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Immortality Costs Money
The Finances of Scientology

The sliding price scale should be heavily used by registrars [Scientology salespeople] as a selling point, "IT PAYS TO BUY MORE AUDITING [at a time]."
L. Ron Hubbard[1]
Auditing is already the cheapest method of treatment there is. It is cheaper if you do not have to use the time factor that it takes to get results as an argument.. [...] How much is a person's life worth to him? How much is it worth to not have to die? I do not think you could put a price tag on that. We are selling actual freedom from death itself. Rebates? That's crazy. People should be happy that we are here at all, and that we are interested in them.
L. Ron Hubbard [2]

In order to understand why a person goes into debt up to his eyeballs so that he may give Scientology his money, one has to be familiar with the sales training of the Scientology sales people.

Training the "Ravenous Wolf"

The mission of the salesperson is:

"to see to it that many people are trained and audited, that many illnesses are cured, and to ensure that the income of the organization is enough for it to fulfill its mission. [3] "

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Step one of development consists of making it clear to every salesperson that there is nothing more important in the world than Scientology, that a person can only be "saved" through Scientology, that every failure to sell is a crime against the individual, who now has to wait all that much longer now for his "freedom."

One of the books that the salesperson must study is the so-called Hard Sell Pack, (in German Ordner fuer knallharten Verkauf).

Hard-sell means insisting that the people buy. It means to have an interest in the person, not to indulge in stops and barriers, but to be concerned enough so that the person can be brought through the stops and barriers so that he can receive the services through which he can be rehabilitated. [4]

I interviewed a former Scientology salesperson about the sales practices: about his personal experience and his observations of his sales associates. The Scientology salesperson (I will call him "Karl" in this chapter) had this to say about the Hard Sell Pack:

Once you have absorbed it all, you are then a ravenous wolf. Nothing else matters. You have instructions that people are to pay everything they have into this thing so that they can be completely rehabilitated! That is what I did. Now we come to the sentence, "We would rather have you dead than incapable."

Being "incapable," to a salesperson, means that he is not selling anything.

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Is it clear to you [...] that you are not offering cars or life insurance or jewelry, stocks, fixed-rate bonds or buildings or some other kind of transient, unfixed good for sale, [...] you are offering services which will rehabilitate [the soul], and that is constant.

The Scientology recruitment department works in the same sense as "hard sell":

When one writes an advertisement or a flyer, it is necessary to assume that the person will sign up or register right away. You tell the person that he will immediately register, and that he will receive the product right away. [...] One does not describe, one orders. You will find that many people are in a more or less hypnotic state, that printed matter and advertisements appear to them as direct orders. [5]

This "hypnotic state" is supposed to be exploited for the welfare of the individual. In the course of the years, a Scientologist is indoctrinated into believing that his critical thinking has been strongly manipulated, if not completely suppressed.

It must also be made clear to the Scientology customer that he is in the hands of the only organization which can save him. The world belongs to Scientology. As announced by L. Ron Hubbard in December of 1973, "This is OUR world." Another motivation came in 1982. On March 14 of that year, L. Ron Hubbard announced:

I can tell you this very clearly: if Scientology does not make it worldwide, then you are done for - yes, I mean you. [6]

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As of 1963:

If we fail, then we are finished. It is not a simple matter of being murdered. It is about being murdered over and over again, life after life, into eternity.

We have been given a chance which we can never repay.

We do not have time for doubt or mindless activity. We are the elite of planet Earth. [7]

Any kind of fun that one could receive from making a sale, any sort of feeling that it is nice or pleasant is taken away from the salesperson, because he is carrying his own life and the future of the entire world upon his shoulders. As does any other Scientologist at the beginning of every major course, he reads:

We are not playing some kind of meaningless game in Scientology. It is not nice to do, or something that one does for lack of something better.

The entire agonizing future of this planet - and every man, woman and child on it - and their destinies for the next billions of years depend on what you do here and now in Scientology.

This is a deadly serious activity. And if we fail to get out of the trap now, then perhaps we will never have another chance. [8]

This and other publications make one thing clear to every professional Scientologist: "I bear responsibility for the salvation of the world. The poor non-Scientologists find themselves in a trance-like, hypnotic state and do not recognize how bad off they are. No matter what the circumstances, I must see to it that they are saved!" That is how the sympathy of the individual Scientologist is harnessed by Scientology - that is how the inherent need for peace and freedom is harnessed in order to instill professional sales techniques into each Scientologist for the "welfare of the individual."

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What more noble and worthwhile activity could there possibly be? Doesn't every person have a little bit of Gandhi or Mother Theresa in them? Connected with a strictly organized and controlled organization, the only one that could save the world, anyone would do his best...

It is clear that this liberation of the world has its price. In 1971, Hubbard stated:

The price we are asking is that of a priceless commodity - personal ability. Health and immortality. The welfare of the group. A saved planet. [...] A few hundred or several thousand [dollars] now buy a longer bodily life and personal immortality. [9]

So that the Scientology salesperson is clear about how the world around him looks, and how urgent his mission is, he reads an article from 1958 in the Hard Sell Pack, in which L. Ron Hubbard clearly states what is wrong with the world. [10]

It is clear that a barbaric society which leaves everything to chance, which believes in luck and in irresponsibility, needs leadership. [...]

Barbaric societies solve problems with brutality, criminality with punishment, and social illnesses with degradation.

Therefore it is rather obvious that the United States of America - and the Western world - are barbaric societies.

If we plot the government on our chart of human evaluation [a table developed by Hubbard], then we find out we have a cowardly psychotic. [...] Governments are mentally ill. That is a big consideration, and one that you must digest. [...] The mentally ill are not always stupid, but they are quite certainly mentally ill.

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Of course you could define government as the following: "The institution which brings about the accumulated irresponsibility of a people." The mentally ill are irresponsible. That is why they are mentally ill. When you bring all the irresponsibility of a nation into one institution, then you have a mentally ill institution. That is the source of the existing character of the government.

Realize it. We live in a barbaric society.

Indoctrinated with the above, there is only one place which is safe for a Scientologist: his Scientology organization. On top of this, the Scientology salesperson is acquainted with the only reason that any Scientology organization exists:


On February 3, 1983, the international Scientology Management was very clear-cut:

If an organization does not concentrate on the sale and delivery of goods and services to customers, things will be difficult for them. Management's main interest is seeing that this be done by organizations. In Scientology, all our customers are existing or potential members. That means every person from the public.

Each person who supports this and works towards it is completely secure in his post and will receive support.

Nobody for whom it has been determined that he does not actively support and perform this shall receive mercy.

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Any idea that an organization exists for some reason other than that of selling and delivering goods and services to the public must be quashed. [12]

What it is that matters must be clearly stated to the Scientology customers:

People have following the path confused with "the right to their own ideas." Of course everyone has the right to develop his own opinions and ideas and perceptions - as long as these do not obstruct the path for himself or for others. [13]

As we see, any opinion which deviates from Scientology doctrine is declared to be impermissible. Now that the salesperson knows this, he will not only brush aside critical or skeptical thoughts from his customers, he will also not question his own work. He now knows that such critical thoughts could only come from the depths of his unconsciousness. They have to be rationalized away. At the same time he will have a feeling of well-being and security, since he has the luck to belong to the only organization of the world that is ethical all around.

There are organizations, such as a whole series of Christian communities, who like to quote the Bible in order to bring people's attention to their message, or the Hare Krishnas, a community that reverts back to the old traditions of Hindu mysticism, who hand their books out for free. A non-member can read through these books and form his own opinion. If he would like to know more, then he can ask at his own convenience. If he is not interested, then the matter is done with. This is not the case with Scientology. Whoever buys a book at a Scientology book stand has found that he is asked for his address so that he can receive "further information."

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This is the same thing that occurs in Scientology professionally. After so many weeks a letter arrives, or a call comes in, invites the addressee to a discussion or encourages him to take a personality test. Any possibility of attaining new customers is exploited as a normal way of doing business. According to L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology may not give out its books gratis, the same goes for individual counseling. Giving anything away is a direct contradiction to the Scientology "religious" doctrine of give and take. Scientology does not keep to this doctrine when it comes to soliciting its members for contributions of huge amounts, donations which amount to millions.

There were more motivations to become a "ravenous wolf" than "Karl," the former Scientologist salesperson, could cite. The sale of services in the amount of 200,000 or 300,00 franks in order to lead the customer to salvation is a deep rooted obligation. The Scientology salesperson will clear all obstacles from the path of his customers which stand in the way of his making his "donations."

Now the ravenous wolf still needs to learn the right tactics, and he can expertly catch his prey.

Professional Sales Training

As we have seen, the degree of the necessary financial expenditure is apparently a coincidental problem. It is the soul which has to be saved! One only has to make the individual more "capable," then he will be able to make more money to contribute to his church - such as being able to pay back his loans which he had to take out.

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The Scientology sales technology consists of a few, simple steps:

A. Making Contact

There is nothing more complicated to this than starting a conversation with someone.

B. Handle

By "handle", Hubbard means: "control, direct" [14] . This step is necessary if the person has already heard of Scientology and is negatively inclined, or if he reacts critically, or even hostilely, to it. The salesperson must brush aside all arguments of the potential customer. This is where half-truths come into operation. These have been sold to the salesperson by his employer or by the International Management as "true." [15]

C. Rescue

This is the deciding step. The person must be rescued from something that is ruining his life. This can be an evil employer, a horrible spouse, a general life crisis, etc. Whatever it is, the person must be made aware of what his future holds for him if this situation does not change. The salesperson helps to see the future as bleakly as possible. Now the customer knows what is ruining his life. One has conducted a "Ruin Interview." Now, since the customer is embroiled, comes the last, essential step.

D. Bringing to an Understanding

If the "Rescue" step has been well executed, the customer is plucked like a ripe apple. He only has to be told that Scientology can help him in a case like that.

"Enlightened" in this manner, the person then attends his first, introductory Scientology course. This does not cost much money, maybe two or three hundred franks ($150-200), and frequently brings positive results. Now the person is ready for the "big journey up the bridge to total freedom." Very soon afterwards, a four-figure donation will not be large enough.

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It could also be that a person's savings would not be enough to get him up the bridge. He would like to take the advanced courses and receive the professional counselling, so he confides in the salesperson, who then hints that maybe he could help. He certainly can help, because he is strongly motivated and has taken the course for "successful sales closing techniques."

Scientology's Sales Closing Techniques

In the early 1970's, L. Ron Hubbard happened across a book by an American sales trainer by the name of Les Dane. Les Dane, a full-blooded salesman and a very sympathetic person, was successful for many years in diverse areas. L. Ron Hubbard declared his book to be mandatory reading material for every Scientology salesperson. Later, Les Dane also visited Scientology organizations for the purpose of giving his sales training.

"Sales closing techniques" then became necessary if the customer was basically interested in the product, but was not interested in buying it for some reason. It has to do with the usual limitations associated with the decision of making a large expenditure within a limited amount of time. It could simply be an anxiety about obligating oneself, the desire to spend the money on one's family, etc. Scientology has developed definite sales exercises in order to overcome any of these obstacles.

The customer, according to Hubbard, may not make any essential decision:

We have had to pay a pile of money to learn that a person from the public may never be asked to DECIDE or to CHOOSE.

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The reason for that, Hubbard explains, is that the new person (also called "raw meat") has no idea of the products of Scientology.

One must realize what is best for people, then manipulate them in that direction, so that they get it. Leaving it up to their "self-determination" means, in reality, leaving it up to their reactive mind [subconscious]. [16]

The trick is getting a person who has already made the decision to buy something in particular to make this small decision about what they were doing, and have them assume that they had already made the decision to buy.

It has to do with a technique, a circumvention of a big decision.

EXAMPLE: A person has not decided to get auditing. The salesperson ignores that and asks whether they would like to have their auditing in the afternoon or the evening. The person says, "in the evening", and forgets to realize that they had never decided to get auditing. [17]

In no case may the salesperson make new customers nervous through the revelation of the true Scientology prices:

I have determined that we have frightened people, on various occasions, during their first contact with training and auditing, in that we have mentioned to them the high price of training and auditing.

Anyone who does that misunderstands our fundamental mission, which does not consist of the calculation of higher prices, but in the expansion of Scientology with the goal of bringing a new and better culture to earth.

If we mention the high prices to new people, then we are also preventing the attainment of a financial goal. [18]

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The underlying principle, according to Hubbard, is to sell new people a book or an introductory course, then proceed step by step from there.

The salesperson learns to "identify" with his customers, and to close the sale quickly.

The trainer plays various types of identities as potential customers in the sales talk. The student [the future salesperson] adapts his speech and his conduct to this type of personality (without mimicking), and is now in position of identifying with the trainer.

Begin by playing "John Customer" who wants to buy a product or a service, who has the money in the bank, but would like to wait a month. By using the "Buy Now" gimmick, the student must manipulate the trainer to cause him to want to pay for and obtain the services now. [19]

In Scientology, professional sales goes so far as to hide microphones in the offices of salespeople so that other salespeople can listen in. In that way, a colleague can rush to his help if he notices that there is a risk of muffing the close. The second salesperson "accidentally" comes into the office, apologizes for the interruption, and says, for example, that he has a customer who is quite enthusiastically paying him, that he has solved his problems through receiving Scientology auditing. And this problem is coincidentally the same, or a similar one, to the one which the unwilling customer has ... now convinced, the customer signs and pays. He has no idea that the deck was stacked against him.

I have seen an example of the above in action - in Clearwater, Florida, the most important Scientology service center.

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The salesperson must also be up to date with the art of financing. In the sales exercise for that, it literally states:

The student [the future salesperson] must be familiar with the fundamentals of financing and the current economic conditions of society in order to be capable of handling the finances of the potential customer. Knowledge of bank loans, mortgages, how one sells stocks, etc. is very useful. [20]

The salesman should "handle" the finances of his customer. Hubbard defines "handle" as:

control, direct. Handling implies applying a trained ability to the attainment of an immediate goal. [21]

The customer has practically no chance with these types of professional sales methods, because he is under the impression that he is not dealing with professional sales people, but with upstanding church people, who only have his welfare at heart.

Official Scientology Statistics

Official statistics, such as those published in the new edition of the book, What is Scientology?, require critical consideration.

Despite their questionable nature, these statistics permit indirect conclusions to be made concerning the number of Scientologists. Interestingly enough, the exact number of Scientologists is not published in this edition of the book. In any case, Scientology is, according to its own statement, "the fastest growing religion in the world."

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I compared, to the degree it was possible, the totals presented in 1992 with the totals from 1978, which Scientology had published in the first edition of What is Scientology?.

The Myth of "Fast" Growth

In 1992, according to Scientology, there were 1,039 churches, missions and organizations worldwide. An impressive graphic layout showed imposing growth:

"Churches, Missions, and Organizations"
     1970 -   118
     1980 -   328
     1990 -   832
     1992 - 1,039

A cross reference to the 1978 publication was almost impossible, because, I asked, what was meant by an "organization"? The descriptive text mentioned that the new statistics encompass organizations which offer a "wide palette of services, beginning with classroom education on up through drug rehabilitation." This was not, by any means, strictly Scientology services. It would have been more clear if the "churches" and "missions" had been separated from the other organizations.

So I counted the real "churches" and "missions" in the address list at the end of the book. "Churches" are those organizations which are permitted to sell and deliver a wide palette of Scientology services. "Missions" and smaller organizations are those which offer a limited selection of services and which are regarded by Scientology as the real starting places for new members.

In 1978 there were, according to What is Scientology?, 79 churches and 172 missions, if I have not miscounted. Included in these are organizations which fulfill strictly managerial functions.

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In 1992, there were 152 churches and 246 missions (management organizations included).

Over a 15 year period, the number of churches grew, on average, at the rate of barely 4.8 percent per year. The missions did a little worse. For them the average growth was only 2.6 percent per year.

Now we come to the staff members. In 1975, according to the new book, Scientology churches and missions had a staff of 3,238, and in 1980 it was 5,150. In the old book, a total of 6,429 staff were projected by July 31, 1977. That would mean that the number of staff almost doubled from 1975 to 1977, only to drop 20 percent in the next three years.

If we take the number of staff on July 31, 1977 as a base, and compare it with that of 1990, which is 10,224, then the number of staff, from the middle of 1977 to 1992 grew at a rate of 3.8 percent.

These are numbers which permit us to discount the myth of the incredibly accelerated growth of which Scientology is so fond of quoting.

How many Scientologists are there?

The current edition of What is Scientology? gives us a multitude of statistical information, but, of all things, the number of members is missing. How could that be?

Scientology likes to hear numbers such as five million or eight million, as they have published in the media. In any case it is important for Scientology to cite big numbers in order to document their constant expansion, size and significance. The number that would really tell us how many Scientologists there are is the number of members in the International Association of Scientologists (IAS), discounted by the number of free, introductory memberships. This number, available at the touch of a computer keyboard, has never been published. Whoever is familiar with Scientology, and knows how much they like to flaunt their announcements of success, would ask themselves what the big secret is about this number.

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Whoever is as curious as I was, this had a magical attraction for me. I attempted to proceed deductively.

In June of 1977, there were, as stated in the 1978 edition of What is Scientology?, 5,437,000 Scientologists. (In 1981, a high-ranking Scientology staff member wrote that he was told that there were two million active Scientologists...)

The 1993 edition gave figures as to how long people had remained in Scientology: 21.3 percent said they had been members for 11 to 15 years, 13 percent said they had been members for 16 to 20 years. Since the exact figures are not known, we will have to make an assumption: if the five million Scientologists from 1977 made up the 13 percent figure, then, theoretically, there would be 41 million Scientologists today. If they made up the 21.3 percent, then there would be something over 25 million Scientologists. One condition is that everybody who was a Scientologist back then is still one today; another condition is that the numbers have actually risen.

These exaggerated figures are by no means correct, as we know from the number of published Scientology magazines. The current edition of the book, What is Scientology?, gives the number of magazines published by local churches as 2,595,000. That would be the upper limit, because one thing is sure: all Scientologists get a magazine. Sometimes Scientologists receive two copies apiece, some receive only one copy per married couple. People who are no longer active, and even those who are not even passive members, still receive magazines., so that we can say with certainty that in 1992, worldwide, there were no more than 2.5 million Scientologists.

This would mean that the number of Scientologists have dropped by half since 1977, although perhaps Scientology did not publish the actual count in 1977, because those numbers weren't correct either? If those numbers were not correct, what else would be incorrect? In April of 1994, Scientology gave 30,000 as the number of Scientologists in Germany, which was a revision of press reports which originated from outside of Scientology, in which it was claimed that there were up to 300,000 members.

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In Switzerland, the estimates by insiders have been as high as 3,000. Even so, the true number of their active members, which has to be well known by Scientology, is not published.

Altered Age Structure

Concerning the age of the members, a comparison between 1977 and 1992:

    AGE        June 1977        1992
    Under 20       10.7%        7.2%
    21-30          61.6%       24.3%
    31-40          19.5%       44.6%
    41-50           4.6%       17.8%
    51 and older    3.5%        6.1%

Apparently the membership by age has changed. If more than 70 percent of all Scientologists were under 31 in 1977, then the majority of today's Scientologists would be over 30 years old. It cannot be determined whether that is due to a deceleration of growth or an increase in the age of those interested, since there is no clean cross-reference.

The Sale of Books

A certain measure of the growth of Scientology is the sale of books and goods. To this end, Scientology owns two publishing companies. The publisher responsible for the entire world outside of North and South America is New Era Publications, headquartered in Copenhagen. It is a normal, for-profit enterprise whose only stockholder is the Scientology Church. In recent years there is only one way to describe the profit of this company. It is in a permanent decline.

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In years gone by, the certified public accountants of the publishing house wrote into their annual reports passages such as the following: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, and the possibility of error in estimating the value of the liabilities of the publishers, [...] limitations regarding the effects must be made on the annual balance and the consoldiated years balance of these factors."

Apparently this is exactly what Hubbard was talking about when he wrote, in 1967, "NEVER WILLINGLY VOLUNTEER INFORMATION, when you are dealing with people from the tax agency." This is because the government, according to Hubbard, falsifies documents in order to get more taxes, and, when it comes to taxes, the explanation for getting a profit depends on the imagination of the individual, or, as Hubbard says, "The one with the most ingenuity wins."

The net annual sales of New Era Publications in Danish kroner are:

     1989     224,481,000
     1990     204,679,000
     1991     139,624,000
     1992      69,992,000
     1993      67,724,000

Scientology Sales People in Action [22]

In Scientology, the work week begins and ends every Thursday at 2 p.m. Each individual staff member must have calculated up his performance using statistics by this time, which, for the sales person, is how much money he has taken in.

Scientology calls its sales people "registrars." By this term, Hubbard means that the corresponding Scientologist does not "sell", but only "logs in" or "registers" the interested people for courses or auditing.

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This is how he saw to it that any interest automatically be put into the services themselves. It is quite clear from the above section that a registrar is actually performing the function of a professional sales person.

According to Karl, this is what the reality of Scientology sales looks like:

There are two types. On the one side are the directives of L. Ron Hubbard, and then there is something else, and it can only be stated one way: raising money.

The people in the sales department have had to come up with a way of gettng money together quickly. The system operates from Thursday 2 p.m. until Thursday 2 p.m., and you have to produce higher statistics each week than you did the week before. You can not let the public go to the bank! That takes much too long. By the time the customer makes an appointment to speak with the banker, two weeks have already gone by. Having to bother with getting credit is not really in the realm of registrars. But in Switzerland there is no other choice. That is how it went in Lausanne, and also in Bern and Zurich. It was a professional scam.

When someone meets up with Scientology for the first time, he is put through a "ruin interview." This is a discussion focusing on the area of the potential customer's life in which he is most involved, and which, if he does nothing to change it, will "ruin" his life as he subjectively understands it.

"Does the person first take the personality test," I asked Karl.

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Yes, and then he gets an interview. Hubbard directs that the person be directed to his ruin in the "Ruin Interview." The phenomenon is that the person will quite despairingly ask, "What can I do now?". That is when the person is all set up. He is consciously aware that, "I can't stand the situation anymore, and I have to do something about it!" That is how the Ruin Interview works. The person must be desperate for a solution! That is what the test can be used for, but, of course, it's also possible to achieve this state in the course of a normal dicussion.

The goal of the "ruin interview" is to sell Scientology. Basically, one differentiates between the sale of an introductory, inexpensive course and a couple of hours of introductory auditing. The introductory auditing contains the same techniques of the individual discussion as used by Hubbard in his book Dianetics. Scientology also calls this book Book One, because it was Hubbard's first book on the subject. The person is supposed to experience how this type of discussion can lead to realizations. It titillates his appetite, so to speak.

You do the test evaluation, and then you start [the person] on the Book One auditing or the Communications Course, depending on what turned up [from the test results]. For instance, the Book One auditor might know that he would have to make an appointment as fast as possible, because we still need five or six hours [of counseling] in order to find out whether we could pluck the person for a couple more [12.5 hour blocks of expensive and regular] auditing.

One such block might cost from 250 to 500 marks or franks in the local organization, depending on how many hours the person buys at once. The success of this sale depends upon:

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having mercilessly pressed the person for an appointment as soon as possible, as well as having a Book One auditor that is a half-way decent salesperson. He [handles everything so that] the person has the fastest possible and greatest realizations. He has surely taken on nothing less than 25 hours of cheap Book One auditing, and the registrar desparately waits on the next one he can put on the bridge [the Scientology course and auditing plan]. The organization needs money, and the next rent on the building is due.

The intensity of the pressure can barely be imagined from the outside. Karl did not recognize it himself, until he left Scientology, and went back to work in the real world:

It was gruesome. When you leave there, you end up in a vacuum. You no longer have any pressure. Nothing. At first I supplied the pressure myself, until the pressure from my employer was as high as I had been used to. But suddenly you notice that you are no longer nervous at work. "What's wrong?" you ask. No fear for my existence at work? I could not immediately accept that. It was an exaggerated pressure.

The Scientology salesman must judge whether his target has more money reserves at his disposal, or if he can come by greater sums:

After the selected person has his sessions with the Book One auditor, he fills out a qualification sheet. Naturally, this is not forced upon a manual laborer, for whom it is known that he earns 2,100 franks per month (approx. $1,500). It is forced upon someone for whom it is known receives a good wage. You have to disqualify people. You want to make the able more able, and the able distinguish themselves in that they make more money.

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Hubbard actually wrote a directive in 1965, stating that the quality of the auditor should be directly proportional to the ability of the person to pay. The one who pays in full for the most hours he can get receives the best auditor. Hubbard literally stated, not at all ironically:

The whole theory behind what gets taken care of first has nothing at all to do with money. It will be determined that the ones who pay were the most capable from the very start, and they have the greatest worth to others. Their worth, as a person, is higher.[23]

Introductory auditing apparently serves no other purpose than to tie the person to the organization. It appears as though the bother of wanting to help this person has no bearing on the sale of this introductory service:

The Book One auditor gave out very little information that could have been significant. Supposing that in a discussion before or after the session, it came out that he [the customer] has a pile of debt, then, of course that would do me in. Then I would immediately think, "Now we need a stopgap measure." Those are steadfast customers who have to pay for it. I believe they are called "sitting ducks."

After the person had five or six hours under his belt, and told the auditor that he has had a couple of good wins, then we would tell the person, "Now comes the big test interview." It was the same test that he filled out before, but we can show him that there are already a few changes. And we said that now, we are really getting into the meat of the matter.

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What would come out of the test interview would be that now we had found "THE" ruin of their life. It would be a waste of counseling time to have to start the same thing from the beginning. This was deep, so deep that 12.5 hours of Book One auditing for 580 franks would not be enough. Of course not. If there were to be any expense at all, then it would have to be at least 25,000 to 40,000 franks. This package would be beautifully put together, including professional, expensive auditing with a few courses, etc., a little bit of everything. The package was put together in this price range because we knew that a Swiss bank will normally lend out ten to twelve times his net monthly income. When you eat pork, naturally you have something on the side. That is how our qualifications worked.

The "salvation of the world" does not seem to play a big role here:

That's right. But pressure rolls downhill. The director of the organization had pressure from management. Management had pressure from International Management. They would threaten him with deprivation of time off, and "You will have to come to Copenhagen [Europe Central] immediately, if, by this week, you have not...", and so forth. These threats would even start on Friday and Saturday.

Then you had normal pressure, which also had to do with deprivation of time off, you just wouldn't get a whole day off, because the pressure was so out of proportion. That had a little of the "salvation of the world" in the background. Perhaps that was their inner drive, but what they always said was, "You have to get more than last week! What do you really have for a goal?"

Then the big test interview would come. That would have to last until Tuesday, because you knew that what you had taken in by then would be, more or less, what you had on Thursday at 2 p.m.

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So far, I can understand that. The person has their ruin, they know, "That is the solution", that functions, that is good.

The solution is that you need auditing up to Clear [a Scientology stage of enlightenment]. You animate the person the whole way through the Scientology steps to "total freedom." Then he asks, "What does that cost?"

As soon as they ask, "What does that cost?", then you know you've done a poor job. But when they scream for salvation, then you know you've done a good job. The price doesn't even come up, and they'll receive a shock when you announce that they have to hand over 60 to 70 thousand franks in order to become clear.

But then the person says, "Yes. Okay, I'll do it, I have to, I realize that. He's really unravelled, and it is perfectly clear to him what he has to do. Until then, everything was so logical. And if he asked how much that would cost, then I replied, "you can count on 60,000 to 70,000 franks to make clear." I would say that in the same tone of voice as asking, "Would you like another coffee?" Then I would not say anthing, because I knew that the person would have a lump in their throat. Then they would swallow, and say, "At the moment I don't see a solution," because the sum is overwhelming. Then I would wait a little bit. Perhaps the person would start, all by himself, to find a solution.

Of course, few of the new Scientologists would have that much money in their savings account. Naturally, the Scientology salesperson would offer a solution:

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Then they would say, "I don't have the money," and I'd reply, "That can happen. Do you have anything set aside? Or are you without any means at all?" Then the answer would be something like, "No, I have 10,000 franks set aside." Then the registrar would gradually begin playing his next role.

Confronted with the question as to whether the registrar was a full-blown sales person, or just someone that filled out forms, Karl replied:

Yes, that's confusing, too. We would always have discussions which would try to make the point that you could go up to this point, and no further. And because of that, the registrar would be caught in the middle. Here's how it would go. The person would only have 10,000 set aside. Then I'd tell him, "With an amount like that you could be well on your way to clear. You'll see, after you've had your first few hours of professional auditing with an e-meter, that a few of your big problems will be taken care of. By then you'll have more ideas, and find a way to go from there."

Then he'd see, there'd be a package of 50 hours auditing that brings somebody up to Grade 0 [a "grade of enlightenment" which is supposed to completely develop a person's ability to communicate]. With a greater ability to communicate, it would be easier for him to speak to someone who wants to help him further. But maybe the package cost 30,000, but he only had 10,000 set aside. That would make 20,000 to make up for. "Yes, we're just going to have to scrounge that up someplace," I'd say, and the customer would react, "Yes, how? I'm not taking out a loan." Now he has the ball. He thinks about it. Then the subject of a loan comes up again. "But where?" "Yes, you know, you're not the only person who doesn't have the money set aside - 80 percent of the people don't have the money - we've had our share come through here.

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I had a few tricks up my sleeve. "Are you afraid you could not afford a loan?" or "Do you have the feeling that you couldn't get credit?" Those kind of questions worked well. "The bank doesn't give money to just anybody, you know. You have to have a job and have a few things going for you, otherwise, you don't have a chance." That is how I would take all the disreputableness out of getting a loan. "You know, they don't take just anybody. It's almost a privilege, that you got this loan."

L. Ron Hubbard wrote directives to cover every situation, or to make the individual staff member responsible for it. If the registrar was not bringing in sales because he said that he should be advising, not selling, and the income went down, then he is an "unethical" registrar who does not really want to save the world. On the other hand, if he is a ruthless sales person, then he will be praised to high heaven, until his way of doing business is made public after somebody has been completely ruined by debt. Then they quickly take the individual responsible and publicly chastise him. That is what happened in early 1994: three years earlier, four Scientologists had been sentenced by the Zurich court for fraud. Scientology appealed the case to the next higher court and the next, until finally it got to the Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne. When the appeal was turned down there, too, Jurg Stettler, the Press Officer for Scientology Switzerland, announced that the delinquent staff members were relieved of their duties. A little bit late to have been of any honest value.[24]

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Also, if the customer is ready to apply for a loan, nothing is left to chance. Everything is controlled up to the receipt of the money. To my question as to whether the person was then just simply sent away to apply for the needed loan, Karl laughed at my naivete and explained:

No! The risk of it not being taken care of by Thursday at 2 o'clock was too high. The person is led by the hand. Just about everything is done for him. "We know somebody who can take care of this. To make things simpler, we have an application form right here." The drawer is pulled open, and the application form is pulled out.

I was interested in finding out if any of this had ever come to light.

Nobody ever found out. We had our own checks in the building, from AAA Finance [name changed]. We had blank checks. That was also a Scientology bank.

Is the owner of the business always a Scientologist?

No. They took him for everything he had. Everything that wasn't nailed down. We had him snowed really good, he was totally convinced, on Thursdays he was always good for 2,000 or 3,000 franks worth of books. If I saw that my wage was a little too low to pay all my bills, then I'd go to him and tell him, "Look, we still have something really nice here." And he'd say, "What have you managed to conjure up out of the book store, now?" Of course it was foolhardy to depend on something like that.

At any time, a registrar might have to set up a new line of credit. But one of the directors of our organization didn't want to have to wait for that.

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He made an agreement with the owner of the AAA Bank. An application form and a loan contract were drawn up, and we began. We had a volume of a half a million [franks] in no time. When you have a line of credit, then you really go at it with the people. With the people you know that could no longer get a loan at a normal bank, you just use the new line of credit.

At the time we were having problems with another bank. They found out that some of their people with a monthly wage of 2,500 [franks] were receiving a loan of 40,000. The one who was approving the loans was a Scientologist. First he had received credit for 20,000. Then all the Scientologists received credit for 20,000. And because he had generated so much income for the bank, he received credit for 40,000. Then all the Scientologists received 40,000 credit.

The AAA Bank, I assumed, had to get financing from someplace. Probably an unsuspecting Swiss bank was behind it. Karl confirmed that.

It went so far as the registrar having the application form and the credit form in the same drawer. He couldn't sign the credit form, but he would have the client sign it, telling him that we had a very good relationship with the bank, and that we were getting a commission on the loan. You were half banker. All the necessary papers were organized for the customer. We even had blank checks from the AAA Bank which we could write.

We played that game, I think, until the [...] Bank [a large Swiss bank] cut us off.

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That started during the 1987-1988 boom. We grew incredibly fast, since the most serious illegal things were happening. That was not a healthy expansion.

A Scientology boom was occurring in Switzerland at that time, in the late 1980's. We, the simple members, were happy that "the good thing" was obviously making a profit. I was astounded to learn that the growth apparently had nothing to do with a serious increase in demand, as Karl confirmed.

According to Karl, the boom had absolutely nothing to do with the refined sales people. Karl plainly stated that the Scientology organization from Lausanne also had financial connections of this type:

They had someone in the MOREBANK [name changed, a bank specializing in consumer credit]. After our lines of credit dried up, we shifted over to the Lausanne branch of the MOREBANK. We had their blessings, and we got the money from a branch in Zurich. It always depended on having fast and efficient lines of credit. That was always the most important thing. It was a vicious circle. Once you get credit and you want to raise statistics from there, then you may never let the credit go down. And if the entire wealth of the organization and the inventory and the personnel are all built upon that, then you are in a vicious circle, which just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

"Didn't any of the staff members ever realize that?" I asked Karl as he ended.

No. I was always writing up my offenses. But that kind of thing never came up.

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Offenses such as those could not come into Karl's consciousness, because internal regulations justified those type of actions. Karl left Scientology. The whole thing bothered him so much that one day he had a serious car accident, and in the weeks that followed, Karl finally found time to come to terms with his deeds. He accepted the consequences.

A Scientology staff member does not have time for thoughtful, critical reflection of his own actions. On top of this, he is not accessible to a critic from the outside because of his presumption of evil on the part of the critic, which, in his mind, means nothing less than the enslavement of mankind. Since the staff member never finds out that he is not a "loose cannon", that there is a method to this madness, he chalks it all up to a bad conscience or to his own personal imperfection.

Donations or Purchases?

Scientology is, by no means, an inexpensive affair, but the nature of its sales activity shows some difference to that of other "worldly" activities. There are fixed prices for the courses and auditing. The ability of the individual to pay for these items is not taken into account.

In my opinion, labelling these fixed prices as "donations" is nothing more than the application of the public relations tactic of the "redefinition of words." A donation, according to how I understand it, is conditional upon a person's own willingness to do something. The concept of a donation implies that it is a type of gift to support a good cause, and without expectation of anything definite in return! This is not the case with Scientology. When I pay for a course, then I have very definite expectations associated with that payment. These expectations have been outlined to me by the Scientology salesperson.

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There is no difference between Scientology and many other course providers, who, even if they deal with esoteric subjects, do not hide behind the protective cloak of "religion."

As decided by the Superior Administrative Court (Oberverwaltungsgericht) of Hamburg on July 6, 1993, the Scientology Church must report the sale of its books and course as income. The basis for that decision included the following:

As Mr. [...] has stated, there are lists of the ranges of contribution [price range lists], which [Scientology Hamburg] receives from the continental church in Copenhagen. If [Scientology Hamburg] refuses to present these lists of the ranges of contribution, and Mr. [...] has stated that these lists of the ranges of contribution are not binding on [Scientology Hamburg], and it is left up to the individual member to say that he would pay more or less generally fixed donations, or make the contributions in another form, such as social involvement, so Mr. [...] has conceded that the total amount of the donation is fixed for a course or a seminar for that individual member from the beginning of his involvement.

It is not enough for [Scientology Hamburg] [...] to assert that the required "donations" are not seen as an economic return for the spiritual services, seminars and courses given by the Scientology Church because these services cannot be measured with an economic value, or because the courses and seminars cannot be rated according to general commercial or scientific principles, but are inflated by the belief in the religious goal in the Scientology sense. If the courses and seminars which were offered to the complainant were not worth the required money in the worldly sense, this does still not change the fact that [Scientology Hamburg] was offering courses and seminars for money.

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This is a case where the court was not convinced by a cloak of religion. In this case, Scientology told the court something completely different from what it teaches. It has to do with reaching spiritual enlightenment here and now, whereas Scientology differentiates itself from the Christian church, which preaches salvation in the afterlife. When they were in court, however, the here and now suddenly faded into the background.

The court mentioned the professional advertisement methods of Scientology, and came to the conclusion that Scientology Hamburg would have to report as a business.

[Scientology Hamburg] has the option, as do other smaller religious communities, of financing itself through the voluntary donations and contributions of its members. Just as nothing is keeping them from offering goods and services for money. If [Scientology Hamburg] decides for the latter, and if Scientology is active in a manner so that the total picture appears as commercial, then [Scientology Hamburg] must be, as is any other comparable operation, awarded the duty of reporting their income.[25]

What Scientology Costs

During the golden years (1985-1990), Swiss Scientologists have paid about 250 million franks, according to inside estimates, to Scientology. If one also knows that there are only a few thousand Scientologists in Switzerland, then it immediately becomes apparent that every individual has made a sizeable donation.

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Scientology says that it is open to anybody. In fact, just about anyone may take courses in Scientology. However, the only people that can wholeheartedly pursue Scientology are those who invest considerable financial resources into it.

The path starts out with small, convenient courses. A communications course might cost 100 to 200 marks ($75-150), a short course on ethics or marriage problems the same.

After that comes the bigger courses. These easily cost 5,000 or 10,000 marks ($3,500-7,000). These could also be considered "convenient" if one takes into account the associated course length.[26]

The real problems is in the auditing, which is individual counseling given by Scientology. The price of individual counseling, per hour, is between 250 and 1,500 marks ($75-1,000), depending on how many hours are bought at one time and upon whom gives the counseling sessions. This is how a person can quickly exceed the 100,000 mark barrier with no trouble at all. That is how much a person should count on to attain the Scientology stage of enlightenment called "Clear" [cleared: freed from your subconscious]. Where does this leave your average income earner, who with no trouble at all can hand over 500,000 marks for him and his wife after taxes have been withheld? He will be paying off his debt for years.

The Results of Scientology Sales

All too often, the Scientology salesperson leaves nothing of the member but a shambles after having "liberated" him from his last mark or his last frank.

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CASE 1:[27] Francisco Belmodo, an architect and husband of a leading Scientology staff member, gives his customer, Eduardo Benedetto, an appraisal of the worth of his multi-family dwelling. In the loft of the building, it says, there is a finished three and a half room residence. The total worth of the building and the ground it sits on, according to the estimate of one Scientologist to another, is just short of 800,000 franks. This is how the Scientologist can get more financing for his Scientology courses. Shortly thereafter the owner might sell his real estate. A prospective buyer determines that "the loft of the building does not reflect what is in the appraisal. All there is up there is a bare floor. It is not finished, nor is there a shower or WC. It is questionable as to whether an apartment could fit up there, since it is shaped like a tunnel. The stairway up to it is a "chicken ladder." In addition to that, windows would have to be built into the roof."

The financial institution which made the generous loan to the owner could have then learned from the architect that his estimates were made solely on the basis of photographs he had been shown, along with a building plan. The building is finally sold for about 500,000 franks.

CASE 2: Bernd Andermatt ran into Scientology eight years ago. He reported that he accumulated more than a 500,00 mark debt in the first six months, which he used to finance his Scientology adventure. He made the mistake of thinking, he wrote, that every Scientologist was a paragon of wisdom. He had been convinced by the Scientology salesman that he would easily be able to recover his debts with his new-found abilities. In order to get the money, the salesman told him, all he had to do was work out an artificial, but believable project which he could then show to the bank. The loan officer of the bank would need that in order to get the approval from his manager. Andermatt and the Scientology salesman worked this out together. They had gotten together with the bank, and had gotten the money in the shortest possible time. Bernd Andermatt admitted to having deceived the bank.

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CASE 3: Scientology staff members also borrow money for their personal Scientology purposes, but apparently the banks do not give them pre- approved loans. Otherwise, Scientology would not have to put up with many of its staff in Bern and Zurich having to have two jobs in order to fulfill their financial obligations. This fact put a highly regarded Scientologist and a bank director in Switzerland in a bad light on July 16, 1994. The document, Ethics Order Nr. 1208-1, issued by Scientology Europe Central, was made available to me a few weeks later.

Quite a few other cases could be described here, all following the same theme. The Scientologist is convinced that he will be in a position to make money to his heart's content once he has his new spiritual ability. Taking out loans by filling out false applications are only meant to serve a higher purpose.

In the past several years in Switzerland, over ten Scientologists or their companies have declared bankruptcy. These are people who have achieved the highest stage of Scientology enlightenment (OT7 and OT8). In almost every case, the basic cause was "donations" in the amount of six or seven figures. The end product of OT7 is listed as "cause over life." The question here is, who is "at cause" over the life?

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The Church Needs Money

Scientology insists that it needs to charge high prices for the counseling it sells (auditing) in order to survive. Along with that, the counseling provides a good pretext for something behind the scenes which is not that apparent to the customer.

I have calculated as closely as I can, and have reached the following conclusion: from Monday to Friday, an auditor can comfortably deliver 25 hours of auditing (5 hours per day). At a rate of 400 marks per hour, and with 10 auditors who deliver 25 hours of counseling, this gives gross sales of 400,000 marks per month, or 28,500 marks gross sales per person per month. If the gross pay of each staff member is 5,000 per month, then over 300,000 marks are available to pay sales personnel, other staff members, the advertising and internal expenses. Since the auditors of a Scientology organization do not earn, by any means, this amount of money, it looks even better for the organization. On top of that, if Scientology wanted to be there for "everybody", and actually pursued an idealistic goal, then they could reduce their rates and pay their staff more respectably...



Immortality Costs Money
The Finances of Scientology

  1. Hubbard directive of March 21, 1979, Sliding Scale of Pricing. [Return]
  2. Hubbard directive of May 23, 1965, Rebates. [Return]
  3. Hubbard directive of December 15, 1958, Registrar Hat. [Return]
  4. Hubbard directive of September 26, 1979, Texts. [Return]
  5. see above. [Return]
  6. Hubbard directive of March 14, 1982, Financial Irregularities. [Return]
  7. Hubbard directive of July 30, 1963, Current Planning. [Return]
  8. Hubbard directive of February 7, 1965,
    Keeping Scientology Working. [Return]
  9. Hard Sell Packet, page 9. [Return]
  10. Hard Sell Packet, page 37ff. [Return]
  11. Hubbard directive of January 31, 1983, Why Orgs Exist. [Return]
  12. Bulletin Nr. 7 of the International Management of Scientology dated February 2, 1983 [Return]
  13. Hubbard directive of February 14, 1965, Safeguarding Technology. [Return]
  14. Hubbard directive of October 1965, Dissemination Drill. [Return]
  15. Here is an example of how something like this can work:
    "I've heard that Scientology is involved in very many legal proceedings."
    Answer: "Yes, that's right. That is because Scientology is a very efficient religion which brings very fast-acting solutions for individuals, and, of course, psychiatrists and psychologists have something against that because we're taking away the source of their income. They are the ones behind all the attacks on Scientology."
    Now the person is receptive. It is clear to him that critical opinions against Scientology arise only from those who care for the insane, and that the media lies as well. How many legal proceedings Scientology has lost is intentionally left out, as is the number of reversals over time, as well as the number of proceedings in which Scientology operated outside of the law. [Return]
  16. Hubbard directive of April 16, 1965, Handling the Public Individual. [Return]
  17. Hubbard directive of February 21, 1961,
    Choosing PE and Registration Personnel. [Return]
  18. Hubbard directive of December 28, 1978, Use of Big League Sales. [Return]
  19. Hubbard directive of September 27, 1957 (no title). [Return]
  20. Hubbard directive of May 27, 1980, Registrar Drills. [Return]
  21. Hubbard directive of October 23, 1965, Dissemination Drill. [Return]
  22. The chapter is based on an previously mentioned interview with "Karl", a formerly successful Scientology salesperson. [Return]
  23. Hubbard directive of May 9, 1965, Auditing Fees. [Return]
  24. In the eyes of the public, this may, at first glance, seem like a good move. However, if Scientology had to do with the truth, the Scientologists would have had to review their internal directives a long time ago, because the deficient behavior of the salesperson is prescribed by L. Ron Hubbard.
    Moreover, according to the statement of a participant, one would have to be attuned to the tactics of those concerned in front of a judge, "you must appear as hopeless religious fanatics!" [Return]
  25. Whoever wants to read [in German] all 81 pages of the extensive decision may order it [in German] from the Obervervaltungsgericht in Hamburg. [Return]
  26. In comparison to courses of a different provider - I made the comparison on assignment from Scientology - I experienced an almost equal pricing scale. [Return]
  27. The names in the example have been changed. [Return]