Foreword: This essay by Mike Rinder is so outstanding in exposing the deception underlying David Miscavige’s Ideal Org programs that I am reprinting it here in its entirety. This essay connects the dots. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Why Ideal Orgs?
An Essay by Mike Rinder
Any time there is a post about ideal org failures, there is a lot of speculation about “Why?”
I have written various posts and comments about this from time to time, but realized I had never put it all in one place.
There are two reasons for the ideal org program that go hand in hand. And it explains why, in spite of the clear failure of this program to bring about planetary clearing, or anything at all aligned with the “Aims of Scientology,” it will continue to be pushed until the very end.
1. It is vital for Miscavige to hold onto his position
2. IRS concerns
But before explaining these points more thoroughly, a review of the history of how “ideal orgs” came about will help put everything else in context.
In 2002 the city of Buffalo moved to force the church in Buffalo out of its building under the laws of eminent domain in order to construct a parking ramp.
The church sued, claiming this was preventing the practice of its religion.
The city settled, agreeing to pay money to allow the org to relocate. Prices of property in Buffalo were crazy cheap at the time and they found a large building. Miscavige had been working on his plan to eliminate the “incompetence of staff” in Div 6 by replacing them with scripted videos to explain dianetics and scientology. And so this was given the go ahead with a large space allocated for “AV displays” in Div 6. This was the precursor to the FART Div 6 and Miscavige told everyone who would listen about his brilliant plan that would drive millions onto the Bridge. Henceforth all orgs needed to have enough space for his Golden Age of Div 6.
Around the same time, Joburg Org had become extremely unsafe in its downtown premises (a staff member had been murdered on the street outside the org) and by necessity they were having to move.
Also at the time, Miscavige had been spending a lot of time at Flag with the McPherson case. Tampa Org, which was in a strip mall had become a flap through non-payment of their rent. Buffalo was financed by the city. Joburg was pretty easy to finance as there was a huge amount of money sitting in South Africa that could not be gotten out of the country awaiting exchange control approval (which would never come for the amounts that were there). The value of the rand was decreasing. So, he approved a building be purchased. But Tampa was different. So he personally briefed Jenny Linson and Angie Blankenship to round up the local “OT’s” and hold THEM responsible for the state of Tampa Org on the basis that it was out ethics for THEM to have their nearest Class V org such a disgrace and they needed to “take responsibility.”
The CMO in Clearwater were put onto Tampa Org virtually on an all hands basis, collecting money, finding the building, recruiting staff and getting the renovations done.
Same in Africa with all of CMO Africa full time on the Joburg Org and CMO EUS was directly involved in Buffalo. It became Miscavige’s pet project. He reviewed the space plans and rejected them numerous times, constantly “refining” the planning. Anyone who has ever worked on these lines can tell you that this is perhaps the most frustrating and unproductive thing they have ever been engaged in. Not only do the goalposts constantly shift, the playing field tilts and the sprinklers go on and off at random times. He spends hundreds of hours on something that should take an hour and then complains about how overworked he is.
But compared to today, those first orgs were done at lightning speed. They opened the following year — Tampa in March 2003 and Joburg and Buffalo in November. And with them the “Ideal Org” program was born. even though at that early age it didnt have a formal name — in fact, it was called “The Buffalo Strategy” because Buffalo was “so successful.” Miscavige sent out programs to all orgs to “do the Buffalo strategy.”
The next priority orgs were primarily for the benefit of Tom Cruise. Madrid (his 2D at the time was Penelope Cruz, though by the time the org opened they were split up — Miscavige was also there trying to gain religious recognition for scientology in Spain), New York (because Tom had an apartment there and visited often and may need to bring someone important into the org — you will recall it was also where he had a “chance” encounter with his church selected bride to be) and San Francisco (not especially Tom Cruise related — there happened to be a lot of wealthy people there and a building that attracted Miscavige’s attention, the “original Transamerica building”).
This whole fiasco could have ended after Tampa, Buffalo and Joburg. So, back to the two reasons WHY this has become the most important thing in scientology:
1. It is vital for Miscavige to hold onto his position
The ONLY way Miscavige (at least at the outset) was able to maintain his position of power (which by his definition is having people listen to you) was to be seen by scientologists as both “on Source” and responsible for expanding scientology.
He managed to convince the sheeple that he “knew” what LRH wanted done and that he was ruthlessly dedicated to ensuring there was nothing but standard tech in the church. He pronounced himself the man who let in the light and ended the era of the blind leading the blind with his brilliant innovation of the “Golden Age Of Tech.” Plus he kept re-releasing books and lectures, each time newly packaged, but sold as “being on source for the first time.” And each new release heavily stressed how “COB” was making sure ALL tech in its “100% pure form” was gotten into the hands of scientologists and the world. People who WANT to believe something have very short memories. The vast majority didn’t notice that the “now on Source” stuff replaced what had previously been sold to them as the “now on source stuff” by the same guy. It’s happened over and over. So, he has pretty cleverly maneuvered himself into the positioning of being the ultimate “on source” scientologist in the minds of staff and public. Nowadays he is actually less concerned about “following LRH” than he is about ensuring people understand what HIS “command intention” is. He lived out the 21 years that LRH was theoretically going to reappear in and added on a few more to be safe and then started cranking up the “Command Intention” push and the “Cult of COB.” It would take too long to really lay out how he has accomplished this, and it is not really important for this posting. Suffice to say, in the minds of “good scientologists” there is no doubt that Miscavige is the best scientologist they know.
But there is that pesky second prong — expanding scientology. This is really important. In the scientology mindset, beyond anything else on planet earth, expanding scientology is “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics.” Of course, scientology will help ALL dynamics of EVERYONE. So, if someone is expanding scientology, they have virtually unlimited “ethics protection”, they can “get away with murder.” This is absolutely vital to Miscavige. Many of you may have experienced telling a KMoolAid drinker about Miscavige beating people up or living lavishly only for them to respond with “that is unimportant, look at his stats, he can get away with murder.” This IS the pervasive think within the sheeple. Anyone who is exposing the facts about Miscavige is dismissed as “an SP attacking an upstat” and his “foibles” are excused because of the massive good he is doing.
It is for this reason Miscavige spends an inordinate amount of time convincing people he is an “upstat.” This includes all the idiotic sounding numbers — the miles of conduit laid, square inches of ink etc etc. These are the foundation for the big generality lies. “We have expanded 5X since the release of Golden Age Of Tech II”. These lies are swallowed whole.
But, even if his lies are bought, he had a big problem.
The LRH “game” for orgs was to reach the size of old St Hill. Every staff member on earth has had that hammered into them for years. They all know what it means. So too the public. A big Academy with lots of students and lots of clears being made – IN ADDITION to staff being well paid and going OT with their own universe corps.
To compound the problem, Miscavige had invented an arbitrary that he would not release the mythical OT IX and X until “all orgs were SH Size.”
He tried at Maiden Voyages to convince the OT Ambassadors that they had to be responsible for getting their org to SH Size if they ever wanted to get OT IX and X. It was HEAVILY pushed for a while, and a number of OT VIII’s were recruited to be org EDs (thus directly responsible for getting OT IX and X — see Geir Isene’s story about meeting Miscavige on the Freewinds). But the problem was that these OT Ambassadors had no more chance of getting an org to SH Size than the existing staff did. And that was impossible. A few orgs were “announced” but they had been stat-pushed and artificially propped up to reach the arbitrary stat quotas for the week they were awarded and promptly sank back to their previous levels. The reality began to set in with the OT Ambassadors — all orgs are NEVER going to be SH Size and the Bridge has ended right where I am at (OT VIII) and I still don’t know WTF. It also began to sink in with them, when they were putting their attention on expanding the orgs to SH size, that this was NOT happening.
So, Miscavige came up with a new “why” — the “orgs are trying to do too little” and pitched this in one of the all-time insane briefings that the clubbed seals lapped up. It “explained” the failure to reach SH Size was because they didn’t have an org capable of doing so. He equated it to trying to do an auditing session without having a meter or room set up properly. The handling for this was to “slam dunk” all orgs right now — “straight up and vertical, no gradients” and that meant “get a building big enough for all the functions of an org to be performed.” Everyone loved this because it “explained” their failures and gave them something else to concentrate on. Instead of expanding orgs, he now gave the OT Ambassadors the job of raising the money and finding the buildings. Now they couldn’t complain about no OT IX and X because the “only reason” it was not available to them was that not all orgs had become “ideal” (even this was a gradual evolution to redefine the term as the LRH policy letter doesn’t resemble what is now known as an “ideal org”) and the ONLY reason for that was that they had failed to collect enough money.
He also took their attention off the actual expansion of the orgs (there isn’t any) and convinced them that if they just got the buildings that would BE expansion and everything would happen by magic. It was genius. And of course, with all the attention on “ideal orgs” the staff forgot about the concept of ever getting a Universe Corps as nobody talked about that any more.
So why doesn’t the church just BUY and RENOVATE all the buildings? I have brought this up a number of times as they are happy to suck the last dollars out of anyone and everyone for the “most important program on earth,” but when a catastrophe like Boston happens they do nothing. Well, as long as they are NOT done, Miscavige doesn’t have to come up with something and call it OT IX and X. Though he does recognize he has to find something for the OT VIIIs to do — which has been a parade of Basics, Congresses, ACCs, Purif, Objectives, Student Hat, Running Pgm and Super Power. But that’s beside the point of the “ideal orgs.”
It’s a beautiful scheme — they raise money for him to buy buildings he owns and as long as they are not done he doesn’t have to confront what to do about his promised OT IX and X. And not only that, he has taken all attention off having to get staff through OT levels by providing Universe Corps to them – a complete pain in the ass. AND the total amount of church reserves (his ultimate “stat” to protect him from any possible internal dissent should the natives become restless he could simply claim “upstats”) just keeps going up and up and up. And he doesn’t have to have any organization or auditors or supervisors to deliver services to make money, it just rolls in to Reserves and he sits like Scrooge McDuck and watches.
Add to this that he has something to SHOW. He has redefined expansion to mean “new buildings”. And those “new churches” prove that scientology is expanding under his leadership. If you go to the scientology.org website, it is a parade of glowing reports about scientology’s international expansion with 37 “new churches” opened since 2003 (the Mormons have probably opened 370 real NEW temples in that time) and how “Mr. Miscavige” has been at the helm spearheading this incredible expansion of the “fastest growing religion on earth.”
You only need to attend a single event or read one of their magazines to know that “scientology expansion” now equals “square feet of renovated space.” And new buildings equals new orgs. And all you need for new buildings is money and a team of CGI people to make videos and the entire scam is in place. To quote Miscavige “just add water” and you have “expansion.”
The second element is the IRS. The reason that churches (and other institutions) are granted tax exempt status is because they are in theory providing a public benefit. All share in the goodwill and services provided by churches one way or another so taxing them makes no sense. But the IRS is concerned that the money is actually SPENT for the public benefit and is not simply accumulated. Accumulated cash is NOT benefiting the public. You are of course allowed to have reserves for future expansion or for disastrous occurrences, and a large amount is allowable.
While Miscavige can hide a lot of what he does behind “religious belief and practice protected under the First Amendment” (labor law violations, abuse of church workers etc etc) it is far more difficult to hide how much money you are taking in and accumulating. Especially when you constantly publish lists of the amounts that people give (‘statuses”). The IRS is severely limited in its ability to look into the finances of churches — but still, Miscavige and his lawyers are aware that this area of accumulating reserves is a vulnerable one.
He could spend the money on real charitable programs. Build schools. Provide vaccines. Give away food. Even give away WTH booklets or dianetics and scientology books. But he sees all of those things as draining HIS Reserves stats. And he HAS to remain “upstat” at all times, even if it destroys the entire church to keep HIS pretense going. He is above reproach because of this. It is LRH who said the ultimate stat of CO CMO Int/WDC Chairman is Total Sea Org Reserves (he never gave a stat for RTC and in any event, that is not what Miscavige does, he is directly involved in the day to day micromanagement of everything in scientology).
One thing you CAN do with the money is buy facilities to “service your parishioners.” And the IRS basically takes you at your word that this is part of your religious belief and practice. Thus the CST vaults and the ridiculous expense involved in them was proudly shown to the IRS as a valid use of church funds. Virtually any property purchased that can be given a “religious significance” passes muster with the IRS.
The beauty of property purchases is that they are also included in the “Total Reserves Stat” — thus a $10 million cash outlay does not decrease Miscavige’s Total Reserves Stat as it simply changes significance from cash to property.
This is why you see ridiculous properties like KCET being purchased for more than $40 million (who knows how much to “renovate” it?). Or Larry Hadman’s former mansion for $10 million for a “celebrity Narconon”. Or various “ideal org buildings.”
The building expenses are a defense against charges of accumulating too much in reserves.
He will always have to come up with new schemes to spend money on real estate. Buying “ideal orgs” is one way but it has a downside. It curtails the revenue stream every time one is purchased. And it takes him ever closer to having to release the non-existent OT IX and X.
Believe me, no matter how nutty the “ideal org” program gets, it is not going away.
Not while Miscavige is running the show.