In 2016, a year after Going Clear debuted, Scientology Spokesman Mike Ferriss participated in an interview with New Zealand’s RNZ.
Journalist Mava Moayyed, like most Never Ins, had no idea she was being used to allow COS a platform to spin their benign “we’re just like everyone else” façade.
Overall this article is typical Scientology PR except for one notable and important exception.
When asked about the number of Scientologists in New Zealand Ferriss’ response exposed several truths.
“It depends who calls themselves a Scientologist. We have a broader membership of about 3,500 that have had some involvement in the Church in recent times. The overall numbers of people involved goes into about 30,000 in New Zealand over those many, many years.
To understand that you have to understand Scientology doesn’t say that you have to say you’re a scientologist. You could be members of other religious groups as well.”
Ferriss’ statement is glaringly, obviously misleading.
First he hedges with “it depends who calls themselves a Scientologist.”
L. Ron Hubbard was crystal clear about membership in his conglomerate church. Either one is all in or all out.
Scientologists are those who upper management says they are. Individuals practicing the tech outside the control of David Miscavige’s iron fist is a squirrel and guilty of high crimes.
Anyone calling themselves a Scientologist IS a card carrying Scientologist or they’re going to be asked why not.
“We have a broader membership of about 3,500 that have had some involvement in the Church in recent times.”
This is Scientology speak for “we count every person who has walked through the front door in the last decade”. Probably including the post man and FedEx driver.
“Some involvement” most likely extends to non-Scientologists who attend public events hosted by the cult.
Anything to push the stats and make COS look vital.
“The overall numbers of people involved goes into about 30,000 in New Zealand over those many, many years.”
Scientology’s New Zealand Org was established in 1955.
There can be no doubt that Ferriss is using every one of these 60 plus years in his statement.
According to a 2009 article in The Sunday Star Times however “Scientology claims to have millions of followers worldwide and 5000 in New Zealand, although only 357 people called themselves Scientologists in the 2006 Census.
At the church’s New Zealand headquarters in Panmure the volunteer staff of about 30 is kept busy buttonholing potential recruits on the streets…”
Ferriss’ struggle to produce convincing membership numbers fades to insignificance when he utters his next sentence.
“To understand that you have to understand Scientology doesn’t say that you have to say you’re a scientologist. You could be members of other religious groups as well.”
In order to qualify as a Church, the IRS lists fourteen criteria that “…are generally attributed to churches. These attributes of a church have been developed by the IRS and by court decisions.”
One of these criteria is; “Membership not associated with any other church or denomination”.
Here an acknowledged spokesman for Scientology publicly admits that his “church” is not, in fact, a separate and distinct religious entity.
Ferriss basically says here that Scientology is more an optional, part-time club than a religion.
Some people call themselves Scientologists, it‘s a broad, fluid membership; people come and go and many are actually affiliated with other, mainstream Faiths.
Scientology is an arbitrary side hustle.
Reality is much less tolerant and inclusive than Ferriss’ wide eyed declamation.
Given L. Ron Hubbard’s heretical hate directed towards Christians it would be impossible to reconcile practicing both doctrines. Mike Ferriss himself proves this point when he explains the Scientological concept of God.
“In Scientology, the concept of God might be ‘the infinite’, the ‘supreme being’ or perhaps the ‘all-ness of all.’”
COS replaces God with the Thetan which they define as both immortal and creator of life, itself.
In fact there is no God in Scientology other than profit.
When people watch Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, read the various excellent books by former members, listen to the podcast Scientology Fair Game or read an article describing the malice of this cult their first response is often “How can I help?”
Scientology’s tax exemption and their religious/charitable designation is the lynchpin that holds the cult together. Pull this and the rest tumbles in a domino effect that will ultimately end David Miscavige’s empire.
The only way this will happen is for concerned people to speak.
Write to the U. S. Treasury, to the IRS and to the Congressional Representatives politely demanding to be heard.
Scientology is not a religion.
It is neither charitable nor a positive influence on society.
Only through a steady, constant stream of serious, dedicated voices will this malicious cult be dragged into the light and forced to face a reckoning for their crimes and abuses.
Until this happens people like Valerie Haney, Chrissie Bixler and her sister accusers and all the other former and current members who have suffered terrible emotional, spiritual, physical and financial trauma will not receive the justice and healing they deserve.
Please be a voice.