After the break, there is a short extract taken from Issue 31 of Scientology’s “Affinity” magazine ( published mid 2019). This page-and-a-half extract represents itself as “The Magazine Of The Church of Scientology of Plymouth” – it’s a magazine within a magazine.
I think this is disingenuous. I think that “Affinity”comes in many custom versions, each personalised with a the identity of a different org.
I posses a number of other issues which include Plymouth Orgs contact details and present as the magazine of Plymouth Org. However, none of the others have any news specifically concerning the Church of Scientology of Plymouth, so the claim that this is their periodical is simply false.
However, the extract below does concern Plymouth, and discussed the priority given to the renovation of Plymouth Ideal Org.
If you have been following this blog recently, you will know that the substantial hotel which Scientologists in Plymouth bought back in 2010 to become their Ideal Org has finally had some renovation done.
Work has commenced on the removal of Abestos-containing building materials. This must be completed before any other building work takes place for obvious safety reasons. It’s been undertaken by a reputable specialised company and may already be complete – so what happens next?
The extract after the break might give a clue – or be deliberately misleading. Both possibilities – and the reasons for the confusion – are intersting
Here is the first part of the extract, which is on page 5 of issue 31 of “Affinity”.
Let’s examine the text above in detail, from the top, through selected quotes.
This passage needs more than a little unpacking.
The Cascading Ribbons
“Cascading ribbons” refers to the huge decorative ribbon (which looks like the ribbons you can buy to stick onto presents) affixed to the front of new Ideal Orgs for their ‘Grand Opening’. At the appropriate time, the ‘leader’ of Scientology, David Miscavige, pulls on a rope with a number of chosen locals. and the ribbon falls to mark the official opening.
This spectacle looks like half of a tug-of-war (see the image to the right, again from the Birmingham opening). It’s actualy phoney – someone inside the building watches the rope and releases the ribbon when they see Miscavige tug.
However, I hope that explains the reference to “cascading ribbons”.
The last Ideal Org to open in the UK was in the city of Birmingham, back in October 2017 (there’s a picture of it above complete with ribbon). The previous week another Ideal Org had been opened in Firhouse in the Republic of Ireland (not quite within a week, then, but close).
The UK Continent that Isn’t
Well, In a massive display of cultural insensitivity, Scientology considers the Republic of Ireland to be part of the “UK Continent” Of course, we know that The Republic of Ireland won it’s independence from the UK in an unonventional war that raged between 1919 and 1921 However, L Ron Hubbard wrote that the ROI is part of the UK, so that’s an end of it for Scienotologists.
To complicate matters, the British Isles and the Island of Ireland are… well… Islands. Geographically they and not a continent at all. It seems that Hubbard thought the word “continent” sounded more inpressive
This is, in any case, the most recent occasion that Scientology opened two Ideal Orgs in quick succession, so they are referring to Firshouse and Birmingham, back in October 2017.
The article continues to say that , after these openings Scientology plans to turn all of the other UK Orgs (which are actually all in the UK, as it happens) Ideal – after the openings in Firshouse and Birmingham, “making all UK Orgs ideal became our next milestone.”
To this end they have assembled a groups of influencial Scientologists at the UK headquarters and had them play team games that they probably last partipated in at Primary School (see the picture in the page above) Let’s call that a team building exercise, and move on.
The Running Order
So – how many Orgs are there in the UK?
The Message was clear: It’s time that Plymouth, Manchester, Sunderland, HAPI and Brighton join the UK constellation of Ideal Orgs
Yes. That’s all. Note the running order. Plymouth is first in the queue.
- Manchester and Sunderland have their own (badly run-down) buildings. Both were granted planning permission some time before Plymouth, which has only just obtained it.
- HAPI – which stands for the “Hubbard Academy of Personal Independence” – is nothing more that the Scientology Org in Edinburgh. However, they have recently bought a building from Edinburgh City Council – a block of offices that was renovated less than a year before being sold.
- Brighton is a tiny org, and the only one without an Ideal Org building in waiting. It’s bumping along the bottom, and probably deserves its place at the bottom of the running order.
Does This Mean What it Seems to Mean? Is Plymouth Really Next?
Here’s the thing – I’ve pointed out that this copy of “Affinity” has been personalised for the Church of Scientology of Plymouth. For example, it has the contact details for its present org on the index page, and on the rear cover (see below).
The article on the pge reproduced above – “The Magazine of the Church of Scientology in Plymouth” has been specially printed, too. Scientology can easily do this, because they own their own massive printing complex.
I have a few questions. Do the other Scientology Orgs have their own versions of “Affinity”. Are these versions different? Specifically, do they put their orgs at the top of the Ideal Org queue? Do they all think that they have first priority (except poor old Brighton, of course).
If anyone can obtain a copy of the UK version of “Affinity” (ideally issue 31) from any of the orgs listed above, I’d be very interested in seeing it 🙂
Why Should Scientology Confuse and Decieve It’s Own Members?
Because these Ideal Orgs are not needed. There are not enough Scientologists to pay their upkeep, let alone operate them. The moment the opening ceremony is over, staff who were imported return to their previous duties, and place is left empty.
The proposed Plymouth Org is a perfect demonstration of this fact.
The 2010 UK census recorded only 28 Scientologists in the whole of the Southwest of England (including minor children, Independent Scientologists and foreigners in the country on census day. My own observations and inside information confirm that Plymouth has less than 30 members.
In contrast, their Ideal Org buiding is an old hotel on three floor not including a basement area. It has 53 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms, Kitchens, Bars, Storage rooms and two aparts for live-in mangers and their families. It makes no sense at all as a church.
Critics observe that the real reasons for the Ideal Org programme are as follows
- Property investment – local orgs raise most of the money for the building and renovation, and then pay rent to the Church of Scientology
- A demonstration to US tax authorities that Scientology is investing in it’s stated charitable purpose by opening new ‘churches’
- A justification for constant fund-raising from Scientologists
- New openings can be presented to the membership (and especially rich donors as evidence of “expansion”. This distracts from the fact that recuitment is at a standstill, and Scientology membership is in serious decline.
What is Really Going To Happen Next?
I have concluded that there is no way of knowing until serious work begins – or fails to begin. It all depends on David Miscavige, who appear to make these decisions on a whim.
In 2020, the UK is celebrating the the 400th anniversary of the “Mayflower” setting sail from Plymouth for the New World. Mscavige might think that is an unmissable opportunity for a ‘religious freedom’ speech in Plymouth. If so, Plymouth Org is a go, and work will soon begin to make an October 2020 deadline (that’s when he’s usually in England for another fund-raising at Saint Hill Manor celebrating the International Association of Scientologists.
It nothing happens in the next few weeks, Plymouth Org is not going ahead, and the building will be left to rot past 2020. We can only wait and see.
The Remainder of the Article
Just to be thorough, here’s the second part of “The Magazine of the Church of Scientology in Plymouth”, which consists of half of page 7.
The Jive Aces are all Scientologists and members a Jive Band.
They have had a decent commercial career, winning one TV talent contest and placing in another. They make a living by recording and touring. They also frequently perform to support Scientology events and front groups (e.g. the “Drug Free World” organisation mentioned above).
The event described was held in a large hotel near Plymouth Hoe. It was billed as a ‘Milestone Event’ because it was supposed to mark a milestone on the road to the completion of the Ideal Org. This being Scientology, futher donations were actively sought, even at this event.
The Royal Citadel mentioned in the “affinity” article is an historic fortification, currently home to 26 Commando Royal Marines. It is some distance away, and has no connection with the hotel or the event whatsoever.
Finally, here’s the ‘poster’ that local Scientologists were emailed to notify them of this event. It took place on Saturday, the 8th of June, which dates the magazine to a number of weeks earlier.
Thanks to Plymouth Org for unwittingly providing all this information, and stay tuned for news about the progress of Plymouth Ideal Org as it emerges.