CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

Australia, New Zealand and Oceania

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

STATEMENT BY CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FOR ABC LATELINE The Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) is a voluntary religious program of spiritual rehabilitation offered to provide a “second chance” to those who have failed to fulfil their ecclesiastical responsibilities as members of the Sea Organization, the religious order of the Church of Scientology. It represents a free religious commitment by the individual to a spiritual discipline for those who would otherwise be released from their religious vows. The word “force” in this context means “*A+ group of people working or acting together.” (Thorndike Barnhart Dictionary, 1992) The RPF is based upon one of oldest and most fundamental concepts in religion—a religious retreat in the form of a cloister focusing on intensive spiritual introspection and study and balanced by some form of physical activity. This practice is common to the religious orders of many of the world’s religions in addition to Scientology including Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and the monastic orders of the Roman Catholic Church. The RPF was created during the 1970s at the request of Sea Organization members in order to be allowed a second chance. As with any religious program requiring high spiritual and ethical standards as well as dedicated service, some clergy stumble in their effort to maintain such high standards and a few members commit serious breaches of ecclesiastical rules governing their conduct as a member of this order. In such a situation, the individual is given the choice of either leaving (so they are released from their vows in the clergy), or participating in a religious program designed to provide the individual with an opportunity to progress spiritually and remedy past shortcomings. The RPF program is done for purposes of penance and amends. It consists of 5 hours scripture study and counselling per day and extroverting physical activity. The program does not include luxuries, to motivate the individual to improve himself and get through the program to once again be a capable and contributing member of the group. It is conducted in the Church facilities in Dundas which contains grounds,

20 Dorahy Street, Dundas, NSW 2117 Australia Phone: 02-9638-5200 | Fax: 02-9680-0144 public_affairs@scientology.net.au | www.scientology.org.au

gardens and the property is open to the street with free access to and from the property – there are no gates or restricting fences. An application must be made and approved for someone to undertake this program and it is done voluntarily with fully informed consent. Chris Guider not only undertook this program with fully informed consent on two separate occasions, but engaged in the program enthusiastically and wholeheartedly. Chris knew he could leave at any time and attested to this fact stating that he knew that he “may now or at any time during my participation in the RPF choose to decline to participate and terminate my membership in the sea organization.” He personally chose to complete the program. Upon completion of the program in 2008, Chris Guider featured in a story in the Sydney Morning Herald that he personally arranged through an independent source and spoke glowingly about Scientology. In this article he says, “I passed through rigorous training programs and learnt professional-level pastoral counselling and delivered it, aiding people overcome their self-doubts and reach the highest levels of performance.” Such a declaration is not in keeping with someone unhappy with the RPF or the Church. Further Chris and his now current wife, Valeska Guider Paris who also completed the RPF program with rave recommendations to others, wrote of the many successes, personal achievements and gains made during this program. We have many statements from witnesses, and friends during this time and their own personal testimonies of their willing participation and enjoyment of the program. Chris and his wife Valeska Guider, both former long term religious ministers of the Church of Scientology are currently engaged in an ongoing action against the Church of Scientology with the Fair work Ombudsman. Their negative claims have only now surfaced since this FWO action was lodged, and are not backed up by statements from their contemporaries. These allegations appear to have been made to bolster their claims for money to which they are not entitled.

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