Thanks again for the quick reply. When comparing monastic orders, does not one have to compare the religions that these orders devote themselves to serving? When complaints are made against monastic orders, ultimately the main church is the one that answers the questions and is sought out to rectify the situation. Is it possible or even plausible that every apostate who has publically made complaints agains scientology and the RPF is out to paint themselves in a good light or damage the church by telling a lie? Do other orders of devotees place themselves in situations to have their ethics or devotion questioned? There have been many accounts of people being put on the RPF for much less than being downstat. Are SEA Org members told when the sign their billion year contract that the RPF is a possibility and that they would end up eating table scraps, to work 16 hour days, are not allowed to be spoken too, and have their communication with the outside world cut off. These are some of the things that the people who have left are saying. If this is untrue, why does the church not sue to clear their name?
Long answer, sorry:
"When comparing monastic orders, does not one have to compare the religions that these orders devote themselves to serving?"
No. That's not logically consistent. The relevant question would be whether any branch or section of a religion, monastic or not, is consistent with and contributive to the aims of the religion itself. Religions and religious practice need not be similar or comparable. They need only address the ultimate questions of life, each in their own unique manner.
"Is it possible or even plausible that every apostate who has publically made complaints agains scientology and the RPF is out to paint themselves in a good light or damage the church by telling a lie?"
Of course. Humans seek to be right. It is both possible and plausible, in fact likely, that those who go so far as to actually speak out against a group of which they were formerly a member WILL paint themselves in a good light and disparage the group. In order to justify having left, this is practically necessary in order to preserve self esteem. Extensive (non-Scientology) sociological research shows this to be true, so asking if something which has been shown to be true could possibly or plausibly be true seems naive' at best. The logical consequence of the need to be right; and to retrospectively have been right; is that, to the degree the facts do not support the person's own rightness, they will be changed when related by the person.
"Do other orders of devotees place themselves in situations to have their ethics or devotion questioned?"
Absolutely! Religions assume human imperfection and are on the constant lookout that it not corrupt the straight and narrow course of their faith. In monastic orders this is more true than elsewhere. The tighter the adherence to the heart of the philosophy, the sterner the test, the greater the likelihood of failure, and the more rigorous the remedy. This is why only a minority of devotees of any religion take the plunge. Nonetheless, Scientology management policy requires that a manager assume his staff will work correctly and that they are working correctly, unless and until evidence to the contrary becomes plain. We call this "fast flow management." One does not micro-manage, second-guess, harbor suspicion or make pre-emptive corrections. One trains the staff, gives them responsibility, lets them work, and corrects them AFTER they err. With good training, needed corrections are usually quite minor - "Hey, quit that," "Please read these instructions," "Do your job, please," etc.
"There have been many accounts of people being put on the RPF for much less than being downstat."
I believe there are such accounts, though I've seldom seen them. However, it would be completely contrary to RPF policy, and to ordinary church justice policies. I'm not saying it can never have happened, it might for all I know, but I've not personally seen it, no prior RPFer (and I've known a few - two of whom I met after they left the RPF and the Sea Org without official permission) has related this to me, and it's contrary to policy. A person must prove disastrous incompetence or demonstrate evil intent in order to even be involuntarily removed from post, much less recommended to the RPF. Then they have to agree to do it. If they do not agree, they are permitted to leave. "...too many goofs equals fired," is a quote from Ron. In the Sea Org, however, there is an intermediate step. If one wishes to do the RPF instead, one is not "fired."
Keeping in mind the mechanics of apostate vs group thinking and speech, and the need of humans to be right, You can expect the persons (or board or committee) who do the assigning to the RPF to see huge reasons to have done so. It is not a whimsical or spur of the moment thing. On the other side, you can expect the "assignee" who has decided, not just to LEAVE his church, but to TURN AGAINST it, to relate that their offense was minor or non-existent.
"Are SEA Org members told when the sign their billion year contract that the RPF is a possibility and that they would end up eating table scraps, to work 16 hour days, are not allowed to be spoken too, and have their communication with the outside world cut off."
A person who signs a Sea Org contract is aware of the RPF. A Sea Org member's initiation is via the Estates Project Force or the Deck Project Force, which directly oversees the RPF. People who have never set foot in an org or read a book or done a course are aware of the RPF. I imagine that new recruits see themselves as willing, competent and devoted, and do not think that they will spend any time there. Factually, fewer than five percent ever do. My dad did, and I have a niece who is there, now. My uncle used to joke, "If you've never been RPF'ed, you're not doing anything!" He was quite a cowboy and pissed off senior managment a number of times. He was, coincidentally, never RPF'ed. Communication to the outside world is scheduled for only specific off-duty times, but not cut off. Again, the rules of the RPF are made plain to those who are given the option of doing it. They agree or they don't. If they don't, then they leave the Sea Org and become a regular parishoner. "Table Scraps" is hyperbole for the fact that RPF meals were once made up from food prepared by the commissary that was over and above the needs of the crew. Now RPF meals have to independently measure up to nutritional standards regardless of what the crew has or has not eaten. In most places, though, the same kitchen prepares the same meals for everyone. Diners choose the dishes they want, cafeteria style. There is no such thing as a standard 16-hour work day. RPF (and regular crew) have duty time, enhancement time, meal time, and sleep and hygiene time. In the event of an emergency or a project being behind deadline, crew or RPF may work longer than usual hours. Otherwise, two and a half or three hours for crew and FIVE hours for the RPF, are set aside for study and counseling "enhancement" (strictly enforced in the RPF, though regular crew sometimes let their work eat into enhancement time - this is frowned upon.), eight hours for sleep (not hygiene plus sleep plus changing for bed, brushing teeth, etc. - sleep only.) Specific time in excess of the eight hours for turning out of or into bed, hygiene, breakfast, pre-bed snack, correspondence or reading, what-have-you. There is a lunch break in the middle of the day, and a dinner break before enhancment time in the evening. It is true that under ROUTINE circumstances, RPFers are not supposed to spontaneously exchange communication with parishoners who are doing training or counseling, nor staff who are working. There is no absolute prohibition against communication. Family time is allowed and letter-writing is encouraged.
My dad and I (I'm 52, he's 86, he started wilth Dianetics in 1950 and I did my first Scientology study in 1968) often reminisce about old times, our staff experiences, changes in the church over the years, his and my mom's (she passed from a stroke in '96) time with Ron, people whom we have both known in our combined 94 years with Scientology and Dianetics; good people, noble people, nut cases, ordinary folk, evil SOBs, relatives, friends, bosses, juniors, acquaintances. He did the RPF in the '70's. He'll mention experiences he had there when something reminds him of it. He hasn't a single negative word to say about it. It was strict - less so than his time in the military in Great Britain and North Africa - the members looked out for each other, there was a sense of camaraderie, group morale and accomplishment - jarred from time to time by the occasional misanthrope who simply could not get along with others, felt the need to complain and blame and bully and generally make life miserable for his companions - the food was standard commissary fare, nourishing if not always gourmet, always included greens, fresh fruit,etc., they had occasional treats like steak or pizza - especially after a particularly successful project completion. Their medical needs were seen to. They ALWAYS got a full eight hours of sack time, and were required to take a nap of they were sleepy when ehnancement time came around, went together to the occasional movie in town (not kidding), placed a premium on best efforts and excellent results, and generally worked their tails off to set a high standard for themselves and each other.
One of the guys on the RPF with my dad can now be seen bashing Scientology on the net. He was a problem to other RPFers, also. His accounts of the RPF are totally dissimilar to my dad's. His accounts of being a highly placed technical person pre-RPF are self-described heroics - totally dissimilar to the tantrums, screaming diatribes, throwing things and denigrating fellow parishoners as witnessed by others who suffered in his presence before he went to the RPF. Still, he was not kicked out, but rather offered a chance to redeem himself. Reading his accounts, he never did anything wrong but was assigned to the RPF for "political" reasons. My dad and mom shared classroom space with this guy and watched him operate on his post. His is one of the few cases I've been privileged to hear eyewitness accounts of, as well as read his own explanations. What witnesses saw and what he describes are utterly different.
"If this is untrue, why does the church not sue to clear their name?"
The church does not usually sue to clear its name. That would be impossible in most cases. A victim of slander has to prove actual malice, that is that the slanderer does not themselves believe what they are saying, and that the utterance is intended to do harm (the vast majority of negative utterances cannot be shown to be intended to cause actual harm) and then it has to be provable that actual measurable harm WAS DONE by the utterance, or that such is the INEVITABLE RESULT of the utterance. These are extremely high legal hurdles. I think in 56 years, in the face of thousands of negative mentions, something like 11 slander lawsuits have been filed, and only seven of those successful. The church sues to defend its copyrights or protect its civil rights. When slandered, it usually seeks a retraction or responds with media, or both. When documenting the falseness of a slander, the church often will merely ask for a retraction, and has received literally hundreds of retractions.
When its copyrights are violated, it first asks the violator to stop. Then it demands they stop. Then it may sue.
As it is not possible to request or demand a civil right, when discrimination is levied against Scientology or Scientologists, the only possible responses are no action,demonstrations, or constitutionally-based individual or class-action suits.
All litigation by or against the church across the boards is at an all-time low and dropping at this time. It seems the church and the world are learning to live together in harmony.
Again, I'm not ignoring your questions, as AllExperts gives us the option to do, nor am I trying to change your mind. I am merely stating what's true, in case someone else who also has an interest in the subject matter of your questions can benefit from it.