The Flag Issue:Celebrating Scientology's New Spiritual Center
Ideal Orgs Mark Era of Expansion
“The Ideal Org would be an activity where people came to achieve freedom and where they had confidence they would attain it.”
To meet the worldwide demand for Scientology services and social betterment programs, Mr. David Miscavige launched the Ideal Org (short for “organization”) program in 2003 to transform all Scientology Churches into Ideal Churches. It was a goal set long ago by Founder L. Ron Hubbard who envisioned creating churches that embodied the spiritual technology of the religion, churches that would help people to attain the spiritual freedom they were seeking.
An Ideal Org provides the full services of the religion for its parishioners and the community. The term “ideal” encompasses both the physical facilities and the type and scope of services ministered. Every Ideal Org features public information multimedia displays that describe all aspects of Dianetics and Scientology, the life and work of Mr. Hubbard and the Church’s social betterment and community outreach programs.
Religious services are provided in distraction-free course rooms and spiritual counseling rooms, precisely set up. A library, bookstore, film and seminar rooms, and a chapel for Sunday services, weddings, naming ceremonies and other congregational gatherings are also part of every Ideal Organization.
Each Ideal Org is uniquely planned with architectural features in harmony with its local community and each is designed to serve the needs of that community, providing space for meetings and cooperative efforts of benefit to all.
Since the program was launched, 38 Ideal Churches have opened around the world, serving people of diverse nationalities, cultures and religious traditions. As they progress on their spiritual path, parishioners of these Churches eventually participate in religious services at the Flag Land Base in Clearwater.
The first Ideal Church of Scientology was established in 2003, 25 miles from the Scientology spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, in a historic Tampa building originally constructed as a cigar factory. In 2011, as a result of fourfold growth, the Church moved to new 88,000-square-foot quarters in Ybor Square.
A National Historic Landmark, Ybor Square was built in the late 1880s by city father Vicente Ybor, bringing many of Cuba’s top cigar producers to the city. A complex of three buildings at the heart of the square served as the “cigar capital of the world” at the turn of the 20th century. The Church restored the buildings, which feature period artifacts, including an original tobacco press, embossed tin panel ceilings and wrought-iron steps at the entrance.
On the opposite coast stands the world’s first Church of Scientology, formed in 1954—the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles. The dedication as an Ideal Church on April 24, 2010, marked the conclusion of the full-scale redesign and construction of the Church’s 64,000-square-foot property at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and L. Ron Hubbard Way.
Wherever Ideal Orgs cut a ribbon throughout the world, they draw regional and national dignitaries to the grand opening celebrations, and the Los Angeles Church was no exception. Speakers at the opening ceremony included Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who acknowledged the actions of the Church and its members:
“You have been consistently reliable in helping me to achieve my goal for a safer Los Angeles County. In particular, your drug education means everything to the safety of our schools and neighborhoods. That is why we trained a corps of our own deputies in the use of your unbeatable program, so I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you do in helping me do my job—because today, crime in Los Angeles is at its lowest in 40 years.”
Six blocks from the White House stands another Ideal Org, the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C. Scientology has been represented in the nation’s capital since July 4, 1955, when the Founding Church was established by L. Ron Hubbard. “America had a message—a great message that was spread throughout the world,” he said. “And it held that the common man was worth something and that he ought to strike off his chains and determine his own destiny.”
Congressional leaders and representatives of government and civic organizations from throughout the Washington area gathered on October 31, 2009, to commemorate the Church’s move into new, expanded facilities.
On July 10, 2010, some 7,000 Scientologists and their guests gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Latin America’s first Ideal Organization of Scientology. Located in the heart of Mexico City in the fully redesigned and reconstructed Juarez Building, the new Church stands as a six-story contemporary cultural landmark providing services to Scientologists and the community.
Thousands convened in Moscow on February 26, 2011, to open the first Ideal Church of Scientology in the Russian Federation. The home for the Church of Scientology of Moscow stands within the city’s central Garden Ring, just a mile from Red Square, a focal point for the hundreds of other Churches, Missions and groups located throughout the Russian Federation.
In recognition of the Church’s actions to uphold freedom for all religions in the Russian Federation, Mr. Boris Nikolayevich Panteleyev from the Russian Federation’s Public Chamber said at the opening ceremony: “Scientologists work to see that all have the right to thought, to practice religion and to rejoice. You work to see that all people have the right to assemble, the right to establish and support their own churches and organizations; that they have the freedom to think for themselves and to the expression of their thoughts and ideas. These freedoms are the very manifestation of the individual spirit. So it is important that we rejoice today, for this is a glorious day in the name of freedom for all of Russia.”
On August 21, 2012, national and city dignitaries and religious leaders joined Scientologists from Israel and 27 nations to celebrate the opening of the new Center of Scientology in Tel Aviv. The Center is the first Ideal Scientology Organization in the Middle East, designed to both serve the growing membership and provide Scientology-sponsored humanitarian programs throughout the region.
Located on Jerusalem Boulevard in Tel Aviv’s ancient port city of Jaffa, the Center’s home is the historic Alhambra Theatre. Originally constructed in 1937, the landmark is remembered by generations as the premier venue for the greatest names in Arab and Israeli music and theater.
At the inaugural event, Tel Aviv City Council Member Meital Lehavi said: “The story of this house of yours suits the story of Jaffa. It is a house for everyone, accepting everyone … I am confident that by sitting together, thinking together and working together we keep Jaffa the home for everyone. Your new Center will have an important part in leading the way.”
Such is the welcome received whenever and wherever an Ideal Church of Scientology opens its doors.
In the 10 years since the inception of the Ideal Org program, this new breed of Scientology Church has become known worldwide as the hub of activity in its area. Another 60 Ideal Churches are in design, planning or construction phases.