Check this out: Just this week on Tuesday, May 10th, 2005 scientology claimed to have 12,000 members in the Clearwater area, including 1,400 staff, plus at least 1,500 visitors from around the world at any given time.
I ask again, why is the 55th anniversary celebration of "Dianetics" being held on Friday the 13th in the Fort Harrison Auditorium which holds a maximum of 2,000 people???
Found at: http://www.sptimes.com/2005/05
Scientology speaker holds her own with Tiger Bay Club
By ROBERT FARLEY, Times Staff Writer
Published May 10, 2005
FEATHER SOUND - The Suncoast Tiger Bay Club prides itself on asking
Its members held true to form on Tuesday afternoon, peppering their
guest speaker, Pat Harney, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology
Is Scientology a cult? Does the church stockpile weapons? Did L. Ron
Hubbard create Scientology as a way to make himself wealthy?
Harney smiled and said she had expected them all.
The Church of Scientology has been a fixture in downtown Clearwater
for 30 years, and yet many people know very little of what it's about,
People describe the church as a cult to disparage a religion they
don't agree with by saddling it with a negative label, she said.
"It's nothing I haven't heard before," Harney said afterward. "It just
makes you recognize the amount of work it's going to take to
communicate who we truly are."
For the church, meeting with the Tiger Bay Club was the latest in an
ongoing effort to build relationships with a community that has been
skeptical, and at times hostile, to its growing presence.
Tiger Bay Club President Bob Fisher said the club approached the
Church of Scientology to supply a guest speaker because, "I think
Scientology is a controversial organization and has been for many
Harney began her presentation by noting that she has been a member of
the Tiger Bay Club, a club that boasts it has been "carving up' a
politician for lunch since 1978."
"It is more than high time that we got to meet each other formally,"
There are some 12,000 Scientologists living in the Tampa Bay area,
including 1,400 staffers working at Flag, the church's international
religious retreat in downtown Clearwater. At any given time, about
1,500 members are visiting the retreat from around the world, she
Harney scored points with many club members when she described the
church's secular programs aimed at drug rehabilitation and literacy,
as well as the church's volunteer ministers, who provided 20,000
volunteer hours of assistance to emergency workers after the
hurricanes last fall.
Locally, members participate in some 100 civic groups, and in 2004
provided 230,000 hours of volunteer service, she said.
The club's "Fang and Claw Award," given to the person who asks the
toughest question, went to Jere Turner, a retired English professor
and Clearwater native who asked why the church needed armed guards at
its base in the Ft. Harrison Hotel.
"I can tell you categorically and absolutely, there are no men with
guns," Harney said, adding that the church does have security guards.
After the meeting, Beverly Mitlin, a past president of the club,
walked up to Harney and grabbed her by the arm.
"I wanted to tell you you did a good job," Mitlin said. "You held your
(Message edited by tammy on May 13, 2005)