Affinity Exchange has been called an unofficial dating site for Scientologists. We took a closer look at the service that offers "a conducive environment where you can meet other like-minded people and, ideally, meet that ONE, special someone to share your life with!"
Back in 2003, Australian newspaper The Advertiser reported that a farmer had paid Affinity Exchange $230,000 and failed to find a relationship. The paper said the site had "ties to Scientology." A Scientology representative denies this, but an archived version of the site from 2002 says the Exchange "caters to people who are spiritually aware and into self improvement and is the service most used by those who are adherents of the philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard." Also, founder Marcia Powell discusses her own Scientology beliefs and practices on her personal blog. She describes taking classes at the Scientologist "Mecca" of Clearwater, Florida and says, "Another accomplishment was making donations to the International Association of Scientologists and achieving the status of Patron. Many good things are achieved worldwide by these donations, so I'm proud to help mankind in this way."
Affinity Exchange lets users set up a profile that looks much like those at other dating sites, except that it offers a number of choices of religion, including "Conscious/Spiritual" and "Scientology." It also allows users to answer a series of essay questions, including, "How long and what motivated you to be on a conscious path?" An article on the site, by Jill Crosby, clarifies the meaning of "conscious" somewhat, explaining that "'Spiritual Dating' or 'Conscious Dating' is an enlightened way of meeting and dating. There are no rules or expectations, and it's about being true to oneself and staying in the flow." Crosby continues,
Realize that every person is a DIVINE ASPECT and before incarnating, we agreed to forget our Divinity. We chose to be here on Earth for this incredible time in history, so be joyful and grateful for ‘waking up' and being part of this planetary ascension!
This language recalls some Scientologist teachings, but Crosby apparently has other spiritual pursuits as well. Her bio on the website of the Conscious Dating Network, which she founded (and of which Affinity Exchange appears to be a part) says, "she has a very deep, telepathic connection with dolphins." Dolphins appear to be a bit of a theme at Affinity Exchange — the site's resources section links to the site of one Dianne Robbins, who offers "cetacean communications" as one of her services. Her website says that "her authentic work connects our hearts to the hearts of Beings in advanced civilizations, Whales, Dolphins, the Tree People, the Crystal Nation and Earth's Elemental Kingdoms." The site also includes a telepathic message from an orca ("We Cetaceans are here to bring forth all of Earth's history to humans at this time. All the records we have kept stored within our massive brains are due to be released and transferred to humanity at this time") and one from a being named Mikos who allegedly lives inside the Earth ("which is HOLLOW, and contains an Inner Central Sun, with oceans and mountains still in their pristine state").
Despite the oddness of some of the site's affiliates, its testimonials are often sweet. Says one,
Last year I took a chance on contacting someone on your site — a no-no for a woman, according to The Rules guidebook, but a yes-yes for me! After getting to know each other for a few months, finding just the beginning of all the ways we were connected through past lives and our spiritual mission in life, we took the romantic road. It's been profound — a journey with both joy and growth work (scary but good). Very mutually supportive, and loving. Thanks to you for providing a forum where people with out-of-the box views on life can connect.
It brings me great joy and pleasure to email you and let you know that I have met my beloved Partner through your website. I have been holding sacred space in my heart for over 25 years, and because of my spiritual focus, have not been able to meet another spiritual gay man that was able to match my vibrational frequency until a couple of weeks ago. He is a very loving kind gentle man from India, who was guided to your site a few weeks ago.
The site allows users of all sexual orientations (including pansexual) — Affinity Exchange doesn't appear to share Scientology's rumored prohibition against homosexuality. The user above also references "5th, 6th & 7th Dimensional Star Portals" and "DNA Codes for Healing & Ascension," suggesting that the site has customers with non-Scientologist New Age beliefs. When I contacted Jill Crosby for comment, she explained,
The Conscious Dating Network is not affiliated with ANY church or any religion. One of our privately labeled sites, Affinity Exchange is primarily for Scientologists, but is also open to singles with any religious/ or spiritual views. A Scientologists, Marcia Powell markets that site.
Powell is hosting a party for "Affinity Exchange singles and also [...] my personal friends, and anyone else who wants to come" in Clearwater this October — attendees can check out her methods for themselves.