Scientology does not require you pay any money to be a Scientologist. However, books and courses do cost money. The Catholic church has been around much longer than the Church of Scientology, and operating the church does cost money. From purchasing buildings (you can't have a church losing it's lease) to paying staff members, campaigning for human rights to paying the water bill, all these things cost money. Scientologists tend to be very generous, especially, when their money goes toward helping others. So, the "expense" of being a Scientologist is not a consideration for Scientologists, but is a popular point of attack for anti-Scientologists. Below is a link to an independent study by Frank Flinn. It should be notes that Scientology goes to great lengths and expense or their world-wide anti-drug campaigns, their literacy campaigns and their human rights campaigns. The insignificant amount you may pay to buy a copy of Dianetics, or couple hundred you spend for introductory auditing adds up to greatly impact lives the world over.
The "Cult of Greed" statement very much false. The US tax authorities, the Internal Revenue Service, agrees that the Church of Scientology is not a for-profit organization and that is why all organizations are tax-exempt the world over.
Frank Flinn Report
*Additional question from the blog:
Comment by anmn:
The web page at http://bpi.goldenageofknowledge.net/video/basicsvideo.html offers a “Basics Books and Lectures Package” at a discounted rate of $3,500. It says these materials are “the foundation on which the Bridge to Freedom is built.” That certainly implies that these materials are required to begin your path as a Scientologist. Is this true?
Yes, these materials are the “Basics”, i.e. what every Scientologist will study sooner or later. It takes a bit to study all of it so each book or lecture series is sold separately as well, is made available in the library of each church, and “Basics” packages have been donated to ten thousands of public libraries in 15 languages. There are donation drives ongoing since last summer (2007) to get more of these materials in public libraries (the price to donate a package is even lower).
There is nothing to justify about the price. The full package has about 300 books and CDs. Most of the CDs have more than one hour playing time. Each one comes with a printed complete transcript and glossary. Honestly, the price is extremely low compared to what you normally pay for hardcover books and CDs in any bookstore in the world, even if you buy them as Ebooks or download albums. They do not even charge shipping for this mass of material.
I understand that there are people who are used to listen to ripped MP3s or pirated DVDs but no publishing house would support this. Give-aways on one side would increase prices in another sector, unless the publisher wants to commit financial suicide and go broke. Simple economics. And Scientology publishing houses have the mandate to disseminate the Scientology religion worldwide and supply the needed materials. Any money made by this goes back into producing more materials, paying translators, narrators, sound studio equipment etc. They produce all these books and lectures in 15 languages and most of the books in more than 50 languages.