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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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”
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.
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.
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.
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,
Template:PToryMagoo's distrust of WISE arbitration proceedings is shared by many Ex-Scientologists. “Sea Horse” offers this opinion of WISE mediation,
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.
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:
Template:PAn authority on Scientology, Dr. Margaret Singer relates a similar case in her book “Cults In Our Midst”:
Template:PAfter taking courses through Sterling Management, Dr. Alexander Turbine concluded:
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:
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:
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:
Lawsuits against WISE Edit
Not surprisingly, the infiltration of WISE and other cultic programs into the business community has led to EEOC complaints and a rash of lawsuits.
Many 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.
1987: Loretta Garrett, 27, head of the sales department at a 65-employee phone-answering service called Megaplex in Atlanta, was persuaded by her boss, John Stewart Jr., to take a Scientology course. At first it seemed to her like straightforward management training. But after a couple of sessions in what was called a communications course, she found herself deep into Scientology -- the obscure language, the bullbaiting, the confront. They tried to get us to admit guilt because sales were poor, says Garrett. They wanted to get us past the analytical brain to clear the inner brain, where the poor sales were caused. Another employee, who has since resigned, said the training was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. It was essentially brainwashing. After Garrett refused Stewart's invitation to go to the local Scientology mission to have her personality audited, she concluded that people who didn't go along with Scientology wouldn't get anywhere at Megaplex. She quit; Stewart responded by telling her that she was fired. Garrett, who is black, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
1988: Dentist Robert Geary of Medina, Ohio, entered a Sterling seminar and endured "the most extreme high-pressure sales tactics I have ever faced." Sterling officials told Geary, 45, that their firm was not linked to Scientology, he says. but Geary claims they eventually convinced him that he and his wife Dorothy had personal problems that required auditing. Over five months, the Gearys say, they spent $130,000 for services, plus $50,000 for "gold-embossed, investment-grade" books signed by Hubbard. Geary contends that Scientologists not only called his bank to increase his credit card limit but also forged his signature on a $20,000 loan application. "It was insane," he recalls. "I couldn't even get an accounting from them of what I was paying for." At one point, the Gearys claim, Scientologists held Dorothy hostage for two weeks in a mountain cabin, after which she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.
1990: In a lawsuit filed against Stryker Systems, a California software company, employees claim they were ordered to read and complete written exercises in the books Introduction to Scientology Ethics and Personal Integrity. The plaintiffs, who were allegedly fired for refusing to adopt the Scientology practice of "writing up their overts and withholds" (meaning confessing bad thoughts and actions), won an undisclosed settlement.
October 1990: Sterling broke some bad news to dentist Glover Rowe of Gadsden, Ala., and his wife Dee. Tests showed that unless they signed up for auditing Glover's practice would fail, and Dee would someday abuse their child. The next month the Rowes flew to Glendale, Calif., where they shuttled daily from a local hotel to a Dianetics center. "We thought they were brilliant people because they seemed to know so much about us," recalls Dee. "Then we realized our hotel room must have been bugged." After bolting from the center, $23,000 poorer, the Rowes say, they were chased repeatedly by Scientologists on foot and in cars.
1991: An investment firm owned by Joel Feshbach, an acknowledged Scientologist, purchased Cocolat, a West Coast candy company that was having some financial troubles. Then, in early 1993, thirteen management and administrative employees told local newspapers that they had quit their jobs at Cocolat because their employer was using management techniques based on the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. The company reportedly fired an additional six managers after they had resisted the company's management philosophy. Claims of religious harassment were filed with the EEOC by employees.
September 1992: Applied Materials, a California computer chip manufacturer, settled out of court for an estimated $600,000 with three former employees who alleged that they were driven out of the company after they complained about courses given on the job by a management consulting group basing its work on Hubbard's writings
September 1992: Dental assistants say firing result of their rejection of Scientology
June 1993: in Baton Rouge, Louisiana a suit was filed against Landmark Dental Care reporting an employee was fired because she was expected to join the Church of Scientology, and to use Scientology practices and terminology in the office
October 1993: the Nassau County (New York) Commission on Human Rights found “probable cause” in the case of two employees of a physical therapy firm who were discharged by their employer for refusing to take training courses given by Sterling Management Systems.
1998: dentist was sued for religious discrimination in the workplace by a former employee who alleged in court that she was fired for refusing to take a Scientology-filled Hubbard Administrative Technology "statistics" course
December 1999: Religious Pressure at Texas Vet Clinic Leads to $150,000 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Settlement (Stephen Kent affidavit) January 2000: two dentists were defrauded by Scientology after signing up for management training courses
January 2000: two dentists, William and arbara Zizic, were defrauded by Scientology after signing up for management training courses
20 December 2000: Ursula Milde, 62, a former top employee of the Greenwich Housing Authority filed a document in federal court this week claiming she was fired from her post two years ago because she was not a member of the Church of Scientology. Docket Sheet and update.
September 2002: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit on behalf of former employees of dentist Dr. Juan D. Villarea in Harlingen, Texas who were fired when they refused to attend Scientology training courses, case was settled.
May 2003: three former employees of an Aurora, Ohio dentist asserted in court that they were dismissed from their jobs for their refusal to take part in Sterling Management's Scientology-based seminars
5 May 2004: FTC shuts down Financial Rescue Services, a WISE company. The FTC press release contains: "The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against a group of defendants masquerading as a nonprofit debt negotiation organization that has made millions of dollars deceiving consumers into enrolling in their debt negotiation program by promising to reduce their debts.
March 2005: a dentist in Baltimore, Maryland sued by former employee who accused her employer of religious discrimination for failure to adapt her religious beliefs to Scientology
4 October 2006: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal lawsuit against a Plano, Texas dentist on behalf of a former receptionist alleging she was pressured to study Scientology during mandatory meetings on her own time, and was told to "increase business by concentrating on her phone to make it ring"
4 December 2006: Brianne Shahan filed suit against Richmond Monroe Group Inc. in U.S. District Court last month. Shahan claims her former employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by allegedly pressuring her to divorce her husband and become a Scientologist.
December 2008: two former employees of Diskeeper sued the company for being dismissed for refusing to participate in Scientology training courses
February 2009: Physical Therapy practice management consultancy firm Measurable Solutions fired an employee for refusing to go to a Church of Scientology Ethics Officer to be "handled" over looking up "Xenu" on a work computer.
December 2015: Four employees sued Pasadena firm that forced Scientology on them
April 2016: Grecia Echevarria-Hernandez sued the parent company of Real Water for unlawful employment practice, intentional and religious discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.
July 2016: Florida man sued medical sleep testing company after its dapper CEO forced Scientology on him
January 2017: Two staff sued Judy Nagengast, president and chief executive officer of Anderson-based Continental Design Co. Inc., which operates several business divisions including staffing, quality control, and specialty LED lighting, for requiring them to participate in Scientology religious practices, such as audits, to partake in Scientology training, given numerous pieces of Scientology literature and instructed to attend Scientology courses at locations in California, Indiana and Florida
February 2018: Columbia chiropractor Joseph Ben Barton taken to court for forcing sex and Scientology on his employee
December 2018: In Casper, Wyoming Julie A. Rohrbacher filed suit in federal court against Teton Therapy, an occupational therapy office in Lander, claiming that owner Jeff McMenamy declined to promote her and then forced her to resign in 2013, after she refused to enroll in Church of Scientology courses.
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:
Template:PIn 2002 WISE President, Don Drader, told the Los Angeles Times:
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
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",
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:
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.