Alex Klein reported in BuzzFeed on the Church of Scientology's real estate ventures:
[T]he Ideal Orgs are sparking insurrection. Across the country, donors and high-ranking executives say that the aggressive fundraising and construction scheme is used to enrich the central church at the expense of the rank and file, helping to grow the Scientology war chest to over a billion dollars. Two former members, Mike Rinder and Mark Elliott, went so far as to call the project a "real estate scam." To some of these defectors, the structures are metaphors for the religion itself: garish on the outside, empty on the inside. The irony is that the very expansion that Scientology lauds as its renaissance is actually a symbol of internal dissent and decline.
Here are some of the early reactions from around the web.
Mark Ambinder of The Week:
wrote: "Scientology is either a religion ascending (their own contention, bolstered by advertorials in places like the Atlantic), or a religion about to implode from a "real estate scam" and a new sure-to-be best-seller by Lawrence Wright.
Jaweed Kaleem at The Huffington Post said:
In a lengthy, well-reported piece, Alex Klein, a contributor to BuzzFeed asks if the Church of Scientology is a self-destructing "institution on decline."
And on on Reddit's atheism subreddit, a discussion is developing in response to the piece:
"Of course not, at most maybe it's about to schism. There will be orthodox and a few types of reformed Scientology (there's already one), split into sects.
In harsh conditions, memes mutate and diversify, most of the offspring dying out, but usually you end up with a bunch of derivative species that find new niches.
Maybe there will be some Buddhist/Scientology hybrid or Christian Scientology, something like Mormonism 2." - Picado
"The word "scores" is used too loosely in this title. The article itself is fine, like someone did research and dug up these stories, but it presents a few individuals and couples who have left, and then even itself talks of hundreds of millions of dollars of funds raised over the last few years, so I'm left thinking like, "seems like they are doing fine...?"
If I were writing this article, I would have gotten the stories of other donors and seen what they said or how they responded and what was keeping this thing going. $250 million mentioned in the article is no small number, compared to the 10 people who have now left.
Basically, this article pissed me off, not because of content but because of stupidity in overlooking, yet even MENTIONING, hundreds of milliions of dollars pouring in, and then the big cliche questioning..."Is Scientology Self-destructing"." - Shreddy686