How much it really costs to be a Scientologist

The cost of becoming a Scientologist is far more than the ridicule of your peers. It seems that it's not even your soul the religion is after so much as the almighty dollar. Based on reports of former members, almost every level of Scientology is designed to wring a few bucks out of you, as if it were a multi-level marketing scheme. Each time you reach the next tier, things get more expensive.

Leah Remini, star of the Scientology tell-all Going Clear, told Business Insider that the initial introductory Scientology courses are as low as $35, but they're designed to rope you into greater expenditure. They don't count towards your "credits" earned on the path to full-blown Scientologist, and are focused on recruitment and "indoctrination."

Once you've completed these teaser courses and purchased the entire works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, which will cost you about $4,000, you'll begin your stroll on "The Bridge to Total Freedom," a shiny name for Hubbard's steps to enlightenment. Each step requires coursework, which starts around $650 and can reach into multiple thousands of dollars as you advance, according to Global News. Of course, time is money too, and some courses could require rigorous 12-hour study schedules seven days a week.

Don't reach for your checkbook just yet, though. There's more. You will also need to be steadily "audited," Scientology's version of therapy, which will run you $800 an hour, lasting at least two and a half hours.

And if you do reach the other side of The Bridge to Total Freedom, you might find that the coursework has been updated, meaning you need to start over and retake the courses, like former Scientologist of over 40 years, Mary Kahn. USA Today reports she was told to "revisit" the Bridge in 2009 after having completed the courses in 1987. 

Based on what Remini says, reaching "Clear", the goal for Scientologists, will cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions. As they say, freedom isn't free.