Skip to comments.Is Scientology Self-Destructing?
Posted on 01/16/2013 7:39:19 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Scientology leader David Miscavige has been trumpeting his church's milestone year, but the mysterious religion is alienating scores of its most faithful followers with what they call a real estate scam. With anger mounting and defectors fleeing, this may be more than a fleeting crisis; it may be a symptom of an institution in decline.
It's cold in Buffalo, and signs of the housing recovery are hard to see. Take the long walk down Main Street and you'll pass foreclosed homes, a shuttered hospice, and more than a few yellowing FOR SALE signs.
But make it downtown, and you'll see something different: a pristine, ornate cathedral, glowing against the parking lot grey. As of this June, central Buffalo has been crowned by a newly opened Church of Scientology: a gleaming, 41,000-square-foot temple, rising from the ruins with "glazed white terra cotta," "limestone trim," and "elaborately sculpted crown moldings," as one lyric church press release described the newly-erected "Ideal Organization."
On January 14, a widely read (and now removed) sponsored post that appeared on TheAtlantic.com went further, extolling these churches, or Ideal Orgs, as proof of the religion's 2012 "renaissance" a "milestone year" that saw 12 of these lavish buildings open around the world. "The driving force behind this unparalleled era of growth is David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion," the advertorial read. "This new breed of Church is ideal in location, design, quality of religious services and social betterment programs."
The Ideal Orgs certainly look great, make headlines, and serve as flashy totems of Scientology's (literally) unspeakable wealth. The Church of Scientology International (CSI) headquarters in Los Angeles says that it has built 34 of these cathedrals worldwide since 2003, with 60 more underway. Almost all were paid for by local parishioners, who had been lobbied by roving teams of fundraisers.
But inside the church, the Ideal Orgs are sparking insurrection. Across the country, donors and high-ranking executives say that the aggressive fundraising and construction scheme is used to enrich the central church at the expense of the rank-and- file, helping to grow the Scientology war chest to over a billion dollars. Two former members, Mike Rinder and Mark Elliott, went so far as to call the project a "real-estate scam." To some of these defectors, the structures are metaphors for the religion itself: garish on the outside, empty on the inside. The irony is that the very expansion that Scientology lauds as its renaissance is actually a symbol of internal dissent and decline.
According to ex-executives, the Ideal Org money play is simple: Find beautiful buildings; get local parishioners to foot the bill; keep them closed; keep fundraising; open them; and finally, have the parishioners pay for renovations, buy supplies, and send money to the central church for the right to practice there.
When Bert Schippers forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars to help build an Ideal Org in downtown Seattle, he thought he was helping save the world. "I thought I was in the best religion on the planet," he says. But as he gave more and more from 2001 to 2008, the new cathedral's doors remained locked shut: to people, but not to money. Schippers, who had joined the church in 1986 and spent more than a million dollars on donations and courses, started asking questions about what, exactly, he was paying for; church leaders barred him, his wife, and his friends from setting foot inside.
"We gave that money because we wanted our local church to have its own building," says Schippers, who runs a circuit-board company with his wife. "But when I found out the church had changed the original teachings of L. Ron Hubbard to make so much money.... I felt absolute, complete, total betrayal." Non-profits often tell you that a donation can change your life, as well as its recipient's. For Schippers, losing so much for so little was a disturbing wake-up call. "It was around then I realized, I was in a f***g cult." He pauses, can't quite find the words. "It's a mindf***. Just a total mindf***."
And he's not alone. With donors bled dry, and ex-executives staging new assaults on the church, Scientology is facing its biggest challenge since it won tax exemption in 1993. And, again, it's over money. "Scientology was always in it for cash," says Tony Ortega, the former editor of The Village Voice who has spent almost two decades reporting on the religion. "The difference is, before 10 years ago, the money you were being asked to spend was for your own case. Now, it's all fundraising for the central church. These people are exhausted."
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Scientology was designed to be a scam from the beginning. L. Ron Hubbard himself said so.
RE: L. Ron Hubbard himself said so.
Interesting. Did he simply say it or did he actually write it down somewhere?
I think it is written down. It is well known that he would have liked to establish a totally bogus “religion” by which to bilk the members. Just do a little Internet reading and you will find that I am right. Scientology is based on those writings.
“It is widely believed that the creation of Scientology was the result of a bar bet between L. Ron Hubbard and Robert A. Heinlein.
The story says L. Ron Hubbard dared that he could create a religion all by himself.
According to Scientology critic Lindsay this is “definitely not true”, no such bet was ever made, it would have been “uncharacteristic of Heinlein” to make such a bet, and “there’s no supporting evidence”.
However, several of Heinlein’s autobiographical pieces, as well as biographical pieces written by his wife, claim repeatedly that the bet did indeed occur.”
I’ve heard Harlan Ellison, who was also part of the bet mention it many times in interviews.
Everybody else sobered up and didn’t bother with the bet but Hubbard actually did it.
They have to got to be the most gullible, stupid people on earth.
Scientology was designed to separate fools from their money.
It has been an unbridled success story!
The owners of the franchise are not practicing members. ‘nuf said.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world....
what does Mrs Miscavige have ot say about all this?
Has anyone seen her recently?
Harlen Ellison could have come up with something even MORE Sinister (and probably more INTERESTING! :^)), but LRH did a pretty good job deceiving bunches of people.
Ellison is one of my favorite writers.
I might have joined...LOL
Why is there a cross in Scientology imagery?
There is a retired fellow in Pinehurst named Wayne Greene who was a friend of Ron Hubbard. Wayne is pretty famous for starting “BYTE” magazine about the time the IBM PC was announced.
Here is his wikipage:
Every once and a while, Wayne is interviewed by a local radio station about the early days of personal computers. Wayne always steers the discussion to Scientology and talks about the origins.
He tells the bet story, but with a twist. LRH was really P.O.ed at the medical and psychiatric community for classifying him as a nut on several occasions. LRH claimed to be just a sci-fy writer. LRH was practicing his Dianetics for a fee and was in trouble for practicing medicine without a license. He was facing indictment and jail time when he made the bet. However, Wayne said the bet was really a two-part bet:
Part One was that Wayne could beat the rap by claiming he was a religious leader and practicing a religion.
Part Two was that he could document the new religion in writing to show the medical board and the courts.
JRH won both parts of the bet by making up the Scientology religion and avoiding charges.
JRH hated psychiatrists and that is one of the major themes of Scientology. It also served to underscore the legal distinction of practicing medicine or religion. By dissing psychiatrists, he was establishing that he was doing anything but practicing medicine.
Wayne is pretty old now (91) and I hope there are recordings somewhere of his interviews.
Snap! Snap! Snap!
And, of course the consensus is that the best Classic Trek of all time, City on the Edge of forever, was written by him.
Do you think “I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM” could be made into a religion?
RE: Why is there a cross in Scientology imagery?
This symbol is mainly used to specifically denote the Church of Scientology, and may or may not represent the practice of Scientology in general. The cross’s eight points represent the eight dynamics in Scientology.
The Scientology cross is one of the principal symbols of Scientology. It is most often used to represent the Church of Scientology.
The cross closely resembles the Christian cross, but differs from it with the addition of four diagonal rays between the conventional horizontal and vertical arms. The eight points of the cross represent the eight dynamics in Scientology:
Creativity, sex, and procreation (family)
Group, society, community
Species survival (humankind)
Life forms in general
Infinity or Supreme being
The Church of Scientology says that “the horizontal bar represents the material universe, and the vertical bar represents the spirit. Thus, the spirit is seen to be rising triumphantly, ultimately transcending the turmoil of the physical universe to achieve salvation.”
“Do you think I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM could be made into a religion?”
The Sons of Elli.
Have you ever read Jack Vance’s ‘the ‘Brains of Earth’/’Nopalgarth’? I think it was published in the early mid 60’s although it could have been published earlier in astounding or something, it reads like a poke at Scientology. He also has a cult in the ‘araminta station’ series that is pretty scientology in vibe.
from a synopsis of the ‘Brains of Earth’ I found:
“In this the Xaxan race has solicited the help of scientist Paul Burke. They have spent centuries ridding their race of the Nopal. The Nopal are invisible brains that parasitically attach themselves to their victim and control their actions. The freeing of a Xaxan from the Nopal takes them from the Chitume (Possessed) status to the Tauptu (Purged) status.
Unfortunately the separation requires an electrical regimen similar to torture and is only good for 30 days before the Nopal tries to reattach itself. The Xaxan have purged all Nopal from their planet and are now bringing their fight to the home planet of the Nopal, Earth. All Earthmen possess a Nopal. When they purge Paul he is able to see the Nopal and finds his attitudes are changing.”
I have not read “The Brains of Earth”, but if it pre-dates “Dianetics” then I think we have a case of plagiarism!
My dear late husband was the BIG sci/fi fan. He once wrote a personal letter to Joe Halderman and got a very nice personal letter back! :-)
(for those who don’t follow sci/fi, Joe Halderman was not the same as the Halderman in the Nixon Administration...different guy.) LOLOL.
I have heard of the the ‘forever war’ by Joe Halderman, never had a chance to read it yet.
I think the first dianetics articles Hubbard wrote came out in Astounding Science Fiction Magazine in 1950. Wiki has the first mention of thetans in 1951. I can’t find any mention of the ‘Brains of Earth’ coming out in a magazine, but I would think if it did it would have been after 1950 for sure. I think it was probably just Vance poking fun at Hubbard, although I can’t find any mention that they knew eachother. It might have been strange had they not, I don’t know.
Jack Vance is 97 years old, probably my fav.
I like Roger Zelazhny too!
I remember when RZ passed away, Mr. LTOS was very sad, as he used to wait eagerly for his next book.
Although I am a Believer, my Faith goes back at least 3000 years, to the call of Abraham out of Ur.
I can’t imagine believing in something when the proof of its fictional origins has a copyright date and an ISBN number! LOL!
It sounds like Vance was having fun with LRH’s invention! hahaha