L. Ron Hubbard essay
A Year for Making a Difference
If someone were to draw a diagram of what a day looks like at Flag—the Scientology religion’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida—it would show a lot of arrows indicating people. Arrows flowing into Flag, arrows heading out. If you color-coded arrows for Scientologists or non-Scientologists, there would be a multi-hued mix. If the drawing encompassed days, weeks and months, the number of arrows heading in both directions would become indistinguishable in a blur of activity.
In the white-and-gilt Fort Harrison ballroom, the sounds of china and silverware and the hum of conversation are softened by flowered carpet and sunlit drapes. A quartet plays jazz softly in the corner of the room. The day is chilly, so the buffet savor of turkey and dressing, pumpkin soup, salads and breads, are comfortable and welcome.
“You represent hope for Tampa Bay,” proclaimed Dylan Pires to the dozens of representatives at an October 5, 2016, celebration for the second anniversary of the regional Charity Coalition. That bold claim had several meanings. The group itself has become a beacon of hope, burgeoning from 45 member nonprofits to more than 200 in just two years. But more important is the work the various member groups do. “You feed children, shelter the abused, provide mentoring, protect the environment and educate on the harmful effects of drugs,” said Pires, the community affairs director of the Church of Scientology. “We are honored to have you here; thank you for your work to change the world.”
Answers for All
It’s early Thursday evening in downtown Clearwater; at the corner of Cleveland and Fort Harrison, visitors pass through the stately portico and enter the gleaming brass and glass doors of the Scientology Information Center. “People have questions about Scientology. They want to know what Scientology is and how it can help them,” said Amber Skjelset, the Center’s manager. Answering those questions and providing that knowledge is what the Scientology Information Center has been all about since opening in July 2015.
It is an approach with proven results. More than 1,000 organizations, law enforcement and government agencies in 180 countries have incorporated The Truth About Drugs in their drug-education programs. Among them is the Police Department of Ocala, Florida, whose website www.ocalapd.com links to a series of drug education videos that are part of the program.
Along two blocks on the northeastern side of the intersection of Fort Harrison Avenue and Cleveland Street, six buildings house humanitarian centers opened by the Church of Scientology in July 2015. Throughout 2016, the centers have provided an array of resources to uplift communities from drugs, crime, human rights violations and other societal ills.