There are few religions out there as contentious – and expensive – as Scientology. The organisation has a dedicated collection agency to secure the hefty fees that all members are expected to pay during their participation in the so-called religion. However, unlike those who choose to play online casino games at trusted sites like All Jackpots, people who shell out thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology can expect dubious returns at best.
We’ve all heard the rumours about how costly it is to join the Scientologists’ legion. After all, the belief system has a knack for attracting wealthy socialites like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes – but how much does it cost, really? Actress Leah Remini has launched her own television series to do the math.
Over the last 2 seasons of Leah Remini’s show Scientology and the Aftermath, the actress and host has explored the ways that members sink themselves into debt to continue being a part of the organisation. She has said on air that she doesn’t know of any other religions that require “2 and a half hours of one’s day, a minimum of a quarter-million dollars, and at least 40 years of one’s life” as retribution for their services. Remini has reportedly spent around $5 million dollars over her 35-year stint at the church.
You might be wondering what exactly church members get in return for the millions they spend. The answers are as sketchy and feeble as you would expect. One thing is fore sure, though; the higher up you move on the Scientology ladder, the more expensive it becomes to stay in your position!
The first cost associated with Scientology is tied to introductory classes. The organisation often hooks passers-by with an introductory course or a personality test at a low fee of around $35. Remini has warned the public not to be temped by these offers, calling them ‘throwaways’ that don’t count towards the requirements of entering the church at all.
She explained that new people are essential to the organisation’s survival, so the low introductory cost is simply a way to bait curious people into coughing up thousands of dollars in the future.
Then there are the books. Anyone who wants to join the Scientologists must purchase and read every single book penned by its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was an avid writer, so there is a lot to get through.
Leah Remini noted in Season 1 of her show that the basic package of 12 introductory books costs well over $4,000. They are also frequently updated, and members must buy every new edition that comes out. Members are also encouraged to buy additional copies of books, recorded lectures and CDs to donate to libraries.
Bridge and OT Courses
Let’s not forget the courses themselves. The list of courses known as “The Bridge to Total Freedom” is required for all members to reach spiritual actualisation and become ‘Clear’. There are levels over and above this too, called Operating Thetan levels. Remini says that the courses cost over $650 each, and that members are required to devote whole days – sometimes as long as 14 hours and 7 days a week – to their studies.
It isn’t clear how churchgoers balance these demands with their jobs and family lives. However, Leah spent 35 years of her life dedicated to the religion and only made it to Operating Thetan Level V. The highest level available currently is OT VIII, which costs a whopping $130,000 and is only available on the organisation’s Freewinds cruise ship.
Next up are the mandatory audits, or therapy sessions. Costing $800 per hour, these sessions supposedly help members to locate and handle areas of distress in their lives. Insiders, however, consider them hours during which Scientologists tape one’s private information to blackmail them with should they ever wish to leave.
These sessions are held with members as young as 6, and last at least 2 and a half hours each. For wealthier members with less time, ‘intensive auditing’ is the fastest and priciest option to ‘Clear’.
Over and above this, if the organisation suspects you’ve broken any of its rules, you’ll also have to pay for a ‘Sec Check’ or secondary audit. These intense, long audits are a bid to get members to confess their wrongdoings through hard-core interrogation. Reportedly, many members tell auditors what they want to hear eventually simply to get out of the process.
The Costs Just Keep on Coming
Last but not least, if you ever make it to the end of the courses, you’ll still be facing more fees. These fees increase the higher up the bridge you go, and Remini was forced to stay on the cruise ship for the duration of her OT VIII course at her own 6-figure expense.
It’s not easy to determine exactly what the average Scientologist spends on their religion, but the cost of the courses alone to get to the highest level come to over $460,805.00 according to some calculations. However, Remini explained that any OT has likely spent quadruple that on donations, auditing, course lodging, travel and sec checks. That certainly explains why the Scientology Money Project has a book value in excess of $1.75 billion and collects annual revenues of more than $200 million…