Sydney “state of idle”

The following article is from www.vice.com in Australia

Inside the Church of Scientology’s New $14 Million Compound

By Nelson Groom

This month the Australian Church of Scientology opened their renovated headquarters. It’s located in downtown Sydney in a heritage building dating back to 1908. The $14 million project has birthed an array of new and exorbitant facilities, with its sole purpose being to lure new acolytes.

Historially, Scientology spread failry quickly in the land down under. After officially starting in America in 1952, there was enough of a following to hold a Scientology Congress in Melbourne by 1954. The Australian branch of the Church even became the regional headquarters of the entire Asia-Pacific region. But like in America, reports of the macabre have long overshadowed the church, and it now seems these are starting to catch up.

The group has always been optimistic when expressing their numbers. They claim to have150,000 members in Australia, despite census numbers putting the figure at fewer than 3,000.To put that in perspective, its less than the number of Aussie Satanists and witches. What’s more, it was shown in 2011 that these numbers are dwindling. Jim Lippard believes we can credit this to the internet, which has robbed the churches power to sweep things under the rug.

The former chief spokesperson for Scientology in Australia Mike Rinder was candid in his explanation of why the Australian brand of Scientology is potentially at risk: “Australians tend to be pretty down-to-earth, and and bullshit don’t fly.” Case in point: the church’s recently rejected rehab center.

The optimistic membership figures are consistent with the decision to pimp out the headquarters. But as Mark Rinder goes on to explain, the money spent on construction could be doing more harm than good. “Too much money goes to international management, and they’re buying buildings, so they can’t use that money for staff.” Hence why they might be forced to spend truckloads of money on employee back payments.

In order to make my own mind up, I decided to see the headquarters for myself. I called the church’s head office, and after several days of deliberation, they agreed to give me a tour. I suspect it wasn’t a coincidence that this was arranged for a peak period of business, the 5 PM rush hour.

The outside of the building melds surprisingly well with its surroundings. However, this all changes when you walk inside. As soon as you step through the entrance, the vibrant lighting and futuristic decor make you feel like you’re on set of the latest terrible sci-fi dystopian flick. It’s prompt validation that this is not your average church.

I was soon acquainted with my guides, Carolyn and Colin. Both were dressed in Navy-esque uniforms, which are intended to honor Hubbard’s time spent in the Navy. The first stop of the tour was in a similarly honorary vein: the L Ron Hubbard memorial office, fitted with a library of his very own books. I was told this was “a mark of thanks to Hubbard.” I suppose the $600 million he acquired through the church wasn’t enough.

After this, the led me upstairs to see the new chapel and café. I should note at this stage how bizarrely flaccid the tour was—if these were their peak hours, it’s safe to say that business ain’t booming.

Inside the chapel, there were tiled murals and a bronze bust of the big homie Hubbard (the dude is never further than arm’s reach in any part of the church).

I was informed that the time had come for me to discharge my emotional baggage, so we got in an elevator and made our way up to the auditing section. Auditing is the central process of Scientology, where subjects are purportedly cleared of negative influences in order to reach a state of Zen. It involves a practitioner and a divisive machine known as an e-meter. Author Paulette Cooper believes that in the eyes of church members, auditing puts the science in scientology.

We passed a reception desk manned by some brain-dead employees and made our way down a long corridor of identically vacant offices.

“These are all new rooms. In here, this one has the best view.”

I stepped inside with great reluctance. In the center of the room was a desk and chairs, both adorned with scientology symbols. It was my first encounter with an e-meter (electro-psychometer for those who prefer redundancies).

The machine, which scientologist’s claim will diagnose emotional ills, looks like a prop from the original season of Star Trek. It “works” by sending a small electrical current through wires that are attached to dual cans held by the user. The cans measures resistance, i.e., to what degree a body opposes the passage of the electric current.

According to the church, when subjects using an e-meter recall traumatic memories, their mind produces a charge that triggers the dial on the machine to move around. And in 1971, it was ruled in a US District Court, that e-meters had to present the following warning label:

“The e-meter is not medically or scientifically useful for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any disease. It is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone.”

It’s been argued that the belief in an e-meter’s ability to read one’s soul, despite the lack of any serious science to vouch for this at all, is the greatest testament to scientology being a religion.

“Go ahead; hold on to these.”

My guides watched with flashing eyes as I grasped the cans. It was a profoundly unnerving scenario.

“Think of a time that was very stressful for you,” said Carolyn. “The e-meter helps to identify trauma.”

Having prepared for this all beforehand, I decided to do the reverse and focus on a deeply relaxing memory instead—namely, getting high on a beach in Barcelona. I had also read that the movements in the dial can also be attributed to hand moisture, which was thick in my palms.

“There it goes! There it goes again!” exclaimed my guides.

Sure enough, the dial was faintly stirring up and down, the alleged response to a distressing memory. Meanwhile, I was just reflecting on Catalonian chronic.

I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell this to my wide-eyed tour guides, though, who were staring at me, apparently free from any instinctual need to blink.

Having supposedly been cured of my supposed trauma, I was escorted to what appeared to be a classroom. Colin told me this was where members learned to become auditors. According to AlternativeReligions.com, this costs approximately $50,000. It was no surprise then that these rooms were also empty.

My guides explained that the church is primarily kept afloat from the study fees, which go for up to $1,400 per subject. Anyone is free to take up the studies, which involve working throug the prolific content of Hubbard under a supervisor’s guidance. They range from introductory courses to advanced ones. The broader study sections were stocked with a myriad of material.

One student was slumbering on a desk. When we drew near, he spotted our trio, shot upright, and apologized frantically. I don’t blame him—I’ve never been a fan of science fiction books myself.

When I left, around 7 PM, the multimillion-dollar compound was still open for business—with no actual members present save for the staff and the lone student desperately trying to stay awake.

Sydney Idle Org is opened

A report in the “Property Observer” Australia:

The building – no question – is beautiful. The future will again show an empty building serving just as a real estate investment with “others” money

Jennifer Duke | 8 May 2014

201 Castlereagh Street, or The Church of Scientology, restored

201 Castlereagh Street, or The Church of Scientology, restored

Some Sydneysiders may have walked past 201 Castlereagh Street in the past, noting the small ‘Scientology’ signs if they paid attention. However, this subtlety will be no longer, after a complete upgrade to the building and the introduction of large ‘Church of Scientology’ branding.

The beautiful 1908-built structure has had two storeys added, where initially three were proposed, and has had a number of its heritage features restored. The brick pilasters and bronze-glazed glass curtain have been brought up to the modern day. The building overlooks Hyde Park.

The $12 million lump sum contract, awarded to Kane Constructions in March 2013, had a vision of additional commercial offices and spaces, as well as new lifts, wet areas, a lobby and building services.

They worked with Nix Management and WMK Architecture to deliver the project.

The launch of the completed building, on 3 May, saw 2,500 Scientologists attend. Official information says that the building’s congregation is ‘ever growing’ and that it serves as a hub for “people of all faiths and cultures across New South Wales”.

Launching the building with an address was David Miscavige, the ecclesiastical leader of Scientology.

“There’s a new sign in the southern night skies and it points to something never seen before—your Ideal Org of Sydney. That it opens directly in the wake of what is a whole new Scientology world lends it even more significance. Because for all the help you thus far extended to the millions, you now possess the means—in this, our Golden Age—to uplift this city and this nation with the unqualified freedom of Scientology,” said Miscavige.

Attendees include Federal Member of Parliament Julie Owens, Australian Human Rights Council president Sev Ozfowski, Young Offenders Support Service programme manager Kalisi Bese and Aboriginal elder of the Dunghutti people Bill Allen.

Those who attend the newly refurbished building are provided with a Dianetics and Scientology introduction.

The Church of Scientology, Sydney, moved to the site in the 1980s. This year is the 60th anniversary since the formation of the Church of Scientology. Fundraising for this project through Ideal Org has occurred for some time, with online discussion as to when the building would be brought up to standard.

Sydney Idle Org – Additional data

Hi Izhar,

I saw you had started the idleorgs website and are looking for ideal org info from around the world. I wish to comment on the Sydney Ideal Org.
Attached are a few photos I took in February of the Sydney Ideal Org building. Unlike most Ideal Orgs the Sydney plan was to massively renovate their current Class V org rather then get a new building. This has proven to be an unbelievably disastrous decision. Firstly they had to move out of the building, which they did in July 2009 and moved to a ‘temporary’ org in a backstreet warehouse (no joke, I have photos). Management promised the faithful that they would move back into their newly renovated org within a year. Nearly THREE years later they did move out, but only to ANOTHER ‘temporary’ org. Their ‘Ideal Org’ has laid dormant for three years now and is in a terrible state. As you can see from the photos it is derelict, broken glass, boarded windows, paint and rust everywhere, and what appears to be a homeless shelter inside.
Of course they moved out in 2009 so renovations could happen, but of course no renovations ever happened. I have collected extensive records from Org newsletters, which document this very sad situation and the endless commitments made and broken promises.
Make no mistake, the Ideal Org strategy has soundly broken and crippled Sydney Org. Millions of dollars have been wasted with the schedule bungling and gross incompetence, key public have been soundly bled dry of cash, over $14 million dollars has been ‘donated’ in total, and all for no product and endless misery.
Part of that misery has been the endless fundaisers, and I do mean endless as they have had an average of once every fortnight since they ramped up the fundraising project at the start of 2010. These fundraisers are usually touted as ‘outrageous fun’ and are filled with dance routines, fashion walks, bunny suits, and any other novelty the org can think of to numb the senses and open wallets. I have collected the photos and reports from these events and they are certainly something to gag over.
I have selected a few choice excerpts from the Sydney Org newsletters to illustrate the timeline and the endless lies and deception:


We have 19 days left until work is scheduled to start on our Ideal Org in Castlereagh Street! We need to get the funds in hand to finance this first phase in full, to be able to start in time to finish the renovations in 2010 per the time line. - February 24th 2010
We have 1.2 million to raise in the next couple of weeks which will enable us to start the renovations project of Castlereagh Street –home to our new Continental Ideal Org in Sydney. – March 2nd 2010
We are closing in on the target needed to start renovations. We then have a sprint to the target date for ALL money to be in which is June 15!! – April 19th 2010
We have smashed all earlier highest evers and made over $500,000 in the last 15 days towards Sydney’s Ideal Org. With hundreds of other smaller donations too, we now have less than $2.35 million to fundraise to have all the funds for construction in hand — and when we have that, you know what happens, YES, we start the renovations! - August 1st 2010
 And, as mentioned before, the clock is ticking to get our Ideal Org renovations started. The target is the 10th of October… so, 10.10.10! We have 1.2 mil to go on the count down. This is very exciting. We are SO close. All it takes is a little money into the bank and the scaffolding will be going up, the drills will start up, hammering and banging, cranes will lift beams and materials onto the top of the building and it will be all on in the race to complete!!! A moment we have all been envisioning for a long time now. IT IS TIME TO START! This means we need everyone’s help and input to take it over the line… NOW. We have 5 days left! Come on Sydney – Let’s all agree to disagree with any stops, barriers or any such nonsense and apply some LRH: - October 4th 2010
Hi Syd team, to keep the team in the loop, we have $1,685,100.00 left to start the Syd renos. START! Sydney won’t only be responsible for clearing Sydney but also more than 3 billion people of Asia. So your donations will influence the freedom of half the planet’s population. So let’s give them the best chance they could have of duplicating LRH’s legacy of the tech by moving to your next status. LRH ED 102 Int. ‘One could look at this ideal org and know that this was the place a new civilisation was being established for this planet.’  – May 6th 2011
With over 330 in attendance, we celebrated in style on Saturday night at Le Montage to acknowledge one and all for the major milestone achievement of raising the required funds to start construction of Sydney Ideal Org!
The budget to complete the Ideal Org is $3,731,731 and this must be raised within 3 Months.
We have embarked upon the final stage of funding for the Ideal Org, namely the furniture, all the equipment and all the items that go into setting up the org for delivery, such as all the books and materials needed for delivery spaces as well as uniforms for all the staff. The total budget for this is $3,731,731.  - August 17th 2011
Sydney Org is in its 6th decade. Yes, some say that there have been times of greater expansion in the past. But whilst we have had spurts of successful dissemination with more public coming in, it did not continue to expand. In fact, it contracted. Wonder why that was? Not to even begin to consider what we are up against in the day to day world of economic crisis, morale decay, all manner of psychiatric “remedies” for depression and drugged out kids in schools. We have never had an IDEAL org.
The target? Complete the Ideal Org funding by the 15th of December! That is 63 days away. -

 October 13th 2011
The Sydney Fundraising, of which a little over $ 2.7 million remains, must be completed by Australia Day, the 26th of January! Yes, we are running out of time! - January 3rd 2012
The target is 24th of March – yes, the LRH Birthday Celebration 2012! We intend to give LRH the very best present – a milestone achievement of all the funds in the bank for the Sydney Ideal Org.The Sydney field, with help from Melbourne, has raised over 12 million to get the Continental Ideal Org in Sydney done.  - March 4th 2012

And so it goes on and on, and I hasten to point out no construction has started yet.
Feel free to rewrite/edit this information for posting.
In addition I can briefly comment on Ideal Orgs in ANZO. Melbourne was the first (and only) to open, in February 2011. This required a HUGE amount of money (20 mil +?), and I heard that money from Sydney was diverted to Melbourne to at least get one Ideal Org in Australia going. They have touted Melbourne as a huge success but a closer look reveals a dwindling field and very few of the new ‘boom’ of public sticking around.
Perth and Auckland also have ‘active’ Ideal Org projects but quite frankly these are going nowhere, their fields are tiny and there just isn’t the money. If I remember rightly Auckland has even bought a building for their Ideal Org, but they will never get the money to renovate it.
Zhent
PS. I just noticed after completing this email that someone else has already sent you in some info on the Sydney Ideal Org! Good info and pics there that are newer then mine – they moved into that new building at 209 Castlereagh Street last month. Perhaps you can still make use of some of my info.

Sydney Idle Org

Hi there,

I hope this helps….

The org can only be found by the address.

There is no indication in the common foyer area (which is dirty & tiny) of which floor to proceed to.

Only access is via elevator – as far as I can tell. Maybe that’s what the midget meant by “Straight up and vertical”.

The building as a whole is very poorly maintained.

Sad.

Sydney Org (before DM’s Idle Org Campaign

Sydney Org ca. 2009-2011

Sydney Org (2012) – No signage whatsoever.

Sydney Org (2012) – Side view

written by:

Dean John D.
Pro Crse Sup, OEC/FEBC, KTL/LOC Sup, Purif I/C, Product Debug Grad, Data Eval Grad,
Grade II, FPRD (all forms), Truth Rundown,
17 Years on staff (6 in Sydney Fdn, 11 in ACT),
Plus 3 additional years as an honary Gold technician for ANZO (trying to make DMs squirrely ’16mm-film-projector-with-CD-audio’ work for longer than a week at a time) and silver-cert’ing tape decks and simulators.
Declared SP

PS You may want to indicate on you website that the Sydney Org photos were taken yesterday at 4:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time – so they are very current.
Cheers,
Dean

18 April 2012

Just received the photo for The entrance to the original Sydney Org