Rehabilitation Project Force

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Rehabilitation Project Force
RPF Los Angeles.jpg
RPF Members in Los Angeles
Formation January 1974
Type Rehabilitation for Scientology
Legal status Non-profit
Headquarters Riverside County, California, USA
Chairman of Religious Technology Center David Miscavige
Website Scientology.org/

The Rehabilitation Project Force, or RPF, is a controversial program set up by the Church of Scientology Sea Organization, intended to rehabilitate members of the Sea Organization (not everyday parishioners) who have not lived up to the Church expectations or have violated certain policies. As part of this program, and in addition to the application of Scientology procedures, members do manual labor tasks around Sea Org bases. There have been some reports of overwork and mistreatment at RPF facilities,[1] and the program can take years to complete.[2][3][4]

Development[edit]

The Rehabilitation Project Force developed out of a predecessor group, the Mud Box Brigade, aboard L. Ron Hubbard's private fleet in the late 1960s. The mud box is a small perforated screening box fitted to the suction pipe in the bilge of a ship, and is designed to catch larger solid waste before it can choke the pipeline and potentially damage the pump. The Mud Box Brigade was assigned to clean out the mud box as well as fuel lines, water hues, bilges and so on.[5] As this involved cleaning foul-smelling waste by hand, it was understandably not a popular task.

Hubbard defined the role as being essentially a punishment duty for unsatisfactory workers: "More candidates will be appointed regularly and promptly every time I find a freeloader who is loafing on post and drifting with the wind."[5] "This group is the most downstat [unproductive] and one gets assigned to it by being a freeloader, invisible on post, loafing and really goofing up on one's job."[6] J. Gordon Melton, however, suggested that "Hubbard understood it in terms of making retribution to the people who had been harmed by the nonperformance or incorrect performance of one's assigned tasks."[7]

In 1969 Hubbard replaced the Mud Box Brigade with the Rehabilitation Unit, again intended for those removed or disciplined "as ineffective or trouble." Following an evaluation, the individual was to receive a set of "specific recommendations which if followed will rehabilitate the individual as a highly effective and worthwhile Sea Org member." Hubbard instructed that "The unit is [to be] worked hard during the day on a rigorous schedule on jobs assigned by the Review Chief handling corrective areas and jobs needing remedy and repair. The Unit itself is thus made into an effective ship's review team. It works on a one job, one time, one place formula completing each job before moving into the next. Each individual thus earns the right to the remedial services he or she will receive."[8]

Finally, the Rehabilitation Unit was replaced in January 1974 with the Rehabilitation Project Force or RPF. According to Hubbard, "the RPF has been created by the Commodore [Hubbard] so that redemption can occur. That is basically its only purpose." He identified four categories of people who were to be assigned to the RPF: "rockslammers" (people deemed to have hidden evil intentions, as detected by the E-meter); people who were unproductive and scored poorly on the Oxford Capacity Analysis personality test; "repeated stat crashers", people who were held responsible for declines in Scientology organizations' productivity; and "overt product makers", people who produced poor-quality work. As before, the unit was to work on "one job, one place, one time." A five-hour study period was to be implemented each day to improve the individuals' knowledge of Scientology.[9] According to David G. Bromley and Douglas E. Cowan, the RPF involves a daily regimen of five hours of auditing or studying, eight hours of work, often physical labor, such as building renovation, and at least seven hours of sleep.[10]

The RPF was originally intended to last no more than a couple of months, where the assignee would learn Scientology auditing, if he or she was not already an auditor by the "read it, drill it, do it" method. RPF members would then co-audit each other to better themselves and make each other more ethical and productive.[1]

Controversy[edit]

Critics of Scientology, including former Scientologists, have compared the RPF with the gulag system of the Soviet Union.[11] Leaving the Sea Org, even from the RPF, results in what Scientology calls "freeloader debt" or a "freeloader's bill": retroactive billing for any auditing received or any Scientology training received while in the Sea Org, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars. This "freeloader debt" is however not legally binding and no one actually needs to pay anything.[12] However, many former Scientologists have reported that they felt trapped by the "freeloader debt" policy.[13]

In his book The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology, ex-Scientologist John Duignan describes RPF members living in a rat-infested basement, engaging in degrading jobs for years at a stretch, while denied visits with spouses or children.[14]

Douglas E. Cowan and David G. Bromley state that various scholars and observers have come to radically different conclusions about the RPF and whether it is "voluntary or coercive, therapeutic or punitive".[10]

Castile Canyon School[edit]

One location, known as the Castile Canyon School or "Happy Valley", has been identified as a former RPF facility.[15] It was located east of San Jacinto, California, near the reservation of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians,[15] which is southeast of Gold Base. This site was sold by the church in 2002 to the Soboba Band who turned it into a resort.[16]

Motto[edit]

The RPF is what you make it.
The RPF is where you make it.[17]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Janet Reitman (2006). "Inside Scientology". Rolling Stone. 
  2. ^ Robert Vaughn Young (1994-03-09). "Declaration in the case Church of Scientology International v. Steven Fishman and Uwe Geertz". Retrieved 2007-02-09. "assigned Reynolds to the gulag known as the Rehabilitation Project Force where he worked at hard labor for over two years." 
  3. ^ The Church of Scientology’s Rehabilitation Project Force, CESNUR, We have found that it is an intensive programme of study, spiritual counselling and physical work that can take anywhere between one and a few years.
  4. ^ Pierre Collignon (2001). "Inside RPF Denmark (IV): An Offer from Scientology (convenience link, unofficial translation)". Jyllands-Posten. 
  5. ^ a b Hubbard, OODs of 4 January 1968, cited in Modern Management Technology Defined, 1975
  6. ^ Hubbard, "Mud Box Brigade", Flag Order 1701 of 5 January 1969
  7. ^ RPF - A Sociological Study, by J. Gordon Melton
  8. ^ Hubbard, "Rehabilitation Unit", Flag Order 1848 of 3 March 1969
  9. ^ Hubbard, "Rehabilitation Project Force", Flag Order 3434 of 7 January 1974
  10. ^ a b Gallagher, Eugene V.; Ashcraft, W. Michael (eds.) (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America (Vol. 5). Westport CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-275-98712-4. , p. 181
  11. ^ Dr. Stephen A. Kent (1997-11-07). "Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Force (RPF)". Retrieved 2008-08-16. [dead link]
  12. ^ Kent, Stephen A. (September 2003). "Scientology and the European Human Rights Debate: A Reply to Leisa Goodman, J. Gordon Melton, and the European Rehabilitation Project Force Study". Marburg Journal of Religion 8 (1). Retrieved 2006-08-15. 
  13. ^ Sappell, Joel; Welkos, Robert W. (1990-06-26). "Defectors Recount Lives of Hard Work, Punishment". Los Angeles Times. p. A1:1. Retrieved 2006-08-15.  Additional convenience link at [1].
  14. ^ Duignan, John; Nicola Tallant (October 7, 2008). The Complex: An Insider Exposes the Covert World of the Church of Scientology. Dublin, Ireland: Merlin Publishing. ISBN 978-1-903582-84-8. 
  15. ^ a b "Thurston, Susan (31 January 1999) "Bitter partings; Some former Scientologists say life at the church's Gilman Hot Springs complex resembles a slave labor camp. Church officials say its enemies are out to destroy the organizations" The Press Enterprise of Riverside, California, p. A-1, 31 January 1999
  16. ^ Fetbrandt, Steve (30 July 2006) "Soboba Band: Tribal Chairman Invests in Semi-pro Football Team; Game Plan; Part-owner Wants Players To Be Role Models, Draw Youths" The Press Enterprise of Riverside, California, p. B-1, 30 July 2006
  17. ^ The Rehabilitation Project Force, Flag Order 3434RB, 30 May 1977

External links[edit]