The Church of Scientology, the controversial organization founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, has raised its visibility by moving to a new building in midtown Kansas City.
The seven-story, 79,000-squsre-foot building at 18th Street and Grand Boulevard once was home to a bank. Last weekend, it was draped with a giant red ribbon on the upper floors, and a large electric sign reading “Church of Scientology” was lit at night.
The local Scientology church, which previously was located in a storefront at 39th and Main Streets, purchased the building in 2007. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to the local Scientology website: “It is with great pride we welcome you to our church. Since 1982, we have served a growing congregation in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Today, from our landmark location in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District, we are honored to extend our help to communities throughout the region.”
Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices invented in 1952 by Hubbard. He 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.
The Church of Scientology says that a human is an immortal, spiritual being (thetan) that is resident in a physical body. The thetan has had innumerable past lives, and it is observed in advanced Scientology texts that lives preceding the thetan’s arrival on Earth were lived in extraterrestrial cultures. Based on case studies at advanced levels, it is predicted that any Scientologist undergoing auditing will eventually come across and recount a common series of events.
It’s not known yet if the new Scientology building and its clientele will be a good fit with its neighbors.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice