Fighting the abuses of Scientology is a long, upward battle. Secrecy, deflection, misdirection and outright lies are the very soul of Hubbard’s toxic creation.
Since Leah Remini’s award winning docuseries aired, the number of voices speaking the ugly truths about this cult have continued to increase. Brave, dedicated former members are setting aside their fears of revenge and persecution to expose the realities of life behind the razor topped walls.
Between the books, blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels and social media all dedicated to standing up for what’s right, what was once a whisper is slowly becoming an outraged roar.
Chrissie Bixler and her sister survivors are no longer being controlled or cowed, no longer accepting either blame or shame for what was done to them. Valerie Haney and others are breaking the chains of self doubt, manipulation and control with their courageous shouts of “No more!”
Remini’s groundbreaking show, Mark Bunker’s newly won seat on the City of Clearwater’s Council and slow but steady attention in the media all add to the positive sounds of change disrupting the veil of shadowy silence embraced by Scientology.
Caught up in the battle for an end to this cult of lies and deceit, it is easy to forget about the most silent, vulnerable of members however. Hard enough for the adults to find their voices and grab for a thread of hope to help free themselves. Leaving a cult behind is a lonely and difficult endeavor.
Children trapped in Scientology have no recourse, no voice and no hope.
All the words and works of L. Ron Hubbard are considered infallible sacred scripture and according to this scripture, children stand no chance for stability or emotional health from the word “go”.
Scientology is a cult of disconnection. Ultimately it destroys everything it claims to address and nowhere is this destruction more insidious than in the bonds of family.
Disconnection is not only a policy practiced against enemies, it is part and parcel of the familial routine. LRH was provably incapable of being either a parent or a spouse, yet he took it upon himself to instruct his followers in the raising of children. Hubbard’s HCO Bulletin of December 20, 1958 Processing A New Mother describes the procedure for the first precious moments after childbirth. “…the delivery itself should carry as little anesthetic as possible, be as calm and no-talk as possible and the baby should not be bathed or chilled but should be wrapped somewhat tightly in a warm blanket, very soft, and then left alone for a day or so.”
These first few moments between mother and baby are vital to the bonding process and later emotional health of the child. Depriving the pair of that first chance of connection is damaging enough to cause psychological harm. Secondarily, it also interferes with nursing, another incredibly important step in the solidifying of the maternal/child relationship. Research on the “attachment theory” showed that lacking a strong emotional connection early on majorly contributes to emotional and psychological problems later in life. With this instruction, Hubbard neatly and effectively lays the groundwork for a young person more easily influenced, controlled and manipulated.
Further adding to the damage, he states in the Scientology Handbook, “Breast feeding babies may have a nostalgic background, particularly to a Freudian oriented medico, but real breast milk again is usually a poor ration.”
In place of either breast milk or formula, Hubbard prescribes Barley Water formula which he made up much like all the rest of his so-called tech; 15 ounces of barley water, 10 ounces homogenized milk and 3 ounces of Karo syrup.
Along with leaving your newborn baby alone for the first “day or so” the parents are taught not to offer comfort to their children. Child Dianetics states “When a child is hurt, most people find themselves speaking comforting and consoling words almost before they know it. And what they say is usually what they have said a hundred times before when the child was hurt…Parents can help a child most by saying nothing…”
Staying silent in the face of a child’s tears is half of the equation with an Assist following for older children.
Scientology parents are encouraged to forgo all the important and necessary steps needed to foster emotionally healthy, stable children from the earliest stages of development. Sea Org children have the added trauma of being raised in the understanding that they are second fiddle to their parents work. These children are often on their own for much of their upbringing or left to the care of strangers who are just doing their jobs, not emotionally invested.
Most frightening of all however is the game of Russian Roulette that parents play with the health and welfare of their children in the form of the Purification Rundown.
Scientology’s Purif is dangerous, unfounded hokey that claims to release toxins and drug residue stored in the fat tissue of the body. Hours in a hot sauna, intense exercise in addition to massive doses of vitamins, minerals, cooking oil, niacin and Cal-Mag all combine to create a ticking time bomb for any adult that participates. Niacin alone produces potentially deadly side effects that the administrators of the regimen ascribe to the program working. Flushing of the skin, tingling, headache and itching, so says Scientology, are proof that harmful toxins are being flushed out of the body.
Children, seen as adults in small bodies, are put through the Purif in the same way as the grownups. Still made to spend the same long hours in the sauna, still forced to ingest the unregulated doses of niacin and other vitamins, the cooking oil and the Cal-Mag drink. If this regimen is dangerous for adults, how much more so for young, developing bodies and brains?
Metabolism is much different in children. Small bodies with lower weights and different needs will react to the incredible dosages of supplements in far more dangerous ways than in adults.
In pediatrics, niacin overdose would present with potentially deadly side effects including anaphylaxis, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, hypotension and liver dysfunction. Hypotension, when exacerbated by long hours in a sauna can lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Such symptoms are serious and would require emergency care due to electrolyte imbalance which can be deadly in children. Untrained, unlicensed people who administer the Purif to children are completely unable to provide the life saving treatment required in the case of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Having the suffering child drink water will not ease the situation, rather it will only make it worse.
What is so frightening about this situation is that there is absolutely no way to discover how many children may have been and are being stricken by this procedure. Scientology is notorious for their secrecy and lies when it comes to anything that might produce bad press. There is no way to know if or how many children may have died or at the very least ended up in hospital due to undergoing the Purif. In the name of keeping Scientology out of the mix, all a parent need do is advise a doctor that their child got overheated playing outside, or participating in sports. There are any number of convenient, plausible cover stories for a child’s dehydration/electrolyte imbalance. Thus there is no way care givers, law enforcement or child protective services can have the information needed to step in and protect children being purposefully placed in harm’s way.
There can be no doubt that the Purif is being done to children. Scientology parents on social media proudly post photos of their offspring holding certificates of completion of the program. Furthermore, the Mace Kingsley school in Clearwater, Fl offers the Purif as part of their curriculum.
Children in Scientology are in more trouble than people realize. They are the easiest to abuse and exploit because they cannot defend themselves. Religious belief is all well and good until people die. How many of these littlest victims have been lost or stricken with deadly symptoms and ended up in the Emergency Room?
Children being put through the Purification Rundown are at serious risk of injury or death. With no way to track and record the statistics stemming from this terrible program there is no way to address or mitigate the risks.
Potentially this could be Scientology’s most deadly secret of all.