How much do you have in the bank?
"Anywhere else in society … it's a very rude, invasive, kind of offensive question," Brian Culkin said.
Not in the Church of Scientology.
Culkin balked when fundraisers for the International Association of Scientologists questioned him about his bank balance in the summer of 2009. But they kept pressing.
Why don't you just tell us?
What are you hiding?
Culkin trusted his new friends at Scientology's Flag Land Base in Clearwater, so he gave in and told them.
The six-figure sum got the attention of Flag's "registrars," the religious workers who collect payments for church services and solicit donations for Scientology causes. No matter how much he gave, Culkin said they pestered him almost every day to give more. He ended up spending $330,000
on church services and donations during the year
he spent in Scientology.
Large groups of registrars for the IAS repeatedly approached him, pressing him to give. Another registrar hounded him to spend thousands on counseling. One day, two church staffers from different departments tugged at his arms in a hallway, competing for a donation.