Recently, I published a letter from the consulting engineers who are organising the renovation of the building earmarked Plymouth’s Ideal Org . This stated that roads around the building would be closed on Monday the 26th August 2019, and may remain closed until September 2020.
The building was bought in late 2010 and one planning application has already been allowed to lapse. It seemed it was going to be allowed to rot away. However, this letter strongly suggests that work is finally about to begin.
That particular Monday is a public holiday, and the contractors will have to be paid extra if they close the roads then. However, starting work on a public holiday is exactly the kind of the thing Scientology tends to do on these occasions. Fewer people will notice that the closure is underway because they will be out for the day. When they arrive back home, it will be a fait accompli.
We will find out in a few days time. Watch this space 🙂
For this post, however, I’m interested in the modest shop that presently serves as Plymouth’s org. It’s the one on the right, in the image above. There’s now evidence that local Scientologists are coming under greater-than-ever greater pressure to donate money to this project.
Also, I present a theory as to why only Plymouth – out of all UK orgs – appears to be undergoing renovation.
What’s Going On In Plymouth?
Up until now, Plymouth Org has been a sleepy place. The achievement of various steps along the road to the referbishment of their ideal org building have been celebrated with “Milestone Events” at quality local venues. These have never taken place at the scruffy building pictured above. There have been occasional routine ‘events’ there – for example, the annual celebration of the Scientology New Year and fund-raisers. Up to now, such things have been rare.
However, for the last two Saturdays (the 17th and today, the 24th) they have put out chairs inside the org, and Scientologists have come to watch a video (then, inevitably, pressed for donations). This is an usually high level of activity.
What’s Happening in Plymouth Org?
I published the image below last week after it had appeared on Mike Rinder’s blog. It was circulated only among Scientologists who attend Plymouth Org. The public was not invited. There is no venue mentioned
On the date in question- Saturday the 17th of August – I witnessed org staff puting out chairs and, later on, Scientologists turning up to watch a video. They even served snack food on paper plates and retired inside.
This ‘event’ was not advertised to the public – there wasn’t even a poster in the org window. It was exclusively for members.
As it turned out, this took place the day before I learned about the planned road closures. Therefore, the beginning of the long-delayed renovations of the ideal org building was likely announced to the faithful on that occasion. It’s a measure of just how secretive Scientology is that this probably came as a great surprise to the people who came -the very people who have been donating money to the cause for almost a decade.
Those who attended were almost certainly pressed for futher donations towards the org renovation.
Today, I found the online promotion below.
Again, this pitch was only advertised to local Scientologists.
At the org, chairs were put out, and people turned up. There were less than 20 seats facing a video monitor. This is placed in the window and has its back turned to passers-by, so that it faces the viewers.
Consequently, those passers-by witness the strange spectacle of 10-15 people sitting inside a shop, apparently staring out at them through the plate-glass window.
Afterwards, those who attend move further inside the building for other activities – which almost certainly include being pressed for a donation or to pledge a donation.
Attendance is not high. The 2011 census recorded only 28 Scientologists in the whole of the Southwest of England. If you allow for two showings of the video, that’s everyone.
The image in the promotional image above is odd. It shows cocaine use and a bottle with pills spillilng out of it, all backgrounded by a Union Flag. This has a specific meaning for Scientologists. fI requires a little unpacking for us to understand what that meaning is. First we have to be aware tthe missions of two of the many front groups which Scientology operates – Narconon and CCHR
Narconon and CCHR – Scientology Front Groups
Narconon presents as an anti-drug organisation which offers rehab treatment and ‘drug education’. Unfortunately both are based on the works of L Ron Hubbard, whose writings are totally at odds with medicine and science and positively dangerous.
The rehab consists of Scientology ‘training’ which has no value to recovering addicts whatsover. One website offering Narconon-style ‘treatment’ was closed down shortly after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority was upheld and resulted in Narconon Scotland being contacted by the ASA compliance team.
The ‘education’ effort consists of bluffing their way into schools and places of employment to present Hubbard’s nonsensical and alarmist ideas about drugs. Scientology is never mentioned. These ideas include the mad notion that any drug you take is stored in fat cells, and cause ‘flashbacks’ for the rest of your life. Narconon claims that these will continue unless and until you undergo the only effective treatment. This is, of course, Narconon’s potentially dangerous sauna regime.
In truth, drugs are, in their nature, highly reactive substances, which are typically completely metabolised within a few months, or less. You can imagine how frightening and manipulative Narconon’s false claims could be to a young person who tried a drug, once or twice, but didn’t like it – expecially when presented in the authoritative environment of a school.
CCHR is rabidly anti-psychiatry. It grew out of L Ron Hubbard’s resentment of the psychiatric profession’s reaction to his book “Dianetics: The Modern Scientology of Mental Health”. For example, in a 1950 review of “Dianetics” in “The New Republic”, physician Martin Gumpert described Hubbard claims as “fanatastic absurdity” and described his activities as a “serious menace to public health.”
Hubbard never forgot and never forgave. He demonised doctors (and psychiatrists especially). The fact that they were his percieved rivals, also likely played into this behaviour.
This isn’t a matter of critisicm of psychiatry. Hubbard’s attacks were genuinely unbalanced. For example:
A psychiatrist today has the power to
(1) take a fancy to a woman
(2) lead her to take wild treatment as a joke
(3) drug and shock her to temporary insanity
(4) incarnate [sic] her
(5) use her sexually
(6) sterilize her to prevent conception
(7) kill her by a brain operation to prevent disclosure.
And all with no fear of reprisal. Yet it is rape and murder… We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one… This is Project Psychiatry. We will remove them.
Confidential memo “Project Psychiatry” (22 February 1966)
The aim of CCHR is not only to destroy the reputation of the profession but also to recurit people seeking psychiatric treatment to Scientology instead. For example, after a terrorist attack on London in 2001, Scientologists (presenting themselves as ‘Volunteer Ministers’) set out to prevent victims from receiving psychological counselling, and recruit them into Scientology instead. Unfortunately for them a undercover reporter from BBC radio was present and recording them discussing their beliefs that:
- Psychiatry is an evil conspiracy
- There is no such thing as mental illness
- Psychiatric drugs are all harmful, all of the time
You can listen to the radio programme here. This includes a discussion with an agressive representative of Scientology.
CCHR also puts out misleading propaganda, which occasionally fools journalists.
So What is the Poster About?
Acording to L Ron Hubbard, all drugs are poisons – and that includes medicinal ones. Scientologists go through a dangerous programme of saunas and vitamin and mineral overdoses called the “purification rundown.” This supposedly sweats out dangerous drug residues. This claim is complete nonsense – but also an integral part of the Narconon ‘rehab’ programme.
To a Scientologist the cocaine and the medicinal drugs in the poster are both equally dangerous and bringing about the “Cultural Destruction” of the UK. Are far as they are concerned, drug dealer and psychiatrists are both evil.
The Scientologists who attend Plymouth Org tonight are likely to be pressed for donations towards Narconon and CCHR.
Will Fund-Raising ‘Events’ Become a Regular Feature of Scientology in Plymouth? I don’t know – but there have occured on two Saturdays in a row, now. The Church of Scientology appears to be capitalising on the commencement of work on the Ideal Org building. I think there will be more fund-raising, and that Scientology here is moving into high gear.
The Future Ideal Plymouth Org – Will it Be A National Regging Centre?
The Church of Scientology might even be preparing for an innovative tactic.
When Plymouth’s ideal org building was granted planning permission, the ITV website published a statement from the Church of Scientology saying:
As part of the UK and global Scientology network, the facility will also see visits from outside of the southwest, and even internationally, albeit these will be much less frequent.
The plans submitted to Plymouth City Council actually state that the new facilities expects accasional visits from 200+ people.
This is speculative, but I suspect the Plymouth Ideal Org building will be renovated. It will not have the usual ‘Grand Opening’ presided over by David Miscavige, the ‘leader’ of Scientology, because he is fully occupied with US legal challenges. If there is a ceremony it will not be the usual kind. He will be unable to attend such things for the forseeable future, for fear of being served legal documents.
Consequently the new Plymouth org may not even open to the public. The existing org will be retained for that. I theorise that the roomy new place is intended for the Sea Org to use as a national fund-raising centre. Maybe the 2020 celebrations of the departure of the “Mayflower” from Plymouth will be exploited to attract parties of Americans, too.
Bringing large numbers of people together will promote a sense of occasion, encourage competition and exert social pressure. In this environment, people will likely be freer with pledges and donations.
All of the other orgs in the UK are now supposed to open Ideal Orgs at the same time – Plymouth, Manchester, Sunderland, Edinburgh and Brighton. As far as I know renovations have only begun in Plymouth (if anyone knows otherwise, I would appreciate a heads-up 🙂 .
Until work begins in at least some of the other orgs, this theory is a possibilty. The longer Plymouth is alone in undertaking work, the more credible it becomes.