The Front Office

by , under personal

Last week I mentioned that I once worked for Scientologists.

At the time, I didn’t know a lot about them. Just that they had the Celebrity Centre in LA and that it was founded by LRH who also wrote scifi. I knew that they were regarded as a cult, but hadn’t delved into that very deeply.

I was a temp at the time, looking for long term work, and had an interview with the Doctor’s Wife, who ran the front office. But their current front office girl was taking over as Office Manager, which is why they needed me. I knew nothing about insurance, but mentioned that I’m a quick learner. I was skilled with office type programs, and my Disneyland past told her everything she needed to know about whether or not I could be appropriate with patients.

The pay was much more than I’d been making at Disney, so I jumped at the chance.

I would work from 9-6, and once a week there’d be an inter-office meeting for one half of the day while the Doctor did something. I honestly don’t remember- I know that he taught a class for awhile, and I think he also went to visit dental offices. But he wasn’t there.

I was taken around and introduced to the staff. There were the boyfriend and girlfriend who handled all the insurance claims- a very clean cut, all American type couple. The gorgeous girl who spoke with the patients about their coverage, and who apparently would assist the doctor if needed (though there were two assistants for the procedures). Oh, and the girl who was fresh from college who handled the marketing. And the new office manager.

In retrospect, the fact that they had an in-house marketing person should have told me something odd was going on.

At the first weekly meeting, I was handed pages that were photocopied from a workbook and asked to fill them out. The wording was odd, and I really didn’t see what any of it had to do with an office- they were asking about personal goals, if anyone stood in the way of them. At the bottom of the page, a company name was mentioned. I googled it, and it was essentially the non-Church company that puts out materials for Church members to incorporate in the rest of their lives.

I said nothing about any of this. It was a well paying job, and the people there were pretty nice. And weirdly, it was sort of entertaining to be fielding calls from the Celebrity Centre to set up class times for the Doctor’s Wife.

But things were weird. They kept track of how much money they brought in weekly, and tried to improve on that. So they would never turn away emergency patients. So I’d work a lot of long hours, and listen to the marketing girl be chastised for not convincing enough offices to refer patients. Since occasionally I was discussing procedures with patients, I was given a script to use if local CoS members came in- since most wouldn’t want to use anesthesia.

They fired her. And brought in a large man who smelled. I knew most of the staff in the front offices (since they would call when referring us emergency patients) and more than a few admitted that they didn’t like him. As it turned out, the assistants, the pretty girl (who wound up leaving to become a pharmacy rep) and the office manager were the only non-Scientologists in the place.

Then they decided to send our Office Manager for “training” classes in Hollywood. Where she took a course and yes… was audited at the end. And because she thought it was bull, she had to retake the course. And when she didn’t want to retake it for a third time, they fired her. She’d been looking into it to see if she had a legal case for being fired- since these weren’t exactly training courses, they were technically courses related to their religious beliefs. I don’t know how that turned out.

I was there for a little over a year. I’m not sure why I stuck around so long- okay, I do. About 9 months in, my wisdom teeth started to come in. They took an x-ray, and he offered to take all four out for free. So he took them out, and I stuck around for another few months.

The job wasn’t all bad. I learned about how insurance works. I got the wisdom teeth out for free. I know about dental implants now, and saw a jaw reconstruction surgery. And if the Doctor got his way, once a month he’d drop in and show us pictures from procedures. I loved those meetings. (He and I would eat popcorn during them)

And I got a crash course in Scientology.

  • Skye

    I have to show this post to my guy’s best friend – who is a religious studies professor with a specific interest in Scientology.

  • Carolyn Fodel

    OK now you make me more curious about Scientology.

  • I know I left it a little vague. There are some things I can’t remember (like the name of the company the materials were put out under), but there were a lot of things I do remember.

    (Like how The Doctor’s Wife would fight with her husband to get the fancy leather bound materials for her class)

  • It’s a bag filled with crazy. They claim to offer life lessons, but everything comes at a cost. And people wind up signing away their lives to pay for these classes- basically working as slave labor. It’s nuts.

    So anyone who isn’t directly working for them, is actively trying to make money… and then the Church gets their cut. It’s like a cult and MLM had a lovechild.