Leaving the SO
Sea Org Members will most likely never read this – although I do know several who managed to covertly access the internet while still in the Sea Org. So for the most part this is written for the family of the Sea Org Member.
Getting a family member out of the Sea Org is a daunting task. They are watched and guarded 24/7, and their letters and phone calls are monitored. So they cannot be honest with you about what life is really like in the Sea Org. They cannot use the internet or access e-mail. Their letters and calls will tell you that everything is wonderful, and they are doing fine and having great wins. And if you are even slightly critical of the Sea Org in your calls or letters, they will get in trouble, and you risk them being forced to “handle or disconnect.” You also risk their resentment if they perceive you as “anti-Scientology.”
The first and best thing you can do is give them your unconditional love and support. Write them often, tell them what is happening with the family, and send photographs. Let them know that you love them and support them unconditionally. If they decide to leave, they will know they can come to you. Make sure they always have your current address and phone number (cell and home).
As a note, do this whether you are “disconnected” or not. Remember, they may have to comply to a disconnection edict, but if you are not a Church of Scientology member, you can ignore it. Send those letters anyway. Keep them light, send news about the family. Send photos. Don’t worry that you don’t get an answer, keep sending them. What are they going to do, throw them away? If they throw your letters away or fail to deliver them, they are guilty of a Federal crime. So keep the letters flowing.
Don’t forget to send presents at Christmas and for their birthday. Again, “disconnected” or not.
If you want to be adventurous, send them a prepaid cell phone with your number programmed in. They are not supposed to have cell phones, but who knows, they may keep it and you may get a call. Or if the Church takes it you can take them to task about stealing private property.
Press for them to come for a family visit. Best to give them some added incentive – make it a family reunion or a special occasion. Press them to come for Christmas. Remember, they have to sell it to their seniors, so give them plenty of ammo. Get them to promise to come, and then hold them to it.
If you do manage to get them home, even for a short period, don’t go on an attack on the Sea Org or Scientology. Don’t ask them a lot of questions or put them on the spot. Let them relax and unwind. Let them sleep in. Take them for a walk or a hike or go to a movie or go shopping. When it seems to be appropriate, ask them non-threatening questions about what they do, what their duties are, what projects they are involved in, what they like about Sea Org life.
Let them know that they always have a home with you and are always welcome. This is a light way of saying “you can come here if you leave.”
If you feel adventurous, and if it seems appropriate, ask about anything they don’t like about Sea Org life. They may or may not open up.
Make a computer available to them with an internet connection. Put this in their bedroom, logged on. Give them private time to explore if they want.
You can always gently inform them of their rights. For instance, California Labor Code Section 510 provides that “Eight hours of labor constitutes a day’s work.” Other states probably have similar laws. Sea Org Members work 12 to 14-hour days, sometimes more. California Labor Code Section 551 states that “Every person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven.” Sea Org Members if they are “upstat,” get one day off in fourteen. But in practice, they rarely get these.
California Labor Code, Section 1194 states, “Notwithstanding any agreement to work for a lesser wage, any employee receiving less than the legal minimum wage or the legal overtime compensation applicable to the employee is entitled to recover in a civil action the unpaid balance of the full amount of this minimum wage or overtime compensation, including interest thereon, reasonable attorney’s fees, and costs of suit. Sea Org Members are paid under $50.00 a week, or about 40 cents an hour.
California Labor Code Section 6400 states: “Every employer shall furnish employment and a place of employment that is safe and healthful for the employees therein.” And the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 527.8 forbids unlawful violence or threat of violence in the workplace. Yet Sea Org members are often threatened with physical abuse, as was exposed in the recent St. Petersburg Times articles.
It is also a labor code violation not to inform an employee of these rights.
You may not realize it, but most Sea Org Members daydream at times about escaping. They will not tell you that, and they certainly won’t tell their seniors that, but they do. They daydream about jumping walls or fences or eluding guards. But they don’t need to do anything that dramatic. Most Sea Org Members do not know that they cannot be physically held or prevented from leaving. If they walk out the front door or the front gate, no one can legally stop them. No one, in fact, can touch them legally. Otherwise they can face a kidnapping or assault charge. Security Guards at Sea Org installations know this, and so will not try to physically touch a person who is trying to leave. They will use verbal arguments and threats. But a person intent on leaving can simply keep walking. There is nothing they can legally do. Sea Org Members should know these rights as well.
If a person blows the Sea Organization, the Sea Org will contact them and try to get them to “route out properly.” You, and they, should know what this means. The person “routing out properly” will undergo weeks or months of Security Checking. They will meanwhile be on manual labor, under Security watch. The Security Check is deemed complete when the person has confessed to enough crimes or transgressions to satisfy the Church, which is to say, when they have enough “dirt” on the person so they know they can blackmail them into silence should they ever decide to expose what they know. They are then allowed to “route out.” This involves signing voluminous waivers and gag orders, waiving any and all rights the person has to ever sue, and threatening the person with massive fines if they should ever speak out. The person receives no copies of these agreements. They are legally questionable – their main purpose is to intimidate. When all the forms are signed, the person is offloaded from the Sea Organization with $500.00 “severance pay.” The Sea Org makes no attempt to help the person relocate or find a job. They are dumped, quite literally, on the street. That is “routing out properly.” It only benefits the Church, there is no benefit to the individual at all.
If the person has managed to escape the Sea Org, or wants to stay out permanently after a family visit, discourage them from returning to “route out properly.” They will gain nothing from it.
These are some of the actions I would recommend to get a family member out of the Sea Org. If you have specific questions, leave them as comments on this page. And if you have suggestions or tips of successful actions, please share them here as well.