Scientology and Money
Money and Scientology would seem to be synonymous subjects if one reads anything about the church of Scientology on the web or in the news these days. Astride the stories of glitzy celebrities and scandalous revelations are the ubiquitous presentations of lavish buildings and opulence.
But what is the real story of Scientology and money?
The church of Scientology
With over 2 Billion in assets and cash reserves, the church is bloated with money due to L Ron Hubbard's insistence the organization operate on a cash basis while demanding massive "donations" for services from its parishioners.
The church also sponsors a number of affiliated organizations such as the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), well known for its bogus and fraudulent fundraising schemes , WISE, Narconon and other front groups and projects like the Super Power Building, a cruise ship and special and new editions of church books.
Scientology staff members
Underpaid and overworked is an understatement. Staff pay is allotted, per LRH policy, on a 'proportional' basis, depending on rank and position, which comes from the last portion of any income the organization makes. This usually amounts to a pittance due to 'upper management' raking off with approximately 40% of the income before the organization begins to pay any bills or expenses.
Sea Org members receive a weekly stipend of $50 (often reduced or not paid at all) for their 80-100 hour work weeks and are provided living quarters (crowded and squalid except for upper management) and food. No health care (sent to government facilities), retirement benefits, vacation pay nor any other benefits from the organization.
Parishioners still affiliated with the corporate church are the subject of constant haranguing and pressure to donate. They endure endless pressure to donate and buy more and pay more leaving the majority of these parishioners awash in debt, upside down in homes (if fortunate enough to have been able to acquire one) and likely behind on their mortgage payments if so.
The tales of bankruptcies, foreclosures, over extended credit card debt, defaulted loans from lenders, family and friends, no retirement savings, no college funds, and leading lives of miserable and frantic existences are well document throughout the web.
Scientologists and ex Scientologists may find themselves free of the constant pressure of corporate predations, but usually need years to recover from the emotional and financial ravages they underwent while affiliated with the church. Too many having forgone education in pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, find themselves in mid life or their senior years without marketable skills or reliable means to make a good living let alone enjoy a comfortable retirement, and are digging themselves out from debt while suffering pangs of guilt for not having provided for and adequately cared for their children in the vain pursuit of an elusive and intangible benefit promoted by the church.
the subject of Scientology[edit | edit source]
The SUBJECT of Scientology itself, has nothing to do with money.
Scientology is the knowledge, techniques and discipline of counseling individuals toward the relief of mental and spiritual trauma and confusion toward ever higher states of personal spiritual enlightenment.
It is a technical subject having to do with the mind and spirit. This precise definition excludes all of the information and activity of organizations and finance and all of the activities associated with them.
In other words, actual true Scientology has nothing to do with corporate institutions, buildings, and all the other trappings of organizations. Like physics, mathematics, sociology, history, aerodynamics, medicine or any other subject of study, Scientology is a finite body of knowledge which is not confined to, nor defined by, a single corporate entity.
This is important to understand so that one can unhinge or decouple the subject of money from the confusing mass of data surrounding Scientology.
LRH mum on the subject[edit | edit source]
The founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard, is significantly mute on the subject of money except as to how his organizations are to deal with it. He left no direction or instructions to parishioners, none whatsoever, as to how they should handle their own personal finances. (if anyone has a reference please add it to the discussion feature)
There are many many references from him as to how the organizations are to eschew borrowing and debt. He admonished staff to always pay cash for everything, including real estate, and never allow the organizations to become insolvent or out of balance with their cash/bill ratio.
He also famously and consistently ordered staff to make money for the organization. He demanded "registrars" (organization sales people) be trained on "Big League Sales" and many other sales techniques so they would become proficient at getting parishioners to pay for church services. There is no question L Ron Hubbard was a diligent and demanding overseer of church finances.
He demanded abundant income while zealously keeping a tight rein on expenditures.
Understanding the history of the church's embattled past, taking into consideration the overwhelming opposition to its success and the forces at play that would have snuffed out the fledgling organization had it not maintained very strict financial policies, is very important to keep in mind when evaluating the origins of Hubbard's obsessions with making them solvent.
see The World L Ron Hubbard Lived In for some context
While Hubbard steadfastly monitored the income and outgo of the organizations, he also omitted giving his parishioners any advice as to how to handle their personal finances.
Some believe this was a character flaw and a self-serving intentional omission in order to do nothing to restrict the cash flow to church coffers.
It should also be noted that throughout most of the time of LRH's oversight of the organizations finances, prices for services were reasonably affordable for the average working person.
one example[edit | edit source]
In 1972 I paid $1200 for a "training package" (a bundle of about eight major auditor training courses) that allowed me to train as an auditor and co-audit with others all the way to clear - which I did, and I also paid for twenty-five hours of professional auditing along the way. In all, I received over three hundred hours of auditing and a few years worth of course work (part time, 15 hours per week) which allowed me to achieve the state of Clear and attain a professional certification as an auditor. Adjusting for inflation it represents apporx. $14,000.
Setting aside the fact that today's "churches" of Scientology organizations no longer provide the co-audit opportunity (at least not in practice although they may tell you otherwise), a similar package would run in the neighborhood of $45,000. (including memberships and materials)
The church puts tremendous pressure on its members to go into debt to pay for services like the above mentioned. But if it stopped there with donations for services the individual might gain some benefit from, it would be one thing - but as mentioned earlier, members are put under constant pressure to "donate" for many other things, none of which will result in any benefit to the member but worse, are fraudulent ventures which either do not do as purported or are in violation of written L Ron Hubbard policy.
references[edit | edit source]
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