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Thinking of my brother

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Amy Jemmett, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. Amy Jemmett

    Amy Jemmett New Member

    Hi everyone. I just signed up and am looking forward to future conversations.

    TLDR: I'm long out, but my brother is in the SO and I worry about him and wonder if all of our correspondence is monitored?

    I'm 28 and haven't been active in the church since I was about 14 (by that time I was very resentful and skeptical of all things Scientology, was able to avoid it thanks to my dad). I was raised in the church: my mom worked on staff, I attended a Scientology school for much of my childhood. My dad was never that interested in Scientology but he went on course from time to time in order to keep the peace.

    My older brother joined the SO when I was 8, and he was 16. He dropped out of high school and moved across the country, which devastated myself and our other, older brother. I'm still not sure how my parents took it - I think my dad was disappointed, but my mom was probably supportive. He was an adult making his own decisions, right? Or at least that's how I imagine she thought about it.

    To this day he remains in the SO, and I worry about him. It's been 20 years, and I know there have been times when he wanted to leave. I'm not sure how much, if any, trouble he's gotten into, or how seriously he thought about leaving. He's never opened up to me about it. When I've asked he just brushes it off. Despite being so far away from each other, barely ever seeing one another, etc, he and I have maintained a strong connection. I love him very much and want him to be happy. I wish that could happen outside of the SO, but at the same time I want to respect his wishes. That argument I make to myself is of course plagued with concerns about whether or not he really has a choice.

    Last year I emailed him with a lot of questions that I normally wouldn't ask - about what keeps him wanting to be in Scientology, or if he ever thought about pursuing a life and family outside of it. Our email exchange went on for some time, and then abruptly I stopped hearing from him. I feared that he wasn't getting my emails, and this went on for over a month. I still have no explanation about it, though it went back to normal and we haven't had any email issues since. At other times, he has called me and my caller ID says the call is coming from Canada when he's in the US. I've never experienced that before. I also waited for him to hang up, but when he did the line didn't disconnect. Maybe I'm just paranoid but I thought that maybe our correspondence was being monitored and maybe limited. Has that ever happened to any of you?

    This feels quite long so I'll stop here. Thank you for reading.
  2. Bill

    Bill Gold Meritorious Patron

    The answer is yes. In the Sea Org, every communication to the outside world is monitored. Every letter, in and out, is opened and read. Every phone call is monitored. If a letter contains information or questions that are unacceptable, the letter will never be delivered.
    JustSheila likes this.
  3. JustSheila

    JustSheila Crusader

    What Bill says is true.

    You seem worried about him. You are family, so you can walk right up to the nearest COS and tell him you're afraid he's missing and he needs to be located and you need to see him personally or you might have to file a missing persons report. That's what I'd do, anyway.
  4. Amy Jemmett

    Amy Jemmett New Member

    He isn't missing, we talk frequently. I'm worried generally about his happiness though, yes.
  5. Amy Jemmett

    Amy Jemmett New Member

    Thank you both for letting me know. I hope I haven't gotten him into trouble. It's a hard line to walk, wanting ask questions and encouraging him to ask them himself, while also wanting to ensure that I don't do anything to worsen his situation.
  6. This is NOT OK !!!!

    This is NOT OK !!!! Gold Meritorious Patron

    Hi Amy,

    Nice to hear from you. I think it's great that you are maintaining a loving connection with your brother in the Sea Org.

    I'll tell you a brief story. When I joined the cult my family was very concerned and discussed what to do about it. My older brother suggested that they all maintain a good relationship with me - kind of like a reverse "good roads-fair weather" plan.

    Too many years later, when I finally came to my senses and blew the cult, my family was happily awaiting and no body had burned any bridges which made it simple and easy for me to reach out.

    You've maintained this connection with your brother so far. I hope that you reunite with him soon and as you may imagine, he might need some help getting back on his feet, but I expect you're up for that.

    Good luck!
    JustSheila likes this.
  7. Bill

    Bill Gold Meritorious Patron

    To ensure you don't get cut off from your brother, don't say anything antagonistic. However, if you can visit with him outside of any Scientology location (where he would be monitored), you would be able to have a freer conversation. If he wants to leave, let him know that you support that and will do anything he needs. Do it immediately if you can. If you can't, give him a prepaid phone so he can talk to you without monitoring.
    JustSheila likes this.
  8. Enthetan

    Enthetan Master of Disaster

    Always assume that any communication will be monitored. If you are any any point judged to be antagonistic, then you will be given a status of "deadfile", and ALL further communication from you will be quietly filed away and never delivered to your intended recipient.

    Your best bet would be a personal visit, if possible.
    JustSheila likes this.
  9. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    All correspondence is monitored. Mail is opened. They will record any vital information like credit card and bank account numbers, contact info or anything that might be useful in a blow drill (escape recovery). All phone calls and texts go through a central monitoring service in Los Angeles and should be expected to be recorded.

    They have always been paranoid but after Going Clear and now with The Aftermath I expect they are completely freaking out and where something might have been given a pass before the slightest thing that appears anti could get your brother sent to Qual or hauled into Ethics or busted off post.

    Even if email and other correspondence wasn't being monitored he is getting periodic sec-checks and anything that he might feel guilty about could come up in a sec-check.

    It was also always difficult to get approval for a yearly Leave of Absence because their stat and conditions system and other policies combined make it virtually impossible and increasingly harder the longer you are in. One thing that doesn't get brought up a lot is it is policy that they get sec-checked after returning from any LOA. This can become a big emotional conflict because they may not only be afraid of what a sec-check might find about their family or what they learned during an LOA but it might also uncover doubts and critical thoughts about the Sea Org and Scientology in general. Returning LOA sec-checks can be a huge disincentive to taking time off.

    This is a bit tangential but SO pay used to be $20. a week, then for the longest time it was $50. a week and we are hearing that it was increased to $100. fairly recently. However, as always those are the stated maximums and in actuality the pay may be from nothing to $15. per week. With such low pay he may not be filing tax returns and getting any Social Security credits. Eventually he will be offloaded when he becomes sick or unable to work and I suggest that the family go to the SS web site and use the calculator to see what he might get as a benefit when he reaches the age for distributions or disability. I think you will be shocked at the potential liability this situation is creating for the family over the course of his lifetime. Even if he isn't making enough to need to file a return the family should try to help him file just to accumulate the minimum SS credits.
    JustSheila likes this.
  10. Miss Ellie

    Miss Ellie Miss Ellie

    Be careful of all communications as mentioned. Talk about past good times, how family members are doing, what ever is safe and what might bring him comfort. Try for a personal visit. Bring gift cards that can be used for food and other comforts. Let him know you are available 24/7 for anything he ever needs. Do not tell him to run but be available when he does. When you visit keep it safe. If he is being watched or monitored there will be nothing to be reported. A few hours face to face might be just what he needs and wants.
    JustSheila likes this.
  11. Amy Jemmett

    Amy Jemmett New Member

    Thank you everyone for your input.

    I'd like to continue being a part of this group, but I realize that by using autofill I accidentally put my full name on my account and can't change it.

    My plan is to make a new account without my name, but I can't find any information about how to delete this one or delete my original post. If anyone knows how to fix this, I'd appreciate your help.
  12. hummingbird

    hummingbird Patron with Honors

    Great advice, Blue. However back in the day, I paid NO SS tax on my eight years of wages due to the “religious exemption,” even tho I made enough to qualify for the tax. The OP’s bro might be in the same filing class.

    @Amy Jemmett, you’ve gotten some wonderful pointers here. IMHO, the best thing you can do for your bro is to continue to keep the lines of communication open, so he always knows he has a safe harbor should he decide to bail. Also, read up on how the “Freeloader’s Debt” is unenforceable, should that happy day come. I wish the both of you the best.
    TheOriginalBigBlue likes this.
  13. TheOriginalBigBlue

    TheOriginalBigBlue Gold Meritorious Patron

    Using the 2015 rate of $1220. per credit to just get one credit a Sea Org member must file for what would essentially average out to $23.47 per month. Without getting into the weeds on religious worker rules and minimum filing amounts my main point is that for a Sea Org member to get the maximum of four SS points per year they had to make $93.85 per week. I think it is fair to assume that for the possible exception of a very tiny elite clique at the very top that is virtually impossible unless the COS is also reporting non-cash income for things like room and board. If a Sea Org member has neglected accumulating SS points for 20 years then their window for accumulating the maximum number of lifetime points is compressed. As a family it might be worth considering a strategy to help the family member make up those points or they could end up with a destitute family member who has little to no Social Security benefits when they are finally discarded by the COS.

    Regarding Freeloader Debts, decades ago those used to be fairly low and there were even amnesties or discount offers but it seems that they go for the jugular now and issue FL debts of hundreds of thousands. I expect that they really don't want those people to qualify for reentry to the Sea Org or staff but prefer to just asset strip them as still believing public.

    Tell your brother to keep all his receipts. He doesn't need to pay the debt but their record keeping is awful.

    Earning Social Security credits is simple. Each year, the SSA looks at the amount of money you earn from work on which you pay Social Security payroll taxes. In 2015, you get one credit for every $1,220 you make and pay Social Security taxes on. That $1,220 figure gets adjusted for inflation every year.
    You can only earn a maximum of four Social Security credits each year. So it doesn't matter if you earn $5,000 or $500,000 in a given year -- you'll still only get four credits.
    How many Social Security credits do you need?
    The number of credits you need to be eligible for Social Security depends on the program and your age. For retirement benefits, the required number of credits is simple: You have to have earned 40 credits, equivalent to 10 years of work if you earn the maximum number of credits per year.