The Church of Scientology is a business, pure and simple, whose purpose is to extract the maximum amount of cash (and/or cheap labour) out of a person as humanly possible. Its structures, policies and operations are geared towards this goal.
Table of Contents
The Church of Scientology has a pyramid like structure. At the bottom you have the smaller franchises known as ‘Missions’. Above that you have the ‘Orgs’ (Scientologese for ‘Organisations). Above that you have the ‘Advanced Orgs’.
A Scientology Mission can be started by just about any Scientologist who can afford a Mission Starter Pack, which will set a person back a few thousand euro. There were some donation drives to buy these Mission Starter Packs due to their expense. Missions offer introductory Scientology courses and services, and their objective is get their clients ready for shipping off to the Orgs (where more expensive courses and auditing await).
Missions are run in a manner to ensure they are non-profit. Any potential excess money is used to send staff over to the Orgs for Scientology training. The upshot of this is a funnelling of money up the Scientology business structure, with the Mission staff being constantly under pressure to produce.
One of appeals of becoming a Mission holder is the 50% discount given on services at the larger Scientology locations. When you consider the large expense some of these courses represent the initial Mission Starter Pack investment doesn’t seem so bad. This extract is from a 1998 FSO price list:
Missions offer all courses up to the level of ‘Clear’. The below table is an illustrative costing of how much such a project would set you back. Note that allowances for repair auditing, materials, repeating courses, etc. have been left out, so this is a gross underestimate. Note also that all prices featured here come from a 1998 FSO price list converted to euro (the Dublin Mission doesn’t exactly hand out price lists freely). In the FSO list extension courses are $35 (they are €25 here), Ups&Downs course is $120 (it is €82 here), STCC is $200 (it is €130 here), etc., so I have used a conversion factor of 1.5 where Irish prices were not available.
Life Repair €3,000
Purification Rundown €2,000
TRs & Objectives - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
Scn Drug Rundown - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
ARC Straightwire - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
Grade 0 - 3 x 12.5 hr €13,500
Grade 1 - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
Grade 2 - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
Grade 3 - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
Grade 4 - 2 x 12.5 hr €9,000
New Era Dianetics - 3 x 12.5 hr €13,500
Clear Certainty RD - 1 x 5 hr €2,000
Orgs & Advanced Orgs
It is at the Orgs and above that the really expensive courses begin. The L rundowns, whose prices were given above, are just one example. No matter how much money a person has there is a series of courses with hefty price tags to match. At the Orgs there is a preference system on who gets access to the ‘best’ auditors. The preference scale is specified in HCOPL 9th May 1965 titled ‘Auditing Fees, Preferential Treatment of Preclears, Scale of Preference’, and runs as follows (from highest preference to lowest preference):
- Pcs paying full rate, cash in advance with the longest consecutive auditing period purchased.
- Full rate pcs whose credit has proven excellent and prompt by past experience.
- Pcs paying cash in advance, professional rate.
- Full-public-rate pcs with 50 percent deposit and unknown or not established credit.
- Full-public-rate pcs requiring up to 75 percent credit, credit unknown.
- Professional rate requiring credit.
- Total credit at any rate, credit unknown.
- Charity pes or pcs on full credit of an unknown nature.
As the same HCOPL states, “Printing up the above preference scale for presentation to falterers on payment might be effective”. This scale helps to adhere to the ‘Governing Policy of Finance’ as specified in HCOPL 9th March 1972 titled ‘Income Flows and Pools, Principles of Money Management’:
”THE GOVERNING POLICY OF FINANCE
The governing policy of finance in any organization is to:
A. MAKE MONEY.
B. Buy more money made with allocations for expense (bean theory).
C. Do not commit expense beyond future ability to pay.
D. Don’t ever borrow.
E. Know different types of orgs and what they do.
F. Understand money flow lines not only in an org but org to org as students and pes flow upward.
G. Understand EXCHANGE of valuables or service for money (HCO PL 27 Nov. 71 I, Exec Series 3, MONEY and HCO PL 3 Dec. 71, Exec Series 4, EXCHANGE).
H. Know the correct money pools for any given activity.
I. Police all lines constantly.
J. MAKE MONEY.
K. MAKE MORE MONEY.
L. MAKE OTHER PEOPLE PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY.”
The Field Staff Member
In Scientology there is a clear distinction made between those ‘on staff’ (i.e. working in the Mission’s and Orgs) and those who are ‘public’ (those paying for courses/services). Field Staff Members are a bit of both, being officially public but also being charged with the recruitment of others (with emphasis on people to sign up for processing/training). As per HCOPL 9th May 1965 titled ‘Field Auditors Become Staff’, the purpose of an FSM is ”TO HELP LRH CONTACT, HANDLE, SALVAGE AND BRING TO UNDERSTANDING THE INDIVIDUAL AND THUS THE PEOPLES OF EARTH.” The importance of FSMs to recruitment is highlighted in HCOPL 26th March 1965 titled ‘Field Staff Member I/C Hat, Field Staff Members’ as follows:
” Over the years our best sources of pcs and students have been:
1. Books bought
2. Personal contact by field auditors.
On (2) although it is fashionable sometimes for orgs to curse the field and for the field to curse the org, the solid truth is that the second source of org pcs and students has been the field auditor.”
Field Auditors were the precursor to FSMs. As the above HCOPL put it: ”The idea is a parallel of the sales representative. This is the most successful of industrial sales plans.” In recognition of this, HCOPL 5th June 1968 titled ‘FSM Commissions’ specified a commission system for FSMs. They get ten percent of fees paid for processing and fifteen percent of fees paid for training. This can add to some serious money. Detailed previously are some of the costs of reaching ‘Clear’. Had an FSM recruited a pc who got that processing, that FSM would have pocked €9,700 in commission. Given the huge cost that training/processing can involve this makes being an FSM a potentially lucrative proposition. FSMs are one of the few groups within Scientology that actually make money out of it.
As you can see from the costs of going ‘clear’, prices for courses/services in Scientology can get very expensive very quickly. All books and course materials have a price tag. There are only two courses in the whole of Scientology that can be obtained for free. One of these is the Field Staff Member course, which ED 133 INT titled ‘Field Staff Member Courses’ specified as having no fee. This course teaches people how to sell Scientology as part of being an FSM. The second course that can be done for free is the Hubbard Dissemination Course, where yet again a person is taught how to sell Scientology to other people (marked as free on this 1995 Dublin Mission price list). One of the benefits of joining staff is that you can get your courses for free, which given the high price of courses/services makes it the only option for many wanting to progress up the bridge.
Using the lure of free courses gets the Missions/Orgs cheap labour. Staff pay ranges from non-existent to terrible. Gabiwynne discussed her time on staff, and how during that period she received a single paycheck – an envelope with a €2 coin inside. Pete Griffith, at 6 minutes in the following video, details the crapness of the pay on offer:
The Freeloader Debt
For those that have been on staff in Missions/Orgs for a long time, and thus have taken quite a lot of the free courses/services on offer, can be subject to the ‘Freeloader debt’. This is, in essence, a threat to charge those people for the courses/services they have taken should they ever decide to leave. This is most common in the Sea Org, but also occurs in the Missions/Orgs. It can act as a controlling mechanism over those who are unaware that such a debt is legally unenforceable.
How It All Adds Up
These are a selection of receipts from an ex-member of the Dublin Mission. These receipts are by no means the totality of her Scientology spending, and they are given here in order to illustrate how easily even the cheapest Scientology courses can add up. These receipts total over €1,000, and this ex-member still hadn’t even started on the bridge.