If I had to pick one primary, overriding characteristic of the Church of Scientology, it would have to be "stopping communication". Beyond anything else the church does, this is what it does best and most.
Now, I do recognize that this is quite an ironic statement about a church that sells a number of "Communication Courses" and brags that its technology "increases your ability to communicate", but there it is.
The Church of Scientology just does not like any communication that it does not control completely and tightly. The disorderly and uncontrollable Internet drives it completely crazy. It would shut down all references (except its own) to Scientology on the Internet, if only it could.
Questions, comments, stories, discussion, documents and letters: The Church of Scientology opposes everything out there on the Internet and uses all sorts of tricks, both legal and illegal, to try to suppress it.
While the Church of Scientology does support pro-Scientology web sites and pro-Scientology blogs, these are always closed sites. No discussion. Any open discussion, where a negative opinion or fact might appear, is vehemently fought by the church.
But the Church of Scientology's abridgment of communication is not restricted to the Internet. Far from it.
The restriction of communication for new recruits starts early. One of the first things a new Scientologist does, once they have truly accepted the basic doctrines of Scientology, is to drop out of communication with friends and family. At this point, there really isn't any official church requirement that they do so, it just happens rather automatically. The new Scientologist gets wrapped up in the new terminology, the new concepts, the new ways of "communicating" (often referred to as the "Scientology stare"). They no longer feel much connection with the real world. To non-Scientologists, it sure looks like people doing the Scientology "Communications Course" become considerably worse at communicating!
The official restrictions from the Church of Scientology come soon afterwards.
Remember, this is an organization that claims that communication is key, and that Scientology "improves communication"!
One of the few ways that a new Scientologist may still communicate with friends and family will be their attempts to get everyone they know into Scientology. The church even teaches "dissemination drills" (sales patter) for this purpose. Of course, their friends and family will have questions and concerns, especially about the worrisome things they can see and read about Scientology. And this is a problem. Anything negative about Scientology is forbidden and these questions inevitably will concern negative things about Scientology.
The Scientologist may be initially instructed by the church to "handle" their friends and family, but if friends and family still refuse to buy into Scientology's view of things, if they still mention anything negative about Scientology, the Church of Scientology will demand that the Scientologist "disconnect" from (sever all communication with) their friends and family.
At this point, the cessation of communication is official Church of Scientology policy and is strictly enforced.
Keep in mind, this is still the group that prides itself on "improving communication!" And, every chance it gets, it stops communication.
And it does get worse. So far, the Scientologist has been allowed to stay in communication with friends and family only if those friends and family carefully avoid saying anything negative about Scientology. Many family members of Scientologists have learned this and will carefully avoid talking about Scientology with the Scientologist.
But if the Scientologist joins the Sea Org and especially if the Scientologist goes to the International Management compound in Hemet, the restrictions on communication become draconian.
Staff at the "Int. Base" in Hemet are not allowed to own or use cell phones. They are not allowed to own or use a radio or TV. They are not allowed to own a computer and have no access to the Internet. Their letters out are read and censored, their letters in are read and, if deemed unacceptable, discarded without notification. All staff phone calls must be made from specific phones which are monitored by security staff. As a result, staff rarely communicate outside the base, and when they do, the communications are as bland and short as possible. At the top of the Church of Scientology, where, one can assume, Scientology is applied 100%, all day, every day, all communication is stopped!
Stopping communication. It's what the Church of Scientology does.