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$145million Scientology Cathedral Opened by Tom Cruise and John Travolta

With celebrities like John Travolta and Tom Cruise in attendance you would probably have thought that the opening of the $145million Scientology Cathedral would have drawn the crowds, but the fact is that just 6,000 were in attendance at the opening ceremony. The development broke ground during 1998 but construction delays have meant that the 377,000-square-foot Flag Building has taken 15 years to meet L Ron Hubbard’s vision.

Since the 1970s, the founder of Scientology has claimed that the religion is a pathway to "Super Powers", which spokesmen Ben Shaw described as "a series of spiritual counselling processes designed to give a person back his own viewpoint, increase his perception, exercise his power of choice, and greatly enhance other spiritual abilities." Although we can be sure that Scientology hasn't built Hogwarts or the X-Mansion, at least practitioners of the religion now have somewhere to hone their "Super Powers".

The opening was for parishioners only but the exclusive dedication ceremony shut out only the very elite. Some long practicing Scientologists found themselves on the outside looking in. Danielle Lumberg, a third-generation Scientologist who belongs to the Clearwater, Florida church told reporters at the event, “Thank God it's finally done. There are so many more people joining the church we really needed more space so we could be more comfortable and do more things for the community, and the response today is absolutely breath-taking. We've been looking forward to this for a long, long time.”

An eight minute speech by leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige, was followed by confetti as the cathedral doors opened. A live image of Miscavige was projected onto a screen for the crowd during the ceremony which must have pleased his followed but did little to appease local residents unhappy with the arrival of the church. Several protestors made their dissatisfaction known but there was no major problem from anyone in opposition to the church.

Whether the new church will be able to teach "Super Powers" or just be another place for Tom Cruise to flash his impossibly white teeth, only time will tell.

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