First, my intention was never to create a blog, because I don’t feel I have much to say in general that someone else couldn’t say better…I created this website to provide a little more insight into what my family experienced in case it could help create awareness, and provide links to resources that could help.
Second, I’m not a writer or blogger, and as you may or may not know, I have a 7th grade education (thank you Scientology) but I’ve become a critic and even a bit of an activist wanting to address the abuse my family experienced at the hands of Scientology. My my sister and I were innocent children, and our mother was already suffering from mental illness when they began grooming her, and ultimately destroying our relationship with her, and exploiting what sanity she had over 20 years and sacrificing EVERYTHING including us and her entire family to reach the upper levels of their Bridge to Total Freedom.
I guess I kept waiting for someone to right these wrongs, and realized perhaps I was that someone.
So maybe from time to time I do have somethings I want to say.
At any rate I stumbled on this Nedra Cohee document 5 or so months ago. It had been leaked on the internet, along with a couple other mind blowing documents. They all showed clear and undeniable neglect, abandonment and abuse of Sea Org children, especially Cadets.
I began collecting and sharing them on Twitter https://twitter.com/Clear2Insanity/status/864599407534022656, but also in our Second Generation community so that the kids they affected could use them as they wished, so we could discuss them, and help show in black and white what was done to all of us was no accident, it was by design, and per policy.
When you’re on the receiving end of Scientology abuse you’re blamed and shamed and gas lit so much you get so immersed in your own troubles, you miss some of what is done to others, ie; you cant see the forest for the trees….also you’re threatened regularly if you tell anyone anything negative like; I’m afraid, I feel alone, I’m being tormented, I’m struggling, I want to leave, etc. that you’ll be punished further, even cast out onto the streets… so you stay silent because you KNOW things will be made worse instead of better and your punishment will be swift and severe…so you feel utterly isolated and completely shuddered into silence, even from your parents.
Sharing these issues I’d discovered with my peers and having dialog about them let us all finally compare notes and realize we were ALL experiencing the abuse lined out in them all along and were never REALLY the lone wolf, black sheep, bad apple, or weak link that we were accused of being…..we were ALL being manipulated, lied to, exploited, and betrayed by the people we were told to trust, to model, and to follow. Our parents were as well. KNOWING this now has helped each of us immensely, and being able to discuss and support each other with the fallout has been tremendously therapeutic.
At any rate this issue by Nedra Cohee is the first of so many more I eventually discovered were being archived by Mark Plummer, who once I began asking for them was willing to share…and the rest is history. I hope that sharing these publicly and having former cadets and hopefully some of the adults of that time (staff or parents) weigh in will help the world understand what we were put through and some of the repercussions then, and long term damage many of us are still experiencing.
I hope that at some point Child Advocates and Psychologists could weigh in with their opinions on what is outlined in these documents, as well as perhaps recommend therapeutic treatment to help these child victims…and of course ultimately I hope the authorities will get involved to at the very LEAST prevent this from happening to future children. Kids the same age we were on our first RPF (prison) assignment (12&13) are still allowed to enter the Sea Org, so the risk of our abuse and outcome still exists today.
This inhumane & criminal treatment of children deserves to see the light of day, and Scientology deserves to be held accountable.
Back to the story…my fellow 2nd Gen Sunny Pereira (who was present in PAC during the years that many of these issues cover) saw me posting these issues for our group and asked for copies with the idea of giving her perspective to Tony Ortega. This began The Kid Corps series on Tony’s website.
Tony asked for my thoughts and he shared the parts he felt were relevant (in bold). I wanted to share here what I sent him in its entirety in case any of it could help:
“The Cadet Org is where the Sea Org transforms its neglected children into child soldiers.. It gives them a purpose, promises them power and recognition and hammers in discipline via its live-in indoctrination and work camp where kids are virtually isolated from those that care about them.
LRH had already begun to drive wedges between the Scientology parent and child with his claims that children weren’t TRULY children, but rather thetans (spirits) in small bodies. They were weren’t TRULY a parent and a child, but randomly fulfilling those roles this lifetime, and that that relationship was truly meaningless and just mocked up. He hit it from another angle in Child Dianetics telling parents that in utero activities like sexual intercourse or loud arguments or injuries to the mother while pregnant, including childbirth, created new engrams (moments of pain and unconsciousness) and re-stimulated past life engrams – Even the act of being born and exposed to its own parents was very harmful to a baby. Furthermore, the mother would continue to do and say things unintentionally that would continue to harm the child, so LRH convinced parents that raising their children in second dynamic (family) enviro was non-optimal compared to raising them in a third dynamic (group) scenario, where they would flourish and not be triggered. The underlying message here was that it is better for the child to be raised by a group of strangers, conveniently ensuring that parents were free to spend all their time earning money for Scientology or doing Scientology. Children were in no way considered the greatest good on the greatest number of dynamics.
Additionally, parents were taught that illness and injury equal PTS’ness (you are a magnet for trouble) , and these problems are pulled in due to transgressions or by being connected to suppressive (evil); When children are sick or injured they should NOT be comforted but should instead receive a Scientology assist (repetitively touching where it hurt) only. Grief, anxiety, and anger are not a need for love but merely dramatization, mis-emotion, and low-toned; Giving sympathy to such children is bad. Inevitably, the parent is NOT bonding with the child, and the child is NOT bonding to the parent. Nurture, love, compassion and empathy are all thrown out the window as counterproductive, and even harmful.
Along these lines, it is recommended that babies NOT be breastfed but instead fed “Barley Formula”, the water from boiling barley, combined with refined sugar, because per L Ron Hubbard, breast milk isn’t nutritious enough. In what I observed in the Sea Org nurseries, barley formula was NOT giving the babies what they needed nutritionally, but WAS a magnet for roaches and other rodents. The substance often spoiled from improper storage (not refrigerated properly) and the babies I saw were in no way thriving as L Ron Hubbard had promised. They were sick, unclean, covered in diaper rash and insect bites, mucousy, and constantly crying – They were being minimally cared for by an understaffed, underage, and mostly unskilled team of “caretakers”, who were at times individually watching 15-20 infants and toddlers. I remember thinking that the pale, sick, crying & colicky babies in the nursery were that way because of all of their engrams and that they REALLY must have needed Scientology to help them become healthier and recover from their downward spiral… I assumed that was why they’d chosen to “pick up” Sea Org baby’s bodies. Of course now I realize they were just malnourished, neglected and never brought outdoors during the daylight.
At any rate, back to the Cadet Org…This is where children become militant, wear a uniform, are assigned a post and given a title and rank. You are no longer called by your name but are called Sir or Mr even if you’re female; You learn how to give and take orders, how to muster, salute, and applaud LRH’s picture. You drill ”Chinese school” style (chant) the Organization Board and Sea Org motto’s, “Production is the basis of Morale!” etc..you learn how to clean, make a bed, wash windows per policy, and spend a huge amount of time learning to snitch by writing knowledge reports to inform on others in the group who are goofing off or off purpose, under-performing, nattering or third partying…This may include your own parents if they don’t behave optimally or aren’t “winning” and only sharing theta or being upstat (productive) and uptone (happy) with you (or are cranky or ill), if they say inappropriate things to you (complain about their schedule or why they cant visit you more often), give you off line orders (try to parent you directly) etc… You learn to report on everyone and everything around you that is an outpoint or affects production or morale.This data is then used to address the problem (i.e. ethics [punishment] is applied to those responsible) or YOU are disciplined for being critical (i.e. having overts & withholds [transgressions]) and then ethics is applied to YOU as the problem. Simply put, you are being groomed as an Sea Org member now, not a child, and the parent/child bond is severed further.
In the Cadet Org you also learn about production and statistics while spending countless time quantifying and charting your accomplishments on graphs. Items tracked include Scientology study hours, pages read, words cleared, check-sheets completed, as well as your performance at cleaning stations & labor assignments (i.e. spaces cleaned, files shredded, meals prepared, dishes washed). Everything is counted and reported – You are assigned conditions based on your products, and so judged weekly on whether you are good (a top performer) or bad (sick, unhappy, or falling behind in your labor). This status is recognized publicly, so positive and negative reinforcement are made a public affair. If you are assigned a lower condition, you are shunned within your group until you remedy the situation, make up the damage done to the group, complete an amends project, and then request reentry to the group. Every week in the Sea Org is work, Scientology study, statistics, ethics, and a tiny bit of time with your parents (maybe). Only IF your stats AND their stats are up MAY you get a day off together… But most often this is not the case.
You live in dorms, with bunks stacked to the ceiling filling every spare square inch of floor. You have a lights-out time, and a few precious moments before you fall asleep where there is small opportunity to be kids…just chattering. You’d try to squeeze in these moments when you were walking from building to building, or when you were supposed to be doing something else… A few moments just to be silly, sing a song, tell a joke, and just be kids…You’d avoid saying anything that would be reported (i.e. complaining about ANYTHING or ANYONE, being unhappy about being there, missing your life, friends or family). Only positive up-tone communication even in your private moments was allowed, no entheta (negativity or complaints).
If you were ill you might be seen by a medical liaison officer, maybe not, but you were treated as a downstat if it impacted your work & study. As such you would be shamed and sent to isolation where you were allowed to rest in an overcrowded dark room with the other sick , but not given any care beyond the usual Cal-Mag, vitamins, and an assist until you agreed you were well enough to report back to duty. Also, you were required to do ethics and O/W write-ups to determine how you’d pulled in being sick, and you were expected to make up the damage if your stats had crashed while you were sick (since you couldn’t produce in Isolation). Hopefully someone would bring you three meals a day in iso but more often not. Occasionally a parent would drop by, but often they would not.
This is the environment in which you spend the next few years of your life until you’re old enough for a REAL post (job), which is what what you’re supposedly after… Perfecting your knowledge reports (snitching), being the best soldier you can be, increasing your production and study statistic each and every week, and forgetting about the outside world. You are expected to want NOTHING more than to graduate the Cadet Org so that you can have a FULL TIME seven-day-a-week adult job…!? Is it any wonder children do NOT want to be there?
Rewards or things you looked forward to were mostly based in avoiding pain: Not being punished, not being in lower conditions, not being written up and shamed publicly, not being interrogated, not being denied time with your parents or time off to go see a movie (if you saved your money) once every two weeks if your CSW (rappeal) for liberty (day off) was approved. Just a few attainable rewards were pleasant: Those moments after lights out when you could talk to the other kids… The bus ride on the way to the Quality Inn Motel (where kids were sequestered to be out of sight out of mind of thier parents and the public) when you were unsupervised and felt like a normal kid for twenty minutes and could slide down in the seat and pretend you were going to school, watching the world go by out the windows, but thinking all those people in it were lost and confused, leaving you feeling superior…picking up your pay on the weekend (cash in an envelope) of $4.30 per week and running to the a bakery to get a donut, then spending the rest buying your own shampoo and toothpaste, hopefully socking away some change for that possible movie …and then rushing back to your dorm to do your weekly CSP (cleaning and laundry)…food at mealtimes if you got there in time and your parents org wasn’t assigned to beans and rice, hamburger & french fry night, any dessert, talking your parents into letting you spend family time in the pool, and not writing you up…chipping in and splitting a mild shake in the canteen…smoking…stealing food that tasted good from the walk in fridges or freezers to supplement, stealing quarters from the “honor” coffee bar and playing Pac-Man…these were the things we enjoyed.
Kids that didn’t fit in were first handled with ethics gradients (KR’s, OW’s, conditions, amends and finally, if they did not handle or conform, they were segregated and assigned full-time hard labor and an adult watch…they were moved into the garage [pigs berthing] to sleep and were treated as if they were contagious). We were informed that they were degraded beings and counter-intentioned, so we shunned them. Some just disappeared, some were assigned to the adult Rehabilitation Project Force (reeducation prison) so we saw them run by on occasion dressed in blue or black, scrubbing something, usually being yelled at be an adult, and always head down, no eye contact, slumped shoulders…looking very broken…they were not allowed to speak to us…they were threatened with being cast out into the wog world…some would reappear after some time and be extremely hard core and dedicated as if they were a different person, no longer any remnants of the child you’d known before, but had the cold hard stare of many of the adults. They were now “ON PURPOSE” and “UNREASONABLE”…these kids usually progressed quickly once they took on that persona, but they were no longer one of us or trustworthy since they’d been transformed into a Scientology soldier…which was the goal…but from the outside it looked like they’d become a pod person, and were never the same again.
Some never returned from the RPF, were offloaded (kicked out) or routed out (abandoned the group) and occasionally we heard rumors of drugs and criminality, and were told they wouldn’t “make it” this lifetime. End of story. Child gone. As a result, you didn’t get attached to the ones that struggled, because they wouldn’t be around long and would pull you down with them. You didn’t help them too much because that would be supporting victim behavior, or rewarding downstats, or condoning out ethics, thus you must be out ethics.
At the time I didn’t know any better, but looking back I realize that what I witnessed was rampant depression, self-harm, emotional distress and cries for help in the Cadet Org, as well as utter alienation from parents and siblings. Children were crying out for love and help but only being given Scientology and ethics…they were simply labeled as downstat, downtone and out ethics. Period.
In the Sea Org itself people disappeared all the time; Kids, families, adults, sent on “missions”, transferred, sent “up-lines” or “over the rainbow”…which was always pretty hush-hush….so you tended not to ask when you didn’t see someone again…either it was confidential or it was entheta (if they left on bad terms) and spreading entheta was a punishable offense.
I was never on the Children’s RPF…we didn’t have one at Flag during the 2 times my sister and I were RPF’ed (at 12 & 13 and again at 15 &17). Instead, we were included in the adult RPF with all the adults and held to those same standards, that same regimen and demands (living in the garage, shaming, verbal abuse, treacherous and unsafe work, injury, sleep deprivation, isolation, interrogation, exposure to adult sexual content, coercion, extortion, threats, being spit on) so I’m unsure what the difference would be for someone assigned to the Children’s RPF or what the program consisted of but if it was modeled after the adult RPF it would be purely punitive to reeducate them & reform them from wanting to leave, from wanting to play, from wanting their parents or family, from wanting to have free will or do anything other than Scientology 24/7. To teach them that whatever pain they are feeling can be made worse if they didn’t comply.
When I read this document I see a woman who is desperately trying to get make her job easier, who is trying to make the Scientology Sea Org model work as LRH said it should (as if it were scientifically proven instead of involving actual human children who have needs that aren’t being fulfilled, who are manifesting everything we know is suffering and trauma and abuse, and are trying to escape, or acting out). She believes these children can be transformed into productive Sea Org assets if they are punished severely enough by assigning an adult to interrogate and punish them. Reinstating a prison program would contain them in an environment where they could be beaten down and broken like horses, stripped of their free will and spirits, and made to be obedient vehicles who are trotted out and paraded around as shining examples of LRH’s philosophies. In essence, they would give up any hope of anything beyond the Sea Org or Scientology….They would simply get with the program.
The ones that had “blown” were RUNAWAYS, the ones that were self-harming needed medical and psych care, the ones that were disaffected but wanted to come back had been made HOMELESS when they refused to conform. These abandoned and rejected children had NO ONE and NOWHERE to go….some ventured out, wandering LA…they got onto drugs, they drank alcohol, they got pregnant…they became suicidal, they became angry and destructive and acted out committing crimes. Others instinctively stayed close to their friends & family and orbited the property…sneaking into the crew dining rooms to steal food, sleeping in the garage among cars or on the top of the elevator tower or roofs…some found odd jobs with local Scientology business if they hadn’t already been blackballed…they begged and borrowed and stole to exist…
I was eventually one of these lost children……It is hard to describe how this feels…to know you’re not the greatest good to anyone…to know your only value is as a robotic Sea Org member and you’ve failed at that, it was too hard, too painful, too abusive, and you truly believe the outside world is evil and contagious…if you even know them or how to contact them, to think your distant & extended family are antagonistic & suppressive or criminals and addicts, to NOT have any idea you have legal rights, to have no idea the authorities could help you and that what was don’t to you was a crime…if only you trusted them enough to ask for help…if only you didn’t think that asking for help of admitting you were a victim was downtone and downstat…if only you didn’t feel like YOU were worthless and had abandoned the only people that could save mankind, the MOST ethical group on the planet…if only you had someone you could trust you could talk to who wouldn’t report you, who would understand your language and what you’d been through…if only your parents had loved you no matter what….if only you hadn’t been born into Scientology…if only you’d never been born….
That is what I am reminded of when reading this document … Lost & ruined children… and adults that truly believe they are doing the right thing all along…because LRH said so, so it must be true.”
Here’s that doc again.
Thank you for reading, and doing whatever you feel moved to do.