Xenu Goes Uptown

Scientology makes a major move into Harlem. But why?

Those prices are steep, particularly in Harlem. But for ardent believers who can't afford those rates, there's always the Sea Org, a quasi-military group of workers who sign billion-year contracts, wear naval outfits, and do low-paid work filing papers, answering phones, and anything else that needs getting done. "By setting up in Harlem and offering stress tests in New York City, what they are looking for is workers," explains Ross, whose rickross.com chronicles the many complaints against the church. "I think that people in Harlem need to wake up and know who their new neighbor is."

Hines and Carmichael think differently. "None of the paid classes are mandatory," says Hines. And he says that Hubbard's teachings are intended to help better equip people for achieving greater things in life. "You take these courses, read the works of Mr. Hubbard, and you'll see a change in your life. You will be able to afford better things."

Scientologist Jerry Hines
Cary Conover
Scientologist Jerry Hines

The new expansion will include an office for Hubbard. (It's a tradition at major Scientology locations to include a desk for the "commodore," who left this dimension in 1986.) And, as a nod to the new surroundings, the Harlem center includes plans for decorations using African motifs: cowrie shells, beaded gourds, and kente cloth.

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