Dozens of Groups Operate Under Auspices of Church of Scientology
Date: December 22, 1988
Operating under auspices of the Church of Scientology are dozens of groups, many of them separate legal entities. Untangling Scientology's lines of organizations can be difficult; even the sect's own charts that have been used in court cases are complex. Here are some of Scientology's organizations.
Flag Service Organization - The legal name of Scientology's Clearwater operation, which serves as the sect's spiritual headquarters. Before 1981 the organization was part of the Church of Scientology of California, and Pinellas County officials contend that Flag is still an ``alter ego`` of the California church. The distinction could be worth millions of dollars in tax exemption, and Scientology lawyers deny the Pinellas claim.
Sea Org - Short for Sea Organization, a corp of dedicated Scientologists who wear navy-style uniforms and sign billion-year loyalty contracts. (Scientologists believe in reincarnation.) Before Scientology's move to Clearwater in 1975, members of the Sea Org served with sect founder L. Ron Hubbard aboard ships roaming the globe.
International Association of Scientologists - A group formed by church leaders in 1984 to combat ``external`` threats to Scientology such as lawsuits and critical media coverage. Membership in the association makes one an official member of the church, according to association publications.
The Freewinds - A 500-passenger ship bought in 1986 by the International Association of Scientologists. Previously berthed in St. Petersburg as the cruise ship Boheme, the Freewinds was renovated and now is based in the southern Caribbean, where upper-level Scientology training is offered. Among those who have cruised are Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis, who took a honeymoon trip on the ship in October.
Bridge Publications - Publisher of L. Ron Hubbard's works, including his Battlefield Earth science fiction series and the seminal Scientology work Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Bridge is a for-profit company.
Concerned Businessmen's Association of America - A Glendale, Calif.-based group of Scientologists that promotes drug-free living through its ``Way to Happiness`` book and like-named campaign, targeted to school-age children. The association's Intertribal Council brought American Indian leaders to Scientology's Clearwater headquarters in February to talk about drug treatment programs. A related group, called the Hubbard Foundation, did detoxification on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana ``for a while,`` said Jim Ferres, Blackfeet treatment services director. ``They don't do it anymore. . . . I view alcoholism as a disease, and don't believe in this guru kind of stuff.``
Narconon - A Scientologist-run drug education and rehabilitation program based on a regimen of megavitamins and saunas. Narconon boasts an 80 percent success rate, but health officials and former Narconon employees dispute that claim. Narconon offices were among those raided in the Spanish investigation of Scientology in November.
WISE - An acronym for World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, the sect's division that teaches ``Hubbard management tech`` to businesses and professionals. Among the Scientologist-run consulting firms licensed under WISE are Singer Consultants (specializing in chiropractors), Sterling Management Consultants (dentists) and Uptrends (computer professionals). Anywhere from 20 percent (a Singer estimate) to 50 percent (an Uptrends figure) of WISE clients wind up taking Scientology courses or buying Hubbard books.
Citizen's Commission on Human Rights - A Scientology division that crusades against many applications of psychiatry, particularly the use of Ritalin, a drug used to control hyperactivity in children. Scientology has a distinctly anti-psychiatric, anti-medical bent, which psychiatrists say is a result of Dianetics being shunned by organized medicine.