From the official Scientology web site:
What is “Disconnection?”
If an individual attempting to improve his life through Scientology is encountering persistent opposition from a close associate, his spiritual advancement is impeded.
In the vast majority of cases, the antagonism is rooted in false information about Scientology and providing the true data ends the matter. As a last resort, when all attempts to sort out such situations have failed, the Scientologist may decide to disconnect from the person until the antagonism ceases.
A person who disconnects is simply exercising his right to communicate or not to communicate with a particular person. This is one of the most fundamental rights of man. Members of other religions have exercised it down the ages when confronted by those who persistently opposed the practice of their faiths. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Amish practice “shunning”—a form of disconnection—and their right to do so has been upheld by courts across the country. Certain Orthodox Jewish congregations practice an extreme form of disconnection in which a mock funeral is held for apostate members. Disconnection in Scientology is neither new nor strange in the annals of religion.
Gee! They make it sound so “reasonable” don’t they? It is “neither new nor strange”? Well, it may not necessarily be “new”, but it certainly is strange.
Tell me, at what point does someone say “Shunning? Wow, that’s a great idea! Let’s do that!” At what point did shunning become something desirable for a group to do? What kind of church takes that as a policy to emulate? Guys, just because you found a similar practice somewhere else does not make it, like, a good idea!
“As a last resort, when all attempts to sort out such situations have failed, the Scientologist may decide to disconnect from the person until the antagonism ceases.”
“The person who disconnects is simply exercising his right to communicate or not to communicate with a particular person.”
You see how the Church of Scientology positions it? It isn’t the church that is doing this, it is the person himself, voluntarily deciding to disconnect.
Um… no. It doesn’t happen like that. Not nearly.
Here is a first-person story, a story that is all too common:
I have this very close friend, Jack. I’d mostly lost contact with Jack for a number of years. While we still wanted to stay in close contact, he couldn’t. He worked at the “secret” Scientology compound in Hemet, California, and was carefully discouraged from any contacts outside of the compound. When he did call, he couldn’t talk much, because (I found out later) every call was being monitored. In addition, every letter incoming and outgoing, is opened and read.
When the oppression at the Scientology compound got to be too much, Jack left.
That made him an “enemy” of the Church of Scientology.
After he left that environment, he could finally, freely speak with me again, and that was great! I’d missed him a lot and it was wonderful to talk with him again.
Now, understand this very carefully. Jack did not object to my still being active in Scientology. He did not “impede my advancement”. He did not upset me or cause me any problems. I was totally happy! I had no reason at all to want to disconnect from Jack.
It is very clear, from the official Scientology definition of “disconnection”, and the church’s official statements, that I would never have to disconnect from Jack. Since disconnection is completely voluntary, I’m fine, everything was fine.
Everything was not fine. When the Church of Scientology found out I was in touch with Jack, they demanded that I disconnect from Jack immediately.
Now wait a single-cotton-picking-moment! Wasn’t I “exercising my right to communicate”? Isn’t it my right, according to the church, to “communicate or not communicate” as I wish, based on how I’m doing? Isn’t that what the church says? If the communication made me happy, where was the harm to me?
Nope, in Scientology, what the church says does not align with what the church does. What the church spins for the media and the public is not what it actually believes. The church lies. I did not have a choice. The church gave me an ultimatum: disconnect from Jack or be declared an “enemy” myself and lose my other friends, lose my job (with a company run by Scientologists), and be barred from any further church activities.
This is Church of Scientology extortion, the whip that keeps the parishioners in line and safely uninformed of the truth about the church.
But I said “No”.
The Church of Scientology can wave their hands and try to spin this and spin this, but the bottom line is that “disconnection” is not for the parishioner’s benefit at all. Disconnections are not “voluntary”. Disconnection is an abusive tool, used by the Church of Scientology to keep their parishioners ignorant and obedient.
Just say “No”.