If one does a relatively superficial study of religion in general one will find a schism at some point. For example I’ll take the one that is more dominate in the west and that is Christianity.
At one time after the Nicene Council what was called the Catholic Church dominated and was later challenged by what became known as Protestantism or the Reformation which was started by a former Priest by the name of Martin Luther.
The conflict began with the Pope’s efforts to build Saint Peter’s Basilica by the granting of indulgences to contributors of this undertaking.
Many here will see a parallel between the Holy Roman Church and the Church of Scientology’s efforts toward obtaining donations for the International Association of Scientologists (a membership organization which was established in 1984 to replace the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International) and what are currently called “Ideal Orgs” which actually began with the Church Management’s efforts to build something similar to Saint Peter’s Basilica they called the “Super Power Building”.
True these actions caused much dissension between Management and many Scientologists but an earlier dispute was broiling between the organization and many trained Auditors over alterations of the Technology of Scientology with a “new tech” developed in the mid nineties called the “Golden Age of the Tech”.
But even this was as we say “late on the chain”.
Before that was the infamous “Mission Holders’ Conference” held in the latter part of 1982 in San Francisco.
Scientology Schisms and the Mission Holders’ Conference of 1982
The Church of Scientology’s 1982 Mission Holders’ Conference is a pivotal event for understanding the schisms the Church of Scientology (CoS) experienced in subsequent years. As with most other schisms, it is relatively easy to point to a specific incident that triggered the split. However, the more significant factors for understanding the schism are less apparent, rooted in the structure of the organization. The analysis in this paper will examine how the context in which the conference took place was decisive for subsequent schisms. With the founder and leader of CoS, L. Ron Hubbard, out of the scene, access to means of legitimation shifted from one (Hubbard) to many, something that facilitated the exit of so many otherwise dedicated Scientologist. Moreover, I will argue that there are certain mechanisms within Scientology which give movement leaders tools that can be used to compel dissidents into either silence or defection. The way in which Church leaders applied these tools against their own members set in motion disenchantment with CoS that later spawned schisms. Had the situation been handled with more care, fewer people would have defected.
The whole monogram is available at the above link for those who are enticed to further study. I would just like to add my own unique perspective on the matter and that is the genus of this schism was even easier than that and that this was just another obvious and dramatic manifestation of the split that would divide the organization.
What happened before that was the abolishment of the Guardian and Controllers Office who prior to this controlled what was called the Mission Network under what was known as the Franchise Office World Wide.
The mission or as it was called Franchise network was established in the late fifties and any auditor could apply for one as long as they promised to give ten percent from what they collected from selling books and services to Scientology’s World Wide Headquarters.
Franchises when the GO was established in 1966 for some reason came under their control or more accurately benign neglect.
Yet despite being pretty much neglected by the GO who were too busy doing other things like Counter Espionage operations against the US Government they prospered and expanded to the point where many missions or franchises rivaled the size of many Scientology organizations.
The fact is that missions were big money makers and the new management who had taken over after the blow back from Guardian’s Order 1361 proposed by Assistant Guardian for Information Micheal Meisner and approved by the then Guardian Jane Kember both suspected of being plants led to the restructuring of the Scientology Organization and the establishment of Scientology Missions International which was placed in the gentle hands of the Sea Organization wanted more than just a piece of the action.
“(G)entle’ was my effort at sarcasm as the Sea Org was anything but as we can see in the transcript of the Mission Holders’ Conference.
In Part II I will go into greater detail on the circumstances behind this event. So stay tuned.