As you read this, somewhere in America hundreds, perhaps thousands, of our fellow citizens are packed into private prisons.
These prisoners are packed thirty and forty into rooms made for far fewer. They are fed from slop buckets, leftovers from their jailers. They eat without utensils.
Some have been in these prisons for years. They have been placed there without trial, some without really knowing why they are there.
They are not allowed visitors. Their families usually don’t know where they are, though some family members are in fact their jailers.
They often do what amounts to slave labor for their masters. Their overall master is a man named David Miscavige, who happens to be best friends with Tom Cruise. Insofar as Tom Cruise says he is the number-three person in Scientology – after the late L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology CEO Miscavige – Cruise, too, could be considered their jailer.
Welcome to the darkest side of Scientology – “darkest” because in Scientology there is nothing but darkness of varying degrees.
These claims beggar belief. How could private prisons exist and we not know about them? These and other horror stories are told by Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright in Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief just out from Knopf.
You may wonder, are these simply metaphorical prisons? Scientology is certainly that, but the prisons described above are actual prisons. Why don’t the cops simply bust them down? For a whole host of reasons, chief among them is that the IRS recognizes Scientology as a religion and, therefore, it is protected by religious freedom. Protection came after a two-decade legal battle during which Scientology went after the IRS and IRS personnel, who finally gave in. That story alone would warrant a whole book.
The second and even more frightening reason the prisons are not shut is that the people in them, the prisoners, are largely content to be there. They recognize their crimes and are eager to get back in the good graces of their masters. They feel they deserve imprisonment and don’t complain about it.
Scientology was founded by a charming madman named L. Ron Hubbard who was, according to Wright, a drug abuser, wife-beater, dabbler in Satanism, bigamist, and conman.
Hubbard worked hard for years to make a name for himself as an adventurer and a writer of pulp fiction, including science fiction. Unable to make a living as a writer, he published the now well-known Dianetics: the Modern Science of Mental Health. It was in part Hubbard’s stab at destroying and replacing psychiatry, which for various reasons he had come to loathe. But it held the seeds for what became Scientology.
Thetan operator: Cruise with Oprah
According to one account, Scientology teaches, “that we are all trapped in this universe; that we used to be ‘free’ and powerful but we have gone down a ‘dwindling spiral’ of degradation, life after life, eventually, after trillions of years, becoming powerless and mired in suffering; that L. Ron Hubbard developed the only road out of this trap back to ‘real freedom’ and power; that the Church of Scientology is the only valid source of this technology; and that we will only get this one chance to make it out.”
We became trapped because 75 million years ago, “a tyrannical overlord named Xenu ruled the [Galactic] Confederacy.” Xenu had been chosen by a Praetorian Guard called the Loyal Officers, who turned on him: “Xenu and a few evil conspirators – mainly psychiatrists – fed false information to the population to draw them into centers where Xenu’s troops could destroy them.”
These beings – called Thetans – were killed and packed into space planes resembling DC-8’s and sent to Teegeeack, now called Earth, where they were placed in volcanoes and blown up with hydrogen bombs. Being immortal, the Thetans “became trapped in an electronic ribbon and placed in front of a ‘three-D, super colossal motion picture’ for thirty-six days, during which time they were subjected to images called R6 implants.”
These Body Thetans are in all of us and the goal is to get “clear” of them and become Operating Thetans by walking along the “Bridge to Total Freedom,” which Scientology alone possesses. And the only way to get “clear” is through Scientology “technology” that costs hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars to access. But this is the only way to salvation.
Most Scientologists don’t know this crazy theology. It is reserved for those who have achieved Operating Thetan III status. Tom Cruise – an ex-Catholic, as are 25 percent of all Scientologists – is OT VII.
Back to the prisons. They are reserved for those who join the Scientology “priesthood” called the Sea Org. When you join the Sea Org, sometimes as young as 14, you sign a billion-year contract and agree to slave away seven days a week, fifteen hours a day for pocket change. You also separate from any family member not in Scientology.
In the Sea Org, you are watched constantly and any deviation from largely arbitrary rules can land you in hot water. You live in fear of being “declared” a “suppressive person,” which is the equivalent of being cast into hell for this and all future lifetimes. If you are found guilty of an infraction you happily agree to “Rehabilitation Project Force,” i.e., prison. You sign a waiver and other legal papers saying you are doing it freely. You could be inside this prison for years.
It is possible that tomorrow on a street corner in your town, or on the campus where your daughter goes to school, she will be approached by a well-scrubbed happy girl and boy who will offer to show her a short film on how to reduce stress and get better grades. And if she strains to hear, the sound in the background will be the eager cackling and scratching of Satan and all his demons.