Ex-Scientologist charges rip-off
By Barry Nelson
May 31, 1974
The former head of the Church of Scientology in Calgary said Thursday she has been used by the organization to talk Calgarians out of more than $200,000 – perhaps as much as $350,000.
Rev. Lorna Levitt, who resigned from the church April 19, said, “I was being used by the organization to exploit people by promising them intangibles that I had been indoctrinated into believing Scientology could and would deliver for a price.”
The price currently varies from $30 per hour to $3,000 for 12 Â½ hours. Some processing can cost as much as $1,200 for a couple of hours.
Scientology “processing” is a method claimed to create spiritual awareness and lead the person being processed toward “total freedom.”
As an end result of Scientology processing and training a person is promised the ability to be at cause knowingly and at will over thought, life, form, matter, energy, space and time, subjective and objective.
Rev. Levitt said a person taking all the training and processing required to gain this ability could spend as much as $100,000.
She said she knows of one Calgary man who has spent more than $25,000 on Scientology. Rev. Levitt said that since 1968 she has sent more than 30 Calgarians to a Scientology branch in Los Angeles for “advanced processing” and that these people paid more than $100,000 to the Los Angeles organization.
“The people sent to Los Angeles were pressured to sign up for more and more extras” she said. “The cost of processing went up to $50 per hour, double its former price. I was horrified at this and then I discovered that people could dig deeper and still come up with the money. I would see that people had the money for total
freedom, whatever the price.”
“Then I began to suspect that they were on a never-ending chase and the total freedom was always another step away and the path was ever-lengthening.”
According to Scientology people who have reached a certain level are entirely without psychosomatic ills or aberrations.
“Some Calgarians who have returned from Los Angeles and are supposed to have reached this level have been hospitalized for various complaints. One ended up in a psychiatric ward,” she said.
Another person, on returning from the advanced organization in Los Angeles, tried to poison his room-mate, also a Scientologist, who was progressing faster than he was, she told the Herald.
“One woman who has reached an advanced level in Scientology left her small daughter with a man she was living with while she went to Los Angeles, despite the fact that he had been sexually molesting the child. This man is also a Scientologist who has spent thousands of dollars on processing.”
Rev. Levitt said the experience of Brendon Moore, 28, a Calgary electrician who went to Los Angeles for advanced processing is typical of what happened to many other Calgarians who were sent there.
Mr. Moore told the Herald he left Calgary in January of 1974 for Los Angeles. He paid $1,140 to get “the level of power.” Scientology claims that after this process people gain “the ability to handle power.”
“In Los Angeles, I was told I needed many hours of processing to get me ready for this levelâ€¦ somewhere between 50 and 125 hours at $50 per hour.” This could have cost Mr. Moore as much as $6,250.
“I didn’t need this processing. I was ready for power, but it was refused me on the grounds that I needed the extra processing,” he said.
“So I didn’t get the level of power and came back to Calgary. I went to Los Angeles to get the power again in March with the same result.”
Mr. Moore said that as a result of continual requests for the processing he had paid for the Los Angeles organization issued an order declaring him to be insane.
These older stories are important in that they counter history revisionists who want to blame all that is bad in Scientology on the current management. The above prices have to be adjusted for inflation over the years; in 1974 money went a lot further than it does now.
The emphasis was always on making money and of course not spending it either as the poverty-ridden Sea Org members know only too well.