Representatives of the Miami Haitian Community Award Scientology Volunteer Ministers for Haiti Disaster Relief Effort

March 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm (Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology) (, , , , )

A Scientology-sponsored ship is loading up with supplies for Haiti, including wood-burning stoves from the charity founded by the Lola Poisson-Joseph, wife of the Haitian Ambassador to the United States.  The 896-ton Hornbeam, a former U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, is transporting more than 165 tons of cargo to Haiti including an ambulance, a school bus and more than 20,000 Meals Ready to Eat.

As the ship pulled up to the dock at South River Drive in Miami, North Miami Beach Councilperson John Patrick Julien presented the Scientology Volunteer Ministers with the Key to the City of North Miami Beach on behalf of Mayor Myron Rosner and a proclamation dedicating the day to the Scientology Volunteer Ministers for their work in Haiti.

Also present were Phillip Brutus, former Florida State Representative and current candidate for U.S. Congress, Daphne D. Campbell, RN, Haitian community leader and candidate for the Florida State House of Representatives, Marleine Bastien, executive director and co-founder of Haitian American Women Association (FANM) and the Haiti Relief Task Force and Marie Yolaine Ferdilus, co-chair of Haitian Relief Task Force and Founder of Legal Protection of America.

The supplies on the “Lifeboat for Haiti” have been donated by more than a dozen churches, charities and groups and will be delivered to schools, orphanages, hospitals, churches and disaster response groups in Haiti including the Notre Dame de la Naiveté Orphanage, AIMER Haiti, Operation Compassion, and the Scientology Haiti Disaster Response Team, which has been providing relief in Haiti for the past two months.

Since the January 12 earthquake, the Church of Scientology has transported more than 450 medical professionals and 300 Volunteer Ministers to Haiti.  With more than 100 volunteers on the ground, the Scientology Volunteer Ministers continue to provide support to doctors, nurses and EMTs, deliver food and water to the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps and help with reconstruction, disaster response training and trauma relief.

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Las Vegas: New Scientology church offers public information center to explain Scientology

March 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm (Church of Scientology, David Miscavige, L. Ron Hubbard) (, , , )

With its dedication of the new Church of Scientology and Celebrity Centre Las Vegas last month, the Church of Scientology International is poised to assume a higher profile in Southern Nevada than it has during its 40-year-long presence here.

Tommy Davis, spokesman for the Church of Scientology International, notes the Las Vegas center is the eighth new church the denomination has opened in the past 12 months, and that more than a dozen others are scheduled to open this year.

The churches are part of Scientology ecclesiastical leader David Miscavige’s goal of establishing “very public, open churches” where those who aren’t familiar with Scientology may learn about it, Davis says.

“It’s just really going out there and saying: ‘Here we are. This is what we believe. Come in and see for yourself and make your own decision,’ ” he says.

The new church, at 2761 Emerson Ave. — formerly the home of Congregation Ner Tamid — now serves as Scientology’s Southern Nevada home. Church spokeswoman Jessica Feshbach estimates that the local church has “a couple thousand members.”

The Las Vegas facility also is designated as a “celebrity center,” the church’s name for facilities that are designed to serve the needs of performers and artists through specialized classes and such amenities as private entrances. Celebrity centers are, the church says, a product of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s high regard for artists and the role they play in society.

For nonmembers, the church’s most prominent feature is a public information center that features audiovisual displays, films and other aids that tell of the church, its history and beliefs, and its work in such areas as promoting human rights and combating substance abuse.

The 40,000-square-foot church also houses a chapel where Sunday services and such activities as weddings are held. Feshbach says Sunday sermons typically revolve around Hubbard’s writings, lectures, and audiotaped and videotaped messages .

There is a facility for “purification rundowns,” which are vitamin, exercise and sauna regimens members take to rid their bodies of toxins and drugs which, Hubbard believed, impede mental and spiritual growth.

And, there are study rooms where members take classes to learn about Hubbard’s work.

Davis says the cost of courses — which cover such topics as child-raising, communication and personal values and integrity — typically range from $50 to several hundred dollars, depending on a course’s intensity and length.

The center also is equipped with counseling rooms, where members participate in a process called auditing, a form of spiritual counseling. During auditing, members seek to uncover unconscious memories that, Scientologists believe, prevent a person from realizing his or her full potential.

Such memories are uncovered using a device called an E-meter. It is, Davis says, “a fundamental principle of our religion, which is largely a scientific concept, that thoughts have actual mass or weight.” The E-meter, in conjunction with an auditor’s questioning, reveal physiological reactions “just below their level of awareness” that, with the help of a counselor, a person may eliminate.

However, it’s also a key tenet of Scientology that “nobody is telling you, ever, what’s wrong with you,” Davis adds. “You’re being assisted in discovering for yourself what is troubling you.”

“The entire concept, if you want to talk about fundamental religious belief, is we believe that the individual is an eternal spiritual being whose capabilities are infinite but not fully realized,” Davis says.

The facility also contains a library that is open for use by the public.

Davis says there are no charges for people to attend Sunday services, use the library or partake of other such services. The church doesn’t require that people officially become a member to utilize its offerings.

“There isn’t a conversion process in Scientology — ‘Oh, now you’re converted,’ ” he explains. “If you want to call yourself a Scientologist, more power to you. You can choose to join the International Association of Scientology and be a card-carrying member if you want, but that’s not a requisite to participating in our services, it’s not a requisite to participate in auditing or training, or to go to Sunday services. Anybody is welcome. The whole idea is to have the tools.”  (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Also in the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Celebrities aren’t the only ones who say Scientology helps them

Slide Show: Church of Scientology and Celebrity Centre Las Vegas

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Curbed LA: Scientology Expanding at Sunset Blvd.

March 10, 2010 at 2:42 am (Church of Scientology, Scientology, Scientology Religion) (, )

HOLLYWOOD: Last year, the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard got a really big sign, and now a new building is coming to their campus, according to a rep. She writes in an email: “The construction site you see is the renovation and expansion of the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles. The building is about 65,000 square feet and will open sometime this spring. It is part of the Church’s international expansion program. Since the beginning of 2010, we have opened new Churches in Brussels, Belgium; Quebec City, Quebec; and Las Vegas, Nevada.” Looking forward to seeing what goes up. [Curbed Staff]

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