- Suppressive Person
Suppressive Person, often abbreviated SP, is a term used in
Scientologyto describe the "antisocial personalities" who, according to Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard, make up about 2.5% of the population. A statement on a Church of Scientology website describes this group as including notorious historic figures such as Adolf Hitlerand Genghis Khanas well as others who "are less obviously seen." [http://www.scientologyethics.org/page06.htm Scientology Ethics and Judicial Matters: The Antisocial Personality] . Website accessed 2006-06-04.]
The term is often applied to those whom the
Church of Scientologyperceives as its enemies, i.e. those whose "disastrous" and "suppressive" acts are said to impede the progress of individual Scientologists or the Scientology movement. [ cite web | author=CSI | year= | title=Glossary of Scientology & Dianetics Terms | work=What is Scientology? | url=http://www.whatisscientology.org/html/part14/chp50/pg1024.html | accessdate=2006-06-11] [cite web | author=CSI | year= | title=The Antisocial Personality | work=What is Scientology? | url=http://www.whatisscientology.org/html/part04/chp17/pg0288-a.html | accessdate=2006-06-11]
One of the reasons Scientology doctrines portray Suppressive Persons as such a danger is that they are supposed to make people around them become Potential Trouble Source (abbreviated PTS). Scientology defines a PTS as "a person who is in some way connected to and being adversely affected by a suppressive person. Such a person is called a potential trouble source because he [or she] can be a lot of trouble to himself [or herself] and to others." [ [http://www.scientology.org/feature/glossary/index.html#p Scientology - Church of Scientology Official Site ] ] PTSes are said to make up 18% of the population. A Scientologist may be ordered to disconnect from a Suppressive Person, lest he or she become a PTS. [cite news |title = PTSness and DISCONNECTION | author= L. Ron Hubbard |publisher = Hubbard Communication Office|date =
Origins and definitions
As with most Scientology terminology, "suppressive person" was coined by L. Ron Hubbard. Ruth A. Tucker, in her book ', wrote that the concept appeared to have first been introduced into Scientology in the 1960s "as membership grew and as authoritarian control [by Hubbard] increased." Tucker notes that many of those who joined Scientology during this period were "well-educated people who prided themselves in independent thinking [who] struggled with the idea of allowing any other individual to completely dominate their opinions." [Ruth A. Tucker, ', p. 313. (Zondervan, 2004)] Many of Hubbard's early writings on suppressive persons focus on their alleged responsibility for poor management within the Church of Scientology. [See e.g. Hubbard, HCO Policy Letter of 7 August 1965, "Suppressive Persons, Main Characteristics Of"]
The Church's official glossary defines a suppressive person as being::a person who possesses a distinct set of characteristics and mental attitudes that cause him to suppress other people in his vicinity. This is the person whose behavior is calculated to be disastrous. Also called "antisocial personality". [cite web | title = Scientology Glossary | publisher = Church of Scientology International | url = http://www.scientology.org/en_US/feature/glossary/index.html#s | accessdate = 2006-07-08 ]
The Church regards these "antisocial personalities" as being those "who possess characteristics and mental attitudes that cause them to violently oppose any betterment activity or group," This concern with "groups" continues in the official
Scientology Handbook, which states the corollary: "The antisocial personality supports only destructive groups." [cite web | author=CSI | year= | title=The Antisocial Personality | work=How Can Scientology Help Me With...? | url=http://www.scientologyhandbook.org/sh11_1.htm | accessdate=2006-06-11]
According to Hubbard, suppressive persons have a number of distinct characteristics:
#He or she speaks only in very broad generalities.
#Such a person deals mainly in bad news, critical or hostile remarks, invalidation, and general suppression.
#The antisocial personality alters, to worsen, communication when he or she relays a message or news. Good news is stopped and only bad news, often embellished, is passed along.
#A characteristic, and one of the sad things about an antisocial personality, is that it does not respond to treatment or reform or psychotherapy.
#Surrounding such a personality we find cowed or ill associates or friends who, when not driven actually insane, are yet behaving in a crippled manner in life, failing, not succeeding.
#The antisocial personality habitually selects the wrong target.
#The antisocial personality cannot finish a cycle of action.
#Many antisocial persons will freely confess to the most alarming crimes when forced to do so, but will have no faintest sense of responsibility for them.
#The antisocial personality supports only destructive groups and rages against and attacks any constructive or betterment group.
#This type of personality approves only of destructive actions and fights against constructive or helpful actions or activities.
#Helping others is an activity which drives the antisocial personality nearly berserk. Activities, however, which destroy in the name of help are closely supported.
#The antisocial personality has a bad sense of property and conceives that the idea that anyone owns anything is a pretense, made up to fool people. Nothing is ever really owned. [Hubbard, HCO Policy Letter of 27 September 1966 Issue II, "The Antisocial Personality - The Anti-Scientologist", p. 2-3.]
According to Scientology doctrine, individuals who possess a majority of these twelve anti-social characteristics can be expected to believe it is for their own self-preservation that they are "keeping others down" or "keeping people ignorant" and even though they may not exhibit outward signs of insanity, the results of their actions are nevertheless found to be harmful to those around them.
uppressive Person policies and practices
According to the Hubbard textbook titled "Introduction to Scientology Ethics" ("the Ethics book"), when an individual is found to be under the influence of a Suppressive Person, it is believed that this will affect their general well-being. An individual with an SP in their vicinity is likely to be under stress or frequently upset, and this would potentially jeopardize the stability of any treatment or education. Therefore, a parishioner who is found to have such suppressive connections is not permitted to participate in certain Scientology classes and counselling until the situation has been adequately resolved.
The Ethics book provides a guideline for use in sorting out such a condition. A first step is always to educate the person about the phenomenon of the Suppressive Person and the effects this is believed to have on the individuals close to the SP. Once the education step is completed, the person can further follow the guidelines to sort out the situation so that the parishioner is no longer negatively affected.
If after reasonable attempts have been made to "handle" the situation to no avail, the parishioner may take the option of "disconnecting" from the SP. Scientology Security checks are also common for SP and PTS situations.
In the Scientology Ethics book, "disconnection" is defined as a self-determined decision made by an individual that he is not going to be connected to another. It is a severing of a "communication line".
The concept of the Suppressive Person in Scientology has been the source of some controversy, due in some part to aversion to the idea of "disconnecting" from close family members and friends.
Another source of controversy related to the Suppressive Person doctrine is the formal administrative judgment that labels an individual a "Suppressive Person". This is known as an "SP Declare," and is issued as a church "Ethics Order." Presently, an SP Declare needs to be approved by the "International Justice Chief" (IJC), who resides in the Church of Scientology International headquarters in
Los Angeles, California.
Non-Scientologists can be and have been labelled as suppressive persons. A suppressive person is one who has been responsible for "suppressive acts", defined by Hubbard as being "the overt or covert actions or omissions knowingly and willfully undertaken to suppress, reduce, prevent or destroy case gains, and/or the influence of Scn on activities, and/or the continued Scn success and actions on the part of organizations actions and Scientologists." [Hubbard, in "Modern Management Technology Defined", p. 509]
Similarly, entire groups could be declared suppressive; suppressive groups, in Hubbard's view, were "those which seek to destroy Scn or which specialize in injuring or killing persons or damaging their cases or which advocate suppression of mankind." [Hubbard, "ibid". ] . Under this broader definition, suppressiveness included more than just publicly opposing Scientology; it also included any group supporting activities to which Hubbard was strongly opposed, especially
Hubbard considered reporters and government agents to be members of suppressive groups: "There are no good reporters. There are no good government or SP group agents. The longer you try to be nice, the worse off you will be. And the sooner one learns this, the happier he will be." [ HCOPL 26 December 1966 "PTS Sections, Personnel and Execs", p. 3.]
The Church of Scientology maintains a central list of ex-members and splinter groups formally declared to be suppressive. In an executive directive of 1992, the Church's "International Justice Chief" lists over 400 groups and over 2,300 individual people considered to be suppressive. [Flag Executive Directive 2830RB of 25 July 1992, "Suppressive Persons and Suppressive Groups list", exhibited in "Church of Scientology International vs Fishman and Geertz", No. CV 91-6426 HLH (Tx), April 4, 1994] These comprise individual ex-Scientologists and breakaway groups regarded as hostile or heretical, such as
Erhard Seminars Training(EST).
Abuse of the "Suppressive Person" label
In a lecture he made on 19 July 1966,
L. Ron Hubbardexpressed concern about the possible abuse of the SP label in respect of those who are otherwise good citizens and contribute to civil society:
:You should upgrade your idea of what an SP is. Man, meet one sometime! A real one! A real monster.... Well, in all the time we've been around here we only had one SP that I know of. One real SP that was on staff.... And I don't know of another single SP that we've ever had on staff. Isn't that interesting. You see all these SP orders and so on... Don't throw it around carelessly, because this is an--a very exaggerated condition, SP. [Hubbard, "About Rhodesia," lecture, 19 July 1966, Saint Hill Special Briefing Course tape transcripts, Lecture Set 421-434, pp. 223-224]
Some former Scientologists have alleged that there has indeed been such abuse. For example,
Bent Corydondescribes seeing Scientology franchise holder Gary Smith declared Suppressive on the spot during the October 1982 Mission Holders' Conference, simply for not obeying a shouted order to change his seat. [cite book | last = Corydon | first = Bent | authorlink = Bent Corydon | coauthors = L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. | year = 1987 | title = L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? | publisher = Lyle Stuart | location = Secaucus, New Jersey | id = ISBN 0-8184-0444-2, pp. 204-205. An online edition of the book is at [http://www.clambake.org/archive/books/mom/Messiah_or_Madman.txt ] .] There are also instances where SP declares have impacted families and businesses disruptively.cite news |author = Robert Farley |url = http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/24/Tampabay/The_unperson.shtml |title = The unperson |publisher = St. Petersburg Times|date = 2006-06-24|pages = 1A, 14A|accessdate = 2006-06-25]
Fair Game (Scientology)
* [http://www.suppressiveperson.org/ Suppressive Person Defense League]
* [http://www.conventionalscientology.org/ ConventionalScientology.org: Two Types of People]
* [http://www.carolineletkeman.org/refund/docs/ethics-sp-declare-letkeman-2002-02-05.html Caroline Letkeman Suppressive Person Declare]
* [http://www.algonet.se/~tourtel/interests/hubbard_policy-letter_history.html Information about Ethics Orders, Declares and Suppressive Persons]
*cite news |author = Robert Farley |url = http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/25/Tampabay/SP_profiles.shtml |title = SP profiles |publisher =
St. Petersburg Times|date = 2006-06-25|accessdate = 2006-06-26
*cite news |author = Robert Farley |url = http://www.sptimes.com/2006/06/25/Tampabay/Church_spokesman_says.shtml |title = Church spokesman says Times report is unfair |publisher =
St. Petersburg Times|date = 2006-06-25|accessdate = 2006-06-26
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