The Church of Scientology has many cynical ways of making money. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, Scientology is now attempting to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in France by selling a particular piece of its literature at obscene profit margins. Further, Scientology plans to send its notorious Volunteer Ministers into France in an attempt to recruit traumatized and vulnerable people into joining Scientology and handing over large sums of money to pay for super-expensive Scientology services.
This is disaster capitalism at its worst. Moreover, this pattern has been repeated over and over by the Church of Scientology following natural disasters, mass shootings, and other terror attacks. Scientology preys upon the vulnerable when horrific things occur.
The Church of Scientology’s campaign against France will appear to begin modestly enough with the Church inflicting upon the French a truly insipid little book called The Way to Happiness.
Written L. Ron Hubbard, the pamphlet is nothing more than a list of innocuous bromides that the Church of Scientology itself will not abide by. For example:
- Don’t do anything illegal.
- Do not harm a person of good will.
- Safeguard and improve your environment.
- Do not steal.
- Be worthy of trust.
According to Mike Rinder writing in a recent blog post, a copy of The Way to Happiness costs about ten cents to produce. However, the Church sells these pamphlets to its own members in a pack of twelve that costs $18.00.
This is $1.50 each and so the Church is making an obscene 93.3% gross margin on its 1400% mark up.
The Church of Scientology wants its own members to donate $1.50 each for 250,000 copies to distribute in France. This is $375,000.00. The net profit will be a tidy $350,000.
The Church of Scientology has made preposterous claims for this banal phamplet — including the ridiculous claim that The Way to Happiness reduced crime by 50% in Colombia:
…Colombian police have delivered Way to Happiness seminars to 3 million citizens and booklets to 20 percent of the population. Crime rates have dropped by 50 percent and Colombian tourism has increased to a level beyond any other Latin American nation. According to senior Colombian police officials, much of the credit for this change goes to The Way to Happiness. (Scientology website)
The Church of Scientology ridiculously claims credit for reducing crime in Colombia. No credit goes to the Colombian government or military for waging a brutal and very costly war against heavily armed and violent drug cartels. Such is the vainglorious and deceptive propaganda of Scientology.
By way of contrast, the well-known Christian-themed “Chick tracts” sell for .16 cents each. These often lurid and viciously anti-Catholic tracts spread the “Hellfire and damnation” message of evangelical Christianity:
Due to their low cost, however, over 700,000,000 Chick tracts have been sold during the last forty years.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are the world leaders in low cost religious literature. According to the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, its 2012 and 2013 production of low cost literature was staggering:
In 2012 the printeries operated by Jehovah’s Witnesses produced more than 1.3 billion magazines and 80 million books and Bibles
The Watchtower, our principal journal, is printed in over 210 languages and is the most widely circulated magazine in the world. Each 16-page issue has a printing of some 45,000,000 copies.
Awake! the companion magazine of The Watchtower—and second only to it in circulation—is printed in 99 languages. Each issue has a printing of some 44,000,000.What Does the Bible Really Teach? is a 224-page softcover book specifically designed to help its reader understand the basic teachings of the Bible. Since 2005, more than 214 million copies have been printed in over 240 languages.
The wealthy Church of Scientology owns two large digital printing facilities and so there is no reason this “Church” cannot give away free .10 cent copies of The Way to Happiness if distribution of this pamphlet is so vital to humanity.
At the bare minimum, Scientology could sell The Way to Happiness at cost. But it will not do so.
What puts the lie to the entire farce that is The Way to Happiness is that Scientology marks this product up 1400% and sell it at a whopping 93.3% profit margin.
We have covered Church of Scientology profit margins here on the Scientology Money Project. For example, the e-meter is sold at a 385% mark up over cost. And as we recently covered in a guest column at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker, the costs of Scientology auditing services are astronomical.
The Church of Scientology has never sold anything at cost because it is driven by greed. There is no humanitarian impulse whatsoever in any part of Scientology; it is all a soulless moneymaking scheme led by a narcissistic and violent con man named David Miscavige.
And now the Scientology Volunteer Ministers plan to descend on Paris in the wake of an historic terror attack in order to inflict upon Parisians 250,000 copies of an insufferable pablum-filled pamphlet called The Way to Happiness.
The last thing France needs at this time is an insane American religious cult hawking its wares on the streets of Paris. Indeed, The Way to Happiness is nothing more than a ploy, a cynical sales tool Scientology distributes on the streets in an attempt to inveigle highly traumatized and vulnerable people into joining Scientology and purchasing expensive Scientology services.
Make no mistake about it: The Church of Scientology is already carrying out its plans to exploit the pain and suffering of the French people in order to promote and sell Scientology in France.
To add to this moral outrage, the Church of Scientology is presently on trial in Belgium for fraud and extortion at the time of this writing.
Scientology watchers are also expecting the Church of Scientology to send in its Volunteer Ministers to Paris for PR purposes.
Perhaps the most cynical and phony of all Scientology front groups, the “Volunteer Ministers” program was ostensibly created to be Scientology’s version of the Red Cross, i.e. a a first responder disaster relief organization. In actuality, the Volunteer Ministers (VM’s) program is simply another profit center for the Scientology moneymaking scam.
When 911 occured, Scientology VM’s literally walked over the backs of the dead to get PR photos for use in raising money. In one particularly offensive PR photo used in for fundraising, the Church of Scientology faded the real 911 first responders into nondescript black and white figures while colorizing one of its Volunteer Ministers in his distinctive yellow jacket:
Within hours of the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007, the VM’s, once again, walked over the backs of the dead to pitch a tent in order to get photo ops and raise money.
The bodies of the Virginia Tech dead hadn’t even been moved as the campus was a crime scene under intense investigation. But the VM’s were there like vultures taking PR photos. The VM’s were already asking for money.
This same craven pattern of Scientology Volunteer Minister disaster capitalism occured with the great earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, the 9.0 earthquake in Japan, the great Indonesian tsunami, and every other mass murder, natural disaster, terrorist attack, and even celebrity deaths since 2001.
On a wholly uninvited basis, Scientology cultist John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston used their connections to make a Scientology-glorifying PR flight into Haiti following the great earthquake there in 2010. With the crowded airport at Port-Au-Prince desperately needed for first responders, doctors, medical supplies, field hospitals, food and water, and emergency rescue teams specializing in extracting victims from rubble, Travolta bumped these other flights so that he could get a landing slot for his private jet. Cultist Travolta and his fellow Scientologists made sure plenty of PR photos were taken of the actor for use in Scientology fundraising.
Never mind that these Scientology Volunteer Ministers have absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the tragedy or disaster, their craven greed for money and PR compels them to travel uninvited to inject themselves and their unwanted Scientology “touch assists” to victims.
In one singularly bizarre attempt at PR, Scientology VM’s inexplicably assembled and conducted a parade of hapless victims amidst the rubble and devastation of post-quake Haiti:
Scientology Volunteer Ministers do four things at the scene of any disaster, massacre, or tragedy:
The Church of Scientology immediately begins raising money to send its VM’s to the scene. Although Scientology is wealthy it will not spend any of its own money to pay for transportation, shelter, or food for its own VM’s.The Church of Scientology will never spend any of its own money unless it is on lawyers or for some other self-serving purpose such as television commercial during the Super Bowl.
Once the VM’s arrive at the scene, they make their way to the head of the supply lines distributing food, water, and medical supplies to the victims. The VM’s do not pay for these supplies; they simply want the PR photos of showing them handing out emergency supplies. These PR photos create the impression that Scientology paid for these supplies:
Scientology VM’s deliver “touch assists” to victims. These touch assists cost the Church nothing and while gaining more PR photos of VM’s appearing to help:
The Church of Scientology sends teams of videographers to make videos for use in PR and fundraising. In the photo below, Scientology videographers can be seen filming a Scientology VM holding a baby:
The public needs to be made aware of Scientology’s cynical disaster capitalism conducted under the facade of humanitarianism.
The Church of Scientology has long used the word “humanitarian” to promote itself and its front groups.
When it comes to Scientology, however, the use of the word “humanitarian”should serve as a red flag that Scientology is once again looking to make an enormous cash profit on human suffering.
Categories: The Scientology Money Project
“For example, the e-meter is sold at a 385% mark up over cost.”
You might want to check the math on that. I’m working from memory here, but I thought the new Mark Ultra VIII meter was priced at about $8,000. I would be extremely surprised if the manufacturing cost, given that they were built by a small-run contract manufacturer in Asia, was more than about $200, including amortization of molds and tooling for the case. That would be a markup more like 3,850% instead of 385%.
JP, the 385% reference comes from Scientology itself in its 1992 1029 submission the IRS. While it is an old number it is a real number documented from Scientology’s own records. Prices in Scientology have continued to escalate massively with no respect to GDP or any other objective metric. It is all greed and is based upon a pervasive background threat of an SP Declare unless Scientologists hand over the money.
The 2006 Basics fraud was pure greed and open criminality being visited upon Scientologists by David Miscavige. The Super Power Building, GAT II, and everything else is repackaging of the same old thing.
As I like to point out, it is not illegal in America to be stupid, It is also not illegal to give all your money to a religious cult. Scientology takes a criminal glee in separating Scientologists from their money. This is the same triumph con men experience when they have pulled off a successful con job. The weekly demand for “new money” created by L. Ron Hubbard turned the Church of Scientology into a nonstop fundraising machine that never ends. There is no real point to the Church of Scientology except to accumulate money to no end. Absent spiritual enlightenment, Scientology is an exercise in organizational futility embedded in great cruelty and suffering. The desolate and soulless landscape of the Church of Scientology is now more evident than ever to the entire world.
If the people in OSA could stop playing their intel game for an hour they could perhaps understand that they are defending nothing more than the endless accumulation of money that ruins the lives of Scientologists. That is it. There is no planetary clearing occurring. This can never happen because the cost of Scientology is out of reach to 99.99% of the people on Earth. What is the real EP of Scientology?
JP, as you once opined it would be better for Scientologists to just take all of their money and light it on fire on the sidewalk. This would save them so much grief while producing the exact same basic EP of Scientology: Bankrupt with a pile of trophies and certs to throw in the trash.