Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fair Game - More about

Jim Gatos asked a couple of good questions about my post, Answer to Comment on Fair Game. I answered the questions there, but I thought they are of general interest so I am also posting the questions and answers as a blog article:

Jim Said:
I can sympathize with how you must have felt, but may I ask;

1. Can you give us any clue as to what your offense was? If you'd rather not mention it that's fine, you and I and everyone has their right to privacy. Maybe you could tell us the type or catagory of offense you had, if you want to...

2. You must have felt upset about the "suppressive person" label. Logic would dictate that some folks would take the steps to get that label removed, and others would be quite upset and never admit they were wrong (if they were, in fact, wrong..).. How did you handle it?

PS.. I think EVERY religion has a "code of conduct"..., so I am not being negative at all, and I don't want anyone to think that...

My Answer

Excellent questions.

On #1, well ... I'd rather not go into details - don't want to embarrass myself any more than I already have :) Let's just say I was young and my solution to a problem was to run away from it rather than handle the mess I'd created. I think the category would be behavior that caused damage to the Church I was working at. Is it okay if I leave it at that?

On #2, strangely enough I was not upset about the "Suppressive Person" label. I had studied Scientology Ethics and I understood what it meant, that it wasn't a permanent label and I knew what to do about it. I also felt it was deserved. So, whilst I wasn't exactly over the moon about it, I wasn't upset.

The steps to handle a Suppressive Person declare are pretty simple. The detailed description takes a long page of a policy letter, so I'll give you the Reader's Digest version: stop doing bad stuff, publicly announce that you realize what you did wasn't good and what may have influenced you to act that way, pay off any debts you may have to Scientology churches, do some project to make up for what you did (the project must be clearly of benefit to mankind and can't involve Scientology) then start doing Scientology training starting at the lowest level.

That's all you have to do.

By the way, the things that can get you declared a "suppressive person" are called "suppressive acts" and they are listed in the book "Introduction To Scientology Ethics." So it's not like you get labeled just because someone gets pissed off at you or doesn't like you. You have to actually do stuff such as: Any felony (murder, arson, etc.), blackmail, using the mailing lists of Scientology organizations for personal profit or gain and there are quite a lot that are specifically concerned with the correct delivery of Scientology services and the spiritual technology of Scientology.

I guess people who read about "SP" on the Internet are not told that although the definition of Suppressive Person lists particular attributes of behavior, you only get officially labeled as a "SP" if you actually do something bad. Which is pretty much like it is in any group - you have to do something.

You also get a lot of chances to handle the situation. There is a thing called the "Ethics Gradient" which lists the steps that are taken to try and help a person handle his situation. The last step is #36 and that is "Expulsion from Scientology" which means you are expelled and declared a SP. And every expulsion has to go through several levels of the church before it is approved. So no one gets declared on a whim or without a lot of oversight and review.

And finally, Here is a quote from the policy letter written by L. Ron Hubbard that says how to handle a suppressive person:

"Civil court actions against SPs to effect collection of monies owed may be resorted to, as they are not entitled to Scientology ethics procedures."

That is all "Fair Game" every meant before it was canceled 40 years ago. Someone who had been expelled was not entitled to the protection of Scientology Ethics procedures. Nothing more and nothing less.

Well, I hope that answers it for you.


Jeffrey said...

I understand you not wanting to give details about the events, but they must have been quite amazing considering they had to go through 36 steps before expelling you. Have you resolved this 'issue' within yourself, or is it still something that secretly gnaws at your psyche?

Grahame said...

Thanks for your comment Jeffrey

As I said in the article, I screwed up and then ran away without handling it. This made it hard to go through all 36 steps because I wasn't there. I was given the chance to come back and handle but I chose not to, so I didn't give the guys much choice in getting to step #36. I managed to "fast track" it :)

Also as I mentioned in the article, one of the steps to get back in good standing with the Church is to "do some project to make up for what you did". If you make up for what you did then you have "resolved this issue within yourself" and it does not "secretly gnaw at your psyche".

One of the big differences between Scientology Justice procedures and regular civil justice is that the Scientology Justice System is designed to protect the group and then rehabilitate the individual. Sadly the civil justice system is simply designed to protect the group by locking the offender away. If you were to let a criminal make up the damage he had done (as was practiced in Ancient Ireland) and then let him back into society you'd see a much lower rate of recidivism.