No Mystery in the “Why” of Scientology’s Largest Donor

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January 29, 2013; Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Robert Duggan, who is worth at least $1.2 billion, is not only the CEO of the biotech firm Pharmacyclics Inc. He’s also the largest donor ever to the Church of Scientology, according to Mark “Marty” Rathbun, the former inspector general of Scientology who has since left the Church. Rathbun told Bloomberg writer Brendan Coffey, “Duggan is the undisputed champion of donations to Scientology…He is in a category of his own, having donated more than $20 million. Nobody else even comes close to having donated that much.”

Why fund a cruise ship for the religion’s retreats, Scientology missions in Italy and the provision of thousands of copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics to libraries across the U.S.? Well, nothing new here, but to hammer an old point home, the donations were made because of an intimate connection.

“Scientology and what it has made available to me in the way of courses and other programs has steered me in the direction of becoming a better and more capable person. Thus I feel it is an honor and personal obligation to share my financial success with Scientology,” Duggan is quoted as saying.

Even as we listen to people go on and on about the new donor interest in metrics, we continue to see evidence of these kinds of stories where personal meaning and connection is the spark and glue. Both results and relationships are necessary but relationships are “the door” in many cases. –Ruth McCambridge


  • Mike Braben

    A fool and his money are easily parted.

  • derfty

    Pharmacyclics is a scam. It’s only purpose is to steal investor monies and give it to criminal David Miscavige. Robert Duggan was Reed Slatkins mentor, if you are interested in finding out about his other ponzi schemes.

  • Dean Fox

    It’s sad that people like this support the church of scientology, an organization at the center of claims of financial, physical and mental abuse.

    The beliefs of scientology are neither here nor there; they are a mix of ingredients found in all religions: moral advice, some of which is dubious; obvious platitudes; myths (virgin births, space aliens and so on); common sense and woo’ist nonsense (laying on of hands, touch assists and e-meters).

    There are people who say they’ve gotten something out of scientology and that’s quite possible since believing something will help improve you will improve you. The problem isn’t that the religion exists it’s that the church of scientology exists and that it’s produced countless people who have claimed to have suffered from the organizations actions.

    There’s even a growing group of independent scientologists who’ve disavowed the church of scientology because of its abuses but still very much believe in L Ron Hubbard’s teachings. The church of scientology for its part demonstrates its religious tolerance to this fledgling group by persecuting key members (look for squirrel busters on YouTube) and issuing “disconnection” (their version of ex-communication or shunning which requires that no member in good standing with the church of scientology can have anything to do with the disconnected one – this breaks up families).

  • M. Chuka

    I am puzzled as to why NPQ would even consider this relevant. Scientology isn’t about building relationships to fund its “good works.” It’s about holding someone’s spiritual advancement, ties to family and friends, mental health (and more) hostage until he or she coughs up for the ‘reg cycle’ of the week. What other organization would regularly hold fundraising events where they *lock the doors and block the exits* until everybody gives something?

    There is never an accounting provided to donors as to where their funds went. The sweet statements about why they give are coerced from donors over and over again. A simple Google search provides plenty of information about the extraordinary pressure and unethical fundraising policies and practices of Scientology and its front groups. These should be held up as an example of what *not* to do. There are many other nonprofit organizations to consider when looking for real examples of relationship-building.

  • Dan

    The story forgot to mention that Scientology is a criminal cult that records the “counselling” sessions that it provides and is ready to use that information should Mr. Duggan not be willing to share his success. And behind your pretty blue walls are people used as slaves held as much by fear and intimidation as by physical force. So Mr. Duggan has provided more money so Scientology can hire more private investigators to harass those that escape, and more lawyers to try and fend off the consequences their criminal actions that lead to deaths like that of Lisa McPherson or several Narconon victims.

  • Luke

    I myself have given large amounts to this church and i consider every comment here in reference to me and how i feel, completely off the mark, and merely a “perception” not the reality.

  • tycoon

    The Scientology corporation has a “secret police” called the Office of Special Affairs (OSA). One of the duties of OSA is to scan the internet for articles about the company and post comments while pretending to be regular members of Scientology, or members of the public. Their goal is to prevent information about the Scientology corporation’s criminal convictions and harrowing abuses from being spread.

    Luke’s comment is an example. Notice that he did not offer anything but a blanket denial, essentially accusing all other commenters of being liars. The Scientology corporation has no defense, so it resorts to blanket denials and calling all the thousands of victims who have spoken out as being “disgruntled apostates” and all critics of being “bigots”.

    It is always disappointing to see a puff piece by a journalist or editor who either did not do their homework, or is perhaps too frightened of reprisals to at least mention that the Scientology corporation is considered a cult by its critics.