“The purpose of the [law]suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly.”
The Church of Scientology has a history of dealing forcefully with critics and perceived enemies (whom the organization calls “suppressive persons” or SP’s). This can include harassment, stalking, blackmail and even extreme violence.
Often the organization fabricates crimes against their detractors.
L. Ron Hubbard (who founded the cult) detailed his rules for attacking critics in a number of policy letters, including one often quoted by critics as “the Fair Game policy.” This allowed that those who had been declared enemies of the Church (the “SP”) “may be deprived of property or injured by any means … may be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.”
When author, Paulette Cooper, published her book, The Scandal of Scientology, the church initiated “Operation Freakout“, aimed at ruining her life.
The Church of Scientology practices “disconnection,” in which Scientologists are directed to sever all contact with family members or friends who criticize the faith. Ex-members and relatives of existing members attest that this practice has divided many families. The disconnection policy is considered by critics to be further evidence that the Church is a cult. Making its members entirely dependent on the church makes it extremely difficult for them to leave (since they will be hounded by the Church and they have already been cut off from family and friends). Some people I’ve talked to desperately wanted to stay in touch with their children but were forbidden. This shunning policy is extremely distressing and has led to depression and many suicides.
Over the years, the Church of Scientology has been accused of culpability in the death of hundreds of its members.
The most widely publicized such case involved the 1995 death of 36-year-old Lisa McPherson, while in the care of scientologists at the Scientology-owned Fort Harrison Hotel, in Clearwater, Florida. Despite McPherson’s having symptoms of a psychotic mental illness, the Church intervened to prevent McPherson from receiving psychiatric treatment and returned her to the custody of the Church of Scientology.
The “church” refuses to accept the efficacy of psychiatry because they believe that mental illnesses are caused by the ghosts of ancient alien beings attacking the human psyche.
Records show that they locked her in a room, alone, and without communication, food or water for 17 days (a standard Scientology program known as the Introspection Rundown).
When she became unconscious, they returned her to hospital. However, they refused the hospital that was just a few blocks away. They also avoided the next 3 nearest hospitals. They chose a hospital nearly an hour away because a Scientologist doctor worked there. Lisa was dead on arrival. Autopsy revealed that she had died from extreme dehydration and weighed only 7 stone. Her body was covered in bruises, ulcers and cockroach bites.
The Church of Scientology is frequently accused of employing brainwashing and intimidation tactics to influence members to donate large amounts of money and to force members to submit completely to the organization.
Time magazine published a cover story in 1991, “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,” that supported such charges. Lisa McPherson “donated” $125,000 to the church during the last year of her life (including one single donation of $50,000. When she died, there was $11 in her bank account.
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