Inside the Church of Scientology's new $14m Sydney headquarters where anyone is welcome for 'purification' sessions and a free sauna

Mail, UK/May 12, 2014

By Candace Sutton

From the purification centre with sauna to 'free individuals from mental and spiritual damage' to the chapel with 'holy roller' lighting, the Church of Scientology's newly refurbished $14 million headquarters has opened for business.

Furniture custom-made in the US is stamped with special Scientology symbols and built to an exact height that is replicated in the church's centres throughout the world.

The centre, which has plushly decorated rooms with 'touch therapy' beds and sleekly designed 'e-metres' to diagnose psychological ills, is designed to lure new followers through its doors.

More than 2500 people including local Scientologists attended a ticker tape ceremony for the launch of the centre by world church leader David Miscavige, who is a close friend of actor Tom Cruise. Scientology claims it has 150,000 Australian members, although Census numbers put the figure at under 3000.

The Sydney branch told the MailOnline business had been brisk in the days since the launch, with people flocking in off the street to 'learn more about our church'.

On a tour of the premises, the MailOnline was forbidden from photographing the 'Hall of Fame' honour roll which lists the names of followers according to how much money they have donated.

Donating $1m gives a person the status of 'New Civilisation Builder'. Those giving half a million are 'gold humanitarians'.

In the basement, people who walk in off the street have access to a free 'medium temperature' sauna, exercise machines and a nutrition programme which allows all newcomers to free themselves from 'drugs and toxins' before they begin studying the texts of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard.

The 'e-metres' are used to monitor and diagnose emotional and physical ills, according to Scientology counsellors.

A brand new cafe on the second floor of Sydney's Scientology headquarters allows potential converts to spend the whole day at the centre.

The rooms on the upper floors, which overlook Sydney's Hyde Park, include a Field Activities Centre where adherents plan Scientology missions and expansion of the Sydney-based South East Asian network.

Each floor is furnished with custom made desks and chairs bearing the the 'new-era' Scientology symbol with a 'S' curving through two triangles, and with statues and carvings of lions, the church's 'symbol of inspiration for our counsellors'.

Scientologists working in the new centre all wear a version of a navy and white military uniform, based on founder Hubbard's time in the US Navy.

On the building's ground floor, dozens of black-and-white photographs of Hubbard tell his life story and promote him as a genius and man of many talents - 'photographer, author, pilot'.

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