"Los Desaparecidos" of Scientology
30 Mar 2001
If I were to cut to the chase about scientology, and try to explain why I think it is need of reform, I would put aside the sci-fi aspects and the cases of financial rip-off. For me, from bitter personal experience, the damage done by this church goes right back to the fundamental reaction people sometimes have when you first mention Scientology to them, "don't they break, up families?" Sadly, that first response is the correct one, "yes they Do." Scientology has its own "Los Desaparecidos". The disapeared ones it creates with its policies of disconnection.
The question I ask, is does the church realize fully the pain and cruelty they inflict with this unusual policy? You have read about the Woodcrafts recently on ARS. I am a single father and I have my two daughters Astra and Zoe and my grandaughter Kate living with me. They now have no contact with their mother, Lesley, grandmother Daphne Farrow, or their brother Matthew, who are all Sea Org members. My two daughters are both very good girls, as of course any parent would say They did enjoy loving relationships with these family members until they fell foul of official Church policies. After telling the traumatic stories of their experiences in the Sea organization (paramilitary branch of the Church of Scientology) to the San Francisco Chronicle, these three family members: Lesley, Daphne and Matthew refuse any further contact with Astra and Zoe. This is clearly following the written policies of Hubbard, that anyone who speaks to the press in a critical about Scientology, is an absolute enemy.
The fact is, Astra and Zoe felt complelled to tell their story, not in a destructive way, but as a warning to others, and in an attempt to force reform on Scientology. It is very painful for me to see two young girls who have lost total contact with their mother. She won't return calls, not a Christmas card, nothing. I wonder about how long this state will last. What if one of my daughters has an accident or an illness, what will their mother do? Their grandmother is approaching 80 years old, will they even be notified when she dies?
From the viewpoint of my ex-wife Lesley, I am absolutely sure that she is going through mental anquish having no contact with her two daughters and her only grandaughter. She must miss them, and yet there is no foreseeable resolution in sight, as Sea Org. members must follow the policies of Hubbard and remain disconected from anyone who is perceived as having attacked scientology. Now, my daughters would not necessarily try to persuade their mother to leave the Sea Org., or unload their opinions of Scientology on her. They would just like to say "Hi mom, how are you?" once in a while. I do not think the executives of Scientology realize the agony they put people through with this policy. I beg them to consider reform and I think they would be held in much higher regard by the public if they did.
I can of several scenarios where families have been split up, and this is perceived by the public as constituting mental cruelty. (And of course by Human rights advocates such as Amnesty Intertnational). I think of East and West Germany before the collapse of Communism where families would be split by a border of barbed wire and land mines. Also there is North and South Korea, and only recently, families were reunited for a short period, only to be split up and returned back to the North and South. I also think of Argentina in the eighties, when you had the instance of "Los Desaparecidos" (the disapeared ones). Families would endure years of agony over the disapearance of their loved ones, and probably never heard what fate ultimately awaited them.
My point is, most religions cherish and wish to strenghten the concept of family. For a religion to actually dismantle a family is unthinkable. I know other friends who are in a similar situation. A man, who's name I won't mention, who has no contact with his 19 year old son. You should see the look of pain on his face when the subject is broached. Many Scientologist are terrified of this policy, and keep quiet about their critcisms and their questions, because they know that at the drop of a hat, they will no longer be able to speak to their brother or mother or friend.
So Scientology, I ask you this: respect people's 1st amendment rights and listen to them. Realize that other large organizations are criticised and that they are able to reform and may end up better for it. Other organization that have split up families have been harsh and cruel military dictatorships. They have enjoyed a reign of terror for a few years and have invariably perished. And finally, let my daughters speak to their mother.
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