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In response to my last question you sent the following response:

Thanks for the quick reply.  Would this mean that many former members who have made statements regarding disconnection are not telling the truth or have they all reached that point of no return for their families?  
 Also with regards to the OT powers, does this mean that current members who claim to control MEST are not telling the truth or are they deluded to what they know?  
 One last question, how does the RPF fit into a religious organization?

Question
Laurie,
How or why would a religious group such as COS endorse a policy of disconnection? Since using hubbard's tech is supposed to lead to the greatest ability to communicate, why would a person have to disconnect from their family, why wouldn't a scientologist be able to explain a position to their family, use their OT powers to make their membership a non-issue, or persuade their family to join themselves.

Answer
The Church of Scientology does not "endorse a policy" of disconnection. As a last resort, when all attempts at handling a person who has stubbornly remained antagonistic to the parishoner's betterment have failed, the parishoner is allowed to cease communicating with the person who is determined to make their life miserable.

When the actual purpose and intent of the other party is actively harmful to the parishoner, then they use all attempts at positive communication to formulate excuses to attack. In such a case you might as well be trying to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. This is the type of case where it is appropriate to cease communicating. Psychiatrists and psychologists have a term relating to this. They call it a "toxic person" and advise their patients/clients to remove themselves from the person's influence.

As to "using their OT powers to...," there is no such thing as "OT powers." Everyone is a life unit unto themselves and no person can magically change the mind of another. Even if there were such powers, fewer than 1% of Scientologists are "OT." And the state refers to enlightenment, not "powers."  

Answer
I don't know the facts of every individual case of claimed "disconnection" so I can't say whether former disgruntled members are or are not telling the truth.  It's not for me to say.

However, having read the sworn affidavits of some of them regarding events which I witnessed, I can attest that the emotional desire to harm can have a powerful effect on one's memory - resulting in "remembering" things that never happpened, altering the context and meaning of events that did happen, or motivating one to just lie in an effort to create a desired result.

J. Gordon Melton, a (non-Scientologist) scholar who studies such things also finds that apostates are notoriously unreliable factual witnesses.  From my own observation, I'd have to say he's right.

That said, there was a brief time period when certain persons in certain churches thought "disconnection" would be a simple and easy way to "handle" familial antagonism.  Noticing this, Ron issued a policy putting a stop to it.  Therefore SOME accounts of the practice predating the full implmentation of his policy are likely to be at least largely true.

"OT" matters:  What's true for a person in Scientology is what is true for him, and it is true according to his experience.  His Scientology experience is personal, and can only be interpreted by him.  If a guy tells me he can make traffic lights change faster by intending it, I'll reserve judgment.  If he tells me he can will pain away, I'm liable to believe him.  If he tells me he can alter the state of another's mind at will, I'll say "wow, cool."  I will not in the least be surprised to note that as he progresses in his spitirtual journey, he no longer makes that claim.

There is nothing in the literature which promises the ability to perform magic upon attaining any state of OT.  

In general, Theta is held to be senior to MEST, function senior to form, and intent determinative of result.  (keeping in mind that reality is determined by agreement and while personal perception or experience can be "actual," only shared perception or experience can be "real.")  To use a totally mundane illustration, a person who controls MEST poorly, having accidents in cars and such, and being unable to keep order in his office, would not be expected, as an OT, to still be accident prone or unable to bring order.  His control over MEST will have become much better.  

I read a couple of OT VIII success stories in my email today, from people who completed this week.  There was a lot of talk of serenity, joy, enthusiasm for the future, feeling of personal freedom and ease, and not being effect of MEST agreements, being able to do more with less effort, less time.  Absence of negativity.  Gratitude for the work of Ron and the staff.  Nothing about magical powers...

RPF:  http://www.cesnur.org/2002/scient_rpf_03.htm

The foregoing is a link to a year-long in-person (with in-depth and repeated interviews of particiapants) study of the RPF in Denmark and Great Britain by Finnish and British and Danish college professors.  The study evaluates the program and its religious context.  There is little or nothing I can add to the study and its conclusions, so I recommend you read it.   In short, it is a redemtpive program, voluntarily undertaken, run by its own members, leading to full restoration of status and priviliegs for members of the Sea Org.  It is true to the religious tradition of historical monastic orders (which the Sea Org is likened to) over the centuries, but rather less strict.  It is not out of place in a dedicated core of religious devotees.

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Laurie Hamilton

Expertise

I am able to answer questions regarding Scientology practices and procedures, religious philosophy, donations, religious rites, management, administrative and staff matters.

Experience

I am a second generation Scientologist whose parents began in Dianetics in 1950 and studied directly with L. Ron Hubbard. I have been personally active in the church for 44 years, have eleven years former staff experience in both technical and administrative areas, and extensive technical and administative training and counseling. I am "clear" and "OT." I come from an extended family of many religions, but my spouse and children are Scientologists, as are my siblings and their spouses, several cousins, nieces, nephews, an aunt, and an uncle. Between us we have had every good and bad experience one might go through in the church at every level.

Organizations
International Association of Scientologists

Education/Credentials
Over six thousand hours of Scientology technical and administrative training. Fully qualified/certified for fourteen different organizational job descriptions. Ordained minister. Independent study of numerous religions.

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