Ex-Scientologist story #365, Scientology: Never Enough Money.

The cult of greed and snot.

Here The St. Petersburg Times, beats up on the nasty, grasping cult of Scientology again.  One wonders how long this can keep going before this scam falls apart?  Hundreds of millions of dollars flowed into the cult’s coffers but the golden geese are beginning to fly the coop.

Scientology amped up donation requests to save the Earth starting in 2001

By Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, Times Staff Writers In Print: Sunday, November 20, 2011.

Lynne Hoverson and Bert Schippers quickly pitched in with a $12,000 donation when Seattle Scientologists started raising money for a new church in 2000. They later boosted their gift to $160,000.     

      On a late-autumn evening in 2005, a trio of church fundraisers arrived at the couple’s home. They wanted more cash for the $13 million project.      

      Ninety thousand dollars.     

      Hoverson explained that she and her husband already had borrowed heavily to donate to church causes. Borrowing $90,000 more would mean another several months of payments.      

      She told them no.     

      A few days later, one of the fundraisers sent a complaint called a “Knowledge Report” to church officials. She was turning the couple in.     

      Their sin: insufficient generosity.      

      “The fact that it would only take them 1 ½ years to handle their debts if they donated this amount to the building tells me that they can do more if they were willing to,” wrote Kelly Brown, a member of Scientology’s religious order, the Sea Org.     

      Hoverson and Schippers were aghast when the Knowledge Report came in the mail.      

      This was how you asked people for a donation?      

      But the church’s brazen sense of entitlement would not even register with them until years later.     

      “We were so used to being asked for money,” Schippers said, “that you kind of get numb to it.”     

The St. Petersburg Times’ investigative series “The Money Machine” has shown how the Church of Scientology relentlessly hounds its parishioners for money, using intimidation and even deception against those it professes to serve.      

      Church defectors told how religious workers in Clearwater schemed and scrambled to bring in cash. Weary former parishioners recalled how church staffers harangued them to buy $3,000 sets of scripture.     

      But Scientology’s fundraising reached another dimension in the 2000s as the church pursued two key initiatives — expand its influence and build gleaming new churches around the world.      

      Dozens of former church members, speaking out for the first time, said fundraisers resorted to extreme tactics:      

• Block the exits. In Minneapolis, church staffers followed a woman and her husband to the restrooms to make sure they didn’t leave a fundraising event. On the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds, staffers stood side by side and locked arms to block the stairway leading back to the guest rooms.     

      In Santa Barbara, Calif., Scientology workers arranged meeting rooms so anybody leaving would have to walk conspicuously past the speaker’s podium.     

      “You don’t want multiple avenues of escape,” said Linda McCarthy, former executive director of the Santa Barbara church.     

• Do not let them think it over. Get parishioners to donate now. A fundraiser on the Freewinds told a young parishioner — newly married and struggling financially — not to consult her husband before she put a $10,000 donation on her credit card. She listened, and still regrets it.     

• When they give, make them give more. At a banquet in Chicago, a parishioner announced that she was giving $100,000 to a Scientology cause, drawing a big ovation. When she returned to her table, she was set upon by somebody raising money for something else.     

• If they don’t give enough, threaten them. In Orange County, Calif., a Scientology fundraiser filed a Knowledge Report about a parishioner who refused to donate $350,000 to a church building campaign. It worked. He gave in.      

To read the rest of this article go here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/scientology/article1201989.ece

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Ex-Scientologist story #364, Greed, Fraud & Extortion.

Suzanne Working was a public member of Scientology who was unwise enough to take a cruise on the cult’s crime ship, Freewinds.  The result was that she got their full treatment of heavy-handed sales pitches and extortion.  As always, the cult has no shame when it comes to shaking down their members.  The following was taken from the St. Petersburg Times story from November, 2011,

The St. Petersburg Times’ investigative series “The Money Machine” has shown how the Church of Scientology relentlessly hounds its parishioners for money, using intimidation and even deception against those it professes to serve.      

      Church defectors told how religious workers in Clearwater schemed and scrambled to bring in cash. Weary former parishioners recalled how church staffers harangued them to buy $3,000 sets of scripture.     

      But Scientology’s fundraising reached another dimension in the 2000s as the church pursued two key initiatives — expand its influence and build gleaming new churches around the world.      

      Dozens of former church members, speaking out for the first time, said fundraisers resorted to extreme tactics:      

• Block the exits. In Minneapolis, church staffers followed a woman and her husband to the restrooms to make sure they didn’t leave a fundraising event. On the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds, staffers stood side by side and locked arms to block the stairway leading back to the guest rooms.     

      In Santa Barbara, Calif., Scientology workers arranged meeting rooms so anybody leaving would have to walk conspicuously past the speaker’s podium. 

      “You don’t want multiple avenues of escape,” said Linda McCarthy, former executive director of the Santa Barbara church. . .    

In December 2000, Suzanne Working paid $2,500 to attend a 10-day conference aboard the Freewinds. One day, she was summoned out of a seminar and led to a small room.     

      Ted Bragin closed the door. He insisted she give to the IAS. Her eternal life hung in the balance, Working later married a Scientologist, staying in the church through 2009. She enjoyed some of the counseling and the fellowship but dreaded the constant demands for money.     

      Working and her husband tried to sneak out of “briefings” at the church that touted Scientology’s influence on society and boasted of victories against the evils of psychiatry. The briefings inevitably turned into hours long fundraising sessions for the IAS and Ideal Orgs campaigns.     

      She recalled an Ideal Orgs fundraiser at the Minneapolis Convention Center in 2007. About 100 people attended. Up front, a staffer kept track of amounts on an easel as the audience cheered each donation.     

      After 10 p.m., Working and her husband stood up to go home to their two young sons.     

      They were followed into the restrooms by church ethics officers, who are charged with enforcing good behavior among Scientologists. One told Working: “You absolutely can’t leave.”     

      When the couple returned to the fundraiser, staffers secured the room.     

      “They pushed tables in front of the door to keep us from leaving,” Working said. “I’m not kidding.”     

      In nine years in Scientology, Working, 40, racked up $70,000 in church-related debt.     

      “I would borrow from one card to cover payments for another and it wasn’t working,” she said. “I was extremely stressed out.”     

      Her fellow Scientologists kept saying life would get better if she donated more. Working said her life improved after she drastically cut expenses and walked away from the church.     

        “I specifically remember him saying basically the soul of my mom could end up stuck in a piece of furniture in the future and I needed to do something about it,” Working said.     

      He pressed for a large donation. No way, she told him. She made $22,000 a year selling flooring. She had already put the cost of the cruise on her credit cards.      

      She was 29 years old, far from her home in Minneapolis, a Scientologist for only five months. Bragin was a church registrar, an important staffer with years of experience making sales.     

      When she stood up to leave, he moved toward the door, leaving her no easy way out.     

      “Even though you’re not manhandled, there’s a psychological restraint,” she said.     

      Bragin kept her for 90 minutes, praising her as a “big being” while also making her feel selfish for refusing to give. She reluctantly agreed to donate $10,000, but said she needed to run it past her husband back home. They’d been married for two years.     

      Bragin told her not to tell her husband. A non-Scientologist wouldn’t understand the importance of the donation.     

      Working kept her husband in the dark and put the $10,000 on plastic. “I had no business doing that,” she said. The marriage later ended, though not because of the donation. She never told him about it.  

For more of the story go here:       http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/#part1     

For more fun here is the son of the great L. Ron Hubbard telling the truth about his father.

Published in: on November 24, 2011 at 5:44 am  Leave a Comment