The St. Petersburg Times has a big feature this weekend on the shameless "money machine" that is Scientology. Example number one: A Seattle couple who gave seven figures to the church only to be later be written up for "insufficient generosity."
The Times story explains through multiple accounts from former church members how Scientology fundraisers are relentless--to an almost sociopathic level--in their demands for money from parishioners.
People say that they are called dozens of times a day, physically barred from leaving fundraising meetings and written up with internal "Knowledge Reports" when they fail to deliver enough money--and we're talking tens of thousands of dollars at a time being expected.
In the case of Lynne Hoverson and Bert Schippers, a married couple living in Seattle, just one example of the high-pressure milking happened years after they had donated $160,000 to a new church.
On a late-autumn evening in 2005, a trio of church fundraisers arrived at the couple's home. They wanted more cash for the $13 million project.
Ninety thousand dollars.
Hoverson explained that she and her husband already had borrowed heavily to donate to church causes. Borrowing $90,000 more would mean another several months of payments.
She told them no.
A few days later, one of the fundraisers sent a complaint called a "Knowledge Report" to church officials. She was turning the couple in.
Their sin: insufficient generosity.
Source after source echoes the couple's story of being squeezed for every dime and then squeezed again for every nickel.
The Church of Scientology's response, needless to say, is that all the ex members are just making stuff up.