Group Seeks Money To Expand

Source: St. Petersburg Times
Date: November 10, 1992

The Church of Scientology is asking its members for $40-million in donations so it can pay for the new building it plans to put up in downtown Clearwater.

The church has received at least $7.4-million, including three donations of more than $1-million each, according to a flier mailed recently by the church.

But the flier asks members to contribute more, because the building would help expand Scientology worldwide.

The Church of Scientology has its international spiritual headquarters in Clearwater. Some denounce the organization as a cult or a money-making organization, but members say Scientology is a bona fide religion.

The church owns more than $20-million worth of property in downtown Clearwater, including the Fort Harrison Hotel at 210 S Fort Harrison Ave. The new building would be built across the street.

Scientologists come from around the world to Clearwater for services such as "auditing," a counseling process that involves the use of an "E-meter," similar to a lie detector. Through auditing, Scientologists believe they can free themselves of past negative experiences.

Scientologists pay as much as $800 per hour to receive auditing.

The new six-story building, according to the flier, will contain 175 auditing rooms, 19 course rooms and Scientology bookstores. The building site is the former site of the Gray Moss Inn, 215 S Fort Harrison, which was demolished earlier this year.

Scientologists announced their plans for the building in March 1991, saying construction could begin as soon as May of that year. Although the site has been cleared, construction has not started.

The church flier says the donations are important because the new building would play a key role in Scientology's growth.

The new Clearwater building "would dramatically increase the speed of expansion for Scientology around the planet," the chief fund-raiser for the project says in the flier.

The flier says the building will be home for a series of newly offered Scientology procedures called "Super Power."

L. Ron Hubbard, the late science fiction writer who founded Scientology, wrote that Super Power "is the means that puts Scientologists into a new realm of ability enabling them to create the New World. It puts World Clearing within reach in the future."

"Clearing" is a Scientology term. Someone who receives enough Scientology auditing is said to reach a state called "clear."

The St. Petersburg Times gave a list of written questions about the project to Scientology spokesman Richard Haworth on Friday. He had not responded to the questions by press time, late Monday afternoon. He pointed out that a California-based group, the Church of Scientology Religious Trust, was overseeing the building project.

The flier offers some incentives to its members who are willing to contribute to the building. For example, someone who donates $35,000 would receive:

  • A special pin.
  • A 40-percent reduction in the price of the "Super Power" procedures.
  • The right to have his or her name engraved on a plaque in the new building.
  • A key and membership to a local Scientology club.
  • A plaque.
  • An invitation to a ceremony.
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