To make the advanced spiritual services he developed available to Scientologists, in 1968 L. Ron Hubbard established an organization aboard a vessel, the Flagship Apollo. As he continued his research aboard, Scientologists arrived from world over for training and counseling available only on the Apollo and supervised by Mr. Hubbard. This was accompanied by a period of unprecedented growth of the Church’s ministry and worldwide expansion.
By 1975, the demand for service from “Flag” had grown to such levels that larger delivery space was called for, and the ideal property was identified. At the end of that year, L. Ron Hubbard established the Church of Scientology’s spiritual headquarters and religious retreat in Clearwater, Florida—the flagship Church for the religion. At that time, it occupied two properties. Today it spans a complex of 56 buildings over a 20-mile grid, totaling more than three million square feet of space.
Flag was L. Ron Hubbard’s vision for a Church where the delivery of services would be at the highest quality standard and where any Scientologist could benefit from the world’s most highly trained auditors. At Flag, one can receive services from the most basic to the most advanced, as well as services delivered nowhere else in the world.
L. Ron Hubbard’s vision was fulfilled over the decades by Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center, Mr. David Miscavige.
The Church of Scientology Flag Building opened its doors on Sunday, November 17, 2013, as more than 10,000 Scientologists gathered for the dedication ceremony led by Mr. Miscavige.
The Flag Building is unique because the religion is unique. Scientology is the culmination of thousands of years of Man’s quest for spiritual freedom combined with 21st century science and technology.
This new ecclesiastical capitol for the Church is as beautiful as it is majestic. Occupying a full city block—377,000 square feet—Flag is a magnificent reflection of the dedication of the religion’s followers who endorsed and supported its establishment under Mr. Miscavige’s leadership. The Church’s elegant cathedral also reflects the unparalleled growth of Scientology’s ministry over the past decade, and its more than 40-year commitment to the local community.
“Although we have cut a lot of ribbons in recent years and many more are pendulously waiting for their day, this one is special—because this is the one that stretches from eternity to infinity,” Mr. Miscavige said in opening the Flag Building. “When it falls, it will ripple through the very fabric of reality and thereby announce to the physical universe: Your cathedral has risen and your spiritual headquarters is now open.”
The Flag Building’s Grand Atrium rises three stories and extends its entire length—a full city block. The travertine columns, walls, floors and staircase in the Grand Atrium lobby evoke great cathedrals of the past. At the same time, the Flag Building with its bronze, brass, wood, marble and glass is stylistically timeless. The muted nautical motif echoes the Scientology maritime legacy while projecting a sense of the future.
Across the length of the Atrium stands a series of bronze sculptures representing the fundamental concepts of Dianetics and Scientology. They include the Eight Dynamics: the urge, drive or impulse toward survival as Self, Family, Groups, Mankind, Life Forms, the Physical Universe, the Spiritual Universe, and the Supreme Being or Infinity; and a visual representation of an “auditing” session. Auditing is Scientology spiritual counseling that helps the individual rid himself of spiritual disabilities and increases individual abilities.
Stretching from the ground floor and past the balcony is a 35-foot, freestanding sculpture of a spiral stairway with human figures at various levels. It depicts the Emotional Tone Scale, reflecting progressive levels of existence from deadened and crippled with spiritual and mental burdens at the bottom of the scale, to triumphantly creative and in brotherhood with the universe at the top.
On the ground floor, a large information center with multimedia displays includes 600 films in dozens of languages. They present the fundamentals of the religion and update Scientologists on humanitarian and social betterment programs sponsored by the Church around the world.
A museum of the Church’s religious order, the Sea Organization, includes Mr. Hubbard’s office and research room from the Flagship Apollo. Authentic in every detail, the office features elements as precise as the two types of Spanish marble matched to the original floor.
Displays house numerous artifacts belonging to Mr. Hubbard and models of the three ships of the early Sea Organization flotilla.
The Grand Chapel, also on the ground floor, is rich in artistry. The focal point is the eight-point Scientology Cross, representing the Eight Dynamics, crafted of semi-translucent honey onyx. The Chapel’s eight multicolored stained glass windows are 11 feet tall and composed of 1,900 individual pieces of German hand-rolled glass and traditional leading. Each window is emblazoned with one of The Factors, Mr. Hubbard’s summations on the human spirit and its relationship to the material universe.
The Flag Building is an architectural masterpiece, providing Scientologists the means to spiritual advancement in a setting befitting the magnitude of the technology of L. Ron Hubbard.