My Take on the Church

The Church per-se is a large organization. On paper, it is a maze of non-profit and for-profit organizations - the COS of California, WISE, Religious Technology Center, Author Services, Narconon, and so on. There might be 200 pieces. There is evidence that all of these fragments take orders, and that they are in fact parts of a single structure, controlled from the top.

The local organizations ("orgs") are the bottom of the pyramid, and have sincere staff members that work for a pittance. The "orgs" take in the bulk of the money. But somehow, they don't keep it. They have to buy staff training at, say, "Flag". They have to buy e-meters. They contribute to campaigns. They pay for "missions" that visit, and they pay to be audited. One way or another, the money all flows elsewhere.

Where to? Well, there is credible testimony that it goes to the top of the pyramid, and then mostly vanishes. How much? - oh, $100-$200 million a year, pretty well in the same ballpark with the bigger TV evangelists. Except there aren't any evangelists who spend $20 million a year on lawsuits to harass their critics.

Staff is generally kept ignorant: in-house magazines tell them strange twisted versions of current events. They get used to hearing pretzel logic: "Critics on the net say we censor. This isn't true, so we should use any means to stop them from saying that".

Staff aren't told about the dirty tricks. But the truth is that there is a dirty tricks group. There always has been: it was originally run by Mrs. Hubbard. After Mrs. Hubbard went to jail, the name was changed from GO (Guardians Office) to OSA (Office of Special Affairs). About the best that can be said of them is that they probably haven't committed any murders. Drowning your dog is more their style.

As long as the top of the pyramid exists in its current form, the Church will be the junkyard dog of religions. There's a pretty good chance of more leaders going to jail soon, but the structure will remain. It's sad.

Last modified: 7 July 1997

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