Where Spirituality Intersects With Human Brilliance: The New Church of Scientology Opens in Silicon Valley
Renowned for the digital revolution, the world’s high-tech capital welcomes the evolutionary religious technology of L. Ron Hubbard.
There are locations so special that just their names evoke powerful images and words—Gettysburg, Stonehenge, the Parthenon, to name just a few. Places where fables, great deeds and histories were born and recorded.
Here’s another storied locale: Silicon Valley, tucked between San Francisco Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. This was where the Digital Age took root and blossomed, where just about everything in humankind’s civilization was transformed by computer chips and the internet, where the language of the future was written in ones and zeros.
And on a bright, late winter day, February 18, 2018, another chapter was added to the Silicon Valley legend. In a special place where the brilliance of intellect was revered, 2,000 people gathered to celebrate the other defining dimension of humanity: the spirit.
The event was the opening of the Church of Scientology of Silicon Valley. Capturing the style and culture of the digital world, the Church is a modern, gleaming, two-story, 50,000-square-foot structure, located minutes from the center of the City of Mountain View in the heart of Silicon Valley. Nearby are the sprawling campuses and office complexes housing Googleplex, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Tesla, Netflix and eBay.
“Here, indeed, is where the ‘Digital Technology’ revolution can transform into a ‘Spiritual Technology’ evolution—and all in the name of human ingenuity, human brilliance and personal freedom,” said David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of Scientology, in inaugurating the Silicon Valley Church, the 65th such facility across the globe. Those churches embody the dual aspirations of Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard—the optimum locations where the religion’s members can advance along the spiritual path called the Bridge to Total Freedom, and where entire communities can be galvanized in crusades to fight drugs, combat social strife and psychiatric abuse, promote ethics and morality, support human rights, and respond to catastrophes.
The churches are a nexus for communities—and, even more, a place where the intersection of mind, body and spirit is a tangible reality. As Mr. Miscavige explained to the crowd of Scientologists and well-wishers, with the grand opening of the new Church of Scientology of Silicon Valley, comes a new connection: The power to unleash the full potential of this new millennium, the power of the spirit.
The Silicon Valley opening had a unique status. Another new Scientology Church, this one in Salt Lake City, was also inaugurated by Mr. Miscavige during the same weekend. It is the first time that Scientology has opened two new Churches back to back—testimony to the accelerating pace of Church openings and the growing worldwide expansion of the religion.
Along with Silicon Valley, Scientologists have been active in the Bay Area for years in nearby San Francisco, San Jose and Los Gatos. The work of local parishioners and volunteers brought the Church-sponsored United for Human Rights campaign to more than 10,000 residents to learn their human rights. The Drug-Free World program has proved most effective, with over 300,000 The Truth About Drugs booklets distributed, contributing to drug-related crime dropping across high-risk zones—the first drop in over a decade. And recently, local Scientology Volunteer Ministers provided relief to rescue teams in the wake of the 2017 Sonoma County fires.
Many of Silicon Valley’s acclaimed civic leaders joined the grand opening celebration: Mr. James Sweeney, an attorney active in the Black American Political Association of California; Lt. Glenn Walsh of the California Narcotics Officers’ Association and the California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program; Ms. Anu Peshawaria, advisor to the City of Fremont; and the Rev. Alice Baber-Banks of the Christian Fellowship Ministry and a consultant to California’s Children Medical Services.
Mr. Sweeney praised the Church and its support for Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which combats the over-drugging of California foster kids. “The Church of Scientology has an unceasing dedication to humanity,” he said. “It’s what I like to call a ‘bulldog tenacity’ on behalf of the good guy. And I’ve been privileged enough to have a ringside view. In fact, I’ve stepped into the ring. We’ve fought and we’ve won permanent change to curb the drugging of our children and have it inscribed into the laws of our land.”
Lt. Walsh spoke of his long history with the Church-sponsored Drug-Free World program: “I’ve seen how drugs ravish an individual. Drugs don’t care about your religion, your economics, your gender, or how many friends you have on Facebook,” he said. “Well, it stops here, it stops now, and it stops with Drug-Free World and the Church of Scientology. You’ve built a movement that can actually hold back the tide of drug abuse.”
Ms. Peshawaria told the crowd, “I believe the Church of Scientology can evolve the healing process for every citizen of Silicon Valley. It gives me great hope to see your programs now paving a path to better living right here.” In an area known for its innovative thinking, she added, “Today, we celebrate a whole new paradigm of possibilities. Because, after all, this is the 21st-century religion—the Church of Scientology!”
And Pastor Baber-Banks recounted her partnership with Scientologists in championing united communities through interfaith collaboration. “I learned of the Church of Scientology at the Interfaith Bureau, when I joined over a decade ago,” she said. “It was so exciting to see 10 religious leaders around the table, all different-looking, different-acting, different-thinking. But when we got through praying with and for each other, we were one… The way we treat each other, it’s like we’re united. Yes, it’s the America we all want, coming alive right before our very eyes at the Church of Scientology.
“In the name of eternal brotherhood and sisterhood,” she added, “let’s rise up and celebrate this awesome day and glorious grand opening. And let’s stand together to make a better nation and a better world!”
Visitors arrive at the new Church of Scientology Silicon Valley by crossing a spacious, palm tree-flanked courtyard. They enter a Public Information Center that offers them an introduction to Dianetics and Scientology. Its displays, containing more than 500 films in 17 languages, present the beliefs and practices of the Scientology religion and the life and legacy of Founder L. Ron Hubbard.
The Information Center also details the many humanitarian initiatives that Scientology supports. They include a worldwide human rights education campaign; far-reaching drug education, prevention and rehabilitation programs; a global network of literacy and learning centers; and the Scientology Volunteer Ministers corps, which has become the world’s largest independent relief force.
The Chapel of the city’s new Church of Scientology provides for Scientology congregational gatherings that include Sunday Services, Weddings and Naming Ceremonies, as well as a host of community-wide events such as banquets, seminars and workshops, open to members of all denominations.
The stylish Bayshore Café—with both indoor and outdoor seating—presents a meeting place for those attending events, as well as for parishioners during breaks in their Scientology services.
The new Church allows for the delivery of all Introductory Services. Visitors frequently attend afternoon, evening and weekend Dianetics and Scientology seminars, imparting an overview of fundamental principles and their application for living, as well as an array of Scientology Life Improvement Courses to help better any aspect of one’s life.
The Silicon Valley Church further includes dozens of specially appointed rooms providing the ideal setting for Scientology auditing (spiritual counseling). Multiple course rooms are also dedicated to training auditors (spiritual counselors), for Scientologists studying the technology of auditing, to help others attain spiritual freedom.
The opening of the new Church of Scientology Silicon Valley comes during a period of tremendous expansion for the religion with 65 new Churches of Scientology from Los Angeles to Tampa, London to Milan, Tel Aviv to Tokyo and Kaohsiung to Bogotá, including 19 in the Western United States alone.
In just the past year, openings of new 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; Johannesburg North, South Africa; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
More Church openings are planned in 2018 for global cities in Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa and Australia.