By Pierre Collignon more
14 January 2001
Inside RPF Denmark: Franz the Happy
Inside RPF Denmark(II): Susanne's
Inside RPF Denmark (III): Cult
accused of brainwashing
Inside RPF Denmark (IV): An Offer
[unofficial translation by
Jens Tingleff, original
He was in the hard conditions of the
RPF for a year and a
half—and he says that it's the best thing that ever happened to
It has been two years since he was faced with an ultimatum by
Scientology. Franz Stoeckl was told that he had to chose between
being cleansed through the RPF programme—or leaving the Sea
Organisation, the elite corps of Scientology, of which he had
been a member since 1980.
He didn't have to think twice. "I contribute to bettering
mankind every day, here. What would I go out and do instead?
Sell cars? Of course I wanted to stay in the Sea Organisation,"
says the 47 years old German scientologist.
Franz Stoeckl was at the time-logistics and personnel manager
of the European headquarters of Scientology in Copenhagen. His
work-results had been deteriorating for a long time, he was
constantly in conflict with his colleagues, and there was
trouble in his private life. Franz was seriously considering
leaving his wife.
Because of so-called "knowledge reports" from colleagues who
complained about his behaviour, Franz Stoeckl faced the internal
tribunal of Scientology, and when it didn't solve the problems,
he finally got the offer to enter the RPF. This was his
salvation, according to Franz Stoeckl himself.
From July 1998 to the 24th of December 1999 Franz Stoeckl
lived as one of the marked inside Scientology. He was the lowest
in the hierarchy and every time he was addressed he had to reply
with a loud and clear "Aye Sir!"
But Franz Stoeckl didn't mind. "No one looked down on me. On
the contrary, I was respected because everyone could see that I
were dealing with my problems," he says.
He lived initially in Scientology's hotel Nordland on
Vesterbro in Copenhagen, where 18 RPFers were assembled. They
had to keep to themselves and eat before the others in the
canteen, but it was difficult to maintain complete separation.
The building normally housed at least 250 people, and even if
the RPFers had separate dormitories on the fourth floor, they
couldn't avoid running into ordinary members of Scientology in
the narrow corridors and staircases of the hotel. Franz really
didn't feel isolated.
"I was first and foremost a part of the RPF group, where we
had a close companionship, but we were also constantly
surrounded by other people," he says.
Work consisted of painting and flooring. It gave him great
pleasure and confidence, says Franz Stoeckl, because he
immediately could see the result of his efforts.
The source of the problems
After five months, Franz Stoeckl was transferred to
Scientology's centre in Los Angeles, USA, where approximately
150 people were on the RPF. Here, he mainly carried out
gardening work, and the programme also included reading and
"auditing" - a practice where Scientologists help each other to
work on their personal and spiritual problems.
"We had to find the source of our problems to liberate
ourselves from the sins of the past. It corresponds to
confession, but the technology is more advanced than at a
confession in the Catholic Church. Here the priest simply says
'Remember your sins, say a prayer' - and then you're forgiven.
You make the sign of the cross, and everything is forgotten.
People like it, because it's so easy, but it doesn't work.
People do continue to commit their sins," says Franz Stoeckl.
The RPF, on the other hand, is very effective, he thinks.
"Let's say you're a marketing manager for Marlboro and spend
several tens of millions of dollars without increasing sales.
Then, you'll probably be fired. We have a technology in
Scientology which gives a double reward. The employee is helped
to handle his problems, and instead of firing the man, the
company regains a valuable member of staff."
To Franz Stoeckl, the most important part of the RPF is that
he was allowed to go through the "false purpose rundown"
programme, where you clear up "false purposes" from earlier
lives, which are said to have a detrimental effect on this life.
It is a programme that normally costs several thousand dollars.
"In the RPF you get it for free. This shows that the church
invests in us," says Franz. He finished the RPF on Christmas Eve
last year, when he had fulfilled all the requirements of the
programme, and he has felt like a better person since.
"The destructive barriers, which previously distorted my
behaviour, are all gone now. I do better at work, I find more
solutions than problems, and I'm getting on better with my
closest companions. I now have more genuine feelings for them,"
says Franz Stoeckl.
Today he is back in his old position in Scientology in
Copenhagen, and he is together with his wife again. Franz
doesn't feel that it was a great sacrifice specifically to be
without his wife during the 18 months he was in the RPF. As a
member of the Sea Organisation he is used to live with
"In any big corporation you go on business trips to different
parts of the world. If I'm going on a mission to Japan, I have
to go, and I can't bring my wife. It's part of the game," he