Declining membership is perhaps what has made the Scientology organization push the book Dianetics so heavily, and caused L.Ron Hubbard to restructure his stages and courses, call his program "The Bridge," and raise his prices astronomically.
How high? The E-meter I bought in 1968 for $150 cost $831.59 in August of 1984, the '84 "Mark V" model, in steel blue, peacock blue, beige or gray sold for $3,019.39, in black $3326.30. The black leather "limited edition" cost $5,745.24. All of these prices are probably substantially higher at the time of this book's publication more than a decade later.
In 1968 I purchased softcover books, such as E-Meter Drills, for about $1.50; in August 1984 the same book, and a softcover of similar length, E-Meter Essentials, went for $26.34 and $34.46 respectively. In the '60s, hardcovers such as Science of Survival and Phoenix Lectures were in the $4-5 range; by August '84 their respective prices had risen to $79.76 and $65.25.
It is fair to say from these figures that Scientology's rate of inflation far exceeds the wog world's.
The August 1984 prices appear in The Auditor, a monthly journal, Issue 192, under the heading "Complete your L. Ron Hubbard Library Now!" Prices are also given for hardcover books, cassettes and "Course Packs." There are 21 softcover books, at a total cost of $531.23, which averages $25.25 per item; 36 hardcover books at a total cost (omitting any titles that are also available in softcover) of $5,938.51, which averages out to a few pennies short of $165 per item; 13 cassettes, total cost $3147,03 -- some of these items are sets, such as Philadelphia Doctorate Course, which comprises 76 tapes, thus making the average price for all cassettes on the list probably only around $25 per; 32 Course Packs, total cost $2191.97, averaging $68.50 per item -- the figure is brought down by eight items under $10.
The total cost of all 103 items on the August 1984 price list, using the lowest figure for an E-meter, is $12, 646.33, for an average of $122.78 per item. Note that this hasn't yet got us any actual auditing or training, let alone "secrets." For these, let's turn to a price list called Flag Services, Accommodations and Bookstore Donations Fall 1987, sent out by the organization in a mailing. ("Flag" refers to Hubbard's "flagship." The "land base" is the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida.)
The following entries, given here in toto, do not include cassettes and most of the books, which were discussed above, details about room accommodations at the hotel, or clauses about discounts for payments far enough in advance:
FLAG SPIRITUAL COUNSELLING SERVICES 12 1/2 hours Regular and Confessional Auditing 8,000 Purification Rundown 2,662 5 hours Clear Certainty Rundown 3,200 12 1/2 hours Clear Certainty Rundown 8,000 Sunshine Rundown 1,300 New Hubbard Solo Auditor Course, Part I 2,900 New Hubbard Solo Auditor Course, Part II 1,900 New OT I 2,000 OT II 3,900 OT III 6,500 New OT IV OT Drug Rundown (per 12 1/2 hours) 9,000 New OT Audited NOTs (per 12 1/2 hours) 10,200 New OT VI Hubbard Solo NOTs Auditing Course 11,000 New OT VII Solo NOTs Auditing 3,000 plus 6 month segments for C/Sing 1,400 (case supervising) Power (Grades V and VA) Processing 15,300 Grade VI 3,700 Clearing Course 5,300 Introspection Rundown 16,000 New Vitality Rundown 13,800 Case Cracker Review 10,000 (per 12 1/2 hours) Student Booster Rundown 10,000 Doctorate Series Course for OTs 6,800 End of Endless OT III Rundown 3,980 L 10, L 11, L 12 Rundowns 12,500 (per 12 1/2 hours) Note: Each L requires a minimum of 25 hours.
Author's note: Some of the entries bear a tiny "r" in a circle. The author does not know what "L" or the various "Rundowns" are. Hazarding a guess, the Rundowns might be the equivalent of the old "review," which cost $20 an hour in 1968. "Purification Rundown" entails sitting in a hot-box, at 120-180 Fahrenheit, for hours or days, after which the "rundownee" presumably will never return to drug abuse. I'm inclined to agree. I wish I knew the nature of the other Rundowns, especially "End of Endless," and "Introspection Rundown," which sounds like a Duke Ellington composition but costs more. "Counselling Services" is processing. "NOTs" means "New Era Dianetics (or NEDs) for OTs." This process exorcises "dormant beings," similar to body thetans but trapped in matter.
The total cost of these 25 items is $172,342, averaging $6,893.68 per item. Grades 0 through IV do not appear. They might be included in "12 1/2 hours Regular and Confessional Auditing." Here are a few more:
TECHNICAL REFERENCES Research and Discovery Series Volume 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (each) 100.00 Volume 8,9 (each) 155.00 Technical Bulletins Volumes (set of 12) 1,200.00 Individual Volumes 100.00 Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary 50.00 Primary Rundown Glossary 12.00
Nothing is said in the price lists and promo about the redundancy aspect. The effect of this is to raise the average cost per item, since a student who purchases several courses or Packs may be paying two or three times over for the same material. And more:
"Joy of Creating" framed poster 47.00 "Professionalism" plaque 94.00 "Code of Honor" plaque 94.00 Small LRH (L. Ron Hubbard) bust 1,395.00 Large LRH bust 5,000.00
There follows a list of accommodations, starting from around $300 a week at the "Sand Castle," running to $3-4,000 a week for a suite at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Florida.
A note at the bottom of the sheet says: FEES PROMPTLY REFUNDED TO ANY DISSATISFIED STUDENT OR PRECLEAR. A REFUND OF CONTRIBUTIONS WILL ONLY BE PAID SUBJECT TO THE POLICY OF THE CLAIMS VERIFICATION BOARD.
A stupendous chart, called "The Bridge To Total Freedom," shows the new structure of processing and training. The author of the book you're reading got as far as OT IV, by way of the Grades, Power, Solo Clearing, OT I, II and III, and a couple of courses, at a total cost of about $8,000. The "Bridge" has added Purification Rundown ("if necessary"), Objectives Processing, Drug Rundown (includes medicine and alcohol), New Era Dianetics ("refined spiritual healing technology"), Sunshine Rundown ("confidential") and OT Preps ("advanced religious counseling").
The total price for the listed items is $59,762. OT V, VI and VII cost an additional $24,200. The latter two Levels are called "NOTs, advanced spiritual training and technology for OTs." OT VIII through OT XII are available, but I don't have the prices. XIII through XV are "not yet released." All OT Levels except II and III are designated "new."
"Clear" is redefined as "a being who no longer has his own reactive mind" (emphasis added -- I believe they mean here not the reactive minds of "body thetans" and "dormant beings").
So far I've stuck to only one half of "The Bridge To Total Freedom" chart, "New Streamlined Classification, Gradation and Awareness Chart of Levels and Certificates." This is something to behold, about two feet high and one foot wide, jam-packed with print, some of it microscopic, fit into boxes. The other half of the chart sets out the "Bridge" for training, which ascends to Class XII "gold belt flubless auditor."
I've talked to knowledgable ex-members about the prices. The drastic increases had made me wonder if the organization was trying to phase Scientology out. The ex-members' replies were always the same: Quite the contrary; people are indeed paying these prices.