Revenge of the Hubbard Gulag

Posted: January 27, 2008 in Essentials

Do as we say, or you may be transferred to the “Rehabilitation Project Force”

The Rehabilitation Project Force, or RPF, is a controversial program set up by the Church of Scientology Sea Organization, intended to rehabilitate members who have not lived up to the Church expectations or have violated certain policies. As part of this program, and in addition to the application of Scientology procedures, members do manual labor tasks around Sea Org bases. There have been some reports of overwork and mistreatment at RPF facilities, and the program can take years to complete.

The Rehabilitation Project Force developed out of a predecessor group, the Mud Box Brigade, aboard L. Ron Hubbard’s private fleet in the late 1960s. The mud box is a small perforated screening box fitted to the suction pipe in the bilge of a ship, and is designed to catch larger solid waste before it can choke the pipeline and potentially damage the pump. The Mud Box Brigade was assigned to clean out the mud box as well as fuel lines, water hues, bilges and so on. As this involved cleaning foul-smelling waste by hand, it was understandably not a popular task.

Hubbard defined the role as being essentially a punishment duty for unsatisfactory workers: “More candidates will be appointed regularly and promptly every time I find a freeloader who is loafing on post and drifting with the wind.” “This group is the most downstat [unproductive] and one gets assigned to it by being a freeloader, invisible on post, loafing and really goofing up on one’s job.” J. Gordon Melton, however, suggested that “Hubbard understood it in terms of making retribution to the people who had been harmed by the nonperformance or incorrect performance of one’s assigned tasks.”

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