Making enemies

making enemies[The following was written by Shelley Birnie whose sister, Jenny Retief, was declared in December last year. Their mother, Sylvia Coward, has been a Crimanon volunteer for 13 years and the below came in response to the way Sylvia was treated following the secret declare. We are publishing this as an example of how the church continues to make its own enemies.]

Sylvia Coward was ex-communicated by members of the Church without notice, despite the fact that she was still holding her volunteer post as a Criminon supervisor; the same post she had held for 13 years with great success and many commendations. The email exchange which took place between Sylvia and Criminon management when Sylvia subsequently resigned her post, riled me enormously, and prompted me to write an email of my own to the four Criminon terminals. As my brother, Russell, and I have both supported our mom in her Criminon work financially and in kind, she forwarded the email trail to us to let us know what was happening.

My email to Criminon management read:

Hi All

I have been an ardent admirer – and supporter when possible – of the Criminon work my Mom has done over the years, and have just learned of her ex-communication from the programme (and the “Church”?). For that matter, I have also been an ardent admirer of the massive contribution my sister, Jenny Retief, has made over the years.

As you are all fabulous contributing staff members who I assume do what you do because you want to help, I am shocked at the contradiction that none of you appears to see: you state what you observe – which is goodness, contribution, goodwill. But what you DO is act on what you are TOLD – how do you KNOW what is entheta and who is “good” and who is “bad”?

My wish for you all is that one day you lose the fear and regain the self-determinism that has been taken from you; be brave enough to ‘Look at things and life and others directly, not through any cloud of prejudice, curtain of fear or the interpretation of another’.

I wish to state publicly that until I observe a reason to act to the contrary, I will continue to support Sylvia (my Mom) and Jenny (my sister) in their continuing good works in any way I can.




Basically what happened is that our sister Jenny was declared – in all its twisted, under-the-radar glory, – late last year, although this, to my knowledge, has never been made public. Our family simply learned about it because Jenny is family. The merits (or otherwise) of that declare is a whole separate discussion. Jenny’s daughter Taryn, who is Durban Org ED, then disconnected from Jenny but continued communicating with the rest of the family, including Sylvia, happily spending Christmas with us.

Sylvia then received an email from Cathie Robertson telling her to remove certain names from her address book. Incidentally, Jenny’s name was not on this list.

Without notice or communication of any description, Taryn then completely cut comm with my mom and myself. Shortly afterwards it became apparent that others within the various Church structures had also cut comm with Sylvia, including Saint Hill regarding FSM commission due to my mom. And all this despite the fact that Sylvia was still a Criminon Durban supervisor.

On 19 Feb Sylvia stated that since all comm had been cut with her, she did not feel able to continue working as a Criminon supervisor.

There followed a string of email interchanges with four people, all basically following the same pattern of – “we think you are wonderful and do an awesome job” and “why have folk cut comm with you – have you been fraternising with squirrels and people who read entheta?”.

To my knowledge, Jenny’s declare has never been made public; and no-one has ever asked Mom if she disconnected from Jenny (not that she would have); and no-one that I know of has ever had the opportunity to discuss who gets to decide what constitutes “entheta” or why whatever is supposed to have been read is deemed “entheta” in the first place.

Sylvia kept her integrity and self-determinism, quietly stating her position and committing to honour a responsible wrap-up and hand over of her work. The response from Cathie Robertson was filled with good ARC and a warm, wonderful acknowledgement of Mom and her work:

There is no question that you have been one of the most productive and loyal supporters of Criminon over the past 13 years.    Reliable and a mainstay.   Yes, in The Way to Happiness LRH also talks about People of Goodwill and you definitely epitomize this Precept as you quietly went about your task.

But Cathie goes on to say:

…but Jenny has chosen to follow a course of action that has taken her outside of the Church of Scientology. She has announced this publicly and as a result has been Declared.   LRH Policy applies to any person remaining connected to a Declared person. The door is never closed for those people who come to their senses and wish to return but their comm line is International Justice Chief.

Perhaps it was Cathie’s response that triggered my email. The absolute, in-your-face, illogical, indoctrinated mindset that forbids looking beyond your nose. How can such good people, who roll up their sleeves and face the muck day after day, be so blinded and so willing to do things that

somewhere deep in their bellies, they must feel is not right?

Anyway, I had one goal in writing my original email, and that was to make a public stand showing support for two people for whom I have huge admiration, who I believe have been grossly and inexcusably wronged. My brother Russell joins me in this statement.

The approach of using a hidden attack against which one has little chance of defence, and fear tactics for control – fear of speaking out, fear of questioning what is illogical – is despicable. Our purpose in having the email published- in addition to making a public declaration of support for Jenny and Sylvia – is the hope that our family’s story will contribute to breaking down that fear and making it safe for others to take a self-determined viewpoint, whatever that may be.



Shelley Birnie


33 thoughts on “Making enemies

  1. Such a great letter; such a magnificent position of integrity. Thanks for posting it.

    The silly thing about it all – or ONE silly thing (there usually being many surrounding such politics) – is that in theory if one remains connected to an “SP” [sic], one doesn’t automatically become one themselves and thus get declared SP; no, original policy and tech says that one becomes PTS. So AT MOST that is all, and that just forbids one from receiving service. As well, as these “declares” are mainly political in nature and born out of ser facs, ev purps or GPMs, the original “SP” [sic] is not even a real SP so how could one go PTS to them in the first place and especially if one has studied the tech (something ALL were made to do numerous times)? Or doesn’t Int Management (ie., DM) think the tech works? So, it’s worse than a comedy of errors; it’s a debacle of dumb decisions without observation which means, really, without integrity. Shelley hit square on the head with that observation. End.

  2. I believe there is fatal flaw in the policy “Never defend only ATTACK !” This is applied religiously by office of Special Affairs, RTC and “Office of COB ~ Chairman of the Board”.
    Scientologists, whether staff, Sea Org or public themselves, are actually trained in the philosophy of disconnecting and attacking others. Euphemisms are used because of embarrassment. “So and so has gone over to the dark side.” “So and so went South due to external influence” “So and so read the Internet and was sold on the Black PR”
    It is just not normal that people would divorce, cut off, shun and attack their own family members and friends and intimate confidants they had for decades ! Normal folk do not end up as vicious OSA thugs. It is in bred in the culture to “attack” anyone who dares suggest management is in error, or disagree with an SP declare, or state that someone declared to be a Suppressive Person, is actually not an Anti-social personality …
    The world of Scientology Inc is constantly under attack by media, TV programs, press, Blogs, message boards, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google searches, testimonials, etc. Why is this ?
    Here is something that the “Church” of Scientology is incapable of knowing. SCIENTOLOGY Inc is continuously making enemies BECAUSE SCIENTOLOGY ITSELF IS CONTINUOUSLY ATTACKING others to make these enemies. Attacking people results in people hating you and plotting your demise. Scientology Inc has 100s of hate pages in the tabloid genre of veteran ex-Sea Org members. The hate in these vitriolic pages made and maintained by the *Church” is beyond belief.
    There has been no change in the internal business model. Disconnection, SP Hole, RPF, RPF’s RPF, constant SP declares. No change. Their WHY is those *evil enemy SPs.* The Why is God.

    • Karen,
      That policy attack never defend was used when the Church was in fact being attacked by various Government agencies and now this policy has been perverted to include even those who have never attacked the Church in any way which is a good prescription on how to make enemies.
      I mean you can take any piece of Tech or Policy and totally reverse its intent (what some of us call “reverse Scientology” like using ethics to drive tech out instead of in as in the case of the Golden Perversion of Tech which is akin to Black Dianetics) and get into trouble with it.
      As Chris pointed out the policy on people who remain connected to an “SP” (sic) is declare ‘em PTS not declare and expel them.
      Also what is required is the ability to think with the data as well. Not just robotically “apply” it.
      I mean if the Ol’man wanted people to unilaterally disconnect from “SPs” he would have never developed the SP Rundown which puts the person back in comm with the “SP”.
      That’s my 2 bits.

    • I believe there is fatal flaw in the policy “Never defend only ATTACK !”

      The basic flaw is more so it’s misapplication than the concept itself. It’s circumstantial. Depending which most effective action may be called for, at times it’s the most applicable, being sort of part of ethics gradients in themselves to deter an enemy, if in fact he is an enemy. Attacking when communications would resolve is a suicidal course of action.

      • Good point Foremost.

        There are many references in the PR series about establishing a parley but it seems that OSA only knows this one policy.

        In other words just doing what their critics expect them to do.

        I remember when the whole anonymous thing started and there were protests in front of various Churches. A smart DSA would have invited them all in for coffee and Cake which would have probably diffused the situation somewhat.

        But oh no…..

        They had to harass them with PIs and call the cops and general act like a bunch of typical self righteous jerks.

        Sure at times you gotta attack. Like when various Government agencies backed by certain special interests violate the 1st, but this has been a thing of the past for almost 2 decades.

        Sure in my opinion there is probably infiltration and covert action going on but this is more of a Counter Intelligence action which requires subtlety instead of the ham handed approach which the Church these days has become famous for.

  3. Dear Shelley,

    I do know you and your family well – going back to the 70’s and 80’s. Your comm was heartfelt and you should be commended in the way you carried yourself delivering it.

    For the record, this is not the 1st time Jenny has been “fingered” by the Church I remember in the late 70’s certain GO staff (including Robin Hogarth) deciding that Jenny was a “mole” – and this for the mere fact that she was dating a young man in the army (remember ALL men had to do military service and had NO option about where they were posted?). Anyway, both Carol and Robin used to stake out your house spying on Jenny and her comings and goings, and I believe she was even pulled into the GO and given a metered plant interview. All the while, your good family was doing nothing other than forward the aims of Scientology and helping to spread LRH’s legacy to mankind.

    The Church is off it’s rocker – it if was bad in early 80’s (plainly evident Ron had pulled or was taken off the lines by then) then it is stark raving crazy today. It has turned into a criminal organisation – so PTS, it has taken on the colours of an SP group.

    I will get a comm to your mom on other channels to give her my love and support. In the meantime, thanks for having the courage to step up to the plate in protecting your loved ones.

    Love BP

  4. We should all be welcoming the actions of the Church, they by their own actions are multiplying their enemies and helping to open the eyes (or at least place some doubt in the minds) of those within the bubble. The obsession with attack can only end with the eventual demise of the current administration. I liken it to invading a country, the invaders are despised by the local population and the invaders have to expend ever greater resources and revenue in keeping the locals suppressed, ever greater punishments and “laws” to control. Eventually it will collapse when there are enough “enemies” made by itself to oppose the dwindling numbers of invaders. History is littered with such examples of people uprising against suppression. Lets hope they declare everyone in their madness, the sooner the better.

    • Great analogy Remote viewed! Force, force and more of the same just never seems to work yet it is the modis operandi of every true definition SP organisation ever to malign us earthings! Oh so you dont agree do you? We will just steam roll over you, implant you and drug you untill you like the pain. They never do figure on the wheel turning someday..until that day does arrive that is.
      My thoughts also go to the Joburg public who turned on their families and friends in the name of the church. One day ye too will know our names.

  5. The main point here is that the Church’s management makes continuous errors, does stupid things and is making a general dogs breakfast of everything…..Is this not what you would call ” PTS”? So if they are PTS but have disconnected with all the “so called SPs” then it would appear they have missed the real SP. Just maybe those poor suckers inside the Church have been blinded by PR and false data and the SP is inside the church sitting right under their noses or should I say right ontop of them. After all management is not LRH and DM is not LRH even though he tries to make us believe he is. He is not the founder of the Tech and never will be.

  6. Forgot to say well done well done Shelley for coming forward and telling us Sylvia’s story. We love her and admire her for all her years of “service” You have a great family and will now continue to grow because of LRH’s tech and not DMs version that is changed and distorted.

  7. It is so sad to see another family torn apart by a policy that in all respects should no longer exist. The continuous distruction of familial ties and long formed friendships by the disconnection policy is one of the most evil actions to come out of any organization, let alone a “Church.”
    The following shows how the intention was to do away with the whole disconnection thing and how the Code of Reform was intrumental in the cancellation of the Disconnection Policy:
    Since we can now handle all types of cases disconnection as a condition is cancelled.” L. Ron Hubbard (from HCO PL 15 Nov 68 “Cancellation of Disconnection”)
    “With regard to the practice of Disconnection, I have taken this up with the Board of Directors of the Church of Scientology, and they have no intention of re-introducing this policy, which was cancelled on 15th November, 1968.
    For my part, I can see no reason why this policy should ever be re-introduced, as an extensive survey in the English speaking countries found that this practice was not acceptable.” L. Ron Hubbard (from signed letter dated 26 Mar 69 send to ‘The Commission of Enquiry into Scientology in New Zealand’; see also “Code of Reform” (1968),
    The Disconnection policy was reindroduced in 1983 in a so-called dispatch from LRH via the CMO at a time when LRH was not around, and when research shows that the church was being run by the CMO and a band of young guns we now know are David Miscavige, Pat and Annie Broker, Marc Yager and Norman Starky.
    It is a huge pity that the policy was ever made, but in my opinion, LRH realising how Insidious it was and cancelled it. But it would serve Miscavige well to reintroduce it as he could then use it to get rid of anyone who stood in his way in gaining control of the church, and anyone who now might rock his boat or expose him for the psychotic he is.

    • Amen. If DM wants to start to reverse the existing tide of demise of the C of S he should pretend he’s a good guy and end the disconnection policy. Come on DM what do you have to lose.

      • Shhhh – don’t bother DM…he is not so quietly going insane because it is raining in California….

      • “Seems it never rains in southern California
        Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
        It never rains in California but girl, don’t they warn ya?
        It pours, man, it pours!”

    • I always suspected Dave was working for the dark side (what Ron called Smersh) ever since I became aware that he was personally calling the shots.
      (I mean before that I just thought that “Int (mis) Management” were just a bunch of clueless idiots.)
      But you can see where he’s going when he pretty much abolished the Reform Code which as anyone will remember was one of the factors that brought about the boom in the early ’70′s.
      I’d call it Operation Unmock Scientology.

      • RV, I agree.
        Everything that little davie has done in his 25+ years on post has been a net negative for the church. This shows, without a doubt, his true intentions – regardless of what he says.
        If he was simply incompetent, the results would be more 50 / 50 – but they are not.
        Since his stats are really close to 100% negative, I would have to conclude that he has a lot of help / guidance, because he is not that capable.
        Smersh. Now there in an interesting string to pull.
        It would help to provide some measure of closure to the many families (and individuals) abused by the system.

    • HI “Whats Next for Scios”
      Any Idea where I can find this policy (HCO PL 15 Nov 68 “Cancellation of Disconnection”), I am currently being pressurised to make a decision that I’m not sure I can make since the entire scenario makes me mad to the core, but those around me want to continue on the bridge as they know it, I may want to someday too, but since I cannot trust Any source of data, incl this one, I have to find my own data.
      Everything at this point is hear-say
      Personally I do not agree with the SP declares since I know some of the people who have been declared and cant say that they follow the 12 traits as indicated in HCO Policy Letter of 27 September 1966, but I am supposed to publicly disavow them and no longer speak to them or associate with them.
      This is not my reality. it is an enforced reality, and if the declaration policy was in fact cancelled, as it looks like it was, then it raises some serious questions as to the source of its reinstatement, since I cannot get my head around LRH creating a policy with so much destruction. (or more accurately, maintaining it)
      The cancellation of the declare policy makes sense to me, the reinstatement of it doesn’t.

      • Hi Muted. You will only find this policy on the Internet. It does not exist in any church publication today. It was a valid policy at the time but disconnection was re-instated. Sadly you will find no joy in quoting or showing this policy to anyone within the church. It is the church who is enforcing this impossible choice on its people. There is no middle ground, no grey. Disconnect completely or suffer the consequences. If you do not wish to make a public show of all this then simply do what so many others have done. Tell them you agree and that you are disconnection and then quietly go your own way and do what you want.

  8. It’s a great letter, Shelley. Your mom is highly respected and liked and is known for her valuable contributions, her sanity, logic and the standardness of her applications.
    Michael Lane is the ED of Criminon Durban. He is a koolaider supreme and is at Flag or was recently at Flag, to complete OT VII. He HAS to disapprove Sylvia regardless of the fact that she’s upstat. He has to stay in good books.
    ED ABLE AF, Cathie Robertson, does appear to be the kind, motherly sort. I grant you, she’s neither, and is a gleeful and active participant in the witchhunt. Don’t let her looks or her ‘sweet, reasonable’ persona fool you. You’d be making a big mistake.
    Mrs Robertson is currently running Criminon.

  9. It is ironic that Sylvia’s surname is ‘Coward’ – as this entire story reeks of Cowards lurking behind the scenes to destroy good works and 13 years of dedication. At least Sylvia has some of her family to help her, and it is good to know that families stand together.
    Every time I read about another disconnection – it makes my blood boil. Why? It so exquisitely demonstrates the extent of the hopelessly warped collective state of mind of those still ‘in good standing’ with the church.
    How utterly arrogant and delusional can these people be to ACT LIKE THIS? How is it possible for ‘normal’ people – to consistently act like full blown paranoid schizophrenics – lead by nothing more than delusions, rumours, innuendoes, whispers in the ear, seeing things that don’t exist – enemies behind every door, nook and cranny – to be gotten rid of and preferably destroyed and forgotten as if they never existed? And they are so blissfully unaware of their own stupidity…. Yet with the glee of insanity, will tell you that they are ‘thinking for themselves’ and much more able than mere wogs…
    Measured against the Creed of the Church – there is no Scientologist ‘in good standing’ that I know of, who has the confront, to be upfront and honest about church practices, when they recruit new members and let them read the official Creed of the church. That is where they start lying to new public – again and again compromising an already compromised integrity towards their fellow man.
    To accurately reflect the practice of $cientology they should be honest – warn new starry eyed recruits that in practice the Creed should read; ‘we of the church believe, that no one has the right to think freely, talk freely, or write freely, or express their own opinions freely.‘ Instead, by omission they perpetuate the lie and deceive – in their efforts to feed the Beast who will eventually devour all who start thinking for themselves….
    Untold tragedies can be found behind every disconnection story. Untold circumstances of the here and now, of heartbreak, confusion, injustice, betrayals – all played out daily behind the scenes in private.
    With reference to the previous post made by Galactic Patrol, it was encouraging to realise that some ex-SO members, actually develop an active conscience and are big enough to apologise publicly for a list of outpoints perpetrated under their watch, by saying ‘I’m sorry to say that I contributed to some of this, and I’m not proud of any of it.’
    Pertaining to my daughter’s Janine Nel’s disconnection experience – not all ex-staff members possess the quality of reconciliation and greatness after leaving -> Even when given details of the devastating consequences of their actions – to date none of them could bring themselves as far as to pick up the phone to at least apologise for their direct hand in her destruction.

  10. Total utter insanity
    I think there must be now more SP declared people in the
    field than there are actual staff members in the org!
    There are more people who have resigned from the Church
    and in wait of the out come as they the OSA crew are shit scared
    to announce too many declares at one time so they will stagger
    them or even better keep them secret until one of our friends
    under the radar let the cats out of the bag!
    I will bet my last rand there are more resigned people and
    under the radar people which out number the staff in the
    Sea Org right now in present time!
    Believe me OSA what you are doing is not for the greatest good
    We know who our enemy is and you do not have a clue.
    I suggest you mentally prepare your selves for a trip to the
    hole because this mission you will totally fail on.
    The South African field are not going to be subservient!
    Every public you stick a label on – threaten and force
    disconnection creates more Truth coming onto the
    blog which exposes the crimes of the Church and its
    supreme master DM have committed and are still
    So as you are reading this from everyone on the blog
    we say BRING IT ON – the more enemies you create
    the more support we get!
    Thank you Shelley for this data and sharing with us.
    It makes it real that disconnection is insidious.
    I remember your mom from Durban – lovely lady. x

  11. Thanks for sharing this with us, Shelley. I knew your parents way back when. As Black Panther said – this is a heartfelt letter and we can see that the “church’s” behaviour has caused harm to your family. I am sorry your sister disconnected. That is something I struggle to understand because I could never disconnect from a family member. It is just sad.
    Your family needs to take some time to heal, be kind to one another and support one another. There is a wonderful world out here, whether you choose to continue with the tech or not. So many kind and caring people, such beautiful things and places to experience, and amazing lessons to be learned in your own time.
    I wish you and your family well.

      • Thanks for the correction, goodchoice. I was reading too fast – I thought there was another sister, I didn’t mean Jenny disconnected. I am glad that most of the family is sticking together. More families and friends need to do this. When people start refusing to buy the bullshit and refusing to disconnect then the snowball will become a real, out of control avalanche. It is up to the public to cause the change – the only power DM has is the power people give him. On his own he is less than nothing.

  12. Bigots and their prejudices. Individuals who substitute bits and pieces of convenient data to stand for themselves.
    None of the chaos and turmoil that has and is wreaking such havoc is derived from Ron and his tech, it stems from opportunistic self seeking lesser beings; all too clearly these people cannot see beyond the ends of their noses.
    For myself I find that the spirit of LRH’s intention is contained in the following:
    St Luke
    Go your ways: behold, I send you forth
    as lambs among wolves.
    Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes:
    and salute no man by the way.
    And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say,
    Peace be to this house.
    And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it :
    if not, it shall turn to you again.
    And in the same house remain, eating and drinking
    such things as they give :
    for the labourer is worthy of his hire.
    Go not from house to house.
    And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you,
    eat such things as they set before you:
    And heal the sick, that are therein, and say unto them
    The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
    Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see :
    For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to
    see those things which ye see,
    and have not seen them ;
    and to hear those things which ye hear,
    and have not heard them.
    ST LUKE 10: 3 – 9, 23 – 24.
    It is clear to me that there is no peace in the house which is now the church.
    In truth, those who are within the church at present are within a squirrel divergent operation. Therefore, individually, because the suppression is so widespread, each member must be in a condition of confusion. They must find themselves, find their values and clear things up for themselves.
    They must personally “ Find out where you are”
    Those outside, largely have done this. In all the comments above, one can see wise and caring views. They are appreciated.

  13. The original quote from Voltaire, “This is no time to make enemies”, could be worthwhile to consider for the church. I was interested in Scientology up the 90-ies, but then had some odd experiences in the Org and dropped off line. Might be time for a new start for me as I like the idea of independence and the philosophy itself is interesting if you take away the hostilities connected to the organization around it.

  14. Shelley, my utmost admiration for your integrity, courage and honor.
    Thanks for standing up for what you is just and truth.
    Many of us back you up.

  15. “The Disconnection policy was reindroduced in 1983 in a so-called dispatch from LRH via the CMO at a time when LRH was not around, and when research shows that the church was being run by the CMO and a band of young guns we now know are David Miscavige, Pat and Annie Broker, Marc Yager and Norman Starky.”
    Are you SURE about what you have written here as to how the Disconnection policy was “re-introduced”? What is your research regarding Broker, Yager, and Starky? Have not all three spoken out since leaving the church, specifically about the Disconnection policy never really being dropped?

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