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Aboard the good ship Scientology

Title: Aboard the good ship Scientology
Date: Wednesday, 24 July 1968
Publisher: The Scotsman (UK)
Main source: link (93 KiB)

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Moored at South bridge, Edinburgh, everything aboard the "ship" was Bristol fashion yesterday. Communications, and people, flowed quickly and smoothly.

The "vessel" is actually a converted hostel—Suttie's Hotel, 20 South Bridge—bought from the Y.M.C.A. In May, after redecoration and recarpeting by scientologists themselves, it became the Hubbard College for Personal Independence and the world centre for administration of, and instruction in, scientology's advanced courses.

As befits the Sea Organisation, as the Advanced Organisation is known, the college has the air of a ship of the line, with a commending officer, various executive officers, a master-at-arms and an international crew of 30 staff members.


When I walked up the two-storey spiral gangplank and was greeted with a firm handshake and ever-ready smile of greeting, none of the executives was available, but the blue-mini-skirted public officer; Laurel Watson, a Canadian and 19 today—"but age doesn't matter in Scientology"—conducted me round the ship's vitals.

Everywhere were graphs, charts and name-tags—all the trappings of modern office efficiency.

At any one time, she said, the advanced college had about 130 students from all parts of the world.

Just to prove that students do graduate in their courses, a young woman shouted: "Now hear this. Now hear this. Sheila Marsh. Passed O.T.4." A burst of cheering from those people standing about greeted the new graduate.


Scotland had been chosen as home of the Advanced Organisation because the nation's mood mirrored the aspirations of Scientologists.

"Scotland is interested in independence and in freedom; interested in loosening up; interested in freeing things and having things prosper," she said.

She was less than precise about the cost of courses. Certainly, those advertised in "Scientology," the field staff member magazine, range front a few pounds to over £100.

How much would it cost to start at the very beginning and take every course available?

Miss Watson replied: "How much would it cost to go to university and take every degree? It's the same thing."

Without paying for a course at the Scientotogists' new academy for beginners in Queen Street, Edinburgh, or buying books from the organisation's publications division in nearby Thistle Street, it would be rather difficult to grasp what Scientologists talk about. It became rapidly clear yesterday that they have a Ianguage all their own.

Scientology itself is variously described in its official glossary of terms, as "an applied philosophy, the technique of how to change condition" and "The road to Total Freedom."

The same glossary is sprinkled with such terms as "Beingness—the assumption or choosing of a the category or identity"; "Clear—a person who can be at cause knowingly and at will over mental matter, energy, space and time as regards the first dynamic (survival for self"; "Mind—a control system between the thetan (the person himself) and the physical universe—not a brain."


Since it was founded 15 years ago by the American writer and philosopher, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology claims to have spread all over the world and numbers its students in millions.

Miss Watson said that not many students at present came from Edinburgh, but the numbers were beginning to come in.

With a little-exploited market before it, the good ship could be on the crest of a brainwave.