I received this email recently, and the person was happy to have me publish it.
This adds to the existing mountain of evidence of scientology worship of money and that they will do literally anything to get it.
Congratulations—the Fair Game podcast is great, as is your blog.
On Sunday, Oct. 25, I received a stunned call from a pal who has a mammoth amount of Church of Scientology card debt, something like 17 different credit cards, plus refinancing of his vehicle, along with a second mortgage on his home. His mother co-signed for one or both these loans. This gentleman is a solo worker, in his 60s, and is humbly self-employed. He is a trustworthy, hardworking, and a talented good soul. He is not someone who can be mitigating 16-19 different borrowing relationships and amounts (though, initially, he did earnestly try).
He recounted a conversation he just had with a staff member in HCO. This staff member was getting in touch to insist and implore the parishioner—with whom he had not spoken for some months—to be sure to pay back all of his credit cards in full, expressing to him that “your eternity depends on it.” My friend then endeavored to explain his prior deep analytics, number crunching, along with attorney consultations, that led him to where he is at now. While he had strongly considered bankruptcy, instead he had months ago given power of attorney to an OT Scientologist-led firm in Clearwater to represent his situation to all his credit cards. This has been a tremendous relief for my friend. He has been freed up to focus on his small business. As he explained to the org ethics officer, he recently has a little bit of money in his savings account; he no longer has a severe consideration “Can I afford this?” when he visits the grocery store or goes to put fuel in his vehicle. The parishioner more or less attempted to express “It is not broke, so I do not need to fix this.” All the org staff member could offer was “You need to do the ethical thing,” plus more on “Your eternity is at stake here.”
Well, Mike… what do we imagine this HCO unexpected call to a parishioner deeply in debt suggests? The Church of Scientology is having its birds come home to roost. There are enough parishioners struggling to pay their C of S card charges and related loans that the church is in the crosshairs. Instead of owning the source of the problem (the over-the-top reg cycles), orgs are being directed to address a different (and wrong) target: the beleaguered parishioner.
 Given the pandemic and the local org being shut down for approximately six months this year, plus this gentleman has had limited or no reach to go back in because he is flat-broke and drowning in C of S debt.
 Since he could in no way afford the six-figure debt he was in from donating to the local org for HGC auditing, pushed and pushed on him, with staff helping him to apply for more and more credit cards and loans.
 Basic regular life got somewhat restored in other words, since he entered this arrangement.
Rip Van Winkle says
” instead he had months ago given power of attorney to an OT Scientologist-led firm in Clearwater to represent his situation to all his credit cards. This has been a tremendous relief for my friend”
The Orgs pressure the public to rack of CC debt, and other field Scios can make a lot of money off this by running a debt consolidation company.
There used to be several public Scios running these small pop up companies. I knew some people who did this, and part of the deal was that the person would sign over the authority for the company to negotiate with the CC company on his behalf. The goal was to get the CC debt knocked down. The company got a percentage of the savings.
They made a killing. Paid for tons of Flag service. As far as I know, that one company is still up and going, run by the same people.
Such a racket.
Trump Won says
Wow. This is amazing. I think they are trying to clean up the image due to all of the Scientologists that file bankruptcy and lost their homes to foreclosure.
I put all of my Scientology services on credit cards and left to do my Bridge at Flag. I was gone for a long time. I did all the Grades and then did the infamous L’s, where I discovered I had blown up planets before in other lifetimes.
When I got home, I was convinced I had those super powers that had been so perfectly implanted into my subconscious mind via the Scientology advertising over the years.
I went on a spending spree like there was money literally growing on trees.
Ultimately, I lost everything; my business, my house to foreclosure, my vehicle was repossessed and I went broke and filed BK.
I was very BI’s about the entire situation and was told I needed a “review” and possible “repair”.
So back to Flag I went. I was shown references of “Pirates and Bums” by LRH via the MAA. Whew – thank Xenu I had a LRH reference to help me feel better and to justify the actions.
Now that I know what Scientology really is, I feel bad that I gave all of that borrowed money to Scientology and never paid it back. That was irresponsible and out ethics for sure. I am guilty of that. As long as I stayed near Scientology, my life got worse. So we took off.
I have been under the radar far away from any Scientology church. I am keeping my family away from Scientology. My hope is Scientology will just go away quietly before they get my kids into the Sea Org. We have to pretend we are faithful followers or we will lose my wife’s family and some friends. Not to mention our business will be effected because we hire Scientologists and we don’t know how yet to change all of that without being suspected we are disaffected.
Holy Cow, this is some story you’ve got there, TW. WELL DONE for being under the radar and on your way out quietly despite all your “dynamics” being woven into Scientology. I hear you on all you’ve lost financially. I hear you on the betrayal of your trust. All I can say about these losses is that I am sorry for these losses. But Jesus you deserve a standing O for waking up and being honest with yourself and doing the right thing, the only thing, to do when you’re connected to a toxic and extremely suppressive organization, which is to disconnect from it. The fact that you woke up, the fact that, after waking up, you decided to leave, the fact that you have this planned out – this is HUGE. (Or should I say “YUGE”?)
Seriously, and I say this with total sincerity – you are MILES apart confront wise and responsibility wise from many of the Still Ins who cannot face acknowledging that they’ve been lied to and scammed. It can be very hard to admit that one has been fooled. ( Though I’ve always found it easy because I’ve had so much practice being fooled 🙂 But many find it hard or impossible
I’d also like to voice the opinion that anyone with the courage and confront that you’ve demonstrated has the courage and confront to build back financially too. Thank you for sharing your honest story so honestly. Hats off to you, no kidding. I’m rooting for you and your family. Rooting for you to get out of the cult and for you and your wife and kids to stay together and to build back your finances and have the rest of your years be about TRULY “flourishing and prospering” if you’ll forgive the Scientologese. I’m sure everyone else on the blog here feels the same.
Trump Won says
Aqua. Wow. Thank you for the heartwarming support. You made our year.
Takes a lot of guts to confront all of that, accept your part in it and recognize the “source” (lowercase “s” on purpose!) and intentionally try to move your family and life away from it all. It is my hope that the same character that prompted this is something you’ve instilled within your children such that they will be immune to the pressures to join the SO. Having met and spoken to many exes who DID end up signing that billion years contract, oftentimes it was due to the pressure from parents to go – so I would just make it as clear as possible to your kids that you do NOT accept or want that. I know there’s a complex situation, in that you don’t want to alienate your kids and they have grown up in a culture that pushes them to “snitch” on parents via a KR, so perhaps you ensure they are aware of all the potential life has for them… college, travel and finding themselves – all of which would be snatched away if they joined. I do think that so many Scientologist kids feel that pressure, esp from parents, to do all they can and that time of life is one filled with passion and fire for changing the world.
So if/when you see that in them, show them other ways they genuinely CAN change the world! My adult sons got into mission/outreach trips through organizations like Food for the Hungry and spent a few summers in the Dominican Republic helping build playgrounds and schools. I initially went on and led some of these trips, then it became their own passion and they continued on their own. That’s just one example. I have a neighbor who volunteers her time 1/wk at a local soup kitchen… and there are so many ways out there to engage that sense of doing something tangible to make a difference where, unlike the just-for-PR volunteer ministers, where they can tangibly be part of something bigger. I’ve lost a “bonus son” to scientology. He was about 19-20 when he got fully sucked in and disconnected from me. A HUGE part of that was the love-bombing to make him feel like an adult who knows better than anyone in his family, etc. and hitting that social justice button by involving him in the VM’s.
I agree with Aqua that the courage and perseverance that brought you to this place of realization is the same drive that WILL get you back on your feet completely. To live within your means now and not be manipulated into borrowing into oblivion just to give it all to a “church” that clearly cares nothing for your well-being! Do also remember that there’s the Aftermath Foundation, even just for help getting connected with others who’ve gone through similar and who can support you on your journey of recovering your life and your finances! I wish you well and hope you stick around here!
Trump Won says
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Jennyfurr. Very thoughtful and warm post. Something I never saw in Scientology, that is for sure.
Mike Rinder says
Please change your name. You are just going to elicit political comments in response. It’s just provocative with absolutely nothing relevant to this blog.
Please fix the other comments you have put up as I won’t be posting them.
Some days I weep because Mike insists this blog must remain non-political. Today would be such a great day to post political poetry.
But I promised Mike never again to post anything political and so I will just go off and cry some more.
Jere Lull says
It’s a real shame that they put you through that, and that you have had to go into hiding or risk being made wrong to not put your finances and family back in that irrational condition just so THEY could make their stats off of your debts.
It’s good that you seem to be halfway out, if not more so. Keep sliding out so your life can (eventually) be restored to some bit of sanity.
I’m lucky in that they didn’t have the credit card scam so perfected in the ’70s or I’d probably STILL be cleaning up the mess after 40 years OUT.
I’m thinking at this second that their fast and loose credit card frauds MIGHT be the illegalities that open chinks in Dwarfenführer’s® armor against the IRS re-evaluating that “church” tax exemption, and bringing the tiny tyke’s tiny “empire” down.
Nancy Vasta says
What a relief to discover that I would never be recruited into this cult because I do not have any money.I have no credit cards and whatever paltry savings my husband and I had all went to doctors,surgeons and the hospital I stayed in for a month when I had that burst brain aneurysm.Not to mention several other surgeries I underwent years later for other problems.I suppose even Scientology cannot squeeze blood from a stone,try as they might.And I am sure that they do.
Hope that you are doing much better health-wise now! That’s some serious stuff to come back from – good on you!!!
Jere Lull says
Nancy, none of that would stop them from creating credit card debt, loans secured by any valuables you have, then running your debts sky high.
What actually protects is your dedication to stay AWAY from the vultures. “Forewarned is forearmed.” and all that.
This is interesting. A Class V org staff member is strongly urging a public to pay off all of his credit card debt in full because his “eternity” depends upon it.
Very different from what I was told back in the day. In my early Scientology years I was assured by the Registrar of my org that money slated to pay my income taxes would be much better spent on auditing and training because my eternity depended upon my Scientology auditing and training. At that time, so many years ago, I was shocked that a staff member would suggest I not pay my taxes.
Over the years I was reg’ged to buy a number of services and materials with that line.
I was reg’ged to donate to the IAS, Ideal M’Orgs and Library Campaigns with a similar line, i.e, I would be “putting the future there” for myself, and mankind.
At no time, over these years, these many years, did a Registrar or ANY staff or Sea Org member EVER express the SLIGHTEST concern about my being in credit card debt.
Occasionally, I would voice my concern about it being too high and having to pay high interest rates. I always paid my credit card bills. I cared a lot about my credit. They didn’t, except if/when they’d want me to try to apply for higher lines. But other than when they wanted me to increase the lines, not one of them ever expressed a flicker of interest in my credit card debt.
On the contrary, insofar as they were concerned, my “eternity” hinged on my IGNORING this issue and “playing big”. Being a “Big Being”. Practicing “Spirit of Play” …”for real and for blood.” Oh, yes. WELL do I recall the buzzwords and catch phrases used on me to make me charge up those cards! High interest credit card debt? How would I pay this off. Who cares? Well, I did. But not them, certainly. “Money is trash to a thetan”.
And now, the line is that this public is getting from a staff person is that he MUST pay off ALL his cards IN FULL…or…his ETERNITY is at risk.
I’m still processing this. Something is not adding up. Why does that staff member, that org, care so much about this man’s credit card debt? I don’t get it. I’m sure they don’t care at all about his financial woes.
Aquamarine, Your description of the non-stop reg and fundraising demands is a “WOW” because it is just so common. My Gracious.
As to HCO contacting the public person, I put a comment further in this thread. This parishioner was understood by HCO to have entered into a debt consolidation agreement. This meant, likely, the parishioner with his mountain of C of S debt had a firm working on his behalf to REDUCE the overall amount he would pay to all his cards.
The dots we are connecting here is that, if this is the case, then the credit card issuer is going to look at, say, the REMAINING 40% of the debt (the parishioner will NOT be paying), go back to the org and say, “You owe us the rest of this.”
The result sought remains the same: org triumphs and parishioner condition be damned.
Peridot, THANK you – for the kind acknowledgement and for connecting the dots for me! I should have picked up immediately on the fact that a Scientologist OT was involved in this public’s credit card debt consolidations. I was glossing over that very key piece of information! Of course, now it all makes perfect sense. That OT, that org, and withal Scientology, is VERY much involved in that public keeping of his agreements with the credit card companies! “Elementary, my dear Watson” – with you Sherlock and me Watson by the way 🙂 Thanks again 🙂
To Aquamarine: Love the “Elementary, my dear Watson”!
Let’s face it, the covert-ness of some staff tactics can make what they present (at times) incredibly tough to discern. What Mike is providing here is so helpful. We are helping each other to unpack all this weirdness.
It seems each one of us is well served by cultivating some Sherlock Holmes style capabilities, keen ability to observe and discern. Interestingly, I consider I gained a good deal of this from completing the Elementary Data Series Evaluator course.
Well, like Leah says, “Scientology trained me well.” When she states this during one of the “Aftermath” programs, she means TO FIND OUT WHAT’S GOING ON and FIGHT BACK.
LOL! I’m a huge Sherlock fan. Reading my way thru all of them. Love all really good detective fiction.
And my goodness, the Elementary Data Series Evaluator Course – be still my heart. I did that course too. I LOVED that course! And I did very well in it. I fought to do it. I really wanted to do that course and my org staff wanted me to do something else but I persisted and they delivered it to me.
And I was helped immensely by it. in a few keys ways. Last but not least, (and wholly unintentionally on my part because at the time I had NO intentions of EVER leaving Scientology) – last but not least, that course gave me the tools to observe and afforded me the ability to perceive that I was supporting and had long been supporting what was a toxic organization. Completing that course enabled me to leave also! So… Thank you LRH. And David Miscavige, THANK YOU, SIR 🙂
The Squirrel Busters….similar perhaps to Sherlock Holmes “Hell Hound”….you know the Baskerville one! Hot on the trail of anyone who speaks ill of COS…..
Yep, they were a pack of unholy hounds, alright, those Squirrel Busters. And, yes, for sure, Arthur Conan Doyle could have written a hell of a terrific Sherlock drawing on true data from this cult! My God, what a wealth of material, you know? Stuff that Hollywood writers are paid large sums to INVENT. Except as re the cult, its all true.
My friend Aquamarine (you inspired my name, Peridot, which is a gemstone associated with compassion) – We have this in common, lobbying hard to get onto the Data Series course, doing the course and loving it. Magnifique! Yes, it helped me greatly also to SPOT what is going on. Beautiful.
Happy to have inspired you, my friend Peridot 🙂 One of my fave precious stones btw – that pale green color. Would be nice to meet you one day 🙂
Jere Lull says
Maybe sufficient numbers of ex-scns’ sky-high credit balances to scn front groups will be noticed so that the practice will have to stop? I hope so, or something similar so the credit fraud STOPS! And possibly have the banks (!) turn on scn’s fraudulent practices in properly filed (narrow scope) suits.
I believe I heard that at one point, Reges had to switch the banks who they dealt with, because more and more of their credit applications were (properly) being turned down. I’d also suspect that the banks were charging a higher percentage to scn entities because so MANY of those credit cards were issued to deadbeats who never intended to pay the cards off.
God, I hope so, jere. I personally know someone who was credit card scammed by the cult. Big time. This person is in a very serious financial situation now with credit utterly wrecked and no way of paying back what was charged. Long story I can’t share here. But I hope what you suggest comes to pass.
Trump Won says
I think the Class 5 Org would have people working there that are pretty ethical because they don’t know a lot about Scientology and how ruthless the regging will get so every now and then you may run into an ethical person at the lower levels of Scientology. Give them time, Scientology corrupts everyone in the name of obtaining a stat.
Agreed on both points. Yes, unfortunately, as you say, just give them time. Its sad – tragic, even – because they are good people. Good, sincere, altruistic people. And then…something happens. At some point, they turn a corner. And after that its all about the Birthday Game. They live and breathe for the Birthday Game and to hell with everything else – literally.
Jere Lull says
TW, To them, “Ethical” means precisely:”GET THAT MONEY IN NOW!” Nothing trumps money, lots of MONEY.
Personally, I still think that Demento is slowly but surely stashing cash (and possibly deeds for a lot of the real estate) in offshore banks partly in preparation to flee if the Masterson case looks like dragging him into court and mainly because he knows the now inevitable end of $camology is looming ever closer.
On the matter of them pressuring people to pay their credit cards back, the banks and credit card companies are starting to lean heavily on $camology. And anything that threatens the loss of money is scaring the shit out of them because someone will be on the receiving end of a drunken, raging, screaming pompadour, with stunted minikin attached, is more frightening than banks.
Bruce Ploetz says
I have a theory about this, could easily be wrong. Wasn’t there a poor old guy that got duped out of his life savings and crushed into massive debt by some teenage flirty fishers last year? The story about going to the ice cream shop with them?
I thought I read that a lawsuit resulted, and the loan-shark registrars got in trouble.
No time to look it all up right now, but if there are legal actions coming down on these predators it is easy to imagine that they are scrambling to cover their asses in similar situations.
This is elder abuse plain and simple. They don’t think they can really help some old degraded being before he passes on, they just want the hard folding cash before Thursday at 2. Sick.
Yes Bruce – you’re remembering spot on. It was one of a series of cases Graham Berry was representing that didn’t even require filing a lawsuit. The behavior (talk about acting as a fiduciary without appropriate disclosure!…) was so egregious, especially in relation to the age and financial situation of the parishioner that it seemed to be a slam dunk case of elder abuse. Evidently the “church” agreed, as they settled to make it go away quite quickly! There were other cases in the same timeframe that reached out to Tony and/or Mike to tell the story, where Graham Berry was getting co$ to settle in record time to make these go away. Shoot, now you’ve got me curious and wanting to go research how many cases and when! I recall a gentleman who was saving money for a property in Hawaii, also on a fixed income. Then another was an elderly lady who was pressured and credit lines opened on her behalf – just can’t recall if that one was via phone or in-person. But either way, WOW that definitely sounds like someone has been warned of potential liabilities due to their exploitative practices!
Due to the press and awareness created by these stories being made public, it doesn’t surprise me that (esp going into the current economical season we are due to the pandemic) credit card companies may be suddenly coming down hard and warning of investigations and potential liability for those accounts that were squeezed to this degree! Still feels surprising to read that it is FINALLY happening!
Jere Lull says
Bruce, you’re right:”… cash before Thursday at 2. Sick.
SICK, SICKER, SICKEST. All SOP in that multi-national criminal enterprise masquerading as a church. All for the benefit of one misguided little troll of a Napoleon Complex.
Could it be that HCO insists he pay the credit cards back so any room on the card can be maxed out again? This is what used to happen in the org ALL the time. We used to have to run away after course so the regges would not get that balance back up to the max again. When you pay the monthly amounts, the banks are more likely to increase the limits on your cards as well. A win win for the org.
Declaring bankruptcy was also promoted at one time. However that route resulted in the public no longer being able to borrow any money for a few years.
Dupe-Lie-Cated: You present another excellent theory. Something (else) underlying this phone call, a reg or fundraising target. The local org attempting to insert itself BACK into this gentleman’s finances, something they had obviously done previously (and repeatedly), how he ended up engulfed in debt.
Oh absolutely! When someone can be regged this seriously into debt, they become a target as an easy reg cycle! Regges keep track of these prospects and it also attracks more regges (IAS, WTH, CCHR, ideal org…) if they hear about it.
The IAS has a hit list of “A” quality prospects that are hit hard with the highest amounts. If they don’t answer their phones, they will get a visit come hell or high water. The “C” level prospects get regged last. I kid you not, I’ve seen this list.
It can become continuous extortion because he had HCO backing up the regging with threats to his immortality which can make saying “No! Enough is enough!” very difficult. He may have had some relief by saying he had to get help from an outside source but in the end regges can be relentless and try again anyway.
We had a very aggressive reg who kept credit card numbers on file and would ask how much was paid down on your credit cards. When public said they didn’t know, she would then proceed to coerce them into “trying” the card(s) anyway. God help you if she caught you lying! Off to ethics for a worse fate than what was available on your card. For example she would start at an amount of 500.00 and if it got declined, would proceed to 400.00 and would continue until something cleared.
God help you if you ever got a consolidation loan and cleared up the cards! This reg would also “help” get these high interest loans with applications in her desk drawer and insist you fill it out so she could take it to the loan institution for you before Thursday at 2PM. Eventually her “help” always ended up with all cards maxed out again plus a high interest loan to boot.
After years of enduring this, it was far easier to have the credit card company take you to court, revoke your credit card and ruin your credit score.
To Duped-Lie-Cated: What a set of behaviors you depict here. I agree on the pressure tactics. The reason they get used and replicated, they have worked on too many of us. It’s a meatgrinder. Gosh, so sad and so wasteful of very good people, signing on because they are genuinely looking for help and to improve—be a better person in this world. You really see the “Stat Push” personality from the individuals in this world who get true, meaningful, and lasting products.
My guess is that most of the 17 different credit cards, the second mortgage, and/or the vehicle refinance were acquired with the help of a Scientology Sea Org or other staff members who had connections with people in credit card companies or banks. (I was offered such “help.” I refused.) If the debtor declares bankruptcy or otherwise doesn’t pay them off, it will affect the ability of other Scientologists to obtain credit through these routes, which will affect Org and IAS income in the future. The credit card companies or banks will figure out that particular agents or employees seem to approve an awfully lot of debt that winds up in default, and the jig will be up.
I have heard stories of HCO going both ways on this. I have heard stories of HCO urging. people to declare bankruptcy so that they can spend their future income on Scientology services and the IAS, and eventually build their credit back up to do the same. Conversely, I have heard of HCO urging people to pay their debts, probably for the reasons articulated in my first paragraph.
George M. White says
Amazing story about this fellow. This term “your eternity is at stake” was often used even in the 1980’s. I remember the incident that Mike Rinder talks about when American Express stopped all payments by Scientologists. I was an American Express member back then and the registrars liked the fact that some members did not have limits on their cards. Unlike lower credit cards, American Express would take $100,000 on certain cards. Dream world for Scientology until it was stopped.
Hmmm….the church is wanting people to PAY back the CC companies. They’ve already got their money from these credit cards so why do they want the parishioners to pay back the CC companies so badly? I’m wondering if the credit card companies are starting to wise up to the COS. Over the past few years I’ve often wondered why these CC companies let the church open and run up huge amounts of debt. It would seem to me to be a huge red flag if someone calls your company and opens an account with the person who’s name it is in answering a question here and there but otherwise not on the phone actually asking for the card. Then when the card is approved almost instantly it is maxed out to the COS. If I tried some crap like that with my business I would never get away with it. The CC company would cut me off for suspicious activity. So why have they put up the COS doing this for years?
With the pandemic going on and many people not being able to work steadily I suspect that the CC companies are getting call after call from COS parishioners trying to get rid of that debt…or just tons of people defaulting these cards and letting their credit go. When you are that far down (17 CC’s AND bank loans…eek) some people just say ‘screw it’ and stop even trying to pay on these loans. So maybe the CC companies are finally starting to hold the COS responsible. Maybe they are turning down any max out purchases to the COS. Maybe they have contacted the COS about their nefarious tactics and want their money back. Of course these CC companies have been complicit in this all along but with the pandemic on I suspect they have been hit hard with defaults and bankruptcies.
Jere Lull says
I sure HOPE the CC companies and banks are wising up to CSI’s misusing them so dreadfully. Without the MONEY from the credit fraud CSI’s having the clams commit, Davey-Boy’s cashflow will dry up, starving the beast and forcing him into another scam, perhaps one which he’ll get caught at AND punished. Not that there’s any punishment really suitable for the tiny twerp. There were a few tortures in the ancient myths that might fit the bill…. THEN there are the implant stations in Hubbard’s mythology. That could be interesting times after his liver crashes and burns on him.
George, Linear13, and Jere Lull: Comprehending everything stated here. I have wondered if financial institutions and credit card issuers could be a logical and substantial part of some “cord ripping [out of the wall]” here.
Better out of the bubble now, I can see how the steady access to apparently “easy money” of credit cards has been fueling this street drug [easy cash] habit!
ammo alamo says
The scariest line I’ve read lately says the poor guy, deeply in credit card debt, instead of filing for bankruptcy has “given power of attorney to an OT Scientologist-led firm in Clearwater to represent his situation to all his credit cards. ”
Given power of attorney to a Scientologist-led company? Expecting that company to act in his best interest, instead of acting in its own best, most profitable, interest? Isn’t that a sure way for the poor guy to get screwed seven ways from Sunday? Does a Scientologist company *ever* act in the manner most people would call ‘ethical’? No, absolutely not, especially if there is money on the table.
I think that the poor guy has just jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
It sounds to me like he handed over POA to a Scientologist-run debt consolidation company. I can’t imagine that situation working out to his advantage. He will probably have to pay higher interest. If they paid off his CC debt and saddled him with a new loan to cover the expense, the Church is no longer under the gun for improperly opening accounts and running up debt in his name. That line of recourse may be closed forever, and may have been the entire reason that he was offered the consolidation of his card debt.
If he put up any collateral with that Scientologist-run outfit he may already be in deep shit. Wow, the guy actually saw a lawyer, then chose to go with a Scientology solution. Wow. Was the lawyer a Scientologist, too? If so, that nails the coffin, in my mind at least.
And, yes, Virginia, it is still always worse than you could possibly imagine.
This is exactly what I thought – turn over POA to a Scientology led company?? What a nightmare in the making.
Jere Lull says
Ammo Alamo picked up on:
““given power of attorney to an OT Scientologist-led firm in Clearwater to represent his situation to all his credit cards. ”
Yup, that’s a scary proposition. I doubt the poor guy will have a positive credit score for many years, and he’ll have no recourse if he doesn’t want to be declared. THAT’s where the bogus “arbitration” would be forced upon him, no matter WHAT irregularities the firm commits. At best, he’ll be able to recover a couple thousand dollars in “arbitration”, not enough to cover legal fees OR all the things he’ll have to pay more for due to a low credit score & awful credit report. He’s royally screwed unless he runs away and comes into a large inheritance which allows him to pay all the debts off (as long as the registrars DON’t uncover its existence early enough.)
That’s an unlikely scenario, of course, but stranger things DO happen.
I’m guessing that the org wants to keep the member out of trouble with their creditors, and get them feeling more comfortable financially, so that they can then be regged for additional courses and donations. Plus going bust due to Scientology might cause them to realize the source of their problems and become disaffected; they’d still probably rather have members on the roles and at least doing cheap extension courses even if they can’t afford expensive courses and donations.
Not surprisingly, the pandemic is apparently going to push some financially unstable members and even orgs over the edge. Many of the orgs have probably been financially insolvent for years, and starting to run short on staff — in Plymouth, UK, they reportedly lost an old-timer who worked as receptionist and no longer keep evening hours, in yet another step towards orgs becoming more like missions.
Jere Lull says
I doubt ANY orgs have been solvent for YEARS, if ever. Flag SHOULD have been, but the strange finance policies kept Flag artificially “insolvent” and REALLY shortchanging staff even as they pulled in millions of dollars a week. Dwarfenführer’s insane policy changes drives new public away and forces the clapping clams to DONATE to an unworthy cause rather than purchase training and auditing which support the org/franchise instead of lining the twerp’s pocket.
The twerp has no future obligations to deliver, the orgs do, and their ability to deliver has been crippled by GAT/GAK/garbage cross-ordering.
This is a very puzzling turn of events. I would take a guess – and please understand it is just a guess – but here it is. Since the scam has only one real interest (which is getting as much money as they can), the only reason they are trying to convince (con) your friend into paying off the credit card debt is because if he fails to do that, the scam is somehow in danger of losing money.
Maybe someone has sued them for tricking them into borrowing money from their credit cards and the scam lost the lawsuit so they had to pay the money back to the person who borrowed it. If that is true, then I would expect the scam would be calling everyone who they tricked into borrowing using their credit cards who still have a significant debt and telling people to pay back that debt.
The odds are strongly against this guess. So, if it turns out to be wrong, I would try to find some other reason why the scam wants people to pay back their credit card debt with the operative consequence being that if they fail to pay back all their debt, the bank now has a recourse or a precident to force the scam to pay them the money back.
If anyone really wants to know whether this may be true, I would suggest contacting a lawyer who specializes in credit card debt or in cults and the way they con people into using multiple credit cards to borrow money which they then “donate” to the cult.
Good luck with your search and please come back and let us know if you found anything that would lead you to the truth as to why the scam seems so desperate to get people to pay back their debt (as opposed to just declaring bankruptcy). If and when you find out, there may well be a way we can turn the tables to our advantage and cost the scam a whole bunch of money. Now, wouldn’t that be just lov-er-ly?
A debt consolidation company negotiates deals to reduce the amount a person pays back (so they can get out of debt sooner, plus have a more sane payback arrangement). The person still has to pay quite a lot back, but not all.
As people are speculating here: if an epidemic of consolidators are helping C of S parishioners to “bail” on substantial portions of C of S debt, card issuers may return to the scene of the misdoing: the individual orgs to demand they cover the outstanding amount.
The HCO mandate, it seems, is to compel any parishioner who is in such a “pay back less” arrangement to get OUT of it. If ethics officers are successful, then this “seals” a potential hole of money leaving.
Super sadly, though (if parishioner agrees to un-do their arrangements), as people are noting here, C of S is undertaking this with zero consideration for putting the parishioner BACK into what they just escaped from: a steady, raw nerve-inducing, daily engulfment of C of S debt and bills. With the restored pay-back-in-full amount plus high interest, such will require a gob of earnings over the next several years to—for “the sake of eternity”—fully pay off. (Hope you don’t need to eat or put gas in your vehicle after all.)
Considering what this guy apparently came up with and donated, AND he worked out a way to manage paying MOST of it back, to surprise him with this “order” from HCO seems an occasion of [wait for it…] penalizing an upstat. #irony
Jere Lull says
Skyler, you bring up a point: that the credit companies might just care for their customers MORE than that self-proclaimed “church” does. I’d say that it’s a certainty that scn doesn’t care about anything as long as DM gets his money. The clams are nothing but dumb geese giving all their golden eggs to the scam until they BLEED, Possibly passing on the resultant debt to their children, since debt, too can be inherited. IF the kids aren’t in scn, they MIGHT dig out from under the load, but otherwise, we’re back to bad debt, horrible credit & ruined lives.
scientology, where EVERYONE loses.
Gail Paige says
Ahhh yes. I remember that life well!
The good thing about vulture culture is that they end up eating themselves.
The problem with cannibalism is that one eventually runs out of other people to eat.
Jere Lull says
“The problem with cannibalism is that one eventually runs out of other people to eat.”
They’ll worry about that when the time comes and they MUST find another way.
I’m not gonna hold my breath.
I don’t think Dwarfenführer® would allow anything to change that could endanger his lifestyle and “retirement plan”
Zee Moo says
Sounds like his OT buddy is either a debt consolidation company or he is on some kind of ‘get out of debt by negotiation’ deal. Either way, he screwed himself by agreeing to all the debt. And now the CO$ is shilling for the credit card companies?
Is there some type of blow back from said credit card companies? Maybe cards initiated by the CO$ are now under intense scrutiny? One can hope that all the credit cards are getting together and finally seeing the bad debt that the CO$ causes.
Jere Lull says
Zee, we can only hope that “cards initiated by the CO$ are now under intense scrutiny[.]” THAT would be fitting: that “church” no longer being able to take credit cards for their “donations”. The beginning of the implosion being put into motion. If it happens catastrophically enough, there won’t be a chance for them to catch more of the “Whales” who don’t need inflated credit limits.
Mike, Good post.
When I left Scientology I was almost $100,000 in debt and I had lost $130,000 in equity in my house. And was paying thousands a month for a bad divorce agreement.
It took me 5 years to pay it all off. For the first time in my life I am debt free with money in the bank. Unless you are a multimillionaire being in Scientology will enslave you in debt like it did me and the person mentioned above. The simple solution, leave the cult and spend time and effort to deprogram so you don’t make similar mistakes in the future.
Oh and PS, my credit score is now over 800. No scientologist owned credit repair company required.
It might be nice to have a video or website that haspositive testimonials of those who have left the cherch. I’m sure it would easily outnumber those people still in.
Jere Lull says
THIS is one of the sites which has testimonials on how much better life is out of the entity now calling itself scientology. I don’t really like to brag, but I will: Since getting OUT, I got back on track to becoming a top-flight computer programmer, got paid fairly well, am happily, comfortably retired and have had dynamite 2Ds almost from the instant I was shown the way out of Clearwater as unable to hold ANY post Flag had, even in the RPF. Romance in the real world is MUCH more satisfying than any 2D in the Sea Org :-). Even my failed first “marriage” beats a scn 2D, and that was a deeply I don’t use her name lest I start thinking about the bad old days and call my sweet, smart, passionate lady by what’s-her-name’s name by accident. As I got angry with something Pat was doing at the time years ago, I accidentally called her by the what’s-her-name’s’ name. THAT got Pat’s attention, for sure. Pat and I sometimes have fun discussing her as “what’s-her-name”.
Is that too mean? Perhaps, but it’s necessary even 35 years after she skulked away in the middle of the night while I was at a seminar, and after Pat and I celebrated the weekend we met with a “annual Honeymoon” 28 years running (THAT’s a brag, as we’re still newlyweds after all those years, still sometimes awfully silly & childlike.)
And even the failed first marriage was superior to the marriages I saw in the Sea Org. Don’t get me started on THEM…. —even before DM started screwing around with them, I swear SOME guys were intentionally repeatedly sent on extended missions to punish their wives for something or other, perhaps not joining the units the husbands were in. I didn’t see 1 marriage I was jealous of. I just missed the 2Ds between “consenting adults which even then was legal and mostly accepted as appropriate in the real world. WE were brutally suppressed on all Dynamics.
Doug Sprinkke says
I must be missing something. HCO is pressuring him to pay back the cards? I thought paying back credit cards was frowned on in Scientology. I thought they would view money being used to pay back the cards as money that they’re missing out on.
Todd Cray says
The problem is: If a credit card company is getting screwed too many times involving the same vendor (excessive customer complaints, refund demands, disputes, etc) they can refuse them a credit account the same way they might refuse a potential borrower with a poor credit history.
Add to that the fact that the cult is actively perpetrating fraud by helping “parishioners” open up excessive credit accounts way beyond their means. While the criminal component of this may be too burdensome to prove, a credit card company can simply opt to drop the cherch as a customer.
Mike Rinder says
YEs, this happened with American Express in LA in the 80’s or 90’s. It was a massive flap.
Doug Sprinkke says
Thanks, that makes sense
Jere Lull says
Doug, there’s GOT to be some way that their unpaid balances is cutting down the MONEY flow into scn. NOTHING is more important than the MONEY!
Money isn’t wealth, it’s simply a tool to facilitate the trade of the goods and services that actually constitute wealth. Some people don’t understand.
Jere Lull says
“Money isn’t wealth, it’s simply a tool to facilitate the trade of the goods and services that actually constitute wealth. Some people don’t understand.
scientology certainly doesn’t understand, as accumulating MONEY is the only important activity in the organization, with DM controlling its NOT being used for anything but real estate and whiskey. Delivery of services once was important, but even that was solely a device to make MORE MONEY. And that was traced to LRH as inurement, so lost the enterprise its IRS tax exemption for a while. DM’s playing it a bit more subtly, but IMO, everything he controls everything personally, so he’s guilty of inurement as well.
Peggy L says
I’m confused. (big surprise I know) So, did this poor guy have his credit card debt forgiven and the cult knows this and now they want him to reapply for more credit cards?
I’m surprised the cult hasn’t found a way to get people to sell a kidney.
“I’m surprised the cult hasn’t found a way to get people to sell a kidney.”
Or other organs.
Peggy L, Did you get your question answered in the discussion thread? HCO had some sense this parishioner was working with a debt consolidation firm negotiating to REDUCE the overall amount he will pay back. If a percentage remains unpaid, as posters have stated in this thread, card issuer(s) may look to the org to cover the rest. It’s pushing the parishioner back into the flames, instead of letting him do steps to sort through and try to make something manageable here.
Peggy L says
Thank you Peridot. I just now read the posts here and I’m still not sure I grasp it all but do have a better idea. I have seen ads on TV for debt relief agencies and wondered how credit card companies recovered some of their money. I didn’t know they could go after where the money was spent. Then remembered some charges on my credit card that I didn’t make and the credit card company took them off my bill. It now makes sense that they maybe went to the businesses who accepted the charges were the ones who had to pay the card company if that’s the way it works.
Again, thank you for your help.
Loosing my Religion says
Damn this is really a sick and disgusting way of making money.
When I was on finance lines this didn’t existed and were considered mere financial irregularities.
Then came the GAT and a lot of services and materials to buy again, then came ideal orgs bullshit and this credit cards business was the “smart way” they thought to get more money.
It is an obvious suicide for the orgs and specifically for the single public that thrusted this scam.
Who created oked and pushed this system has ruined thousands of people. Well per their own terminology this is the ‘SP’ they should look for and hang. Anybody else.
LmR, this is the sort of abusive practice and fraud pioneered by the missions in the 1970s, which is partly why they still appeared to be booming while the orgs were strugging, as the population of young “seekers” dropped off precipitiously (the era is sometimes referred to as the ‘baby bust’) and Scientology’s prospects for “body routing” of “raw meant” went into steep decline. Some missions even set up bogus credit unions to make loans not only to public but to staff (who of course weren’t consistently paid a living wage), which were eventually busted by federal authorities; and before credit cards came along, they were also using pushing members to take out consumer loans with regular financial institutions that were often secured by motor vehicles, sometimes based on inflated values and salary claims.
Orgs must have started to adopt such practices in the 1980s, but as with various abuses perhaps it wasn’t going on (yet, or then) where you were. But as I research and talk to old-timers I consistently find there is almost nothing new under the sun in Scientology — there’s always a “previous, similar.” Miscavige may have turned up the dial on some things, but it almost all has origins back when Hubbard was running the show, or is a variation, like the GAT revisions as a sort of substitute for “source’s” constant new releases of processes, levels, and other bits of “tech.”
Bruce Ploetz says
PeaceMaker, I don’t remember much in the way of credit card shenanigans back in the 70s when I was a public person on lines in San Francisco. But Cal Cole did convince me to take out bank loans and sell my house to be able to ring up a big number on that old cash register they had to keep track of the income.
These guys don’t have any money and never expect to get any, so it is all a numbers game with them. College funds, retirement funds, money to be able to eat are all just a possible piece of the week’s Gross Income statistic. The Holy Grail of any Scientology operation. Borrow it today, give it, don’t bother us about the payments.
I think the financial ripoffs go all the way back to the beginnings of Scientology. Just changing in form as the years roll on. Didn’t Hubbard run off with Jack Parson’s life savings to “start a business” with Parson’s girlfriend in the 40s? It is a hoary holy tradition in the Hubbard world.
The Leah & Mike “Fair Game” podcast where they talk to Australian journalist Steve Cannane gives something of an origin story on going to great lengths to avoid refunding money. This, even though we can study in admin volumes a stated aim toward speed and ease to accomplish these when, on that rare occasion, they do arise. (A view of get these few bad apples out of the midst of all the many others who are delighted.)
The Steve Cannane interview, as well as the attorney Ray Jeffrey interview, are two I plan to listen to again.
Bruce, it was bank loans back in the 70s because credit cards were really only starting to be offered widely, rather than just to banks’ preferred clients and high net worth individuals. Back then when banks were local, you could get a loan against a car or motorcycle – backed up proof of income, which I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that regges would help members/marks fake, in typical scientological fashion of course.
I’ve read a lot of accounts of what went on at the missions, plus I know a bit from first-hand accounts, and they were definitely pushing the envelope and sometimes breaking the law. That’s a good part of what allowed them to continue to do relatively well as the orgs suffered due to the dwindlling of easy pickings as the baby boom turned bust – every business and organization that had relied on the surge of young people suffered, and for instance about 10% of the colleges in the US closed within a period of just a few years. Having read what I have about the financial and other abuses, including the credit union scam that brought the federal authorities down on a couple of missions, and that some missionholders were also cheating the CofS on (perhaps excessive) obligations to send money “uplines” I can see that there was at least some justification for the mission crackdown, though I don’t doubt that internal power struggles were part of it as well.
Orgs seem to have been behind the curve on the financing shennanigans — which is part of why they weren’t doing so well in comparison to the more rapacious missions. So, again, I can understand why some people at certain places in particular times didn’t see some specific abuse.
Jere Lull says
LmR, if it’s not sick and disgusting, it’s not scientology, I’m afraid. It didn’t SEEM as bad when staff honestly were trying to help the people being scammed by El Con hisself.
Gordon Weir says
Once again $ci shows that it doesn’t give a d*mn about its members, only money.
Change $ci to David Miscavige and we’ve hit the nail on the head.
Jere Lull says
Scribe, IS there anything to $ci other than DM and a yawning void that used to be a Byzantine bureaucracy trying to deliver services deemed “standard”?
IMO, only part of the bureaucracy remains, the money-grubbing pieces.
NO delivery is a given, and that’s how DM likes it. being out-exchange boosts net receipts, short term, and if it comes back to bite him in the diminutive derrière, he’ll be on his way to Bulgravia with his pockets full of money, not a care in the world, least of all the entity calling itself scientology.