Sunday, August 31, 2008

Donations to Scientology Churches

Jim asked:
Hi,I have for a long time wondered why the money which is paid to the cos for training(is it for books and auditing too?) is called a donation. Could you explain why that is?

The way I understand the word is that it is a contribution which is made by the giver on his own initiative. Looking at the meriamwebster dictionary it says: : the act or an instance of donating: as a: the making of a gift especially to a charity or public institution b: a free contribution : gift

This would seem to indicate that someone could choose to take a course without being required to give anything in return. I'm not suggesting that that is the way it should work - just that that is how I have so far understood the word donate.

Thanks for your question Jim. The best answer to this that I have seen is this article: How are Churches of Scientology supported financially? Please take a look at it and tell me if it answers your questions.

I have answered other question about the cost of Scientology services here, Cost of Scientology, you may find those articles of interest too.


SomethingNice said...

This question made me curious, so I looked into it too.

In the dictionary I have, "Donate" means to give money or a gift, especially to a religion or charity.

In addition to being a religion, the Church of Scientology does a lot of charitable works too, some of which are mentioned here:

When you do a free service in Scientology, someone else's donations are paying for it.

And when you donate for a Scientology training or auditing service, some of the money pays for the resources needed to deliver that service to you, some goes towards helping other parishioners and the rest goes toward the Church's other charitable activities. So your donations help you and other people too.

Grahame said...

Thanks, you make some good points.

jimbo said...

Okay, SomethingNice. Thanks for that. But I'm still unclear on this.

If I understand correctly, what you are saying is that when I 'pay for a course' as I thought I had been doing, my 'payment' is not for that course or service particularly - rather it is a donation towards all services. And the cost of the service which is delivered to me is met from all donations previously made.

But is there such a thing as a compulsory donation. Perhaps I'm still missing something here. The first time I heard the word 'donation' used in relation to paying for Scientology services, I thought it was an oxymoron because I was - and am still - under the impression that there is no such thing as a compulsory donation. If a donation is a gift then isn't that different from a payment *for* something?

If this is correct, then one cannot donate for a service. One cannot donate *for* anything for that matter. One can donate but not for anything in exchange - otherwise it should be technically referred to as a 'payment', not a donation.

Any further explanation would be much appreciated.


Grahame said...

Hey Jimbo,

I recommend that you read the page at the link I gave in the original post. It should answer your question.

On a personal note: One of the fundamentals of Scientology is the idea of exchange. You give something, you get something in return. It's a fundamental of the universe.

In Scientology we think it is important to keep exchange balanced.

Example: a thief takes something and gives nothing in return. This causes harm not only to the person he stole from, but also to himself.

Example: A man buys a car from a dealership for a fair price. The dealer has the car washed and waxed, fills the tank with gas and puts some decals on the sides that the customer expressed an interest in, then delivers the car. Both sides of the transaction feel good about it. Exchange was balanced.

In Scientology we feel that way about the services the Church gives and we parishioners receive. We feel it is important that both sides contribute appropriately.

So our donation system reflects that.

You can argue about the semantics of the word "donation" as much as you want, bottom line is the Church needs money to operate and to stay in existence and it has to do it some way.

Personally I like the way the donation system works in Scientology.