Overts and Withholds
Steve Hall recently posted a good essay about O/Ws: Lessening The Overt. Steve touches on something I’d like to shed more light on.
As I’ve said before, there is a lot of natter and HE&R in the Field, which indicates overts and withholds. Now, I’m not here to accuse anyone of anything or evaluate for anyone. I’m merely pointing out a technical fact.
But here’s something to consider. Let’s say you sit down to do an O/W write-up (as Steve suggests). You start looking around and writing down overts. You find that your overts are things like, “I didn’t tell the registrar about my tax refund”, or “I spent $1000 on replacing my roof instead of giving it to IAS”, or “I got angry with org personnel who suggested I raid my kids’ college fund for money to go to the Ideal Org program”. Do you see a pattern here?
Without doing an overt/withhold write-up, you could be walking around with these O/Ws for a long time and suffering as a result. But notice what kind of O/Ws these are. According to the Church, they might be genuine overts, but are they really? As a Church member, maybe you subscribe to whatever moral code Miscavige has forced on the Church these days. But the real question is whether that moral code is a valid moral code.
The best yardstick for determining whether something is an overt or not is The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number Of Dynamics. When doing your O/W write-up, you might consider that when looking at possible overts to write up. You might just discover that many, if not most of what you’ve been considering overts, actually weren’t overts at all.
Another point my wife brought up is this (here): Just because you have overts and/or withholds doesn’t make you a bad person. If you live in this universe and you have overts and withholds, congratulations. You’re not alone. We all have them. It’s just a fact. Though the Church may point boney, judgmental fingers at you, realize that’s not part of the Tech. An auditor in session pulling your O/Ws doesn’t care about what you did. His only concern in auditing is to get all the details, so that nothing is left to burden you later. Overt/withhold auditing (and write-ups) are only valuable to the extent they unburden you. Beyond that, no one (including you) should care.
Of course, none of this is license to go around doing bad things, willy nilly. I’m merely pointing out that having O/Ws is not necessarily a black mark on your character, and that many of your O/Ws may not, in fact, be real harmful acts.