There is hardly a shortage of news right now so you might have missed that Scientology is sending Tom Cruise to the Sunshine State.
The church already owns huge swathes of property in Clearwater (over $200 million worth) and bought a further $26 million in real estate in January and February. As ever Cruise is at the front of the Scientology queue, reportedly buying a $3 million duplex penthouse around the corner from the church’s Super Power Building headquarters.
The church is upping the ante in a bid to boost numbers and convince strangely gullible folk that they should be devoting a mere thousand lifetimes to their cause. Seemingly fewer people than ever believe that becoming a Scientologist is a sensible thing to do, and with prominent members leaving the church like there’s no tomorrow, they clearly needed to do something.
Anyone who has suffered the misfortune of being given the Scientology hard sell knows that they are upfront about the ‘faith’. Indeed, Cruise pioneered the modern celeb-fan etiquette of reaching out directly to his fans at his premieres . So Clearwater clearly brings new opportunities.
I have ideas for Scientology that aren’t so much ‘Leah Remini-A&E TV’ as ‘QVC’. For a start vacations will never be the same again!
Cruise’s duplex is decked out with a flight simulator, a car elevator and a private rooftop pool from where Top Gun Tom can keep a close eye on the one in ten Clearwater Scientology residents.
The 350,000 square-foot structure hosts top-level $800-an hour Scientology lessons. Following a mere 90 hours of instruction you’ll not only be around $72,000 lighter but you’ll be able to leave your body and control matter with your mind. Who wouldn’t want that?
Cruise is at the penultimate level, so do watch your step just in case it works—he could probably fling you into the path of a bus just by giving you the stink eye!
Around half of the 40 storefronts along Cleveland Street are owned by the church, its parishioners or owners who rent to Scientology-owned businesses, according to the Tampa Bay Times, so if you’re thinking of taking a vacation in Clearwater this summer, consider what you may encounter during a stroll to the shops?
Scientologists believe that humans are actually immortal beings called ‘Thetans’ who live for trillions of years, so you can bet there’s a dude on every streetcorner selling somewhat complex life insurance plans which, of course, are infinite and therefore completely worthless. Do. Not. Sign. Anything.
Whereas an ordinary American street might be home to several pharmacies, Scientologists believe that sickness is merely psychosomatic, so you won’t be able to buy any pills or potions. Remember to pack mosquito repellant and suntan lotion or you’ll be truly screwed.
Church Leader David Miscavige has a bunch of dogs who are said to wear blue vests with stripes that show their rank as higher than most human Scientologists. These Church-crazy canines probably have their own dressing room, so expect to find at least one pet store selling the latest in canine comforts and designer doggy-wear. Do remember to bow (wow?) in their presence should you bump into them.
In the ‘60s Ron Hubbard hung out in the Caribbean on his ship, ‘The Apollo’. Teenage girls wearing uniforms of hot pants and platform shoes brought him drinks and sandwiches. Expect there to be a shop for teenage girls selling hot pants and platform shoes. It’s probably next door to the Irish pub which is where you’ll be able to get your drinks and sandwiches, which may well be served by teenage girls wearing said hot pants and platform shoes. Sweet!
Scientology bosses read all the mail that members send to their loved ones before they are posted to ensure that they don’t contain any ‘negative’ musings such as ‘Dude, I’m so over being reborn’ or ‘Dear Mom, apparently I can check out anytime I want but I can never leave’. Look out for a stationery shop where you can purchase Church-approved writing sets and stamps depicting Tom Cruise’s mega-watt grin along with ‘I Heart Clearwater’ postcards.
When a member commits a punishable offense, they are sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force. People on the RPF may only eat the left overs after other members have eaten and they are made to run everywhere. Expect a store selling recipe books with plenty of soup and casserole ideas (perfect for leftovers!) along with running shoes, shorts and perhaps T-shirts emblazoned with ‘I Run For Ron!’ across the chest.