I got this question from a Reddit user on the subject of Disconnection in Scientology.
I hope this is not too personal, but do you have any experience with the practice of disconnection, or anyone who does?
It’s not too personal, so sure – I’ll definitely write on this. And as a note, I’ve written a much more long-form piece on how Scientology’s policies on disconnection work here.
To answer your question, in 30+ years of being a Scientologist and being friends with quite literally thousands of Scientologists, I’ve only had a handful – I’d say perhaps 4 as a generous guess, get expelled from the church. Getting expelled from the church is not a light matter, and it’s not done when you just mess up once, or when you did something “a little bit bad”, or perhaps “just weren’t into Scientology anymore” or something like this. You get expelled from the church for heinous and repeated ethical breaches, and when one is unwilling to fix it, change behaviour, or make it better.
In present media, it has been promoted to be a wildly widespread thing for people to get kicked out of the church. It really isn’t. Unfortunately, when you make a concerted effort to locate everyone who’s been kicked out of the church, and then pay them to say their piece on TV, and then explicitly don’t include anyone like me who’s having a great time as a Scientologist, it seems like it’s “EVERYWHERE!!!” when really it’s not. The other piece that hasn’t gotten any airtime is former Scientologists taking a shred of responsibility for why they got kicked out. The stories are icky, and not particularly nice, but hey – that’s not what the show is about so they sort of skip that.
One thing you should know is that in church ethics & justice procedure, there is a policy that’s been there from the start, which gives an exact process for getting back in good graces with the church, no matter if you feel like being a Scientologist still or not. It essentially consists of the individual (1) knocking off entirely the terrible things they were doing that got them kicked out in the first place, and (2) making amends for what damage they caused, and (3) submitting such to the International Justice Chief (a position in the Sea Org) and asking to be part of the group again.
There are two such people that I know who, after being expelled from the church (and yes, I know what they did, and yes – it was pretty awful), went through these steps and got themselves back in good standing again and are happily back in the group as Scientologists. We never shut the door all the way, but we’re not about to let people back into the circle who are still avowedly bad and are still doing bad things.
But again, the short answer to the question is that yes I’ve experience with it, but no it has not impacted any statistically significant fraction of my family, friends or extended contacts.
Disconnection has, for the most part, been used by people I know with respect elements entirely dis-related to Scientology which occur in people’s lives that are keeping them from their goals.
The video below illustrates this:
Hope that helps!