A Visitor Sees Phoenix "In Action"


"I Liked the Attitude of the Church, and the Simplicity and Honesty of Its Services" --

Says John R. Bloomquist

PEORIA, Ill. -- This is the report promised you on my trip to Phoenix:

We arrived in Phoenix Sunday morning, got a bit of sleep, and then went to the 4 P. M. services at the Church of Scientology, which occupies a modern store building at 403 East Roosevelt. The window is attractive, painted black with the symbol and name of the Church in gold. The interior is plain but attractive, and the chairs are modern, comfortable aluminum tubing plus plastic webbing.

When we walked in the services had already begun, but we were greeted and ushered to a seat by a smiling lady. There were about 25 people present, and the minister, Richard Steves, D.D., informed us that "the processing has begun", and continued with it. Dr. Steves has a quiet air of competence and certainty, and was neatly dressed -- even a tie! He proceeded to give the group some competent processing, and they seemed to be enjoying it. Like many of the recent techniques of Scientology, the processing was simple enough that even a new beginner could do it, yet effective at bringing a person to present time.

After the processing, the kindly lady saw to it that our names and addresses were put on cards, and gave us a "May We See You Again?" sheet which explained:

"You have attended a Group Processing Session of the Church of Scientology. Processing consists of a series of drills having to do with attention. By freeing the attention you can then yourself be free. Scientology makes the able more able . . . At such simple sessions as these a majority of the congregation benefits in terms of better Knowingness. A few of these even in a short while, come to know that they are not bodies, that they are themselves the soul. A few come to understand that this can be so. Some only feel better physically and mentally. About 12 percent of any new group such as the one you have just attended receive little or no benefit and these would require many more hours of Group Processing and even individual processing (by a trained minister) before they would know the truth. In our congregation we do not try to improve you by talking. By drills and exercises of the spirit, we let you find out for yourself, without duress or compulsion... If you feel better, you may wish to attend other free sessions and bring your friends. The Church will be happy to have you."

No charges were made, no collection taken. For those who wished to contribute, there was a box on the table at the end of the room -- but it was just there, no one mentioned it.

Two days after attending the Church, we each received a letter from John W. Galusha, D.D., which said in part, "The ministers of the Church are ready to assist you. Our doors are open to you. The people you have met are your friends... Scientology is as old as knowledge, as new as tomorrow... You are a spirit, you can be free, you can help others."

As the son of a Presbyterian minister, and as a former Presbyterian minister myself, I was impressed with the alertness and efficiency of this follow-up. I liked the attitude of the Church and the simplicity and honesty of its services. Here was no dead weight of holy ritual and symbology, but the distilled essentials of what many religions have been talking about for centuries. My impression was, "Here is a religion in action, going about the business of improving the world by improving the people in it in a simple and practical manner instead of sitting and contemplating the navel of the past with repetitious reaffirmation and ritual."

I understand that the Church of Scientology will soon acquire a "churchy church" building in Phoenix as the place for its meetings.

On Monday, along with our friends, Dr. and Mrs. Harry Wood, we visited the offices offices of HASI. We were welcomed by the receptionist and ushered into the office of b.b.b. (Busy Barbra Bryan), who took time from her many tasks to talk to us. As we talked to her and looked at the office in operation, we saw Ron Hubbard's principles as set forth in "How to Live Though an Executive" being put into action. There was excellent communication evident in that office, and I discovered later that this included frequent conferences with Ron. Mary Sue Hubbard was right in the office, working alongside