The headquarters of Scientology, called the International Base or Gold Base, is a heavily guarded compound with high walls topped with blades and barbed wire together with 24-hour surveillance. The 50-building base is maintained and lived in by the elite of the Church, the Sea Orgs as they call them.
The Sea Orgs are made to show their dedication to the religion by signing a contract with the Church for one billion years. Many say that the controversy surrounding the Sea Orgs suggests the security at Gold Base is intended not to keep members safe but to stop them from escaping.
Ex-members have vehemently spoken out against the inherently secret organization, causing not just a little controversy. Many rumors have circulated about the religion’s goings-on. Media reports have suggested that over 100 members try to escape per year but are caught by “pursuit teams.”
This is not surprising as one former Sea Org member described their predicament – officers would often abuse them, and they were required to work 16-hour days for $17 per week. Their housing was cramped, dire, and communal. Cruise himself was said to pay Sea Orgs a meager 40 cents an hour to customize his cars and motorcycles.