DOX: How Scientology ensnares the unsuspecting in a series of binding contracts

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(Note: This article was originally published on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and is republished here for archival purposes)

How do good people get trapped in something like Scientology? One way is through the series of unconscionable legal contracts the Church of Scientology uses to strip its members of their civil and legal rights. As revealed in its own documents, Scientology is designed to ensnare its members legally, and as soon as practically possible. Contracts are the legal backbone of the “Prison of Belief.”

The public doesn’t know about this malicious series of Scientology contracts. New Scientologists are never informed, advised, or counseled in advance about the potential adverse legal consequences they could face as a result of signing these contracts. These contracts are one-sided and give the Church all of the power while taking away power from individual members.

The first thing a new Scientologist must do is watch an introductory video. Simply entitled “Orientation,” the film serves as the legal basis for the first contract all new Scientologists must sign. The essence of this contract is that a new member agrees that he or she considers Scientology to be a religion. This contract is called “Attestation of Religious Belief Regarding the Scientology Religious Film called Orientation.” Excerpt:

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We have seen recently in the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology how useful such a declaration can be. In that case, the Garcias never got a chance to have their claims of fraud heard before a jury because the judge felt it would infringe on Scientology’s religious rights. When the Garcias objected that they never granted that Scientology was a religion, Whittemore pointed to statements made by Luis in deposition which showed that he had, at one time, considered Scientology a religion. Statements like that matter, and Scientology knows it. So it wants a new member on the record — this is church, not self-help.

The second contract the new Scientologist must sign is called the “Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement, and General Release.” In this contract, one gives up the legal right to sue the Church of Scientology or to have a lawyer represent them in any dispute with Scientology. One also surrenders the right to a refund of any donations they have made to the organization.

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The third contract a new Scientologist signs is called Agreement Regarding Confidential Religious Files. In this particular contract a Scientologist forever signs away all their rights to ever read, inspect, review, or own their preclear folders. Excerpt:

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Although Scientologists pay the Church of Scientology hundreds of thousands dollars to go up the Bridge, no Scientologist may ever read, inspect, review, or own their preclear folders. The Church owns these folders forever. When a member leaves the Church and speaks out, OSA typically breaks the contract by culling a person’s preclear folders to look for dirt on that person in an attempt to shudder them into silence. Failing this, OSA uses materials from folders in its hate websites.

The fourth standard contract a Scientologist signs is called “Agreement and General Assistance Regarding Spiritual Assistance.” Shockingly, this is Scientology’s infamous “Kidnap Contract” which allows the Church to take any of its members and lock them up for an indefinite duration of time — and this without the kidnapped member having the benefit of any legal representation, legal hearing, medical evaluation, or medical intervention. All a Scientology “case supervisor” has to say is that a member has gone Type III. After this pronouncement, the member is bodily seized, locked up, and held against their will. This is exactly what happened to Lisa McPherson.

Lisa McPherson died while being held captive in Scientology’s Introspection Rundown. In the contract excerpt below, the Scientologist agrees to not sue the Church for any injuries or damage — and this release contemplates death — that might or could occur when one is being held as a religious prisoner in the Introspection Rundown. Excerpt:

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Scientologists must sign onerous contracts all the way up the Bridge to Total Freedom. For example, Scientology OT’s sign a contract wherein they agree to pay a $100,000 fine — falsely called a reimbursement — if they ever publicly disclose anything from the secret OT levels.

10. Parishioner acknowledges and agrees that the continuing harm to FSO, to all other churches of Scientology and affiliated organizations that would result from his/her breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement, including but not limited to Parishioner’s unauthorized use or disclosure, of all or in any part, of the Advanced Technology or the information, materials or works comprising it, would not be readily compensable monetarily and would hence constitute irreparable harm. Therefore, Parishioner hereby consents to the entry of temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against Parishioner should Parishioner breach or threaten to breach any of the terms of this Agreement, without requiring the enforcing party to post a bond or make any undertaking as a condition of such relief except to the extent an undertaking may, under applicable law, be required, in which event Parishioner recognizes that an undertaking of $10,000 shall be adequate to cover any economic interest (including Parishioner’s attorneys’ fees). In addition, Parishioner acknowledges and agrees that not only would it be extremely difficult to determine or calculate the actual monetary damages resulting from his/her breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement, but that FSO and/or its licensor will be required to incur significant legal fees and costs to protect and preserve the Advanced Technology, as it is scripturally and contractually bound to do. As such, Parishioner agrees to reimburse FSO and/or its licensor, for FSO’s or its licensor’s legal fees for each such breach by Parishioner. Further, Parishioner agrees to pay FSO and its licensor the total amount of $100,000 for each such breach by Parishioner.

As covered previously by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker, all Sea Org and Scientology staff members have been made to sign a new non-disparagement agreement that prevents them from speaking out if they ever leave. The contract screams this in caps that could have been written by David Miscavige himself:

3. I therefore agree that in exchange for the opportunity to serve on the Church’s staff and to receive the benefits available to all staff members, including the right to receive Scientology religious auditing and training to forward my own spiritual growth, I swear to forever use the full extent of my ability to uphold my obligations under this Religious Covenant of Non-Disparagement (“Non-Disparagement Covenant”). I will never do less. Accordingly, I PROMISE AND SWEAR NEVER TO SAY OR ENCOURAGE OR INDUCE OTHERS TO SAY OR WRITE ANYTHING NEGATIVE OR DISPARAGING ABOUT L. RON HUBBARD (“LRH”), THE CHURCH, CSI, RTC OR ANY OTHER CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OR THEIR STAFF, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS OR TRUSTEES, IN WHATEVER CAPACITY, OR ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES, MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES OF THE SCIENTOLOGY RELIGION. I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THIS NON-DISPARAGEMENT COVENANT APPLIES NOT JUST WHILE I AM SERVING ON THE CHURCH’S STAFF BUT ALSO IN PERPETUITY, SHOULD I EVER LEAVE STAFF.

The Scientology non-disparagement contract calls for an offending Sea Org or Staff member to pay the Church $25,000 in liquidated damages per breach:

B. In addition to anything else a court may require me to do for violating this Non-Disparagement Covenant, that I shall pay the Church $25,000 as liquidated damages (and not as a penalty) for each individual violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant and/or for each individual instance of causing, participating in, cooperating with or encouraging the publication or broadcast of information that results in a violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant. I understand that it is difficult to ascertain the exact extent of damage and harm a violation would cause the Church, but I acknowledge that $25,000 is fair and reasonable.

The Church of Scientology’s contracts serve to make “donations” nonrefundable, subject all disputes to internal binding arbitration, and act to protect the Church’s legal interests while obliterating the legal rights and protections of Scientologists. None of this is surprising coming as it does from a “Church” that was legally designed by lawyers to fend off lawsuits, discovery, and trials to the greatest degree possible.

21 comments

  1. I used to get unhealthily upset by the legal contracts I had to sign in the end of my Sea Org RPF life. I refused on one occassion and it set me into spouting profanities, I was sickened by the self incriminating wording of the docs that Kirsten Caetano brought me to sign one time. I made it clear I’d sign no MORE self incriminating nasty docs (I foolishly signed some inaccurate docs which Jeannie Gavigan Reynolds the in house Sea Org self educated lawyer who crafts those nasty legal tailor made docs that RPFers and baddie Sea Org members must sign to get allowed to leave, what absolutely brainwashing bullshit they are to me today).

    The first inkling of trouble, are the god damned legal pronouncement in the Hubbard books, in the bookflap, there is that lawyer statement which says that it’s all up to the member, to achieve, or not, the gains in the books of Hubbard’s.

    What a hell of a hoax, as HellofaHoax’s great name correctly says.

    The Spanish word I’d wear on my T Shirt in LA would be:

    Curandero-ology

    Spanish for

    Quack-ology

    That’s what Scientology is.

    Quack/Curandero-ology/ologio

  2. They are nothing but a cult with no supervision from our government and get away with horrible acts against people who try to leave the cult. They should be taxed heavily and held accountable for their atrocities

  3. Any mention of the command hypnosis that is so prevalent in Auditing sessions? Or of the highly trained money-grubbing Registrars primed and waiting for the raw meat to be presented to them, after an auditor verified the preclear had a bout of temporary euphoria brought on by the command hypnosis session that ended moments previously?

    The Scientology scam has been going on for a very long time. It really turned into a Ponzi scheme of sorts in the middle 60s, right about the time the Anderson Report ripped the organization so thoroughly that it was banned as best the government could do at that time. But Scn grew more, the years brought in the flower children seekers, later the children of that 70s group, originally so very willing to give up their selves for the promises of the Moonies, Guru Rajneesh, Jim Jones Temple – and Hubbard.

    Hopefully the Hungarian effort to blast Scn due to their refusal to abide by modern privacy laws will bring the cult down. I know the death knell of Scientology has been sounded many times, it started almost the day Dianetics hit the bookstores. But now they have assets worth billions of dollars, and could well be proof against almost any government intervention.

    They can always pull a Hubbard, and convert their assets to a new fleet of ships, and all the logistical support they would need to sail the last couple of thousand members around the seven seas. Eventually the group might get so small that infighting to get control of the remaining hundreds of millions of dollars in assets would be a truly major court battle, big enough to fatten up a whole generation of lawyers..

  4. I’m assuming that they usually pressure you to sign these contracts quickly, without reading them….because if I was getting ready to join a new church and they hit me with paperwork saying that I basically sign away all my rights as an independent human being, I’d be out of there faster than you can say “bridge to total slavery.” I can’t imagine that anyone who actually sat down and read these contracts in their enitrety would be eager to sign them…..unfortunately, a surprising amount of otherwise intelligent people seem perfectly willing to sign legally-binding paperwork without actually taking the time to read it and learn what they’re agreeing to. CoS provides a perfect example of why you should alwaysalwaysalways read (and understand) contracts thoroughly before signing them, no matter who is asking you to sign. And if the person asking you to sign is trying to rush you through reading it, or encourages you to sign without reading, be very worried. That’s a huge red flag. Anyone who knows their contract is truly fair and legitimate will WANT you to understand what you’re signing. People trying to fuck you over do NOT want you to know what you’re agreeing to, because they know their contract is fucking ridiculous, and that you probably won’t sign it if you know what it actually says.

  5. Our idiot government was paying so much attention to the Rajneeshee that they should have done to Scientology instead. The Rajneeshpuram were way more free than Scientology.

    The government could do another Waco and burn ppl alive.ANOTHER CULT that weren’t as bad as Scientology!

  6. There is not a contract to sign for watching public videos. higher-level services perhaps but not videos. The premise of this article is a bit inaccurate. Funny how anti-scientologists demand factual information from the parishioners, but cannot be bothered to cite source materials correctly.

    1. Rita, it’s funny how Scientologists claim to be super-literate but have no reading comprehension abilities whatsoever. Either that or Scientologists are simply lying.

      Suggest you re-read and M9 my article and then clay demo it. I wrote about one specific video called Orientation and cited one specific contract that is signed after one watches Orientation and wishes to proceed into the Scientology Cult.

      In your comment and said I was writing about “videos.” This is incorrect on your part. That you cannot distinguish between the singular and the plural, or that you are just lying, is not my problem. It is your problem. You are either lying or just illiterate. Of course, you could be both. I know of more than a few Scientologists who are both stupid and illiterate. One of them is named David Miscavige.

      1. Miscavige is not only stupid and illiterate, he is also uneducated in most things not having to do with motorcycles, Tom Cruise, scuba diving, or knowing the phone numbers of his lawyers. I’m sure his general level of ignorance causes him no end of anger, frustration, and perhaps even the occasional violent outburst.

        However, to call DM a Scientologist is stretching the truth a little. it’s like if a seventh-grader was suddenly elevated to Pope – there are some religious underpinnings that are flat out missing.

        If his case were reviewed by the ghost of Hubbard, DM would be overboarded, sent to the RPF, and likely Declared without delay.

        Just saying…

    2. Rita – Perhaps a lack of education, common to those who grew up in the Scientology, or some other deficit has limited your ability to comprehend simple English. “Dox: How Scientology Ensnares The Unsuspecting In A Series Of Binding Contracts” is the title of the article. The premise of the article is neither misleading, nor does it fail to cite source material correctly. All source material discussed is presented in full for your perusal, though somehow I doubt you have done so with any critical attempt at understanding.

      Rita wrote “There is not a contract to sign for watching public videos. higher-level services perhaps but not videos.” Although the author is not writing about videos, he would have little problem with agreeing with that statement. He also would agree there is no contract required for other pre-membership contacts with the Church.

      For example, a person could find a bunch of Hubbard books and tapes in a dumpster, as happens often, and/or get on the Internet and download most of Hubbard’s writings, even all the OT levels, or discover a batch of “Way to Happiness” dumped in a trash can. Some of the folks exposed to these materials might watch a video, or subject themselves to the repetitive scenes shown by Scientology TV deep in the channels of cable et al. They might even download much of Hubbard’s writing, including the full text of Dianetics and his HCO Bulletins, and obtain much other Scientology material – because most of it is easily located on the Internet, including all the OT levels in exact detail as presented to people who have attested to such levels. And to go deeper, they might get a group together to practice auditing, assign OT levels, and make hats for everyone in their group, establish Ethics handling, an RPF, buy a ship, build a fancy building with a fancy cross, even make a television station all their own – but one thing would be missing – they would not, and could not, be Scientologists, no matter how similar they made their group to the Church of Scientology.

      Why? Because these people who only found some COS materials had never signed the correct and original COS contracts discussed in this article. Signed in full, with witnesses. Signed away many rights, including the right to not be kidnapped by church members even after leaving the Church.

      To recap the theme of this article: To become a member of the Church of Scientology, one must agree to these exact and exacting documents, must agree to abrogate many human rights that one should take for granted should not be able to be taken away even under a contract (such as the kidnapping clause), and eventually sign all of the documents – all – without exception and without changes – with witnesses attesting in writing.

      Scientology, in its attempts to trap and ensnare the public, makes many statements that are on their very face unlikely, and actually read like the same science fiction which Hubbard sold for a penny a word. Their duplicity starts with the first exposure to the “Oxford Stress Test” or whatever they call it, a purely bogus test which always discovers a person’s “ruin” that only Scientology can correct, and initially at a small cost. It is to roll back any such promises made, intentionally or unintentionally, true or untrue, that the signatures are required before one can become a member of the Church of Scientology and legally be a Scientologist. There is no other route to COS membership today. If one wants to take a course in Scientology beyond the initial phony “stress test,” then those binding contracts limiting rights and denying rights will appear for signing without delay.

      I would guess you are some sort of Scientologist, with your attempt to slander the author. Your entire comment is something of a lie. First you say “There is not a contract to sign for watching public videos. higher-level services perhaps but not videos.” That’s fair enough, it’s true, and the author would agree with you. Next you say ” The premise of this article is a bit inaccurate.” but you fail to cite how or where it is “a bit inaccurate.” Do you think the article must begin with stating all the various means of exposure to Scientology that do not require contracts? One such might be walking down the street and getting ‘body routed’, or noticing a “Way to Happiness” pamphlets in a Scientology window, or inadvertently running across one to the many Scientology hate-sites that litter the Internet. None of those contacts with parts of Scientology require contracts, because none of them allow one to actually be a Scientologist. Only by signing the documents shown here, or similar ones should these be revised, can one become a Scientologist.

      So when you finish with “Funny how anti-scientologists demand factual information from the parishioners, but cannot be bothered to cite source materials correctly” you are really pissing in the wind. All the required source materials are cited – the exact contracts required to join the COS. In the usual and often silly manner of a Scientologist, the best argument you can come up with is “Funny how you can demand factual information ” when in fact factual information is presented, then say “cannot be bothered to cite source materials correctly ” when the source materials were cited, and correctly so.

      It is one of the shames of Scientology that they require the children under their control to perform manual labor when they should be in school getting a decent education. They think children are simply grown adults in small bodies, adults who have already lived many lives, so therefore do not need the care and nurturing and education that children actually need in the real world.

      I hope someday every single Scientologist will realize Hubbard was not only writing science fiction when he created Dianetics and Scientology, but he also was a fabulist who could not stop spinning tall tales for the rest of his life, no matter the situation. They might even come to understand that he suffered brain damage from a motorcycle accident, and it all went downhill from there, ending with the middle-school dropout David Miscavige trying to run things, with predictable results once he hired lawyers to run it for him. Today Scientology is a huge donation scam, well supported by a few wealthy lawyers whose main interest is to keep their huge fees coming, no matter who the COS harms.

      …p.s. to Rita – bless you and best wishes. I’m sure there is an intelligent person inside you, bursting to get out into the real world and show your talents.

      1. Well said, Mr Augustine. I assumed Rita was really speaking of videos (plural and generic), so my response is as you see it.

      2. Ammo Alamo, thank you for your very elegant and detailed response to Rita the Scientologist.

        Rita appears to have gone past words she did not understand. She obviously needs to redo her Student Hat.

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