If you have been a dedicated Scientologist, you may be thinking as you read this, that the decision to be made in such a situation is obvious, that even if you love your spouse very much, that to break the rules by reading someone’s negative data about Scientology is to risk your eternity and shouldn’t be done under any circumstances, even if that means you lose your spouse.
Here’s why I came to disagree with that idea and why I did decide to look at what Sindy had been researching:
First, in terms of “breaking the rules” by reading “bad stuff” on the Internet: The Church of Scientology is supposed to be run based on the writings of L Ron Hubbard, right? There is a policy in the current OEC Volume 0 on page 538, called HCO PL 13 January 1979 Orders, Illegal and Cross. Here is a quote from that policy:
“YOU CAN ONLY BE GIVEN A COURT OR COMM EVED FOR THINGS THAT VIOLATE POLICY.”
And of course the famous line from HCO PL 9 Feb 79R II How to Defeat Verbal Tech Checklist:
“1. If it isn’t written, it isn’t true.”
I couldn’t think of any written policy that forbade reading information from outside sources about the church.
Another policy that I thought of at that moment of needed decision was HCO PL 7 March 1965RA Offenses and Penalties, (the policy which lays out the specific offenses in the church) which states:
“These are the penalties we have always more or less used, and these are the offenses which have been usually considered offenses in Scientology.
“Formerly they were never written down or routinely enforced, there was no recourse, and these lacks made staff members uncertain of their fate. They knew something happened but not why. They knew certain things were frowned on but not how much or how little. The penalties were suddenly administered without warning as to what they would be or for what offense.
“This then is a code of discipline which we have almost always more or less used, made plain for everyone to see, with limits against over-punishment and recourse for those who are wronged.
“Accordingly, this code of offenses and their penalties becomes firm and expressed policy.
“Lack of specified offenses, penalties and recourse bring everyone to uncertainty and risk at the whim of those in command.”
If you read this whole policy and HCO PL 23 Dec 65RB Suppressive Acts – Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists, you will NOT find ANY errors, misdemeanors, crimes or High Crimes that say, “reading bad data about Scientology” or “reading people’s criticisms of Scientology” or “reading people’s criticisms of the church or its management” or even “reading false information about the church or Scientology”. It is not an offense to do so per policy. I double-checked these references just to see if I had a defense in case I would later “get in trouble” for reading the Internet about the church.
So why does current church management treat it like it is an offense? Why do you have to go to ethics for doing such things?
And come to think of it, aside from what LRH says, why wouldn’t it be okay to read “bad stuff”? Sure, when one believes in something, that doesn’t mean one should constantly bombard oneself with people’s negative opinions about it. And if one is winning in one’s auditing, one is not going to hinder those gains by reading a bunch of data that will mess that up. But, in my circumstance in question, this was a critical situation that called for more information and the good judgment of it.
Do I not have the ability to judge data for myself? Why would I need an authority to tell me whether something is true or something is not true? What if I did read something that was false and was only being written to enturbulate and cause someone to doubt Scientology? Does that mean that that person’s words would automatically act as an implant on me and make me robotically do something without my own ethical judgment? No, I was perfectly capable of observing what someone was saying, looking at evidence and making sensible judgments. To think otherwise would be to disparage myself, regardless of whether church authorities said it was okay or not, regardless if it supposedly risked my eternity.
Besides that, being dishonest with myself would be a greater risk to my eternity than someone’s arbitrary rules would ever be.
I decided that if I was going to lose my wife, I was not going to lose her over something that I knew nothing about or over any knowledge that I refused to get. I was going to look and find out what was being said that made Sindy decide to withdraw her support of the Church of Scientology.
In retrospect, I realized when all this was over, that our marriage was never in much danger at all. We are both sensible enough to see the truth. After taking in all the evidence and sorting through all the emotions, the decision was obvious. And if I would have seen flaws in the evidence that clearly proved Sindy’s decision to be faulty and not “the greatest good”, I would have been able to show this to her, and she would have been able to see it.
The only thing that had a chance of destroying our marriage would have been the unwillingness on the part of either of us to look at the truth.