Scientology's 'Super Power' Building: Cash Cow for the Church

Part 4 of the epic Scientology series at the St. Petersburg Times hit the web last night and hits streets in Florida this morning.

This fourth installment focuses on Scientology's biggest construction project: its "Super Power" building that was started a decade ago and still isn't finished. Whether or not its spacey facilities (see photo) will really provide high-level Scientologists with the awesome superpowers they've been chasing throughout their careers, the building also served a very different purpose for the church, write St. Pete Times journalists Joe Childs and Tom Tobin.

Telling church members that completing the building will heal the problems of a troubled planet, Scientology has pried at least $145 million from its parishioners.

But Tobin and Childs don't just count the money. They also suggest (in a slightly oblique way), that the building served a cynical purpose in more than one way.

They note that Scientology leader David Miscavige first broke ground for the project in 1998 and right at the time when the church was embroiled in controversy over the death of Lisa McPherson.

Tobin and Childs all but suggest that the building -- long a dream after L. Ron Hubbard had come up with the "super power" rundowns in 1978 -- was started at that time as a way to divert bad publicity for the church.

Three years later, in 2003, construction on the project halted (and by then, the state had dropped its criminal prosecution of Scientology in the McPherson matter). But fundraising kept going full time as the project sat dormant for six years. Not surprisingly, the church "reacted strongly to any suggestion that it delayed construction to extend fundraising."

Construction started back up in 2009, and the building's interior is reportedly nearly complete.

As in previous installments, Tobin and Childs describe a relentless drive to get money out of Scientologists. But in this case, they say, the method was more "genteel." Fundraisers would schedule home visits and restaurant meetings in order to persuade church members to fork over cash.

The result, however, was the same: Scientologists, under intense pressure, giving money to the church that they really had no business giving away.

Perhaps after their sessions flying like Superman at the Super Power building, they'll feel vindicated.

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#1: L. Ron Hubbard
#2: David Miscavige
#3: Marty Rathbun
#4: Tom Cruise
#5: Joe Childs and Tom Tobin
#6: Anonymous
#7: Mark Bunker
#8: Mike Rinder
#9: Jason Beghe
#10: Lisa McPherson
#11: Nick Xenophon (and other public servants)
#12: Tommy Davis (and other hapless church executives)
#13: Janet Reitman (and other journalists)
#14: Tory Christman (and other noisy ex-Scientologists)
#15: Andreas Heldal-Lund (and other old time church critics)
#16: Marc and Claire Headley, escapees of the church's HQ
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord

Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared


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Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Tony, are you Moderating/Editing comments here.... just had one blocked.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Here is an additional Editorial from the TampaBay / St.Petersburg Times.It is a Flat Out request that the IRS "tax exempt" status for the COS be reviewed, with addtional points of law being investigated.

Also, for those who have not connected the dots yet... 

It was President Bill Clinton who ordered his Appointee IRS Commissioner Goldberg to give the Church of Scientology full exemption for everything they want.... which they did... hence all the tax exempt status for COS numerous front groups...

Afterwards, there was a 'Hearing' into how this tax exempt status came about... the Hearing never did resolve the Question of just WHO authorized it... but it was clear that 'The Normal Processes' were not followed... Goldberg remains Silent and the File remains Sealed.

Church of Scientology was facing a ONE BILLION DOLLAR Back Tax Bill if and when it LOST it's court battle with the IRS.

Bill Clinton's relationship with Scientology goes back to his College Days at Oxford where his roommate was an accomplished .... highest ranking Scientology Auditor.... but those were different days for Scientology...

Scientology was always close and watching with Bill and was there for in-person contacts with him even before he announced his candidacy for President.... in fact you will find that Scientology had a significant amount to do with his getting elected President of the United States.

I am not saying Bill is a Bad Guy... or even that in those days that Scientology would become the monster that it is today....

Just Sayin' that is How It Was and Here Is Where We Are....

If someone could get Bill to see how it has all gone so wrong..... we might be able to Turn This Cookie.

SP 'Onage
SP 'Onage

Thanks to Tobin & Childs the $cam has been exposed. Now the smallest of clams (misscabbage) has no choice but to open Ramase the Magnificent's dream palace soon.

Thanks to all who have come forward and revealed the *evils* of $cientology.


A person on the SP Times site asked a great question:

How will the Super Power building save the planet?

Here's my answer:It's supposed to be a secret, but the Super Power building was designed as the planet's first architectural replicant. It will replicate itself, take off, and land on a street near you within weeks of opening. And that is how it will save the planet.

One ride on the astronaut gyro and you'll be a Scilon, with super powerz, and receive junk mail for life.


   You can give Davey your money.  Or you can turn the page.


SP building. How ironic.

Show me one person with one super power and I'll sign up though. You can guarantee that if and when the building does ever get finished, DM will have a new carrot to dangle in front of his increasingly haggard followers to solicit donations for.

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

I wonder how many Scientologist's know that Hubbard was a MASTERFUL Hypnotist... really good... he could do it to you right on the spot... restaurant... walking down the street... problem... no watches or any of the stage clap-trap..

Make you act like a Total Fool... and you would not remember a thing.

Gee.... that sounds like.... s c i e n t o l o g y......

Tye Solaris
Tye Solaris

Yet another 'Pulitzer' Class reporting piece by Childs & Tobin.

It is amazing to see how successful Hubbard has been at "erasing" other people's analytical perception and replacing it with his own... an an implant.

And people are actually eager for this.... and willing to pay a lot of money... because they are told by Hubbard 'Mind Clones' that "That We Really Care About YOU... and We Really Want This For YOU.... So Just Give Us YOUR Money..... And YOU can go FREE.

If you knew Hubbard.... you would see the duplication of his own vision & will being carried out by these people.... and one day they wake-up and say..... "OH MY GOD.... WHAT HAVE I DONE... WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING !" ....


All because Hubbard said this is what you do to those who dare to leave....


I was present at the Super Power ground breaking ceremony, which was held on November 21, 1998. Exactly 13 years ago today!  

I sat in the temporary bleachers with the hoi polloi while the hoiti toiti (rich "upstat" dupes) sat on the ground row with nice seats.

DM with there as well as Lauri Webster (formerly a reg from the Boston Org in the mid 1970's)and the other Int execs that weren't yet imprisoned by DM. There was the usual tacky glitz and glitter of a DM production.

 I'm so happy I never gave one thin dime to the Super Power Project. 


So the CoS claims that those Super Power fundraising figures are wrong, even they they are based on their own published donation lists.

I think I've figured out how it works -- when someone leaves / is declared an SP they no longer count their contribution towards the total (though of course they keep the money).

Those excess millions are effectively a PTS and presumably need to be moved offshore where they can't affect the case gains of Scientologists in good standing.


I just read this post at the St.Pete Times and thought i would share the joke - 

Two scientologists are walking down the street and a beautiful blonde woman passes by. One scientologist says "Man I would like to screw her" and the other says " Out of what?"


celebrities who donated to the Super Power Building over the past 7 yrs.:

$1 million: Grant Cardone, Doug Dohring (founder of Neopets [I say we boycott them])$250k: Kirstie Alley$100k: Nancy Cartwright, John Coale, Beck Hansen and Marisa Ribisi, Danny and Chris Masterson, Giovanni Ribisi, John Travolta and Kelly Preston (more about them in a bit)$35k: Bodhi and Jenna Elfman, Laura Prepon, Leah Remini


If they ever do open the SP building, they'll deal with two things:1. Trying to fill that building with enough people so that it's not an echoing ghost town.2. Delivering on the promises. Empty Big Wins like "I feel more aware of my surroundings and more able to handle any problems" aren't going to cut it for too long with anyone except the fanatics.


The Super Power Rundown wasn't even developed by L. Ron Hubbard for the public to get.  It was developed for all Scientoloy staff.    They were supposed to recieve this rundown, not the public.   Instead, it has been turned into a cash carrot for Scientologists to extract as much cash from them as humanly possible.

Anon A
Anon A

Does the Super Power building have a secret basement dungeon for holding disobedient Scientologists?  As more and more key members disappoint David Miscavige and "disappear", I would think that adding some lockdown pens would be standard issue for any big Scientology complex at this point.


I really wish more news sources would pick up on this series.  Sadly, I do not believe that the US Government will actually do anything about this corrosive cult until the media battle cry becomes extremely loud (or if it becomes politically advantageous to do so).  Until then, we can chip away at will but the US will still keep its head in the sand.

barbara graham
barbara graham

Hey, see that ball in the Superpower mock up? Now look at this:

It's a street decoration in Clearwater. They're not even trying, just copying stuff they see on the street, painting it chrome and calling it Superpower.

barbara graham
barbara graham

Hey Tony,See that ball there in the Superpower mockup? Now look at this:

That's a bollard on the streets of Clearwater. Scilons aren't even striving for originality, they're just copying shit they see on the street, paint it chrome, call it Superpowah!


Correction - they first began construction in November 1998, not 2000 as reported.

Which makes it exactly 13 years. And the building is still not open.

And of course - if it ever does open, the richest of the clams will get to learn how to fly, time-travel, and "exteriorize" at will (float around telepathically).

But of course - they won't.

At which point, the richest clams will realize that the cult is a lie, and they will quit and take their money with them.

This is good. The longer that building takes to open the better, because $178 million dollars in regging is going nowhere and the cult only needed $50 million anyway, even the most brainwashed clams will start to wake up to the fact that they have been ripped off.

And the sooner it opens the better, because then the clams will know that there are no "clears" and no OT powers, not one.

In effect, it would be far, far cheaper for those in the cult to have spent their money on crack cocaine and hookers. And probably less dangerous too.


They are automatically blocked if you try to put a link in.


Hey!  I take offense!  Just kiddin'!  

Are we witnessing the decline and fall of the Cult of Scientology?Kind of the final fight before the BIG FALL.


Money to set up a super link to Hubbard's spaceship? Land-buy in Guyana? Time to move Gold Base to a more secure area. Venus perhaps?

More seriously, I suspect the shift will be to their "social betterment" PR programs, and since they don't have any that cost a lot, they can ease up on donations while trying to build new membership.

This super power thing is to give the members the illusion they are super special and to excite the bored celebrities and rich members, into believing in something new, fresh, and exciting.

If they continue to push relentlessly for money, collapse will come sooner. How are these people who gave over a million going to feel about paying high fees to use the facilities? There are people in this cult who are so deluded, they gave so much toward Super Power, they will not be able to afford trips there. They'll just fantasize that is the best thing on Teegeeack.

I predict we're going to see a period of people saying: "My space was blown out to Jupiter after 2 minutes on the is the most fantastic..." You could interview kids after a day at Six Flags and hear the same thing.

They will say what they are supposed to say, and feel what they are expected to feel. But, at some point, most will start questioning things, because it is contrived and  depersonalized. People will run to the web to get the truth.

Super Power could be a huge debacle for the cult, if not inside the cult, outside it, with public perception. I do not think that the reissue of The Basics was huge, or the golden age of...or new Orgs, but Super Power is big. It is the biggest thing since the release of the Tom Cruise video on the web. It could be the biggest thing for the cult, since the publication of Dianetics.


I did totally call that the SPs at the SP Times were going to write about the SP building.


I think is more Newtonian -- a body in motion tends to stay in motion. Once they get you through the door to buy into this scam -- in motion to believe it all -- they are half way there, with where they want you. The more a member invests, the more they feel invested in the set of beliefs and practices.

That's why I love the members who get ALL the way out. I think it is very humble of them,  moving to see, for a person to admit they made a big mistake, and don't try to keep saving their egos, excusing themselves for hurting others, by defending Hubbard to the hilt or trying to rewrite cult history by blaming DM for everything that went wrong. The people who get all the way out, see how the system just does not work, and they want to warn others.

Scientology does not have the solutions for saving the planet or helping everyone, even if elements of it helped a particular person be successful in business, feel better, or overcome a drug addiction.

Gadfly in ESMB explained something. Scilons get stuck in the bait and miss the switch. They are hope junkies, placing their hope and trust in Sciloontology.

Unfortunately, what you say is true also. Some people, probably people like Annie Broeker are turned into obedient zombie slaves. Before, they would have obeyed Hubbard, but right now, they will obey Miscavige, and obey him to the death. Frankly, parts of that Scott Campbell interview, are among the worst I've heard. It is just frightening, what they will do, to Sea Org members who want to leave.


The irony being - L Ron Hubbard dies a miserable junkie.


Definitely! In terms of theta, those millions that were donated by filthy lying psycho apostates (FLPA's) are PTS, and must be set aside for something less spiritual, like Miscavige's escape (Hajira or Sci-jira) fund.

Myriam Breitman
Myriam Breitman

I'm glad that this Catholic Priest, a Rabbi and a 9 year old boy joke could be adjusted to fit Scientology.


Maybe Miscavige is planning for the future, when everyone on Teegeeack will be Sciloontology staff, especially after getting these rundowns.

What about the OT level Pat Broeker mentioned at the Death Event, that was supposed to be delivered after a Thetan dropped his meat body? That was pure LRH.

Seriously though, you don't think it was time for something "fresh" in this scam? The 1950's e-meter counseling, pretending you can go exterior and have super powerz crap was getting stale.

Myriam Breitman
Myriam Breitman

I think DM is running out of dungeons to place his enemies at. You know, I'm kind of curious. Many dictators found their deaths at the hands of their own staff, most of the times they were poisoned. Hence, they've always had somebody taste their food before they ate. Do you think DM has somebody who tastes the food for him?


However, when the building opens, it is going to be a unique situation for the cult. They will have to straddle their tradition of keeping things secret, and trying to make this not a laugh riot. After all, smelling things, and using astronaut training gyros isn't "counseling." The idea that this is based on stuff dug out of the ramblings of a well-documented liar, anyone can see lying in an interview on YouTube, is going to compound the cult's credibility problems.

I see this building opening as an opportunity for the media to bring out the full bouquet of clips of L. Ron talking about Xenu, and his trips to Venus and the Van Allen belt.


Maybe then the Cult will get a mouthful of its own medicine... lawsuits from all the rich Scientologists.  

That would be poetic justice.


If the church had really wanted to "make planetary clearing a reality", they could have delivered this rundown in a smaller, less expensive building, maybe one they already had.  But apparently they don't want to clear the planet . . . . just raise money.  I am really looking forward to the results of this rundown.


They must've built this farce for the NEXT generation of Scilons since this generation -- except for the ultra rich you mentioned -- are too tapped out from giving to be able to afford these Stupid Powerz rundowns.

In addition, who can forget that the INTROSPECTION RUNDOWN, the same thing that killed Lisa McPherson and was used to torture Scott Campbell (search for recent hour long radio interview with Campbell on THE EDGE) was supposed to end insanity and clear the planet.

This is a huge bait and switch. They have been baiting with Clear and OT Powerz, and are now switching to the new bait of new Super Powerz. Isn't it piling on a little too much malarkey as if that grade chart weren't ridiculous?

It is going to be a laugh riot seeing all the rich chain smokers expecting great results from the smell-o-rama, listening to sounds (better than Mozart and Bach I'm sure) and astronaut training!

I wonder if they are ever going to open this. Won't Miscavige want to test lots of people, and if they are getting sick smelling things, won't they have to take up another major drive to get the walls plated in platinum? How about lasers shot through large diamonds? Wouldn't that be healing?

If the sound component is going to involve "binaural beats" (low tones that use brain lateralization, Left/Right brain differences), this is not something that L. Ron thought up, and it can also be kind of sickening for some people. It is going to be fun revealing from whom they ripped off for all these rundowns.

However, are most cult members going to jump at this? Yes! They've invested so much. It will all be worth it if just one celebrity stooge like Anne Archer finds it youth-making, or if it can resurrect Shelly Miscavige...

anon anon song
anon anon song

Even if/when the superpower building finally opens, I wouldn't underestimate the clams' vulnerability to placebo effects, the sunk-cost fallacy and general psychological displacement (ie.: greater focus on the church's "charitable" work and less on people's nonexistent OT powers).

I don't have dox, but I get the impression that it's a different wave of people who are leaving the church nowadays: the financially ruined and the physically/emotionally exhausted. Whether the tech works or not doesn't seem to be in the foreground of concern.

If I am correct, there could be an unintended consequence when the official Co$ collapses: Miscavige gets all the blame but the tech gets a free pass and the whole thing starts again from the beginning.


and by the looks of it, it probably will stay unfinished

Middle Aged White Man
Middle Aged White Man

I hope you are right. I can imagine a few suckers leaving but I think that Scientologists can rationalize infinitely. If they come out of the courses and therapies without superpowers they will either think that they do have superpowers or that they, themselves have made some mistake, or perhaps that the SP's got to them.

After a few years of the cult, a person's mind is fried like a strip of bacon. A Scientologist will believe everything Hubbard has written down. If a person is deluded enought to be an OT8, he or she will be deluded enough to believe that he already has superpowers. Actually, the way OT8 was presented to me was that it gave a person infinite superpowers. It made a person sort of like Green Lantern but with an infinite life span.

Anyway, I hope you are right and time will tell.

anon anon song
anon anon song

A priest, a rabbi and a scientologist are walking, stranded in the desert and come upon a coin canted in the sand. The priest says "let us use it as a plug for the leak in our precious water gourd!"

The rabbi says, "let us use the coin's smooth surface to reflect the sun's rays so it serves as a beacon, any passing caravan will rescue us!"

The scientologist says, "I know whose coin that is and I can get us more."


"Do you think DM has somebody who tastes the food for him?"

Well, there was that one time when he offered Tom Cruise a shrimp...


I'm pretty certain there are plenty of people with the motive to kill him.

Nothing of value would be lost if they did.

But I'd want to see the body.


Something the Sciloons never figured out—how incredibly insane their beliefs sound to others.

I know, I know—"How is this day different from any other day?"

Still, any regular newscast in the USA concerning the Superpowerz Building will start with a clip from "Trapped in the Closet." Note to the OSA—this will happen, no you can't stop it.  Ain't a thing you can do about it anymore. When your closet door opened, Xenu flew out. 

Xenu's never going back in the closet.


It's gallows humor.

You should try being locked away in a shipping container for 6 years with nothing but Heber Jentzsch wailing away and pissing his pants and this trusty old iPhone that I can luckily power using solar charge from a tiny hole in the roof.

I guess I should have known it would never be an easy ride after marrying a rapist's son three feet smaller than I am, and that incident with my mom getting shot four times wasn't conducive to matrimonal harmony, but hell, at least I don't have the little idiot trying to get into my pants after an all day session on the single malt!


 Quite right about the OT VIII thing, that was possibly the biggest bait and switch the cult ever pulled off.

When I started Scientology, I was told that OT VIII would be released as soon as enough people made it to OT VI and VII.  The Grade Chart told me that OT VIII would give "ability to be at cause knowingly and at will over thought, life, form, matter, energy, space and time, subjective and objective."  So, basically, you were going to become a god. You'd also lose the "inability to be totally free and at total cause as a being." Then a few years later, they made the ability gained confidential, and stopped saying anything about what OT VIII did.  Then, a year or two after that, they came out with the current, completely lame claims for OT VIII, that it got rid of the main reason for amnesia on the whole track.

To reiterate:1) You get to be god2) ?3) You can remember imaginary things better

I'm thinking that the Super Powerz thing is an attempt to bring back enthusiasm with more promises of impossible OT abilities, but that this time they're going to make the promises really vague, so that its failure won't be incredibly obvious.


A triple entendre: Tom Cruise was Miscavige's shrimp taster but he got sick of the job.


I wouldn't be so worried about the discarded shell.  I'd want a thetan-catcher in place, and an electrified mountain cave prepared, with an eternal battery.


1) You can remember imaginary things better2) ???3) PROFIT!

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