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"Inside Scientology" is a multi-part investigative series by the Tampa Bay Times. Dating back to 2009, the reports shed unprecedented light on the inner workings of the secretive church, which has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater.

The multimedia presentations feature first-hand accounts from Scientologists, former Scientologists and many others, as well as documents, recordings and video interviews.

Click here for the Times' previous reports

Inside Scientology

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  1. Scientology retail plan is rare, as few churches back non-religious businesses

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — Scientology has long set its practices apart from other tax-exempt religions by charging members for auditing sessions and courses required to advance through the faith.

    Churches creating retail districts, like  Scientology plans to do on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater, are unusual but not unique.
  2. Scientology's David Miscavige talks about Cleveland Street redevelopment and entertainment center backed by Tom Cruise

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — Scientology leader David Miscavige on Tuesday revealed privately to City Council members the church's downtown redevelopment strategy, which focuses on recruiting businesses to Cleveland Street and bankrolling a facade overhaul for the main thoroughfare rather than controlling the entire downtown …

    Tom Cruise attends the Tokyo Premiere of the Paramount Pictures "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" on Nov. 9, 2016. [Photo by Ken Ishii | Getty Images for Paramount Pictures]
  3. Legal glitch delays Clearwater vote on property Church of Scientology covets

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The City Council's vote scheduled for Thursday on whether to buy a 1.4-acre downtown lot coveted by the Church of Scientology has been delayed a month because it wasn't properly advertised.

    Clearwater and the Church of Scientology both want the Clearwater Marine Aquarium-owned lot across from City Hall.
  4. Dynamic of City Council meetings with Scientology leader a rarity

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — It's not unusual for an elected official to venture into the community to meet with a citizen, but a major organization summoning each city council member out from City Hall to lobby a single issue? That almost never happens.

    A 1998 photo of David Miscavige (Times files)
  5. Clearwater City Council unconcerned about learning of Scientology's detailed plan from newspaper

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — One afternoon in late October, City Manager Bill Horne was invited to the Fort Harrison Hotel where Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige shared details about the church's long-rumored retail strategy.

    City Manager Bill Horne said he didn’t report specific details of his October meeting because it was “concep?tual.”
  6. Scientology plans control of downtown Clearwater for retail makeover

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER

    The Church of Scientology is maneuvering to control all downtown real estate to create a master retail district that will operate under its management and oversight.

    The Church of Scientology, whose orange-roofed Fort Harrison Hotel headquarters is seen at right, wants to recruit a few major national retailers to anchor a downtown district, filling the grid with handpicked businesses all at one time.
  7. Scientology leader to visit Clearwater officials a week before vote on property purchase

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — In three decades as the Church of Scientology's leader, only one time has David Miscavige ever held formal meetings with all five City Council members.

    A 1998 photo of David Miscavige (Times files)
  8. A Scientology battle like no other: Miscavige versus Miscavige

    Special Topics

    It says in Chapter 36 that the Church of Scientology is great for families.

    In May, Ron Miscavige, left, released <i>Ruthless, </i>a tell-all book about how he found Scientology, saw his son, David Miscavige, right, leader of Scientolgy, soar to its peak, then escaped - disillusioned over the church's "off the rails" culture.
  9. Clearwater downtown blueprint ignores Church of Scientology, the 'elephant in the room'

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The latest downtown revitalization plan unveiled this week calls for walkable green spaces and a bustling town square peppered with outdoor dining and retail shops to fill the vacant storefronts.

    The Flag Building proclaims the Church of Scientology&#8217;s presence in Clearwater. &#8220;We&#8217;re trying to draw people downtown regardless of the elephant in the room,&#8221; said Hoyt Hamilton.
  10. Illegal house rental nets Clearwater lawyer $46,000 fine; she blames attention from Scientology

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The sun was about to set on a July evening in 2013 when Betsy Steg heard a knock at the door.

    &#65279;The house, at 302 Cedar St., had been rented out dozens of times and is now the focus of a criminal trial. The battle began after the owner allowed an ex-Scientologist to use the house for a 2013 wedding. A neighbor, who is a Scientologist, then made multiple complaints to the city.
  11. Billboard seeking to reunite broken Scientology families coming to Clearwater

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The same, desperate plea Phil and Willie Jones plastered across a billboard in Los Angeles is scheduled to go up on East Bay Drive next week.

    A billboard put up in Los Angeles by Phil and Willie Jones is dotted with dozens of faces representing Scientologists who have separated from their families, including their two children, Mike and Emily. A similar one will be going up sometime next week on East Bay Drive in Clearwater.
  12. Scientology leader meets one-on-one with city officials over key downtown Clearwater parcel

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — Scientology leader David Miscavige has met one-on-one with each City Council member to discuss a key piece of waterfront land — the first gesture of its kind in the decades-long struggle between the Church of Scientology and the city over downtown real estate.

    Officials for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium say the Church of Scientology has offered them $4.25 million for a key piece of property on the downtown waterfront. The city of Clearwater, meanwhile, is interested in exploring other uses for the vacant property. The undeveloped land, pictured here, sits between Clearwater City Hall in the foreground and the church's 13-story Oak Cove building seen just to the south. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]&#10;
  13. Father of Scientology leader: Church is 'manipulative, coercive and, in my mind, evil'

    Special Topics

    The father of Scientology leader David Miscavige issued a blistering indictment of the church he introduced his family to more than 45 years ago, describing his son as a tyrant who has turned the organization into a destructive influence.

  14. A father speaks out against his son, David Miscavige, revealing deep rifts in Scientology's first family

    Special Topics

    The father of Scientology leader David Miscavige appeared on the ABC News show 20/20 Friday night, but the hour-long program added little to the narrative that has been unfolding in the decade since top church insiders began leaving and speaking out.

    The Church of Scientology's cross tops its Flag Building in downtown Clearwater, a building spearheaded by church leader David Miscavige. Miscavige's father, Ron, has left the church and is speaking out against his son in an ABC News interview and in a new book to be released May 3, 2016. [MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times]
  15. Former Scientologists tell federal judge: Church thwarted process to get money back

    Special Topics

    TAMPA — In an attempt to resolve their $1.3 million lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, a federal judge last year required Luis and Rocio Garcia to submit to "binding religious arbitration" set up by church officials.

    Luis Garcia and his wife Rocio are pictured in their California home in 2011. On April 13, 2016, the couple filed a motion in their federal lawsuit in Tampa that alleges the Church of Scientology has put up roadblocks to an arbitration that could result in them getting their money back. [MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times]