(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:
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.
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:
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:
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.