Changing strategy: Scientology now steps right up to controversy - 1988-12-23
After years of sparring with the townsfolk and veiling itself in secrecy, the Church of Scientology has succeeded in turning Clearwater into its spiritual mecca. Scientologists quietly run teen nightclubs, schools, day-care centers, management consulting firms and other businesses, records and interviews show.
Now the strategy of the organization, longtime observers say, is to confront controversy, gain converts and make money - lots of it. Scientology's Clearwater operation brings in $1.5-million to $2-million a week, say church watchers who include Clearwater police, former Scientology security chief Richard Azneran and former Scientologist-turned-author Bent Corydon.
Fee schedules show how the dollars add up: 12 1/2 hours of basic Scientology counseling in Clearwater costs $8,000, not counting meals and accommodations.