Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Scientology and children

«These lockers were small, smelly holes, covered by grates where the chain for the anchor was stored.  I saw one boy held in there for 30 nights, crying and begging to be released.» — Affidavit of Tonja Burden (25 January 1980)
«Have you ever looked around you while walking around Los Angeles? Do you ever notice other kids your age, driving cars, shopping for clothes, enjoying a meal on a restaurant patio? ... Youth is a time of discovery. Parties with friends, a day at the beach, your first car, dating, and learning what the real world is all about. ... Have you ever been to the mountains or the desert? Or, is your time spent within the Scientology reality bubble?» — Barbara Graham, "To the Sea Org kids"

Australia Channel 7 (July 7, 2008): "Today tonight: Scientology child labor" Jenna Miscavige Hill, Kendra Wiseman, Astra Woodcraft: "Ex-Scientology Kids"
Ex-Scientology Kids is designed, owned, and operated by three young women who grew up in Scientology, and later left the Church. We feel that growing up in the Scientology environment is a unique experience that's almost impossible to comprehend unless you've lived it yourself. For what it's worth, we offer non-judgemental support for those who are still in Scientology, discussion and debate for those who've already left, and a plethora of easy-to-understand references for the curious. [...]
Child Care in Scientology
The MO said, of course, that what I was doing was a suppressive act, as indeed, it is per policy. I replied that what he was doing to those children was a suppressive act, and left. We went to ASHO to put in a rush PO. After waiting, I became concerned about [the son] and told his mother that I would pay for his medicine and that they could pay me later. Doctor Victoria Sammler diagnosed [son] as having Vincent's disease (a bacterial infection of the mouth), an eye infection and inflamed tonsils; also a vitamin B and C deficiency. She prescribed an antibiotic and eye drops.

To paraphrase what happened in the days that followed, the Guardian's Office terminals were called in because of my "threat". At first they were more anxious that I withdraw my threat than handling the children, but I think they realized that my true intention was to help. I maintained my position (the "threat" seemed to be the only leverage that would get anything done about the children) and visited the Child Care Org daily.

Robert Vaughn Young (1997): "Hubbard's Gulags: RPF's RPF"

Martin Hunt asked and called into question if there is an RPF's RPF in Scientology and if children are assigned to the RPF [Rehabilitation Project Force]. Yes on both counts. I was on the RPF for 16 months and while there were no children while I was there (the youngest was, I believe, about 16), I had spoken with others who had served with children and I even met one youngster (about 12) who had been on the children's RPF on the ship.

Affidavit of Tonja Burden (25 January 1980)

The Cadet Organization was designed to teach children about Scientology.  My duties were to care, clean and feed the children.  Myself and another girl my age were the two oldest children at the Cadet Organization.  The living conditions were squalid. Glass from broken windows lay strewn over the floors.  Live electrical wires were exposed in areas where young children played.  We received little food.  On several occasions spoiled milk with maggots was served to children.  The maggots were removed by hand before the milk was served.  In addition to caring for the children, I cleaned toilets daily.  I wrote to L. Ron Hubbard explaining the conditions, but nothing improved.
While on the Apollo, I observed numerous punishments meted out for many minor infractions or mistakes made in connection with Hubbard's very strict and bizarre policies.  On a number of occasions, I saw people placed in the 'chain lockers' of the boat on direct orders of Hubbard.  These lockers were small, smelly holes, covered by grates where the chain for the anchor was stored.  I saw one boy held in there for 30 nights, crying and begging to be released.  He was only allowed out to clean the bilges where the sewer and refuse of the ship collected.  I believe his 'crimes' were taking or using a musical instrument, I believe a flute, of someone else without permission.  I also saw a young boy and a young girl thrown in the chain lockers at separate times because of romantic involvements they had with other people.  Hubbard fanatically prohibited involvement between the sexes, or out-2D, as it is called in Scientology.  Married persons were allowed to see each other but it was strictly controlled.

Affidavit of Monica Pignotti (29 September 1989)

I also witnessed a fourteen year old boy being locked up in the chain locker of the ship, where he was made to spend the night. The chain locker is a small dark space where the chain to the anchor to the ship is stored when the ship is not at anchor. The boy was being put in the chain locker by three teen-age L. Ron Hubbard messengers. I witnessed this happening several times to people, even though I never experienced it myself.
German Documentary (1999): "Missing in Happy Valley" (dubbed in English, transcript at Rick A. Ross Institute)

Off-camera commentator: [...] Even children cannot escape these regulations. They are made tractable with psychological methods in their education into Sea Org members. Over and over again they are subjected to the same security questions:

Has someone ordered you not to tell us something?
Do you have a secret?
Have you ever taken something which does not belong to you?
Have you ever hurt yourself to cause others anxiety?
Have you ever not eaten in order to cause others anxiety?
Have you ever refused to carry out an order which someone has given who was justified in giving it? [...]

Dennis Erlich (1994): Kids Again

He didn't like it because it was a manipulative, suppressive environment of lies.  My complicity interposed a barrier of falseness between us and held it there for several years.  The group-think suggested other things for me to think, easy ways to avoid facing the obvious truth.  At the same time, I was trying to make it work with my wife who had become a gung-ho scientologist.  I was insufficiently "on purpose" (always), and getting my son on course was a response to those pressures.  While trying so earnestly and inadequately to be a legitimate group member, I did not want to understand what my son was experiencing.  It did not fit with what I wanted to believe.

St. Petersburg Times (Nov. 1991): "I still have nightmares" by Curtis Kruger

The Scientology school never assigned homework, she said.  "It was just understood that when we left school, we left it and went to work."  She described a typical schedule:

Sunday: From 8 in the morning until 10:30 at night.

Monday through Friday: From after school until 10:30 p.m.

Saturday: Noon to 10:30 p.m. one week, off the next.

That works out to about 50 hours of work a week, during school.  In the summer, Beth said she worked "fun time."  Other children worked similar hours, she said. "I never got a chance to just sit around."

Note: Beth was 11 year-old...

Yolanda Howell (1994): Child Abuse

Although I had said I was done with scientology, I was told I could never see my children again unless I came up with the money for auditing and my freeloaders debt.  I was also told that I would be declared (Suppressive) if I told anyone what they had done with my children.  The Acting ED said that he intended to lie and say I had blown the Sea Org so no one would listen to me, anyway.  They paid no attention to the harm they were doing to my children by abruptly depriving them of their mother.  I had been their major supporting parent since their births.

Affidavit of Anne Rosenblum (pre 1995)

If they had children, RPFers were allowed to see them during the meal time, plus one hour a week, if their stats were up.

Bent Corydon (1987): "Messiah or Madman?"

The four-year-old boy could no longer cry. He had been nearly 4 hours in the chain locker of the flagship Apollo and his entire body was aching from his efforts to chip off rust. His knees and hands were raw with cuts and bruises. His voice was raspy from crying, and he was desperately afraid. He was constantly making resolutions to never, never again eat the Commodore's telexes — the most recent crime of which he had been accused.

Affidavit of Stacy Brooks Young (22 March 1994)

23.  [...]  Children are being kept at camps, away from their parents for weeks at a time. Parents who ask to see their children more than this are frowned upon; children are considered "distractions" to production.  Mr. Jentzsch knows this: he and his wife Karen were coerced by David Miscavige into being divorced because Karen wanted Heber to spend more time with their son, Alexander.  Miscavige viewed Alexander as a distraction to Heber's production.

Scientology & Dianetics: Tax-exempt Child Abuse and Neglect?

Hana Eltringham: "He put this 4½ year old little boy - Derek Greene - into the chain locker for two days and two nights. It's a closed metal container, it's wet, it's full of water and seaweed, it smells bad. But Derek was sitting up, on the chain, in this place, on his own, in the dark, for two days and two nights... That is sheer, total brutality. That is child abuse."

Baden-Wurttemberg State Office for the Protection of the Constitution

7.4.2 Children in the SO

<Whole civilizations have changed because someone changed the children.> [106]

Parents subjecting their children to processes like "Child Dianetics" can prove to be extremely problematic. For instance, HUBBARD suggests that an "auditing" procedure be used on small children <like it would on animals>. [107] Children and young people can also be subjected to hours-long sauna sessions of the "Purification Rundown" that go on for weeks. According to HUBBARD, people can become immune from radioactive rays this way! [108] HUBBARD asserts:

<Radiation is apparently water soluble as well as rinsable to a very high degree. According to research, one must only direct a stream of water at the upper surfaces of a building or a street to wash the radiation away. This fact is well known to trained defense personnel. So when one does the Purification Rundown, one should meticulously see to it that one really sweats buckets.> [109]

A pediatrician noted the following after examining a 10-year-old girl:

"... Dorothea enthusiastically, almost zealously, told of her various course which she took at the Scientology Church every afternoon. In doing this she spoke of auditing, of a question-answer problem test and of the Purification Course, which involved daily sessions in the sauna of from 3 to 5 hours. Before the sauna session she was dispensed medication ('niacin') so that her body would be detoxified. During the sauna program there was a drink ('Kalmak' [English: CalMag. Ed.]) for more 'detoxification.' She described the objective of this treatment as a state of "clearness.' To the comment that such a long session in the sauna was strenuous, she related that on the day before she had to be carried out of the sauna; she said she was screaming and was not 'master over her body.' During this she saw herself 'from above,' like 'when one is dead.' She said she had been 'out of body.' The girl obviously perceived this as a great strain. Therefore I asked Dorthea why she hadn't given up this training program, and she answered, 'Papa has deposited so much money for me, and now I have to do it to the end.' My assessment is that a girl of such an age is in no way fit for this method either physically or mentally, and that continued exposure would have harmful influence upon her." [from German, source not specified. Ed.]

It must be suspected that children and young people of various ages are subjected to physical and mental suffering based on the SO's abstruse concepts.


106. L. Ron HUBBARD, paragraph <Techniques for Child Processing>, "Einfuehrungs- und Demonstrations-Prozesse und Assists," Copenhagen, 1987, p. 184.

107. L. Ron HUBBARD, paragraph <The casebook of the old master>, "Einfuehrungs- und Demonstrations-Prozesse und Assists," Copenhagen, 1987, p. 194.

108. L. Ron HUBBARD, HCO Bulletin <Purification Rundown and Atomic War> in "The Purification Rundown Series," Copenhagen, 1987

109. L. Ron HUBBARD, HCO Bulletin <Radiation and Liquids> in "The Purification Rundown Series," Copenhagen, 1987.

George Malko (1970): "Scientology: the Now Religion - Epilogue"

[Bernard Green] recounted some of the more grisly tales floating around throughout the movement's disenchanted members with a relish bordering on glee. The stories, none substantiated, are certainly terrifying: a seventy-two-year-old woman hurled down a flight of stairs by members of the Sea Org's Ethics Mission; two children, one five years old, the other four-and-a-half, put into chains on one of the Sea Org's ships; [...]

Mark Plummer (2001): "What does Scientology say about the raising of children?"

From Aides Order 203-71 of 28 August 1981:
"Also people forget that exact HCO PL [Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter] Ethics has to be kept in especially on children. They have to be hatted [indoctrinated into Scieno-think]. And that many need their own child MAAs [Master at Arms, or Ethics Officers], again hatted. Twice, true Suppressives, though only 5 [years old] in one case and about 6 [years old] in another absolutely ruined not only the other kids but also every effort to put it to rights and one org also! By sheer psychotic covert violence."

— L. Ron Hubbard, as quoted by Larry Price, Sea Org Evaluator, Approved by the Watchdog Committee for the Board Of Directors of the Church [sic] Of Scientology of California

Bob Penny (1991): "Social Control in Scientology"

I had left L.A. with reservations, after such experiences as observing unattended babies crawling on urine-soaked carpets (at a place called the Cadet Org), and hearing recruiters clearly advocate breaking promises to friends, families, and employers ("we can handle that").

Most unsettling of all, however, was my observation that being a Scientologist required becoming a master of facile justifications of such things. I saw that the group think was expected to justify anything.

Inside Edition (February 5, 2008): "Scientology's royal family"

Jenna Miscavige Hill: "Basically I stopped going to school when I was 16... well, when I was 12 I was only going to school once a week."

Les Trent: "Though she says reading and writing was an important part of her informal education, Jenna never earned even a high school diploma."

Channel 4 (UK, 1997): "Secret Lives - L. Ron Hubbard" @ XenuTV

"Secret Lives - L. Ron Hubbard" (hosted at XenuTV)

At sea the cruelty extended to children. On one occasion, [L. Ron] Hubbard was infuriated by a small boy who had unwittingly chewed a telex.
HANA ELTRINGHAM: "He put this 4½ year old little boy - Derek Greene - into the chain locker for two days and two nights. It's a closed metal container, it's wet, it's full of water and seaweed, it smells bad. But Derek was sitting up, on the chain, in this place, on his own, in the dark, for two days and two nights. He was not allowed to go to the potty. I mean he had to go in the chain locker on his own, soil himself. He was given food. And I never went near it, the chain locker while he was in there, but people heard him crying. That is sheer, total brutality. That is child abuse."

Affidavit of Tera Hattaway (12 April 2001)

21. In one of his tapes, he mentions just letting a baby or kid “cry it out” when upset.  Unfortunately, I saw a lot of this “crying it out” when the kids were dropped off at the facility or when they just needed someone to give them a hug. There was no sympathy given, as LRH described sympathy as “low toned”. There just were never enough grown-ups to go around to give these kids love, affection and the true nurturing that a child deserves and has a right to have.

22. As a matter of fact, it was considered “down stat” (very bad behavior) for the children to cry or be upset for what I knew and felt to be a reasonable emotion, given the circumstances, such as no parents to be there for their first words, or their first steps, or no hug or kiss for the little boo boos they get. No parent to show off to or to share a normal life with.  They didn’t even know what a normal life was.

Affidavit of Zoe Woodcraft (24 January 2001)

125.  Regarding medical treatment while I was in the Sea Org, I once fractured my foot when I was about 13.  My bone was fractured from my pinky bone to my ankle and I was in terrible pain.  I couldn't walk at all and stayed in bed late, but still had to get up and work.  The cadet coordinator checked me and told me I just had a sprain.  After about a week it was not better so I went to the MLO.  I waited all day and no one helped me.  They finally helped me toward the end of the day.  One of the MLOs took me to a nearby scientology chiropractor.

126.  I was told this chiropractor would take cheap x-rays.  She took them, saw the fracture and pointed it out to me and advised me to see a doctor.  I was never taken to a doctor.  To this day, my foot still hurts and aches when I run.

127.  While I was on the EPF, I was working a lot with acid.  I had no protective gloves and my skin became very dry and chapped and started peeling off.  Something also happened to my feet as they became sore and red, then crusty even on top.  They would crack and bleed and the bottoms were so sore I could hardly touch them.  I had to continue working until I begged to go to the MLO.  By this time, I could barely walk or move my fingers.

Declaration of Jonathan Caven-Atack (9 April 1995)

43. In 1968, Hubbard introduced the practice of "overboarding". A photograph of this practice was published in Scientology's magazine "The Auditor", issue 41, with the caption: "Students are thrown overboard for gross out tech and bequeathed to the deep!" [JCA-95]. Overboarding was used as a punishment for failure to comply exactly with Hubbard's orders. At about the same time, the tank punishment - where individuals were put into the bilge tanks and kept awake for 84 hours - and the chainlocker punishment - where individuals were put in the dark, cramped, waterlogged, rat-infested and filthy chainlocker. Witnesses have said that even children were put in the chainlocker at Hubbard's order.

Jeff Lee: "Church of Scientology protects child molester"

A Scientologist by the name of Donald Anthony Strawn, also known as Tony Strawn, was convicted in 1995 to thirty years in prison for sexually molesting two girls, ages 11 and 13. The children were in his custodial care at the time.

The reason that these documents are included in this Web site is because the Church of Scientology directed that the mother not report the incident to the proper authorities, because the church could "handle" Strawn's "aberration". This act is a federal crime in the United States of America.

Birgitta Dagnell (1997): "My story about scientology"

After a month I got permission to go home and see my children over the weekend. I called my elder daughter, she was 13, and told her that I should come home on Saturday. She became so very happy and should make a nice dinner to welcome me. We were both in tears of happiness when talking about it. When Saturday came, I was told that my permission was cancelled because they thought I shouldn't come back or tell people about what's going on in Denmark. Half of the day was spent trying to convince them that I had to go home to see my children, that they were expecting me and so on. Nothing what I said helped. It was no.

'Sara' (2006): "Childhood in the Sea Org"

I was taken out of public school while I was in the sixth grade. I got no further education. I joined the CMO when I was 12. I worked from 8:30 am to 11:00 pm, everyday of the week. I also had to participate in “all-hands” which meant working all night, then working the next day as well. I had very little free time. Occasionally I’d get half a day off on Sunday for “hygiene time” to do laundry and clean my room. Pay was about $5 to $20 a week. We were told we could have a day off once every other week if our stats were up. It was called “libs” for “liberty” (ironic, considering we had no freedom in the Sea Org). We used to joke around, as if we were quoting Patrick Henry, saying “Give me Liberty, or give me Hygiene time!”

Dennis Erlich (1991): "Scientology is child abuse"

Another of my children, who rebelled against the notion of scientology indoctrination, constantly felt like the outsider in the family. Because she didn't aspire to the same goals as the cult demanded, she was considered "out-ethics." This stigma, caused by her unwillingness to give up her natural tendency to question and be critical, created in her the self image of being inadequate and flawed.

She blamed herself for being "imperfect." Only now, years later, through counselling, is she realizing that faulting herself constantly for lack of perfection is unhealthy and came from the cult's indoctrination designed to control its members and keep them in line.

My youngest child nearly died shortly after birth because of scientology's distrust and unwillingness to get competent medical care for members. She spent the first several years of her life in a Sea Org nursery. I used to wonder why she would cry hysterically each morning when she was deposited in the facility.

Final Report to the Clearwater City Commission (1982)

Evidentiary Fact:

K. While the Church of Scientology has created the appearance of classroom instruction for the eyes of city officials, no actual education has been provided.

1. Child educated at Scientology school lacks fundamental instruction in Math (2-155) and English. (2-157)

2. Education is frowned upon in Scientology. (2-156)

3. Scientology staff members who instruct Scientology children do not have teaching degrees. (2-216, 217)

4. Scientologists are taught that formal education is harmful. (3-91, 125, 126, 171)

5. Children in Scientology play video games during the day and into the early morning hours and do not receive classroom instruction. (3-177, 178)

Evidentiary Fact:

L. The Church of Scientology has failed to provide safe and sanitary child care facilities in violation of basic human rights.

1. Children are permitted to wander about without proper supervision. (2-153)

2. Scientology children were hidden in closets to avoid City Health Inspectors. (2-218)

3. The Scientology nursery in Clearwater was over-crowded. (3-21, 22)

4. The Scientology nursery in Clearwater was adjacent to a parking garage. One child was run over and killed by a motorist. (4-14, 17)

5. Children confined to the nursery had rashes resulting from the unsanitary conditions and many had the flu. (4-32)

Affidavit of Astra Woodcraft (24 January 2001)

34.  There were a series of policies implemented by management while I worked in the Sea Org.  When I had been there for a few months, our Commanding Officer made a new rule that no one could leave the building without her permission. Then I was told that I was not allowed to see my dad and have dinner with him without a specific reason and special permission.  After about a year they told us that we were not allowed to eat anywhere but in the building nor were we to eat any food other than that provided.  We were not allowed to go next door for pizza or anything. After about 3 years, we were told that we could not use our Sunday morning laundry time for anything else either, i.e., seeing our family, parents seeing their kids, or anything.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (Apr. 1997): "Scientology: a young sect ex-member reports for the first time" by Michaela Haas

Apparently no work was too rigorous for children, some of whom were 14 years old. She received the promised amount of money for her work once or twice, other times she received nothing, "or only three to six pounds and as good as never got a day off. Because, in order to have a day off, you had to have somebody to replace you. And there simply wasn't anybody." Tanya raises serious accusations. She was not permitted to leave her post, not even when she had a fever. One time she was beat up by another Scientologist. "They didn't want to let me go to the doctor, until I told them I would not lift another finger at work." The doctor diagnosed a brain concussion and prescribed at least three days rest, "but I was not permitted to lie down. I was on post." Sometimes she was not relieved to go eat or to use the bathroom. "If I went anyway, there was trouble. They took it out on you. You were yelled at and humiliated. There is a rigid hierarchy at Saint Hill."

City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology - Day 4, LaVenda Van Schaick


— an infant is suppressive, simply because he cries?


Yeah. Or they're going through what's called a PTS; it's called Potential Trouble Source Restimulation. And the way they audit the process is that there — the child must have somebody suppressive — if it's not the parents, someone in the immediate area that is suppressive to the child. So, he is being restimulated. And so, those children were put into separate rooms and just left to cry. And the basis of it is — is that the children — the babies had to handle their own type of thing.

And the reason the parents were split is because it's nothing but work, work, work at the Fort Harrison, and the time that they saw their children was dinner break and that's it. And then, if they had liberty on Saturday. You're talking about working fifteen, twenty hours a day, and that's it. And there is no human relationship between the parents, basically. And then, they got separated and — the idea is to separate you from your family. And if you have children and you have that instinct — the children are little LRHs as someone previously said.

Russel Miller (1986): "The Bare-Faced Messiah Interviews - Kima Douglas"

The chain locker on the ship was large, lit during the day through the hole where the chain went through. There was a bucket for a toilet. I know children were put in there and kept overnight.

I saw him physically violent twice. He slapped a boy who answered him back and slapped him across the face with an open hand, and knocked him off his feet.

Russel Miller (1986): "The Bare-Faced Messiah Interviews - David Mayo"

They used to have people locked in the chain locker, including small children. It was very dangerous because if the anchor started to slip and start running out, it would turn a body into pulp in no time at all. I saw children locked up in the chain locker.

Daily Mirror (Oct. 2005): "Tom and Katie: Bringing Up Baby" by David Edwards

Teresa also says children are asked to spy on each other and subjected to laborious punishments. "It's called making amends," she explained. "My daughter was made to scrub poles, paint walls, report on her friends. I let her do all that."