At best, they say, children see their parents one hour a day at dinner and perhaps late in the evening. Sometimes, according to ex-staffers, youngsters have gone for days without a visit from their parents, who believe that their work for the group is transcendent.
"She was directed to work all night as a penalty," the justice noted.
He recounted the case of another woman who refused to take a church job that would have separated her from her daughter for two months.
"She was shouted at and abused because she put the care of her child first," the justice wrote in connection with a child custody battle between a father who was a Scientologist and a mother who had defected. The mother was awarded custody.
Former staff members say they tolerated the harsh conditions for many reasons. They say they were captives both of their dreams of creating an enlightened world through Scientology and of their fears of leaving the organization.
Staff members are continuously told that there is no safe refuge for them outside the group because society is a breeding ground for criminals, the insane and people too ignorant to see that Scientology is the answer to mankind's problems.
In the church, non-Scientologists are derisively called "wogs," defined by Hubbard as "a common ordinary run-of-the-mill garden variety humanoid. . . . Somebody who isn't even trying."
A recruitment flyer for a school run by Scientologists exemplifies this mind-set:
"If you turn your kids over to the enemy all day for 12-15 years, which side do you think they will come out on?" the flyer asks rhetorically. The enemy, in this case, is public education.
The organization's fear of hostile outside influences is so institutionalized that potential staff members are grilled about whether they are government agents or reporters or whether they harbor critical thoughts of Hubbard. Their answers are monitored on the E-meter.
Security around church buildings is elaborate and sophisticated. Remote cameras sweep the streets outside. Scientologists with walkie-talkies scout the perimeters.
In time, the staff member's world orbits ever more tightly around one man--Hubbard.
"You finally are to the point where you do not examine, logically, Scientology," said former Scientologist Vicki Aznaran, who until two years ago was one of the most powerful figures in the church and is now locked in litigation with Scientology.
"You are cut off from anything that might give you another viewpoint," she said.
Some stay because they fear calamity will befall them if they are denied church courses they have been told are vital to spiritual and physical stability.
Former Sea Organization member Janie Peterson, for one, once testified that she was "so indoctrinated into Scientology that I felt . . . I would die" upon leaving.
Other former members said they felt trapped by the church's "freeloader debt" policy.
Many Scientologists join the staff as a way to obtain the church's expensive services for free. But should they leave before the expiration of their employment contracts--ranging from two years to 1 billion years--they must pay for the programs they had received at no cost. This "freeloader debt" can reach thousands of dollars.
And on top of all this is the haunting fear that they will be ostracized by family and friends for shunning the religion.
"For those like myself who had been in Scientology for years, Scientology was our entire life, our friendships, our work, our home," said ex-Sea Organization member Whitfield, who spent nearly two decades on the staff. "The organization had made us grow so entirely dependent on it, it was almost inconceivable to leave.
"After all, we had no job skills, no jobs and we believed we would be immediately hit with thousands of dollars of freeloader debt."
Whitfield said that she, like others, defected after reaching the conclusion that the church seemed "only interested in controlling" its members.
"I have looked back and said to myself, 'What an indoctrinated fool I was. What a fool.' "