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WISE Scientology's Extortion Racket

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Introduction Edit

Template:PScientology’s cash cow is its front group WISE (which is an acronym for World Institute of Scientology Enterprises). WISE infiltrates private and public corporations to recruit new members into Scientology. In various disguises, WISE agencies present themselves as management consultants and generally hide any affiliation to Scientology.

Template:PScientology preys on individuals with the promise of personal development. It attracts business owners and managers with a similar promise of business growth and higher profits. WISE consultants bait owners with management courses and switch them into Scientology religion through progressive indoctrination. WISE seeks to convert owners, managers, and employees to the church of Scientology in order to loot the business through numerous schemes.

Template:PAccording to the Los Angeles Times:

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Hiding the Scientology Connection Edit

Template:PUnlike other Scientology scams, the predatory fraud underlying WISE is largely hidden to the public. The connection between WISE and Scientology is not well known in the business community. The prevalence and general acceptance of personal development programs in business gives WISE courses an appearance of credibility. Professionals who fall prey to WISE fraud may hesitate to openly admit their deception.

Template:PIn reality, WISE courses are often indistinguishable from Scientology indoctrination and bear no resemblance to business education. Dr. Robert Geary turned to WISE's largest franchise, Sterling Management, for courses that would advance his dental practice.

Template:PAs Dr. Geary relates, the program had nothing to do with dental management:

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Template:PWISE also flies under the radar because it operates mainly through franchises. With names like Meridian Consultants, Sterling Management, Hollander Consultants, and Stellar Management, the connection to Scientology is not always obvious.

Template:PAllstate Insurance was likely unaware they were promoting Hubbard doctrine when they purchased training for 3,500 agents through International Executive Technology Inc. Allstate employees complained about the Scientology laced training, alleging they were being harassed, recruited, and intimidated.

Template:PWhen agents reported being taught to boost sales and disregard ethical business practices, Allstate told the Wall Street Journal:

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Information Gathering Edit

Template:PWISE franchisees infiltrate smaller companies to establish a consulting relationship. Access to financial records gives WISE consultants a precise target for how much they can loot from the business. This breach of fiduciary responsibility has been used to sink companies in debt to pay for Scientology.

Template:PIn addition, WISE consultants seek out every possible bit of personal information about a company’s owners, managers, and employees. WISE consultants glean this data utilizing Scientology’s personality profile, the “Oxford Capacity Analysis”. The process is nearly identical to the interrogation and confessionals Scientology imposes on parishioners to maximize ‘church’ donations. WISE

Template:PWISE's largest franchise, Sterling Management, targets dentists, orthodontists and other healthcare professionals and calls this intimate business assessment a “Practice Analysis”.

Template:PDeana Hall describes the WISE “Practice Analysis” in her extensive study, “Managing to recruit: religious conversion in the workplace”. Hall refers to doctors, dentists, and other healthcare organizations as “Practice Management Companies” and abbreviates the term “PMC”.

Template:PAccording to Hall:

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Commissions for Scientology recruitment Edit

Template:PWISE franchisees make money by recruiting new members into the church of Scientology. This is a matter of policy, set down in WISE directives entitled “Field Staff Member Activities”, which reads:

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Template:PThis commission policy also applies to business owners and managers themselves. Businesses signing up for WISE services become an outpost of Scientology. Owners and managers of these "WISE Companies" are entitled to commissions on recruitments and sales of Scientology services.

Template:PIn other words, a Dentist who recruits his staff into Scientology can receive commission on the sale. The managers at Allstate who initiated WISE training, could receive commission on each agent converted to Scientology. A storeowner might be paid for getting employees, suppliers, or peers started in Scientology. Basically, this is a typical pyramid or multi-level-marketing scheme intended to recruit new members into Scientology.

Template:PWISE franchise holders claim the training they provide is non-religious and this is partly true. The training itself is standard business fare laced with the human-potential doctrines of L. Ron Hubbard. What WISE franchisees neglect to mention is their recruitment goal and its remuneration they receive from church of Scientology.

Template:PAs the Los Angeles Times reported:

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Template:PWISE recruitment motives and its connections to the church of Scientology are aptly demonstrated in Jeff Jacobsen’s superb article, “WISE As a Scientology Front Group”, in which he states:

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Template:PIn reality, any distinction between WISE and Scientology is wafer thin. In fact, fostering the religious teaching of L. Ron Hubbard is a stated purpose in the WISE articles of incorporation.

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Template:PChurch training is mandatory for WISE consultants. New consultants must complete the “Communication Course” and “Hubbard Dissemination Course” which is part of every Scientologist’s "bridge to enlightenment". Not surprisingly, these are among the courses that teach Scientologists the high pressure sales techniques used to get new members into the church.

Template:PThe current WISE website advises prospective consultants:

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Template:PDirecting a prospective consultant to a nearby church for mandatory religious training seems to belie WISE claim to secular independence from Scientology. In reality, what WISE consultants learn (and then teach their customers), are the same methods Scientology has used for years to sell courses and recruit new members. An activity church of Scientology gives the industrial moniker "putting new bodies in the shop".

Template:PAs the Los Angeles Times reports, WISE consultants all sell the same product, Hubbards heavy-handed methods for running Scientology:

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Scientology's "ethics" doctrine Edit

Template:PWISE also reveals its religious underpinnings in its promotional literature, hidden behind the seemingly secular terms “ethics" and "ethical”. It’s significant that “ethics” has a very specific ecclesiastical meaning in Scientology. The frequent and pointed use of these words in promotional materials is almost certainly intentional.

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Template:PScientology “ethics” is adherence to Hubbard's "survival of the fittest" doctrines - full stop!

Template:P“Ethics” is a convoluted, loaded, and very specific term in Scientology. Hubbard's "Social Darwinism" is strictly followed by Scientologists, who are also taught they have an inherent right and moral duty to impose these ethics on anyone not able to "get ethics in" on themselves.

Template:PAs Tom Cruise famously related in a leaked Youtube video:

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Template:P"Putting in ethics" is a dictatorial phrase that means "act in accordance with Scientology doctrine" or "tow the Scientology party line". In constant use among Scientologists, the phrase "putting in ethics" can refer to oneself, to others, to groups, or to organizations. Putting ethics into city government means persuading officials to side with Scientology. The stated and implicit objective of WISE is to put Scientology ethics into companies – which means infiltrate, indoctrinate, and take their money.

Template:PScientology’s totalitarian ethics (so well expressed by Mr. Cruise) is rooted in L. Ron Hubbard’s belligerent claim to be the first man in history to correctly understand and define ethics. Hubbard implanted this idea among his followers in books, lectures and policy letters. Never missing an opportunity to advertise his superiority, Hubbard ranted that Socrates and all of philosophy had failed to define ethics - and railed that dictionaries offered nothing but contradictory descriptions.

Template:PHubbard declared a breakthrough in understanding “ethics” and its concomitant “justice", by defining the terms separately:

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Template:PFor Hubbard, ethics is a "personal thing" but those ethics must be Scientology ethics. If an individual or organization fails to adopt Scientology ethics, "the group" is morally bound to do it for them. Scientology “justice” is church members imposing Hubbard standard ethics on others. Like Tom Cruise, WISE agents, "won’t hesitate to putting ethics into" a business - especially when it’s highly lucrative to do so.

Template:PThe obvious profit motive calls into question the religious conviction of WISE entities. But Scientology is "a religion of success" and WISE agents are, first and foremost, Scientologists. Putting ethics into companies, expanding Scientology, and being financially rewarded for it -- is following the tenets of the religion.

Template:PWISE expects both its agents and member companies to adopt Scientology’s ethical standards which includes financially supporting the ‘church’ and disseminating it’s doctrines.

Template:PAs the WISE website declares:

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WISE Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Edit

Template:PTo enforce these “ethical standards” WISE operates an independent judicial system to adjudicate criminal complaints and disputes between members. WISE arbitration is separate from Scientology's ecclesiastical court, which adjudicates breaches of ethics in the church. Since WISE members are also Scientologists, the distinction between these two judicial venues can become muddied.

Template:PWISE members have been accused of maneuvering in both courts, seeking best advantage. For example, a member aware they will lose a WISE arbitration, might throw the matter into turmoil by counter-charging their accuser of “out-ethics” in Scientology's ecclesiastical court.

Template:PWhatever the outcome of any individual case, WISE arbitration establishes another control mechanism over it's members that keeps them in line with Scientology doctrine. According to “WISE Info Letter #36”

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Template:PIn other words, WISE will “put ethics in” when a member fails to do so. This is the same “handling” procedure and doctrine Tom Cruise describes as applicable to individuals.

Template:PHere again, “ethics” means, very specifically, adherence to the doctrines and policies of L. Ron Hubbard -- NOT the standard or generalized definition most of us use everyday.

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The WISE arbitrators Edit

Template:PThis is further manifested by the fact that WISE arbitrators are Scientologists, but typically not attorneys. No legal experience or formal training beyond Scientology courses is required.

Template:PWISE arbitrators pay to gain their office. WISE arbitrators pay an annual fee (reported to be $1,000) to hold the honorary title of “Charter Member”. They must be also pay the annual WISE membership fee, in accordance with their company size. The published range for yearly membership is $500 to $6,000.

Template:PIn turn, Wise arbitrators collect fees for adjudicating disputes. This remuneration (along with the “up front” costs of “Charter Membership”) creates a financial “conflict of interest”. Members who availed themselves to WISE arbitration have criticized the proceedings as ineffectual and inclined to favor high dollar donors to the church.

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First-hand accounts Edit

Template:PToryMagoo believes that the mediation started by she and her husband was thwarted when the opposing party “bought off” Scientology management aboard the church’s private cruise ship. The opposing party happened to be the second largest church contributors in that year.

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Template:PTory and her husband hired an attorney to represent them in the WISE proceeding. The arbitration was decided in their favor. For various reasons the case was interdicted by Scientology's ecclesiastical court and mysteriously canceled. The opposing party was taking expensive courses at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, FL at the time, leading to speculation that a pay-off was involved. According to Tory,

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Template:PToryMagoo's distrust of WISE arbitration proceedings is shared by many Ex-Scientologists. “Sea Horse” offers this opinion of WISE mediation,

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Template:PWISE infiltrates business and professional organizations gradually. New recruits to WISE are generally unaware of the dominance Church of Scientology has over the organization. The autocratic and extortionate tactics ToryMagoo and others experienced escalates in proportion to how deeply the recruit can be drawn into the Scientology fold.

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The Scientology trap: "Sterling Management" Edit

Template:PFor many doctors, clinicians and business owners the expected ‘conversion’ to Scientology is more than they bargained for. Sterling Management is frequently cited for its deceptive and abusive practices.

Template:PDr. Robert Geary, came to this conclusion about Sterling Management:

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Template:PAn authority on Scientology, Dr. Margaret Singer relates a similar case in her book “Cults In Our Midst”:

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Template:PAfter taking courses through Sterling Management, Dr. Alexander Turbine concluded:

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Template:PDentists, chiropractors, business owners and other professionals who do convert to Scientology through WISE, often become avid recruiters themselves. Scientology pays a 10% commission on new memberships and services attributable to a WISE member. They may offer other inducements, such as free courses or Scientology counseling, called “auditing”.

Template:PWhen one professional starts WISE courses on the advice of a peer the added layer of deception and hidden referral fee is a contemptible breach of faith.

Template:PDr. Ed Hattaway started WISE courses on the advice of a respected college instructor, “This guy was held in such high esteem that virtually anything he said was taken to heart by the students.” Instructors receiving undisclosed fees for such referrals are abusing their superior position.

Template:PAs Ed Hattaway relates:

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Template:PInfiltrating businesses to create situations where individuals follow a superior or respected peer into Scientology is a carefully orchestrated WISE strategy for a very good reason. It works!

Template:PDr. Margaret Singer writes:

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The effect on workplaces and employees Edit

Template:PEmployer mandated religious training is not universally well received. Dr Singer discusses numerous employee concerns arising from the phenomenon of cults in the workplace:

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Lawsuits against WISE Edit

Template:PNot surprisingly, the infiltration of WISE and other cultic programs into the business community has led to EEOC complaints and a rash of lawsuits.

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Template:PTemplate:BquoteRef

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Template:PMany WISE franchisees, such as Sterling Management, specialize in targeting professional practices, such as physical therapy and dental groups. Not surprisingly, these groups have been subject to numerous workplace discrimination lawsuits.

Template:PEditors at Wikipedia have compiled an impressive list of these cases:

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How much money does WISE make? Edit

Template:PThe amount of money WISE brings in can only be guessed at. One Los Angeles Times article reported about $32 million in 1987:

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Template:PIn 2002 WISE President, Don Drader, told the Los Angeles Times:

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Template:PTaking a median figure of $18,000 and multiplying by 3,200 members produces an estimate of $58 million annually. Discounting for the likelihood that most members do not rise above the median might support a guesstimate near the $32 million reported for 1987.

Template:PWild guesses will have to suffice since actual income figures for WISE are not likely to be published. Still, there’s little question that WISE consulting is lucrative. Sterling Management is a member of Scientology’s “Patrons of the Association”, a distinction that requires a donation in excess of $100,000. Sterling has also donated more than $500,000 to “Author Services Preservation of Tech”, Scientology’s fund for archiving L. Ron Hubbard’s seminal works.Template:CiteWeb

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How large is WISE? Edit

Template:PBecause WISE operates through independent franchises, the overall size of the organization is hard to estimate. WISE telephone directory lists 23 executives worldwide – 7 at WISE International in Los Angeles, 5 assigned to the United States, 3 in the former Soviet Union, 2 in Latin America, and 1 each in Canada, Denmark, Italy, Eastern Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

Template:PSince WISE integrates Scientology training in its programs it might be difficult to distinguish staff working exclusively for WISE. Also, staff size may vary to accommodate customer demand. According to customers who have taken courses, WISE does use Scientology instructors. WISE location in Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles, California may facilitate staff sharing.

Template:PWhat does WISE cost? Since WISE tries to extract as much from a business or professional practice as possible, it’s nearly impossible to assess the actual cost of membership. While one WISE President claimed $250 to $36,000 annually, many have cited spending in excess of $100,000.

Template:PAt different times WISE has tried to impose a membership fee on all Scientology companies of 10% of gross annual income. This would certainly be a five or six figure number in most cases and may be a close metric of Scientology's expectations. According to ex-Scientologist "Sunshine",

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Template:PWISE does list membership prices on their website, but these are not factually representative of the fees WISE customers have reported.

Template:PNonetheless, WISE published membership fees are as follows:

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Template:PThe American Management Association charges $250 for business owners and $1995 for organizations, regardless of size.

Template:PThe AMA offers hundreds of training programs, including seminars, lectures via webcasts and podcasts, books, online articles, magazines, and white papers. The AMA offers virtually the same services that WISE advertises, in much greater depth and quantity.

Template:PThe AMA’s business academics and seasoned executives are not known to infiltrate companies for profit and aggressively push religious conversion, so any comparison to WISE is delusive and out-of-order.

Template:PWISE, however, does have a long and extensive history of infiltrating companies and abusing their owners, managers, and employees. Gaining a position of trust, WISE agents violate their ethical and fiduciary responsibility by looting the business for all that can be had. Masquerading as management experts, WISE consultants wreak havoc by enticing doctors, dentists, executives and other professionals to circumvent their livelihoods to seek the dubious ‘enlightenment’ of Scientology. The damage inflicted is often is often irreparable.

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References Edit

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