Note: The following essay will be tl;dr for everyone except serious Scientology watchers. As such, it is not as accessible as other posts on the Scientology Money Project. Nevertheless, I wanted to post this in reference to what is happening to the Church of Scientology in Australia. Ref: Tony’s Ortega’s article of February 23, 2015.
Former Church of Scientology Sea Org executive Mick Wenlock wrote in 2006 that Scientology’s Advance Payments Received (APR) liability was in excess of one billion dollars. Mick also wrote the following in 2006 at xenu.net:
“The basic idea that orgs should be ‘upstat’ is a core administrative belief in Scientology – it comes from Hubbard hisveryownself. Where they are raising the money from their local members they are merely following in the footsteps of almost any other religion. I am not sure why anyone would find that surprising except for the fact that Scientology came very late to this idea.
“But that is in contrast to other deals where it is Scientology reserves that are buying the buildings – this move is a large gamble.
“…this is a reflection of certain “axioms” that exist in Scientology management. (I guess if I was feeling ironic I would describe them as held down 7’s…LOL)
“The biggest one is – ‘People love L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’ (no do not laugh, I am serious). One thing you could not do, for example, is to bring up the idea that the general public think Hubbard is some sort of fat fraud. You would be off to the RPF – if you were lucky. You can, possibly, acknowledge that Scientology has a slight problem but you would have to base that on some local campaign run by SPs of some kind – not because the public think the idiots trying to body route them are really weird.
“So any program that is going to get done has this axiom as a starting point.
“The second axiom is that the Public really are trying to flood into the orgs in droves but Org Staff are incompetent out ethics fools who will fuck up at the drop of a hat and who actually repel people from coming in. (Again, I’m not kidding).
“Hence the need to have the real stuff out there in the reception area and not rely on those twits on staff.
“You have to realize that these are not ‘whys’ they are accepted truths.
“The way Scientology handles its finances is, of course, ass backwards. It FPs and spends every dime it gets in each week and almost all that meagre income is usually in the form of prepayments for service. i.e. they are taking money for auditing or training that will be taken sometime in the future.
“Thanks to Hubbards insane LRH ED 284 Scientologists paid in millions during 1976 – 80 to avoid the monthly price increases. This left orgs with huge amounts of APR (advance Payments Received) but, because the money itself was spent every week, it held very little in cash against these liabilities. Making the orgs very vulnerable to any repayment requests – they simply do not have the money in the bank.
“You can probably see the problem – if the orgs sell more ‘services’ in order to raise the money for a new building they merely compound the problem by a) making the APR even higher and b) spending the money.
“So this current drive to reg the locals to directly pay to the building fund is not that dumb a move. If the money is given as a non-refundable donation there is no future liability.
“But that leads to a different problem of course. Because there are so few Scientologists, almost all orgs rely on a select few (or in the case of small orgs just one family) as their main source of Org GI (which is where the staff pay comes from). If those people are being successfully taken to the cleaners then the Org GIs are going to go down and stay down.
“Now bear with me while I look further down the road on this.
“Orgs that reg their publics for the new building and do it successfully and do succeed in getting a new building out of it will have, during that period, drained their most active members of their money. The GI will be down.
“But thanks to the axioms I said above the org staff and management will ‘know’ that people will just flood in and with DM’s clever interactive screens giving the information directly to the adoring public the org GI will just go up and up.
“But of course that will not happen. Possibly a slight increase maybe but that slight increase will be offset by the increased maintenance costs associated with a much ‘better’ org.
But any increase, of course, merely makes the APRs higher.
Which raises a frightening spectacle – if the orgs own their buildings outright and then get hit with repayments(that they do not have the money to repay) they can be forced into bankruptcy and the assets disposed of. bye bye new building.
“It is an interesting subject to play around with.”
Mick Wenlock was spot on in 2006.
IMO the Church of Scientology is now in the worst of all possible worlds:
1. The Scientology management axiom that “People love L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology” is demonstrably false; the Cult’s reputation is a radioactive slagheap. The Church of Scientology has, by analogy, gone critical and is melting down like Chernobyl did. No one inside the Cult sees it. Why? Because of the second Scn Mgmt axiom cited by Mick Wenlock in 2006:
2. “The Public really are trying to flood into the orgs in droves but Org Staff are incompetent out ethics fools who will fuck up at the drop of a hat and who actually repel people from coming in.” In failing to understand the severity and enormity of the crisis in which it is inexorably and irreversibly gripped, the Church of Scientology is doing everything it possibly can to make things worse. Hence, the hyper-irrationality of the Cult’s actions is being played out in a surreal panorama in which, for example, the work of 22 Scn lawyers in Texas can be undone by an incredibly ill-advised attack at LAX. Captain Miscavige is hellbent to take the Church over the cliff. He is too far gone to be even remotely rational.
3. Miscavige does not recognize the need to pour large amounts of cash into crisis management
and restructuring. Acting upon the two fallacious axioms cited by Wenlock, Miscavige — always the inveterate gambler — committed to an incredibly short-sighted and destructive Ideal Org fundraising effort in 2001 that devastated the future of the Church.
4. Miscavige’s actions show him to be irrevocably committed to Scientology’s irrational and self-destructive Ideology of Revenge that has arguably pierced the corporate veils and will result in the strategic loss of the Church’s 501(c)(3). That is the coup de grâce and the Church of Scientology does not understand that the opening act has begun.
5. Because the Church of Scientology is a one-man Dictatorship, the hands of all Scientologists are tied. Scientologists can do nothing but watch the disaster unfold. Many Scientologists understand the disaster and have left the Church. Many more will follow in 2015. The Scientology Diaspora I described in 2010 continues unabated as more Scientologists keep leaving the Church in protest over Miscavige’s ruinous “Scorched Earth” policies that leave Scientologists bankrupted and spiritually devastated. IMO, those still in the Church are, to a greater or lesser degree, PTS to the Church and Miscavige. The costume fundraising parties are an exercise in unreality and show the Church’s trajectory into the Abyss.
6. Miscavige’s Ideal Org program was a colossal flop. The “Era of Ideal Orgs” ended in 2013. Buildings did not, and cannot, boom Scientology. If anything, the buildings show David Miscavige’s inner poverty. This buildings are ultimately Miscavige’s statement about himself.
7. GAT II was meaningless shuffling of the cards and was not actually about anything. GAT II was DOA (Dead on Arrival).
8. The new Flag Building was DOA.
9. Whether it likes it or not, the Church of Scientology will become financially transparent. Everything will be made known. This is inevitable.
The Karmic Vortex has hyper-accelerated once again in 2015 and it will accelerate even more come March. Scientology “High Strangeness” will therefore increase in response as it always does.
Historical Note: Mick Wenlock referenced L. Hubbard’s “insane LRH ED 284.” This was Hubbard’s wild 1976 Executive Directive ordering prices of Scientology goods and services to increase 5% each and every month. This cash-grab put tens of millions of dollars into Church coffers and equally lined Hubbard’s pockets with untold millions of dollars.
Categories: The Scientology Money Project
“…those still in the Church are … PTS to the Church and Miscavige. The costume fundraising parties are an exercise in unreality and show the Church’s trajectory into the Abyss.”
After spending twenty years unlearning Scientologese and figuring out how to say exactly the same concepts, but in actual English, I initially resisted falling back on the cult’s secret language. Yet, the only way to talk to a member still in, unfortunately, is very much to speak that language. I’ve only successfully talked one person out of the cult, and I had to speak so much of LRH’s gibberish that I actually sensed the mental walls he so carefully constructed with his aberrated English. Still, it’s good practice to keep up on this foreign language. As Scientology crumbles, a potent way to help those still under the spell is aiding in their cognition that they are, indeed, PTS to the very players they thought were protecting their religion. Great article.
Great article! I love when its a longer blog, 2015 will hopefully start to put more motion on getting those justice hurt by Co$. #Enoughisenough
Brilliant and cogent analysis-thank you!
Tick tock, you Psychopathic Pimping Pontiff…
Thank you so much. Your blog here is definitely one of the top three together with ortega and mike rinder. Great work, great intellect and great foresight. I really enjoy your blog entries each and every time. Please, do not stop or even reduce … 😉
Great article Jeff. I love these detailed analysis of the church. I think things get particularly interesting in that “bubble meets reality” space. This is where it begins to fracture.
But even within the bubble Scn has a hard time working. For decades orgs have religiously followed LRH Admin policy, some are even fanatical about it. And I would argue there has never been a single org that has enjoyed any meaningful sustainable growth as a result.
Any efforts or strategies, such The Ideal Org program or GAT II, are doomed to fail because they are borne out of the same body of work. KSW prohibits the introduction of anything new.
Great assessment. Thanks
Most people do not have a clue who L. Ron Hubbard is. The only reason I know is because I’ve been a Science Fiction fan all my life.
But a lot of people are going to find out who L. Ron Hubbard is by watching Going Clear.
Anyone who has ever worked in Sales knows that personal relationships are the driver behind increasing sales/interest. Churches that grow do so because of relationships. Your [insert relationship here] introduces you to [insert religion here], getting you interested. Or you meet a missionary who manages to form a personal bond with you, and you visit an Org. Taking the personal out of outreach efforts means that the number of people joining will drop dramatically.
So you have a bunch of people who will learn who L. Ron Hubbard is through a documentary which has a negative view, and a lack of the personal in recruitment efforts.
Bam. All of a sudden the current low number of new members is driven even lower. When number of new members drops lower than number of deaths and/or departures a vicious cycle will insue where the remaining members are faced with Orgs which have fewer people, and leave, making Orgs emptier, which drives more to leave…
What a slow motion train wreck. I’d never seen those quotes, attached to the Advance Payment argument before, but I don’t keep up with the message boards. Thanks for posting them. They do make one think.
As a former CL5 org staff member I can attest to Axiom #2. It was not unusual to get screaming phone calls from the CLO Programs Chief wanting to know which staff member was actively turning away public. So we would have to do an investigation to find the errant staff and get them off the lines. Result: Nothing changed, and in many cases things got worse.
Fact: Dn and Scn and LRH are NOT immensely popular.
Fact: Public are NOT queuing up to get inside the org
Fact: 99.9% of org staff members will do whatever they can to get public into the org (inc. lying, deception, fraud)