Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


Scientology’s slush fund: Jeffrey Augustine takes apart the fictions of the IAS

IASWe’re privileged again to have another contribution from Jeffrey Augustine, who continues his deep dive into the underlying legal structures of the Church of Scientology. Today he looks at the fundraising arm of the movement, the IAS, that takes in so much money for the use of David Miscavige. How, exactly, does the IAS work?

Nothing is ever as it seems in the Church of Scientology. In this installment, we go deeper in deconstructing the Church’s labyrinthine legal system. As previously discussed, the “Church of Scientology” is simply a term of convenience used to refer to all of the legally separate churches in the Scientology franchise system.

As a term of convenience, the “Church of Scientology” can have no members. As we also covered, David Miscavige and his lawyers secretly told the IRS, “there is no such organization as the Sea Organization.” The term “Sea Org” is merely a phrase referring to Church staff members who have signed a pledge to serve Scientology for one billion years.

Because the “Church of Scientology” can have no members and the Sea Org does not legally exist, how do Scientologists fit into the picture? The startling answer is that Scientologists do not actually belong to any kind of Church whatsoever. Scientologists – public and staff alike – must join an unincorporated membership association where they have no voice and no vote in Church affairs. This association is called the International Association of Scientologists or “IAS.”

During their secret negotiations in 1992, the IRS asked David Miscavige and his lawyers the following question concerning the IAS:



Miscavige and his attorneys replied:


The IAS is not, and has never been a church. The IAS is an unincorporated non-profit membership association. Founded at Saint Hill in 1984, the IAS putatively exists, “To unite, advance, support and protect the Scientology religion and Scientologists in all parts of the world, so as to achieve the aims of Scientology as originated by L. Ron Hubbard.”

The legal form of the IAS can be viewed as yet another attempt by the Church to break itself into as many legally separate parts as possible:


The IAS is not a church; it is an unincorporated membership organization. Per its charter, the IAS functions autonomously from the so-called “Mother Church” i.e. the Church of Scientology International (CSI). This separation and autonomy supports my earlier statement that IAS members can have no voice and no vote in the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology International claims to have “parishioners” but it actually cannot have parishioners as it is an administrative church only and does not deliver auditing or any other services. Moreover, CSI abandoned and relinquished any claims to parishioners by referring Scientologists to the IAS as the official membership organization for the Church of Scientology. CSI can have staff members – and yet even these staff members are, in the final analysis, nothing more than IAS members who have pledged themselves for a billion years to a legally nonexistent entity called the Sea Org.


To say that one is a Scientologist because they are “on course” or are “getting auditing” is a statement that must be looked at in tangled legalese of the Church. The IAS membership magazine declares in its fine print in each edition:


Now we are approaching what actually goes on in the Church, for we learn that the term “Scientologist” is a collective membership mark.

What is a collective membership mark? The definition from TMEP, a section of the US Patent Office informs us:

“A collective membership mark is a mark adopted for the purpose of indicating membership in an organized collective group, such as a union, an association, or other organization. Neither the collective nor its members uses the collective membership mark to identify and distinguish goods or services; rather, the sole function of such a mark is to indicate that the person displaying the mark is a member of the organized collective group.”

What is the “organized collective group” of Scientologists? It can only be the IAS because the IAS is the official membership organization of the Church of Scientology. And yet, the IAS is legally autonomous and separate from all of the churches in the Scientology ecclesiastical hierarchy of churches.

The autonomy of the IAS is evidenced by the fact it has an operating arm and a trust that are also not a part of the Scientology ecclesiastical hierarchy of churches:

· The International Association of Scientologists Administrations is the operating arm of the IAS. Once based in Curaçao, and called the Foundation International Membership Services Administrations, the name changed to the IASA in 2007. At this time, IASA also domesticated and became a Delaware corporation. See the 2007 Florida corporate filing.

· The US IAS Members Trust is the bank account for the IAS. The US IAS MT is located in Los Angeles, California and has extensive operations at Flag Land Base. Many former Scientologists allege that the US IAS MT is David Miscavige’s unrestricted slush fund. More on that later.

Based upon the foregoing, we are able to describe, at least in generalized terms, the legal context of, for example, what actually happens when a Scientologist receives OT-level auditing at Flag. Please keep in mind this description is simplified; I invite our resident experts to add details in the comments section:

1. The Scientologist long ago signed the legally binding contracts with various churches in the CSI-licenses churches. Each service, or level, requires signing contracts.

2. The Scientologist is an IAS member and has donated for statuses. Such status donations are a prerequisite of being “invited” onto the OT levels. The OT levels are, as the Church makes clear, by invitation only. Only upstats are allowed.

3. All donations to the IAS are legally nonrefundable. The Scientologist signs a contract agreeing that their donations are nonrefundable and that all disputes are subject to binding arbitration within the Church.

4. The Scientologist is in good standing with CSI.

5. When routing into Flag, the Scientologist receives a routing form. He or she must see each person on the routing form. Some of these people to be seen are regges, or Scientology salespeople, looking for a donation.

6. The Scientologist has already paid money in advance to begin the OT level.

7. The Scientologist has signed a bond to never disclose the contents of the OT levels. The bond calls for damages of $100,000 per disclosure. Damages are uncapped and unlimited.

8. A Sea Org member arrives to deliver the OT auditing session.

9. The auditing session is recorded by Flag. The video file is owned by the Church forever.

10. The session folders — “confessional folders” — are owned by CSI in perpetuity. The Scientologist may never see them.

11. At the end of session, the Scientologist is sent to the examiner.

12. At the end of the level, the Scientologist is sent to the Registrar to pay for the next OT level or technical action.

13. While at Flag, the Scientologist may be accosted by numerous regges. This is why many public Scientologists at Flag tend to hide in their rooms when not in session.

14. A Scientologist does not simply leave Flag. One must get permission to leave. One leaves Flag by doing another routing form.

Based upon the steps enumerated above, one can begin to see the legally-dense thicket of the Church Scientology.

Circling back around, to the notion of the IAS as David Miscavige’s unrestricted slush fund, we note that the “autonomous” nature of the IAS should raise red flags, particularly when we consider that David Miscavige and his lawyers, in this same 1992 submission to the IRS, made a big deal about the evil and autonomous Guardian’s Office (GO):


Miscavige claimed to the IRS that the autonomy of the GO kept the Church from knowing anything:


Despite David Miscavige’s protestations of GO autonomy to the IRS, he very deliberately helped to create the IAS as an autonomous organization that functions separately from CSI and the rest of the Church hierarchy.

To say that the IAS has its own Board of Directors is a meaningless statement since the Directors are public Scientologists beholden to Scientology ecclesiastical leader David Miscavige.

Tellingly, the invisible hand of the Sea Org is at work, for the operating arm of the IAS – the IASA – is conveniently staffed by Sea Org members. And as David Miscavige controls the Sea Org he therefore controls the IAS, the IASA, and the big fat piggy bank known as the US IAS Members Trust.

One naturally wonders if the IASA will eventually be found to contain rogue elements who acted, and quite autonomously so, to harm the Church of Scientology.

— Jeffrey Augustine


HubbardSAHubbard in South Africa

Here’s what happens when the Church of Scientology tries to get a little happy publicity but runs into a real reporter. Erin Conway-Smith’s article in the Global Post today about L. Ron Hubbard’s six month stay in South Africa in 1960-61 is a classic piece of journalism. Dutifully noting that Scientology has restored Hubbard’s home and opened it as a museum, the reporter initially goes along with Scientology’s nonsense that Hubbard went to South Africa to promote democracy and challenge the apartheid regime. But then Hubbard’s actual writings of the time are cited, showing that the old race baiter was the last person qualified to help the country with its problems. More importantly, it was in this period that Hubbard devised the notorious “Joburg Sec Check,” a brutal interrogation that Scientologists to this day have to endure during “Grade II” of their trip up the “Bridge to Total Freedom.” Give this story some of your affection, Bunkerites.


Scientology starting to freak out about Miss Lovely

We heard from a source inside the church that what is freaking out the brass in RTC is our book tour. They can’t believe we’re traveling to so many places to meet Bunkerites and share in the excitement of the publication of The Unbreakable Miss Lovely. We’re told that Scientologists are being briefed that some evil unknown billionaire must be sending us around to spread entheta. Isn’t that precious? Actually, it’s your donations and our frugal way of traveling that’s keeping us globetrotting, and we want to keep it up. Please help us scare the crap out of David Miscavige!


We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Our upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

June 20: Chicago (with Christian Stolte) The Annoyance Theater, 5pm: This event is SOLD OUT.

June 22: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd, 7:30 pm, sponsored by the Centre for Inquiry-Canada

June 23: Toronto (with Paulette Cooper) The “Getting Clear” conference

June 28: Clearwater, Florida (with Paulette Cooper) Clearwater Public Library, 2 pm, sponsored by Center for Inquiry-Tampa Bay

July 12: Washington DC, Drummond Hall, 2 pm Center for Inquiry (with Paulette Cooper)

July 14: Hartford, MARK TWAIN HOUSE (with Tom Tomorrow)

July 17: Denver, The Secular Hub, 7 pm (with Chris Shelton)

July 20: Dallas, Times Ten Cellar, 7 pm (with Robert Wilonsky)

July 22: Houston, Fox and Hound, sponsored by Humanists of Houston

July 24: San Antonio

July 25: Austin

July 29: Paris (with Jonny Jacobsen)

August 4: London, Conway Hall (with John Sweeney)

August 24: Boston, Boston Skeptics in the Pub, 7 pm

September 16: Arizona State University


Posted by Tony Ortega on June 18, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email