Scientology Leader Gave ABC First-Ever Interview

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Miscavige: Well, I'll tell you this, by the time you started getting anywhere near the top, I guarantee you, you wouldn't be poor anymore, because generally people in Scientology do better if they honestly make it.

Koppel: But let us assume there are some folks out there who are just poor. They don't have any money--

Miscavige: You know, I don't--

Koppel: They don't have any friends or relatives who have money. Is this the right religion for them?

Miscavige: Oh, absolutely. This is the right religion for anybody. In Scientology, you're dealing with yourself, you see. Here, we have this in common with all religions of earth. All religions of earth try to help man to be better, and to cause him spiritual improvement. Now, most-- In the Judeo-Christian society, they say if you have faith and you live your life that you'll achieve spiritual salvation in the afterlife. We believe in spiritual salvation, but in the here and now. And that's what we deal with.

Koppel: I think both Judaism and Christianity, or the proponents of those two religions, would argue with you that they certainly set forth quite a number of rules and recommendations and--

Miscavige: Oh, in the now, no, I'm not disputing that. I'm not-- I am not--

Koppel: And precepts for this world also.

Miscavige: I am not trying to badmouth any other religion, and Ted, I would never do that. All I'm saying is that they have their way. What's different in Scientology is how we approach it. There are higher levels of awareness as a spiritual being, and that's what we're dealing with in Scientology. Now, for me to talk to you about this and for you to have a reality on it, I don't think I'm going to get that and I'll tell you why. You don't have a reality on it. You see, Scientology is a very personal thing. You ask why somebody would do it. I'm not making the claims for the church, Ted. Millions of Scientologists around the world are making that claim. You ask them, they are happier, they do feel they're more able, they do do better in life, they know it has helped them. They say it. You can't take that away. And just like I wouldn't take that away from any other religion, when somebody then comes about and says that Scientology doesn't do that, are they telling me I don't have my own feelings?

Koppel: No, I'm just asking you, and it strikes me as a reasonable question, but if you can't answer it, you can't answer it. But there must be a way of explaining, without going into any of the innermost secrets of the Church of Scientology -- and I understand, your church has some secrets -- there has to be a way of explaining what it is you do that's different.

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