I saw an article in the newspaper about the Church of Scientology forcing members to "disconnect" from their families. I know there are other religions that do this. Do you know anything about this?
The Church of Scientology claims that disconnection is used voluntarily by Scientologists when a person in their environment is upsetting them and serious attempts to handle the upset have failed. When this is the case, according to the church, the person needs to temporarily "disconnect" while getting Scientology training or auditing.
If this were the actual use of disconnection, there is little to argue with.
However, while disconnection might be used in this way, this is not the primary way the church uses disconnection.
The Church of Scientology has created and enforces a bubble around all Scientologists. They are forbidden from getting any negative information about the church - even when completely true. More to the point, the negative information is forbidden especially when it is true.
When a Scientologist finds out about the crimes and abuses of the Church of Scientology, and they speak up about it, they are immediately "declared suppressive" by the church. By church policy, no Scientologist may have any contact with someone who has been "declared". All Scientologists are required to immediately disconnect from anyone so declared. In this way the church can effectively cut all communication to the "declared" person so that the bubble is preserved.
Those who have been executives at the top levels of the church, and who have witnessed the crimes and abuses first-hand, are automatically "declared suppressive" if they are kicked out of that environment, once again to protect the bubble and keep other Scientologists from learning the truth.
The original definition of what constitutes a "suppressive" was quite specific, but has been redefined over the years so that, now, pretty much anyone can be declared suppressive at the whim of the church.
So, instead of being temporary, voluntary disconnection from those who are upsetting a Scientologist, most disconnections are mandatory. It must be done even if the Scientologist is not upset; even if the Scientologist doesn't want to disconnect; even if the connection was beneficial and desired.
Instead of reducing upset, the church's disconnection policy tears apart families and causes upset where none existed. There is no attempt to "handle" first, as that would risk the Scientologist hearing the truth. Disconnection is enforced by the church only to protect the bubble it has created around its parishioners.
However, because the truth is out there, the information does leak in. Those still in the church either witness (or experience) the crimes and abuses first-hand, or learn about it from leaks through the bubble - and they are, in turn declared suppressive. The bubble shrinks.
Undoubtedly, the church will eventually end up a small group of not very bright people, living in their protected, fantasy bubble, and still claiming to be "the fastest growing religion in the world!"