Martin Luther

Commenting on Scientology, Inside and Outside the Church

What’s Wrong With The Church, Part 12: Corporate Culture

There are two great, unsolved mysteries in the Independent Field at present. The first concerns the circumstances of LRH’s death and the events preceding it. The second concerns how David Miscavige managed to subvert and essentially destroy the Church, starting from a period of time before LRH died. We may never know the full details of both these mysteries. But I wanted to explore the aftermath of the latter mystery here and now.

There is a phenomenon in business known as a “corporate culture”. This can take on any number of forms, but it essentially comes down to how a company conducts itself internally. Does it drive its employees to the point where it experiences excessive turnover, or nurture them so that they stay with the company for years? Are their quarters posh and well-maintained, or are they considered secondary to the task of getting products out the door? Do they pay well or poorly? Do they actually care about the quality of the products they produce, or are such matters considered superfluous? Do the executives express disdain and lack of consideration for employees, or are employees and their contributions considered important? Do management and workers seem to exist as armed camps, opposed to each other, or do they cooperate to produce better products more efficiently? Is the company rife with covert intrigue, or do employees avoid a lot of political entanglements internally? All these things and more go into what makes up “corporate culture”.

You can see the contrast in corporate cultures by comparing companies. For example, IBM, often referred to by the slang term “Big Blue”, versus Apple, Inc. IBM is known for its button-down formal corporate culture. Apple is known more for its free-wheeling, risk-taking internal vibe. The comparison is easy to make in this case, because the corporate cultures are so different. In the case of Shell Oil and British Petroleum, perhaps the comparison doesn’t show much difference.

Corporate culture is something that is “baked in” to a company by its founders and later on by those who lead it after the founders no longer participate in the daily activities of the company. It may or may not remain the same as it was, once the founders vacate, depending on who leads. You can see this by studying the history of movie studios and (music) record companies. The changes in the corporate cultures of these companies over time has been stark and unmistakable.

Corporate culture is also something which influences groups which may not technically be companies, like Girl Scouts of America, the YMCA,the NAACP, or your local symphony orchestra. These, too, have corporate cultures which start at their founding and shape them down through time.

Now, like any other group or company, the Church of Scientology also has a corporate culture. Each individual group, mission, org or management unit has its own corporate culture. But the Church overall has a distinct corporate culture.

If possible, find someone who originally served under LRH in an org or on a ship where he was. Listen to the stories people tell, and you’ll get an idea about the corporate culture he fostered. Now listen to someone who served there, say, five years after LRH was no longer connected to that entity. Notice the difference. This is worthwhile as an exercise in observing how much corporate cultures can change over time, sometimes a very short time

One of the observations you will probably make of the Independent Field is its relentless, almost phobic aversion to policy (with a capital P) and the creation of Org-like entities in the Field. Why? Because of the corporate culture they were exposed to in the Church before they got out. This culture goes back to many years before LRH died, and many years before David Miscavige ever had anything to do with the Church. People in the Independent Field, insufficiently policy trained, make an A=A=A identification of this culture with green-on-white policy. However, the truth is the exact opposite. Any negative corporate culture of the Church is due in whole or in part directly to departures from LRH policy.

The Church is (or should be) an extremely different kind of organization than any you’ve been involved with before or since. In almost every other group or organization in existence, while there may be some sort of policy in place, loyalty to those in charge and following orders is senior to any policy which may exist. In a battle between policy and orders/loyalty, orders/loyalty win. That’s the way it normally works, and poeple understand this instinctively. But in a Church of Scientology, policy and orders are supposed to be aligned, with policy the senior entity. Loyalty to seniors, while desirable, is secondary to the rest of the admin scale in a Scientology organization. LRH makes clear that you can never be shot for following or insisting on green-on-white policy and orders which forward it.

Unfortunately, when (usually young) people join staff, they often adhere to the non-Scientology understanding that orders and loyalty are senior to policy, even though LRH says otherwise. And in this way, the corporate culture of Scientology organizations can be, is and has been subverted. This is the first condition which contributes to a toxic corporate culture in the Church. The Church is supposed to operate in a fashion which is 180 degrees opposite from any other organization.

The second factor which contributes to a toxic Scientology corporate culture is the fact that those on staff and in management are insufficiently trained in policy, and too willing to abandon it in the face of pressure otherwise. LRH made very clear (and proved it on many occasions) that ruthless application of standard policy would make a happy, prosperous organization. But new recruits don’t know the policy well enough, and aren’t ruthless enough in following and insisting on it. They are minimally trained on policy when they take over positions in an org, and often get minimal additional training in it as time goes on. Instead, day-to-day operations in an org are driven by frantic orders, often in contravention of clear LRH policy. It has been this way since green-on-white policy began to be issued. Over time, you can see where policy fades in importance compared with just getting something out the door. Ever hear of “stat pushes”? They arise directly from the above.

If you’ve been in Scientology long enough (say, thirty or more years) you’ve seen the above in operation. And the resulting corporate culture has often made orgs and management units hard to work in and deal with. It has also made orgs less prosperous than they should be. Mission staff often remark on this, with regard to orgs and management units. (Mission staff are less rigorously managed, and the corporate culture of mission founders has a more immediate impact on them.)

The third factor which has influenced the toxic corporate culture of the Church is the wholesale subversion and abandonment of policy and tech in favor of crush regging and non-delivery. This was introduced by David Miscavige and others of his ilk. Orders go out to reg all the money possible from public for whatever the latest pet project is. Staff are given stiff, if not impossible targets for this, and no attention is given to getting people in to do services. Stiff justice actions are threatened if targets are not met. Disagreement is not allowed. Even public are subjected to harsh consequences if they balk or fail to give “enough”. If any actual service delivery occurs, it is an overt product which makes the public sick and disinclined to come anywhere near an org.

And thus, you have a toxic corporate culture in the Church of Scientology, as we see it today. This also gives a clue about what it might take to reverse the course of the Church. How long would it take and what kind of effort would be involved to change the corporate culture 180 degrees to what it should be?


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4 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With The Church, Part 12: Corporate Culture

  1. …what it might take to reverse the course of the Church. How long would it take and what kind of effort would be involved to change the corporate culture 180 degrees to what it should be?

    That’s a question that many of us escapees have pondered. I won’t claim to have all the answers, but there are a few broadly agreed upon changes that would be fundamental to reforming the corporate church:

    A) David Miscavige must be fired and excommunicated. If at all possible, any and all church assets he’s obtained or controls, through fraud and deceit against the Scientologist public and organizations, must be legally seized or frozen by the appropriate authorities.

    B) Everyone in senior management must be removed from post and put onto a repair program to handle whatever case they’ve accumulated while being complicit in Miscavige’s crimes, or while under his domination.

    C) All of LRH’s original hand written documents, correspondence, orders, manuscripts, despatches, proofs, notes, pc folders, C/Ses, etc., must be secured against potential harm or willful destruction. Again – by court order, if need be.

    D) LRH’s hat turn-over, in the form of the corporate organizing structure he left in written form (to be implemented by the S.O.) should be aggressively put in place as soon as is humanly possible. This corporate organizing structure is viewable at

    E) The organization must use Scientology to fix itself. By that, I mean that one of the first orders of business for the church would be to set about convening an internal investigation which would uncover and document the entire sordid tale of how the group went off the rails and sank into lower conditions. This investigation should seek and obtain testimony and any documentation from former staff and public, whether declared SP, or not. The full results and findings should be broadly published to the internet, so that all interested parties are aware of the exact time, place, form, and events which led to the church’s near demise.

    F) A full and unconditional amnesty should be extended to every Scientologist who has been falsely declared during the reign of Miscavige.

    G) The church should then set about reconstructing itself by first resuming delivery of real Scientology services, with all destructive arbitraries removed from the lines. It will be necessary to restore the subject to its previous unaltered state, to accomplish this. That will mean removing every Miscavige era alteration and invention from Hubbard’s scriptures and books. Even recorded lectures have been tampered with, and will need restoration.

    H) Perhaps the most substantial and fundamental aspect of the church’s reformation will be the willing release of its suppressive monopoly on the subject. The truth is, the toothpaste is out of the tube now, and the church no longer controls the tech anyway, but it’s vital that they recognize this fact, and acknowledge the rights of all Scientologists to freely practice their own religion, unencumbered by the dictates and threats of an all-powerful mother church. Independence is the new paradigm in Scientology, and the church needs to come up to present time about it. Things will never go back to how they once were. The organization must change, if they intend to be a part of the future.

    As to how long it would take, that’s anyone’s guess, but I’d be willing to bet that it could happen rapidly, if those left in charge recognized how precarious the church’s very existence is right now. There are very likely some extremely entrenched and suppressive elements legally embedded within the corporate structure, and they’d have to be rooted out and banished, but once that’s done, and the above points are gotten in, it could all happen pretty rapidly, I think.

  2. Agreed on all points except H, and only because I’m not sure what its “suppressive monopoly on the subject” really means. Field groups were tolerated and encouraged during LRH’s lifetime, and that shouldn’t change. So I’m not sure what’s meant here.

    I also don’t think the events you’re talking about could happen as rapidly as you think. Just reconstituting the original LRH issues would be a major operation. I’m also skeptical about who would be doing all these actions. If there’s another Miscavige lurking in the Church, we could be in the same boat yet again. I’d be personally doubtful about the results unless there were FEBC Class XIIs in charge.

    • I’m not sure what its “suppressive monopoly on the subject” really means.

      It’s a monopoly, because the church holds the copyrights and trademarks to everything LRH ever wrote, and jealously restricts their usage to their own organizations (as well as they possibly can). They essentially hold legal ownership to the scriptures of our religion.

      That doesn’t mean that people aren’t freely practicing Scientology outside the confines and controls of the corporation. They surely are, but how many of them have hung out a shingle with the S and Double Triangle, and advertised their services? Exactly none. Those who did, were put out of business post haste by the church’s attorneys, long ago.

      What you have instead, is a movement that is very similar to the underground Christian movement of ancient Rome, when they met secretly in caves, meadows, and private homes to avoid persecution by the authorities. Independent Scientologists are operating almost exactly like that today, because of the very real threat of persecution by the corporate church.

      I would like to see this suppressive monopoly on our religion ended. Given the ongoing explosion of the Independent Scientology movement, there’s every chance that the issue will eventually be put before the courts as a 1st Amendment case. I don’t think I’d mind seeing that. It will force the church to ‘come up to present time’ like the Catholic church has. They no longer have absolute dominion over the followers of Christianity, and neither should the corporate Church of Scientology hold dominion over followers of LRH and his applied philosophy.

      You’re correct about the estimation of effort required to restore the tech inside the church to original, 100% standard LRH. I agree. It’s going to be a massive evolution, and yes, it’s going to take some time. When that time comes, they would be smart to look toward the Independent community for assistance, as that very work is already in progress out here.

  3. I see your point, but I’m not sure I agree completely. And notwithstanding the judicial system’s reluctance to enter into matters of religion, I’m not sure they’d decide the matter in the way we’d like.

    I think this is fodder for a separate blog post. I’ll work on it and see what I can come up with.

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