). Prison camps are run for "Sea Org" members in Los Angeles, Clearwater FL, Copenhagen and other sites, for those who have fallen behind in their work or have questioned authority in Scientology. The program can include solitary confinement, hours of running around a pole, hard labor, feeding on food from the garbage, confinement behind barbed wire. RPF facilities are patrolled using guard dogs and armed guards, making escape impossible. Months can be spent in the RPF, which contains an even worse prison within it, the RPF's RPF. Imprisonment in dark, cold or wet places, in wire cages or with chains has been reported in the RPF's RPF.
Overboarding is another traditional Sea Org punishment, where the victim is thrown off the deck of a ship. Locations far from the sea can use ponds, streams, showers, garden hoses, or even toilets to simulate overboarding.
Members who suffer a psychotic break can be placed on the Introspection Rundown, where the person is isolated until they show signs of recovery. During this time they are not restrained, and self-inflicted injury is likely. Lisa McPherson died from the Rundown with bruises, scratches, cuts and abrasions all over her body.
5. Psychological abuse Psychological abuse takes place to enforce Scientology policy.
Members can have their families used against them to enforce compliance with Scientology directives. The policy of "disconnection" is used to separate members from their families;
a member may be ordered to never speak or communicate with their family again. Pressure is applied to coerce financial donations to Scientology, sometimes with disastrous effects. Suicide and psychotic breaks are not uncommon among Scientologists under financial pressure. The revelation of the upper levels can also cause this type of stress, when the much-touted "sacred scriptures" full of advanced spiritual insights are discovered to be bizarre science fiction stories. Rejection of the upper levels by a member can be grounds for disciplinary action, mandatory "counseling" at the member's expense, or in the case of Sea Org members, imprisonment.
====== Thanks to Charlotte Kates, Jeff Jacobesen and Dave Touretzky for editing and corrections on the flyer text.