The Scientology Money Project

Driving people away (and begging them back) was built into Scientology from the start

[This piece we wrote was originally posted on Tony Ortega’s blog. We repost it here for archival purposes]

As the Church of Scientology continues to hemorrhage membership, its losses in income and labor are increasingly hard to replace with new members. As the Bunker has been documenting, the church is spending a lot of its resources not so much on bringing in new people but instead desperately trying to convince former members to come back.

In fact, this has always been the case because of the way Scientology operates. As a result of the way L. Ron Hubbard set things up, Scientology will perpetually drive away its best members. There are three main reasons for this.

1. Because of the draconian justice system created by L. Ron Hubbard, the extremely harsh ways in which the Church treats its public, staff, and Sea Org members causes many to become seriously disaffected and leave the Church. Scientologists flee Scientology in order to escape its brutality.

2. Scientology’s excessive, chronic, and habitual demand for money causes many Scientologists to leave the organization. There comes a financial breaking point at which there is simply no more money and yet the incessant demand for money from the Church never ends.

3. Hubbard policy calls for “new money” to come in each week. His policies also demand that statistics must rise each week. It is impossible to increase production and income each week forever. Such a policy assumes an infinite demand for Scientology and an infinite supply of money. This absurdity notwithstanding, those Scientologists who do not increase stats perpetually are harshly punished. The impossibility of perpetually increasing statistics, and the punishments for failing to do so, causes many Scientology Sea Org and staff members to blow.

Hubbard recognized the loss of income and labor represented by blown Scientologists in 1961 when he wrote (emphasis ours):

The staff auditor is directly responsible for the HGC preclear assigned to him. Results, lack of results, ARC breaks, recovering the pc after “blows,” getting the pc to the D of P for interviews, getting the pc to the D of P and Registrar for after-intensive interviews and handling all matters relating the pc to the org during the delivery of auditing are all up to the staff auditor. — HCO POLICY LETTER OF 20 MARCH 1961 “BASIC STAFF AUDITOR’S HAT”

Rather than making internal changes so Scientologists do not need to escape from the Church, Scientology instead shifts the blame to Scientologists who leave. Blown Scientologists are accused of having committed overts, or crimes, against the Church. Others are deemed to have ARC breaks (upsets) with the Church due to the way they were mistreated by staff members who were not properly applying LRH policy. The Church will take no responsibility for the matter due to its self-serving claim that it is the most ethical group on the planet.

In a 1970 reorganization, Hubbard ordered Orgs to have an ARC Break Registrar (salesperson) whose job was to handle ARC breaks (emotional upsets) and recover Scientologists:

ARC Break Registrar programs the recovery of and signs up ARC broken Dianeticists and Scientologists from the field for the ARC Break Auditor

When Scientology gained its dubious tax exemption in 1993, Captain David Miscavige issued an amnesty. This was nothing more than a cynical ploy, a mass recovery effort in the hunt for money and labor. The amnesty also required those who accepted its terms to write up everything they had said or done that was adverse to the Church; this included snitching on others on the outside who were critical of Scientology and David Miscavige:

When David Miscavige launched the Golden Age of Tech in 1996, there was another massive effort to recover blown Scientologists. These people were promised that GAT cancelled all of Scientology’s maddening “arbitraries” in which the mere whim or caprice of David Miscavige or other senior Sea Org members allowed for the issuing of ridiculous orders. Scientologists could also be comm-ev’d or declared SPs under absurd or arbitrary pretexts. The 1996 Sea Org program opened by admitting that there were then thousands of offline Scientologists; the income and labor potential represented by these offline Scientologists was enormous:

When David Miscavige released his $100 million dollar cash grab known as the “Basics” in 2006, there was yet another massive recovery effort. Again, blown Scientologists were the most logical targets as they were the most like prospects to shell out $5,000 for a Basics Library. Scientology went back decades in search of blown Scientologists: there were some successes:

The Bunker has covered several recent cases of blown Scientologists being recovered by exploitative stratagems such as the 82-year-old woman from the Midwest who was flown to Los Angeles and then soaked for about $60,000 in courses she would never take. Multiply that by other people being convinced to come back, however briefly, and you can see how much money it means to Scientology. Thanks to attorney Graham Berry, the Midwest woman and several others have been able to get their money back. But how many others are being clipped not knowing that they have recourse?

In the Bunker’s recent series of articles covering Scientology’s latest recovery efforts, the one that really stood out to us is the letter from one staff member to a blown staff member. The letter reads in part:

Those of us that have survived on Staff have thankfully made it through to a much better time, sort of like a jet that pops through a heavy overcast and all of a sudden things are bright and sunny. Staff are all going up the Bridge these days, schedules are sane and compassion and kindness rule rather than some weird militaristic viewpoint. It’s like someone discovered how to actually apply the ARC triangle. Actually, I know who that someone is, and I appreciate him immensely for it.

This letter admits that staff conditions were brutal and yet claims that things are now all sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. However, as we noted at the beginning of this article, LRH policy has not changed. The demands ever-increasing stats, new money each week, and Hubbard’s hash system of ethics remains policy. Over against this, the Church is trying to recover as much money and labor as possible by promising …. a piece of blue sky.

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