Just because I like the no nonsense FACTS I am reprinting this article.
This sort of coverage is a hallmark of the new South African blog. If you are not checking it out regularly, you are missing some good stuff.
South Africa is predictably going to be the first area that will be lost to corporate Scientology. It is like a ship that has left the dock and the “missionaires” are trying to get it tied back down by throwing mud, hoping it will stick to the side and weigh it down so much it will sink. Lots luck with that. I guess the Mission briefing sort of missed the real scene….
Don’t worry, Gaetane and Co, it’s not going to get better. Your heavy-handed efforts are reminiscent of soviet era “management” methods and are about as likely to succeed.
But in the meantime, South Africa has become the international poster child for the utter failure of Miscavige’s “Ideal Org” strategy and his repeated lies about “straight up and vertical expansion.”
This IS reality. Not the bs that is spouted at events or on the church website or in their spokespuppet statements to the media.
Joburg’s Life Improvement Centre: A barren wasteland
If there is one thing the Ideal Org evolution has proved without a shadow of a doubt it is that spending other people’s money is easy. It is even easier when you are not required to account to those “other people”. The other lesson from this evolution, unfortunately, is the utter, tragic waste.
The Life Improvement Centre in Braamfontein opened with the usual pomp and fanfare in March 2010. According to media statements at the time R6 million was spent on renovations after R3 million was spent buying the building.
The hype leading up to and including the opening was impressive. The building sits across the road from the massive WITS University with thousands of students living in and around the area.
Within weeks of the opening Scientologists were hearing about hundreds of people a week moving through the place and starting on course. Some of those moved on to become staff at the org.
Within months it ran into trouble and it could not sustain itself.
Fast forward 3 years and we see a scene that is all but dead. After hearing rumours that the building is only open to the public two afternoons a week someone went out there to personally investigate. It was 11am on a Monday morning. The building was closed. There were weeds sprouting around the circumference and it is in the early stages of a graffiti epidemic both signs of a building being abandoned.
Some locals who work near the building were asked about the activity in the building and when they are open. This yielded the following answers:
“They open after 1pm or sometimes 3″
“There are no proper hours”
“They are sometimes just open for an hour”
Another solid investment of someone else’s R9 million. In all the regular emails that go out about Ideal Orgs and why Scientologists should continue flowing money toward it, this building is not mentioned anymore. It is the white elephant in the room.
Scott Campbell says
Miscavige has so many epic fails… I hate to say it but this almost feels like “par for the course” so far.
This Church of Scientology “Experience Model” shall soon become the norm worldwide. When that happens, the collapse of the church shall accelerate exponentially.
I’m predicting 2 to 3 years to utter failure.
Madora Pennington says
DM fucked with the wrong continent. I love these South Africans.
Thank you for the report and Mike, for posting it here.
This sure is a display of contempt for the public, burning money so to speak. What a waste of life and energy.
I have noticed that I’m not getting the daily beg letters in the mail for weeks now, from the Valley Org. I’m thinking that Int. Mgmt (DM only) has moved on to putting all the focus on GAT II and trying to get public back into the orgs. Perhaps we were taken off the mailing list, which is fine with me. One less particle to throw into the recyling bin.
I wonder how all those public Valley Org fundraisers feel now. Do they see that all the energy and effort they flowed to that big, white elephant in North Hollywood is actually based on the whim of another?
This big white elephant covered in graffiti is what one would expect from this whole Ideal Fiasco.
Yea so a lot of people are down on policy here and who can blame ’em.
My view is that Scientology admin works when its applied to Scientology Orgs. Its not written to create the next corporate wonder like McDonalds (oh please!) or IBM (thank gawd!) or Microsoft (let’s be thankful for small mercies) and Apple well Apple didn’t get big until they got rid of the suits who took over and pleaded for Jobs to come back.
Apple like Harley Davidson isn’t really corporate in the sense of being a mindless corporation run by a bunch of MBAs(which to me stands for Mindless Bureaucratic Assholes) in Brook Brothers suits.
They are run by real people who actually believe in the product they are selling.
At one time the Church of Scientology used to be this way.
Church of Scientology is it is allegedly (I say “allegedly” because I suspect some “unseen hand” who is really calling the shots because I don’t think Miscavige is smart enough to fuck up the subject this badly) run by an untrained No Gain Case moron who hasn’t been in session himself in over two decades.
Much of the staff have never really been in session unless its been for sec checks which I don’t really call auditing or have done a full hat, never mind full product and Post Purpose Clearing.
Then you got the public or what’s left of them mostly living on hope believing in this “Field of Dreams” bull shit that if you build an Org people will come and at some point they be making the same gains they were making over two decades ago before the coup took over and might be able some day to move on to the OT levels above VIII.
I tend to agree with that as well as your assessment of the Admin Tech. It’s being very covertly destroyed hiding all apparancies of it, such as asinine programs such as “Ideal Orgs”. How can anyone not know it throws people off the bridge while scamming a fortune in the same feel swoop. An unknown background player exists somewhere.
I figure a hidden factor must exist simply due to the fact that this constant fixation on Miscavige as the *sole* source hasn’t really produced any salutary results as far as I personally can see.
In other words it hasn’t produced any as-isness of the situation.
From my point of view it has actually gotten worse.
Again applying what little I know about Scientology tech.
(I mean I’ve merely done the Briefing Course and not GAK 😉 )
That the whole scene like a problem or a “safe solution” continues because the actual prior confusion and what preceded it is never really inspected.
Or to put it in “wog” (again just kidding folks) terms no postmortem was actually ever done on the Guardian’s failure to guard and protect Scientology and why the Controller’s Office spun totally out of control.
All we are left with is the *in* Justice Department’s stipulation of “evidence” which was basically the Government’s effort to build a railroad.
I mean inquiring minds what to know why the two actual perps who actually did the deed walked away with basically a slap on the wrist while the so called “Conspirators” basically had the book thrown at them.
From what I understand about the scene was that the so called “Conspirators” lulled into believing that if they pled Nolo contendere that they would be victorious in appealing their sentences.
Advice which worked in favor of the Government particularly the CIA who would have had their Top Secret Remote Viewing Program brought up in a possible trial that would have included *all* files obtained by the Church and seized in the raid through their agent in place Pat Price who was reporting to the USGO about his part in this program.
So many dirty deeds done dirt cheap here.
Anyhoo thanks for getting back to me Foremost.
Off topic here…but I wanted to say, Mike, I just read the document written by you and submitted for Monique’s case.(over on Tony O site today) Wow! That is very revealing and telling in so many ways, and I just wanted to thank you for that.
Mike Rinder says
Thanks — yes, if you want a real education, go to Tony Ortega’s site and read the declarations that were filed today.
I just did that. And what an education it is. And now all that is a matter of public record, available on line to reporters, scholars, writers…. It is like a CAT Scan of the inner workings. The secret is out. Another huge high caliber foot bullet by Peerless Leader. This was a very powerful day in the decline of his rule.
Still on your side says
This center is still being boasted about at Scientology.org, on the David Miscavige, “at the helm of expansion” site: http://www.scientology.org/david-miscavige/churchopenings/johannesburg-test-centre.html. How do you spell “embarrassing”?
Sheldon Goldberg says
Several million was raised from the Tampa field for a Life Improvement Center (testing center) in St Pete. Big opening with John Travolta. “History being made!!!!!”
A couple years later I was selling books on a Saturday afternoon with some others at this very disgusting flea market, the Wagon Wheel.
The 2 staff from St Pete show up. I had to ask – “What are you guys doing here?”
“The testing center was so dead, we closed it and came up here to sell books.”
The good news, I think, is that the massive con game that is the Ideal Org program has become a topic of broad public awareness, as evidenced by the article linked by Sinar, and similar coverage in the local Philly media. There’s also been coverage in the New Zealand media of the strange new Ideal Org venture there, which is apparently being funded directly from Int coffers.
A noteworthy thing about these articles is that they seem to have been written by regular staff reporters without any special knowledge or experience with Scientology. And unlike most coverage we’ve seen, they DON’T rely on testimony from “bitter defrocked apostates” (a.k.a. former Scientologists. The reporters managed to put their stories together using only information already out there in the public record, interviews with citizens and city officials, and a couple of lame boilerplate statements from official RCS spokespeople. (The guy in New Zealand sounds much more human than Karin Pouw.)
This is good, classic reporting, and it has the effect of making RCS look totally ridiculous, at best, or shady and deceptive at worst — but in a calm, fact-based, journalistic way. Readers are left to draw their own conclusions. And other reporters in other cities can now find these stories when they start their own digging into the subject. I wonder if Miscavige has any idea how devastating this sort of coverage can be.
I just sincerely hope that the people who have been ripped off by this scam are able to get some of their hard earned money back. Fraud is fraud.
Jens TINGLEFF says
Seconded. The fund raising methods would not withstand the light of day, never mind criminal justice. Organised fraud is what the criminal organisation known as the “church” of $cientology got convicted for in France, I wager the fundraising for this is far beyond what was heard of tin France…
Hallie Jane says
Right! The big donators really should sue for their buildings and go independent.
Ex Staff says
But but … with such a beautiful building in place, I thought Tom Cruise would be driving masses of public in there! I’m having a cognitive dissonance headache now…
This is chilling. Thank you for the straight report.
This is from the creators of the Admin Tech. They can’t even run a business with slave labor that somebody else paid for. I am in agreement with you, Mike. The Admin tech is pretty worthless when you compare it with something like McDonalds. Or Apple. Or Amazon. Or whatever. Co$ is stuck in the 50s and 60s. Everything has changed since then… also the path to enlightenment. Just a whiff of Bruce Lipton, PhD and a few other real investigators and it opens up an enthralling world that is far more fun to investigate than canned Co$.
Jose Chung says
Those in up lines management of this will held accountable.
Whether punished by David Miscavige or the Physical Universe (Karma)
Either one would be terrible I imagine.
Lucifer’s special place in Hell is getting standing room only.
Dan 351 says
Didn’t LRH say something about South Africa being the first clear country?
If so, the first big step would be getting in ethics by disconnecting from corporate Scientology.
Then real tech could start to go in.
I love their blog and read it everyday.
Black Panther says
Thanks for your support of our blog, Dan351 🙂
I think the quote you may be referring to is: “From Southern Africa will spring the next great civilization on this planet, and it will succeed because Scientology and all its technology is on its side”. —L. Ron Hubbard
I cannot tell how many times this quote is trotted out in justification of why the South African public should be bled dry of all their money for Ideal Orgs. It’s become an engramic command.
BP, You have a great blog, and I agree with the quote – you can do it (with your own version of Scientology).
As Tony said, now is the time to do the final practical step of your SP / PTS course. Deal with the bastards.
We have your backs.
Black Panther says
Thanks 1984 – good to know we have good folk behind us 🙂
Yes spending other people’s money is very easy, especially when you don’t have to answer to the people whose money you are spending, and can in fact ostracize any of the money people who do not like how their money is spent. In fact not only is spending other people’s money easy, so is wasting other people’s money. Fact is everyone in the Church involved in the Ideal Org campaigns, from fund raisers to managers and planners right on up to David Miscavige are egregiously irresponsible with parishioners donations for Ideal orgs. There are so many horror stories or money wasted, massive amounts of money wasted, in paying inordinately high prices, unplanned expenditures of magnitude, buying the wrong building then selling for a loss, planning being done and re-done and re-done, paying taxes or other expenses while buildings sit idle for years and years…it is one big clusterfuck of criminal irresponsibility.
Joburg is not the only one. Click the link below, it was posted by Sinar Parman in FB and gives details of Philadelphia ‘Idle Org” …
Chee Chalker says
Almost identical to the building in Chicago……vacant, never opened……the city will get to it eventually
Martin Padfield says
It is indeed an elephant in the room – although possibly more like Elmer, the patchwork elephant, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_the_Patchwork_Elephant who is very very obvious, and who my two-year old was learning about this morning. However the analogy ends there, as Elmer has a “cheerful and optimistic personality” – which clearly any Idle Org doesn’t. Or Life Improvement Centre. Or anything crafted from His hand.
I sincerely hope the fine people of the UK and elsewhere read this, confront it for what it is, and stop supporting this crap. Now. Behind the Braamfontein story, as every other one of the Idle Org stories and the fundraising, there are a plethora of personal tragedies. Good people financially ruined; help flows crushed and stomped on; years and decades of lives wasted.
Here in the UK Birmingham’s Idle Org remains unoccupied and needing renovation. Plymouth’s proposed Idle Org building was bought years ago and needs millions in renovations. And so on. It is a bottomless pit. There will NEVER be enough money – and even if one mega-donor popped up with the multi-millions needed – what then? If London is the template then you may as well forget it and go home. My mole tells me there are NO Academy Levels students on line. NONE. ZERO. Naff all Clears being made, no new public coming in. It’s all but dead and getting worse.
Wow, what an epic fail. Now it looks like and ‘Ideal’ crack-house.
Black Panther says
Thanks for publishing this, Mike. Things in South Africa are pretty tense right now with mud flying far and wide. Families are being ripped apart and friends have turned into A-class snitches as they frantically fall over themselves to hand in vicious reports so that they can cover their own backsides. The facebook unfriending frenzy is in full swing.
I donated a huge chunk of change to this building – after we thought it was all wrapped up, we were told they had under-budgeted and needed more money – which we duly gave. Imagine my disgust when I found out that the extra money was actually siphoned off for the Durban building (which they subsequently demolished and turned into the most expensive parking lot in the country).
Mike Rinder says
BP — yes, it is really sad to hear the specifics of people who have turned over their hard earned cash only to discover the contempt with which their money was used.
Believe me, good will prevail in the end.
Upheavals like what is going on in South Africa now don’t end up with the oppressors seeking to enforce their rules of how people are to live their lives being victorious. If ANY country is aware of that, it is South Africa.
Freedom will ALWAYS win in the end.
Black Panther says
Thanks Mike 🙂
Mike, what is your opinion? When is the end coming?
Knowing GAT II, I first thought it has to be within a year. But then I was wondering why the reactions are limited. Still my ex-wife has zero doubt.
In case DM is wrong, then she is wrong. Therefore DM must be right, otherwise she would have to confront the disaster she caused to our children, financial situation and home.
In fact I gave up during the last few days. I see that others cannot see. Maybe 5 years are more realistic than just one. But 5 years won’t help my children a lot, their childhood is now!
Mike Rinder says
I think 5 is more realistic than 1….
Jane Doe says
Mike instead of saying, “their day will come,” a more karmaic way to put it is, “their motivator will come…
Just Me says
A thousand flowers are blooming. Just not the ones Miscavige planted. 🙂