Actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kelly Preston were in attendance yesterday as thousands of Scientologists gathered in Clearwater, Florida for the dedication of their new $145million ‘cathedral’.
The 377,000-square-foot Flag Building is the tallest building in downtown Clearwater, and has been in construction for nearly 15 years. The opening of the building will mark the first time Scientologists have a place to practice the ‘Super Power’ program, developed by the religion’s founder L Ron Hubbard in the 1970s.
While the city was told to expect 10,000 Scientologists this weekend, the crowd gathered outside the Flag Building yesterday was noticeably smaller. The Tampa Bay Times estimated that numbers could have been less than 6,000.
The visitor center will have a ‘grand lobby’ with a three-story atrium and exhibits that explain the religion’s belief system and practices.
The second and third floors are home to offices and classrooms while the basement houses a huge kitchen and dining areas.
Three hundred small rooms for ‘auditing’ can be found on the buildings upper floors. Auditing is the religions form of counseling and a session can cost $1,000.
But the jewel in the crown of the Flag Building is on the fifth floor, where members can pariticapte in the Super Power program for the first time.
The Super Power program was developed by the religion’s found L Ron Hubbard and described as one of his greatest discoveries.
‘Super Power is a series of spiritual counseling processes designed to give a person back his own viewpoint, increase his perception, exercise his power of choice, and greatly enhance other spiritual abilities,’ church spokesman Ben Shaw said in a statement.
Hubbard went further in his description of the program saying: ‘Super Power is the answer to a sick, a dying and dead society…With it we literally revive the dead.’
As part of that therapy, members will be spun on an anit-gravity simulator blindfolded to improve their ‘perceptics’ – Hubbard’s 57 senses which include sight, smell, taste, blood circulation, and awareness of awareness.