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S03.E07: The Collection Agency

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Former Scientologists share the different ways they were made to give the church money they couldn't afford; a former member of the church discusses how she solicited money from parishioners by "any means necessary."

Airs January 8, 2019

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Hope it running opposite against the "presidential address" gains it an even higher ratings tonight as people flee "network TV" looking for something decent on their sets.  

As I explained how this all works over in the Small Talk thread: A&E and any other cable channels other than the three "news" cable channels will NOT be carrying the address so Leah will be my safe refuge tonight.  The four network (non-cable - NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX) are the ones per-emptied and the three cable news ones will opt in obviously.

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 I think episodes focusing on the nuts and bolts of how it works and personal stories are my favorite ones. I know that is the majority of episodes but this season there have been a few that didn’t fit the normal mold.

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4 hours ago, Skycatcher said:

I'm sorry but what kind of "genius" gets into a new (to them) organization and forks over $35000 to START the training?

CO$  is certainly reprehensible.  And I get that some people are desperate for spiritual help and guidance.  But at what point does common sense and personal responsibility kick in, in the initial encounters with this organization?

 

I have never understood how a person could just check their brain at the door of a cult or any group and follow any type of bullshit so blindly nor do their due diligence before hand and recognize who is trying to con them. 

I have never understood that mindset.

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I wanted to hear more from the registrar about all the tricks and techniques they apply to pressure people into giving up more money, and how much intense pressure they are under themselves to make it happen.  I wish I could remember the article I read about that topic so I could link it here, because it was so insane that it made me anxious and stressed out just reading it.  

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11 hours ago, Skycatcher said:

I'm sorry but what kind of "genius" gets into a new (to them) organization and forks over $35000 to START the training?

CO$  is certainly reprehensible.  And I get that some people are desperate for spiritual help and guidance.  But at what point does common sense and personal responsibility kick in, in the initial encounters with this organization?

 

I had an issue with that couple as well. At some point there needs to be personal responsibility. I can try to understand the desperation  of people paying to stay connected to their families or who have been raised to know nothing else or even those who pay because they really believe that Scientology is the one way to help people and save the planet. But  a couple of times these two mentioned that the money people told them that if they spent this money it would help them earn more money. That’s buying into a get rich quick scheme. That’s not trying to better yourself or others. I feel sorry for them that they were scammed but of all the stories I’ve heard and as reprehensible as Scientology is, this couple seems to have dug their own hole. 

Edited by 3girlsforus
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I had to smile at the attractive older lady Registrar (or something) when she said she slept, watched TV, slept, watched TV when she escaped.  I wonder what she watched?  Most TV is dreadful.

I felt bad for the wife of the first couple that spoke.  Her husband (probably a lovely man) but he seemed the type of personality that is easily led.  Now they're in the hole for a thousands.

Is law enforcement, the IRS and occupational health and safety departments watching this show?  Will any action ever be taken?  There seems to be enough evidence for a full investigation on what goes on behind the fences.

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1 hour ago, TaraS1 said:

I wanted to hear more from the registrar about all the tricks and techniques they apply to pressure people into giving up more money, and how much intense pressure they are under themselves to make it happen.  I wish I could remember the article I read about that topic so I could link it here, because it was so insane that it made me anxious and stressed out just reading it.  

Yes - that would be interesting to hear more about.  I’m sure everyone here has gotten their share of telemarking calls and have had plenty of experiences of blowing them off, hanging up the phone, etc.  What makes the experience with the registrars any different with their endless number of phone calls?

About the first couple who spoke, when he said he told them not to come to his job anymore and come to his house, I thought nooooooo, don’t do that, then you’ll never get rid of them!  If a group is telling you to divorce your spouse early on if they’re not joining that’s a big red flag.  I had a family member who ended up divorcing his wife because he wasn’t interested in joining the Jehovahs Witnesses and she was just getting into it.  

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8 hours ago, Skycatcher said:

I just can't get that guy on tonight out of my mind. I can see how CO$ brainwashes people who have been in the organization since childhood, or even people who've been sucking up the kool-aid for a long long time (I have a cousin....).  But for somebody who has just signed up, how do you turn over $35000 plus $7500 fee for membership and then threaten your wife with divorce if she doesn't get with the program.  Honestly? She'd be better off without him!

I agree, dump him at that point. Did they mention if they had kids? I thought they did. Maybe that is why she didn't leave. 

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@libgirl2, yes they have kids - the man mentioned having to move so the kids wouldn’t have to be exposed to the same experience later on. 

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Just now, Cobb Salad said:

@libgirl2, yes they have kids - the man mentioned having to move so the kids wouldn’t have to be exposed to the same experience later on. 

That's right. So, yes that might be the explanation. 

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Excellent article! Thanks for posting it. What gets me is that all the while the guy was "rege-ing" parishioners for thousands and  thousands of dollars, he managed to  convince himself that he was performing a service and doing good things for them, he was helping them.

Damn! That's some powerful brainwashing!

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You really don't want to victim-blame in instances like this, but . . .

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CO$  is certainly reprehensible.  And I get that some people are desperate for spiritual help and guidance.  But at what point does common sense and personal responsibility kick in, in the initial encounters with this organization?

Yeah. I mean, I can understand someone like the guy with the eye patch. He was raised in Scientology and went into the Sea Org right out of "school." And I know this organization preys on vulnerable people , but once they start showing you these price tags and start nagging you to take out loans you can't afford and start showing up at your house, at what point don't you realize it's a scam? If I were that woman's husband I would have called an attorney immediately to separate myself from his finances. 

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@LIBGIRL2, yes they have kids - the man mentioned having to move so the kids wouldn’t have to be exposed to the same experience later on. 

That's right. So, yes that might be the explanation. 

That makes even less sense IMO. Not only did she need to protect herself from financial ruin, she needed to protect her children too.

You also have to wonder why these people can't sue to get their money refunded. I know the CO$ calls what they've paid "donations" in order to hide behind it, but we know people have access to these price sheets because they are showing them to us on this television show! You would have to think once a jury gets a gander at these things there's no way they would ever side with the CO$.

On the other hand the suckers who get duped into this have signed away their whole lives so maybe the jury figures the CO$ is within their legal right no matter how reprehensible, and that a lot of these people have themselves to blame.

I would like to know, though, how the CO$ ever expects the enforce a "freeloaders debt." No way a jury is ever going to side with the CO$ over something like that. I guess it's really about being pressured to pay against a threat of being disconnected with your family. So long as you don't care about that you'd be off the hook because no way CO$ would take that crap to court.

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42 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

 

That makes even less sense IMO. Not only did she need to protect herself from financial ruin, she needed to protect her children too.

 

She might have thought keeping the marriage intact for the sake of the children was worth it. Why do some women stay with awful men? 

Edited by libgirl2
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Mike mentioned this but it bears repeating that the registrars and other door knocking naggers receive a percentage of every dollar they bring in. Can you imagine if priests and pastors had quotas they were forced to meet and got paid commissions for them? How very spiritual.

Some of the top registrars make well over six figures.

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She might have thought keeping the marriage intact for the sake of the children was worth it. Why do some women stay with awful men? 

Oh, I get that. I'm just saying I can't put myself into that situation or mind-set. If my spouse were to come home and confront me with a self-imposed monumental debt like this my head would reel. It's not like she couldn't see it coming or that it was sprung on her before she had any chance to do anything about it. She lost her home and so did her kids. 

I honestly think this was the first time in the history of this show where I looked at a participant and just shook my head in wonder more than in pity.

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22 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

Oh, I get that. I'm just saying I can't put myself into that situation or mind-set. If my spouse were to come home and confront me with a self-imposed monumental debt like this my head would reel. It's not like she couldn't see it coming or that it was sprung on her before she had any chance to do anything about it. She lost her home and so did her kids. 

I honestly think this was the first time in the history of this show where I looked at a participant and just shook my head in wonder more than in pity.

Oh, I wouldn't put my self in that situation but at one time I was unhappily married and thought about leaving him but I was scared and we had a three year old. What would I do? How would I get by with a little one?  I let him take out a second mortgage on our house. He liked to gamble. He did me the favor and left me first. Looking back, I did just fine and should have gone sooner. I guess part of me can sympathize. 

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IMO, I think the husband was/is "lost".  He seemed very sad and empty and he's probably felt like this before $cientology came into the fold.  I think he needed/needs professional therapy.  Unfortunately, as soon as he walked into the "church" looking for guidance, these scumbags took advantage of his vulnerability.  I think he was so quick to sign up because they were telling him he would be spiritually enlightened and all his problems would be solved, etc from taking these courses.  And in only six months!  For someone who is desperately seeking emotional/mental clarity, this probably seemed like the answer he was looking for.   I'm glad he realized after a few months that it was BS and left.  Granted they lost a ton of money, but at least he still has his family intact .  The wife looked like she was on the verge of tears and I don't blame her.  Not only because of the financial aspect, but I felt like her and the husband were very emotionally distant from each other.  Again, they probably had issues in their marriage beforehand and the Co$ made everything that much worse.  

 

9 hours ago, sigmaforce86 said:

After hearing the part about the handlers at the hospital it just confirms they lie about everything but I'd like to know how do they get away with it?  Do they have the right town/county officials in their pocket?  How do they avoid safety inspections?  How do they explain the work being done by "church volunteers" and not licensed professionals?  Or do they just keep a few licensed pro electricians, contractors etc who are also CO$ members on standby to rubber stamp the work done by the peons?   

They must because I don't see how any county official/inspector/permit issuer/OSHA, etc could walk onto a job site and sign off on what was happening.  Also, I can't believe that someone can walk into an ER and isn't allowed to talk because his security and handlers will explain everything, and that doesn't raise any eyebrows.  Obviously, the man with the patch isn't the only one who's had to receive outside medical attention so I'm sure there's a doctor or two in the their pocket as well.  

4 hours ago, iMonrey said:

I would like to know, though, how the CO$ ever expects the enforce a "freeloaders debt." No way a jury is ever going to side with the CO$ over something like that. I guess it's really about being pressured to pay against a threat of being disconnected with your family. So long as you don't care about that you'd be off the hook because no way CO$ would take that crap to court

I don't think the Co$ would ever take an ex member to court over a freeloaders debt.  All it would take is one good attorney who starts digging around and I bet the debt would be "forgiven."  

I've always wondered why these people never call the cops when the salespeople show up at their work or won't leave their homes until they get $$$$.  Or why they pay the freeloaders debt, etc and the light bulb finally came on with this episode.  And it all comes down to not seeing their family.  If a member (current or former) is being difficult, then they are reported and/or declared.  Now they'll never see their husband/wife/son/daughter/grandchildren again.  Last week, one of the guests said he paid his stepson's debt (and I think his wife's debt too) so the stepson would still be able to contact his mother.  Leah mentioned tonight that she was reported for not contributing more and she'll probably made a "donation" to avoid the repercussions.  

I really can't wrap my brain around how the Co$ is not considered a business?  I have yet to hear of a church that makes you sign contracts, pay for classes in advance, pay for membership fees, and puts members in total debt.  

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20 hours ago, deaja said:

 I think episodes focusing on the nuts and bolts of how it works and personal stories are my favorite ones. I know that is the majority of episodes but this season there have been a few that didn’t fit the normal mold.

I agree... a few episodes this season have been a bit... dull.  This one had me riveted and opened a door to how things operate.

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21 hours ago, Skycatcher said:

I'm sorry but what kind of "genius" gets into a new (to them) organization and forks over $35000 to START the training?

That is what got me too!!   It took me two months to think about renewing a subscription (about $50 for the year!) and how not having that money for the current month would affect my finances/budget.  How can someone just agree to fork over $35,000 to a "church"?  Then threaten to divorce your spouse unless you pay another $7500!!  When someone asks for money upfront like that to "fix" you, isn't that a big red flag??  I've paid money upfront to the university when I was working on my degrees but at the end I got a degree and a raise!  There was a clear achievable goal, an end in sight, a target that could be reached.  In this organization there is no end!!

 

4 minutes ago, juliet73 said:

I really can't wrap my brain around how the Co$ is not considered a business?  I have yet to hear of a church that makes you sign contracts, pay for classes in advance, pay for membership fees, and puts members in total debt. 

     ^^THIS!!!   I can't understand it neither!!  At my church so many things are given freely and with support!!  Even classes or courses!!  We give a minor donation to help with costs (ie. books, paper, pencils, refreshments).  The most I've ever donated was about $20 for a specific course (it was about six weeks long)  not $35,000!!  Why is this never a big sign to people who get embroiled in this organization??

ETA: Sorry for all of the exclamation marks, I was just so flabbergasted by the whole episode!! (oops there's another one :)

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It's easy to sit back and say that the guy was a fool to walk in and give $35000 but I'm not in his position and can't know what kind of mindset he was in at the time.  If anything it shows how dangerous the CO$ really is, in that they can get the money out of him so quickly.  But it's what they do, seeking out any vulnerability and ruthlessly exploiting it.

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Eww. Just eww. I hate that this manipulative money grubbing organization is called a religion. What are they doing to help anyone? Where’s the ministry to the community or people in need? What’s the higher purpose other than prosperity for tiny few. Good grief! My church helps people in need, providing financial assistance and helping find available programs even if you aren’t a member. They ask for donations and have fund raisers but it is never required.  Helping my fellow man is part of the basis of my belief. 

The man in the first segment baffled me too. He did seem lost. Like he was truly seeking for something and latched on to what CO$ sold. I understand that feeling and how the right words can be enticing but his quick response is what baffled me. I was once in a relationship with a psychopath so I have some understanding of brainwashing. However he practiced focused love bombing for a year before he started the brainwashing and breaking down of who I was. Eventually (disgustingly in hindsight) I became a changed person. Someone I now hardly recognize with time and healing. In the second year I was willing to put up with and do things that were ridiculous. I believed such lies and was able to parrot them back as truth that I believed. Thankfully I started to wake up as things became increasingly worse and he became bored with the game of destroying me. Sadly he used my belief in God against me too. Pig. In my recovery I read an interesting article about the idea of “cult of one” when a person creates a cult and pulls a person in. Well that was depressing. Sorry!

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3 hours ago, pinguina said:

That is what got me too!!   It took me two months to think about renewing a subscription (about $50 for the year!) and how not having that money for the current month would affect my finances/budget.  How can someone just agree to fork over $35,000 to a "church"?  Then threaten to divorce your spouse unless you pay another $7500!!  When someone asks for money upfront like that to "fix" you, isn't that a big red flag??  I've paid money upfront to the university when I was working on my degrees but at the end I got a degree and a raise!  There was a clear achievable goal, an end in sight, a target that could be reached.  In this organization there is no end!!

 

     ^^THIS!!!   I can't understand it neither!!  At my church so many things are given freely and with support!!  Even classes or courses!!  We give a minor donation to help with costs (ie. books, paper, pencils, refreshments).  The most I've ever donated was about $20 for a specific course (it was about six weeks long)  not $35,000!!  Why is this never a big sign to people who get embroiled in this organization??

ETA: Sorry for all of the exclamation marks, I was just so flabbergasted by the whole episode!! (oops there's another one :)

I have to disagree in part. All religions depend on fundraising, albeit not to the level required by Scientology.  Churches or synagogues can’t function without membership fees and additional fundraising.  For example, I have seen friends who belong to a synagogue have to attend an annual dinner and pay a fee.  Every year someone is nominated for an award at the dinner, and it’s expected that the honoree will donate money and solicit outside friends to donate. It can get pretty aggressive  

I consider myself lucky that I was raised without religion. But I find them endlessly fascinating. We had cousins who joined the Sri Chinmoy cult. One left as a 50 year old after a wasted life. It’s partly to try to understand why that I watch shows like this and read up on the subject. 

Edited by GussieK
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16 hours ago, 3girlsforus said:

I had an issue with that couple as well. At some point there needs to be personal responsibility. I can try to understand the desperation  of people paying to stay connected to their families or who have been raised to know nothing else or even those who pay because they really believe that Scientology is the one way to help people and save the planet. But  a couple of times these two mentioned that the money people told them that if they spent this money it would help them earn more money. That’s buying into a get rich quick scheme. That’s not trying to better yourself or others. I feel sorry for them that they were scammed but of all the stories I’ve heard and as reprehensible as Scientology is, this couple seems to have dug their own hole. 

 

I also feel sorry for them but it is tempered by their show of lack of common sense & self restraint especially when they know it is not in their best interest.

It's that same faith and prosperity bullshit that some tele-evangelists also use to get every last penny from people who can and even more reprehensible from those who can't afford it. 

Earlier this week while watching "12 Years a Slave" on cable, on came a commercial by some pompous asshole selling pouches of  "Miracle Water" for you to buy and drink and get your need fulfilled as long as you had faith and the money to lay out for a water pouch. 

I hope there is a special place in hell, the cosmos, or the wheel of life for those predatory assholes. All of them.

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On 1/8/2019 at 9:27 PM, Skycatcher said:

I'm sorry but what kind of "genius" gets into a new (to them) organization and forks over $35000 to START the training?

CO$  is certainly reprehensible.  And I get that some people are desperate for spiritual help and guidance.  But at what point does common sense and personal responsibility kick in, in the initial encounters with this organization?

thank you, that's what i was thinking. there are a lot more gullible people in this world than i previously thought. really, it's ridiculous. have they no friggin common sense. the ones that were born into it, i give a pass but those who went into this cult after living in the real world. you need therapy.

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We have heard several times throughout this series that the workers get commissions on the money they bring in.  So, my question is why was the former registrar bankrupt?  She noted that she was bankrupt and added an "of course" to it which kind of confused me as she had raised big bucks for scientology.

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You don't for a moment think CO$ is going to let that commission money get away from them, do you?

CO$ researches/ knows every dime members have or can get, she works for CO$, she gets commissions, CO$ knows about the commissions and asks her,  "How much have you donated lately? Don't you think it's about time for a few more sessions?" Sessions she can't use because she's hustling 18 hours a day trying to meet her quotas to get commissions.......... which she is expected to donate to CO$.

 Plus if you have a quota and are coming up short it would be natural to  tap your own resources to make up the difference and avoid the severe consequences of coming up short. So she was probably as mortgaged and maxed out as she could get, too

Edited by Skycatcher
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9 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

"I didn't get my money back but on my way out the door the registrar told me the money would be waiting for me in my next life."

I love it when Leah is left speechless at something the Co$ has done.

that was quite a reaction! Same one I had! 

I agree with the other posters, that guy looked lost. He was a perfect mark for a cult to get a hold of. He still looks lost in the eyes. 

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13 hours ago, GussieK said:

. All religions depend on fundraising, albeit not to the level required by Scientology.  Churches or synagogues can’t function without membership fees and additional fundraising.

 My church has no membership fee.  Any donations are voluntary, not mandatory. 

 

I didn't understand when the couple said that they could never talk about things because the CoS was always keeping them apart during the soliciting.  I mean, they lived together.  They shared a bed (presumably).

Edited by Josette
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So.......accept the back pay and donate to COS  or be "declared". Done! Problem solved.

(Except for that pesky little precedent it sets up.)

Edited by Skycatcher
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On ‎1‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:01 AM, sigmaforce86 said:

Sorry I don't remember names better but.........I really felt for the couple who spoke first, the husband was obviously missing something in his life and was very susceptible to whatever "we can fix your life" spiel the church gives when you walk in the door.  He was so quiet for much of the show and looked so sad.   As @Giselle said, it's really hard to understand the mind set.  I feel for the people but have trouble understanding how they were sucked into it in the first place.  That perhaps would also be a good topic for a future show - What is missing in peoples lives and how does CO$ leverage that to con people into joining and giving over their money.   

Yeah, I think he was really broken.  People in that state of mind can often be talked in to anything.

On ‎1‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 10:14 AM, Cobb Salad said:

Yes - that would be interesting to hear more about.  I’m sure everyone here has gotten their share of telemarking calls and have had plenty of experiences of blowing them off, hanging up the phone, etc.  What makes the experience with the registrars any different with their endless number of phone calls?

It's easy to blow someone off on the phone.  It's also easy to treat someone more rudely over the phone (or online) than you do in person, because there's a disconnect - you don't see the other person in front of your face.

19 hours ago, juliet73 said:

IMO, I think the husband was/is "lost".  He seemed very sad and empty and he's probably felt like this before $cientology came into the fold.  I think he needed/needs professional therapy.  Unfortunately, as soon as he walked into the "church" looking for guidance, these scumbags took advantage of his vulnerability.  I think he was so quick to sign up because they were telling him he would be spiritually enlightened and all his problems would be solved, etc from taking these courses.  And in only six months!  For someone who is desperately seeking emotional/mental clarity, this probably seemed like the answer he was looking for.   I'm glad he realized after a few months that it was BS and left.  Granted they lost a ton of money, but at least he still has his family intact .  The wife looked like she was on the verge of tears and I don't blame her.  Not only because of the financial aspect, but I felt like her and the husband were very emotionally distant from each other.  Again, they probably had issues in their marriage beforehand and the Co$ made everything that much worse.  

I really can't wrap my brain around how the Co$ is not considered a business?  I have yet to hear of a church that makes you sign contracts, pay for classes in advance, pay for membership fees, and puts members in total debt.  

The sad thing is that he was likely highly suggestible at that time.  It sounded like he was having some sort of crisis, and someone may have talked him in to going to Scamatology to see about feeling better (he said he walked in to the Org looking for information).  The wife said they were kept separate for most of the time by Scientologists, in an effort to wear him down.  I can absolutely believe that this man who was very broken was told that they held the key to his every happiness, and that if he forked over just $35,000 that it would cover everything he needed for his journey and he wouldn't have to worry about paying anything else (because he said he was explicitly told this would take him all the way to clear, and it would only take about 6 months).  I'm sure they probably also told him he could get his money back if he wasn't happy.  And I would put money on it that someone suggested to him that he get therapy, and Scamatology was all over that as well.  And of course they told him that when he completed this, he'd be making more money, so it would all take care of itself.  When we're in good mindsets, we likely can't be convinced, but a slick presentation can really mess with a suggestible mind, and someone who would do just about anything to feel better.  And I can see his wife finally going along with it, not realizing just how deep Scamatology runs, and also fears the threats of divorce if she doesn't agree.  And very early on, she sees how they scammed him (asking for more fees), but he's all in, and she's stuck.  I'd bet that he sold it to her like they sold it to him - that he'd make all of the money back in extra earnings, and if he wasn't happy, he could get a refund.  When my husband was extremely broken, I doubt I'd consent to $35,000, but I'd have given just about anything to have him feeling better again.  Stuff can make you desperate.  Scamatology preys on that.

I've personally never had to pay (other than a voluntary donation) for Bible study, or counseling, or any of that, but I know some churches get really judgy about that kind of thing, so it's out there, but I don't think it's that expensive or prevalent.

Edited by funky-rat
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On 1/9/2019 at 2:05 PM, iMonrey said:

You also have to wonder why these people can't sue to get their money refunded. I know the CO$ calls what they've paid "donations" in order to hide behind it, but we know people have access to these price sheets because they are showing them to us on this television show! You would have to think once a jury gets a gander at these things there's no way they would ever side with the CO$.

On the other hand the suckers who get duped into this have signed away their whole lives so maybe the jury figures the CO$ is within their legal right no matter how reprehensible, and that a lot of these people have themselves to blame.

I would like to know, though, how the CO$ ever expects the enforce a "freeloaders debt." No way a jury is ever going to side with the CO$ over something like that. I guess it's really about being pressured to pay against a threat of being disconnected with your family. So long as you don't care about that you'd be off the hook because no way CO$ would take that crap to court.

Because in order to sue, you have to find an attorney that is willing to take the case on for nothing. These folks were already so far in debt they had to sell their house. Hiring an attorney to go after the money may seem like an impossible task because they didn't have enough money to pay a retainer, or even just fees and expenses. Couple that with the fact that the church has high powered attorneys with a seemingly endless amount of resources, it may simply be too intimidating (and embarrassing) for folks to pursue.

As for the freeloaders debt, the church has (as far as I know) never taken someone to court to force them to pay. If someone is willing to never speak to any of their family or friends again, the church doesn't go after them for the money as well.

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So I just watched this episode and my feelings are very much in line with all of yours. But I kept wondering, when Mike was talking about refunds vs. repayments, about the legality of that. I remember reading about a case, Hernandez v. Commissioner, from the late '80s, where the Supreme Court said that payments for packages of auditing were not tax-exempt because they were part of a quid pro quo and the parishioner wasn't really donating, they were buying services. A quick Google tells me that case was before Scientology regained its tax exempt status. I wonder if having been officially designated as a church by the IRS affected whether those payments would still today be considered part of a quid pro quo instead of a donation to a religious organization.

I think whether the IRS takes on Scientology is probably a more complicated question than simply "yeah, this looks shady, time to investigate." It would mean overturning policy, so I'm guessing they probably have to have something new. And I'm betting such a decision would have to come out of the main IRS leadership in DC, not one of the branches or one of the line employees. So it couldn't be just any random IRS employee watching. But man do I hope that some unlikely confluence of events comes together and the IRS actually does strip Scientology of its tax exempt status. Everything we've seen is just too fucked up to be allowed to continue.

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I can understand giving your spouse an ultimatum if they were a hardcore drug user or gambler or had some other destructive habit, but to draw a line in the sand over ridiculously expensive "religious" courses?  DAMN!!  I like that the wife wasn't bullied into taking the classes.

I'm wondering about the mother who gave away her inheritance?  How did the church find out about the money she was getting?  Not to sound cold-blooded or unfeeling, but if she opened up her mouth and told everyone in the org that she was getting an inheritance, then she deserves what she gets.  There comes a time when you have to start using your common sense and start thinking about your retirement/golden years--I do feel sorry that she's still working at 71 years old, but what did she think was going to happen when she handed over her nest egg?

Edited by kitmerlot1213
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8 hours ago, seacliffsal said:

We have heard several times throughout this series that the workers get commissions on the money they bring in.  So, my question is why was the former registrar bankrupt?  She noted that she was bankrupt and added an "of course" to it which kind of confused me as she had raised big bucks for scientology.

8 hours ago, seacliffsal said:

 

I apologize for the blank.  I haven't quite got the hang of multi-quotes.  I suspect she was bankrupt, because she was also paying for her own auditing (although I am not sure when she had time for that) plus the re-issued materials plus donating to ideal orgs. and whatever else they pay for. 

1 hour ago, kitmerlot1213 said:

I'm wondering about the mother who gave away her inheritance?  How did the church find out about the money she was getting?  Not to sound cold-blooded or unfeeling, but if she opened up her mouth and told everyone in the org that she was getting an inheritance, then she deserves what she gets

I doubt she mentioned it;  in the above linked article which I skimmed, it implies that CoS is fairly well informed about your financials.  Or maybe someone knew her mother died and asked directly.  The linked article had a sad story about how they find stashes of money.

I am fascinated with this show.  In the late 70's and early 80's I worked for the IRS, and I recall several meetings about how to deal with CoS members and their auditing fees, but I never saw any (I mostly audited businesses); maybe I would have run into them in LA or Clearwater had I worked there.   This program is the first time I have heard the members called "parishioners," and I find it almost offensive. 

I don't recall anyone commenting about the new (maybe in the past 9 months) Scientology channel;  it is on my Directv.  I have not blocked it yet, but I have also vowed not to watch even out of curiosity.  I could never be a Scientologist as I found LRH utterly repulsive.

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On 1/9/2019 at 8:03 AM, 3girlsforus said:

I had an issue with that couple as well. At some point there needs to be personal responsibility. I can try to understand the desperation  of people paying to stay connected to their families or who have been raised to know nothing else or even those who pay because they really believe that Scientology is the one way to help people and save the planet. But  a couple of times these two mentioned that the money people told them that if they spent this money it would help them earn more money. That’s buying into a get rich quick scheme. That’s not trying to better yourself or others. I feel sorry for them that they were scammed but of all the stories I’ve heard and as reprehensible as Scientology is, this couple seems to have dug their own hole. 

Yeah, I would understand better if they had grown up in Scientology.  A few years ago ( maybe 4 or 5) CNN produced a special on Co$ (applause for whoever came up with using the $ sign) called "Going Clear " which featured a woman called Spanky(formerly close to John Revolta) who said that she believed that she would gain supernatural powers by studying scientology so that's what I thought of when he said that he believed his income would increase if he spent money on it.  Actually, I think he said he was told something to the effect that " many people have found their income increase..." so I doubt it was made as a promise.   Maybe he was looking for supernatural powers as well.    A  lot of people came into it in the early days, because they would take free quizzes offered by Co$ such as personality or interest tests then they were told how Co$ classes could help improve their lives.  Something like this may have happened to this couple.                 

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22 hours ago, msrachelj said:

Thank you, that's what i was thinking. there are a lot more gullible people in this world than i previously thought. really, it's ridiculous. have they no friggin common sense. the ones that were born into it, i give a pass but those who went into this cult after living in the real world. you need therapy.

We can all see that this is a scam and there are red flags all over the place.  It's easy to look back at their situation and wonder how the fuck they were willing participants, but I think it's probably a little more insidious. COS asks for money, they balk and are made to feel as if they are bad people and they feel isolated.  When people are already vulnerable and lost, they're much more susceptible to this brainwashing.  It seems ludicrous to us but I think in general we're all pretty sane and stable.  (insert snark here).  For me, I can't know how I would react if I were in a similar mental state.

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23 hours ago, Josette said:

 My church has no membership fee.  Any donations are voluntary, not mandatory. 

 

I didn't understand when the couple said that they could never talk about things because the CoS was always keeping them apart during the soliciting.  I mean, they lived together.  They shared a bed (presumably).

 

I got the impression that they wouldn't let them leave until after they'd given or committed to the money, separately, so they could only talk about it after a check for some amount been written and a larger amount committed. 

Edited by SailorGirl
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17 hours ago, Twopper said:

I don't recall anyone commenting about the new (maybe in the past 9 months) Scientology channel;  it is on my Directv.  I have not blocked it yet, but I have also vowed not to watch even out of curiosity. 

I removed it from the guide because I didn't want someone in my house accidentally selecting the channel.  Even though the closest Co$ is 2.50 hours away from me, I was scared someone would show up at my door 2.51 hours later trying to get me to join.

 

18 hours ago, kitmerlot1213 said:

I'm wondering about the mother who gave away her inheritance?  How did the church find out about the money she was getting?  Not to sound cold-blooded or unfeeling, but if she opened up her mouth and told everyone in the org that she was getting an inheritance, then she deserves what she gets. 

They mentioned on this episode and previous ones how the members had given the registrars their social security numbers, mother's maiden names, etc so they could "help" them get more money from their credit cards, loans, etc.  They even admitted to keeping all that personal information so they could look up the member's accounts (without their consent) beforehand so they would be prepared if the parishioner said they didn't have any money.  So even if the mother only said that her mother had died without even mentioning an inheritance, I can guarantee the Co$ was scouring credit reports, financial websites and unclaimed money sites to see if there was any money was available.  I know it's commonplace for a church to ask for donations and/or tithing and some churches are more aggressive than others, but I have yet to hear of any church, besides the Co$, that call your credit cards, 401ks, etc, with or without your permission, to get money.  

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On 1/9/2019 at 12:05 PM, iMonrey said:

You also have to wonder why these people can't sue to get their money refunded. I know the CO$ calls what they've paid "donations" in order to hide behind it, but we know people have access to these price sheets because they are showing them to us on this television show! You would have to think once a jury gets a gander at these things there's no way they would ever side with the CO$.

It will never go to a jury. All Scientologists have to sign agreements with fine print that states any disputes will be handled by Scientology arbitration which is binding. The arbitrators are all Scientologists in good standing with the church and will never side with you over the church. Look into the lawsuit filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia to understand better. The suit dragged on for many years and there are lots of articles on it so I can't really link it here but you'll see how they could never get around the who arbitration thing no matter how clearly biased it was. 

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On 1/10/2019 at 9:14 AM, Skycatcher said:

You don't for a moment think CO$ is going to let that commission money get away from them, do you?

CO$ researches/ knows every dime members have or can get, she works for CO$, she gets commissions, CO$ knows about the commissions and asks her,  "How much have you donated lately? Don't you think it's about time for a few more sessions?" Sessions she can't use because she's hustling 18 hours a day trying to meet her quotas to get commissions.......... which she is expected to donate to CO$.

 Plus if you have a quota and are coming up short it would be natural to  tap your own resources to make up the difference and avoid the severe consequences of coming up short. So she was probably as mortgaged and maxed out as she could get, too

Also, we don't know what the going rate of commission is. The amount Sea Org staff get as regular pay is frighteningly low. Around maybe $50 a week....With a commission added on, she probably had enough money to....go out to eat a couple of times. Or buy a shirt. Or a pair of shoes. It couldnt have been enough to make a difference to you or me, but to a Sea Org member, who has to decide between soap and shampoo OR replacing the shoes that have a hole in the bottom, it's worth stretching yourself to try. 

20 hours ago, Twopper said:

I apologize for the blank.  I haven't quite got the hang of multi-quotes.  I suspect she was bankrupt, because she was also paying for her own auditing (although I am not sure when she had time for that) plus the re-issued materials plus donating to ideal orgs. and whatever else they pay for. 

I doubt she mentioned it;  in the above linked article which I skimmed, it implies that CoS is fairly well informed about your financials.  Or maybe someone knew her mother died and asked directly.  The linked article had a sad story about how they find stashes of money.

I am fascinated with this show.  In the late 70's and early 80's I worked for the IRS, and I recall several meetings about how to deal with CoS members and their auditing fees, but I never saw any (I mostly audited businesses); maybe I would have run into them in LA or Clearwater had I worked there.   This program is the first time I have heard the members called "parishioners," and I find it almost offensive. 

I don't recall anyone commenting about the new (maybe in the past 9 months) Scientology channel;  it is on my Directv.  I have not blocked it yet, but I have also vowed not to watch even out of curiosity.  I could never be a Scientologist as I found LRH utterly repulsive.

They live communally, and there is NO privacy. And no free time. I guarantee they knew about the inheritance within minutes of her mom finding out. There would have been a letter from a lawyer's office, or something like that, delivered to where she lived. And there's another Sea Org person distributing the mail. 

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I didn't know much about Co$ before this program started, but it's become clear over its run that all this organization really comes down to is money. Its sole goal is bringing in money. Many of the 'parishioners' may have been idealistic when they joined, but for TPTB in the organization, it's all about profit. And they've apparently been very successful. Between the exorbitant fees charged for all the programs and the 'donations' that are strong-armed out of the members, that 'church' has to be sitting on millions and millions of dollars. Since Co$ doesn't believe in donating or doing good deeds, where does all the money go? Directly into Miss Cabbage's pocket? 

One of my favorite parts of any episode is the badly written letters the show gets from Co$, and this week's were particularly amusing. It's funny how they always feel the need to not just point out they think the show is being inaccurate, but to also throw in a personal insult or two. Do they know they're coming off as nothing more than playground bullies, or are they too clueless to notice?

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On 1/11/2019 at 2:11 PM, WInterfalls said:

It will never go to a jury. All Scientologists have to sign agreements with fine print that states any disputes will be handled by Scientology arbitration which is binding. The arbitrators are all Scientologists in good standing with the church and will never side with you over the church. Look into the lawsuit filed by Luis and Rocio Garcia to understand better. The suit dragged on for many years and there are lots of articles on it so I can't really link it here but you'll see how they could never get around the who arbitration thing no matter how clearly biased it was. 

Long time watcher, first time poster here.

Re: Why don't people sue and get their money back?

This above about being forced to consent to arbitration -  and more, too, which I remember from a show last season.

 1) As soon as you either: enter the Scientology premises, take a class, take a "personality test", or ask them questions, they make you sign a form, which, among the fine print, says that you believe Scientology is a religion.

This is so you can never later claim that you didn't think it was a religion and that you believed you were buying services or counseling rather than making "religious donations". 

If someone did claim this, I'm sure the obvious rebuttal would be, "He's changed his mind, just like many people believe in Christianity and change their mind, so that doesn't make it any less of a religion. He believed it was a religious donation when he gave this money."

 

2) There is a policy that says that any Scientologist can ask for a refund at any time. I'm sure people like the registrar show this to everyone.

BUT!

3) There is ALSO a policy that says that any Scientologist who asks for a refund is declared a suppressive person.

And thus, they cannot enter the premises (and must immediately leave) and may not talk to any Scientologist.  Such as talking to them to ask for your money back.

Catch-22: You can never get your money back.

 

It's kind of genius in its evilness. I have a law degree and I remember being blown away by the intricacies of .... essentially, how far they go to protect their money.  This episode showed how far they go to GET the money. Circular policies like the above, show me how far they go to KEEP it.  

Edited by BlueSky88
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