Scientology With(out) an End
Win, it doesn't matter how, the key positions, the positionL. Ron Hubbard 1
as chairwoman of the Ladies' Club, as personnel chief
of a company, as director of a good orchestra, as secretary
of the director, as advisor to the union -- any key positions.
Behind the polished facade of today's business world lies hidden a cutthroat world of avarice, dishonesty and confusion.
This sentence introduces WISE, the Commerce Department of the Scientology Church, in one of its glossy brochures.
Did I say Commerce Department? WISE stands for "World Institute of Scientology Enterprises."
[WISE is] an organization, consisting of members which have the objective of extensively spreading the administrative technology of L. Ron Hubbard, as well as a maintaining a high standard of ethics and integrity among business people, in which the ethical principles, codes and fundamentals of the Scientology religion will eventually be introduced into all of society.
When we look at the organizational chart of Scientology, then we find, on the highest level of administration, the Watchdog Committee, which is designated as the highest church administration authority, and that WISE is equally situated with, among others, the Scientology churches.
By its own description of itself, WISE is an integral component of Scientology, and just as important as the "churches" and "missions." WISE members, who do not follow the instructions from WISE, can actually be excommunicated from the Scientology Church.
In this way the Scientologist, whether he wants it or not, comes into a fatal dependency: "When you do not follow the instructions of WISE in your company, then you are risking your eternity, because we can shut you out of the Church." Or, as the former Chief of WISE International, the ruling German in Los Angeles, Sabine Peschken, said to me personally a few years ago, "Your future is at stake!"
To my knowledge, WISE is not an original idea of L. Ron Hubbard. In a letter of February 1, 1979, Hubbard wrote to the apparently newly-founded corporation:
I am extremely pleased about the goals and intentions of WISE
I have provided management counseling services for many Scientologists with companies or careers. They asked me to advise them using the unadulterated application of my administration technology, so that they could increase their success rate.
These clients, Scientologists, are all potential WISE members.
At the time it had to do with bringing about a internal starting point outside of the "church," so that they could use the Hubbard writings for their company and obtain business consultation.
Then it was apparently quickly realized that by a "secularization" of the "religious" Hubbard writings, an as yet completely untouched source of financial potential could be tapped: commerce as a whole.
The WISE Policy Letter No. 1 of 1986 explains one of the goals of WISE: "TO BRING THE ADMINISTRATIVE TECHNOLOGY OF L. RON HUBBARD INTO EVERY BUSINESS IN THE WORLD." In its inception WISE was not at all concerned with the spread of Hubbard's intellectual property in the general economy. It was much more concerned only with Scientologists as potential customers.
In the course of the years there have been several types of membership. Until about 1990, fees based on targeted income were charged directly by WISE for the permission to use certain documents of Hubbard's in the commercial consultant business. Then these systems would be, as told by a WISE member over the phone, converted for tax purposes. How the system functions today is discussed in this chapter. Anybody can get simple membership in WISE, even non-Scientologists 2. That is also good for WISE, because a simple membership brings in $300 a year.
A company membership costs $1,500 per year. Company membership must be a association of consultants that sells Hubbard-based know-how to businesses for remuneration.
There are even higher memberships, for example the "Membership in the Board of Management." This costs $36,000 per year and is "suitable for those who work to strategically introduce the administrative technology of L. Ron Hubbard into the top companies of their country, unions, communities, areas and governments."
One such wording makes it clear that the official Scientology intention is to push Scientology even to the topmost governmental positions.
If this does not succeed under the flag of religion, then it will be pursued on the commercial stage.
Whoever attains company or business membership must sign yet another licensing agreement if he wants to be active as a business consultant3, so that he will be permitted to sell the Hubbard know-how for remuneration.
Whoever is a WISE member and would like to choose the profession of business consultant on the basis of the WISE product palette, or would like to convert his existing company, is - and here I contradict other publications because of my own knowledge - not yet, per se, a wholesale religious missionary. Many consultants only want to make a living, to be of service to their customers through respectable consultation. This is also definitely possible, because, properly transformed, elements of Hubbard's views can very likely have a positive outcome. I know of various business consultants that are not at all on a "large conversion campaign through the back door," as has often been asserted by the media.
Today, however, this fact also contradicts another fact: From the preamble of the 1991 contract for business membership:
WISE is a non-profit, religious membership organization, which was founded for the purpose of connecting all companies, all independent professionals and organizations of whichever type, which use the technology of L. Ron Hubbard for administration, business and purposes of improvement, in order to expand and promote the religious teachings of L. Ron Hubbard in society.
This contract is quite clear about the dissemination of "religious writings." Which of the current WISE business consultants states in his advertisement that he is selling religious know-how?4 How does Scientology utilize something which they expressly describe as "religious scriptures" in the business world without using this declaration? Are these writing religious, or are they not? Or are they only religious as long as it is necessary for legal or PR tactical reasons, and would they become irreligious the instant that Scientology would like to see them as marketing tactics?
There have been many warnings that the consultation companies associated with WISE would infiltrate businesses, WISE members who work as software specialists would only want come across address lists and data of that sort. To that I can take no firm stance. Although I am acquainted with a lot of consultants, I have never heard of anything like that happening.
On the other hand, I know the power that WISE has over its members. If it would occur, one day, to some poor soul, who would like to accelerate the expansion of Scientology even more, that he should order the WISE members to send him their address lists, I do not know how many of them would resist such an order. This is because WISE has the consultants under their direct control with their contracts and connections to an idealistic goal. This raises a few more questions about matters not practiced in the normal business world.
Additionally, in the valid contracts since 1991, it is expressed, in the context of WISE membership, that the many advantages of membership include the conveying to Scientology customers of the following:
EXPANSION GAME. The member has the right to take part in competition with other members, as organized by WISE, to advance the goals of WISE and the Scientology religion. This competition will consist of arranging for customers to attend Church organizations in order to obtain education and services.
Whoever sells consultation services and courses must pay licensing fees to WISE. The only license holder is the one who holds the copyrights to L. Ron Hubbard's works. That is the Executor of the L. Ron Hubbard Estate in Los Angeles, Norman Starkey. He receives a commission of all fees that a consultant takes in for business consultation, courses, and seminars -- between 9 and 15 percent of the gross profit. When one considers that the consultant must finance his own education, as well as the contingently supplemental consultation by WISE, then that is not a bad deal.
The Scientology Church has very direct methods of control over the consultant: WISE, the Estate Executor, and the Religious Technology Center (RTC) have the right to supervise the quality of all the courses and services offered by the WISE consultant.
WISE or the Estate Executor may also check the books of the member in order to see whether licensing fees have been correctly deducted. Could WISE not have also considered that a trust or an auditor intervene so that neutrality would be maintained, and so that the customer names would not find their way to WISE or other Scientology locations?
The license fees are due as soon as the consultant receives the money from his customer. They must be paid weekly, and every three months a detailed balance must be sent in. The solution of possible currency problems is incumbent upon the consultant. WISE consultants also partially succumb to bothersome, weekly telephone calls from Europe Central asking how much money they are going to deliver this week.
The legal determinations to which a consultant is subjected are also interesting. The applicable law is the law of the state of California. Which WISE consultant in Germany or Switzerland or Austria knows California law? If there is a disagreement between WISE and the licensed consultant, the first step is supposed to be an arbitration process. Sure enough it has been established that the arbitration court must consist of ministers of the Scientology Church, as well as members of the elite organization of Scientology, the Sea Organization. Can a Scientologist in one of these courts be certain that he will get a fair hearing? 5
How do things work internally? Whoever is familiar with the inclinations of Scientology to bring such "games" as the previously mentioned expansion game - always a part of the contract - to life and to carry out competition based on performance, can count on several Scientologists taking part in this game. 6
Another "game" took place in early 1991, as announced by the European WISE central in Kopenhagen. "At the moment a whirlwind tour is moving through Europe. It is a WISE recruitment tour from WISE International and WISE Europe," began the fax.
WISE wanted to recruit new members for the Sea Organization, the elite organization of Scientology. They would then work for the WISE management. In addition, it was also desired that a list of persons who would be suited for WISE staff work be put together. To sum it up, in order to show that others were already hard at work:
Be a part of this power flow. U-MAN is, as usual, a step ahead, and has the office in Berlin bursting full, where the two crusaders [the recruiters] can actually be met. When power flows to power, naturally you get power back, and U-MAN Berlin is getting special help in their business while these two high management forces are there.
In early 1990, less euphorically, but decidedly more forward, the American WISE headquarters wrote along the same lines to their members. They wanted to know which members out of their own firm were suited to be WISE staff. The WISE licensee was supposed to send in a list of names. In the sense of "service to the higher cause" even their own members were supposed to be enthused about WISE. Was it a very grand kind of advertisement, or would it boil down to the fact that the licensee himself could be regarded as a kind of employee for WISE?
Money was always one of the major factors. At the end of 1990, WISE Europe sent out a survey, asking this, among other questions, "How large is your yearly income? Do you have debts? If so, how many?"
Also at the end of 1990 the new management forces introduced themselves to WISE Europe. This letter contained:
Please let me know what you want and need from me. What is needed and wanted from you is that you make your payments promptly every week and let me know of payments immediately, so that I can enter these in my books.
The license payments and fees are extremely important, and it is extremely important that you pay them on time, since the money goes directly to ASI for the Executor. This is your payment for what L. Ron Hubbard has done for you. When you make your payments [over a certain length of time] at the beginning of the week with no problems, then you will receive a commendation. And please make any suggestions as to which game you would like to play with us. Expecting your answer.
Notes from the book: "Scientology With(out) an End":
L. Ron Hubbard (HCO PL June 10, 1960, What We Expect of a Scientologist
Not all are voluntary members of WISE. An independent professional can be a Scientologist. WISE only cares that he is a WISE member; in case the independent professionally does not agree, it is argued that he wanted to support the goals of Scientology, then it would be a pleasure to him if the principles of Scientology were being used all over the world, etc. ...Finally he gives in to the pressure and buys peace and quiet for 300 dollars annually. Such cases are known to me.
WISE members have told me to my face that a Scientologist only needs to use the writings of Hubbard in his own business if he is a member of WISE at the time. Disorder is fair if I gain knowledge from books every day, be they from Hubbard or from someone else; I do not have to be a member anywhere at all. In a different case every book writer and every professor would have to found a club and demand yearly contributions or even licensing fees for the use of their knowledge.
I was a member of WISE myself. As I realized what the actual problematic situation was, I ended my WISE membership long before my final departure from Scientology.
In the winter of 1993, when the Scientology management spoke to me about this, why I had not accepted such an internal court of arbitration for the solution of my differences (concerning rights and the personality test, see page 199 ff.), I presented, along with other reason, the above-mentioned reservations. Interestingly enough the concerned Scientology staff member agreed with my objection.
A WISE member can be brought, through clever enough argument, to see his work as a part of the salvation of the world. If a counselor has gone so far, WISE can recommend the removal of inhibitions through an auditing session which had been specially prepared for this; this builds up enough courage in the counselor for him to convert his customers. Everything is possible...