Inside and Outside the Churches of Scientology Around the World
The following article was posted on a local St. Louis community newspaper – an excellent article on the upcoming new Church of Scientology of St. Louis!
The Church of Scientology’s work is well underway, at 2345 Lafayette Avenue, to restore the 1928, Das Deutiche House (The German House).
The Church of Scientology purchased the building in 2007 after it had been vacant for almost 10 years.
“We looked through many different buildings,” said Executive Director Chad Lane. “This one must have been right, we found it, sent photos to our mother church and within two months, it was purchased.”
The 60-thousand square foot building was constructed as a center for German culture and community. Flamboyant gilded plaster, marble and stained glass have survived years of neglect.
“We are going to put the plaster and everything back the way it was,” said Estates Manager Winney Berberich. “At one time the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra recorded here because the acoustics are so wonderful.”
Tall windows line the west wall of the auditorium; each one features a German composer. Sheets of marble are hidden behind blue paint and layers of dirt disguise the terracotta tile floor in the entrance hall. Even the original Egyptian revival lighting is still in place.
The entry hall features a large backlit stained glass ceiling and the basement houses a gymnasium. Outside, the windows and doors are trimmed with more terracotta.
“It is really a gorgeous building, and it is a fortress,” said Berberich. “Structurally it is as sound as the day it was built, it just hasn’t been well maintained.”
Before any work could start, Lane led an ambitious fundraising campaign. With more then $4 million raised, the project will be completed without bank loans.
Work on the building began last summer with the repair of the roof, and the removal of four, 40-yard dumpsters full of trash by groups of volunteers. Soon tuck-pointing and window repairs will begin.
Lane, who claims it is his job to be optimistic, wants the work completed by the end of the year.
“I have been told that is very ambitious, so my second dream day is by next March, “ said Lane. When complete the auditoriums will be available for community use.
“We will have services, weddings and what not,” said Lane. ”I think the major use of the space will be community activities, meetings, hosting other churches, seminars, and even artist events.”
The rest of the spacious ground floor will house a bookshop and publicly accessible display areas. Each display area will have comfortable seating to encourage informal meetings and discussions.
The informational panels will tackle the components of Scientology and how they can help the individual and the community.
“We have a human rights campaign to make people aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the United Nations in the 50s,” said Lane. “We have an anti-drugs education campaign, and a campaign to help rehabilitate criminals. The displays are there to provide answers.”
In addition, there will be panels that explain Scientology’s practices of Purification, Auditing and the churches non-religious moral code.
The basement will house the Purification center. Purification is a physical training course that involves several weeks of running, vitamins and sauna time.
“We are surrounded by fairly toxic environments,” said Lane. “It helps to purify the body, it makes people brighter, makes them more creative and gets their IQ level up.”
According to Lane, Auditing is similar to counseling, Individual’s work with a qualified auditor to explore and clarify the goals and challenges they face on a daily basis.
Both members and non-members of Scientology can participate in these services. According to Lane, people interested in Scientology do not have to become Scientologists.
“All the technology of scientology is written in books, and you can get the books from public libraries, so the door is always open,” said Lane. The church’s non-religious moral code, The Way to Happiness, was written by Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard as a code of ethics based on common sense. It directs readers to take care of themselves, be temperate and love their parents.
“It is very evident that the way to be unsuccessful in life is to cheat, steal and whatever,” said Lane. “But that is not exactly what is pushed on television.”
L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics in 1950 to explain how the mind affects the body; it provides a road map people can apply to improve their lives. Through continued research, Hubbard realized that not everything could be explained by science.
“Hubbard began to discover phenomena that could only be described as spiritual in nature,” said Lane. “At that point you have just bridged the gap from science to something that is more akin to religion.”
Hubbard established the Church of Scientology in 1954.