All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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The storage facility on Sunset View Ranch, now owned by The Church of Spiritual Technology, will be used to preserve the religious and philosophic writings for generations to come of the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology.
Michel Ouelette, 40, formerly of Montreal in French-speaking Quebec, Canada, who said he is manager of the 3,000-acre ranch, explained the purpose of the Church of Spiritual Technology over coffee in the handsomely remodeled former Ben Walker residence, now called by Ouelette "the bunkhouse."
Ouelette, who has a degree in agricultural engineering and is a part time cabinet maker, is responsible for much of the design and some of the furnishing in the home, where live Jim Meadors, the caretaker, and Ouelette on his trips to Petrolia from Los Angeles. It is also used for business conferences. There are five bedrooms and two baths as well as Ouelette's office.
"The Church of Spiritual Technology was formed in 1982 and is based in Los Angeles. Its purpose is the preservation of the religious and philosophical writings of L. Ron Hubbard [who died in 1986]," Ouelette said.
"We are not the Church of Scientology; however, we do share a common interest with it through our belief in the value and workability of Mr. Hubbard's writings in solving today's spiritual problems."
Ouelette said, in addition to Hubbard's writings, "other basic religious texts," religious wisdom and the Bible will be placed in the storage facility — not, Ouelette emphasized, to be called a vault.
The underground storage room will be about four twisting mountain miles from the bunkhouse, residence (now being built) and remodeled barn at the end of a two-lane graveled and paved road, once a logging road, Ouelette said. It will be atop a knoll, a "shallow trench" about 20 feet wide.
Asked where the money is coming from, Ouelette replied, "donations."
Correcting unconfirmed reports that excavation had begun, Ouelette said it had not and that final plans for the facility might change.
Ouelette further said, "The church's activities include doing research into long-lasting archival materials, transferring written and spoken words onto such materials to preserve them, and storing them so they will be available for future generations. We will not be conducting religious services at the ranch. The purpose of the property is for the preservation of religious wisdom."
Ouelette showed a Hubbard book, All About Radiation, printed on acidless paper processed from linen. He also brought out a stainless steel 8" by 11" shining plate on which the words of the Bible are being etched. The one exhibited by Ouelette had Holy Bible, King James version, on one-half of the plate and the start of Genesis on the other, "In the beginning God created . . ."
Ouelette also showed a compact disc labeled "Ron's Journal."
"The church purchased the Sunset View Ranch at the end of 1983 (from Merle Richard Walker and Claire Ellen Lacy)," Ouelette said, "with the purpose of putting a document storage facility on the ranch. The function of this facility is to archive our religious documents in a quiet and secure location, away from the noise, grime and pollution of major cities. There is no intention of using blasting . . . Rather, we plan to dig a shallow trench which will then be covered over once the facility is in place. There has been no work started yet . . . and any work done will be in full cooperation with county planning . . ."
Ouelette said, "We will continue running live-stock on the ranch. The new, three-bedroom ranch house being built on the site of the old Walker Mansion will be the home of a few church staff who will take care of the ranch.
Although a retreat house was mentioned in correspondence between County Planner Thomas Conlon and Leo Johnson, 72, who Ouelette said is a curator, Ouelette this week said flatly there will be no retreat house.
Ouelette mentioned that whenever possible the church has bought materials from Valley Lumber in Ferndale and other merchants, employed Roger Safier as contractor and other local labor.
Ouelette added: "The church has great concern that the natural beauty of the ranch be maintained and has taken all possible precautions, including paying for an in-depth Environmental Impact study prior to construction. The intention, once the initial phase of construction and renovation is over, is that our religious documents will remain undisturbed for ages to come."
Ouelette gave the present address of the Church of Spiritual Technology as 419 North Larchmont, Suite 86, Los Angeles, 90004. It is where the "roughly 45 members" gather, he said. He said there is a board of directors and the president, Mr. Russ Bellin, is in charge. The church membership is diverse; one is a former teacher, another a former nurse, another a former engineer — they all work for the Church of Spiritual Technology now.
Ouelette said there are no members in Ferndale and, when asked about Ferndale members in the Church of Scientology, he said, "I don't know."