|A place called 'Gold'
Story by THOMAS C. TOBIN
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 25, 1998
EMET, Calif. -- Nowhere is Scientologys trademark self-sufficiency more clearly in evidence than at its $50-million outpost in the arid hills 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
Seven hundred Scientology workers put in 60-hour weeks to remaster the scratchy tapes on which the late founder once recorded his lectures; translate his words into more than 30 languages; produce Scientology films, tapes, videos, television commercials, magazines and books; and manufacture e-meters, the electronic devices used in the core Scientology counseling practice called auditing.
That Scientologists do all the work -- from constructing movie sets and concrete echo chambers to operating high-tech sound boards and computers -- is a trait instilled by the founder, whose picture can be found in nearly every work space. Scientologists believe Hubbard excelled in many fields, including photography, writing, aviation and sailing.
Being self-sufficient also saves millions of dollars that otherwise would be spent on construction workers and pricey studios in nearby Hollywood, say Scientologists, who refer to their remote facility as Gold.
Even Scientologys suit-and-tie executives say they have worked on such projects as installing dry wall in Golds Scottish-style buildings and tending to its 500-acre manicured grounds.
Scientology uses Hubbards scripts to make films and videos that promote Scientology to outsiders and also train parishioners in procedures such as auditing.
Last year, the Gold staff produced 543 films and videos, an estimated 2-million audio cassettes and about 10,000 e-meters.
Among the most physically impressive structures at Gold: The new and cavernous movie studio built in the style of a Scottish castle, and the film lab where workers in whole-body protective suits wipe their feet on adhesive mats to ward off dust.