When Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was released in 1950, there were no formal organizations; there were simply groups of people who got together in their homes and living rooms to apply the principles contained therein to resolve the problems they were encountering in life. Due to its astounding workability, word spread across the United States, hitting small towns and big cities alike.
From the earliest days of Dianetics and Scientology, there was a grassroots movement in St. Louis of people who had read books and were eager to apply the principles to themselves and others. Initially, these early Dianeticists and Scientologists simply met in groups like everyone else. However, as popularity for the subjects grew, so did the number of people actively applying them.
It was out of this that two Scientology “missions” were started. These were small, forming churches which had the purpose to deliver Scientology broadly and on a grassroots level. One was at the intersection of Chambers and 367 and the other on Brentwood Blvd, just north of Manchester in the Kimberly Building.
However, Scientology was growing so rapidly that the community began demanding a full Scientology Central Organization. And so it was that on December 8, 1969, the first full Scientology church in the region was formed–the Church of Scientology of Missouri.
Rapidly outgrowing its initial quarters near the current corner of Lindell Blvd. and Whittier St. in the Central West End, it soon moved into the Queen’s Daughters Home at 3730 Lindell Blvd. It was in this building that the church fostered a powerful and thriving network of Scientologists which eventually spread to nearby communities in Kansas City, Chicago, Carbondale, Terre Haute, Nebraska and Arkansas.
New Scientology missions grew rapidly in other states, in turn becoming full Central Organizations themselves, until grassroots demand had firmly established Scientology in the Midwest.
In 1997, the Church moved into its current location at 6901 Delmar, which was once a Masonic temple. Many of the original decorative details are still visible in the chandeliers and wrought iron throughout the building
With a tradition of volunteerism and community involvement, the Church’s local Volunteer Minister Disaster Response Team was there in the Flood of ’93; it sent a team to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and most recently, was one of the first responders on the ground in the wake of the Joplin Tornado.
Whether it be drug prevention activities, community clean-ups or simply being there to listen, the Church of Scientology’s first 40 years were more than anyone had expected or hoped for…but are merely a shadow of the plans ahead.
Now, as the Church moves into its fifth decade of service in the St. Louis area, further expansion has resulted in the acquisition of a new property in the historic Lafayette Square neighborhood, which will enable the church to more fully serve the surrounding communities. Keeping the current Delmar building as a community facility and moving the main organization to the new building as soon as renovations are complete, Scientologists will have added an additional 60,000 square feet to their home in the Midwest.