About 10,000 Scientologists gathered in the Los Angeles Sports Arena on October 8, 1993. They were celebrating one of the most momentous milestones that their church has ever achieved – winning their battle against the Internal Revenue Service.

For a quarter of a century, I.R.S. agents have labeled Scientology as a commercial enterprise and denied them tax exemptions that were usually allowed to churches. Their refusals were always backed up by every court, until that one fine night that they changed their mind. The I.R.S. has finally allowed tax exemptions to all Scientology entities in the country.

This turn of events surprised tax experts and it saved the church from settling tens of millions of dollars for taxes. More importantly, the I.R.S.’ decision paved the way for Scientologists to use it for their global campaign for approval as a mainstream religion.

The complete story behind the I.R.S.’ change of mind was unheard of for about four years because the taxpayer privacy laws secured it. However, The New York Times conducted an analysis that revealed the real reason to the tax exemption. The decision came after a bizarre campaign that Scientology initiated against the people who work for I.R.S. and the agency itself.

The Times based their findings on the thousands of pages of internal and public church records, as well as, the 30 interviews. It seems that the lawyers of the church group hired the services of private investigators to search into the private lives of the officials. Some documents and interviews even state that they also led surveillance operations to determine possible weaknesses that they can use against them.

Scientology’s version of the story indicated that the church leader promised to stop its law suits against the agency as long as they grant them tax exemptions. Now, who is really telling the truth?

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