I’m going to make a statement that I couldn’t have gotten away with inside the Church, neither now nor back when I got into Scientology in 1976.
SOP 4, from the latter days of Philadelphia Doctorate Course, is no longer in use.
Why wouldn’t I get away with saying that? Because it violates HCOPL 17 June 1970 URGENT AND IMPORTANT TECHNICAL DEGRADES, of course.
Or does it?
Prefatory material on that policy:
Any checksheet in use or in stock which carries on it any degrading statement must be destroyed and issued without qualifying statements.
Example: Level 0 to IV Checksheets SH carry “A. Background Material– This section is included as an historical background, but has much interest and value to the student. Most of the processes are no longer used, having been replaced by more modern technology. The student is only required to read this material and ensure he leaves no misunderstood.” This heading covers such vital things as TRs, Op Pro by Dup! The statement is a falsehood.
These checksheets were not approved by myself, all the material of the Academy and SH courses IS in use.
Such actions as this gave us “Quickie Grades”, ARC Broke the field and downgraded the Academy and SH Courses.
A condition of TREASON or cancellation of certificates or dismissal and a full investigation of the background of any person found guilty, will be activated in the case of anyone committing the following HIGH CRIMES.
After this point in the PL, there is a list of ten HIGH CRIMES. Some of them simply don’t relate to the statement I just made, because they have to do with checksheets only, and my statement isn’t part of a checksheet or related to one. I’ll list the HIGH CRIMES which might apply only:
2. Adding comments to checksheets or instructions labelling any material “background” or “not used now” or “old” or any similar action which will result in the student not knowing, using, and applying the data in which he is being trained.
4. Failing to strike from any checksheet remaining in use meanwhile any such comments as “historical”, “background”, “not used”, “old”, etc. or VERBALLY STATING IT TO STUDENTS.
10. Acting in any way calculated to lose the technology of Dianetics and Scientology to use or shorten its materials or its application.
Let’s take each in turn. Number 2 relates to a presumably complete and okayed checksheet. Ron talks about the material the student is being trained in (contained on the checksheet). So this high crime relates to invalidating material on an approved checksheet. As a high crime, this makes sense, since it goes to the heart of the point LRH made in the first part of the policy letter. Unfortunately, it therefore doesn’t have anything to do with the statement I made in the beginning. That statement was simply a bald statement made outside the context of any checksheet or course.
Number 4 overlaps somewhat with number 2, but makes it a crime not to strike such statements from any checksheet. Sort of the opposite of number 2, but adds a proviso about verbally stating such things to students. In other words, if the invalidative statement isn’t on the checksheet, but you give it to students verbally anyway, it’s still a crime. An example might be, for a course teaching TRs to students, telling a student that OT TR-0 and TR-0 are mainly of historical significance, but aren’t really in use any more (even though they are rightfully on the TRs course checksheet). Okay, again this has nothing to do with the statement I made in the beginning. I’m not telling students who have SOP 4 on their checksheets that it’s old and not used any more.
Number 10 covers anything that might have been missed in the other high crimes. Here we have to determine that the instructor/speaker is acting in a way which is “calculated to lose the technology of Dianetics and Scientology to use or shorten its materials or its application.” Remember in the case of my statement above, I’m not talking to a student who is studying SOP 4 as part of his course, nor who has it on his checksheet. I’m not acting in a way to shorten its materials or its application. As far as I know, SOP 4 not included on any student’s course. So I’m not shortening any materials or application. Am I acting in a way calculated to lose the technology of Dianetics and Scientology? Well considering that I’m talking about something which is not on any checksheet anywhere, there’s no technology in active use which I’m likely to or liable to lose.
Incidentally, in case you’re wondering, LRH makes a clear statement on tape that not even he knows what happened to SOP 4. Apparently, SOP moved directly from version 3 to version 5, bypassing version 4 entirely. It is never described anywhere because it was simply skipped. That’s why I can comfortably make my statement above. Kind of a “trick” statement, actually.
In any case, for decades people have been afraid to use the terms “old”, “not used any more” and such for anything in Scientology, largely because of this policy letter. And I have no doubt that people have been “hit” (targeted with justice actions) for over-active misinterpretations of this policy. I know I’ve been hit for it. But this happens only because of people not carefully reading the policy letter and applying it correctly.
One has to correctly consider the context of policies in applying them, and not apply them in contexts in which they don’t belong. In the case of Technical Degrades, the context is explained right there in the policy letter, as well as the problem the policy letter is attempting to resolve.
The fact is, there is a lot of material introduced early in Scientology which is factually “old” and “not used anymore”, which was superceded either immediately or years later by other technology. To act like it’s not there or not call it what it is is like pretending not to notice the elephant in the middle of the room. Stating that it’s “old” or “not used any more” does not in the least invalidate its workability. When it was originally introduced, it was workable, just like the technology which eventually replaced it, which was probably even more workable.
Some day we’ll be in a position to again enforce this policy letter with legitimate justice actions. When that happens, let’s be clear about where it applies and where it doesn’t. And let’s not lie to ourselves and withhold our voices to steer clear of an important policy which may be applied incorrectly.