“What’s true for you is true for you.”
– L. Ron Hubbard.
Relocating from the Kitchener site, the Cambridge location of the new Church of Scientology held a dedication ceremony on February 9, 2013 at the former Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan building on Bishop Street.
The Ideal Organization (Ideal Org) will accommodate the growing population of parishioners throughout the Golden Triangle. Special guest, David Miscavige, was on hand to convey a message to the over 1000 Scientologists and their guests who gathered from across Canada and the U.S. Great Lakes Region. Outside the official celebration, protesters also gathered.
David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion: “This church is the incarnation of all Scientology bestows to this world, forged of the very purpose with which L. Ron Hubbard bestowed Scientology itself: to help Man to again find his footing in this materialistic society…”
Other notable attendees were Canadian Multicultural Council co-founder Mr. Sid Ikeda, Member of Parliament, Canadian House of Commons, Ret., Mr. Derek Lee, and Encounter World Religions Centre founder, Mr. J.W. Windland.
I had heard of Dianetics, the Church of Scientology, and L. Ron Hubbard; however the practices and beliefs of the Church were a mystery to me. I love a good mystery. After some research, I decided to take a peek at the new location and find out what an “Ideal Org” means – at the very least.
Upon my arrival, I was greeted graciously and shown the virtual tour offered to all who wander in the door. Within a few minutes, Erin Banks and Angela Ilasi, spokespersons for the Church of Scientology, joined me and offered a physical tour and an explanation of their church and belief systems.
Both second generation Scientologists, they gave me a brief but thorough history of L. Ron Hubbard, the basics of Dianetics – the belief to which all Scientologists adhere, as well as the concept of “auditing” and “clearing.”
As we walk among the over 5000 books, 3000 recorded video lectures, many photographs and busts of L. Ron Hubbard, I am told that he was the founder of Dianetics and Scientology. He was an author, philosopher, humanitarian and world traveler who studied mathematics and engineering.
From his literary career – beginning in American pulp fiction – he funded his research. His book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published in 1950. By 1952, the Church of Scientology was born. Miscavige took the reins after Hubbard passed away in 1986.
We visited the church proper, then through the virtual tour area where public service announcements including the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, United for Human Rights, The Way to Happiness and Dianetics an Introduction were among the hundreds of information videos available free to the public.
“Dianetics is how the mind affects the body,” says Erin as we head toward the next leg of the tour. “You can get rid of past moments.”
How, I wonder? She explains that we all have past memories, conscious or unconscious, that stay with us and form our boundaries, fears and irrational thoughts. This leads to damaging behavours.
“For example, grief stays with you and changes you completely,” she says and adds, “It (Dianetics) addresses past loss.”
Dianetics doesn’t erase the memories, I am told as we move toward the elevators. They are still there but the fear is gone. “You can be yourself,” she says.
Again, I wonder, how? Auditing.
However, before I am able to understand auditing, I am lead to the Purification Centre and what looks like a workout room. I am told that it has nothing to do with a hearty workout. Four treadmills stand before a mural of the Grand River. In here, toxins are removed from the fatty tissues of the body through exercise, diet, and sweating it out in a sauna. Niacin, a component of the vitamin B complex, is used to “cleanse” the system of drugs and other poisons. Through my research, I have found that this is a controversial method of purifying the body. Then again, Scientology is no stranger to controversy. We move on.
The Auditing Room is next. Charts line one wall examining a “Preclear’s” Oxford Capacity Analysis which is not associated with the Oxford University. Created by Mr. Hubbard, the test evaluates ten personality traits to aid in the auditing process. Defined as “a person not yet cleared” a Preclear is assigned a trained auditor who directs them through a “precise route by which individuals may travel to higher states of spiritual awareness…” according to the Church’s website.
An E-Meter is used to assist in identifying the troubling emotional memories. Small tubes with a light electrical charge amounting to the charge in a flashlight battery are held by the Preclear. A monitor shows peaks of emotions that, through questioning, are seen as areas in need of clearing.
“The mind stores influences, incidents,” says Erin. “Recalling and recounting relieves the painful, emotional charge.”
My tour has almost concluded. Erin and Angela have been wonderful hosts. As we get back into the elevator I ask how they feel about being judged a cult.
“I feel like it’s the 1970’s!” she says. “I look at this place. Our doors are open all the time. Members of all faiths are welcome here.”
In a later email, Erin informs me that, “We are formally recognized as a religion at the provincial level in all provinces where we have churches.”
They have no misconceptions about having some famous names included in their parish: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Kelly Preston, Edgar Winter and Priscilla Presley among the many.
“Every religion has members who are prominent,” states Erin.
As for their protesters on the day of their celebration, Erin says, “Every new movement has their critics. We’re not bothered by them. The neighbours are friendly and we’ve had so many welcomes.”
In the Church of Scientology, there is no Heaven or Hell. “We’re not a two dimensional world. We are immortal, spiritual beings. We’ve lived before and will live here again” says Erin. “There is an awareness that what you do now affects the next life. We have respect for our actions now.”
According to Hubbard, “Scientology teaches that people are immortal spiritual beings who have forgotten their true nature.”
All I can say is…
“What’s true for you is true for you.”
– L. Ron Hubbard.