Scientologist and musician Wil Seabrook recently traded in his guitar for a keyboard to ask; Is Scientology an Investment?
Across Scientology’s Stand League website one finds articles that describe how non-Scientologists are regularly confronted with innocent, wide eyed interest about COS.
One is left wondering why, when these questions are asked of Scientologists on social media the answer is an unequivocal block, yet in all the fairy tales on Stand League members fall all over themselves to appear cooperative and forthcoming.
Members are disproportionately approached, out of the blue and blessedly given the opportunity to expound upon the reasonableness of their organization.
In this vein, Seabrook finds himself in this unlikely scenario on a regular basis.
Fortunately the lucky chance arose for him to be able to justify Scientology’s donation practices.
“One thing that people ask me is why Scientologists make donations for their services.”
Wil Seabrook has a Misunderstood Word.
Freely given without demand or coercion, donations are intended to help better the lives of others. They are an altruistic gift for those in need.
Imagine if a Salvation Army bell ringer standing at the front door of a local business refused shoppers entry until they contributed money to their red bucket.
Donations are a choice.
Exchanging money for goods or services is a business transaction called a “sale”.
“One thing that people ask me is why Scientologists make donations for their services. I think there’s an idea that help, especially of a religious nature, should be free.”
Never Ins on average do not have an intimate enough grasp of how Scientology works in order to ask this question. For the most part there is a vague understanding that members pay for the courses they take.
To the uninitiated this business arrangement makes sense. After all one pays for courses when attending college or a trade school. Paying to learn is not a new concept. What is not generally known is that Scientologists’ payments are referred to as “donations” in order to allow their accounting department to keep the tax exemption secure.
Seabrook however appears to have Scientology savvy friends and acquaintances who know just the right questions to ask.
Note that the man also has a materialistic view on how charity should be handled. In typical Scientology selfishness, help and religious compassion come at a price.
“Scientology is an applied religious philosophy, meaning you spend time studying and then applying it to improve specific areas of your life.
In order to facilitate this, Scientology churches offer courses, and there are a large number of volunteer staff on hand to help you understand and apply the materials you study so you get what you want to out of the course.”
Every religion has some form of study and learning involved. Sunday School and other religious teaching venues are part and parcel of most mainstream faiths. The difference is that, for example, the Catholic Church neither charges for Sunday School nor pays the dedicated parishioners who teach. They are volunteers.
“…and there are a large number of volunteer staff on hand to help you understand and apply the materials you study so you get what you want to out of the course.”
Seabrook intimates that one need for Scientology donations is to pay volunteers for their time.
Misunderstood word number two.
Volunteers are not paid for their time, people who do a job and receive payment are called “employees”.
“Scientology pastoral counseling, or auditing, is also administered in our churches, by individuals who have often spent years of their lives studying and practicing Scientology and the techniques of proper auditing in particular. All of that requires an investment on the part of the individual and the group as a whole.”
Medical personnel, lawyers, computer technicians, teachers, CPAs and countless other careers require study, internships and the money to pay for the education to achieve success. Paying for college and other training is indeed an investment in the individual and his future. Eventually the properly trained person goes out into the world and practices his expertise which in turn benefits society. In turn those who patronize these specialists pay for the services offered.
This is not a religious practice, nor are the bills requiring remuneration voluntary donation requests.
“Rather than asking people to tithe or give a specific amount of money weekly, monthly or annually, which is how many churches around the world can afford to operate, my religion asks parishioners to donate for the auditing or training they wish to receive.”
Here Seabrook highlights a crucial difference between Scientology and authentic religions.
Some faiths do require tithing which unlike Scientology who forces members into debt, true tithing is 10% of a persons annual income. It is based upon what the person makes, not what he can mortgage himself into bankruptcy for.
Catholic Churches do pass the basket during services. This money goes to paying the utility bills, buying food and other necessities for the parish priests. Any additional monies go to the diocese to help with operating costs for other Catholic apostolates.
It is not, however a demand.
No one is forced to drop money into the collection basket during Mass. Parishioners are not watched, notes are not taken on who does or doesn’t contribute. No Church official from the diocese is sent to anyone’s home demanding answers as to why no donation was forthcoming.
As for Seabrook’s statement “my religion asks parishioners to donate for the auditing or training they wish to receive“, this is disingenuous and misleading.
Scientology insists that in order to achieve salvation one must practice Hubbard’s Tech exactly and without deviation.
With a member’s very salvation at stake, the question arises; are the courses, the materials, the Bridge to Total Freedom, auditing and e-meters voluntary and a choice?
Surely dedicated members who long to achieve Scientology’s highest noble state of Clear wish they could afford the journey. Numerous accounts of members donating themselves into penury cast serious doubt as to the freedom of choice where salvation is at risk.
“Like any other church, the Church of Scientology is a nonprofit. That means there’s no one within the Church’s structure who personally gains from parishioner donations.”
Tom Cruise did not have an entire field of wildflowers planted in the desert just to fulfill his fantasy of running through them with Nichol Kidman?
Cruise does not have an entire Scientology staff at his beck and call? There are no custom motorcycles or extravagant birthday celebrations aboard a private cruise ship?
What of David Miscavige’s slick tailored suits, luxury vehicles, private planes and trips to Vegas?
NO ONE personally gains from the millions of dollars spent by members annually?
Wil Seabrook’s account of Scientology’s donations leaves out the fact that beyond the required constant payment for goods and services rendered, there is so much more money involved.
First there is the requirement for membership in the International Association of Scientologists. According to the IAS website, an annual membership is $250.00 while a lifetime membership is $5000.00.
Membership gives the card holder a pin, newsletter, tee shirt and certificate. From there the happy member is eligible for various privileges including one suspicious perk that says, “Eligibility to own a Hubbard Professional Mark Ultra VIII E-Meter as required by Churches of Scientology”. (Emphasis ours)
What does this actually mean? Ownership of this e-meter is required but one is only eligible to own it through paid membership. Does it not logically follow that to be a Scientologist with any hope of salvation one must become a member?
According to Mike Rinder, who was kind enough to clarify for us, “The repercussions for not being a member: officially it means you are not eligible for discounts on books and services. They are ONLY offered to members of the IAS.
Unofficially, you would become the subject of intense scrutiny by HCO and OSA (if it went on too long) as to your intentions for being in scientology.”
So much for free choice.
After paying for one’s membership into the club and receiving the secret handshake and decoder ring, one is faced with the demand for more money.
Scientology is the only “religion” that requires a signed legal disclaimer to accompany their donations.
“I understand that all donations will be used towards the protection of and dissemination of the Scientology religion, towards the fight for spiritual freedom for all Mankind and to support the religion’s humanitarian objectives.
I understand that donations to the IAS are not refundable.”
In other words, you aren’t getting anything for your money and you will never get the money back.
Now we know where the millions used to hire private investigators for Fair Game come from.
“Dissemination of the Scientology religion”?
One thought that came about through the sale of all the Hubbard books and other material produced by Bridge Publications.
Wil Seabrook proudly defends Scientology’s donation scheme, justifying it and insisting it is an investment well made.
In reality what his article does is once more reveal Scientology as the demanding corporate money making machine that it truly is.