"Some of the world's most successful organizations and businesses have similar internship programs," explained Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International. "Umm ... IBM, for example."
When pointed out that IBM interns get paid about $20 an hour and gain valuable business experience, while Scientology members get paid about $50 a week to perform chores such as scrubbing Scientology superstar Tom Cruise's boat, Davis responded, "Who says boat scrubbing isn't valuable? Somebody's got to make Tom's boat shine like the glowing Sol of Teegeeack, so to speak."Besides, as [Church of Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard used to say, a little hard work is good for the thetan, no matter what planet it came from," added Davis. "Umm ... I'm kind of paraphrasing but that's basically what he said."
A CAP News study of other religions backs up Davis' claim that the practice is not completely unusual. For instance, altar boys do not get paid by the Catholic Church, although they are sometimes asked to do menial tasks, such as come to the rectory in their bathing suits to wash the priest's car.