|Scientology Embroiled In Internal Dispute Over The Amassing of Wealth Under Miscavige|
(The comments that follow are fabulous.)
Published 1, January 3, 2012 Bizarre , Religion , Society 26 Comments
The ultra-secret world of the Church of Scientology has been rocked by a rare internal dissent — gone public by an even more rare decision to leak internal communications to the media. The dispute focuses on an email by long-standing Scientologist Debbie Cook calling on 12,000 fellow members to withhold contributions to the church as violative of the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.
Cook is a member of the secret internal organization called Sea Org. Her email reveals that the Church as amassed an alleged $1 billion in foreign accounts and objects that the relentless drive to force contributions from members contradicts the teachings of Hubbard. She also alleges that David Miscavige, who has led the Church of Scientology for 26 years, has dismantled the structure left by Hubbard for the organization in amassing power. Miscavige is often mentioned by dissidents as an autocrat who showers celebrities like Tom Cruise with gifts and adoring servants on visits.
The alleged amassing of wealth stand in sharp contrast to claims of former members that they lived in virtual slave conditions.
Cook alleges that “[c]urrently, membership monies are held as Int reserves and have grown to well in excess of a billion dollars. Only a tiny fraction has ever been spent, in violation of the policy above. Only the interest earned from the holdings have been used very sparingly to fund projects through grants.” In response, the Church sent out a statement “Ms Cook’s opinions reflect a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world today. They are not shared by the thousands of Scientologists who are overjoyed by our 27 new churches and what they mean to the communities they serve.”
What is most striking about this dispute is that Cook remains part of the Church as opposed to the former members who have sued the Church or denounced it as a cult. It is also notable in the details since the Church continues to have problems in Europe with countries that view it as a commercial or even a criminal enterprise designed to extract fees from members who pay to go to higher and higher levels of consciousness or awareness as Scientologists.
26 Responses to “Scientology Embroiled In Internal Dispute Over The Amassing of Wealth Under Miscavige”
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Dean Fox 1, January 3, 2012 at 10:34 am
Ms Cook under estimates the church of scientology’s cash reserves, it’s closer to $8 billion (US). Other than that her email is an accurate if not necessarily restrained description of situation inside the church of scientology.
Despite this many will not see beyond it being an attack on their dear leader, David Miscavige, under whom all this money has been amassed.
In accordance with policy the church of scientology first question the emails autheticity when that was verified they issued a bagdad bob sytle statement: “Ms Cook’s opinions reflect a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world today.”
In the next phase we will hear that Debbie Cook was in fact removed from her post in 2007 for incompetence and this is her just bitching rather than accepting the fact she failed the church of scientology miserably. This is know as the apostate smear attack.
Mike Spindell 1, January 3, 2012 at 10:36 am
“It is also notable in the details since the Church continues to have problems in Europe with countries that view it as a commercial or even a criminal enterprise designed to extract fees from members who pay to go to higher and higher levels of consciousness or awareness as Scientologists.”
Scams promising higher knowledge have been around as long as human society. They appeal to a variety of people who have been unable to resolve their own life issues. It always comes down to paying money for “teachings” that take you to a “higher” level. Many times though the “Prophet” is someone trying to be noble in her/his teachings and it is a disciple(s) who strays from the path. In Hubbard’s case it was a scam from the beginning. To paraphrase an old cliche “The best teachings in life are free” and that comes from a retired psychotherapist.
Frankly 1, January 3, 2012 at 10:57 am
People who were at the party with Lron claim he joked about starting a religion & outlined Scientology. They also claim he was highjacked and never intended for it to be taken seriously. I trust the people who reported the former and don’t care enough to investigate the validity of the latter.
Mike – That second Paragraph does not sound unlike most of the worlds great religions. You give them something of value today against the promise of something valuable after it is too late to verify.
amityfessenden 1, January 3, 2012 at 11:00 am
For a good in depth critique of Scientology read “Inside Scientology” by Lawrrence Wright in the February 14, 2011 edition of the New Yorker. It’s available on their web archive only in an audio version for some strange reason. Here’s the link:
I never paid too much attention to these people until I read the above article.
I know that the “Church” was charged by an district atty in FL with killing a woman who wanted to leave the cult by mismanaging her medical treatment. They apparently refused to take her to an emergency room when she got sick and wanted to leave the “Church.” Don’t know how the case turned out. One of the definitions of a cult is that the organization prevents people from leaving. My Irish Catholic father left the Catholic church as soon as he got out of my grandmother’s clutches and I don’t remember hearing of any priests coming after him.
Of course, the most disgusting thing about them is their tax exemption. I read somewhere that the IRS fought for years against Scientology’s claim to be a religion but finally just gave up and granted the exemption because the fight was just too costly in legal resources.
Some of Christianity’s tenets are pretty bizarre (virgin birth, rising from the dead, etc.) but I guess I am betraying my prejudice as someone raised Christian when I read Hubbard’s delusions and think “what a whack job.” For the record, I also have the same reaction to the “tenets” of Mormonism, but I have studied the fraudulent water dowser Joseph Smith and his translation of the “golden tablets” (written according to him in Reformed Egyptian) in great detail and feel justified in my reaction to this non-Christian religion.
dallysdad 1, January 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm
Amity-Can you give me credible reason that Christianity can not be labeled “fraud” in the same way you label Joseph Smith a fraud? It is fine and dandy to embrace any crazy notion you want. But why segregate your crazy belief from a Mormons or Scientologists crazy beliefs? You can’t prove or disprove any of them-so they should all be judged fraudulent, no?
Mike Spindell 1, January 3, 2012 at 12:30 pm
I’ve written before that I heard LRon in a few all-night radio discussions in YC in the 50's. The panel consisted of other contemporary Scifi writers like Fred Pohl and Lester DelRey. They tore him apart because as colleagues they knew him too well.
Also with respect to your comment and those of Amity and Dallysdad I don’t disagree. However, in the case of other religions the problems aren’t in the prophet’s teachings, but in the establishment that later forms around the teachings. Confucius anti-war teachings were turned into warlike justifications. Buddha was adopted into the Hindu pantheon. Abraham’s and Moses messages were perverted by creating a Temple-centered belief. Jesus became interpreted by Paul, who never met him. Mohammed’s death cause a tremendous schism in Islam over power and so it goes. Where LRon is different is that he created the scam in the first place. However, the main problem with all religions is not necessarily the teachings which devolve into “The Golden Rule” but the power-hungry establishments created in their wake.
Mike Spindell 1, January 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm
That “NYC” my “N” key keeps sticking.
Gyges 1, January 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm
“Cook is a member of the secret internal organization called Sea Org. Her email reveals that the Church as amassed an alleged $1 billion in foreign accounts and objects that the relentless drive to force contributions from members contradicts the teachings of Hubbard. ”
Well, I personally am shocked that a religion could have leaders who amass wealth, even though it runs contrary to the teachings of the religion’s founder.
Jill 1, January 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm
There is something about people who have gained power that inspires the suspension of conscience among their followers. This is true in any religion. It is also true in the political realm.
People have sat by and watched Miscavige beat other people right in front of them. Similarly, people have watched Obama kill a 16 year old boy for no other reason than because he could. So I think it is a valid question to ask-what happens to people’s conscience in the presence of a person whom they have given power to?
Part of the answer lies in the warm feelings of belonging that powerful people create in their followers. Part of it is a sense of pride that one belongs to such a powerful group that one’s leader can beat up others or kill a child with impunity. When these types of feelings fail to work, there is always repression of dissent.
We see that dissenters are attacked, reviled and usually kicked out of the fold for simply stating the truth. A powerful person relies on both psychological and physical techniques of repression to maintain their power.
There are ways to break through into seeing that various emperors have no clothes, that indeed they are sociopaths but this is difficult. Still it is incumbent on followers to regain an ability to acknowledge reality and not countenance the harm of others. This is true in religion and it is true in politics.
Otteray Scribe 1, January 3, 2012 at 2:27 pm
I recall reading somewhere that Hubbard bet Robert Heinlein he could start a religion and make it a financial success. Heinlein was pretty smart and had a good understanding of human nature, so I doubt he took LRH up on the bet.
Anonymously Yours 1, January 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm
I want my share….
Dean Fox 1, January 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm
If one wants to draw parallels with christianity we could apply the prophecies of revelations in the bible.
According to the bible there will be a false prophet that will bring great times followed by a mass exodus of the true believers before the times of tribulations.
If we say L Ron Hubbard was the true prophet of scientology then David Miscavige is the false prophet or lanti-hubbard”. According to the church of scientology David Miscavige has brought out the greatest expansion of the church of scientology ever. In the past couple of years there has been a mass exodus from the church of scientology and there can be little doubt its suffering from tribulations. All we need now is a baby that looks a bit like Hubbard to complete the cycle.
There we have it, Revelations was really a prediction about the church of scientology.
Liberty1st 1, January 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm
I have never seen a summation of the theology of Scientology. Is it the opposite of Mythology?
If bothers me not the least that fools have been parted with their money by this religion. That is the nature of religion. Utter a theology, find a fool with money, and get him to part with it in exchange for a ticket to the hereafter. When in one denomination the Priests have a propensity to bugger children it has driven out some of the flock but they flock to another sheep herder who is kinder to the little lambs. Some sheepherder out there on the web will be reading this and thinking about preaching to the strays from the Scientology herd. Who gets them is anyones guess but I doubt that they will flock over to Catholicism at this point. Possibly Magnetism.
Otteray Scribe 1, January 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm
“I have never seen a summation of the theology of Scientology. ”
As I understand it, you have to purchase that information and they dole it out a little bit at a time after payment of fees. It is all copyrighted. That is one way they make their money.
For a long time the VA could not post the image of the Scientology symbol of faith on their cemetery web page because that was copyrighted as well. I always thought it really strange that the symbol of faith for engraving in a dead soldier’s tombstone could not be put on the cemetery list of symbols.
Blouise 1, January 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm
Religion has always been a well funded protection racket complete with big bosses and little thugs. It’ll always be a perilous existence for the membership.
Benjamin 1, January 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm
Who cares about the other religions and belief. I care about a psychotic leader of 30,000 or so people who beats his staff! The public and celebrity members will go on about how great L Ron’s tech is, but the staff members and Sea Org members aren’t so lucky. This cult has a prison system for them and it is called the RPF. Did you all know that this ‘religion’ gives a field service commission to those who entice people to come in and buy books, DVDs, auditing sessions and jewelry? Check it out folks before you start defending the ‘beliefs’ of $cientology.
anon nurse 1, January 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm
Inside Scientology: The Money Machine (interesting videos on fundraising)
Dredd 1, January 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Science fiction author starts religion. Wiggy.
.................more at the link...