Recently, you may have caught wind that Scientologists in Portland, Oregon held the grand opening of their new Church building. It is a massive new building, gorgeous in every way, and intensely purposeful in design. Definitely check out the photos of the building – it’s impressive.
For me – despite the fact that I live on the opposite side of the country – I feel just as proud as the local Scientologists, and just as hopeful for the future as to what this church will bring.
See, for me, Portland is not just another city, but is where I really came into my own as an individual, as an adult, and as a Scientologist. There are so many ways that the Church of Scientology played an inextricable part of that growth, that I wanted to share at least a bit of that.
How do you quantify personal growth?
Looking back on my history in Portland (where I lived for around 9 years before heading back Eastward), my time in and around the church was punctuated by a number of fairly significant turning points in my life – all of which were helped along by staff and Scientologists around the Portland church.
- Cutting my Teeth as a Community Volunteer: It was fitting, I think, that the Executive Director of the Portland Marathon spoke at the Grand Opening of the Church, as it was at the Portland Marathon that I did my first work as a Scientology Volunteer Minister – helping runners as they came across the finish line.
I’ll never forget my first experience there – watching as a confident runner — thinking he was far and away the victor of the marathon – came running energetically to the finish line. Little did he know, another runner was flying up behind him, and ended up passing him in the final 10 yards of the race. That formerly-confident runner collapsed in a heap in my arms – his sweaty body now ice cold and feeling like a cadaver. Getting him helped into a thermal blanket and brought back up to being functional with fluids and a Locational Assist sticks in my mind as my first real action as a community volunteer where I knew for sure I’d helped someone personally.
It continued with other volunteer work I did with Portland’s Volunteer Ministers, helping sandbag homes and save a local catholic church during the Willamette Valley Flood of 1996.
It really was in Portland that I decided that my life needed to be about helping others, as that’s where the real satisfaction lay.
- The Key to Life Course: For quite some time, on my way through high school and college, I had formed a strange personal conclusion that I was unable to learn anything really technical. I was OK as a designer, I could tinker with computers, but I was stuck making near-minimum wage doing fairly low-end work. Then, one summer, I decided to do the Key to Life Course at the Portland Church. The course picks apart the subject of language and one’s ability to understand things conceptually, and what all that has to do with communication. It is, in a woefully inadequate word, incredible. Within months after this course, I had upgraded jobs twice, putting me on a new career path as a systems engineer – a career I’ve enjoyed to this day.
- The Use of Communication in Life: On another note, related to the above, I took two different communication courses at the Church in Portland. After the more advanced course I had come to what was, for me, a pretty life-changing realization: That any social or life situation could be resolved using communication alone. It seems so basic – and not only that, but obvious. But it was something that I really knew then, for myself — that using communication, one no longer had to “hold grudges” or have to have arguments & fights, or harbor disagreements or any other variation of such.And that, in and of itself, is one of the most cherished points of stability I’ve gained as a Scientologist — that you don’t have to sit around with a problem – it can be handled with communication.
There are so many other angles and facets to why the Portland Church of Scientology is so special to me. Part of it, also, lies in how much this was a whole-community effort spanning so many years, to bring this new building into existence.
As such, I know that there will be so many more stories like mine borne out of this new Church – which has as its mission the empowerment of others and thus the community.