Recently a new neighbor moved into Paradise Nevada. Pictured here is the newly opened Scientology Celebrity Center, located not far from where I live, a few blocks East of Eastern Avenue on Emerson. I’ve heard about Scientology with increasing frequency ever since my college days. Since the reports I’ve read over the years have taken two extremes, as in love ’em or hate ’em, I couldn’t let the opportunity to go see for myself pass unused. I’m not a highly religious person, so this article reflects the observations of someone who might be as close to neutral about Scientology (or any other religion) as one can get.
First, the place looks brand spanking new. I was told by one of my guides on the tour I was given that in fact it was recently a Jewish synagogue. In fact, my congressional representative, Shelly Berkely, was a member of that congregation. She also spoke recently at the dedication of the refurbished Scientology Center. Oscar Goodman, the closest thing Paradise has to a mayor even though he lives in Las Vegas, also spoke. To judge by the photographs I saw, it was quite an occasion.
My occasion was a bit lower key. I was taken on an informative tour of the facility and encouraged to ask any questions I wished. And the facility is sparkling, with new decor and the latest in technological gadgets to help get out the word. The word I saw illustrated most abundantly was the effort to do good works in the world. They have developed a “Secular Morality Program” that can be used in schools. The Information Kiosk in the adjacent picture is about that effort. They also have an anti-drug educational program, and an ongoing effort to support worldwide human rights. They make Public Service Announcements around these programs, some of which I have seen while watching television. I hadn’t noticed that they were sponsored by Scientology, but I never saw anything in them that I’d care to argue with. The largest informational display is about the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. I watched a 7-minute video biography, in fact. I was surprised to learn that he lived until 1986. Somehow I always had the impression that he was older than he was.
Those good works efforts may be a part of the reason that Scientology seems to appeal to folks like John Travolta and other celebrities. Then, too, there is the emphasis which I saw on good nutrition and detoxification, which are also hot topics for many people these days. This is a church that might seem a bit odd to those used to the traditional idea of what a church looks like. But, taken all around, it seemed to me to be a friendly and accommodating place. There is an open invitation for anyone to drop by from 9am to 10pm Monday through Sunday, so if you’re curious about what Scientology is about, you can drop in any day to check them out for yourself.
The Scientology Celebrity Center of Las Vegas,
2671 Emerson Avenue Las Vegas Nevada 89121