Spanish scientologists celebrate each September the establishment of their church in Spain, and 2021 marks the 41st Anniversary.
“In this 41st Anniversary in Spain, our mission for a better, prosperous and free society still continues,” said Ivan Arjona, President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology, “and we will continue against hell or high waters, providing indispensable help to society”.
It was in 1980, as covered in the Calendar of Religious Holidays of the Fundacion Pluralismo y Convivencia (attached to Spain’s Prime Minister´s Office) when the first church got established in Madrid. It is nevertheless also true that while the church started only then, the religion started to be practiced in different parts of country, but especially in the Canary Islands, in 1967, when its founder L. Ron Hubbard created the Religious Order of the church known as the “Sea Organization”, as seen in the glossary of the above mentioned foundation.
Having started in a small flat in the center of Madrid and quickly expanding to 4 and then to Barcelona, the Scientologists started to spread the knowledge of the first book on the subject published by L. Ron Hubbard, entitled Dianetics, which as History of Religions Prof. Francisco Díez de Velasco expressed “In this way he [L. Ron Hubbard] begins to put forward a new model of a religious character. He presents it as a step-by-step path of spiritual development involving the transformation of the perception through a process called clearing, until the state of “clear” is reached”.
The 80ies saw Spain as a country that still had reminiscences of dictatorial ideas of “one thought- one religion”, and old nuances of the concept of religion, democracy and freedoms. Scientologists found themselves in an unprecedented growth and at the same time having to defend themselves of biased attacks by Anti Religious movements and archaic state officials totally moved by the propaganda of such groups, as author Gabriel Carrion described in his book “Scientology: the longest battle”. And despite the above, many other churches and associations to help society were opened.
The first part of the end of this “longest battle” took place in 2001 when the Provincial Court of Madrid declared, after 19 years of scrupulous investigations, that none of the accusations [proclaimed by antireligious movements and bought by certain government officials] had any glimpse of evidence. It also ruled, and that the practice of “auditing” [clearing or spiritual enlightening] based on the use of communication, could not be “owned” by psychiatrists or psychologists, “especially when Scientologists do it as part of their religious rites”.
Scientologists have from the beginning invested time, know-how and energy on helping its surrounding communities, and in Spain the biggest efforts where always directed at helping those who had fallen victims of the drugs pandemics that hit Spain during several decades. They supported a drug rehabilitation program called Narconon, which uses a successful socio-educational approach and gave the life back to thousands of citizens and their families, and helping them become contributing members of society.
Next milestones on putting an end to the “longest battle” took place first on September 2004 when Mr. David Miscavige, world ecclesiastical leader of Scientology visited Madrid to open their new Church, just 100 meters away from the Spanish Parliament, and then in 2007 when the Government Special Registry of Religious Organizations finally granted the recognition of the Church of Scientology as a religious community.
Battles having been won, the “war” against poverty, drugs, illiteracy, lack of values and human rights violations is still open in the world and of course in Europe and Spain. Scientologists have formed the battalions, or their teams of angels speaking in a more religious and philosophical ways, with which to heal and overcome these social pandemics and channel their efforts and energy through The Truth About Drugs program, United and Youth for Human Rights, the Way to Happiness, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Criminon, Narconon, and their religious freedom projects around the world. And to top it up, Spanish Scientologists created a Foundation for the Improvement of Life Culture and Society in 2015, which channeling all the mentioned campaigns, and through its work and effectiveness, received recognition in 2019 as an NGO with Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.