Author Topic: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs  (Read 8761 times)

Offline ethercat

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Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« on: April 25, 2009, 15:38 »
At the zoning meeting Thursday night, some of the residents of Sandy Springs wondered why the co$ needs such a big building, if their membership is currently what the lawyer, Mr. Galloway, says it is.  I was reading this thread started by Mr.Peacock on OCMB and I think it is an interesting theory.  It's one that critics of co$ have held for a long time, ever since the Super Power building in Clearwater began construction, I guess. 

Note: "Little Dickie" in the story below refers to David Miscavige, the "ecclesiastical leader" of scientology, who took over after L. Ron Hubbard "left his body to do more research" (died, in other words).


http://ocmb.xenu.net/ocmb/viewtopic.php?t=30405
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.



Now we know that the locals pushed to raise the $5.6 million they bought the building for in 2005. 

Interestingly, Mr. Galloway refused to tell the audience at the zoning meeting what was paid for the Roswell Rd. building, when it is clearly a matter of public record on the Fulton County website: http://www.fultonassessor.org/Forms/Datalets.aspx?mode=sales&taxyear=2008&ownseq=1&roll=RE&jur=&sIndex=0&idx=1&LMparent=20  (If this does not bring the page up directly, go to http://www.fultonassessor.org/Search/GenericSearch.aspx?mode=ADDRESS and enter 5395 Roswell Rd., click "Search" and then click "Sales" on the left side of the page.)

Now they are trying to get the zoning for making it a church, and Mr. Galloway said that they were in the process of raising the money for the necessary renovations, shown at: http://www.atlantaidealorg.com/home.html

Wow, they are using a free web hosting site, and it says they have  $1,078,206 to go.  I guess by saving hosting money, they can contribute the saved money toward the $1 million.

What they hope to build with the money they are raising is shown here: http://www.atlantaidealorg.com/renderings.html

but I wonder if the bedtime story told above (from OCMB) is more accurate than the Atlanta Ideal Org site, and Sandy Springs is doomed to have this empty eyesore stay empty and unmaintained for another undetermined amount of years?
« Last Edit: April 25, 2009, 18:11 by ethercat »
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Offline Rooster56

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2009, 10:38 »
Hi,
I'm new here and have recently departed CO$.  I spent most of my time in was in Atlanta.   And I am admitting up front that I have a personal beef with them.  They owe me over $22k (read all about it www.powerandreligion.com) so take my thoughts under consideration. 

I was a member there when the whole ideal org thing started.  I was always vocal that the church could barely make their monthly bills so why in the world would they try to jump to a $10 mill facility...  kind of like moving from a doublewide to the taj mahal. 

It was intense and the constant harassment for money was unreal.  The committee would drop by my house at night unannounced (as many as 7 with one to babysit and 6 to beat me into submission). 

The parking issue was known from the beginning.  They did a survey of members to determine priorities.  Parking was at the top. And when the ED picked this building (she was hell bent on this specific building), I personally questioned the parking.  The plan she explained was to borrow spaces form the post office, that they were okay with us parking there outisde of business hours.

Anyone going to the old building in Dunwoody will see that the church there has total disregard for their neighbors.  The old building didn't even have enough spaces for staff.  People parked at the bank, Panera bread, etc.
 
The reason I am told they aren't paying me my money is that they don't have it.  If they can't process a simple repayment of $22k, how can they pay their monthly bills on the new building.  I see them getting into this new building, unable to pay staff or bills, and letting any maintenance on the place go.  It's going to ruin the look of the place and the neighborhood.

my two cents. 


Raven

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2009, 11:28 »
Welcome!  I'm thrilled you are here and will have a pile of questions for you!  I hope you won't mind.  Currently I'm off to read your story!

Offline mefree

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2009, 14:32 »
Wow! Welcome.

I have often wondered about their ability to pay monthly bills if they moved into that building.
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Offline SocialTransparency

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2009, 17:20 »
Hi,
I'm new here and have recently departed CO$.  I spent most of my time in was in Atlanta.   And I am admitting up front that I have a personal beef with them.  They owe me over $22k (read all about it www.powerandreligion.com) so take my thoughts under consideration. 

I was a member there when the whole ideal org thing started.  I was always vocal that the church could barely make their monthly bills so why in the world would they try to jump to a $10 mill facility...  kind of like moving from a doublewide to the taj mahal. 

It was intense and the constant harassment for money was unreal.  The committee would drop by my house at night unannounced (as many as 7 with one to babysit and 6 to beat me into submission). 

The parking issue was known from the beginning.  They did a survey of members to determine priorities.  Parking was at the top. And when the ED picked this building (she was hell bent on this specific building), I personally questioned the parking.  The plan she explained was to borrow spaces form the post office, that they were okay with us parking there outisde of business hours.

Anyone going to the old building in Dunwoody will see that the church there has total disregard for their neighbors.  The old building didn't even have enough spaces for staff.  People parked at the bank, Panera bread, etc.
 
The reason I am told they aren't paying me my money is that they don't have it.  If they can't process a simple repayment of $22k, how can they pay their monthly bills on the new building.  I see them getting into this new building, unable to pay staff or bills, and letting any maintenance on the place go.  It's going to ruin the look of the place and the neighborhood.

my two cents.
   Welcome to the board. I have soooo many questions. I would like to offer you a suggestion. As you may be more than aware, the so-called church is attempting to move into the roswell rd location. I hope you are also aware, the C of S of Ga has retained legal council in the form of one Mr. Woodson Galloway from the law firm, Dillard and Galloway of Atlanta Ga. The local C of S mission appears to have more than enough funds to hire legal representation in order to SWAY the city of Sandy Springs Ga city council and zoning board of commissioners.

  Time and again, Mr Woodson Galloway, on behalf of C of S of Ga has stated the so-called afore mentioned church is ready to pay out over 3.5 million dollars in improvements to the C of S of Ga property on roswell rd.

  Now i hear, from a YOU, a former member of the C of S of Ga , that you can not gain a refund????? This is very confusing. If YOU can not get a refund of $22,000 how can the C Of S of Ga have the ability to pay the law firm of  Dillard and Galloway to represent them on the Sandy Springs Zoning issue for the roswell rd property? Heck, Where is the THREE+ MILLION DOLLARS going to come from to improve the roswell rd location?

  After reading what you have posted on your website, i can only conclude something is very very wrong here. Has the C of S of Ga LIED to attorney Woodson Galloway? Has the C of S of Ga LIED to the CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR OF SANDY SPRINGS? Has the C of S of Ga LIED TO THE SANDY SPRINGS ZONING COMMISSION?

  How about the local business and home owners near the roswell rd property? HAS THE C of S of GA LIED TO THE LOCAL CITIZENS also?

  I would highly recommend you take your personal experience to date with the C of S of Ga DIRECTLY to the MAYOR and CITY COUNCIL members of Sandy Springs Ga. Here are their links.http://www.sandyspringsga.org/tPanel.aspx?P=EC3486BAFBEE4DA2B4667C27B63D0BCF   http://www.sandyspringsga.org/tPanelRelatedLinks.aspx?P=8AAAFA64412C40C09C62C2ED1FE94D89 

  Your personal experience would be of interest to all. Now, We keep hearing scientology will be a big + for Sandy Springs. But to read your experience puts this in a very different light entirely.

  If this church can not abide by its own rules or bylaws when it comes to one of its members or former members, one has to think twice in regards to how this church will treat local laws and the citizens within the community. Why don,t you drop attorney Woodson Galloway an EMAIL. Heres the link.   http://www.dillardgallowaylaw.com/

  Wonder how he would feel? He must be racking up a bunch of billable hours with the C of S of Ga and the Sandy Springs Ga zoning issue. While your @ it contact WSB channel 2 news in Atlanta. Heres the link  http://www.wsbtv.com/contact/index.html

  They have been covering the Sandy Springs scientology issue also.

  Now if i may ask, What made you break with the Atlanta scientology church? I see you moved to Clearwater. Have you completely broken with scientology? None of my business really, yet your website and statements leave more questions than answers. On another note. Have you thought about filing a lien against the C of S of ga?
« Last Edit: October 06, 2009, 17:33 by SocialTransparency »

Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2009, 18:50 »
Hello, Rooster56, and welcome to Reaching for the Tipping Point! 

Thank you for telling us your story, about your website, and about your experience with the Ideal Org in Atlanta.  As you've probably gathered from reading the site, we have been attending the rezoning meetings, and sending letters of opposition to the Sandy Springs government. 

I'm sorry to read that you donated to the building, which is, of course, "not refundable" (so they say) and that they will not return the money you have on account.  As you have discovered, you do not have to go through their formalities in order to get your refund (sorry, but the word "repayment" is just semantic wordgames).  You may need to get a lawyer to send a strongly worded letter, or a complaint to the right govt. agency may help.  I'll see if I can find out what agency that would be, since it doesn't sound like you have the money for a lawyer.  As SocialTransparency says, if they have the money to hire Woody Galloway to represent them in Sandy Springs, they can dig up the money to return to you - even if they have to reg the current members to get it!

It's interesting to me that your first exposure to scientology was the event in 1993 where it was announced that the tax exemption had been granted, because I was also at that event.  I had gone as a guest of a friend who had joined scientology.  He's disconnected from me now; you probably know him, but I'm not going to put his name on here.  You're welcome to PM me for his name, if you want to.  I didn't go to any other events, so you probably never met me, but you may have seen me, outside the org on Mt. Vernon Rd., protesting in the late 90s and early 2000s.

I'm sure I'll think of more questions too - it looks like you're going to be the most popular person on the forum  :D - but for now, I really only have one.  Whatever happened to Hugh Elliott?  Is he still a member?  (Ok, that's 2 questions, but they are related.)

Thanks again for the info.
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Offline Stutroup

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2009, 19:16 »
Rooster56:  Welcome to the outside! 

I'm glad for you.

Offline Mary_McConnell

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2009, 19:46 »
Hi Roster56,
I sent you 2 messages with information :)
Hang in there!
I am a volunteer advocate for victims of the Narconon scam. I am a former scientologist. I post anonymously. Mary McConnell is my long time nom de plume. Feel free to contact me for assistance in righting the wrongs.

Offline Alp

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2009, 20:03 »
Welcome to the site, Rooster! Sorry to hear about your hardship with the org. Hopefully the information that was sent to you from others will help you decide on what to do next.
Religion is free. Scientology is neither.

Offline notStacyBrooks

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2009, 09:18 »
Hi,
I'm new here and have recently departed CO$.  I spent most of my time in was in Atlanta.   And I am admitting up front that I have a personal beef with them.  They owe me over $22k (read all about it www.powerandreligion.com) so take my thoughts under consideration. 

I was a member there when the whole ideal org thing started.  I was always vocal that the church could barely make their monthly bills so why in the world would they try to jump to a $10 mill facility...  kind of like moving from a doublewide to the taj mahal. 

It was intense and the constant harassment for money was unreal.  The committee would drop by my house at night unannounced (as many as 7 with one to babysit and 6 to beat me into submission). 

The parking issue was known from the beginning.  They did a survey of members to determine priorities.  Parking was at the top. And when the ED picked this building (she was hell bent on this specific building), I personally questioned the parking.  The plan she explained was to borrow spaces form the post office, that they were okay with us parking there outisde of business hours.

Anyone going to the old building in Dunwoody will see that the church there has total disregard for their neighbors.  The old building didn't even have enough spaces for staff.  People parked at the bank, Panera bread, etc.
 
The reason I am told they aren't paying me my money is that they don't have it.  If they can't process a simple repayment of $22k, how can they pay their monthly bills on the new building.  I see them getting into this new building, unable to pay staff or bills, and letting any maintenance on the place go.  It's going to ruin the look of the place and the neighborhood.

my two cents.

Hi Rooster56,
Since you are having trouble getting your refund of money on account, I have an excellent suggestion.

There is a website called www.consumerist.com .

It's a VERY popular blog  that deals with consumer issues with companies.  Most companies usually job on issues posted there to resolve them since the website has such high visibility.

1st, take a look at some of the prior submissions to the consumerist to get a feel for the flavor of the website.  http://consumerist.com/tag/refunds/

2nd, type up your efforts to get your refund on the account and the stonewalling that has occurred.  Don't go into the other issues of you beef with Scientology.  Treat it like a lousy business that won't follow it's own refund policy.

If the editors post your story, it should not only give your issue the attention it needs, but it will also draw a lot of attention to a issue that several other former scientologists run into.

E-mail your story to tips@consumerist.com

Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2009, 20:41 »
Welcome to Reaching for the Tipping Point, notStacyBrooks.  Thanks for posting the tip for Rooster56.  I hope she'll get her money back soon.

I hope the real Stacy Brooks is doing well and having fun, where ever she is.  I liked her.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 20:44 by ethercat »
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2009, 16:10 »
Rooster56 must have gotten her refund, and agreed to quit making noise, because her site is mostly gone now.  Google cache still has the timeline, which I will paste in here (in three parts) to archive.

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:AMZKxvMONqEJ:www.powerandreligion.com/power_and_religion-timeline_2.html+timeline+site:powerandreligion.com&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Quote
Documentation of Attempts to Obtain Repayment from the Church of Scientology of GA

I have been attempting to obtain a repayment from the Church of Scientology of GA since August 03, 2009.   

Background:  I’ve been a member of the Church since 1993.  During that time, I have donated approximately $200,000 to various arms of the church, including SuperPower, The Atlanta Ideal Org, and the IAS Members Trust.

I have also contributed around $150,000 (rough guess) for services and products such as auditing (counseling), training, videos, audio programs, and books.

I currently have around $22,000 of this amount left on account in the Atlanta church.  This money has been in their control for up to 9 years (I paid into the account from 1994 to the present but the bulk of it was paid into the account beginning in 2000).   

However, the church in Atlanta was unable for 4-5 years to deliver the services purchased because they didn’t not have the qualified staff to perform the services.  In 2007, I filed a complaint (attachment 1) with the church regarding their inability to deliver the services.

Current Situation:  Since moving to Clearwater, FL last year, I have been unable to find work and desperately need the funds that are on account in Atlanta.  The church policy, as written by L Ron Hubbard, is that once these funds are requested, the refund is to be provided immediately and all future services should be denied to the member.   (Attachment 2)

In addition, in the agreement established by the Church with the IRS in the 90’s to gain church and tax-exemption status, the church indicated that these repayments would be made without special requirements or limits such as were required for true refunds where services had actually been delivered.  (Attachment 3)

The process began on August 3

I began the process of requesting this ”immediate repayment” on August 03 via a letter (thru email) sent to Karen Morris, who I believed to be the Executive Director of the Church.  She responded the same day that she was no longer the ED and had forwarded the letter on to the new ED, Kimberly Desormeaux.

8/3   Letter sent to Karen Morris requesting refund (at the time, I did not realize I was actually requesting a repayment as opposed to a refund).  In the letter, I conceded that I was willing to comply with the terms of the policy (no future services) and that I was sending a copy of the letter with signature and prepaid return overnight envelope that day.  I informed them that they should receive on 8/4 and use the enclosed envelope to send any documents and the check.  I further stated that I expected the check by 8/5.  I sent the hard copy of the message via UPS and included a prepaid UPS overnight return envelope for them to use in returning the check.

8/3    Email response received from Karen Morris, referring me to Kimberly Desormeaux.  Verbiage in her response indicated to me that she was no long able to communicate, associate, or have any contact with me.   I’m still not clear of my exact status but get the feeling that members in good standing are not allowed to communicate with me.

8/5   Since I had not heard back from Kimberly and there was no check delivered, I emailed her asking her to confirm that she had received the letter and further stated that I was still expecting the check since I hadn’t heard differently from her.

8/5   I received a response from Kimberly with nothing on it, i.e. she just hit the reply key without writing anything on it.   This further indicated to me that she had no intention to communicate with me.   However, there was no information forthcoming about who COULD communicate with me.  I did not receive the check.

8/6 – 8/12   Desperate, I sent daily messages to Kimberly asking her to please respond by just telling me who to go to.  No response.   I also sent a note to Flag asking for direction.  No response.  I have copies of all communication.

After 9 days, I was finally given a name to communicate with.

8/12   I contacted the org via phone on 8/12 and when I asked to speak with Kimberly, she relayed to the receptionist that I should speak with Doug Mackay.  Evidently, his role is “LRH Communicator”.  I left a message for him to call.

That evening, Kimberly responded to my latest email (sent prior to the call) with “As I have stated before….you need to speak with Doug MacKay”.  Anyone reading this unawares would think I had received communication from her previously.  In fact, the first time I had heard Doug’s name was that very day when I called the Atlanta Org and asked for Kimberly.  Rather than answer the phone, she told the receptionist (Susan Multz) to refer me to Doug.  To date, this was the very first communication from Ms. Desormeaux to me.

8/14   No call back so I called him on 8/14 in the evening.   He explains his role as being in charge of ‘salvaging spirits” or something of the sort.  I explained my request and then got roped into a hypothetical conversation about “what if the tech (Scientology) is true?”  The call went in circles.

I did learn from him that he only worked evenings so I would be careful in the future to contact him after 7 p.m.

I reiterated several times that I really needed the money right away.  At one point, he interrupted and said “I get it.  You really need the money. You’ve said it 3 times”

I finally agreed to follow a routing form in the Tampa Org or the Clearwater mission (churches here).  He agreed to call me as soon as he talked to them.

8/15, 8/16, 8/17,8/18, 8/19   No call back from repeated messages.  I don’t think he ‘got’ that I really need the money after all. 

8/17/09   I left two messages for Mr. MacKay to contact me.  No call back.  However, I did receive a call and voicemail from Mary Reiser, an established Scientologist in Atlanta.  Her message indicated that she had heard I “was in trouble” and she wanted to talk to me about it.  I sent her a message indicating that I would not be returning the call as I chose not to discuss this with anyone other than the person who could authorize the repayment.   I have a great deal of respect for Mary but did not want to delay the repayment process.

8/19/09  9pm     I finally raised Mr. MacKay on the phone.  I’m sure my frustration showed through.  I learned from him that there is no alternative to receiving a repayment.  I MUST follow the routing form.   This routing form dictates that I must go into an org here in Florida and meet with a round of people.  After completion of the form, I can receive the repayment.   I’m incredibly leery of this and very against it.  I will be outmanned, it will be time consuming and I’m sure it will be very stressful.     

I also have done quite a bit of research on this and found many who have obtained repayments without completing the routing form.

He indicated he was very busy and would not be able to handle my situation the following day, but he could get to it on the following day so I could contact him on Friday, 8/21.   I asked about his senior (superior) and his response was that he “didn’t have one”.

8/21/09       Left message for Mr. MacKay to contact me.  No return call.

8/22/09       Left message in the afternoon for Mr. MacKay to call me.  No return call.  Called again around 8 p.m.  Susan Multz answered the phone and indicated there was an event occurring at that moment at the church and I should try back an hour later.  I called back too late and the church was closed (no answering machine or voicemail).

8/23             No call back from Mr. MacKay

8/24            Attempted to contact the management office for the East US, hoping there was someone in that office with a similar title who could help me.  There is a person with the same title (LRH Communicator), Joan Stevens, but she was unavailable to talk to me.  I left my name and phone number asking for a call back.   I never heard back.

8/24          Attempted again to call Mr. MacKay in Atlanta.  He was unable to take the call.  I explained my frustration at the lack of response to Deb who answered the phone.  She promised to make sure that he knew I was waiting for his call.  I also asked for an email address for him and was told she did not think he had one.

8/26       Called and got Mr. MacKay on the phone.  He told me he was unavailable to talk at the moment but would call me back in 30 minutes.  I asked that he be sure and do that.  He reiterated again that he would.  I called again 90 minutes later and he was unavailable.  I told the receptionist that I would be waiting on his call.

He called me back some time later and told me he was making progress but needed 3 more affadavits to process the request. He assured me it was moving along.  He indicated that Thursday was generally chaotic but I could call on Friday for an update.

8/29                       I waited an extra day and called.  He was not available so I left a message.  No return call

8/31                       I called around 8pm and he was again unavailable.  I left a message.  No return call
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2009, 16:11 »
Part 2:

Quote
9/1                         I called at approximately 7:15 pm and he was in a meeting.  I left a message and made a note to mention that I had left 3-4 unreturned messages since Thursday of the previous week.  I told the receptionist (Sheila Ady) that I would be waiting for his call.

I called again just before 9:00 pm.  Again, he was unavailable.     I asked how late the office was open and was told everyone was around until 9:30.  I mentioned that I would call right before 9:30 p.m.

I called a third time at 9:24 p.m.   He came to the phone and told me he had mailed me the “routing form”.  I asked what I should do with it.  His response was that I would be taking it to a person to whom he would hopefully be able ready to refer me by the time I received the form in the mail.  He was unable to tell me who that person was or where that person worked.  Translation:  after 3 weeks of handling this cycle, he has no idea.

I reiterated my frustration and mentioned that I had been dealing with this for a month and was getting frustrated.  He pointed out that “frustration was not going to make it go any faster.”  I told him I was frustrated because of the lack of communication and returned calls and being ignored.  I never raised my voice, however, he responded with ‘if you’re not going to be civil, I’m not going to take your calls at all.”

I told him that the church was the most communicative organization in the world until it came to this issue.  His response was that “you’re speaking in generalities and you’re trying to make me wrong”.

At what point is it “Right” for him or anyone in the church to jerk someone around like this?

I ended the call by notifying him that the time had passed where I could trust that this was being handled responsibly.  I would be overnighting letters to Flag and to the Org in Atlanta on 9/2.  I’d be copying in each of the orgs on all documentation so that everyone could be on the same page.

Note:  During the week of 8/24, I also contacted the Tampa Church to try and get the ball rolling there.  Contrary to Mr. MacKay’s claims The LRH Communicator in that office was unaware of any conversations with him regarding having that office handle the issue as promised.

Summary:  Over the course of a month, I made more than 30 attempts to contact the Atlanta Org to get this handled.  Zero emails were returned.   Only once was a phone call returned and I was able to talk to a human being about the issue only four times in total. 

During only one of those calls do I feel that I was treated with respect.  Mr. MacKay’s manner and style was generally disrespectful and contentious.   It was never my desire for this to be less than amicable.  Nor do I feel that I was less than respectful to anyone there.  I don’t discount that I showed frustration, but it was more about trying not to beg or cry than about being angry.   Considering I have contributed in excess of $350,000 to the Church plus I’m a human being, I would expect a little more courtesy and consideration, even during a cycle that is as stressful and distasteful as this. 

I’ve included copies of every email I sent to Karen Morris and Kimberly Desormeaux regarding this matter.  I believe if you read them, you will see that my communications were civil, respectful and professional…if a bit forceful.

I have copies of the following that can be provided,

·         Statement showing a balance of $22,869.  The last services I used from the Church (on account) were in 2006 to the best of my knowledge.
·         All email and communication to the church and the email that Ms. Desormeaux replied to without writing anything.
·         Copy of the policy on refunds as written by L Ron Hubbard
·         Verbiage in the agreement between the Church and the IRS regarding refunds and repayments.

The process has clarified for me the desire to part ways with the Church.  I do not wish nor plan to participate in any future services, training or purchasing of materials.  So they need not be concerned.

I understand that it is standard (according to my research) for the church to require the person receiving the repayment/refund to sign a waiver.  I have no problem with a waiver that says I won’t sue them nor request other services.  I will sign only those documents blessed by an attorney, including agreements beyond what I’ve mentioned above.

 I would like direction on how to quickly resolve this issue with the Church.  I really need the funds and feel that, after 9 years in the church’s possession, I’m entitled to regain possession of them quickly and with minimal fuss.   My situation is dire: I’m unemployed, a single mom of a 9 year old and am desperate to pay the rent and bills.   

I recognize this is my issue and no one else’s fault.  However, I put this cycle off as long as I possibly could, looking for another option.  I never imagined it would be this difficult.   

I have also just begun the process of requesting funds on account at the Church’s Flag Service Org in Clearwater in the amount of $357.71.  I am trusting that the lesser amount will prove easier to obtain.

9/2/09 The above documentation  was mailed to all parties on September 02, 2009, along with individual letters, copies of emails and a cover letter.

 Cc: Honorable C.W. Bill Young, Florida

        House Committee on Ways and Means  (Congressmen Charles B. Rangel and Kendrick Meek)

        Chuck Tittle, Attorney -  deBeaubien, Knight, Simmons, Mantzaris & Neal, LLP

        Joan Stevens, LRH Communicator, Church of Scientology, East US

        Church of Scientology of GA , Treasury

   __________________________________ __________________

9/7/09 I was contacted by members of the Flag Chaplain’s office who indicated they were taking over the communication with regards to the repayment.  (I actually talked with them on 9/8).  Both of these individuals came to my home the evening of 9/8  to review the situation with me.  Sondra and Sasha (did not record their last names) have been to my house before and I felt comfortable with them taking over the process.

I reiterated the entire timeline and refrained from insulting or degrading the Atlanta group outside of stating the events as fairly as possible.   They were both polite and originated that Atlanta had not handled this correctly at all.  They asked several questions, showing concern that I had gone to the internet for answers; however, they indicated their understanding when I pointed out that there were no other options left to me since all my Scientology terminals had refused to communicate with me.

They also asked about the attorney and several questions about the sites I had visited on the internet.  They asked specifically if I had read the articles earlier in the summer in the St Pete Times about the church.   I answered all questions honestly and politely.

Sondra read a communication from the CS and offered to provide me auditing, free of charge to address bypassed charge, which the church determines as cause for upset such as mine.  I agreed to consider it.

I did consider it very carefully but determined that I just wanted this whole chapter behind me and to just move forward with the repayment.

9/14/09  Sondra contacted me the following Monday and I informed her of my decision. She informed me that she and Sasha would be returning that evening and would bring Sharon Forscher with them.  She described Sharon as the person with all of the answers on this issue.

They arrived that evening and Sharon’s key questions centered around “why I went to the internet”.  I answered her in the same way I had answered the previous week.  She again offered auditing and pushed me to reconsider.  Some of the thoughts she put forth were clearly there to make me “wrong”.

    * She indicated that the funds that had been spent for services were in fact, donations and they had been spent already.  The inference I got from this was that I was somehow being unethical by asking for their return.  My response to that was that a) if that was the intention of the church then it should not tell those purchasing services that they can receive a repayment on them.  And b) that Atlanta had had more than ample opportunity to use up the credits by providing the services they accepted the money for.  Had that happened, then I would not be asking for a repayment and likely would not be in the position I was currently in.
    * She indicated that the approval for the refund would come from LA but the money would actually come from Atlanta.  This is very concerning as Atlanta has proven to be highly non-responsive in this matter to date.

They again offered auditing and I agreed to consider it and contact Sondra the following day.  They agreed and left.  (The conversation went very long and this was the only way I felt I could get it to end.  It was clear to me that the entire visit was designed, not to assist with the repayment, but to change my mind.

9/15/09  I contacted Sondra to let her know I still wanted to continue with the repayment.   

9/16/09   I hadn’t talked directly with her so I contacted her again.  She indicated that there were documents en route from Mr. McKay in Atlanta and I should receive them shortly.   I would need to write out the statements listed on the routing form, sign them and get them notarized.

9/18/09    I notified her they had not arrived yet.

9/19/09     I again notified her they had not arrived.

9/21/09      I again notified her they had not arrived.

9/22/09       I again notified her they had not arrived.  She indicated that they had sent a telex to Atlanta for an update.

9/24/09       The documents had still not arrived which indicated that Doug McKay was treating the Flag staff to the same treatment he had served up to me.   I contacted Sondra and she indicated that she was now out of it and was establishing a comm line directly with Sharon.  She provided me with an email address for Sharon.  I was extremely concerned about this because I do not feel that Sharon is committed to assisting me in this matter.

9/25/09       I sent my first email to Sharon Forster indicating that the documents had not arrived.  I asked her to please respond with Mr. McKay’s response to her on this. I also asked for information on obtaining my refund from Flag.

9/26/09      The documents have still not arrived so I sent another email to Sharon, again asking her to respond with information.

9/28/09       Still no response from Ms. Forscher.  I again sent an email asking for an update and reiterating my concern that she was not responding.

I also attempted to contact Sondra again via phone to alert her to my frustration.  I was surprised to learn that her cell phone was “no longer in service”.  I then contacted Sasha and left that message on his cell phone.

9/28/09  I was able to raise Sasha later that evening.  He informed me that Sondra had been promoted which was why her cell had been disabled.  He told me that he had communicated the importance to Sharon of contacting me.  He felt comfortable that she would do so.  He assured me that there was no intention of anyone at Flag to ignore me.

9/29/09  Sent another email, this time practically begging for some assurances that the process was moving along.  Still no response.  It is pretty clear at this point, that Flag will now be handling this situation in the same manner Atlanta did.

9/29/09   Launched a website www.powerandreligion.com and began developing press and media campaign to drive hits to the site.

9/30/09  Still no response back .  I have decided that I will try going the route of blogging my dissatisfaction, hoping that the exposure will drive compliance.  I have begun blogging on sites around the web about the situation and directing viewers to the website.  Also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau Online.

9/30/09   Yet another email sent to Sharon Forscher indicating that I have not received the documents.  Nor has she responded to let me know how to collect the lodging money on account at Flag.
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2009, 16:11 »
Part 3

Quote
10/1   I have found sites 100% dedicated to assisting folks with getting their money back from Scientology.  This is evidence that this is a constant theme in the church.

Sent email to Sharon Forscher notifying her of steps taken so far and immediate future plans.  Also submitted complaint to the Florida State’s Attorney General (with regards to the small amount on account in Florida).  Currently working on Florida BBB .

10/2  Posted reviews on Scientology churches on 17 sites for multiple locations… am including Atlanta plus all entities  that I feel have contributed to, participated in or could bring pressure on the Church in Atlanta for this issue.   Filed complaint with BBB for Flag Service Org in Clearwater, and mailed documents to the GA AG’s Consumer Protection Board.     

Still no contact from Ms. Forscher or any other entity.      Have located a number of sites that discuss this issue and how this is standard protocol around the globe.  Found another site in Europe that addresses it.

10/3   Still no documents in the mail.  It has now been almost 3 weeks since Sondra told me they were already in the mail.  Sent another email to Sharon Forscher letting her know they did not arrive and asking for an update.

Posted reviews on a few more sites.

10/4     Today is Sunday so I didn't expect to receive anything in the mail.  However, there is something else I want to mention.  Someone took a bat or something like that to my mailbox last night.  I found it lying in the yard, smashed just enough to make it impossible to open or use again.  Not a big deal. Replacing it cost $8 and a few minutes of labor.   

I'm not going to speculate as to the source of this.  The reason I mention it here is that this type of vandalism has never happened to me before and if it continues, I WILL start drawing conclusions.     

10/5    Replaced mailbox, but still no documents in the mail from either Atlanta or Clearwater.   BBB of Clearwater originally declined to process Flag complaint, but after discussion, they agreed there was merit.  BBB sent complaint to Flag today.   Sent another email to Sharon Forscher lest she think I had forgotten her.

I have accumulated contact information for TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, neighborhood associations, and magazines in and around Atlanta and Sandy Springs.  Next step is to collate the packet that is to go to each of them.  I should have this out by week’s end.

Did not have time to post reviews today but will continue that Tuesday.

10/6   Again no documents and no response from Ms. Forscher.  I sent an email to her again asking for an update. 

Have been scouring the internet and posting reviews where ever possible.  I am learning a lot of stuff about the church.  It is heartbreaking.  I totally get why the church sends people to ethics for looking at the internet postings. 

There is so much out there and so much proof.  Sure, there are people with axes to grind (hey..I'm one them but I'm upfront about it), but the corraborations and proof out there are generally irrefutable. 

Still, I'm trying to stay totally focused on those areas I have personal experience.  That means staying on point about the repayment.

10/7   Yippee!  Website Hits doubled over a 24 hour period so I’m really making progress.   Posted reviews on several sites and have made contact with at least 30 people who are going through the same issue with the church.  I sent them templates for filing with their state’s atty general and BBB Online.  I plan to add a page to the site that provides step by step instructions on all the processes I have been forced to undertake.

Still no documents from Atlanta or contact from the church.  This is amazing since the Flag reps told me repeatedly that obtaining the refund for lodging on account there was a very quick and simple matter.  It is only $357.71 and they won’t even send me a very simple form.   You'd think they could at least send that much.

I sent another email to Sharon Forscher letting her know that I had not received the documents and asking for an update.  No response from her.

10/8 – 10/16  No documents arrived and there was no response from Sharon Forscher.  I’ve been working on additions to the site as well as posting around the internet.  I’ve also been learning much.   During that time, I sent a couple messages via email to Sharon Forscher  providing the same message as before.

10/16   Received notice from the BBB of GA that the organization there had failed to respond to their communication.  They further asked if I had received a response and if that response was acceptable.  I answered no to both questions.

10/17  A letter arrived via certified mail from Sarah Heller regarding my claims for lodging refund from Flag and regarding Ms. Forscher’s involvement.  She indicated that since I had made complaints (to the BBB), Ms. Forscher was stepping out of her role as intermediary with Atlanta.  (Her complete  lack of success in this role and refusal to communicate at all meant this was no loss).

The letter was accompanied by a “Release, Waiver, and Writ of Expulsion”.    The first line reads that “I have requested a repayment of donations I have made to Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc”  .  Further down, it states “I know and understand that as a condition of receiving the return of donations made to any COS that I will no longer be qualified to receive any or participate in any additional Scientology religious services, either religious training or auditing from or through any COS. “

This is all well and good…and I would definitely sign it if it had come from Atlanta, along with a check.  However, this refund was for accommodations and she stated herself in the accompanying letter, “A request for return of accommodations funds does not need to go through the Claims Verification Board as it is not a donation for services”. 

I accept and have no problem with expulsion or being declared.  However, I refuse to sign something that refers to these as donations (making them tax deductible) until I actually GET a repayment of donations.

10/18  I sent an email to Kimberly Desormeaux, the ED  in Atlanta referencing the letter from Flag and their directive to return to communicating directly with Atlanta.  I asked Kimberly to have Doug McKay communicate via email due to issues with phone communications in the past. She responded, apologizing for the breakdown and that she had directed him to begin emailing me.  She also mentioned that she had assumed that I already had the communication I was requesting.

She went on to say that the cycle was a shock to her and to suggest that I re-think the cycle.  I responded back that I was set on this course.  I had received the docs from Flag and only needed to get the Atlanta cycle closed.

10/20  I left a message for Ms. Heller (Legal Director) indicating such and asking her to rewrite the waiver. 

I also received a notice from the BBB of Florida indicating that Flag had responded to them regarding their response to my complaint.  They asked if it were acceptable.  My response was NO and I was clear on why it was unacceptable.

Received a call back from Ms. Heller agreeing to changes in those paragraphs.  The sent the new doc via email.  Once it is reviewed, we're good to go. 

Sent another note to Kimberly Desormeaux in Atlanta indicating that I had not heard from Doug MacKay, asking that she nudge him.

10/20 Kimberly Desormeaux responded that he had been out the night before but should in that night.

10/21   Still no response from Doug MacKay. 

10/22   Still no response from Doug MacKay in Atlanta.  And no documents yet.  I sent another email to Kimberly Desormeaux letting her know that he had not responded.   It’s now been 4 days since she told me she had forwarded the message to him to start communicating via email.

10/23   Kimberly Desormeaux responded back with an apology and promised she would get them and send them this evening.   This was the most positive response I had received.

10/26 I have not seen the documents but it is early yet so they may be on their way.  Concerning though that there was no response when I sent a request for confirmation that the documents had been sent out.

10/28     Still no documents.  I sent another email asking for an update.    Notified by the Better Business Bureau of Atlanta that the church there had failed to respond to any of their communications. 

I received a response from Kimberly Desormeaux  stating that Mr. MacKay had left me a message and had mailed the documents and I should have them by now.

10/29    Correction!  There was a voicemail on my cell phone from Doug MacKay.  It must have come in around Monday or so.  My phone screen is broken so I can't see anything on it.  He indicated he had placed the docs in the mail and I should have them shortly. 

10/29    As of today's mail, they have not arrived.  Sent another note to that effect.

10/30    Still no docs.  Sent another note asking for verification on address used.

10/31     Finally!  The two signed docs arrived.  Neither was more than a few lines long and both were signed by Kimberly Desormeaux on 9/24/09.   Someone has clearly sat on these for mroe than 5 weeks.  Also, the postmark on the envelope was 10/29 (Thursday...two days earlier).

11/01     I began the process of compiling the docs and notice I’m missing a few items.

11/02     I send a note to Kimberly Desormeaux listing the items I’m missing.  The routing form is 5 legal size pages long.   I state that we need to get this finished so I would like to drive to Atlanta this Thursday night, meet with them in the org on Friday to finalize all this.  No response back.

I also leave a message for Sascha in the Chaplain’s office at Flag mentioning that I need a signed statement from there on the actions they take.  I hate dragging him back into this but I have no choice.  Wonderful guy.  He dropped off the statement that evening, signed by Sharon Forscher, at my house.

11/3   No response on my request to finalize this in Atlanta on Thursday.  It is now Tuesday and I need to make plans.

11/4   No response again.  It is now Wednesday.   Sent a follow-up email asking again.

11/5   Still no response.     I don’t know what to think at this point.   I sent a followup email stating that I could still drive up on Friday and meet with her on Saturday.
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Raven

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2009, 16:15 »
hmmm hope she got what she needed.  It obvious it wasn't scientology lol

anyone get screen caps of this?


I'm also hoping it wasn't fair game that lead to her site going down.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2009, 16:18 by Raven »

Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2009, 16:16 »
More of the site:

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:5btDvWPNEJ0J:www.powerandreligion.com/fundraising_7.html+map+site:powerandreligion.com&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Quote
Note to File                       

Demme Wiggins

10/22/09

Subject:  Fundraising in Atlanta by the Church of Scientology

 

This is an attempt by me to document the unacceptable fundraising techniques employed by the Church of Scientology of GA, specifically the fundraising for their “New Ideal Org” (the new HQ in Sandy Springs).   

Before it was all over, I would have donated more than $117,000 toward Atlanta’s New Ideal Org.

·         High pressure fundraising

·         Frequent unannounced visits to my home by large groups of people

·         Pressure to max out credit cards, get new credit cards, and take out loans

·         Actions that conflicted with internal scientology policy

·         Being segregated from the audience at fundraisers and singled out for groups of 10 or more fundraisers to confront

·         Pressure to cash in assets, including 401k

·         Pressure to make short term (less than one month) loans to other members

·         Pressure to make long term loans of up to $50,000 to other members

 

These practices are not new, nor are they limited to a certain region or area of the organization.  Unfortunately, they persist because members truly do believe that lashing out at these practices (and the people who conduct them) or going public with their concerns puts their entire “eternity” into jeopardy.

Full Disclosure

The least amount of research on this will yield evidence that I have an axe to grind with Scientology in Atlanta.  I’ve always been upfront about that. The organization there owes me more than $20,000 and is refusing to even communicate with me regarding the matter.  Empty promises are the extent of what I have received.  To date, I have initiated almost 70 contacts (letters, email and phone calls) to try and get this handled.

These funds fall under a policy written by their leader and, by policy, are to be paid immediately.  This is not a refund; it is for money on account for services that I purchased but never received.  However, the Atlanta Org has managed to ignore the policy, Scientology’s agreement with the IRS in this matter and any form of ethics whatsoever in handling my request.

So yes, I have an axe.  However, I am including in this packet, not only clearly documented evidence that I am in the right on this matter; I’m also inclosing a document (Attachment 1B) that substantiates some of the content of this letter.

History:  Fundraising within the church is overzealous

I joined the church in 1994.  From the beginning, I rebelled at what I considered high-pressure fundraising techniques.  Multiple calls a day to get me to an event where I would be solicited for donations, uninvited and unwanted visitors to my home without warning, and any trip to the local organization, generally resulted in first, a briefing, and then a fundraising attempt. 

I despised every one of these.  For the past 14 years, I have monitored every phone call or allowed it to go to voicemail because I wanted to avoid these conversations.  I also refused to answer the door quite often.  Roommates, friends, and family who happened to be visiting when these calls and visits occurred can attest to what I say.

In 2005, the pressure to donate got exponentially more intense.  That is when the Atlanta group began their quest to build their new headquarters (their New Ideal Org).

Fundraising for this building went beyond acceptable limits.

It was clear from the start that this was not going to be a picnic.  The Atlanta organization simply did not have the membership to support this; certainly not the wealthy memberships that other organizations had.   In fact, this org struggled every week to meet its expenses.  And yet, they were charged with raising over $9million in less than 6-9 months.

This fundraising was driven by the International Association of Scientologists (mother church) and by a committee in Atlanta.  Several representatives from the International Association of Scientologists were assigned to Atlanta to drive this project.  Also, two big donors within the church, Matt Feshbach and Bob Duggan were sent in to headline events and assist in regging.

It was brutal to say the least.  So many members donated far beyond their means.

 I was approached early on and told my target for personal contribution was $100,000.

 I laughed.  There was no possible way I could achieve this.  I was a single mom and did not consider my job to be that stable.

Little did I know… They held event after event after event.  They dropped by my house and called daily.  In the fall of 2005, I was at Flag.  My cell rang constantly as did my room phone.  I ignored them both.  However, they called the front desk and had them send someone to my room to get me to answer the phone, even though it was past 10 pm at night.  When the call arrived, no less than 3 people took turns regging me, including a ‘public’ (Joel Benks, a dentist, who would go on to donate over $1 million).

In March of 2006, I learned that I was losing my job and would now be an unemployed single mom.  Adding to that, I was 49 years old and that would make it much harder to land another job.  On the up side, I felt the fundraising would ease off considering my new employment status.

 Yet the pressure did not stop; in fact, it heightened. At this point, I had already donated around $25k or so.  Right after I learned my job was ending, a major fundraising event was held.  Even more fundraisers from their Clearwater, Los Angeles and New York offices were deployed to Atlanta to work the event.   Bob Duggan was one of the headliners.

During this event, I was pulled into a separate room 3 times that had at least 10 other fundraisers, including those from outside Atlanta, seated around a conference table.   The fundraisers included several of the local fundraisers (Janet Lehmann, Diane Seidule, and Mary Reiser, Kevin Seidule), 4 or 5 who had been assigned from Clearwater, New York, and Los Angeles.  And Bob Duggan.

One by one, they piled on the pressure.  I remember this distinctly; they were all seated while I stood at attention at the end of the table.

By the end of the 3rd meeting (the fundraiser went until past midnight), I had agreed to bring my contribution up to $100,000.  I was furious with myself immediately, but the damage was done. 

At least, I felt that I was now done and they would look elsewhere for contributions.  Not so.

Over the course of the next few months, I was repeatedly approached to “go to my next level”.   My claims of no money resulted in them insisting on “helping me with my finances”.  They arrived en mass (at least 4-5 people), uninvited and unannounced at my home to review all my income and expenses with me.   No matter how much I insisted that this would not change things (that I was not going to donate any more), they determinedly asked questions until I answered.  They stayed until well past midnight when I got mean and kicked them out.

When that did not get them the result they wanted, they recruited Matt Feshbach (successful business man and investor) to contact me.   I had mentioned that I needed to evaluate my assets and consider some investments.  They told me he had agreed to help me with that.  Considering his success, I was impressed with his willingness to help me out.  However, when he called, he told me that the fundraisers had told him I needed help in figuring out how to make further donations and that was why he was calling.  In frustration, I informed him that the fundraisers were playing us both.  Following this, he abruptly ended the call.  Clearly he had no intention of assisting me with anything other than donating more money.

I begged them to stop the ‘regging’ (constant calls, visits, etc).  24 hours later, I was asked to loan $50k to another member.

During this time, I was supposed to be taking a course in the local organization.  However, I was so frequently waylaid there for more fundraising, that I stopped going altogether.   I dropped out of my course.

I was so frustrated with the whole scenario that one afternoon I walked into the org, and asked to speak with Diane Seidule (a fundraiser).  I told her that I was so frustrated and stressed out over the fundraising and continually being pressured for money that I couldn’t sleep and was afraid to even come in the building.  She acknowledged my concern and said she understood.  I thought that meant she understood and that they would back off.

Wrong.  Just over 24 hours later, she herself approached me about loaning $50k to another member, a local CPA who had far better earning potential than I did. Evidently, he was trying to get his contribution up to $1 million.   However, he had already maxed out his own credit cards and taken sizeable loans so I was in better shape, at least temporarily, than him.  I declined very firmly.

And yet they continued making calls for me to come in, to have another “briefing”.  And they continued to drop by my house.  One Sunday afternoon, three fundraisers dropped by to ask me to make a medium-term loan to another member for a substantial amount of money ($20K).

They were offended when I lost my control.

And they continued to harass me in the org.  I finally lost my control during one such meeting.   I told them flat out…”no more money!”, that I could not help them, that I was struggling and had no job.  They then offered to “help me” to figure it out.  I declined and very rudely told them not to help me, that every time they helped me, I got deeper into debt.  I didn’t need their version of assistance.  They were very offended at this.  I remember that Mary Reiser specifically told me she was offended.

There was continual pressure to max out all credit cards, take out new credit cards (then max them out), and cash in assets (insurance policies, stocks, bonds, 401k), and take out loans.  In fact, there were people designated as experts to counsel people on how / where to obtain these loans and credit cards.

I personally know folks who maxed out credit cards, then got new credit cards to donate even more.  I also know people who took out loans to make these donations.  By their own count, Atlanta only has a few hundred active members.  Yet they collected somewhere between $8 and $9 million in less than 18 months.  One guy donated $1million but I believe that was a huge stretch for him.

I believe they found in excess of 30 people to donate more than $100,000. I’m positive there weren’t 20 people in the org who could truly afford that.  It was done through credit cards, and more credit cards and fat loans.

I know because I was one of these people.  I was encouraged repeatedly by the fundraising committee to take out loans and max out credit cards.

The fundraising committee even had specific people in the org who would counsel people on where to go to get the credit cards and loans.   If a survey were taken of the big donors, you would find many people who came out of the fundraising in 2006 and 2007 with new loans and credit cards from the Pentagon Federal Credit Union as this was the number one choice of the experts assigned to help people obtain these loans.  I was routed to Jeff Multz, a local businessman, who directed me to  PFCU and what type of loan to request as well as which type of credit card to apply for.

I was continually pressured by groups of fundraisers to donate more and more, cash in my 401k and make loans to other members; both big and small.   

Another time I declined when I was asked to cash in my 401K and loan the money to another parishioner.  The worst part of this was that he was told I was actually going to do it (even though I had never agreed), making things very awkward between us when I decided against it.

One thing I must mention here is how slickly this part was handled.  According to church regulations, church staff is not allowed to ask one member to make loans to another so that they can make contributions.  I guess that practice would look bad if word of it got out.

Therefore, only non-staff members on the fundraising committee (Diane Seidule, Mary Reiser  or Janet Lehmann normally) would press a member to do the loans for someone else.  The staff members were always careful to leave the room (plausible deniability) before this push was made.

Most of these loans were short term.  The member who wanted to donate was generally in a position where they needed an extra month past when their cc payment was due.  So the fundraisers would locate someone else to charge their own card.  A local businessman, George Clark, CPA, would act as the merchant and process the charge.  He would then issue a check to the church for the amount of the charge.  A month later when the cc payment was due, the fundraiser would have the donor’s cc charged by George Clark.  This time a check would be issued to the lender for use in paying their credit card.  The donor’s credit card would also be charged for both merchant fees that occurred during the two transactions.

There were occasions when the funds or the loan the original donor was expecting did not come through.  When that happened, yet another parishioner would be approached to loan the money to the first lender so that he/she could pay their cc bill.  Then the original donor would be expected to ultimately pay the 3 parishioner and 3 merchant fees.

These fundraisers always promised to be the go-between so the lender did not have to do collections.

Unfortunately, it did not always work out this way.  There were a couple instances where the entire fundraising committee was in Florida when the loans were due (credit card payments were due).  That left me to do my own collections.  I ended up having to asking for extensions and being late with my payments because obviously the borrower did not take it as seriously as I did.

I got into the habit of hiding out in my own house to avoid uninvited guests dropping by to fundraise me.

Groups of 5-7 people would, uninvited, drop by my house constantly to push for more donations.  One was always allocated to babysit so the rest could work me.  They generally stayed well into the night, until I kicked them out.   I had to resort to turning off all lights early, retiring to the back of the house and ignoring the doorbell.  I also took care to be away from home as much as possible on the weekends.

The group became very propitious as the fundraising continued.  Three times, they arrived at my door with a very large framed certificate announcing my humanitarian status.  When I moved, I ended up trashing 2 of these.  They also arrived with roses, framed pics, awards, certificates, you name it.  I believe their intent was to ‘raise the affinity” level with me so that I would feel compelled to donate more.

This was especially embarrassing when they would drop by while I had guests.  Even then, they would want to pull me away and talk.  Since I had a nanny and her daughter living with me, there is someone who can substantiate these claims.

Complaint filed….and ignored.

I was so disgusted by these (in my opinion) predatory tactics that I filed a complaint with the church regarding them in the fall of 2007.  That complaint is attachment 1B.  (1A is another complaint relating to my repayment request).   I handed this knowledge report, along with another, to Mary Reiser on Sunday evening, October 21, 2007.

I wish now that I had added to the complaint the zealousness and pressure they wielded to get their donations.  However, I really thought doing that would get me in trouble with ethics.  It would also have forced a bigger rift between the fundraisers (who generally were people I liked) and me.

 It took two years for anyone inside Scientology to acknowledge even having read this complaint (note that they only acknowledged the complaint…they never condemned the practice) and to date, it has never been acknowledged by anyone from the group in Atlanta.   Therefore, I can only surmise these practices are sanctioned by organized Scientology as a whole. 
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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2009, 16:18 »
More: http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:Lk-NHqjA6noJ:www.powerandreligion.com/power_and_religion-my_story_3.html+map+site:powerandreligion.com&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Quote
My Story

    I’ve always been fascinated by religion.  Looking back, I probably should have gone to college and studied theology as a kid.  Quite honestly, I had a lot of questions about God, but was even more curious about finding a belief system that I could believe without question.  I was fascinated with the impact on entire societies of some of these belief systems. 

    It dumbfounded me that people structured their lives around them, that some were willing to go to jail for them, that people were able to justify war and terrorism or believe seemingly incredible stories because of their belief systems.   I was fascinated because I wasn’t this passionate about anything.   But I wanted to be.

    Maybe, if I had taken academic courses in religion, I could have gotten it out of my system or at least channeled it correctly.  But I never did.  I chose another path…one that would provide me with lots of experiences but create some problems.

    I was raised in a small Baptist church in NC; in fact I was almost a charter member.  My father had been childhood friends with the preacher so when my father was saved, my parents chose to attend his friend’s church. 

    I also studied and/or attended Latter Day Saints (Mormon), Catholic, and Transcendental Meditation before taking up Scientology.

    Scientology

    I was traveling constantly (international and domestic) and dealing with very stressful projects.  I was lying awake one night and saw a commercial for Dianetics (Scientology).   It sounded good so I called the number.

    That’s when things got interesting.

    They referred me to a number at the local church.  I called it the next day and agreed to attend an event that weekend.  This was October 1993.  The event that was to become my first exposure to the church, was the one where they announced that the IRS had finally granted them “church and tax-exempt” status. 

    I sat in a dark room watching a live video feed from Los Angeles while their leader, David Miscavige told a long involved story of the group’s quest for this acknowledgement.  The story included tales of government manipulation and spies sent to sabotage the church, government theft of private documents. Even murder.  Of countless instances of harassment of members.  And of course, all about the valiant fight by Scientologists everywhere to win “the war”.

    I have to say that I immediately thought they were all nuts.  I have no excuse for not walking away right then.  But they looked like such normal people and there was so much applause and celebration, I figured there must be something to it. I remember thinking “I wish I could believe in something this strongly" and "maybe I could really belong here”.  So I showed up at their local org on the following Monday to take some of their ‘auditing’ (their version of counseling).

    It was all low key for a while.  The type of auditing I took was the inexpensive kind so I didn’t immediately see the big money suction that I had heard about.  And it was very easy to look at their bookstore and see the hundreds of books L. Ron Hubbard had written and think that they really had the answers.

    Without ever consciously making a decision, I was a member… but only because members get discounts on their training.  I was careful to tell them that I didn’t necessarily believe all the stuff I was learning.  They just told me that was okay ….to keep at it.  So I did.

    It wasn't all bad

    There were many things I liked and that I felt made sense. 

    ·         I took some of their expensive auditing and found it did help with the stress and depression.

    ·         They assured me that it was okay to still follow mainstream  religion along with Scientology.  Since they took no stance on God (only the individual spirit), it was totally acceptable to attend a church that guided my belief in that area.  While I was to find that it was rare for a member to attend other churches, it gave me comfort to know it was acceptable.   Since leaving the church I have seen a tape where LRH states that Jesus Christ never existed.

    ·         This church took no position on casual sex or swearing and even felt it was okay to drink occasionally.  My inner voice was screaming “Yeah!”

    ·         Lying was allowed as their “ethics code” merely stated “no harmful lies” and that was left to interpretation.

    ·         Their study technology is good stuff.

    ·         They take a unique approach to victim mentality.   While I question the basis of their PTS technology, their approach to it is generally productive.

    ·       There was so much to learn; so much to study.  It fed my lifelong fascination for studying religion and belief systems.

They tout themselves as the most ethical group on the planet.  And they really believe it.   They have many policies and bulletins and books and cds and videos on the subject.   

    Over the course of the next 15 plus years, I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the church.  This group is tenacious about “regging” (soliciting) for donations… even pushing members to get loans to make large donations.  I was once encouraged to loan $50,000 to another member who had maxed out his own credit sources so he could continue donating.  I felt sure this was not acceptable so I completed and submitted a ‘knowledge report” (complaint) to the Church.  Nothing ever came of it and the practice continued so I assume the church condones it.

    I donated almost $200,000 for various causes and groups and purchased upwards of $150,000 in services (auditing, training, materials).

    I still didn’t necessarily agree with some of their premises, but then I never felt like I HAD to believe everything.  They make it very easy to justify staying in.  And they had some great theories, logics and explanations for so many things.

    Still, I stayed at the perimeters, never really embracing the group.  Later, when I was making the decision to leave, I realized that, after 15 years of being a member, I hadn’t once made a single friend there that I would consider calling up for lunch.  So while I studied it and absorbed it, I never became a part of it.

    And eventually I tired of studying it.  The constant hounding for money had always ticked me off.  I had taken to turning off all lights in the evening and retiring with my daughter to the back of the house in case people dropped by to “brief” me.  (Briefing is always a prelude to being regged for donations.)  Amazingly, they usually came to the door anyway, uncaring that they may be waking me up.  In those cases, I ignored the doorbell.  I remember once being in the kitchen with my daughter when I heard the doorbell ring.  I grabbed the kid and pulled her into the laundry room so they would think we weren’t home.   

    The fundraising for their Ideal Org broke me.  In my opinion, it was clearly predatory in nature.

    One of the primary reasons I didn’t make a lot of friends was I didn’t want anyone who might be out ‘regging’ for money to consider me their fall back.  In fact, I would characterize my relationship with many of the local Atlanta staff as adversarial; I refused to return phone calls or emails since they were always church members regging for donations or encouraging me to attend “briefings” (a way to get you into the church so they could reg you).   

    I’m sure people find it strange that I moved to Clearwater, the mecca of Scientology after I had made a decision to cease activities in the church.  I moved here for one reason only…to put my daughter into Delphi Academy, a Scientology school and to allow her to audit at Mace-Kingsley.   

    When I moved to this area, I was very clear with everyone that I was moving here to put my daughter into Delphi; not to “continue up the bridge” as they called it.  I had all but stopped that in 2006.

    I had mentally made a decision to halt all Scientology with the exceptions of an extension course for myself and education and some auditing for my daughter.  Delphi Academy truly worked wonders with Sasha.  She was adopted from Bulgaria at age 4 and had really struggled with learning English and advancing in school.  In a year and a half, Delphi moved her from being a 1st grader (held back a year already) who was still struggling…to a fourth grader who is operating well in her class.  (she just started public school).

    Things came to a boil when I started struggling financially and decided I needed to take steps to cash out my account at the church.  There was $22k on account for auditing.  The Church in GA had been unable to deliver auditing to me for a 5 year period because they did not have an auditor that could audit at the level I needed. 

    I contacted the church in GA and asked them to forward the funds.  I learned I couldn’t do that without being labeled an SP (Suppressive Person..the worst possible moniker the church can give a person) and being expelled from the church.     

    That is when this saga began.   
« Last Edit: November 19, 2009, 16:29 by ethercat »
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2009, 16:20 »
More: http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:_qHEPmlTTBcJ:www.powerandreligion.com/complaints_6.html+map+site:powerandreligion.com&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Quote
Complaints

The following was filed in October of2007 and given to Mary Reiser in the Atlanta Org. 


Knowledge Report

Filed by:  Demme Wiggins             Filed on: 10/21/2007

Regards to:  Fundraising for the Ideal Org.

 

This Knowledge Report is late.  It should have been filed in the fall of 2006.   It is out-ethics for me that I did not file it right away.

 

For purposes of this report, the following explains the participants

First Parishioner – The parishioner putting a donation charge on their credit card so that a second parishioner could make a donation prior to actually having the funds

Second Parishioner - The parishioner wishing to make the donation but not having the funds available right away nor having the available credit to charge the donation.

Third Parishioner – one or more parishioners asked to put through a charge on their credit card to cover an extended period when the second parishioner was unable to obtain the loan they expected and the payment was due on the first parishioner’s card. .

Fourth Parishioner – The parishioner whose company merchant account was used to process all of these charges

 

Situation 1

Throughout 2006, parishioners were repeatedly asked for donations to the Ideal Org.  This was, for the most part, acceptable, although it was continuous and taxing.   In addition, members of the fund-raising committee repeatedly asked parishioners to make loans to other parishioners.

 

    * The request was always made by a non-staff member, generally Diane Seidule and Janet Lehmann.
    * These were generally short term loans, i.e. placing the charge on a credit card to give the second parishioner time to accumulate the funds or obtain a loan.
    * In some cases, if the second parishioner did not get the loan they were requesting (or otherwise had problems), the funds were charged against a third parishioner’s credit card (via a fourth parishioner’s company merchant account).  The second parishioner would pay the merchant fee to the fourth parishioner.
    * I allowed these charges to occur on my credit card 4 times during the summer of 2006.  I was uncomfortable with this practice but agreed because one of the fundraisers committed that she would handle everything and I would not need to worry about this, and that the payments would come in well in advance of the required payment date on the credit card.
    * Two of these transactions were handled seamlessly with no problems.
    * For the other two, both Diane and Janet left for FLAG and I was left to handle the transactions myself.  I was requested on one to call and get an extension from the credit card company which I did.  The final one was a big problem for me.  The second parishioner contacted me asking me to call for an extension.  I did so.  He then asked that I agree to allow the payment to go through 30 days late since he did not yet have the funds.  His contention was that as long as it was paid within 30 days, the credit card company was okay.  I declined and insisted on payment as soon as possible.  By the time I was paid and the check cleared my bank account, I was late in paying this bill for the first time ever on this credit card and the first time late on any card in over 20 years. 

 

I believe this was considered justified since any staff members (both local org staff and those who were here from outside of Atlanta) were careful to not be present when the request was made.

 

Situation Two

Sometime in the spring of 2006, I was working with Mary Reiser to write an Admin Scale.  I was leaving my job and would be on the job market for the first time in 30 years.  During this time, I was asked by several fundraisers to a) cash in my 401K and loan the money to a second parishioner or b) take a loan against the 401K and loan that money to the second parishioner.

 

I did not feel comfortable with this and asked for time to consider the request.  During that time, someone told the second parishioner that I was planning (or at least considering) to loan this money to him.  I determined that I could not do this, but was very uncomfortable around the second parishioner for quite a while since I was declining to so this when he had thought I was going to do it.  When I raised this as an issue, Mary indicated that she was the responsible party.

 

Situation Three

Due to the pressure of the fundraising and the continual requests, phone calls, expectations of participation in events and uninvited guests stopping by my house (and staying for several hours at a time), I found myself unwilling to even go on course for fear of being cornered for more reg’ing.

 

Considering this was not the right answer, I approached Diane Seidule (I believe in October of 2006) and explained that I was in a very tight financial position and simply could not handle any more reg’ing.  She indicated she understood and that it was okay.  I left very relieved that she understood and the situation seemed handled.  However, the next evening following course, she approached me and asked me to loan a second parishioner as much as $50,000.  I was stunned.  Since making loans for a 30 day credit card cycle were problematic for me and I was in a very tight financial situation, I certainly was not going to make a loan of that amount

 

Follow-up

I do not know if these practices are continuing in recent efforts to solicit funds for the Ideal Org.

 

Summary

I do not, in fact, know if these practices are allowed in fundraising.  However, I strongly believe that if a practice is deemed unacceptable by a staff member, then having a non-staff member do the action is not acceptable either.  The non-staff members were, in fact, representing the Church’s interests and should be bound by the same rules.

 

It is important to note that I hold all three of these fundraisers in high esteem.  Diane was my daughter’s auditor and taught me much about raising my child as a Scientologist.  Mary has been an unwavering support for me while I have been unemployed and is the Scientologist I think most highly of.  Janet does a good job as OT Ambassador.

 



The following was filed in October 2007 and given to Mary Reiser

Knowledge Report

 

Filed by:          Demme Wiggins

Filed on:          October 21, 2007

 

Regards:          Lack of adequate Auditor staff in Atlanta Org.

 

This Knowledge Report is late.  It should have been filed by 2003 at the latest and filed again and again until the situation was rectified.

 

I began Professional Auditing in earnest the Spring/Summer of 2000.  I continued auditing (with Tracy Reynolds) until the Fall of 2002.

 

I did the initial intro to NED in the winter of 2003.  I then developed problems in ‘metabolizing’ (I think that is the right term).  I had several sessions week after week that did not occur because of the physical issue.  I elected to stop auditing and work on the physical to fix the problem.

 

Tracy has since left staff.  She was the only auditor qualified to audit NED.

 

I have repeatedly asked about this situation and reiterated the importance of getting someone on staff to audit a growing number of people who are lining up for NED auditing.

 

Each time I have asked over the past 3 years, I have been told that the situation should be rectified soon; that “Fred just has one more course to take” or “Fred will need to go to another org to complete this cycle and we are working on it”.  There has been a never ending list of ‘just hold on’ responses over the course of these 3 years.

 

I have had this auditing paid and on account since 2000 and think the ORG has more than failed to live up to its end of the bargain; not just for me but for every PC who is waiting or has given up and gone to FLAG or elsewhere for auditing.

 

It should be noted that it is not possible, either in time or finances, for me to go to FLAG or another org for this auditing.

 

I do not believe that we can deliver on the promise of an Ideal Org without multiple Auditors on staff in Atlanta.  I know from reading printed materials that there are actually missions that have trained Auditors on staff that can audit NED.  This is the Central Org for a large number of states in the South US and we do not have a single Auditor who can audit a PC to Clear.  And we have been in this situation for at least 3 years.   

 

This is not acceptable.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2009, 16:31 by ethercat »
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2009, 16:22 »
More: http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:Lk-NHqjA6noJ:www.powerandreligion.com/power_and_religion-my_story_3.html+map+site:powerandreligion.com&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Quote
Welcome Page
Scientology and Ethics

I'm poor.  I'm desperate.  I have a child to feed.  I really need the money Scientology owes me.

I'm an older single mom who spent 16 years in Scientology.  I have $22,000 on account in the Atlanta church.  I have been attempting to close out that account for months.  While they don't deny they owe me the money, they have stonewalled me, and treated me rudely and insolently.   

I believe this behavior is condoned by the Church of Scientology.  This pattern of response to repayment requests is rampant in the the church.   So rampant there are numerous websites focused on this issue.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2009, 16:28 by ethercat »
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Re: Sandy Springs: More about Ideal Orgs
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2009, 16:26 »
And more: http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:EdWDcwZo478J:www.powerandreligion.com/power_and_religion-constant_theme_4.html+map+site:powerandreligion.com&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Quote
Constant Theme

This is not the only site focused on this issue.

Scientology Payback   and   Refund and Reparation, along with many forums/boards for exScientologists  are either completely or in part, out there to help with this issue.  This fact alone proves the point that refusing or stalling on refunds is a sanctioned practice in the Church. 

Before continuing, here are a few more sites.

Getting a Refund From Scientology
What Scientology Won't Tell You
Ask The Scientologist
How to Refund Your Money From the Church of Scientology
Ex-Scientologists Speak Up (story after story after story)
One Person's Story

The difference between refunds and repayments within Scientology

Before I start down this path, let me say that there is a difference between a refund and a repayment.  A refund is a request for the return of money that has been used for services.  I consider that to be unethical, even if you do not like the outcome.

I found instances where people paid for auditing, were declared “clear” and then later found to not be clear.  Even though I consider the church should have provided free auditing to the person to correct this, I don’t believe refunds are due.  The person received services and gains and therefore the church deserves to keep the money.

The Bank of Scientology

My issue is only with those monies paid on account but never used.  Each Scientologist has an account with their local org/church and often with other organizations as well.  They pay into it to purchase services.  They often plop down large sums of money for intensives (block of 12.5 hours) of auditing and there are generally discounts for volume purchases.

It is pretty common for “auditing to clear” to take as much as $100,000 or more.  So buying in volume makes sense….as long as you can get the services in a timely manner.

 The real problem  is that the local church receiving the money does not put it into escrow until they are used, which would be expected and demanded in the real world.  They use the funds immediately to pay their expenses. 

Therefore, when a parishioner asks for a repayment, the only way the local church can comply is to bring in more money from their congregation.   

I would say that the Church is sitting on millions of dollars of these funds but that wouldn’t really be true.  The money retained by the local church is used immediately, minus any funds or fees forwarded to other organizations, like IAS, CCHR, etc.  So while I have not received any services for the funds on account, those monies have either been used or effectively laundered within the church.

The crux of my issue therefore, is that any repayment must come from the Atlanta church and they are likely crying “poor”.  This is in spite of the fact that they have collected upwards of 8 milllion dollars for their new “ideal org”.   

What I found astounded me.

When I first started this process, I had no beef with the Church of Scientology and naively expected to get my money right away.  When I started to realize they were ignoring me, I got really concerned. I was desperate for information.

So I went to the internet for any information I could find on the process.  I opened a browser and typed the words “Scientology Repayments”.

What I found astounded me.

Not only was the behavior I was seeing in the Atlanta church for real, it was standard protocol across the entire church.

Now I know that seems like a sweeping statement.  However, in researching this on the internet, a few things became very clear.

·         The vast majority of the people I found with similar stories had no axe to grind with the church.  In fact, I estimate that a very small percentage were willing to speak up against the church on this matter.  And for a very understandable reason.  Most said that the stress of going through months, even years of haggling with the church was not worth it for them.

·         Most (including myself) feel that many of the Church practices are valid and generate desired results.  I found many, many who had no problem with the doctrine, just with the Church application of it.

·         Most of those who do speak up are very nervous about reprisals from the church.  I must admit that I, myself, chose a very unusual screen name when posting because I did not want to be found out by the church.

·         Another reason that jumped out at me was that many were too embarrassed about having dedicated so much of their lives to this group.  Now they just wanted to disappear.

·         This situation is occurring all over the globe with Scientology, leading me to conclude the response, even though it is in direct violation of LRH policy, is sanctioned by the Church of Scientology as a whole.

·         Of the stories I read, the delays in receiving funds ran from 4 months to years.  How can this organization refer to itself as "the most ethical organization on the planet?".   In this situation at least, they do not have even a passing relationship with ethics or morals. 

I'm now changing the ending on this page.  I originally stated that I thought L. Ron Hubbard was brilliant and could have been one of the great ones, but the church was the problem. 

However, I've had to rethink this in light of the data that is coming my way.  There are too many questions unanswered, too many conflicting stories, too many blatant problems.  I now have questions about his theories (particularly those he developed later in life), his death, his involvement with questionable activities, and and the numerable apparent cover-ups. 

I'm considering all the data I can find, and trying to be fair; I'll let you know when my conclusions are drawn.
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