I've been asked to post the next "bedtime story". Here you go:
ANOTHER BED-TIME STORY
(LITTLE DICKIE SERIES #8 )
In the past I have asked Little Bear Victor to post my stories for me. I thank LBV for that. It's been about a year since my last posting. I'm usually very busy enjoying life and tend to stay out of the day to day noise. Some things have come to my attention recently, however, which made me feel compelled to communicate once again, so you'll see a couple more stories from me in the coming weeks.
Again, I have to include a disclaimer (as church PI's, “PR's”, lawyers and hired goons already have their hands full right now): This is simply a fictional bed-time story and none of the people/places referred to are to represent real people and/or places.
Dad, tell me another story. I heard the LRH Birthday event just held was all about buildings, buildings, buildings again. Why do Scientology magazines, events and activities mainly concern buying and fixing up buildings?
That's a good question. First you need to understand that in the pre-Little Dickie years, from 1950 to the early 80's, the church was expanding consistently. The main concentration at the time was on delivery. Public would pay for specific courses and counseling and the churches worked to deliver the best service possible, in a timely manner. When a church expanded its facilities it was done using the money they made delivering service.
Pressuring parishioners to just give money for things other than specific service for that person did not exist as it does today.
Then, as LRH went off management lines, Little Dickie worked his way onto them. His destructive actions and their negative effect on the international statistics of the church have been covered in earlier bed-time stories.
As part of that, a serious situation was developing where new money coming in and cash in international reserves was falling steeply. At the same time the liability of unused prepayments was soaring.
This would be like having a restaurant that delivered $250 per week in meals that had taken in $100,000 for meals to be delivered some time in the future and yet it only had $40,000 in the bank and the situation was worsening quickly. This example is roughly the proportions of the real situation that existed.
Without a financial solution, Little Dickie's apocalypse-like world would collapse. Immediate money with no specific exchange was needed. Thus the world of “direct donations” was created. Staff were posted to collect for membership fees to fill a war chest, money for translations, for books-to-libraries, for preserving the technology, for starting new churches, for training counselors, for setting up educational programs, for drug rehabilitation, .... Each type of donation had its own offices and own staff and the public were chased for their money from all directions.
Additionally, as covered in detail in Bedtime Story #1 – “Super Power or Super PR”, there was another cash cow taking shape. Starting in 1978, word was spreading that the founder had created a type of counseling called "super power". Public heard about this and wanted to see it made available as a service. In 1986 three brothers donated a million dollars towards making a building where "super power" could be delivered in Clearwater and thus another source of money with no specific exchange was created. More registrars were posted, models of the future building were displayed, membership statuses were created, pins, pictures, gifts, etc were handed out, dinners and dances were held for the big donators – all kinds of promises were made and millions and millions of dollars rolled in.
It wasn't until almost 13 years after the first million-dollar donation, that construction would start and that had nothing to do with the intention to actually deliver "super power".
It was during the Lisa McPherson trial when tension between the local government/community and the church had reached a boiling point.
Part of the PR "handling" was to immediately start construction on the shell of the new building while telling the local community and government that this new building would result in new jobs and millions of dollars being spent locally. The PR plan worked. However, once the trial was over construction immediately came to a halt and the empty shell still sits there to this day. At the same time the aggressive collection of donations for this building continues into its 23rd year.
But Daddy – how does that tie into the church events, magazines and so forth being so fixated on buying and fixing buildings around the world?
So much money was being brought in for the "super power" building in Florida that Little Dickie thought, why not run this same scheme in every city where a church exists.
Under the International Finance Office is what is called the International Landlord Office. It's their job to recreate the program run for the "super power" building at the lower city levels – and thus another 50 plus cash cows were born.
This handled two problems for Little Dickie. The first being the need for cash and the second being the need for smoke, mirrors and props for magazines and events to create the illusion that the church was actually expanding and actually doing something. Unfortunately by just pushing the building end of "expansion", real expansion never occurs. In fact it is cut across.
Let's take their organization in Montreal as an example. It's been a small, struggling church with 10 to 15 staff for 20 years. It has a miniscule and limited number of active parishioners who have had their arms twisted and their pockets emptied to eventually come up with $4 million dollars.
This money is used to buy some big, old building that is supposed to be renovated and become beautiful. To do this, the public are told ANOTHER $4 million is needed which the parishioners don't have.
The newly purchased building sits empty and the church continues to struggle in its existing location.
The Montreal church is completely insolvent, it owes bills going back for ages (like almost every Scientology church on the planet) and it is harder than ever to get the parishioners to pay for actual services that would help support the local church because they donated what money they had, direct to international management for the new building.
Okay, what happens if some rich parishioner actually gives so much money that the huge, beautiful building actually gets opened? You have the same 10 to 15 struggling staff with all their bills move into a building that is much more expensive to run and maintain and no way to support it.
The public think that at least the building is owned by their local church and they no longer need to pay rent. Not true. The new church is owned by the International Finance Office and the local church now pays them the rent. In the end no actual expansion of religious activities is created, in fact the opposite is true.
As a money-making scheme, it's quite successful.
A city church like Montreal has always taken a lot of work to manage and only sends a few hundred dollars a week to management. Now, management has received $4 million direct from this one church as straight donations and there is no liability attached. Multiply this by more than 50 churches and you get the picture. That's why the religious service aspect of the church has taken a back seat and the commercial real estate angle has taken center stage.
The most obvious thing in the lobby of a church used to be its chart of services, now it is a model of a building and a big thermometer colored in to show how much of the needed donations have been paid to date.
But Dad, how long can these people be gotten to donate their money toward a dream building that promises to be their salvation to their city before they realize they have been had?
Good question. So far it's been 23 years in Clearwater Florida. The money is still coming in (approximately $70 million so far). The bank interest on $70 million is about $200,000 per month and there is still over $200,000 in new donations per month. When you realize that 85% of the Scientology churches in the world average well below $5,000 in weekly income and send only a few hundred dollars on to management, you can see the strategy here.
The city of Clearwater fines the church $2,500 per month for leaving the super power building unfinished. What a small price to pay. That empty concrete shell of a “church” sitting there in downtown Clearwater may be the most financially successful church ever in America.
It's just so derailed and off purpose for a “religion”. I think it is being run down a dead end street, to say the least.
I couldn't agree with you more. Good night, son.