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Investigation into the Adult Schools SOP Australia/ UK/USA
Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 12:09 pm
It has been suggested that a specific thread to look at launching an investigation into the SES/SOP adult schools should be created.
Here it is.
The objectives (draft only -open to change ) are to gather testimonial and other evidence of 'wrongdoing' in general by the organization offering adult classes in philosophy (as advertised)
Specific breaches of laws pertaining to their commercial operation, trade practice, advertising and any other relevant laws are to be indentified in order to allow legal action to correct such breaches and their effects (past and on going)
A suggested model of "terms of reference" and documentary structure is the 1965 Victorian (Australia) enquiry into the "church" of scientology which has much in common .
Both investigation and action to remedy are objectives of this effort. Much evidence already exists for various types of wrongdoing but appears not to have been collated and presented to appropriate authority for corrective or punitive action .
A secure and private channel for giving evidence must be created to protect respondents and seperate 'offices' will have to be set up in each country with different legal frameworks( but a seemingly fairly similar "franchised" content and methodology by the organization in each.)
Media involvement and recourse to other free channels of discovery of information and distribution of information plus public interest legal services will be utilized .
Expressions of interest and any suggestions are welcomed.
Ross Nolan. Melbourne Australia
Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:34 am
Hmmmm. A few views but no responses ? What is to be made of this ?
Apart from the harrowing personal testimonials by former students of the St James schools there is a consistent reference to the psychlogical and emotional damage done to their PARENTS -- in fact it seems that in almost every case the young people damaged by exposure to the SES regime were only there because their parents had already come under the spell of the SES night school (after all children don't really get the chance to choose their place of education)
The primary differences between the experience in the adult schools and the day schools would appear to be the obvious starting point that adults have themselves decided to get involved, rather than forcing it on their children, they can (apart from any psychological dependency engendered) walk out the door at any timeand they are not subjected or vulnerable to such an imbalance of power and physical abuse.
The betrayal of the trust between the child and adult by violent teachers was added to by the disbelief or remoteness of their SES controlled parents -- the only real way to have stopped the damage done in the day schools would have been to address the root cause -- the SES adult night school indoctrination.
Nothing seems to be underway to carry out an investigation and any sort of reform or whatever might be needed in the case of the adult schools -- the simplistic answer that those who don't like it can just walk away is obviously not true especially after the brainwashing has taken hold .
Besides if something of threat to the well being of the general community is found to be going on then why should it be just ignored ? (in the case of Melbourne, local government is also an active participant providing premises,advertising in council community gazettes etc )
Although as adults , they start with a degree of life experience and should have a greater capacity to detect falsity or mind manipulation (ie operating bullshit detector and accumulated common sense ) many night school SES/SOP members appear to have been as unable to leave the influence of the SES as their children .
Time and again ex St James students are talking about the psychological damage caused to their parents and the disruption to their family relationships with their parents and their own children and really serious ongoing issues stemming from the practices and teachings of the SES despite no apparent claims of physical,sexual or other extra-ordinary behaviour towards adults. (ie "normal" operation of the schools still makes for serious mental trauma and disfunctional behaviour)
Something in the teachings themselves INHERENTLY seems to be leading to psychological damage (many posts talk about mental damage bordering on or actual loss of sanity -- this is pretty serious stuff and getting close to the toxic effects of Scientology ) --
It would seem that laws designed to provide community protection against dangerous goods and services should be able to bring such a situation to account and is this not the ultimate objective of enquiry ? (ie identify a problem, apply the law ,if appropriate, or others means to rectify )
For whatever reasons the unsatisfactory outcomes and ongoing damage by the SES seem to have carried on over the last 21 years since the "damning" expose of "Secret Cult" --
presumably most if not all of the students of St James in England would have been aware of the campaign by the journalists of the London Evening Standard and other media and could have contacted them as a means of having some action taken to stop the horrendous abuses that they were suffering. Yet this does not seem to have occurred . (?)
Where are the 'tens of thousands' of people who have been 'introduced' to the SES/SOP through the adult schools - are they all "happy customers"?
My experience with the 'class' I attended suggests very much the opposite so why is there no apparent enthusiasm for reform ?
(I have received no PMs on this thread and realize the need for confidentiality -- I use my real name simply because I expect this site is monitored by the SES/SOP and see no point in legal subterfuge -- if there are real issues and legal remedies then let's invoke them in the open , what's done is done and anything illegal or indefensible should be actioned for the common good )
Any discussion pro or con welcomed .
Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 1:53 am
As my signature suggests, i was born into the school via my parents and grand parents membership. I attended pre-school and sunday school and night classes, weekends, and camps.
I left finally when I was 16 (only because I was legally entitled to choose to do so) and have since managed to wean my way off much of the influence of the school.
I however have continued to see the very invasive influence the school has had on my parents and my piers. It is not something that leaves a person easily.
Most people are in such denial even some 20 years later (since leaving the school) that they find it impossible to think that the school is responsible for any of their problems.
In fact, with my own more healthy perspective I see now that the school is VERY much responsible for irreversibly altering many, meny individuals in was that cannot be descibed as positive or ethical.
As with most people who have contributed to this forum, I agree that there are principles of the teaching that I agree with, value, and cherish, and however the school has modified it's pracitices for the better today, I still hold those "old school" teachers/leaders responsible for personal abuses of power.
I think the reason so few people have responded to this thread is because like me, I have managed to create a life largely independednt of the school, and to be drawn back into any dialogue with the school would in some way legitimise it and those responsible.
I feel contempt, pity and anger at those responsible, who i can only describe as delusional and sadistic.
I blame them for ruining my parent's lives and for that they should rot in hell.
My purpose in becoming part of this forum is to learn and share with /from others that have been through the school, how to complete the transition away from the influence of the school in a positive way.
Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 12:17 pm
Lots of thanks for your contribution -- apologies for overlooking the NZ connection in the thread -- I don't think there has been any other response from the shaky isles to date and I am very interested to learn how they operate over there .(and if anyone there is able to act to help curtail their activities )
Your experience in the NZ school and family involvement over a long period is the sort of background that could be most valuable in getting a critical mass of opposition together (assuming you can overcome the aversion to revisting your past involvement and as I hope can help to have this sort of destructive influence on others removed ,now and in the future )
If only one person in a hundred who was adversly affected by any one of the many pernicious and dangerous cults taking advantage of vulnerable people stood up to them and organized a counterforce there would be lots of these vicious life sucking scams having to defend themselves in the open and getting run out of business.
(I am reminded of the cartoon where a fellow is throwing starfish I think it was back into the sea after they were stranded by the tide -- thousands of them -- just like weird cults in effect . A passer by shook his head looking at the 'futility' of what he was doing and said . " Why bother? You can't possibly have any effect" . The 'rescuer' threw another one and just said "Well, sure made a difference to that one" and kept going. Maybe the analogy is that while one person can't right all the world's wrongs or even just all the toxic cults or even bring just one to rights , everybody who has something to contribute to solving the problem can have an effect that although small in itself can add up to a real force for good .
You have probably seen the astounding list of aplhabetically arranged cults on the internet -- where to start? what hope is there to stem this tide of gullibility and cunning seduction ? How many children, family members,desperate or deluded people are now being 'screwed up' by these charlatans --- how many will be in future ? What if someone had of stopped the people that intruded into our lives,families etc? This seems like the classical case of "evil prospers only where good people do nothing " (we don't burn people at the stake anymore etc etc because someone took a stand for doing the right thing and against mysticisms)
Anyway end of the homily -- I hope you (and lots of other readers, exmember friends etc ) can decide to face the unpleasant memories and take the trouble to help stop this fundamentally bad organization from continuing to wreak damage -- if we all do a bit.....
Let me state my interest in the whole matter as simply having been "sucked in " by the ostensibly very commendable and intruiging advertising , having 'done' the introductory 12 week course but having almost immediately become aware of a strange sort of discordant content to the course itself and been 'difficult' when asking questions or disagreeing with their 'party line' and, as a result of another student putting me on to the "SES cult" internet sites confirming my feelings that something untoward was going on behind the scenes.
Prior to enrolling I had not the slightest idea of their existence and only a couple of coincidences and the internet clue opened my eyes a little (the same classmates mother had done the next two semesters and provided more unsettling testimonial to strange practices and teachings verging ever more to mysticism and eastern/hindu religiosity ; finally a copy of "secret cult" turned up and convinced me I had tripped over a nasty cult. (this was only after the end of the first semester class )
What to do about it ? I started with the local council who provide the building they operate from and ran into a 'couldn't care less' attitude (with maybe one exception) -- at least in Victoria they do not seem to have conspicuous wealth in real estate but this may be different interstate .
Although I do not have any depth of personal experience with the SES/SOP (which anyway might 'immunize' me from personal psychological trauma, as you relate, and help in opposing their operation) I did have about 40 years of 'second hand' experience of what another cultish religion can do to ensnare earnest well meaning people and damage their and their families relationships , apply mind control and loss of ability to think critically and so on .
This was through the Jehovah's witnesses who managed to draw my mother into their web and impart their version of "the Truth" with all it's implications of expected time spent door knocking for converts, bible study, alienation from family etc to the (limited) extent that my mother's own common sense and will permitted it -- to be fair to her she did not toe the line exactly as they would have liked and did not go anywhere nearly as far as they coerce the true believers to (the parallels to the SES demands on converts are quite striking from what you and others have related -- probably most cults have this sort of procedure in common .. after all once you have 'had your eyes opened' and know the 'great secret' being taught what else could matter anymore ?
Like the JWs the SES teachings (and most religions ) are offering at the end of the day (or more accurately the world) nothing less than immortality , what else do you need ? To an extent it is 'sacrificing' the here and now for a glorious tomorrow and unfortunately also sacrificing the family relationships -- I was fortunate that my father did not get sucked in so that there was a brake on the total life takeover that I saw in other JW families and read about in SES/SOP testimonials .
Having agreed that we have a problem to solve the next step is to gather and correlate the evidence and information on 'them' -- Mike Gormez has given us the essential tool to network and collect the available testimony
--this needs to be turned into a form that can be presented to the appropriate national or state authorities (the "franchise" seems to be very similar in each country so that a case can be put together to work pretty much the same anywhere it would seem ) -- my initial thought is that commercial law can be most easily applied since they are taking money and advertising therefore are in business.
No matter how weird ,it seems near impossible to legally affect religions on the falsifiability or nastiness of their beliefs/teachings and the bad effects on the members ,although the most important effect in reality, are probably hardest to sheet home to them or to take official or legal action over (with the possible exception of say child protection agencies, or mental health functions in government --- any more suggestions ?)
Do you have any of their published course material , adverts, any local journos who have done stories, any other disaffected exmembers or any other useful bits of evidence --- Kiwis have a reputation for being pretty down to earth (like Aussies) and there must be lots of those who "saw the light" and have similar experience to your own.
I was thinking of putting a few ads in for "Exmembers of the SOP. doing study on practices. contact..." sort of thing in the local papers and trying to get a story to attract their attention -- maybe work in NZ ? (Best to do it through a box no or a journo to de identify perhaps?)
A second hand bookshop internet search shows several copies of "secret cult" in NZ - perhaps if you have not seen it (?) you could get hold of one (all second hand book dealers can locate a book online and get it for you )
-- none were showing in Australia at the time, was NZ especially "big" on the SES ? If you were in it 20 years ago that is about the time of the book, any connection ? Did your family also leave the cult or since ?
Let's hope that the taking of action to stop the rot with this group will ultimately be both effective and as well cathartic to former ,not victims, but those both healed and scarred from their encounter.
With best regards. Ross Nolan.
Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:49 pm
Yes, I have read Secret Cult. After reading the book I questioned my family, and they reluctantly said these things did happen, but they didn't want to elaborate.
Alot is blamed on NZ being isolated, a bit like the Lord of the Flies syndrome, and that the school was still finding it's feet. Alot of emphasis is put on hoow things have loosened up now.
At this time, I have no time to become part of a formal campaign to investigate the school. My purpose in being here is to share experiences with other ex members, that these may help us all. I feel I have come out the other end reasonably well adjusted, but I know that like every ex member I know the scars run deep and not everyone has been so lucky.
Most people I know are deeply repressed, and this has affected them in many ways. As far as their practical testimony against the SOP, many still have family in the school, and it is all a very small world, and shame plays a large part in our collective reluctance to go public. Who wants to reveal to their friends now, that during their childhood they were systematically abused in part assisted by their own family?
If I can share ways that might help overcome the after effects of SOP, then good.
If as a result, the leadership begins to change their attitudes for the better... good.
I can't see the SOP / SES ever being forced to close it's doors... anyway another will just spring up. People need a faith.
Would I like those negligent care givers brought to justice? Perhaps, but my greatest hope is that the school really has changed for the better.
As many others have commented, the teaching is not bad.. it is the personalities in charge who have been corrupt.
Thanks for your support.
Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:07 am
Since opening this thread I have had several PMs that reveal quite a lot of interest in reforming the 'colonial' school set up and obviously many more viewers than respondents . I am still looking for specific experiences from longer term actual members or exmembers of the Australian schools or other franchised branches (looks like the UK parent body is being adequately investigated and members of the schools are networking but not so for adult school or foreign branches)
Would appreciate some feedback.
Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2005 9:22 pm
Dear viewers, so far not a lot of discussion on this thread and apart from a few PMs not a great deal of information or evidence specifically dealing with the matters of illegal operation and otherwise unlawful behaviour (eg misleading and deceptive trade description and advertising)
For unknown reasons there appears to be little interest to expose their true nature in the local print media - apathy or indifference would convey the general response and the conflict of interest with the same papers carrying their advertising might not be unrelated.
Sharing 'horror stories' and testimonies of past wrongs suffered is in itself possibly cathartic (although a fair number find it too distressing to go back in their memories ) but only either legal action or government intervention based on breach of lawful conduct can have any real effect in removing the on going threat and repairing past damages.
Please think about whether you can contribute some useful evidence to help bring this about (and/or organize something along these lines in your home area and country )
"All that is neccesary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing"
Regards, Ross Nolan.
thanks for the PM's
Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2005 12:39 pm
To those who have responded with case histories and evidence a vote of thanks -- to the other of the 508 'readers' who have not, how about adding your two cents worth to build the case for exposure and 'reform' ???.
Remember , just opening the window and screaming " I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking this crap any more " (sic) might have worked for Peter Finch and makes you feel good for a while but for lasting benefit try sending your complaints to this forum thread.