All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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"I have the ability to communicate to other people without any feelings whatsoever and my income increased by 360%!!" ó Adolfo Quintero, current scientologist, in "My Success in Scientology"
"HARD SELL: It is necessary in writing an ad or a flier to assume that the person is going to sign up right now. You tell him that he is going to sign up right now and he is going to take it right now. That is the inference. One does not describe something, one commands something. You will find that a lot of people are in a more or less hypnotic daze in their aberrated state, and they respond to direct commands in literature and ads." — L. Ron Hubbard, 26 September 1979, "Marketing Series 12 - COPYWRITING"
"Sentencing Mazier for three years in prison, the judge said 'amassing money is one of the essential concerns if not the only concern of the Church of Scientology'." — ITV England, "The Big Story: The S Files", 1996
"Control = Income. When you have people who cannot control people on PE and Registration posts [Scientology's sales points] your income falls or vanishes" — L. Ron Hubbard, 21 February 1961, "Choosing PE and Registration personnel"
"To only way you can control people is to lie to them." — L. Ron Hubbard, June 1952, "Off the Time Track"
[...] Money. Thatís all it was about as far as I could see. It wasnít about spiritual enlightenment, helping people, or making my life better. They wanted to take me for my hard-earned dollars through persuasion, aggression, and good old-fashioned guilt tripping. (Donít you want to get better? Then buy this book! Attend this conference!) It was Madison Avenue thinly cloaked by religion. At least advertising companies are blatant about what they are trying to do. Itís a known fact that advertisers try to make consumers feel like they are lacking, and that the solution to their problems will come once they purchase that beer/shoe/yogurt/lipstick/cruise/handbag. [...]
Such registrars as Howard Becker and Michael Roberts even came to my house uninvited and verbally "double-teamed" me, playing on my "buttons" of my desire to help and support my religious philosophy for hours until I was emotionally beaten into giving them more money for the IAS. I was made to feel guilty if I did not give them more money. I had to forcefully ask them to leave more than once. One time I had to flee my own house because they were putting so much manipulative emotional pressure on me.
9. At 6:00 p.m. Charmaign woke up. She was yelling and screaming, "Why did you let me sleep!" We told her she was so drunk she couldn't stand up from the chair. She then started right in telling me she wanted $35,000 from me for a Cornerstone donation to the project. She told me she would not leave the house until I paid. This went on until 8:00 p.m. as I tried to resist her in every way, even locking myself in the bathroom for half an hour with her banging on the outside saying she would never leave.
How To Boom Your GI [Gross Income]
The most successful orgs have very hard selling registrars. They apply the LRH data in the new Hard Sell pack and they are experts in Big League Sales Techniques.
The top registrars on the planet sell more services and get more people up The Bridge in one week, than others (who do not know and apply the LRH Hard Sell data and Big Leagues Sales) do in a whole year.
And this is not just a question of making money, it is a question of getting public contacted and onto and up The Bridge. The registrar can make all the difference applying LRH Tech on Hard Sell.
The thing to do is:
Scientology sales staff ("registrars") are extensively trained and drilled in hard-selling techniques. The first stage of recruitment is to focus the person's attention on the most distressing areas of his or her life (the "ruin"). Hypnotherapists might call this an "emotional induction". Any intense emotion tends to overwhelm critical thinking. The coolness of rational thinking is distinct from the heat of the emotions. The recruiter then plays upon the person's fear that the condition will worsen. Then the "solution" of Scientology is offered.
Hard selling techniques are another aspect of the use of undue influence or destructive persuasion upon members. Clients of Scientology are harassed with demands for ever increasing "donations" for auditing and indoctrination Completion of the Scientology "Bridge" costs in the region of £200,000 or $350,000 (there are Scientologists who have paid even more). Many Scientologists have found themselves homeless and deeply in debt as a result of high pressure selling. Sales interviews can last for as much as 13 hours; and depend upon the sophisticated manipulation techniques described in Les Dane's Big League Sales Closing Techniques.
The former leader of the church in southern France, Xavier Delamare, was sentenced to two years in jail, including 18 months suspended, and fined 16,000 dollars for manipulating people into giving money to the church.
Mrs. Vic said Mazier kept pressuring her husband to borrow 30,000 francs (about $6,000) so he could take the Purification Rundown course after Vic had spent several months taking other less expensive courses.
On the day before her husband's death, Mrs. Vic testified, Mazier came to their home in Lyon and urged her to sign loan papers for the money. She said her husband became highly agitated, paced the house and went to the Scientology center in Lyon instead of going to his job as an industrial designer.
"Mazier said (Vic) was not well and had to take this purification to get well," Mrs. Vic recalled. "I said no, we have enough money problems, we can't spend 30,000 francs like this."
After spending a day with Mazier and failing to convince his wife to help obtain the loan, Vic returned home looking for papers so he could apply for the loan by himself, Mrs. Vic said.
"He was just coming in and out, very agitated," she said. "He kept getting up out of bed, he was unable to sleep."
At 5 a.m. as she tried to stop him, Vic dashed toward the window in the room where their two sons were sleeping. "He said "Don't keep me, it's the only solution,"' and he went through the window, she told the Times. Patrice Vic was 31.
14. She returned to Flag for further "handling" for her Lyme disease, which was continually worsening as she put off medical treatment on the advice of CoS representatives. Once again, after receiving numerous "intensives" Flag auditing, she was still afflicted with Lyme disease. Nevertheless, Scientology continued to exploit the situation for money, involving her again in an intense registration session. She was told that she would need $8000 worth of additional auditing. She explained repeatedly to the registrar that she had nothing, that she had spent her last $2000 for her 4-year-old daughter's International Association of Scientologists Lifetime Membership, that she could simply not afford another intensive. As mandated in Scientology policy, the reg continued the hard sell until she felt that she honestly would not get out of that cycle if she did not agree to buy the intensive. She was given a list of the names and telephone numbers of wealthy Clearwater Scientologists, and told to call them until one of them agreed to let her put her intensive on his credit card. She resisted the idea, and once again, felt forced to back down. Calling down the list, asking people she did not know for a credit card number for an $8000 intensive, she hated the idea but her resistance had been broken down. Eventually, one agreed.
15. She received the intensive. After spending approximately one hundred thousand dollars on Scientology's cures, she had "learned" in her auditing sessions that billions of years ago, in a past life, she had been forced to "zap" her mother with a ray gun by an evil space government, yet she was still afflicted with Lyme disease. She had maxed out all of her credit cards, taken out loans, and otherwise expended all of her resources--and given all of her money to Scientology in return for a much-promised, never-materialized cure for her Lyme disease. She was repeatedly discouraged from visiting a doctor, and sent back again and again, to Flag, for more NED Assists, more auditing, one more intensive, one more process, eventually leaving one Scientologist with untreated Lyme disease, and the CoS thousands of dollars richer. She still owes one Scientologist in Clearwater $8000. Scientology still promises her a cure, still attempts to lead her on the medical runaround.
8. The purpose of the registrar is to make more money all the time for Scientology. At the time, Scientology had various sales courses that taught registrars to strip resistance from people they were 'regging.' Registrars were taught how to push various buttons with regard to their mortality and their spirituality and their ability to be at peace as a being. Every button that could possibly pushed was pushed in order to get a person to make large advance payments. We got so good at it that we were sending $250,000 to $500,000 a week out of the Los Angeles area alone. The money would be sent out of the country to various places in the world including accounts in St. Hill, England.
...Indeed, I personally pressured people to take out mortgages on their homes in order to pay for Scientology services. Moreover, at one point I put together a group of 8 or 10 registrars on the Excalibur, trained them up under Jim Douglas and forced collection of back monies from people who owed the Sea Org or Scientology money.
There was a least one occasion that I can recall that registrars from higher Scientology organizations came to our mission and used high pressure sales tactics to get us to sign up for more courses. One such tactic was called the "postulate check", where the person would be asked to write a check for an amount that they didn't have in the bank account. The theory behind this was that by writing such a check, the person would be given the incentive to create the money (Scientologists call creating something "mocking it up"). If a person really had a strong intention to get the money, he or she could mock it up. I wrote a postulate check for $1,000, even though I had less that $100 in my bank account. The next day, I went to my bank to try to get a loan for $1,000, but was turned down due to no credit history. My check bounced.
12. The dentists were pushed to buy a CSI auditing package for nearly $1,000 an hour, with a minimum of 25 hours, for each dentist. They saw their budget overextend and put a stop on the check. On the same day the dentists heard one of their SMS consultants, who touted no connection between SMS and CSI, talk about the transgressions they had divulged to their auditors in confidential priest-penitent auditing sessions. The same day, one dentist's wife also bought home a pack of critical CSI news articles from the public library.
13. SMS and CSI went into overdrive and the screaming and duress began. The dentists were threatened: to make the check good one dentist was blackmailed and the other was told he would reincarnate as a rock in his next life. My superior and I were fired two weeks later, and I left Scientology forever.
The Scientology Registrar - The job of the registrar in Scientology is to use high pressure sales tactics to sign people up for courses. This is especially true for front groups, such as Sterling Management, Singer and numerous others. Once the registrar gets the person into his/her office, the person is not allowed to leave until he/she has signed up for a course and paid. If the person says, "Iíd like time to think this over", this is not allowed. The staff at Sterling is told that the person should not be allowed to "think" about it because that would give his "reactive mind" a chance to take over and so they must pay immediately. I have personally talked to many people who have been held for hours in the registrars office, sometimes all night, until out of sheer exhaustion, they gave in. For further details, see Robert Geary, DDSís video or audio tape at the 1990 CAN Conference (available from CAN National) and the Sally Jessy Raphael show of July 9, 1991.
Hard Sell technique that I observed (and was subjected to) consisted of a fast-paced and disorienting swirl of asserted and presumed agreements, trumped-up emergencies, plays on loyalty, physical exhaustion, sophistical arguments, accusations of betrayal, guilt-trips, browbeating, physical and verbal intimidation, humiliations, attacks, threats, insults, alienations of affection, ganging-up-on, asserted and presumed commitments, promises, demands, orders, invalidations, ridicule, plays on deeply felt needs, pleas, misidentifications, misrepresentations, putting words in my mouth, telling me what I think, asserted truths, validations, praise, flattery, plays on status, "trust me's" -- anything to destroy my position, to close the sale, to get the stat, to get the check. On one occasion (personal experience) this went on day and night for three days. These words do not begin to describe it.
Hard Sell is official written Church policy. It is justified in terms of this preemptive definition: caring enough about the person to insist that he Buy Now and get the service that will rehabilitate him. Actual techniques are learned primarily from role models, but also in classes and workshops.
The effect is to undermine all meaning and value apart from Scientology. It becomes permissible to destroy anything (of someone else's) to produce a result useful to the Church. A registrar told my wife, "What have you got to lose?" when they were discussing whether I might leave if she borrowed against our fledgling business to purchase Scientology services. That same registrar explained his actions to me, "I'm just doing my job."
I tried to explain away such events as just the isolated action of lone individuals, but after my 1986 trip to Scientology's base in Florida I could no longer deny that this sort of action is typical, characteristic, and approved by the Church. I saw and experienced additional instances, and attempts were made to recruit me for similar activity. I saw that a major activity at the religious retreat is to train people in such actions and to handle their scruples.
[...] Alan Walter, a Scientologist for 20 years and a mission holder in the Middle West, contends that "Hubbard was a genius in many ways. He was set up by these kids. They were doing insane things. It was a reign of terror." Larry Wollersheim, who considered himself "a cult salesman," says that he was trained to locate the assets of church members and then help them devise explanations to relatives for why they needed so much money. "I was constantly hammered to coerce people to get loans," he claims. [...]
She was told there would be a cost involved, and it was suggested to her that she could borrow from her family or her boyfriend if she did not have the money.
When it was suggested that she should sell her sports shop to pay for the courses, she was shocked because she had spent the previous 12 months trying to prevent it from going under.
She was told she was completely wasted as a retailer and should involve herself with the most ethical group on the planet. They put pressure on her. The cost of the courses was (pounds) 9,200 sterling.
"By the time they had finished with me after five hours had elapsed, I had agreed I was going to sell my business. I was elated," she said. She tried to borrow from her boyfriend at the time, who turned down her request.
But Shumaker said they got nervous when Sterling wanted them to sign up immediately and pay $20,000 for further seminar work.
"They were intent on closing the sale that night, and taking our $20,000 right then and there," said Shumaker. "They didn't want to wait and wanted to know how big our credit lines were."
And there are many other affidavits here that pertain to various subjects, including a widow, Peggy Baer, from whom in two weeks they got thirty-three thousand dollars shortly after her husband died —she was targeted — and similar types of items.
Rounding out Scientology's entrepreneurial activities is merchandising. Hubbard recognized the value of merchandising Dianetics and Scientology books and recorded lectures in an appropriately titled Policy Letter, Merchandising Expertise. Hubbard pointed out that Church organizations that specialize in the selling of course packs, books, and tapes are "...a Goldmine. Effective promo mailed to the right Publics brings you this goldmine." Hubbard believed there was unrealized potential here. Specifically he said, "The Individual Market as yet has never been tapped. And remember, it's the Individual Sales which gives you your profit margin and your stocks." Although that may sound like something that could have come from some late-night TV real estate seminar, it's also Church policy.
For the Scientologist, slick promotion, aggressive salesmanship, hard sell advertising, and strategic merchandising are a means towards achieving an end - the expansion of Scientology. Scientologists blithely justify their zealous sales techniques because they firmly believe, "Scientology is the only workable system Man has...it has no competitor."
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to attend the latest super-important confidential briefing where I've been promised the latest inside scoop from the Church's top officials. But somehow I get the feeling it's not going to live up to the hype. More likely there'll be nothing particularly confidential discussed, and worse, it's not going to be brief.
Dermot Murnaghan: [...] But even though Alex handed over more than £23,000 she still wasn't satisfied. Within days he'd been persuaded he needed more training courses, tapes and books amounting to a further £2,000.
Alex Bowernan: They played me for a puppet. They managed within the space of a week to get £25,000 off me. That's more than my bank's ever managed to do.
Dermot Murnaghan: Alex's story is not unique. According to Andrea it happens all the time.
Andrea Catt: People were persuaded to re-mortgage their homes, sell their homes, cash in the policies supposed to pay off their mortgages, borrow against pensions, sell family jewels, borrow from their families, sell their cars. Anything you can possibly imagine that a person could do to raise money, people were persuaded to do to pay into Scientology. [...]
Dermot Murnaghan: If targets had no ready cash or property to sell they'd be persuaded to take out a loan. To make borrowing easier Registrars kept a handy stock of forms from all the major lending financial institutions. They then persuaded people to lie about the purpose of the loans. This constitutes criminal deception. [...]
Starting in 1972, Hubbard approved new sales policies based on a book called "Big League Sales" written by an automobile salesman.
"A situation exists In some orgs (Scientology organizations) where sales are very low," Hubbard wrote in 1974. "A second situation exists In several orgs where only very tiny payments are made by the public on the 'sales' that are made.
"Further data is that Big League Sales has not been pushed for a year," he continued.
"Selling, closing deals, getting the money is a highly specialized tech. I have seen a Reg (registrar) actually offer credit or suggest a tiny payment when the prospect was sitting there with the full price in his pocket, ready to hand it over," Hubbard wrote.
"On the other side of the scene, there are Reges who seem utterly magical. People walk in and buy in droves, the money mounts up to great heights.
"One could say these magical people may have a 'knack' for selling, a talent. And leave it to mystery. It is no mystery. They use the tech of selling and use it straight. They are not in doubt about what they are doing. They do it ... They just plow right ahead and SELL and CLOSE and take the money in full."
Dentist Robert Geary of Medina, Ohio, who entered a Sterling seminar in 1988, endured "the most extreme high-pressure sales tactics I have ever faced." Sterling officials told Geary, 45, that their firm was not linked to Scientology, he says. but Geary claims they eventually convinced him that he and his wife Dorothy had personal problems that required auditing. Over five months, the Gearys say, they spent $130,000 for services, plus $50,000 for "gold-embossed, investment-grade" books signed by Hubbard. Geary contends that Scientologists not only called his bank to increase his credit card limit but also forged his signature on a $20,000 loan application. "It was insane," he recalls. "I couldn't even get an accounting from them of what I was paying for." At one point, the Gearys claim, Scientologists held Dorothy hostage for two weeks in a mountain cabin, after which she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.
Hubbard said Scientology must be marketed through the "art of hard sell," meaning an "insistence that people buy." He said that, "regardless of who the person is or what he is, the motto is, 'Always sell something....' "
Hubbard contended that such high-pressure tactics are imperative because a person's spiritual well being is at stake.
Among other things, he directed his followers to: "rob the person of every opportunity to say 'No.' "; "help prospects work through financial stops impeding a sale"; "make the prospect think it was his idea to make the purchase"; utilize the two man "tag team" approach, and "overcome and rapidly handle any attempted prospect backout."
One of the most important techniques in selling Scientology, Hubbard said, is to create mystery.
"If we tell him there is something to know and don't tell him what it is, we will zip people into" the organization, Hubbard wrote. "And one can keep doing this to a person -- shuttle them along using mystery."
Stuart Boote (former 5th in charge at the Poole org until November 94) explained that this was deliberate staff policy: "The idea was that you weren't going to let them leave because often you found that if people had a moment or two to themselves to think, the chances were that they'd leave or change their minds about the money they'd paid in for a course, which was often quite high." Stuart attended many late night meetings to decide which clients to hit financially. "It would become a money-orientated thing, that you would be looked at as to how many services we could get out of you, how much money we could milk you for.
As a campaign by members of the church of Scientology to make Britain the first Scientology country gains momentum, we can reveal the cost of the "hard sell" 'religion' which has split families and which last week led one Ashurst Wood couple to the Bankruptcy Court.
Our investigations suggest the cult uses high pitch American style sales techniques to trap their hapless "believers" in a never ending web of lengthy courses.
Be prepared with handfuls of promissory notes, she was told in one notice right from the top. Get them to agree to any form of repayment, however small, and rush the money immediately to Flag (the organization on the Hubbard ship which drifts around the Morocco-Portugal area).
One bulletin gives leader Hubbardís glowing endorsement of Big League Sales Closing techniques, a book by a U.S. super salesman type, "Use it to the hilt, Make More Money," she claims she was told.
Scientology's hard-sell tactics were never plainer than at the Road to Freedom Congress, held in Toronto last May to coincide with the visit of the very first clear, John McMaster. The written instructions issued to the staff make it perfectly clear that the main orientation of the congress was, well, pretty commercial: " . . . Wear very bright colors and big smiles and be very safe to talk to . . . We want to establish an atmosphere like a country fair — friendly as hell, noisy, crowded, colorful and sell-sell-sell."
In 1982 he insisted that the "parishioners" at COSMD Sacramento and Davis chip in enough to make the payments on his brand-new Saab. All the staff and public people had to chip in and buy a $10,000 watch for Martin Samuels, who founded the missions and lived in a very expensive home in Oregon, built by staff members. Also, at that time, Jeff Cora, the director of our mission, lived in a very nice 2,000 square foot home in a suburb of Sacramento. At current prices, that house would run around $220,000. The mission was his and his wife's only source of income, yet somehow he could afford mortgage payments and a new car when my husband and I barely could make $200 rent payments and feed ourselves and a year-old baby and were using food stamps to buy groceries.
The various methods used to persuade my ex-husband to pay money. These included daylong interviews by groups of salesmen, "investment opportunities", donations to translate a book, donations to "protect Scientology", etc., etc. Two of the "investment opportunities" where he loaned almost half a million dollars in 1989 to a "patron" and a "patron meritorious" of the International Association of Scientologists" (IAS) turned out to be very bad "investments".
Every asset my family had was being systematically targeted and attacked. I was being told to take out one loan to cover another and to take out home equity loans on our house. Even though my wife had not yet completed the auditing in the clear package, she was purchasing auditing at a higher level from the Flag Service organization of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, Florida.
While my wife was in San Francisco alone, my office staff and myself were required to attend a Sterling Management Systems seminar in Chicago. While attending the course, Mr. Bradham arrived with a Scientologist auditor. They pulled me out of the course and away from my staff and took me to a hotel room where they audited me on the E-Meter. The auditing was done because they were concerned about my "money button" due to my resistance to the inordinate financial demands Scientology was making on my family.
The Church of Scientology has settled its lawsuit with a Michigan man who said church representatives pressured him into paying more than $13,000 for services, church attorney Paul B. Johnson said Tuesday.
Mark Lweandowski said in the lawsuit that church representatives interrogated him for more than four hours in December 1989 and wouldn't let him leave until he agreed to pay $2,000 for a lifetime church membership.
The other move was to step up the flow of money dramatically. Among Larson's duties were levying fines on wealthy auditing subjects, whose intimate auditing sessions had been transcribed in writing, and forcibly dunning mission holders (franchisees) for millions of additional dollars for Hubbard agents. "In 1983," says Larson, "I manipulated a half-million-dollar inheritance out of Bob B... He was naive as hell. D.M. (David Miscavige) called me up in the middle of the night [about Bob B...] He wanted the money.
The counselor who evaluates a potential parishioner's answers to a 200-item questionnaire deftly turns an insightful psychological dialogue into a high pressure sales pitch.
Some critics of Scientology say the church's counseling techniques are over-rated and over-priced. Some say it's hard to say no to the minister's hard sell, that once you're drawn into the web of courses and counseling offered by the church, the exit is well hidden. In an effort to find out, a reporter posed as a college student and took the test.
In an open letter to readers of the New York Times, publisher Lyle Stuart quotes a former Scientology recruiter as saying, "Our job as Scientologists is to suck every dime we can from a person. We convince them that they are saving not just this world but the entire universe!"
According to Stuart's letter, the goal of Scientology experts is $80,000 per customer, which is extracted in sums of $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Scientologists even ask the customer to sign a billion-year agreement.
I interviewed a former Scientology salesperson about the sales practices: about his personal experience and his observations of his sales associates. The Scientology salesperson (I will call him "Karl" in this chapter) had this to say about the Hard Sell Pack:
Being "incapable," to a salesperson, means that he is not selling anything. [...]