Scientology for the Rich
Even the most dedicated Scientologist can see the disparity between the stated goal of “Clearing the Planet” and the fact of the Church’s high “donation rates.” At Flag, the cost of a single intensive of auditing, 12 ½ hours, is $6,800. You can get a used car for that. Scientologists can and do spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach Clear and OT. Add to that the donations to the IAS, Ideal Orgs and Superpower – those donations you’d better make if you want to keep your OT Eligibility, and it puts Scientology completely out of reach for at least 95% of the planet. Consider that only 6% of Americans make over $100,000 a year, and only 3% make over $125,000, or $250,000 household income.
And what about the rest of the planet? What about countries where the average per capita income is $20,000, $10,000, $5,000 or even less?
What happened to Clearing the Planet? How’s that supposed to work?
Or is Scientology really only supposed to be for the elite, the moneyed?
Sure, I was on staff, I know the policy (HCO PL 7 April 65 Book Income) – “Scientology planning is built to make the able more able, leaving the unable strictly alone for a while. If we do this, we grow. If we, like some foolish persons do, tie around our necks the unable, the helpless, the backward, we won’t be able to move high enough fast enough to then afford to help the helpless.”
Okay, I get it, a sort of trickle-down planet-clearing. But, one might ask, when is this supposed to happen? When will Scientology finally be able to reach out to someone other than the top percentage of ultra-rich?
When I was on staff, in the Sea Org, I thought it might occur in the 1980s. Scientology seemed to be doing well and expanding – wasn’t it time, at last, to broaden the base and reach out to everyone? I planned out and executed a huge Dianetics Campaign with just that in mind.
One of the first decisions I had to make was whether to market a paperback book or a hardback. For me, it was a no-brainer. If the goal was to reach as many people as possible, then a paperback would accomplish that. But, others argued, there’s more profit in hardbacks. You can sell fewer and make more money. Well, fine, if your goal is to make money. But isn’t our goal, I asked innocently, to Clear the Planet, not to make money? Ah the innocence of youth!
The point is, if you really do want to get Scientology to the maximum number of people, if you really want it to go big and mainstream, if you really do want to Clear the Planet, then you have to plan things out so that happens. You have to look at prices. You have to look at what people can afford. You have to look at making it possible for anyone to set up a delivery center. There’s a lot of things to work out. And if that was your intention, you would work them out.
On the other hand, if your goal is just to make money, why then, set prices out the roof, cater to only the rich, think up more and more ways to get them to donate bigger and bigger amounts. Release huge packages of hardback books and CDs and charge a premium for them. Get the same rich people to do the same services over and over again, buy the same materials over and over again. That’s how you’d do it if you just wanted to make money.
The story Marty told about Isaac Hayes is a case in point. Isaac wanted to make Scientology more available to blacks. His concerns got relayed up the line. And in the end, it ended up being a big “donation project” to reg rich people for money to set up a couple of showcase “Ideal Orgs” in Harlem and South Central. No adjustment of rates. No inexpensive training. No real intention to get a volume of people trained or serviced.
But wait, you might say, we do have programs for the “less fortunate,” don’t we? Well, that’s a subject for another post, but suffice it to say that all of the so-called “social betterment programs” associated with the Church (TWTH, Applied Scholastics, Narconon, Crimanon) are all supposed to make their own way as independent profit centers and tithe to the central Church. And those projects going out to “pioneer areas”? They’re supposed to make their own way, too.
So when will the Church of Scientology have the time and resources to reach out to the 95% of the planet that aren’t rich? Well, don’t hold your breath.
Because they have no intention of doing so.