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The SEA ORGANIZATION (SEA ORG) is a legally nonexistent Scientology organization, which the Church of Scientology
Scientology
describes as a "fraternal religious order , comprising the church's most dedicated members". All Scientology
Scientology
management organizations are controlled exclusively by members of the Sea Org. David Miscavige
David Miscavige
, the _de facto_ leader of Scientology, is the highest-ranking Sea Org
Sea Org
officer, holding the rank of captain.

The organization has been described by some as a paramilitary and as a private naval force, having operated several vessels in its past and displaying a maritime tradition. Some ex-members and scholars have described the Sea Org
Sea Org
as a totalitarian organization marked by intensive surveillance and a lack of freedom.

In a 1992 memorandum by the Church of Scientology
Scientology
International , the following information was provided to the Internal Revenue Service with regards to nature of the Sea Org:

does not have an ecclesiastical organizing board or command channels chart or secular existence such as an incorporated or unincorporated association. Although there is no such "organization" as the Sea Organization, the term Sea Org
Sea Org
has a colloquial usage which implies that there is. There are general recruitment posters and literature for "The Sea Org" which implies that people will be employed by the Sea Org
Sea Org
when in reality they will join, making the billion year commitment, at some church that is staffed by Sea Org
Sea Org
members and become employees of that church corporation. The Sea Org
Sea Org
exists as a spiritual commitment that is factually beyond the full understanding of the Service or any other but a trained and audited Scientologist.

The Sea Org
Sea Org
was established on August 12, 1967 by L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
, the founder of Dianetics and Scientology
Scientology
, initially on board four ships, the _Diana_, the _Athena_, the _Apollo_, and the _Excalibur_. The _Apollo_ served as the flag ship of the Sea Org.

In 1971, the Sea Org
Sea Org
assumed responsibility for the ecclesiastical development of the church, and in particular the delivery of the upper levels of its auditing and training, known as the Operating Thetan or "OT" levels. In 1981, under the aegis of the Commodore\'s Messenger Organization led by David Miscavige, the Sea Org
Sea Org
dissolved the Guardian\'s Office (GO) and assumed full responsibility for the international management of the Church, later reassigning the duties of the GO to the Office of Special Affairs in 1983 during the corporate restructuring of the Church.

It moved to land-based organizations in 1975, though maritime customs persist, with many members wearing naval-style uniforms and addressing both male and female officers as "sir." In 1985, the church purchased a 440-foot (130 m) motor vessel , the _ Freewinds _, which docks in Curaçao in the southern Caribbean and is used as a religious retreat and training center, staffed entirely by Sea Org
Sea Org
members. Sea Org members make a lifetime commitment to Scientology
Scientology
by signing a billion-year contract that is officially described as a symbolic pledge. In exchange, members are given free room and board, and a small weekly allowance. Sea Org
Sea Org
members agree to strict codes of discipline, such as disavowing premarital sex , working long hours (on average at least 100 hours per week) and living in communal housing, referred to as "berthings". They are allowed to marry, but must relinquish their membership if they have or want to raise children.

CONTENTS

* 1 Background

* 2 Structure

* 2.1 Estates Project Force * 2.2 Location * 2.3 Billion-year commitment * 2.4 Marriage and family * 2.5 Rehabilitation Project Force

* 3 Analysis * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 Further reading

BACKGROUND

Further information: Scientology
Scientology
beliefs and practices and Space opera in Scientology
Scientology
scripture L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
founded the Church of Scientology
Scientology
in 1953 and the Sea Org
Sea Org
in 1967.

J. Gordon Melton writes that Scientology
Scientology
is an esoteric Gnostic system based on the belief that the self, or thetan , is trapped in what it calls MEST : matter, energy, space and time. Scientology
Scientology
aims to restore the thetan to a state of "total freedom" from MEST through long courses of study and auditing , which rid the thetan of "engrams ", recordings of distressing experiences from this and previous lives. The first significant aim of this training is the state of "Clear ". Hubbard developed higher levels of training in the Sea Org, enabling the subject to live as an Operating Thetan (OT). An OT is said by the church to be able to experience the self outside the constraints of the body, a process Scientologists call "exteriorization".

According to Hubbard, much of the galaxy was ruled tens of millions of years ago by the Galactic Confederacy, comprising 26 stars and 76 planets, including Earth, then known as Teegeeack . The confederacy was controlled by a tyrant named Xenu , who sent people from other planets to Earth because of over-crowding. Their souls attached themselves in clusters to human bodies, so that each person on Earth became a collection of entities, rather than a single personality. Part of the mission of Scientology
Scientology
is to rid people of these extra entities, known as body thetans . Religious scholar Hugh Urban writes that the Sea Org
Sea Org
resembles a group within the Galactic Confederacy, known as the "Loyal Officers" who overthrew Xenu. Urban also describes the Sea Org, with the naval uniforms and ranks, as an idealized re-creation of Hubbard\'s own World War II military career . He also states that the Sea Org
Sea Org
is reminiscent of the "Soldiers of Light" in Hubbard's science fiction story collection _Ole Doc Methuselah _.

Stephen A. Kent (2001) argues that at least part of the reason for the establishment of the Sea Org
Sea Org
was that the Church of Scientology's practices encountered resistance from the American Food and Drug Administration and the IRS, and from the governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, and Rhodesia. Sailing on the high seas meant the church could escape their attention.

In 2000 the number of Sea Org
Sea Org
members was listed at around 7,000. As of 2009, the number was listed by the church at around 5,000. Most Sea Org
Sea Org
members reside in church complexes in Los Angeles, Clearwater, Copenhagen, London, Saint Hill, and Sydney, with some at smaller centers or on assignment elsewhere.

STRUCTURE

ESTATES PROJECT FORCE

All new recruits are required to complete compulsory novitiate before they are allowed to join the Sea Org, which has been described as a boot camp . During this phase, recruits are not yet considered to be Sea Org
Sea Org
members, and are required to address all Sea Org
Sea Org
members, regardless of rank, as "sir" as well as having to run everywhere instead of walking. Married couples are separated for the duration of the EPF and are not allowed to have private or intimate contact with each other.

While on the EPF, recruits perform five hours of manual labor every day, in addition to a five-hour study period that consists of studying several Scientology
Scientology
courses, including the _Basic Study Manual_, an introductory course in study tech , _Introduction to Scientology Ethics_, a basic course in Scientology
Scientology
ethics , as well as courses concerning the history of the Sea Org
Sea Org
and personal hygiene and grooming. Like the RPF, the EPF does not have a definite schedule. A recruit graduates the EPF as soon as all the required courses have been completed and upon successfully undergoing a mandatory security check, they are then allowed to join the Sea Org
Sea Org
as full members. Sea Org recruits verbally agree to an 18-point code or pledge as part of a swearing in ceremony. Members formally reaffirm their acceptance of this code annually on August 12, the day when the organization was founded.

LOCATION

_ The church's cruise ship, the Freewinds _, staffed by Sea Org members

In 1967 the Church of Scientology
Scientology
purchased HMS _Royal Scotsman_ which they renamed the _Apollo_, which was used as the Sea Org's Flagship
Flagship
. In 1975, the church sold the Sea Org's ships and moved the organization to land bases around the world, which as of 2003, were operating in Clearwater, Copenhagen, London, Los Angeles, Saint Hill Manor in the UK, and Sydney, with smaller offices in Budapest, Johannesburg, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, and Toronto. In 1987, they purchased a ship, _La Bohème_, which they renamed _ Freewinds _. OT VIII , the highest auditing level of Scientology
Scientology
currently available, is exclusive to the _Freewinds_ and can only be undertaken there. The ship also hosts various courses, seminars, conventions and events throughout the year, including the annual _Maiden Voyage_ celebration.

BILLION-YEAR COMMITMENT

According to Hubbard, the Sea Org's mission is "an exploration into both time _and_ space". Sea Org
Sea Org
members act as goodwill representatives and administrators of Scientology; all policy and administrative posts in the church's key organizations are held by Sea Org members. Most members are given room, board and a weekly allowance of about $75.

In accordance with Scientology
Scientology
beliefs , members are expected to return to the Sea Org
Sea Org
when they are reborn; the Sea Org's motto is "We Come Back". Members must therefore sign a symbolic billion-year "religious commitment", pledging to "get ethics in on this planet and the universe." The church contends that the agreement is not a legally binding contract and is merely a symbolic demonstration of the dedication members are expected to give to the organization, and that they are free to leave if they wish. After signing, members report to the Estates Project Force, the Sea Org's induction program; Melton writes that members may take several years between signing the commitment and attending the induction. Once induction is completed, the final decision to join is made.

Members who leave the Sea Org
Sea Org
are issued a "freeloader's bill," retroactively billing them for any auditing or training they have received. Although the bill is not legally enforceable, these Scientologists may not receive services at any Scientology organization until they pay the bill and perform an ethics course.

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY

Further information: Scientology
Scientology
and abortion

Sea Org
Sea Org
members may marry one another, but are not permitted to marry outside the organization; extra-marital sex is also prohibited. According to Melton, couples with children must leave the Sea Org
Sea Org
and return to other staff positions within the church until the child is six years old; thereafter the children are raised communally and allowed to visit their parents in the Sea Org
Sea Org
on weekends. Children of members have themselves joined the Sea Org
Sea Org
when they came of age. Several former members have said they were advised (or even forced) to have an abortion when they became pregnant to avoid being sent to lower organizations. Scientology
Scientology
presents itself as opposed to abortion and actively speaks out against it in its publications.

REHABILITATION PROJECT FORCE

Further information: Rehabilitation Project Force

The Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF) was created in January 1974 as a system of work camps set up by the Sea Org, intended to isolate and rehabilitate members who have not lived up to the church's expectations, have failed security checks , or have violated certain policies. Melton writes that the RPF areas are located within Sea Org facilities, and that there are no locks on the doors.

Many ex- Sea Org
Sea Org
members have reported gruelling treatment. According to Melton, there are eight hours of physical work – such as painting, plumbing, and upkeep of grounds – six days a week; the work may involve teaching the member a skill such as carpentry. Members also spend five hours a day studying with or auditing a partner. Former Scientologist Jon Atack argued, in _A Piece of Blue Sky _ (1990), that treatment of Sea Org
Sea Org
members in the RPF was a "careful imitation of techniques long-used by the military to obtain unquestioning obedience and immediate compliance to orders, or more simply to break men's spirits ..." One former member, Gerry Armstrong , said that during his time in the Sea Org
Sea Org
in the 1970s he spent over two years banished to the RPF as a punishment:

It was essentially a prison to which crew who were considered nonproducers, security risks, or just wanted to leave the Sea Org, were assigned. Hubbard's RPF policies established the conditions. RPF members were segregated and not allowed to communicate to anyone else. They had their own spaces and were not allowed in normal crew areas of the ship. They ate after normal crew had eaten, and only whatever was left over from the crew meal. Their berthing was the worst on board, in a roach-infested, filthy and unventilated cargo hold. They wore black boilersuits, even in the hottest weather. They were required to run everywhere. Discipline was harsh and bizarre, with running laps of the ship assigned for the slightest infraction like failing to address a senior with "Sir." Work was hard and the schedule rigid with seven hours' sleep time from lights out to lights on, short meal breaks, no liberties and no free time ...

When one young woman ordered into the RPF took the assignment too lightly, Hubbard created the RPF's RPF and assigned her to it, an even more degrading experience, cut off even from the RPF, kept under guard, forced to clean the ship's bilges , and allowed even less sleep.

ANALYSIS

Several scholars, writers and former members have compared the Sea Org to a paramilitary group. In _Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography _ (2008), Andrew Morton described it as a "fraternal paramilitary organization", and wrote that members are instructed to read _ The Art of War _ by warfare expert Sun Tzu , and _ On War
On War
_ by General Carl von Clausewitz
Carl von Clausewitz
. He wrote that Scientology
Scientology
leader David Miscavige created an elite unit within the Sea Org
Sea Org
called the "SEALs", named after the United States Navy SEALs , who receive better lodging, sustenance, and uniforms than other Sea Org
Sea Org
members.

Lawrence Wright wrote in _The New Yorker_ in 2011 that the Sea Org used small children drawn from Scientology
Scientology
families for what the article described as forced child labour. The article described extremely inhumane conditions, with children spending years in the Sea Org, sequestered from mainstream life.

SEE ALSO

* Scientology
Scientology
portal

* List of Scientology
Scientology
organizations * Scientology
Scientology
controversies

NOTES

* ^ _A_ _B_ Atack 1990, p. 175. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ "What is the Sea Organization?". Church of Scientology
Scientology
. Retrieved May 27, 2015. * ^ "WHAT IS THE SEA ORGANIZATION?". _Church of Scientology International_. Retrieved 8 July 2013. * ^ Davis, Derek; Hankins, Barry (2003). _New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America_. Baylor University Press. p. 48-49. ISBN 0918954924 .

* ^ _A_ _B_ Stark and Bainbridge 1996, p. 213.

* Dawson 2006, p. 38: "Members of the paramilitary Sea Org
Sea Org
sign billion-year contracts of absolute loyalty and service to the highest leadership of the Church of Scientology." * Former member Aaron Judge in Squires, 29 November 2009: "The Sea Org is like a military organization. You live in cramped quarters, are served food in the cafeteria area and you basically work from 8:30 in the morning through to 11:15 at night." * Former Scientology
Scientology
auditor Bruce Hines in Cooper, 2 December 2005: "It's very much a military organization. You wear a uniform, there's saluting, marching, standing at attention."

* ^ Russell Miller (15 November 1987). "Farce and fear in Scientology\'s private navy " (PDF). _ The Sunday Times _. Retrieved 8 July 2013. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Urban 2011, pp. 124–127. * ^ Church of Scientology, Nov. 23, 1992: Third Set of Responses to the IRS in support of Scientology\'s application for 501(c)(3) tax exemption. * ^ Lewis, James R. (2009). _Scientology_. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-08-18. * ^ Melton 2003 , pp. 44–47. * ^ Chris Owen (August 1997). "Scientology\'s Secret Service 2. The Guardian Office (1966-83)". _ Operation Clambake _. Andreas Heldal Lund . Retrieved 8 July 2013. * ^ Reitman, 23 February 2006, p. 1. * ^ "IS IT TRUE THAT PEOPLE IN THE SEA ORG SIGN A BILLION-YEAR CONTRACT?". _Church of Scientology
Scientology
International_. Retrieved 8 July 2013. * ^ Tony Ortega . "Scientology\'s Own Promotional Material Attests to 15-Year-Olds in the Sea Org". _Runnin' Scared_. Village Voice . * ^ Headley, Marc (2009), _Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology_, BFG Books, p. 358, retrieved 8 July 2013 * ^ _A_ _B_ Wright, Lawrence (14 February 2011). "The Apostate". _The New Yorker_. Retrieved 5 March 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Melton 2003 . * ^ Kent 2001, pp. 111–112, footnote 23. * ^ Abigail Pesta. "Scientology’s Sea Org: A Story of Escape for Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise". _ The Daily Beast _. Newsweek/The Daily Beast LLC. * ^ Kent, Stephen A. (September 13, 2000). "Brainwashing in Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF)". Interior Ministry, University of Alberta. * ^ Stephen A. Kent (13 September 2000). _Brainwashing in Scientology\'s Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF)_. Interior Ministry - Behörde für Inneres — Arbeitsgruppe Scientology
Scientology
und Landeszentrale fuür politische Bildung. Retrieved 10 July 2013. * ^ Brian Palmer (December 1, 2011). "What Do You Do on a Scientology
Scientology
Cruise Ship?". _ Slate (magazine) _. Retrieved May 29, 2015. * ^ For an example of the latter, see Reitman 2011, p. 284.

* ^ _A_ _B_ _St. Petersburg Times_, 18 July 2004.

* Welkos and Sappell, 26 June 1990.

* ^ Melton 2003 , p. 51-52. * ^ Melton 2003 , p. 50. * ^ Farley, 24 June 2006, pp. 1A, 14A. * ^ Melton 2003 , p. 53. * ^ Kent 1999. *"The Sea Org
Sea Org
/ Cadet Org", Ex Scientology
Scientology
Kids, accessed 17 August 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ Melton 2003 , p. 57. * ^ _A_ _B_ Atack 1990, p. 206. * ^ Morton 2008, pp. 126, 135–137.

REFERENCES

Books and papers

* Atack, Jon . _A Piece of Blue Sky_. Carol Publishing Group, 1990. * Dawson, Lorne L. _Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements_. Oxford University Press, 2006. * Kent, Stephen A. "Scientology: Is this a religion?", _Marburg Journal of Religion_, vol 4, no 1, July 1999. * Kent, Stephen A. _From Slogans to Mantras: Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era _. Syracuse University Press, 2001. * Melton, J. Gordon (2003). "Chapter 3: A Contemporary Ordered Religious Community". In Davis, Derrick; Hankins, Barry. _New Religious Movements and Religious Liberty in America_. Baylor University Press. pp. 43–62. ISBN 9780918954923 . Retrieved March 22, 2016.

* Derived from a paper presented at a CESNUR conference in 2001

* Melton, J. Gordon. "Birth of a Religion," in James R. Lewis (ed.). _Scientology_. Oxford University Press, 2009. * Morton, Andrew . _Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography _. Macmillan, 2008. * Reitman, Janet. _Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion_. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. * Stark, Rodney and Bainbridge, William Sims . _A Theory of Religion_. Rutgers University Press, 1996. * Urban, Hugh. _The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion_. Princeton University Press, 2011.

News items

* Cooper, Anderson . "Inside the Church of Scientology", CNN, 2 December 2005. * Farley, Robert. "The unperson", _St. Petersburg Times_, 24 June 2006. * Reitman, Janet. "Inside Scientology", _Rolling Stone_, 23 February 2006. * Squires, Rosie. "The L. Ron scandal," _Sunday Telegraph_ (Sydney, Australia), 29 November 2009. * _St. Petersburg Times_. "About Scientology", 18 July 2004. * Welkos, Robert W. and Sappell, Joel. "Defectors Recount Lives of Hard Work, Punishment", _Los Angeles Times_, 26 June 1990. * Wright, Lawrence. "The Apostate", _The New Yorker_, 14 February 2011.

FURTHER READING

* Official website of the Church of Scientology * Lattin, Don. "Leaving the Fold: Third-generation Scientologist grows disillusioned with faith", _San Francisco Chronicle_, 12 February 2001. * Kent, Stephen A. " Scientology
Scientology
and the European Human Rights Debate", _Marburg Journal of Religion_, vol 8, no 1, September 2003.

* v * t * e

Scientology
Scientology

Beliefs and practices

* Assists * Body thetan * The Bridge * Comm Evs * Dead File
File
* Disconnection * Doctrine of Exchange * Emotional tone scale * E-meter
E-meter
* Ethics * Holidays * Implant * Incident * Jesus in Scientology
Scientology
* Keeping Scientology
Scientology
Working * Marriage * MEST * Operating Thetan * OT VIII * Other religions * Reincarnation * Rundowns * Sec Check * Sexual orientation * Silent birth * Space opera * Study Tech
Study Tech
* Supernatural abilities * Thetan * Training routines * Xenu

DIANETICS

* History of Dianetics * Auditing * Black Dianetics * Clear * _Dianetics: MSMH_ * Engram * Reactive mind

History and controversies

* Abortion
Abortion
* Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act * Church of Scientology
Scientology
editing on * Clearwater Hearings * Death of Lisa McPherson * Death of Elli Perkins * Death of Kaja Ballo * Fair Game * The Fishman Affidavit * Keith Henson * The Internet * List of Guardian\'s Office operations * Operation Clambake * Operation Freakout * Operation Snow White * Project Chanology
Project Chanology
* Project Normandy * R2-45 * Racism * Psychiatry * _ Scientology
Scientology
and Me _ * Scientology
Scientology
as a business * _The Secrets of Scientology
Scientology
_ * Suppressive Person * Tax status in the US * " The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power " * " We Stand Tall " * Lawrence Wollersheim

LITIGATION

* _ Arenz, Röder and Dagmar v. Germany _ * _Church of Scientology
Scientology
of California v. Armstrong _ * _Church of Scientology
Scientology
International v. Fishman and Geertz _ * _Church of Scientology
Scientology
International v. Time Warner, Inc., et al. _ * _Church of Scientology
Scientology
Moscow v. Russia _ * _Church of Scientology
Scientology
v. Sweden _ * _ Hernandez v. Commissioner _ * _Hill v. Church of Scientology
Scientology
of Toronto _ * _ Religious Technology Center v. Netcom On-Line Communication Services, Inc. _ * _R. v. Church of Scientology
Scientology
of Toronto _ * _ United States v. Hubbard
United States v. Hubbard
_ * _X. and Church of Scientology
Scientology
v. Sweden _

ORGANIZATIONS

* Celebrity Centre * Church of Scientology
Scientology
* Church of Scientology
Scientology
International * Church of Spiritual Technology
Church of Spiritual Technology
* Free Zone

* Gold Base

* The Hole

* Hubbard Association of Scientologists International * International Association of Scientologists * L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
House * Office of Special Affairs * Religious Technology Center * RPF * Scientology
Scientology
Missions International * Sea Org * Trementina Base
Trementina Base

COUNTRIES

* Status by country * Australia * Belgium * Canada * Egypt * France * Germany * New Zealand * Pakistan * Russia * Taiwan * United Kingdom * United States

OFFICIALS

* Bob Adams * John Carmichael * Tommy Davis * Jessica Feshbach * David Gaiman * Leisa Goodman * L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
* Mary Sue Hubbard * Heber Jentzsch * David Miscavige
David Miscavige
* Michele Miscavige * Kendrick Moxon * Karin Pouw * Mark Rathbun
Mark Rathbun
* Mike Rinder * Michelle Stith * Kurt Weiland

POPULAR CULTURE

* _Ali\'s Smile: Naked Scientology
Scientology
_ * _Being Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
_ * _ Bowfinger
Bowfinger
_ * _The Bridge _

* _Going Clear _

* film

* _Leah Remini: Scientology
Scientology
and the Aftermath _ * _My Scientology
Scientology
Movie _ * _The Master _ * _The Profit _ * _South Park _ * " A Token of My Extreme " * _A Very Merry Unauthorized Children\'s Scientology
Scientology
Pageant _

Affiliated organizations and recruitment

* Association for Better Living and Education * Concerned Businessmen\'s Association of America

* Celebrities

* List of members

* Citizens Commission on Human Rights * Criminon * Cult Awareness Network * _ Freewinds _ * Moxon ">Wikibooks * Wikimedia Commons * Wikinews * Wikiquote * Wikisource * Wikiversity * Wiktionary

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