Imagine an organization that promises to help you if you buy their services … and then demands you sign a contract that says all their promises are fiction so they won’t deliver anything that was promised and there is nothing you can do about it.
I’ve been wanting to write about the absurd Church of Scientology contract for some time but could not find a copy. I finally found one on Wikileaks. Someone in Australia uploaded a copy (thank you!). This is the standard Scientology contract used around the world.
As we analyze parts of this contract, you will see exactly why the Church of Scientology does not want this generally seen.
Every single Scientologist is required to sign this contract before every service — no exceptions. A long-time Scientologist may have signed hundreds of copies of this contract.
The contract is six pages of dense legalese. While the church doesn’t forbid a person from reading the whole contract before signing, few take the time. No Scientologist would dare show such distrust as to carefully read, question or (horrors!) reject anything in this contract. Few Scientologists know or even care that, in signing this contract, they are giving up all their legal rights.
One might wonder why a church needs every parishioner to be stripped of their rights and why the church itself explicitly absolved of all liability. Well, this is Scientology.
Let’s take a look at some of the more, let us say, “interesting” parts of this contract.
“The writings and recorded spoken words of LRH on the subjects of Scientology and Dianetics … are not a statement of claims by the Church, by any other Scientology church or organization, or by LRH.”Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 2.c. [FAIR USE]
The church demands that the parishioner agree that all of Hubbard’s books, writing and lectures were, according to the Church of Scientology, all fiction, speculation and imagination — and not real.
Next, no one in Scientology is claiming or promising anything about the benefits or results from any Scientology service. Any statements that sounded like claims of results or benefits were also pure fiction.
Neither the Church nor any other Scientology church or organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology religion makes any claim:Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 2.e. [fair use]
I. that the nature or purpose of Scientology, or of Dianetics, or of the writings and recorded spoken words of LRH, is contrary to what is stated in this Contract;
II. that the application of any Scientology or Dianetics technology or practice will have any particular effect…
III. that any particular result may be forthcoming from my participation … if any individual staff member of any Scientology church or organization makes any claims about the results which may be forthcoming from my participation in any Scientology Religious Service, any such claims are the personal opinions and beliefs of that staff member only, and are not claims made by the Church or any other Scientology church or organization.
It is ironic that, in this section of the contract, the Church of Scientology admits and confirms that it is all a lie. Everything from Hubbard on down is a lie. Scientologists and the Church of Scientology can and do make all sorts of fabulous claims about the benefits from Scientology to get someone in, to get someone to pay — but here, where it counts, all promises are revoked.
What if you are currently in mental or physical pain? What if that is specifically what you came into Scientology to handle?
Of course, the Registrar would tell you “Scientology can handle that!” but the contract says differently:
I know that I should not participate in any Scientology Religious Service if I have a physical or mental condition which might be aggravated or which might make my participation in the service uncomfortable or distressful to me, and I agree to accept and assume any and all known or unknown risks of injury, loss, or damage resulting from my choices and decisions in that regard.Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 4.e. [FAIR USE]
In signing this contract, you declare that you don’t have any such things. Sure Scientology can help you … as long as you don’t have any real problems.
What about Hubbard’s “Return of Donations” policy letter which requires the church to refund your money if you are not “completely satisfied”?
No Scientology church is under any duty or obligation whatsoever to return any portion of any religious donation I make. …Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 5.c. [FAIR USE]
Finally, what if the church doesn’t help you? What if the church causes you real damage? What if, instead of better, you get a lot worse? What if you find out they lied? What if they defraud you, steal your money? What if they lock you in a room and force you to pay more? Surely you can take them to court.
… I am forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing my right to sue, or otherwise seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy against the Church, all other Scientology churches, all other organizations which espouse, present, propagate or practice the Scientology religion, and all persons employed by any such entity both in their personal and any official or representational capacities, regardless of the nature of the dispute, claim or controversy.Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 6.c. [FAIR USE]
When you sign this, you give up every legal right you have against any abuse, crimes, fraud or damage to you by the Church of Scientology. You have no recourse no matter what they do. Is this even legal?
These sections are the tip of the iceberg in this six page monstrosity.
This contract is quite comprehensive. It cancels every single statement claiming any benefits or results from any Scientology service — including everything Hubbard claimed. It frees the church itself from any obligation to provide any benefit or any result to the Scientologist. It removes every single right a Scientologist has against the church if the church does anything wrong.
I’m sure no lawyer would allow a client to sign such a blanket abandonment of all legal rights in exchange for absolutely nothing.
But no Scientologist is allowed to take this contract away for advice. No Scientologist is allowed to have his/her own copy of the contract. No one is allowed to cross out or modify any part of the contract.
If anything demonstrates how much of a fraud the Church of Scientology is, this document is a prime example.
No one should sign such a horribly one-sided contract — but all Scientologists are required to do so.