Atheist Invasion at the new Church of Scientology and Dinner!

Last month the Church of Scientology opened a brand new, modern, fancy 82,000 square foot building next door to the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul. The building houses museum-like galleries, a vast library, and a chapel that used to be where the IMAX theater was in the old Science Museum.

If you're curious about Scientology and their new church but uncomfortable in going in alone, you're in luck! We have a great opportunity to go into the belly of the beast as a godless group.

The Minnesota Atheists have been invited to tour the church with a local Scientologist who will serve as our guide through the building and who will demonstrate how an E-meter works, and take questions. The tour should last about an hour to an hour and a half.

Afterward, those who would like to chat, debrief, and socialize over food and drinks will meet at a nearby restaurant to be determined.

I'll be wearing a Minnesota Atheists shirt and waiting near the front plaza of the building. Feel free to contact me through this meetup site, via email or leave your questions/comments in the comment section here.

 

 

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  • Leah

    What a great meetup! People asked very thoughtful and interesting questions, that our tour guides completely dodged.

    November 22, 2011

  • Douglas R.

    Except for the weather, this was a great event. The new "tax exempt" Scientology church is worth a visit. I was more comfortable visiting (or invading) with a group. The questions of others in the group were helpful, although the scientology answers were not especially informative or complete.

    November 20, 2011

  • michael p.

    Very polished production values for the near-infinite number of videos accessible at the church. Handsome black and white staff uniforms. Found it interesting that e-meters are manufactured "in-house" and that e-meter readings are one on one, and that there are 27 different needle readings according to the church. I might attend chapel one Sunday morning. Thanks Eric for the organizing.

    November 20, 2011

  • Kowsar

    The scientology church was an amazing experience. I learn absolutely nothing. It sounded like any other religion. One difference was that it had modern tune. The founder had the advantage to use modern scientific advancement. Such as the things we know about human brain and psychic, with little bit of pseudoscience like e-reader or whatever the hell is was called?for mystical purposes. But I have some idea of what they are now.
    Thanks Eric for organizing it.

    November 20, 2011

  • Eric

    Our group was great! Friendly, inquisitive, and respectful even though we were being videotaped and closely monitored. It was kind of fun, albeit a little annoying, to see how secretive and cryptic Scientologists are firsthand. Our group's friendliness and genuine enthusiasm made this a wonderful event. THANK YOU, everyone!

    November 20, 2011

  • Heather H

    I think they were trilled to have a bunch of people of no faith to come in so they could attempt to convert. Too bad for them that we were all skeptical of what they had to say. Disappointingly their tour consisted of a series of videos which didn't make their beliefs very clear, they poorly answered questions, and not as much of a tour of the building as I was expecting. I asked one of the several men in suits oddly just standing about what was with the uniform (black suit with a weird black and brown tie) and he was clueless. It was just a rather odd experience altogether, but fun to get to observe with a bunch of fellow atheists.

    November 20, 2011

  • Andrew L.

    The best meet-up I've had the pleasure to attend, although that is because of the dinner afterward.

    November 20, 2011

  • David P.

    The Church representatives were cagey and uninformative, but the Atheist group was (as always) a ton of fun.

    November 20, 2011

  • Susan

    It was great; all our members were polite, but skeptical. Food was good at Amsterdam, but when the music was playing, too loud to talk and hear comfortably. I particularly enjoyed hearing the details of how the tour was set up, and I appreciated the Scientology church for hosting us when they could have said no. Thanks for setting it up.

    November 20, 2011

  • Jason H

    I finally got to my first meeting and it was everything I wanted. It was nice to be around people that have the same feelings about religion and it was nice that we got to learn a little bit (very little) about Scientology.

    November 20, 2011

  • Daniel H.

    Well, it would have been nice if the Scientologists had given a little more info and it was a little weird being video taped and watched constantly by multiple handlers, but it was still interesting and of course, great to spend some time with my fellow godless heathens. Thanks for doing the leg work and setting things up, Eric!

    November 19, 2011

  • M. J.

    I really wanted to attend this event, but I'm with Melissa on this one. The roads are too dangerous and the previous 15 years of Southern California isn't helping me either. Have a great time!

    November 19, 2011

  • Melissa L.

    Sorry guys but the roads are too dangerous. I was slipping & sliding all over the place. I blame L.Ron Hubbard.

    2 · November 19, 2011

  • Eric

    The latest forecast on WCCO says that the metro area will get 1-3 inches of snow and the snow will tapper off by 6pm (after we're done with dinner).

    November 19, 2011

  • Daniel H.

    I'm sure we'll keep it classy. We are those people, right?

    1 · November 19, 2011

  • M. J.

    Okay. Cool. Sounds like a great field trip.

    November 19, 2011

  • Eric

    Hi Matt. Thanks for the question. Heather is is right, there is no limit. I let the Scientology tour guides/leaders know that there could be as many as 50 people and maybe even more. So they are expecting a large group. I also let the restaurant (Amsterdam Bar and Hall) know about our group. They said that they're prepared. Thanks for the link to PZ's rules for touring the Creation Museum. Those rules definitely apply to our tour today!

    November 19, 2011

  • Heather H

    Doesn't seem like there is a limit Matt. Plus, it's very unlikely that everyone will come anyway. You're welcome to join us!

    Related, I was just reading PZ Myers blog and he posted rules for touring the Creation Museaum which I think apply well to what we are doing today, so if you've got a moment, feel free to check it out:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/11/18/tis-a-good-day-to-creozerg

    November 19, 2011

  • M. J.

    Is there a limit on the size of the group?

    November 19, 2011

  • Heather H

    Thank you for the parking information Eric. And if anyone would like to carpool from the Downtown Minneapolis/University of Minneosta/Dinkytown general area, let me know.

    November 19, 2011

  • Eric

    Here is a link to the restaurant: http://www.amsterdambarandhall.com/ ...now to PARKING. There are four ramps with weekend rates that are within the 3-block radius of the church and restaurant. See this link: http://www.smart-trips.org/parking and click on the ramps labeled at 17, 19, 20, and 24 for address and rates. I recommend the 6th and Wabasha ramp which is right between the church and restaurant and it's only $3.00. The WTC Ramp (477 Cedar) is my second choice at $5.00.

    November 18, 2011

  • Eric

    After the tour concludes we can head down three short blocks to the Amsterdam Bar and Hall for a wide selection of drinks and food. I made reservations for our group there because it was close to the Scientology building, the food looked good and it's reasonably priced.

    November 18, 2011

  • Eric

    Everyone who RSVPed by 2:30pm on Friday should have received an email from me. I will provide the most important information I sent if you didn?t receive the email here in the comment section. It will be split up in different comments since there is a 500 character maximum: The tour should last about 1 to 1.5 hours. The tour guide(s) are willing to take questions so feel free to ask!

    November 18, 2011

  • Leah

    Bobbie, there's meters on the streets all around. They're usually pretty easy to find on the weekends. Otherwise, there's a ramp right next to the Fitz.

    November 18, 2011

  • Eric

    I can take up to three from the southeast suburbs.

    November 17, 2011

  • Eric

    UPDATE: On the western side of the plaza (left of the front entrance when facing the Scientology logo on the building) are doors that lead into an indoor atrium where we can gathert. If you don't see us you can go in the front entrance and say that you're with the MN Atheists and they will help you find us. I will email everyone my cell phone number as well. Also, it might be helpful if you can volunteer yourself for carpooling. Here is parking info: http://www.smart-trips.org/parking.

    November 17, 2011

  • Eric

    Hi Steve. Speaking for myself, I enjoy learning about all institutions that have influence, power, and money. The Church of Scientology has all three but their structure (of belief and operations) is a bit of a mystery to a lot of us. Since they have a reputation of being very secretive, this tour seems like a great opportunity to me.

    1 · November 14, 2011

  • Melissa

    I've been obsessed with psychology of belief in anything, be it religion or cult (I didn't define them). Perhaps this represents a shared atheist trait? While I'm morbidly curious I would never attempt to learn more in person as I would rather not come to the attention of this group on an individual basis. However, as a member of an invited group, a known group of skeptics, I would be comfortable stepping foot on their property. Alas, I'll not be in attendance.

    November 13, 2011

  • Steve P.

    I do not get the interest in this tour. Is it wonderment with how a religion can have vast amounts of funds to build the latest place to thier belief? Is it to get a better understand of a little understood religion? Is it a thought that we might be able to deconvert the tour guild? Or is it just a fascination of understanding another minority group of people?

    November 13, 2011

  • Melissa

    Nooooooooooo , we will be in Chicago awaiting our flight to MSP. Say it isn't so. Devistating. Life is so unfair.

    November 12, 2011

  • Bruce

    November 9, 2011

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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