My family recently returned from a trip to Los Angeles—a trip we took primarily for the purpose of taking Scientology services. I figured it’d be a good opportunity to illustrate one of the somewhat usual facts of life that go along with growing up in a Scientology family: Trips taken for the purposes of Scientology counseling or training.
Most Scientologists primarily participate in church services at their local Church of Scientology. Most local churches, like our church in Portland, Oregon, can help people through all introductory services in Scientology up through the State of Clear. And while the vast majority of one’s participation in Scientology is done via one’s local church, there are more advanced services which are only delivered at an Advanced Organization.
In our case, my wife had been getting Scientology counseling (known as auditing) at our local church. And in her progress, the next particular prescribed action she was to do was only delivered at a more advanced organization owing to the level of auditor training required. For us, in the USA, this meant traveling to either Flag in Clearwater, Florida, or the Pacifica Bridge in Los Angeles.
As my wife would be there for a week, and she is still breastfeeding our baby, we opted to go as a family. And because flying five people is expensive, and driving 20 hours with a baby is painful, we opted to book a trip on Amtrak, and took the train down and back.
I’ve written in my blog about our love affair with traveling by train before, so I won’t belabor it too much, but please—if you’re in the USA and haven’t done long-distance travel by train, absolutely give it a go. We took the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Portland down to L.A., and even with getting a sleeper car it was still less expensive than flying, and was utterly, completely stress-free.
Upon arriving at Los Angeles Union Station, a shuttle from the Church picked us up and took us to where we’d be staying for the week. We had booked the week at the Church’s new Golden Crest religious retreat, and were extremely pleased with the new facility. The church opened the retreat, which is directly adjacent to Celebrity Center International in Hollywood, in October 2015, expressly for the purpose of servicing folks like us who come from elsewhere to stay for Scientology services. It’s about 1.5 miles from the Pacifica Bridge complex on Sunset Blvd, which translates to about a 30 minute walk, though my wife would generally just take the complementary shuttle back & forth.
Most of the rooms in the Golden Crest are set up for folks who are staying a week or more, and as such are well appointed to serve as extended-stay suites. We reserved a two-bedroom suite, which honestly would have functioned just fine as a long-term apartment. Kitchen, dining area, living area—all were spacious and worked well for our family of five.
If you happen to be a Scientologist and are considering bringing more than just yourself along for a trip to L.A., I’d highly recommend it. If it’s just you, or you & your spouse, the new Fountain religious retreat would probably suit you better as it’s even more cost-effective (the Golden Crest rooms already undercut any area hotels by a healthy margin) and it’s directly across the street from the Pacifica Bridge.
Speaking of the Pacifica Bridge, this was my wife’s first chance to experience all the newly-refurbished facilities since their opening last year.
For those new to the subject, the Pacifica Bridge is a unique facility comprised of multiple Scientology organizations paralleling the religion’s Bridge to Total Freedom. In that respect, and from this single location, one can ascend from introductory services to increasingly higher levels of spiritual awareness, and of auditor training. The arrangement and function of the various organizations at the Pac are best described in this article on the Scientology website, but if any portion of this needs better explanation, I invite you to send me a comment on my Scientology Parent website and I’ll be happy to answer it.
My wife went to the American Saint Hill Organization (ASHO) for her services. ASHO is the hub of higher-level auditor training for Scientology Churches in the USA. The “Saint Hill” in the organization’s name refers to Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s former home in the UK and which was the center for Scientology research and training in the early 1960s. It subsequently became the church that provides counseling services and auditor training requiring a higher skill and precision of delivery than what is available at local churches. The American Saint Hill Organization carries forward that tradition, and as such delivers a few unique services only available at a Saint Hill or Flag.
I won’t comment too much on the services she received (they’re an intensely personal thing by definition) but I will say she was extremely pleased with how it turned out, and found the actions she did immensely stabilizing for herself as an individual. And, seeing as she’s the rock – the absolute center that our family revolves around—anything we can do that helps her be more happy and stable as an individual is energy well-invested.
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