Church of Scientology Celebrity Centres are Scientology churches that are open to the general public but are intended mostly for "artists, politicians, leaders of industry, sports figures and anyone with the power and vision to create a better world."
The Celebrity Centre International was established in Los Angeles, California, in 1969 by Yvonne Gillham, a Sea Org member who worked with L. Ron Hubbard. Since then, other centres have been established in Düsseldorf, Florence, Las Vegas, London, Munich, Nashville, New York City, Paris, Vienna, and a number of other cities across the world.
Critics of Scientology point to Hubbard's launch of "Project Celebrity" in 1955 to recruit celebrities into the church, and that the centres were established as an extension of this initial purpose. The church denies the existence of a policy to recruit high-ranking celebrities.
|Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International|
Scientology Celebrity Centre on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, California
|Headquarters||Hollywood, California, United States|
On November 23, 2008, Mario Majorski arrived at the Los Angeles Celebrity Centre wielding dual samurai swords and threatening to injure people. Majorski was shot by Celebrity Centre security guards, and was later pronounced dead at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. Police regard the guards' actions as justifiable. Majorski was a Scientologist in the early 1990s; however, he left the group fifteen years prior to the incident, according to church spokesperson Tommy Davis. When he was still a member of the church, Majorski had filed lawsuits, later dismissed, against Louis West, a psychiatrist who was critical of Scientology.
The Religious Technology Center (RTC) is an American non-profit corporation that was founded in 1982 by the Church of Scientology to control and oversee the use of all of the trademarks, symbols and texts of Scientology and Dianetics. Although RTC controls their use, those works are owned by another corporation, the Church of Spiritual Technology which is doing business as L. Ron Hubbard Library, registered in Los Angeles County, California.While exercising authority over the use of all Dianetics and Scientology materials, RTC claims that it is not involved in the day-to-day management of the Church of Scientology; that role is assigned to a separate corporation, the Church of Scientology International (CSI).
According to the RTC website, "RTC stands apart as an external body which protects the Scientology religion and acts as the final arbiter of orthodoxy" and its stated purpose is "to protect the public from misapplication of the technology and to see that the religious technologies of Dianetics and Scientology remain in proper hands and are properly ministered."Since 1986, David Miscavige has served as the organization's Chairman of the Board.In a 1993 memorandum by the Church of Scientology International, the following information was provided to the Internal Revenue Service with regards to RTC's role and functions, its personnel and its income:
"[...] RTC [...] owns the Scientology religious marks and advanced technology. It licenses the marks to CSI for sublicense to subordinate churches and directly licenses the advanced technology to appropriate churches. Through this structure RTC assures that practice of the Scientology religion within the ecclesiastical hierarchy under CSI's authority as Mother Church remains strictly orthodox, in accordance with the Scientology Scriptures. This church has a staff of approximately 50 individuals and an annual budget of approximately $ 6.6 million, based on its annual disbursements for the most recent year for which financial statements are available. [...]"
The RTC guarantees the “purity and workability of Scientology so far into the future,” thus engaging in programs to “restore, preserve, maintain and keep uncorrupted” the church’s "religious technology," according to Scientology spokesman Eric Roux.Scientology
Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices launched in May 1952 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Hubbard initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.Hubbard describes the etymology of the word "Scientology" as coming from the Latin word scio, meaning know or distinguish, and the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known". Hubbard writes, "thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge".Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable opposition and controversy. In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of criminal infiltration of the U.S. government.Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are often a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect". In France, they have been classified as a dangerous cult by some parliamentary reports.Scientology and celebrities
Recruiting Scientologist celebrities and getting them to endorse Scientology to the public at large has always been very important to the Church of Scientology. Scientology has had a written program governing celebrity recruitment since at least 1955, when L. Ron Hubbard created "Project Celebrity", offering rewards to Scientologists who recruited targeted celebrities. Early interested parties included former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. A Scientology policy letter of 1976 states that "rehabilitation of celebrities who are just beyond or just approaching their prime" enables the "rapid dissemination" of Scientology.Scientology in the United States
Scientology was founded in the United States by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is now practiced in many other countries.Tory Christman
Tory Christman is a prominent American critic of Scientology and former member of the organization. Originally brought up a Catholic, Christman turned to Scientology after being introduced to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health authored by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard while staying with her parents in Chicago. She identified with concepts described in the book including the idea of attaining the Scientology state of clear, and became a member of the organization in 1969. She hitchhiked from Chicago to Los Angeles, in order to begin the process of studying Scientology, and initially felt that it helped improve her life. In 1972, she joined the religious order within Scientology called the Sea Org. After being a member of the Scientology organization for ten years, Christman reached the spiritual Operating Thetan level of OT III, and learned the story of Xenu. She subsequently rose to a higher Operating Thetan level of OT VII, the second-highest within the organization. Her medical condition of epilepsy caused difficulty while in Scientology, as the organization did not approve of taking medication in order to manage her condition.
She became an ordained minister within Scientology, and instructed celebrity member actor John Travolta in initial coursework. Christman worked in various capacities during her time with Scientology, including for its drug rehabilitation organization Narconon, and at one of the organization's Celebrity Centres. After serving in these roles, Christman came to work for the Office of Special Affairs (OSA), which functions as an intelligence agency within Scientology. She participated in multiple missions for OSA, including a 1979 operation designed to advance the organization's interests in Clearwater, Florida, and a 1985 operation assisting OSA agents during a lawsuit filed against Scientology. In 1999, OSA agents removed the censorship software "Scieno Sitter" from Christman's home computer, in order to allow her to carry out a mission of monitoring critical material about Scientology on the Internet. It was in this capacity that she came across the Scientology critic website Operation Clambake, managed by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Christman reported directly to OSA vice-president, Janet Weiland, about her efforts to remove criticism of Scientology from the media and online. She supervised the Scientology Parishioners League, a group dedicated to removing criticism about the organization from the press, media, and Internet. After an operation viewed as successful where Christman complained to MTV about a South Park parody involving Travolta and characters from the comedy series which satirized Scientology, she was assigned in 2000 to monitor postings to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology. Christman took the screen name of "Magoo", and posted multiple times to the newsgroup in attempts to stifle criticism. This conflicted with her ideals of freedom of speech, and after Andreas Heldal-Lund reached out to her by email, she subsequently decided to leave Scientology.
After leaving Scientology, Christman's family and friends in the movement ceased communication with her, under the organization's policy of "disconnection." She traveled to Florida to join members of the Lisa McPherson Trust, a group dedicated to protesting against Scientology. For leaving Scientology and joining with a critic group, she felt she was subjected to the Scientology policy of "Fair Game"; a form of retribution for criticizing the organization. Christman has since become one of the more prominent critics of Scientology; she lectures and gives interviews about the organization internationally. In 2008 she took part in protests against Scientology organized by Project Chanology, itself started by the Internet-based group Anonymous but criticized the group for some of their initial illegal acts. Christman maintains an account on YouTube with the identification "ToryMagoo44", where she posts topically about Scientology. The Sunday Times characterized Christman in a 2009 article as "a fierce critic of the church".