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Dianetics Goes Deco

"You will believe..."

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Thetans, rejoice: A Scientology conference is coming to a beach near you.

For two days in March — and for $200 — you can learn about the ins and outs of Scientology, the religion/self-help group/Tom Cruise thingy.

Flyers were sent to potential Thetans (that's the rough equivalent to the "soul" in Scientology-speak) this week, maybe in hopes that they would clean up their acts after a holiday season filled with drunken, drug-addled, soulless debauchery.

For the uninitiated, Scientology is a religion, kind of. Its headquarters are in the sleepy beach town of Clearwater. Famous Scientologists include John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Beck, Isaac Hayes and, of course, Cruise. Thousands around the world have said Scientology has helped them lead more organized, productive, successful lives; others say it is a money-grubbing cult.

Scientologists are anti-psychology (see Tom Cruise's exchange with "Today" show host Matt Lauer) and anti- anti-depressants (see Tom Cruise's remarks about Brooke Shields).

According to the organization's website, Scientology is "the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life." The glossy color brochure in mailboxes this week touts the "Freewinds Weekend Anatomy of the Spirit of Man Congress" held at, well, it didn't say exactly where.

But it did say that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard would "explain" many aspects of the organization and conduct "group processing" and "Tone Scale Seminars." Never mind that Hubbard, the author of the Scientology-based tome "Dianetics" and other science fiction books, has been dead since 1986.

Scientology has a church in Coral Gables. Could this conference mean that the group wants to expand its influence here in Miami? Hubbard help us.

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