Tour the Scientology Church in DC

Completed: #20 Tour the Scientology Church in DC

Specifically, the L. Ron Hubbard House aka the founding church of Scientology. For all those who plan to visit, there are two locations. One is the founding church, the other is the one in operation on 16th street (I’m standing in front of the one in operation below). You can tour both, but the one in operation focuses more on indoctrination and is less historical. Definitely go to the founding church on 19th street.

I’m very open minded about theories, beliefs… whatever, so Scientology is just as valid (or ridiculous) to me as a lot of other religions or cults, so I don’t judge it more harshly. Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t try to get me to jump in your boat.unnamed

I walked up to the door of the L. Ron Hubbard House and see a sign that says, “ring to enter.” OH NO. This isn’t a heavily-trafficked museum that you can go in and out of at your own pace. It’s like a real house. I text Kris about this development because, hello, Scientology doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to missing persons.


I’m greeted by a very enthusiastic and nice young man who is already in the middle of a tour. He invites me to join the other group of two.

I get the tail-end of this couple’s tour, which focused heavily on the history of the house, Hubbard’s writings, etc. It’s all very interesting. The last half of the tour ends and the two tourists leave, so now it’s just me and the enthusiastic tour guide.

I went into this tour expecting to talk about some unusual shit, and that we did. Including, but not limited to: reincarnation, over prescription of psychotic drugs, conspiracy theories, IRS corruption and their attack on Scientology, Anderson Cooper’s improved ratings thanks to Scientology, that I’m a smart and pretty girl, the dangers of sugar, and aliens. I chalk up our conversational topics to the fact that 1. I was talking to a passionate Scientologist and 2. I have this deadpan facial expression that really confuses people when I joke about serious things, but works to my advantage in conversations such as this one. Unable to detect any judgement or shock, people feel comfortable talking to me about things they wouldn’t usually bring up out of fear of judgement and he just kept going on and on. He even admitted that he does not usually go into such topics during other tours and that he and I probably could’ve talk for hours. OH AND I WOULD’VE LISTENED. I love knowing what gets people going.

The most interesting factoid is that the guide actually lives in the hundred-year-old house by himself and has done so for the last five years. It must be a dream job for someone who, I imagine, idolizes L. Ron Hubbard. You sit in the man’s house all day, cleaning, giving tours, taking care of artifacts, reenacting scenes from Battlefield Earth — what a life.

[You’ll notice a lack of photos. Like I said, it was just us two, so I tried to engage with him instead of snap pics.]

He takes me through the first part of the tour. Hubbard lived a very interesting life. He was a world traveler at a young age, a prolific writer, and inventor. Then, he wrote Dianetics, which led him to the Church of Scientology.

Even after reading a lot about Scientology and going through this tour, I still don’t 100% grasp it. At its basic level, I think Scientology is the scientific study of religion — a logistic way of looking at religion and its elements? Maybe?

Things I learned:

  • Scientology incorporates ideals from various religions
  • You can be both Christian/Jewish/etc. and a Scientologist
  • Reincarnation is part of their teachings, but American Scientologists don’t embrace it like the Scientologists in Asian countries
  • L. Ron Hubbard moved from Arizona to this DC location because they were conducting atomic testing, which he opposed
  • Scientology has a boat on international waters because they are often harassed by governments. The guide likened it to their version of Vatican City.
  • Every church has an unused, fully stocked, office for L. Ron Hubbard — in case he comes back

Questions I asked, but didn’t get straight answers on:

  • How would those close to L. Ron Hubbard describe him?
  • {While looking at old e-meters} I get identifying stress triggers and helping people overcome negative thoughts, but what’s the actual strategy for getting over a negative memory?
  • If you live on this floating Vatican City, can married couples have relations? (At that point, he brought up that there are no kids on the ship and Suppressive Persons)
  • Were LRH’s kids Scientologists?

Other observations:

  • The building is pristine and L. Ron Hubbard’s room is like an awesome 1950s time capsule.
  • As I mentioned, the curator lives in the house and has done so for five years. He has previously dabbled in Buddhism, Mormonism and grew up Catholic.

The guide could tell I was interested, so he gave me books, DVDs, and magazines. Who doesn’t want a coffee table book about L. Ron Hubbard?


I also visited the in-use church, which creeped me out. In it, they have a bunch of viewing stations so you can watch videos about various elements of the church, what they do, blah blah. All of their publications, books, and marketing seriously have the cheesiest graphics. It’s all so dramatic.

The functional church makes all visitors fill out personal information card. I filled it out with incorrect information and was instructed by the lobby greeter that someone would soon come to receive me. The welcome committee guy in a Star Trek outfit arrived and was about to take me to the private video room, I was like, mmmm on second thought, I’ll just hang out in the lobby and walk around a bit. Also, poor will soon be receiving a bunch of emails from Xenu because that’s the email address I wrote down. Sorry, Alyssa.


– Lyssa


2 thoughts on “Tour the Scientology Church in DC

  1. Interesting. I’ve been the celebrity center in L.A. and it has a majorly creepy vibe.

    Be fully educated before going in too deep: One must watch the documentary Going Clear (and the book is even more fascinating)

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