During auditing, a person confesses his innermost thoughts while his responses are monitored on a lie detector-type device known as the E-meter. Auditing must be purchased in 12 1/2-hour chunks, costing between $3,000 and $11,000 each, depending on where it is bought.
In recent months, WISE has been encouraging Scientologists nationwide to become consultants within their respective professions. The appeal is simple: make money while disseminating your religion.
In the process, WISE profits, too. It trains and licenses the firms to sell Hubbard's copyrighted "management and administrative technology." WISE charges roughly $12,000 for its basic no-frills training course. For consulting services, it charges $1,875 a day.
On top of this, the consulting firms that sell Hubbard's business methods must pay WISE 13% of their annual gross income.
At the heart of Hubbard's business system is a concept he called "management by statistics," which he said guarantees optimum office efficiency. Scientology critics maintain, however, that it creates an oppressive and regimented workplace environment.
An employee is judged solely upon his productivity, which is charted on a graph each week. Sagging productivity could bring a rebuke from the boss. Or it could lead to an employee's firing.
The management techniques promoted by the consulting firms are identical to those used by the church, except that all Scientology references have been deleted from the materials. The consultants even employ the most basic instrument used by the church to recruit new members off the street--a 200-question personality test that purports to let people know if they have ruinous personality flaws.
The consultants encourage businessmen and their employees to purchase Scientology courses to remedy personality problems uncovered by the test.
One of the most successful consulting firms licensed by WISE is Sterling Management Systems, which targets dentists and other health care professionals. For the past two years, Inc. magazine has ranked it among America's fastest-growing privately held businesses.
Sterling, based in Glendale, claims to be the "largest health care management consulting group in the U.S."
A company spokesman said the firm charges clients $10,000 for its complete line of Hubbard courses and 30 hours of private consultation. The spokesman said Sterling has helped dentists increase their income an average of $10,000 a month.
He insisted that the company has "no connection" to the church, but added: "If people are interested in Scientology, we will make it available to them."
Sterling publishes a tabloid called "Today's Professional, the Journal of Successful Practice Management." Mailed free to 300,000 health care professionals nationwide, it is filled with "management" articles by Hubbard that are actually excerpts from Scientology's governing doctrines.
The company also holds nationwide seminars that, according to its promotional literature, have been drawing 2,000 people a month.
Sterling Management was founded in 1983 by Scientologist Gregory K. Hughes, at the time a prosperous dentist in Vacaville, Calif. Hughes holds seminars across the country, offering himself as evidence that Hubbard's methods work.
In promotional publications for Sterling, Hughes has said that his annual income soared from $257,000 in 1979 to more than $1 million in 1985. In one month alone, he has claimed to have seen 350 new patients.
Sterling's paper, Today's Professional, has boasted that "the techniques that produced amazing results when applied to Greg's practice are being applied all over the U.S."
But neither the paper's readers nor those who attend Hughes' seminars are told that his dental office, which employed the high-volume Hubbard techniques that he imparts to others, has been accused by former patients of dental negligence and malpractice.