I Visited The Church Of Scientology. Here's What Happened:
Last week I wandered into the Church of Scientology in Pasadena, California, and what happened during my visit made me afraid for the church's members.
Pasadena, California — While shopping along Raymond Avenue in Old Town Pasadena last week, my friend and I stopped into the Church of Scientology to take a free personality test that was advertised on an A-frame chalkboard sign just outside.
As a Christian, I wasn’t really searching for guidance or salvation, but I wanted to hear the Church of Scientology’s elevator pitch.
I wanted to know what they said to make people fork over massive amounts of money, or even distance themselves from family members in an effort to work their way up the church’s ranks.
I couldn’t help but notice how luxurious the building was.
The church’s visitors center looked like a museum.
There were exhibits with many informational panels complete with interactive video screens and elaborate visual props.
During our afternoon visit, I noticed there was an indoor fountain, several movie theatre rooms and a coffee shop just in the portions of the building I wandered into.
It’s estimated that about $1.5 billion of the church’s $1.75 billion worth is tied up in real estate holdings worldwide, and some former church members claim that Scientology is nothing more than “a fundraising ploy to buy real estate, to persuade people to give them money.”
Upon entering, my friend and I were greeted by a young man at the front desk named Andrew, who wore a grin that never seemed to escape his face.
He explained to us that we should allow an hour to take the Oxford Capacity Analysis developed by the church’s founder, L. Ron. Hubbard.
The test would reveal our biggest strengths and weaknesses.
We were given pencils and a scantron-like test as we were guided to an area just beyond the visitors center with rows of desks that were partitioned off.
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...Many of the questions seemed to be aimed at assessing how confident and competent I was..."