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Jeffrey Augustine: Just a friendly reminder — Scientology prices are outrageous

WheelbarrowMoney

 
Frequent contributor Jeffrey Augustine is back with another look at Scientology and money. Recently, the Netherlands upheld a legal decision to deny Scientology tax exempt status, and one of the reasons given was that it made no sense to the Dutch that a “church” would be charging such exorbitant rates. Can you imagine a court in the US similarly making such an obvious conclusion? Anyway, that gave us the excuse to remind people just what Scientology charges for its services. Take it away, Jeff…

 
For the Church of Scientology, the year 2015 has proven to be a monster earthquake that generated a tsunami of entheta. The major shocks of that temblor include:

— HBO’s Going Clear and its subsequent three-Emmy sweep

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The Unbreakable Miss Lovely by Tony Ortega

— The London premier of Louis Theroux’s My Scientology Movie

Troublemaker by Leah Remini

 
Rather than addressing the facts presented in these books and documentaries, Scientology has predictably responded by engaging in its usual tactics:

— Character assassination directed against those who expose the abuses of the Church of Scientology

— Propagandistic claims that “bigots” and “bitter defrocked apostates” are attacking the Scientology religion

— A recitation of Scientology’s sprawling real estate portfolio

— Baseless and undocumented claims of Scientology’s “greatest ever “expansion

— Grandiose tributes to leader David Miscavige as the driving force of an imaginary “Scientology Renaissance”

 
The current legal problems faced by the Church of Scientology include, but are not limited to:

Monique Rathbun v. The Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, et al

— Dozens of lawsuits against the Narconon drug rehab network

— A criminal fraud trial against Scientology ongoing in Belgium

— The recent upholding of the denial of tax exemption in The Netherlands

In its present PR crisis it is worth taking note of the fact that the Church of Scientology is assiduously avoiding any mention of how much money Scientology services actually cost.

The figures are staggering.

In 2007, I posted a price list issued by Flag Land Base…

 
PriceList07a

 
So, for example, if you were a wealthy Scientologist who decided you needed the vaunted L10 Rundown — a counseling level which, according to its introduction, is “designed to handle the things a thetan uses to restrain himself. The person regains his ability and power to do those things he intends to do and as a result he feels more at cause than ever before.” Sounds major. And you’ll pay majorly for it. As the price list indicates, it can take up to 150 hours of exercises to get through L10, which then runs $99,000.

But keep in mind, any time you go to the Flag Land Base for something like the L10 Rundown, you’re going to end up paying for a lot more than just the course price.

Accommodations at Flag are not cheap, and, as Mat Pesch told me in one of our interviews, Flag demands that Scientologists stay at Flag when they are doing services. Flag feels that parishioners are “ripping off Flag” if they try to stay with friends or at “wog hotels” in Clearwater to save money. In many cases, Scientologists will simply be denied services at Flag until they relocate from whatever money-saving accommodations they are at and check in at one of Flag’s hotels.

 
PriceList07b

 
So that wealthy mark who gets stuck doing 150 hours on L10 — which gets doled out at 12.5 hours a week — is going to be stuck at Flag for 12 long weeks. Even with a crappy Queen Room, the cheapest in the place, that’s another 10 grand added to the bill. You can begin to see how Leah Remini ended up with a bill for $300,000 after she spent “three or four months” being put through the “Truth Rundown” in 2007 following the debacle at the 2006 Cruise-Holmes wedding, as she describes in her book Troublemaker.

Scientologists on the penultimate step on the “Bridge to Total Freedom,” known as “Operating Thetan Level Seven” or OT 7, must report to Flag every six months for “OT refreshers” that consist of “sec checks.” Security checks are brutal interrogations to make sure the subject has not become a security risk. These sec checks cost about $10,000- $25,000 per visit plus travel and accommodations. At a maintenance cost of $20,000- $50,000 per year to stay on OT 7, many OT’s have simply turned in their OT materials and stopped solo auditing.

And, as we have seen in a previous essay, the Church of Scientology does not give warranties, guarantees, promises, or refunds:

 
StatementsBy

 
Not only does the Church refuse to stand behind the incredibly expensive services it sells, but it also makes getting repayments or refunds a near impossibility. This inconvenient truth is also another point the Church of Scientology is not discussing in its current PR efforts to counter the tsunami of entheta in which it is engulfed.

The Church of Scientology is still sticking to its story that it is being attacked by bigots and haters even as it claims that bespectacled OT’s are at Cause Over Life:

 
OTVIICert

 
— Jeffrey Augustine

 
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Darth Xander wins in Clearwater

Back in September, we told you that Alex ‘Darth Xander’ Hageli, an Illinois attorney, had filed a motion in Clearwater, Florida seeking to get the infamous Lisa McPherson Trust permanent injunction dissolved.

Hageli frequently flies to Florida and pickets outside Scientology’s facilities in Clearwater, and has produced some amazing video footage while he’s doing it. But repeatedly, he found himself being harassed by local police who thought they had the authority to remove Hageli from public spaces because of the terms of the injunction, which was finalized in 2001. The injunction, however, was meant to contain the two sides — Scientology and the Lisa McPherson Trust — who had been clashing in the late 1990s at protests. The LMT long ago ceased to exist, and Hageli had nothing to do with it or any of the people named in it.

He filed his motion hoping a local court would conclude that the injunction was no longer needed. That didn’t happen. However, the city attorney did decide to send a message to the police of Clearwater that the injunction does not apply to Hageli, and they have to stop hassling him and let him demonstrate in public places. Here’s the language that was sent out in an email to local authorities…

Robert Minton, who formed the Lisa McPherson Trust, died some time ago. Moreover, except for Mark Bunker, the other members of the trust appear no longer to be present in Clearwater 14 years after the Injunction was granted. However, the Church of Scientology has contacted CPD on numerous occasions, claiming that an individual named Alex Hageli, who has been in close proximity to Church property while exercising his First Amendment rights, is in violation of the Injunction because he is acting “in actual concert or participation” with Mark Bunker.

Until such time as the Church of Scientology obtains an order from the court specifically finding that Alex Hageli is subject to the injunction, Clearwater police officers shall not in any way interfere with Mr. Hageli’s right to be present on publicly-owned sidewalks near Church of Scientology property. The Communications Center and Clearwater police officers will ignore any requests by representatives of the church to have Clearwater police officers take a report on Mr. Hageli solely because Mr. Hageli is present on or protesting on publicly-owned sidewalks near Church of Scientology property moreover, Clearwater police officers will not respond to reports of any other persons who are exercising their First Amendment rights on publicly-owned sidewalks near Church of Scientology property unless there is an allegation that a crime is being committed or the person is specifically named in the injunction.

 
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JONNY JACOBSEN CHECKS IN FROM PARIS

We asked our man in Paris for a quick dispatch on what he’s been through, and we just received these words…

Friday night was one of the few nights I actually went out in recent times — I went for a meal with the family and friends in the 5th arrondissement (on the other side of the river from the attacks).

Walking to the metro a little after 10:00pm, I wondered why so many police officers were standing around outside the local station. Checking my smartphone, a colleague on Twitter had a live video feed of himself walking through the streets of Paris. That struck me as odd, but I still didn’t twig.

It was only when I got back to the house and checked my emails that I realized what had happened. I found one from Tony asking if I was on the story, so I checked a news site. By that time, perhaps an hour into the crisis, we were already talking about multiple attacks and more than 20 killed. I was at work within 30 minutes.

This is a shocking event and a lot of people are grieving today. But we are already seeing signs of the spirit of Charlie: Spontaneous acts of kindness and solidarity.

Public transport was shut down as a security measure, which of course left a lot of people stranded. So somebody tweeted that if there was anybody in his neighborhood who could not get home, they should contact him and he would put them up. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but somehow that went viral and I’m pretty sure a lot of people found shelter due to the kindness of strangers.

I was grateful too, for the Facebook feature that allowed me to hit a green button to let folk know I was safe. Thank you all for your messages of concern and support: I’m sorry I didn’t have time to reply to you all, but as you can understand it was a busy night.

As terrible as these attacks are, I can’t help thinking that we have had it relatively easy compared to some parts of the world. It seems like every week, nearly, I’m reading about the latest suicide blast in Maiduguri, in the northeast of Nigeria; or in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Somalia. And even that is nothing compared to the carnage in Syria.

And only a day before the Paris attacks, a dear colleague was tweeting from Beirut, after the latest attack there.

So I’m trying to get this in perspective: this is awful, but a lot of other folk have it a lot worse. That is why record numbers of civilians are risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean and get to Europe. That’s why the bodies of children are being washed up on to the shore of the Greek islands.

I know this isn’t over and the security measures here are exceptional. But so far, it seems to be bringing out be the best in many people, even if it’s bound to bring out the worst in others.

Best, Jonny

 
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BOOK NOTES
3D-Unbreakable

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 book tour is concluded for now. (But you can re-experience it through this nifty interactive map!) We’ll let you know about future appearances. Previous events: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25), Adelaide (10/28), Perth (10/30)

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on November 14, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com 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

 

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