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The Reformation of the Church of Scientology Part II

StatPush gives us part II of his reflections on the Reformation of the Church of Scientology.

If you agree with the premise of phasing out the Sea Org, we would need to address the structure of our hypothetical post-apocalyptic Scientology.

For decades we have had a top-heavy hierarchical management structure. Briefly, the top tier (e.g. Int Management) would establish strategic goals, write and coordinate programs and monitor the progress on a fairly long range. Middle management (e.g. FCB*, Cont* Offices) takes the programs from Int Management and begins execution, which may result in further programs to be executed by the next tier down. Finally we’re down to org/mission level where the real work of delivering Scientology to the public occurs.

All of these actions would, ideally, be coordinated and aligned to bring about the goals of Scientology. This may be an over-simplification, but you get the idea.

Because I’ve gotten into the habit of questioning everything, I have asked myself: is all of this necessary? Could Scientology organizationally survive without it?

I think we need to examine the real “value-added” of these management bodies. How much of the busy work done by these management bodies is self-generated? What percentage of this entire management structure is directly involved in producing an exchangeable product with society? And what percentage spend their time simply telling other staff what to do or obtaining compliance or handling Hill10s*? Could orgs live without unrealistic, undoable administrative programs? Could orgs live without incessant screaming and badgering, demanding more and more production?

If you were to remove the top tiers of “management” orgs would be unburdened by all the traffic these entities generate. Most would agree that the real VFP of Scientology occurs when an auditor sits down with a PC and delivers a standard session; or a course supervisor properly ensures that a student is trained to bring about new abilities.

Ask yourself, when considering this entire management tree, what is the real international tech/admin ratio? And ask yourself, who pays to keep this machine running? Answer: You do.

When you make a payment to an org or mission for service, a certain percentage of the gross income was sent to management to support this monolithic infrastructure.  This is called a tithe (derived from the Old English word for “tenth”).

Twenty years ago, the tithes were along these lines:

Mission: 20%
Class V org: 30%
ASHO: 40%
AOLA: 50%
Flag: 60%

(Is it any wonder that in the past ten years that Miscavige has worked, nose to the grindstone, to get all Scientology business to Flag rather than into orgs and Missions? Why isn’t all the delivery being done in orgs and Missions, where real expansion could be seen? Why isn’t he insisting that Flag specialize in what it’s supposedly good at, like handling the higher levels of the Bridge and funneling people onto the Freewinds?)

The net effect is that less and less of the money that you pay is actually going to support the org and staff that are delivering your service. So the prices charged at each level are higher, but the wherewithal of the org you’re getting service from is smaller and smaller.

It’s kind of like the “skim” that the mob takes out of Las Vegas casinos. It’s criminal, and out-exchange.

What if this bureaucracy were to suddenly disappear? Would auditing and training cease? Would orgs collapse?

Free-range Orgs

Imagine Scientology orgs existing independently and free of this oppressive oligarchy. Orgs would be answerable to no one but their own field.

In effect, they would be independent and self-managing. The Executive Council and Advisory Council would have real power and would make real decisions about the operation of their org.

Because there would be no higher management structure, the buck would stop with them. They would have full responsibility for the health and well-being of their organization. This includes adopting pricing structures.

Let’s take a moment to talk about price of Scientology services, a subject near and dear to everyone’s hearts. Anyone who’s on the Bridge knows something about how orgs currently charge for services. Most would agree the monetary costs of going up the Bridge are significant, if not prohibitive. So much so, that virtually all active Scientologists that I know have quite a number of attention units wrapped up on this subject. “How to find the money needed to go up the Bridge?” — the problem everyone’s trying to solve. And it is a problem – but it is a problem solely created by the organization itself.

Current church management has set the prices of services to be what they are. These prices are artificial. They are not determined by normal forces that influence the price other things we purchase, like supply and demand, competition, innovation or shareholders are not part of this pricing equation. Someone, somewhere, presumably within the Int Finance office, dictates that the price of a 12 ½ hour intensive at a Class V org will be $4000 in the United States. Period.

The current pricing model of the church is High Price, Low Volume.

For a group that claims its goal is to Clear the Planet, this model is completely unworkable. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay for the auditing to Clear it.

As a side note…could it be that those in the Sea Org have such a radically different Reality than those public Scientologists they impose policy decisions on? That someone making $30 per week may have a slightly skewed picture of what it takes to make it in the workaday world? I’ve often wondered when asked by org registrars for tens of thousands of dollars – When was the last time you had to produce something in the Real World and got tens of thousands of dollars in exchange? They act like it’s nothing, no big deal, just go out and get it. They have no idea; it’s complete disconnection from the reality that the rest of us share.

Ask yourself this – when was the last time you got surveyed about your own personal finances, the cost of services and one’s ability to pay? I can remember being asked something like this once in the past 30 years.  Do you think that current management may be a little out of touch on the subject?

Do you think current management understands the current financial state of its average parishioner? Or the fact that people in the real world have to deal with double-digit inflation or 20-25% reduction in their income? Or 18%-21% credit card interest payments?  Or the home they own, once considered to be an asset (to be heavily borrowed against), is now in fact a liability, or is under foreclosure?

Most Scientologists I know are in a horrible financial state.  Years of high-pressure financial demands (e.g. Bridge, Ideal Orgs, Super Power, Materials, etc) has taken its toll. Savings have been pilfered, pensions liquidated, houses re-mortgaged, and some have declared bankruptcy.

This is a PTP that is created by a church that holds a monopoly on the Bridge.

I am certainly not the only one who has heard of, participated in or been subject to financial irregularities in pursuit of The Bridge. Personal loans, credit cards, inheritances, property, special deals, taxes, set-asides, bankruptcy, borrowing money off of relatives, other Scientologists, etc., all of this grew out of this effort to resolve this PTP created by the church.

Have you heard of well-intentioned Scientologists getting stiffed by another “Scientologist” after lending him money? Or in an effort to “make it go right”, financial overts are committed which later come back to haunt you?

Even church staff members, in an effort to eke out some type of production, can be found to be juggling hours on account, magically “discovering” unused hours in PC folders, re-packaging packages, combining them with other services purchased (past, present or future), all in an effort to make the Bridge seem affordable.

This single aspect of organized Scientology creates so many problems, generates so many overts and withholds, captures so many attention units and produces untold stress, that the removal of this singular arbitrary would immediately raise the tone level of the group and field.

Solution: Remove global and local price fixing and simply allow the local org to set the price of their services. No approval needed, EC/AC votes, its local policy, you roll with it.

This would permit local org management to have some control over its income lines, and to adjust its fees to the local economy. The Keokuk Widget factory laid off half its crew – the org quickly responds with a special auditing/training package for the now-redundant workers, real help (and real empathy) at a real, affordable cost determined by the org. This is an org taking responsibility for its field.

If an org was allowed to do this, the price of services would arrive at a natural market value ��� the price the general public was willing to pay weighed against the cost of delivering that service. This is exactly what the service is worth – that which someone is willing to pay. In the past we were not permitted to know what this is; Int Management always dictated artificially what the value of service was. I suspect they have arrived at their prices based on what they feel orgs need to make, rather than what the public is willing to pay or could pay.

To put this in perspective, setting the price at $4000 an intensive on a national basis has the peculiar and paradoxical side effect of limiting how much auditing gets delivered on a weekly basis. Let’s say that Joe X pays $4000 for an intensive, which is to be delivered in a week or over a weekend (ref: HCOB 31 May 1971 R STANDARD 12 1/2-HOUR INTENSIVE PROGRAMS) Because it costs so much, Joe X can only afford one intensive every three months. So his auditing is sporadic and mostly ineffective, as described in C/S Series 38R TRs COURSE AND AUDITING, MIXING MAJOR ACTIONS. But a well-trained, in-tech, smooth auditor is capable of delivering over 45 hours a week! If the price were lowered to $1250 per intensive, one auditor could be kept busy delivering to Joe X all week and Joe X would end up getting more auditing on a yearly basis than he would if the price were $4000 an intensive.

If an org were really keeping an eye on the “ninth dynamic” (the almighty buck, ref: 5203c05 Thought and Preclears) they could set prices to both garner profit and maximize delivery toward Clearing the planet.

Looking at it another way, if the price of auditing were allow to float in the free market, you may find the price of an intensive drop to $2000. So now, our same auditor, is busy delivering three intensives a week, resulting in a VSD* of $6000.

But something else happens here that goes beyond the monetary values. From my observation and experience, orgs seem to do better when a) there is lots of auditing occurring, and b) there are lots of students in the Academy. The morale shoots up and everything seems to be easier. The group knows it is making progress towards its goal and is on-purpose.

Maybe you’ve experienced something similar? It’s also worth noting that per LRH (HCO PL 31 January 1983 THE REASON FOR ORGS) this is the only reason orgs exist.

Summary

Scientology Inc is a monopoly with a stranglehold on the pricing and delivery of Scientology services to the public.  Management is parasitic and is a failure at achieving the Aims of Scientology, all to the detriment of orgs, missions and public Scientologists.

Orgs and Missions need to be freed from the yoke of management oppression and allowed to operate independently.

More to come in Part III…

— written by StatPush

*Cont: Scientology jargon for “continent”. For management purposes, the Earth is divided into “continents”: The various Scientology continents are Europe (EU), United Kingdom (UK), Africa (AF),Australia, New Zealand & Oceania (ANZO), Western United States (WUS),  Eastern United States (EUS) Latin America (LATAM). Sometimes “cont” is jargon for “the continental management offices”, like “I’m going to have to get in touch with cont about this”.

*FCB: acronym for Flag Command Bureaux, so named from its origination aboard the Flag Ship Apollo, is the central point of tactical management for all the individual orgs and units of all the sectors of Scientology. The Flag Command Bureaux is the tactical level of management. It gets International Management plans, evaluations and programs done in all the individual orgs and units.

*Hill 10: Scientology jargon for a serious situation or problem area for Scientology requiring immediate attention.

*VSD: acronym for Value of Services Delivered. A statistic that represents the completed services delivered by an org; essentially the monetary volume of services delivered. As opposed to GI (Gross Income) which measures the money coming in at the beginning of the pipeline, VSD measures the volume of money at the end of the pipeline. If GI is very large but VSD is very low, it means that people are buying services they’re not taking. That is not the REASON FOR ORGS. LRH expected that people pay for services and then take them.

 

 

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7 Comments

Marianne  on October 26th, 2012

Here’s a couple of ideas for consideration or at least areas that could be further examined.

I think that the Sea Org was a solution to a problem. Wildcat organizations can be woefully ignorant of legal requirements, and can endanger the entire group with financial messes, unreal promises for delivery and completely out-PR activities.

I think there needs to be some kind of training on the legal, financial and marketing rudiments that should be in place. For example, a 501c3 has political lobbying restrictions, and reporting requirements. There needs to be some kind of training on what is considered to be false advertising / represenations, information on what non-profits must do to maintain their status and so on. Some kind of cohesive statement of ethical conduct — this could easily be a self-governing association to which one could belong, one that could pool resources to aid with overall outreach and public awareness. This is a time honored means of self-regulation in many fields of endeavor and probably would be welcomed.

My observation has been that the programs that come from the “top” brass are completely unreal. My guess is that we’ve got some CYA reporting and efforts to make oneself look good for management. So the truth of what is really going on is not reported to the top brass. That traces to the fast flow hiring / firing line and the extreme harsh ethics for downstats and that traces to allowing management to grow on a separate track from the service organizations. i.e. if management had been held to a ratio based on actual productivity of the service organizations and all service organizations paid the same percentage, then you wouldn’t get this insane massive growth of the SO to a point where desperate and harsh measures are used to force people to be “upstat.” Service production down? Bust the management people down to the service orgs and put them to work, only promoting them to management if they are ACTUALLY productive, busting them back if the stats fail when they are promoted.

bboy  on October 26th, 2012

Great piece!

really?  on October 26th, 2012

“Looking at it another way, if the price of auditing were allow to float in the free market, you may find the price of an intensive drop to $2000. So now, our same auditor, is busy delivering three intensives a week, resulting in a VSD* of $6000.”

Putting a price on helping people in a religious intent? WTF?

OldAuditor  on October 27th, 2012

“Really?”, are you saying that help should be free? What a novel idea!

Do you include doctors, nurses, midwives, cardiologists in that category?
Or just ministers and other religious members who pray for your soul?

How much help are you looking for? Soothing words or effective counseling?
Last I heard, religious counseling by an accredited counselor was being sold by the hour like all other counseling.

Counseling is available at many different hourly rates and the only thing any counselor has to sell is results. If you want results, you find a counselor who you can trust and who gives you the relief that you are looking for. If you want free auditing, find a co-audit twin and audit each other.

In the independent field, auditing prices range from $50 to $250 per session hour. Prices are not fixed and preclears are encouraged to learn enough to solo audit which reduces the costs even further.

When you experience the massive and permanent changes that auditing can produce in a single session, you will realize that a competent auditor who understands what you need is priceless. To get this kind of help for about $100-$200 an hour is an excellent value.

If you can find a free Dianetics Center staffed by students, you might get services for nothing. This is like getting your hair cut at a barber college by students. Sometimes you get a good deal, sometimes you don’t.

In a free market, open competition helps keep prices in line with the value delivered. In a monopoly, prices and set by those who control the availability of a particular service. Auditing is now available on the free market.

StatPush  on October 27th, 2012

Charging for services has always been a hotly debated topic and prior to religious recognition in the US, was a major stumbling block for Scientology, and now expecially for Scientology Inc.

I think there are economic realities for any endeavor that seeks to help man, including Scn Inc. To say “all religious help should be free”, is ignoring the practical realities of delivering that help.

In my opinion, the state-approved “religious” adjective is more trouble than it is worth. And for those who have been around prior to this, Scientology Inc’s IRS victory marks the beginning of the end.

One could argue the whole tax-exempt aspect to the IRS win was also born out of the high prices of services. Ask any Scientologist what is the real significance of the IRS win and they will tell you – tax deducible donations. If the prices were reasonable and afford this would never have been an issue. “Religious Freedom” is the PR significance.

SKM  on October 27th, 2012

Pricing?
Here is some data you may find interestig.
http://www.wiseoldgoat.com/papers-scientology/hubbard_vs_pricing_policies.html

PlainOldThetan  on October 27th, 2012

I’ve heard the “help should be free” mantra for years. A line blurs when someone starts singing “whatever I want should be free”.

Then the mantra starts getting sung by software pirates, shoplifters, DVD counterfeiters.

I grew up Catholic. In that religious practice, help isn’t free. You’re expected to tithe (put 10% of your earnings in the Sunday collection plate). You also get charged for parochial schools, CCD (a kind of “continuing catholic education” program for those poor kids who were relegated to public schools..CCD stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine), funerals, weddings. You’re expected to recompense the priest for delivering last rites, or a mass in your hospital room. In catholicism, someone (the parishioner) ends up paying a share of the sacramental wine, eucharistic wafers, incense charcoal, cleaning the church, painting the church, watering the grass, lighting the church, cutting the grass, heating and cooling the interior of the church, weekly bulletin publication (newsletters), feeding and clothing the priests and nuns, paying for the church’s office staff and many, many other things.

Candidates for the priesthood go to boarding schools called seminaries, which, as you can expect, cost an arm and a leg.

Even the Zen Buddhist group in my town doesn’t let you practice Buddhism with them for free. They have a building, and a parking lot, and electricity, and heating, and air conditioning and trash pick-up and insurance and property taxes. So the $50 they charge all members per month goes to pay for something, and it’s not for “free”.

Help isn’t free, not even religious help. Its costs may be hidden, but it’s still not free.

I believe that when people are saying “religious help should be free” what they’re really saying is that “religious help shouldn’t come off an à la carte menu”. That argument wouldn’t fly for a Macdonald’s, and it doesn’t fly in Scientology. It certainly doesn’t fly in catholicism.

It is a philosophical point in Scientology that Scientology is here to make the able more able. (ref: HCO IL 14 April 1961 I PE HANDOUT)

“Ability”, as measured by an honest society, is a person being able to exchange for the things he consumes by using the products he’s produced.

A person who can’t produce in society doesn’t make money that he can then use to buy his daily bread. (To borrow from another renowned philosopher.)

Work — production — is an OUTFLOW. Buying things is an OUTFLOW. Eating or consuming things is an INFLOW.

Now, that all said, ACCORDING TO THE SCIENTOLOGY SCRIPTURES it is possible to get auditing on a no-charge basis. You can get auditing from students IF YOU ARE A STUDENT YOURSELF. You can get auditing from the FREE SCIENTOLOGY CENTER if you’re not PTS or criminal. (See my previous post on this at /?p=10015)

But if you’re trying to get something for nothing, you are not demonstrating ABILITY; you’re instead demonstrating INABILITY. And LRH says in lecture 5212C03c SPECIFIC PARTS OF SELF-DETERMINISM, SPACATION that “The dole is remarkable for the reduction of the self-respect of people. If you’ve ever studied in that field, if you have ever investigated peoples who have been on social handout, you will be stunned because these people couldn’t possibly … couldn’t possibly feel that way. They border between rage and seizure, and down into the lowest depths of degradation. They have all sorts of specious reasons why, if they’re going to accept the material, why they have to accept it and so on. — And that’s why you, going out to give charity and to help people — there’s only one way to help anybody, and that’s take some MEST away from him.”

LRH says in the issue from 15 October 1954 DIANETICS AND SCIENTOLOGY – A CRUSADE (II:393) what the liabilities are for the individual auditor and for Scientology in general if services are given away for free.

If you want religious services to be given away for free, please don’t come begging at Scientology’s doorstep. Start your own religious movement, give away free services, and let us know what happened when you go bankrupt.

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