Rules are there for a purpose: To serve the Individual by providing guidelines that will help that individual progress more easily. If the rules don't Serve the individual, but dominate the individual and only serve the organization or somebody else, what is the cost?
As an example: "Homosexuality is Wrong." A homosexual person might find constant rejection of the natural flow of their energy. This says to him or her: You are naturally unfit for spiritual practice. He or she then has a choice: Change who they are or leave. Neither choice brings them to peace, so they must both be wrong.
A second example: "You must be silent in a Library." The lack of noise is not silence. It doesn't grow and flow from internal silence - it's enforced.
A third example: "Prison will straighten him out." Prison. People gathered together living in punishment, repression and dominance. Fear grows plentifully here, along with resentment and anger. Sometimes the individual is "broken". Sometimes they become defiant. Rarely they find their way through.
Repression is the opposite of spiritual practice because in order to repress, the heart must be clamped shut. It seems that the old disciplinarians are losing their power because people are beginning to touch truth of self-discipline.
We are learning that discipline is spiritual practice - but all functioning discipline is self-discipline - it literally can't be enforced from the "outside." In order for it to be discipline rather than submission, the individual must want to adhere to the discipline and finds pride, benefit and joy in it. Using the example of the Library, a truly silent individual is benefiting and finding joy in their own silence so that they can hear everything that is going on around them, finding communion in just breathing with others, tasting the love that governs all.
Spiritually, Abstinence - the ultimate discipline - is an advanced practice and should not be enforced on a practitioner. It is a Natural Occurrence when an appropriate level of saturation and contentment is reached. It is not a Method. As a method it is very dangerous and counterproductive in that it defeats the goal of energetic flow - which is the very tool used to open the heart and relax the mind. The condition of saturation and contentment are essential for clear sight and contemplation.
The only reason discipline is enforced by any organization is that That organization is afraid that it will fail. Fear that it will fail in it's job of naturally bringing it's members to the point of contentment - therefore the signs of that contentment will not manifest. False organizations will enforce the Signs of spiritual contentment by rules and regulations, hoping that these sign will offer proof to outsiders that their methods are working.
But we know better. People are discovering that the true test of progress is if your heart is opening - if contentment is there regardless of circumstances. And those occurrences have nothing to do with anything but the individual's consciousness.
First rule of false teachers: Their enforced behaviors don't establish or promulgate open pathways of the heart. There are lots of "copy cats" and folks who simply regurgitate what the teacher says without understanding.
Self-discipline is dignified. "Following the rules" without understanding or commitment is self-deprecating.
If we can follow our innate goodness, then we can find our appropriate self-disciplines. Then the rules won't matter any more.