Greed is Good
Do you remember that movie from the 80s called Wall Street?
Michael Douglas played the infamous Gordon Gecko, and made a speech in which he said
“…greed — for lack of a better word — is good.
“Greed is right.
“Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.
“Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has
marked the upward surge of mankind.”
I think it’s possible that David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology, may have seen
this movie. And he may have thought that Gecko had a really good point.
Money has always been very important to the Church of Scientology. Hubbard gave
lectures on the subject as early as 1956 and wrote countless policies on how to make
money and what to do with it once the Church had it.
Hubbard claimed money wasn’t very important yet at the same time he set up a system
where it is impossible to achieve spiritual freedom without paying hundreds of
thousands of dollars to the Church. No Scientologist can honestly deny this because
they know that you can’t train as an auditor or achieve the state of Clear or OT
without paying for it.
Because Scientology is currently classified as a religion and is not supposed to be a
for-profit business, it thrives and survives on the “donations” of its parishioners.
L. Ron Hubbard categorically stated in Church policy that these donations were only to
be accepted for actual services rendered and materials delivered. In other words, the
Church was supposed to be providing some kind of exchange for the money it received.
Hubbard said that there were four conditions of exchange, the senior one being that you
recieved money in and you gave back better than expected service or goods. The lowest
condition of exchange was receiving money in and giving nothing back – which is
correctly called “criminal exchange”. After hearing what I have to say here, you decide
which condition the Church of Scientology is in right now.
Donations started being collected for no exchange at all, what we’ll call “straight
The earliest time that I know of when this started was in the late 1970s when the Safe
Environment Fund was setup. At the time, the Church said it needed the money for legal
defense when 11 Church staff members were busted for the largest infiltration scheme
ever perpetrated against the US government, infamously known as Operation Snow White.
According to testimony by former Guardian’s Office staffer Janie Peterson, church
members were told that the indictment of Scientology executives was a big conspiracy by
the government, that none of them had done anything illegal and the government didn’t
have any correct information.
The defense fund monies may have helped the Church to stall the courts but eventually
justice prevailed and all 11 Scientologists were found guilty and went to jail,
something the Church doesn’t like to talk about these days. In fact, no one in the
church was ever told that most of those Scientologists actually pled guilty to the
charges and did 4-5 years of jail time for it.
While Operation Snow White was a disaster, this new style of fundraising was very
successful so they decided to keep doing it. More legal cases were coming at the Church
and apparently the money they were getting from services and books wasn’t cutting it to
pay for all the lawyers.
And so was born the International Association of Scientologists.
The IAS is ostensibly a non-profit membership trust which every Scientologist pays to
join. It’s mandatory that they sign up for at least a yearly membership, but lifetime
membership is preferred for a one-time fee of a few thousand dollars.
They really hit the jackpot, though, when someone came up with the idea of honorary IAS
status levels, where people can donate more than a lifetime membership fee and get
special titles and honors for it.
Many millions of dollars have been collected over the years by IAS fundraisers claiming
that this money was needed to fund legal defenses and grant monies for special
Scientology projects. This has been such a lucrative activity that they established
special offices for the IAS around the world with full-time fundraisers.
How they raise funds is mainly by preying on fear. What they do is spread tales of doom
and gloom to alarm Scientologists, telling them that their hard-earned monies are
needed immediately to avert some deadly crises plaguing all of Mankind, a crisis which
only Scientology can handle. They use natural disasters to claim that money is needed
to send relief. They use court cases to say that money is needed for legal defense.
They blame the pharmaceutical industry and psychiatry for some broad conspiracy to
destroy all of Mankind and say that money is needed to bring the bad guys to justice.
The thing is, once the funds are collected, there is never any proof as to where any of
it actually goes. If a Scientologist were to ask about this, which a very few have been
known to do, they are hounded by the Church’s Ethics Officers and interrogated about
their lack of faith and trust. This doesn’t happen very often because When you see
other people get in trouble for asking questions, you learn pretty quickly that it’s
best to just not go there, and that is the culture that has developed in the Church.
So between selling services and materials and these IAS memberships and status levels,
the Church was making hundreds of millions of dollars. But this was not enough. Even
though money was rolling in, the Church was not actually expanding or accomplishing
much in the real world.
You see, the stated goals of Scientology are to create a world without insanity, war or
criminality. When it comes to actually accomplishing this, Scientology comes up pretty
Around 2003, David Miscavige came up with a way to explain this failure AND generated a
whole new revenue stream at the same time. This has come to be known as the Ideal Org
Strategy but originally it was the “Buffalo pattern”.
The short version of this story is that Buffalo org was going to be forcibly relocated
by the govenment because of eminent domain. Now Buffalo was a nowhere scene as far as
Scientology was concerned. There were literally just a couple of staff and no one was
really doing anything there.
So Miscavige, seeing an opportunity, ordered that it be worked out for the crappy
building to be purchased for much more than it was actually worth and then relocated
into a nicer location. He issued a bunch of targets to get done along with this
relocation including getting OTs recruited to be executives for the org and getting the
field rallied around helping the org out.
These targets were then taken and applied to all the orgs.
Sea Org projects were sent out to survey the public to find out who the Opinion Leaders
were in each area and then get them to come on board as staff.
At the same time, this idea came up of re-locating all the orgs into nicer buildings
just like Buffalo had been.
Now as luck would have it, I happen to be the first person in the entire Western United
States management who saw the Buffalo pattern targets because I was going to be one of
the first people to go out one of those projects.
Shortly after this, Miscavige briefed about this new evaluation he had done. He said
that the reason that none of the orgs were expanding was because they were trying to do
too little, and they needed to basically get off their butts and get some more staff
and start doing everything an org is supposed to be doing.
I don’t know about you, but if you think about this for a second, doesn’t this seem
kind of like the biggest insult to the staff that you could possibly imagine?
I mean, here are these guys running these orgs for years and years, trying desperately
to just pay the rent and keep the doors open. Some of these staff members have been
doing this for 20 or more years. They’re struggling in the face of bad press,
horrifyingly bad management direction and no support in the way of large scale
promotion or marketing campaigns or anything else you would expect a competent central
management would be doing.
So now, grasping for straws to come up with some solution to keep going, they are told
they need to buy a great big building, renovate it so it will be a “true reflection of
Scientology” and then somehow staff it with a few hundred people.
The truly amazing thing is that everyone bought this.
And the kicker was that all of this work was to be done by the local parishioners.
They were to find the building, get it approved by management and then fundraise
millions of dollars to buy the building outright. Once the builing was owned by the
Church, the parishioners were then expected to fundraise millions more dollars, so the
building could be renovated according to plans drawn up by management.
Then, they were supposed to join staff to work there, since none of these churches were
staffed with more than about 30 people max and these Ideal Orgs are supposed to have at
least 110 staff each.
Since it started, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for this Ideal Org
swindle. Parishioners have cashed out trust funds and IRAs, given up their children’s
college funds and even borrowed money from each other to give more and more.
Buildings have been purchased, plans drawn up, renovations done. Thousands and
thousands of hours of work.
And what’s the end result of all this?
Big church buildings which stand nearly empty all around the world.
Because while all this fundraising has been going on, next to nothing has been done to
generate new outside interest in Scientology. In other words, get in new blood. In
fact, just the opposite has occurred, with the church’s public image at an all-time low
due to more and more of Scientology’s abuses being exposed in the media and in the
courts. New court cases and lawsuits against the Church are almost a daily occurrence.
There has also been no transparency or accountability as to where the funds that were
collected actually went. Supposedly this money goes back into the building and pays for
the costs of the materials and the contractors who are hired to do the work.
But here’s some more insider information for you: In many cases, these contractors have
gone unpaid for months or even years after the Ideal Org is opened. The contractors end
up dunning the local church for the unpaid bills which were actually incurred by the
international Church headquarters and it’s left to the local church, which isn’t making
any real money, to pay these bills.
You see, all that IAS fundraising and building fundraising money goes straight up to
international headquarters. And with so little concentration on actually exchanging
with the public, the orgs are making very little money for themselves these days.
So basically, the Church is making a great deal of money and delivering almost nothing
This practice has been going on for so many years that it is now routine. Once one of
these new Ideal Organizations opens up, IAS fundraisers come around every one to two
Their newest trick is to tell the public that the Ideal Orgs are booming so much all
over the world that they need more money so the IAS can grant funds to build new Ideal
Orgs in areas where there are none.
These are straight up lies because none of the Ideal Orgs are doing well.
At their events and gatherings, Scientologists are shown staged photographs and videos
of full course rooms and lots of people walking in and out of these Ideal Orgs as
though they are busy hives of activity but these aren’t real.
Some of the photos of Ideal Org openings have even been proven to have photoshopped
crowds of people standing outside them. This is a documented fact.
But because Scientologists are prevented from looking for the truth on the internet,
they fall for this nonsense. And so the IAS and building fundraisers manage to still
convince some of them to give up more of their money and so it goes, on and on without
The Church of Scientology is a church, but it is definitely not a charity. The lack of
accountability and transparency should be a giant red flag to anyone who knows anything
about fraudulent financial practices.
The incessant demand for more and more money with no exchange is causing ripple effects
throughout the Church’s members, who are growing more and more dissatisfied with the
lack of any visible results. These parishioners have not given millions so they could
see empty churches and a shrinking membership.
Yet there is no sign that church management is taking a hint or is ever going to stop.
David Miscavige and Gordon Gecko have a very similar world view. They both think greed
is good. Well, if you saw the movie Wall Street, then you know that Gecko’s greed
landed him in jail. I guess we’ll see what happens to Miscavige because of his greed
and how fast he takes down the Church because of it.
Thank you for watching.