Tuesday, March 4, 2008

General Information: Scientology in Pittsburgh

Requests were made on enturbulation.org's forums for some information specific to Scientology's presence in Pittsburgh, and this post should deliver. As a note, this is mostly a primer on basic stuff, but newcomers to the protests should find it informative. If anyone has a fact that they think should be added, feel free to comment on the post and I'll see if we can incorporate it.


The only current CoS facility in Pittsburgh, which is where the protests have been and will be held, is a bookstore located at 1906 East Carson Street in the South Side of Pittsburgh. This is not a full Scientology Church. It is a small facility, and it appears to have only one or two workers inside at a time, with the exception of when protests occur, at which point there seem to be three or four employees/members, joined by members of the Pittsburgh Police. The storefront offers written works like Dianetics by L. Ron Hubbard, and they advertise the ubiquitous "Free Personality Test" on a sign outside.

Although you can go inside for the personality test and presumably be subject to recruitment attempts and financial solicitation, this facility does not offer the courses required for a new member to become Clear. In order to become Clear, Scientologists must go out of town to a larger, full Church location that offers the full course catalog. Because of this, it can be inferred that the Pittsburgh location is primarily a recruitment center to pull in new members that can be shipped elsewhere for training and service, and an outpost to keep in touch with the handful of members who live in the Pittsburgh area.

There was a rumor going around prior to 2/10 that Scientology had already purchased a new building on East Carson Street to be renovated and converted to a full Church. However, this no longer appears to be case. The cause of the confusion appears to have been a Pittsburgh Bizjournal article that, despite having a URL with "Pittsburgh" in it, was actually referring to a CoS building purchase in Portland.

The bookstore they currently have is relatively new, and there appear to be plans in place to make improvements to it, but any renovations currently being undergone are at 1906 E. Carson Street, not a separate building. There do not appear to be plans at present for them to build a full Church in Pittsburgh. It is not listed on the official Church of Scientology website as a Church, but a more extensive search will yield the address and number, etc.

As some of you likely already know, Scientology publishes a business directory, and it indicates at least a few professionals in the area are adherents of CoS, so their presence among the general public here is limited, but it does exist. And I apologize for the dated link, but the directory appears to be somewhat private and the only copy I could find was on a protest site that had an old copy up -- if anyone finds a more recent copy, please comment on this post and I will update the link with it.

That being said, the presence of Scientology critics in the area seems to overwhelm the presence of their adherents. In addition to the 40+ valiant Anons who participated in the 2/10 and those who will be joining us on 3/15 for more great justice, we have several higher profile non-Anonymous critics in our city.

First of all, there is Professor Dave Touretzky of CMU, who many of you have probably heard of already, due to his highly-publicized efforts to spread the truth about the CoS via his website (scroll down for most of the Scientology-relevant links) and various interviews he has conducted regarding Scientology. And we can also consider him proof positive that even in cities like Pittsburgh where Scientology appears to have minimal influence, revealing one's identity can lead to Fair Game harassment.

We were lucky enough to have Professor Touretzky join us on our IRC channel prior to 2/10, and he mentioned a few other harassment attempts made by Scientology as a result of his constant protests of the CoS, including calling his parents at home to denounce him and make false accusations. He also noted that he will be supporting us from the sidelines, but that he would not attend the protests themselves out of fear that his presence would attract too negative/violent a reaction from CoS and put the rest of us at heightened risk.

Pittsburgh is also currently home to former CoS member and Scientology critic Chuck Beatty, who spent 27 years serving in the Sea Org.

Though there have been examples of Fair Game harassment here, there have been no Scientology-related deaths like Lisa McPherson's in the area, which is unsurprising given the limited number of people involved in Scientology here and their limited facilities in the area.

So what can we take away from this information? In my opinion, the goal of Pittsburgh's protests should be to inform the public and to contain the influence of the CoS. If we can show them that Pittsburgh is unreceptive to their practices, they will be less likely to make the multi-million dollar investment that bringing in a full Church will entail, as we will have gotten to the public first and ruined their potential recruitment base with the truth about Scientology.

Love to my Anons,
Miss Anonymous


Anonymous said...

(Commenting here because of a higher chance to be read - feel free to delete if inappropriate.)

This morning, walking through the bridge at Pitt, I saw a couple of fliers posted there - I particularly liked the "checked cleared" one. Be advised that these will probably be taken down before noon - Facilities are very anal about not letting anything live long outside the posting boards.

Regardless of this, they made my day :)


Miss Anonymous said...

Haha, yes, that's awesome. I have seen the "check clears" one -- we had a group of Anons bring a giant sign with that on it to hold at the last raid, it had a great impact.

Anonymous said...

Reading the previous two comments just made my day as well. :-) I put those signs up in the middle of the night last night, but walking around this afternoon I noticed that most of them had been removed. The following will be a detailed explanation of the viability of different posting locations, so don't bother reading if you don't think you'll be interested in posting signs.

--Skyway/pedestrian walkway not on boards: probably not worth posting, will be removed very quickly.
--Skyway on two large posting boards: definitely worth posting, but may be partially covered within a day, and fully covered soon after.
--boards inside Posvar: also worth it, but will be covered quickly. Downstairs one near bathrooms seems to be cleaned every day in the morning (? will investigate) because everything on the board was gone this afternoon. Could just be ill timed periodic cleaning, though.
--outdoor cylindrical posting things: worth posting, but some of mine disappeared, likely blown away because they were held up with masking tape. Probably will not be covered/cleaned as often as indoor locations.
--distributing leaflets in residence hall lobbies: no information, but seems like a good idea.

Conclusion: Use staples for outside posting, and in general, a large, coordinated effort (possibly with a few days of continued posting) will be necessary to have any large, noticable effect.

I would love more feedback on anything I've said, or other ideas. Also, I can upload the images I used to the wiki in case anyone else would like to use them.

Anonymous said...

What information can you give me about the March 15th, 2008 Pittsburgh protest?

E-mail me at RavenFreak9807@aol.com


- Nels Cleath

Anonymous said...

Staple everything when dealing with boards - both inside and outside. I'd advise for color paper, but it can be expensive.

Restrooms: Post on the *inside* of the actual restroom doors, these have the tendency to stay longer than in any other "non sanctioned" area.

The boards are getting saturated with stuff very fast, and they are cleared at least 3 times a week.

That's all from me, hope it's helpful. I think that the post by the person who posted the fliers is very accurate, and I have nothing to add to it. :)


Anonymous said...

Id also like info on the protest since xenu.net doesnt seem to have a thread devoted to the southside protest and I wasnt sure if there would be one. Or atleast a site I can check up on thats updated more frequent with more info like time and planning

email: xxdumbledoresarmyxx@hotmail.com

Miss Anonymous said...

Hey guys, I emailed those of you who requested time/place stuff for the protest, and I'm currently working on a post with more info on the protest.

Anonymous said...

This video will have you laughing so hard you will be crying. :-)

- Tex


Anonymous said...

Photos from April 12 are now up. Check them out at:


- Tex

Anonymous said...

This is not only dangerous but extremely scary.


- Tex