At a time when PEW Internet data says religious “nones” status is growing and many religions, the Catholics included, are shuttering Churches due to shrinking congregations, Scientologists are opening Churches two at a time.
Yes, Scientology is always in the news and social media, (Did you see their Super Bowl and Winter Olympics commercial? Link), and yes, religious news publications like ours often cover Scientology for the perennial interest the controversial and “newest-kid-on-the-block religion still holds even within everyone’s daily soul-crushing torrent of feeds, but today we’re writing about Scientology for something we don’t see much these days: Its “We-can-open-two-Churches-in-a-single-weekend-can-your-religion?” achievement while many other religions are reducing their Church counts. Aren’t you curious? (Pun intended).
Feb. 17/18, 2018: In a history-making weekend, not one but TWO new Churches of Scientology opened in Silicon Valley and Salt Lake City! View the event stories and galleries here, Salt Lake City: https://t.co/7I608nkKpY and here, Silicon Valley: https://t.co/2QSlJHgfDE pic.twitter.com/VZWWveRcvr
— Scientology (@Scientology) February 20, 2018
In one single weekend, the weekend of February 17th, the Church of Scientology opened two new “Ideal Orgs,” one in Salt Lake City, Utah, and one in the fabled ‘Silicon Valley,’ located in Mountain View, CA. (FYI, “Org” is short for organization and can be viewed as a synonym for “Church.” From Scientology.org: “An Ideal Org is configured to provide the full services of the Scientology religion to its parishioners, while also serving the community with social betterment and outreach programs.” )
The Salt Lake City, Utah church dedication and opening on Saturday, February 17, drew over a thousand attendees along with their guests, according to Scientology.org. The opening even was officiated by David Miscavige, the Church of Scientology's leader and chief growth architect who it appears, is a very busy man.
According to Scientology.org, Salt Lake City is no stranger to Scientology. Members of the organization have engaged in robust social betterment efforts there like creating legislation to protect family rights and also to stop children from being forcibly sedated with psychotropic drugs. A detox program crafted by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is purported to have to saved the lives of approximately 100 Utah police officers who were exposed to severe toxicity generated from illegal “meth labs.” The site also states that the Scientology Volunteer Ministers in Salt Lake contributed approximately 30,000 hours for disaster response in 2017.
In addition to the Salt Lake City Church, the Church of Scientology also opened another new “Org”/Church the very next day on February 18th, in the storied ‘Silicon Valley,’ located in Mountain View California. Scientology leader David Miscavige was on hand to dedicate the new Church as well. According to Scientology.org, 2,000 plus parishioners, guests and dignitaries attended and it is the first time in Scientology history that two Churches were inaugurated within such a short span of time. This seems a bit extraordinary when compared to the growth rates of many other mainstream religions over the last several years. We reached out to a Church of Scientology contact to get their take on the “why” behind this massive growth and to find out what the next Church openings might be. Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw said in an emailed statement. “These openings come during a period of massive expansion for the religion with more than 60 new Churches of Scientology from Los Angeles to Tampa, London to Milan, Tel Aviv to Tokyo and Kaohsiung to Bogotá, including 18 opened in the Western United States alone. “Ideal” is the standard set by L. Ron Hubbard so that every Church is a perfect expression of the religion’s principles and practices, including its many community outreach and humanitarian programs.”
Pouw further stated: “In the past year, openings of new Ideal Churches of Scientology have taken place in Auckland, New Zealand; the San Fernando Valley, California; Miami, Florida; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dublin, Ireland; Birmingham, England; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Johannesburg North, South Africa. Further Church openings are planned in 2018 in cities across Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa and Australia.”
Scientology.org states that the Church’s new building in Mountain View reflects the “technological utopia of the city.” It is an ultra-modern 50,000sqft architectural wonder that would be a crown jewel in any religion’s Church portfolio. The Church is located mere minutes from the city center, in the epicenter of Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley branch of Church of Scientology is also near the campuses of eBay, Tesla, Google, and Netflix amongst others.
The Silicon Valley location is the 65th church in the Church’s expansion march, a march that seems unequaled by any other religion currently, that we’re aware of. If you know otherwise, let us know.
- Digital Journal Press Release
- Scientology – “In the Spirit of Its Historic Pioneers, City of Salt Lake Welcomes Utah’s First Ideal Church of Scientology”
- Scientology – “Where Spirituality Intersects With Human Brilliance: The New Church of Scientology Opens in Silicon Valley”