Scientology's Secret Behind "Ideal Orgs" Revealed At Last
David Miscavige opened yet another "Ideal Org" this weekend, showing up to cut the ribbon at the new Church of Scientology in Florence, Kentucky (servicing the Cincinnati area).
As you can see in the photo to the right, Miscavige showed up long enough to open the new building Saturday, which is just the latest in a string of openings happening all around the world.
As Miscavige has pushed his followers to raise money in extreme quantities to buy up these large buildings and renovate them, there's been a real question about their purpose. Church membership itself hasn't been growing, and the Ideal Orgs are replacing smaller facilities that weren't out of space.
But now, the answer to what Miscavige is really up to seems to have been laid bare...
The eagle-eyed researchers over at WhyWeProtest.net recently stumbled on Miscavige's secret, and so we're going to share it with you here.
First, keep in mind that Miscavige is not only the absolute dictator of a billion-dollar, secretive worldwide religious empire -- people who have worked closely with him say he's also a maniacally controlling and micromanaging perfectionist.
Everything from the smallest detail on the baroque backgrounds he has himself photographed against to the cut of his clothes will be obsessed about by the people who serve him.
But we also know that before an Ideal Org can open, millions of dollars has to be pried out of the hands of local Scientologists, who are encouraged to mortgage their homes and max out their credit cards in donations so the church can buy a historic property in their area that needs renovation.
But that's just the beginning. After raising millions to buy an old building, the local church members are hit up again for millions more in renovations. As Luis Garcia detailed in a revealing look at what's happening in Orange County, California, an Ideal Org can sit around for years sucking up funds as the locals work to raise money from people who have already given and given again.
Only then, when millions have been raised to refurbish these buildings the locals don't really need, is a lavish grand opening scheduled so Miscavige can sweep in for an appearance.
And that's how it has become clear what Miscavige's real purpose for this endless round of fundraising is really all about...
...So he can show up and do this same goofy stance in photos all over the world.
London Malmo, Sweden
We see what you did there, Davey.
Perhaps Chuck Beatty or one of our other experts in L. Ron Hubbard technology can help us out and explain whether Davey's kung-fu position is some kind of subtle message to hold off Marcabian forces or something.
All we can add is, keep on mortgaging your houses, Scientologists, so we can get more photos of your diminutive leader doing his Napoleonic pose for the cameras. We can't get enough of it!
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you ask nicely he'll put you on his mailing list for notifications of new stories, which tend to come out each and every morning at 8 am, but can suddenly appear at any time of the day. You can also catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, and even this new Google Plus doohickey.
New readers might want to check out our primer, "What is Scientology?" Another good overview is our series from last summer, "Top 25 People Crippling Scientology." At the top of every story, you'll see the "Scientology" category which, if you click on it, will bring up all of our most recent stories. As for our regular features, on Thursdays we do a roundup of world press, on Fridays we visit L. Ron Hubbard on the yacht Apollo circa 1969-1971, on Saturdays we celebrate the week's best comments, and on Sundays we publish Scientology's wacky and tacky advertising mailers that people send us.
As for hot subjects we've covered here, you may have heard about Debbie Cook, the former church official who rebelled and is now being sued by Scientology. You might have also heard about the Super Power Building, Scientology's "Mecca," whose secrets were revealed here. We also reported how Scientology spied on its own most precious object, Tom Cruise. (We wrote Tom an open letter that he has yet to respond to.) Have you seen a Scientology ad on TV lately? We debunked some of the claims in that 2-minute commercial you might have seen while watching Glee or American Idol.
Other stories have looked at Scientology's policy of "disconnection" that is tearing families apart. You may also have heard something about the Sea Org experiences of the Paris sisters, Valeska and Melissa, and their friend Ramana Dienes-Browning. We've also featured Paulette Cooper, who wrote about Scientology back in the day, and Janet Reitman, Hugh Urban, and the team at the Tampa Bay Times, who write about it today. And there's plenty more coming.