The RPF, or "Rehabilitation Project Force" is often depicted by Scientology critics with such terms as "gulag", "concentration camps", or "slave labor". Allegations or implication is made that people are in there through force.
This is false. While the RPF mostly consists of physical work and while contact with regular staff is limited, people in the RPF go through the program because of their belief in Scientology and because they believe that it will give them a chance to rehabilitate their purpose and motivation. They always have the option to leave the organization - and this is an alternative usually offered them before entering the RPF. They even sign a paper to the effect that they understand what the RPF is about and that they agree to be there. There are no locks to prevent them from leaving and RPF facilities are often within minutes of busy towns.
Apart for the 8 hours a day they have to provide, participants to the RPF are required to study and co-audit five hours a day. This is an integral part of the rehabilitation program. The aim is to heal the causes believed to be at the root of their problem rather than punishment. It even can represent a source of considerable personal gain for some people.
This does not mean that abuses are not possible. Given the context and human nature, this certainly is a possibility. In this respect critics have a role to play in exposing any actual or potential abuses.
Unfortunately, critics usually prefer to engage in hyperboles, exaggerations, and generalizations about the RPF in an attempt to further their agenda against the CoS. As a consequence, those who uncritically fall for critics' depiction have a far grimmer conception of the RPF than it really warrants.
The following pages aim to restore some balance. You will find two testimonies from ex-members who actually did the RPF program, that of Ralph Hilton and that of DeoMorto. These can't be said to be "cult apologists" since they are otherwise extremely critical of the CoS. I also web a relevant excerpt taken from the excellent study conducted by Gordon Melton on the Sea Organization, and offer my own testimony of what I saw of the RPF when I lived for a short while in its Copenhagen quarter. Finally, I web a very good analysis of critics' classical myths and hyperboles about the RPF - this analysis is done by Kymus, an ex-member who, like myself, opposes both the CoS and fanatical critics.
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