California Dreaming Becomes Reality as San Diego Opens New Church of Scientology
Inauguration of Ideal Church hailed as moment for the American Dream in city Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard called home.
—Dr. Beatriz Villarreal, Education Advisor to the County of San Diego © 2023 Church of Scientology International. All Rights Reserved.
Follow the Pacific Coast Highway down Southern California’s meandering shoreline along a 70-mile stretch of sandy beaches basking in the most perfect weather—anywhere—and you’ll arrive to the city of San Diego. Such was the location for a sunbaked Saturday afternoon amid San Diego’s downtown skyline—a sublime setting to celebrate the city’s new Church of Scientology.
“If ever was a day when ‘California Dreaming’ assumed a whole new meaning it is now with the inauguration of this Ideal Church of Scientology,” said David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion. “And if ever was a place predestined for this moment, then it’s your San Diego. So as we dedicate this Ideal Org, we do so in the name of our Founder and in honor of this city where he once lived. And thus, we pledge our commitment to employ his technology for life—broadly, unsparingly and indiscriminately for this ‘Finest City in America!’”
The San Diego grand opening punctuates an explosive era of expansion for the Church and marks the 55th Ideal Church Organization (Ideal Org) to open its doors. Ideal Orgs now stand in cities all over the world—from Los Angeles to London, Melbourne to Milan and Tel Aviv to Tokyo. “Ideal” is the standard set by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard so that every Church could be a perfect expression of the religion’s principles and practices.
So it was on Saturday, November 19, some 3,500 Scientologists and their guests were on hand to witness San Diego’s historic grand opening. And from the first strains of a mariachi band mixed with the uplifting tones of the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ USA,” to dignitaries representing every political and social spectrum of San Diego City and County—the inauguration positively embodied the city’s rich culture.
The ceremony also paid tribute to the exceptional place San Diego holds in the life of L. Ron Hubbard (LRH). For it is a city where he not only lived during his youth, but later launched a legendary writing career spanning half a century and placing him among the most enduring and widely read authors of all time.
“Even after forty years LRH would fondly recall this ‘never-never land,’ where he spun his first tales for the pulps, in a cottage on the bluff,” said David Miscavige. “This was also his first point of departure for Asia—boarding a naval transport with a well-worn suit, a thin topcoat and two pennies. While in the wake of Waikiki, he tells of importing a board from Honolulu, and so became the first to catch a wave at Encinitas. So, yes, this is the crossroads of your history with LRH—and your future with his legacy.”
The new San Diego Church stands on the downtown corridor of Fourth Avenue, just blocks from City Hall. Located in the thriving urban core, the 49,000-square-foot facility welcomes all from San Diego and beyond.
“By definition an Ideal Organization is a part of its community,” continued Mr. Miscavige. “So this Church of Scientology stands for literacy in schools, for crime-free and drug-free streets, for prosperity in the workplace and human rights wherever else people walk.”
Presenting a sense of just what that humanitarian commitment contains were San Diego dignitaries on hand to welcome the Church: Mr. John Redman, Director of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program (HIDTA); Dr. Beatriz Villarreal, Education Advisor to the County of San Diego; Ms. Estela De Los Rios, member of the National Steering Committee for Human Trafficking; and Col. Bart Billings Ret., National Guard Medical Directorate.
Mr. Redman spoke of the region’s drug crisis and how the Scientology-supported Foundation for a Drug-Free World is working to counter it: “This stretch of border is one of the heaviest drug trafficking areas in the nation and one of the most daunting. But enter Drug-Free World and the partnership that it equates to. Together with the Foundation we created a collaboration of teachers, public health officials and administrators to meet here in our border region. In the wake of that commitment, over 100,000 children have been granted the opportunity for a
Col. Billings observed that “Every day 22 military veterans end their lives. And many of those suicides are directly linked to psychotropic medications. So we need to expand the already worldwide foothold of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights—both at home and abroad. The more contact points we have raising awareness about psychiatric abuse, the better off our populations will be. With this Ideal Org you are placing a beachhead in San Diego. One that can and will bring help and support to our troops. And for that, I salute you.”
The importance of the Church’s involvement in the field of human rights was reflected in the remarks by Ms. De Los Rios: “In this world, with all the news headlines and chaos, we need all the help we can get. And I thank you for keeping human rights in the minds and souls of the people. Because only if we love, embrace and be respectful of one another, to not just ourselves but all mankind, can we have human rights everywhere. For me, the real heroes are people like you here today—the Church of Scientology.”
“You have to realize, without your materials our parents wouldn’t stand a chance,” said Dr. Villarreal. “Because of The Way to Happiness I am a better parent, a better teacher, a better community leader and my job is that much easier. We just don’t have these kinds of programs. No one does. So yes, today is a day for the American Dream. And with these doors now open, let’s celebrate the possibility of fulfilling that dream for every child in San Diego.”
The new San Diego Church provides visitors with an introduction to Dianetics and Scientology, beginning with the Public Information Center. Its displays, containing more than 500 films, present the beliefs and practices of the Scientology religion and the life and legacy of Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Information Center also offers a detailed overview of the many Scientology-supported humanitarian programs. These include a worldwide human rights education initiative; a far-reaching drug education, prevention and rehabilitation program; a global network of literacy and learning centers; and the Scientology Volunteer Minister program, now representing the world’s largest independent relief force.
San Diego’s Ideal Organization also features a Chapel that provides for Scientology congregational gatherings, including Sunday Services, weddings and naming ceremonies, as well as a host of community-wide events open to members of all denominations. The facility further includes multiple seminar rooms and classrooms, in addition to an entire floor dedicated to Scientology auditing (spiritual counseling).
The San Diego opening caps a year of expansion for the Church. Recent Church openings have occurred in Sydney, Australia; Harlem, New York; Budapest, Hungary; Atlanta, Georgia; Milan, Italy; Tokyo, Japan; Bogotá, Colombia; and Basel, Switzerland. Also, this summer the Church opened Scientology Media Productions, a five-acre, technologically cutting-edge studio in Hollywood, California, in which the religion’s message will be proclaimed via television and radio broadcasting, Internet and social media and every other media platform.
And more is on the way, with openings of Ideal Organizations in 2017 planned for global cities and cultural capitals in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Australasia.
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