The church on Sunday dedicated its massive Flag Building in Clearwater, Fla., where leader David Miscavige presented the church’s new “Super Power” program for the first time, according to The Tampa Bay Times. The program was developed in the 1970s by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but the church reportedly waited to unveil the program until it had built an appropriate venue. (The church’s “worldwide spiritual headquarters” are located in Clearwater.)
The 377,000-square-foot building reportedly cost $145 million to build and includes special rooms for practicing the “Super Power” program.
“Hubbard said that the ‘Super Power’ program will develop Scientologists, [giving them] new skills, new abilities to perceive and new levels of awareness,” Joe Childs, the Times’ senior editor-at-large, told ABC News. “It’ll position Scientologists to take a lead, he said, in leading the world out of social decay [and] saving mankind.”
Miscavige presided over an eight-minute ceremony to a smaller crowd than had been expected, the Times reported. The church had told city officials that 10,000 would turn out, but there were “far fewer” in attendance, though exact figures were not immediately available.
Miscavige’s remarks were inaudible to those outside the six-foot-tall fences that had been erected around the building. Security staffers declined to let non-members close to the event. It’s unclear whether the building will be open to the public.
According to documents filed with the city and on the church’s website, the building includes an atrium, bookstore, chapel, dining facility, offices, course rooms and hundreds of small rooms for “auditing.”
The “Super Power” program is said to be located on the fifth floor, where specially designed machines will be used to sharpen church members’ “perceptics.” For example, a motion quadrant will spin an individual around to improve their sense of compass direction, while another machine will check one’s magnetic sense.
Fundraising for the program began in the early 1990s. Some former members have claimed that the church took so long to finish the project as a “shill” to continue raising money. The church has denied that accusation.
It’s also unclear how much members will have to pay to take part in the “Super Power” program, but the church’s auditing sessions can reportedly cost up to $1,000 per hour.