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May 5, 2008

Wikipedia: Scientology

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The Scientology Symbol is composed of the letter S that stands for Scientology and the ARC and KRC triangles, two important concepts in Scientology

The Scientology Symbol is composed of the letter S that stands for Scientology and the ARC and KRC triangles, two important concepts in Scientology

Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices initially created by American speculative fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. The major organization promoting Scientology is the Church of Scientology, a hierarchical organization founded by Hubbard, while independent groups using Hubbard’s materials are collectively referred to as the Free Zone. Hubbard developed Scientology teachings in 1952 as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics.[1] Hubbard later characterized Scientology as an “applied religious philosophy” and the basis for a new religion.[1] Scientology encompasses “auditing”, a spiritual rehabilitation philosophy and techniques,[1] and covers topics such as morals, ethics, Purification (a type of detoxification), education and management.

Hubbard also laid the foundations and policies for the establishment and management of Scientology organizations with the first Church of Scientology being established in December 1953.[2] Today organizations affiliated with the Church of Scientology form a complex network geared towards introducing Scientology into society.[3] Religious Technology Center owns the trademarks and service marks of Scientology.[4] These marks are licensed for use by the Church of Scientology International and its affiliated organizations.

Scientology and the organizations that promote it have remained highly controversial since their inception. Former members, journalists, courts and the governing bodies of several countries have described the Church of Scientology as a cult and an unscrupulous commercial enterprise, accusing it of harassing its critics and abusing the trust of its members. Scientology officials argue that most of the negative press is motivated by interest groups and that most of the controversy is in the past.

Contents

Origin and definition

See also: Timeline of Scientology

Hubbard established Scientology’s doctrines during a period from 1952 until his death in January 1986, establishing the basic principles in the 1950s and 1960s. It was originally secular, Hubbard stating in 1952 that “Scientology would be a study of knowledge.” [5] The following year he began to characterize Scientology’s beliefs and practices as a religion, and by 1960 he was defining Scientology as “a religion by its basic tenets, practice, historical background and by the definition of the word ‘religion’ itself.”[6] In 1969 he wrote that “It is fundamentally an applied religious philosophy.”[7] Hubbard recorded his doctrine in archived writings, audio tapes and films.[8][9][10]

The Church of Scientology defines scientology as “the study of truth.”[11] The word itself is a pairing of the Latin word scientia (“knowledge,” “skill”), which comes from the verb scire (“to know”), and the Greek λογος lógos (“reason” or “inward thought” or “logic” or “an account of”).

Although today associated almost exclusively with Hubbard, the word “scientology” predates his usage by several decades. An early use of the word was as a neologism in an 1871 book by the American anarchist Stephen Pearl Andrews presenting “the newly discovered Science of the Universe”.[12] Philologist Allen Upward used the word “scientology” in his 1901 book The New Word as a synonym for “pseudoscience,”[13] and this is sometimes cited as the first coining of the word.[2] In 1934, the Argentine-German writer Anastasius Nordenholz published a book using the word positively: Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens (“Scientologie, Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge“).[14] Nordenholz’s book is a study of consciousness, and its usage of the word is not greatly different from Hubbard’s definition, “knowing how to know”[15] (from epistemology). Whether Hubbard was aware of these earlier uses is unknown.

The term “Scientology” and related terms are trademarks held by the Religious Technology Center which grants the mother church of the Scientology religion, the Church of Scientology International (CSI), the right to use the trademarks and to license their use to all other Scientology churches and entities. Other organizations that promote the use of related techniques, developed by or based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard, are the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises and the Association for Better Living and Education.[16][17]

Influences

Hubbard often acknowledges his philosophical forerunners and influences. In Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, the seminal “Book One” of Dianetics and Scientology, he states that:

“There are just so many pieces in any puzzle.”

Hubbard credits Francis Bacon and Herbert Spencer, along with “a very few more” for having put together parts of the answer. Hubbard also recalls a meeting with Cmdr. Joseph Cressman Thompson,[18] a U.S. navy officer who studied with Sigmund Freud.[19] Hubbard, himself the son of a navy officer, met Thompson at the age of 12 during a trip from Seattle to Washington D.C. via the Panama Canal. Thompson introduced him to Freudian analysis,[19] and Hubbard later gave his opinion on Sigmund Freud: “I think that was Freud’s great contribution that something could be done about the mind… He was the first man that ever stood up and said: ‘there is hope for it’… Now there was a great humanitarian.”[19]

Hubbard acknowledged the influence of Alfred Korzybski’s General Semantics.[20] Scientology also reflects the influence of the Hindu concept of karma and dharma as well as the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and William Sargant but according to its founder, it is neither psychology nor psychiatry. During The Phoenix Lectures Hubbard stated that Scientology depended on his having known something of the Vedas[21] and has called the Vedas Scientology’s earliest ancestor: “And we find Scientology’s earliest, certainly known ancestor in the Veda.”[22] Hubbard also gave recognition to the Tao Te Ching, the Dharma and Gautama Buddha as forerunners to Scientology.[23] Sociologist David G. Bromley of Virginia Commonwealth University characterizes Scientology as “a ‘quasi-religious therapy’ that resembles Freudian ‘depth psychology’ while also drawing upon Buddhism, Hinduism and the ancient, heretical offshoot of Christianity known as Gnosticism.”[citation needed]

Beliefs

See also: Scientology bibliography
Main article: Scientology beliefs and practices

Scientology’s beliefs and related techniques comprise 18 basic books,[24] and 3,000 recorded lectures.[25] There is no single Scientology book that is the equivalent of the Bible or the Qur’an, but the study of Scientology is achieved through the chronological study of its basic books and lectures.[26]

Scientology describes itself as “the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life,”[27] and “encompasses all aspects of life from the point of view of the spirit” — including “auditing”[28] and training in morals, ethics, detoxification, education and management.[29]

Prime among Scientology’s beliefs is “that man is a spiritual being whose existence spans more than one life and who is endowed with abilities well beyond those which he normally considers he possesses.”[30] Scientology believes man to be basically good, that his experiences have led him into evil, that he errs because he seeks to solve his problems by considering only his own point of view, and that man can improve to the degree he preserves his spiritual integrity and remains honest and decent.[31] According to the Church, the ultimate goal is: “a civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights.”[32]

The Church of Scientology declares that the goal of Scientology is to achieve “certainty of one’s spiritual existence and [of] one’s relationship to the Supreme Being,”[33] and says that Scientology’s tenets are not a matter of faith but of testable practice: “That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true.”[34]

The exact nature of all of existence is said to be stated in Hubbard’s Scientology and Dianetics Axioms.

Other beliefs of Scientology are:[35]

  • A person is an immortal spiritual being (termed a thetan) who possesses a mind and a body.
  • The thetan has lived through many past lives and will continue to live beyond the death of the body.
  • Through the Scientology process of “auditing,” people can free themselves of traumatic incidents, ethical transgressions and bad decisions which are said to collectively restrict the person from reaching the state of “Clear” and “Operating Thetan.” Each state is said to represent the recovery of native spiritual abilities and to confer mental and physical benefits.
  • A person is basically good, but becomes “aberrated” by moments of pain and unconsciousness.
  • Psychiatry and psychology are destructive and abusive practices.[36]

Members study Scientology and receive auditing sessions to advance from a status of preclear to Operating Thetan.[37][38]

The Bridge to Total Freedom

Scientology practices (called “Technology” or “Tech” in Scientology jargon) are structured in sequential levels, reflecting Hubbard’s belief that rehabilitation takes place on a “gradient”, that is, easier steps are taken first and only then greater complexities are handled; for example, the negative effects of drugs must be addressed before other issues can be successfully tackled. Scientologists follow a sequence of courses that culminate in esoteric, advanced strata. This is described as a passage along “the Bridge to Total Freedom,” or simply “the Bridge,” in which each step promises a little more personal freedom in some particular area of life. Hubbard first developed the basic axioms then he went into experimentation and finally, he developed the therapy and proof of application by means of a first-time-ever “spiritual Technology”. As he says, …”One might here use an analogy of bridge engineering”.[39] The Bridge is the Classification Gradation and Awareness Chart.[40]

Scientologists believe that man is composed of three distinguishable parts: mind, body and spirit.[41]

The thetan (spirit) is described in Scientology as having no mass, no wavelength, no energy and no time or location in space except by consideration or postulate. The spirit, then, is not a thing. It is the creator of things

1956, Professional Auditor’s Bulletin 85[42]

The spirit, represented with the Greek letter ‘theta’ (θ),[43] is the true form of man and can exist exterior to and/or independent from a body.[44] The mind in Scientology is described as a bank of mental image pictures[45] that give the spirit experience and knowledge and that store the spirit’s “postulates.” Scientologists subdivide the mind[46] into the analytical or conscious mind, which is “totally accessible to the spirit,”[47] and the reactive or subconscious mind, which “unknowingly affects the spirit” and is said to operate “on an irrational, stimulus-response basis.”[48] Scientology describes the physical body as “a carbon-oxygen machine” of which the spirit is the engineer. Illnesses and injuries to the body are said to be relieved through the use of “assists.”

Dianetics

Main article: Dianetics

Dianetics is a sub study of Scientology that deals with the reactive mind, the “bank” of traumatic experiences known as engrams which are said to inhibit success and happiness.[49]

ARC and KRC triangles

The Scientology symbol contains two triangles which Hubbard called the “ARC triangle” and the “KRC triangle”, respectively.[50] The points of the lower triangle are said to represent Affinity (emotional responses), Reality (an agreement on what is real) and Communication. Scientologists believe that improving one aspect of the triangle increases the level of the other two.[50] The points of the upper triangle represent Knowledge, Responsibility and Control.[50] Many auditing processes and training routines aim at increasing an individual’s ability to gain knowledge of, take responsibility for and exert control over external and internal elements. The objective environment is there as an agreement; everyone who is sane enough agrees it is there. The subjective environment is the sole responsibility of the individual himself as he is the only one who is aware that it is there. These two environments may not actually agree.[51] Therefore, a therapy which asks man to adapt his subjective environment to the objective environment, and not the other way around, is like psychiatry enslaving and is unworkable simply because it is not true.[52]

Tone scale

Main article: Tone scale

The tone scale characterizes human mood and behavior by various positions on a scale from −40 (“Total Failure”) to +40 (“Serenity of Being”). Positions on the tone scale are usually designated by an emotion, but Hubbard said the tone scale could also indicate health, mating behavior, survival potential or ability to deal with truth. According to Scientology, lower positions on the tone scale indicate more intricate problems and greater difficulties in solving them for lack of communication. According to Hubbard, communication is the universal solvent and a person will climb from the bottom to the top by improving his ability to communicate. The higher the person’s tone is the better the person’s communication is; the lower the tone is the worse the communication is. A hi-tone person would be serene and a low tone would be a failure.[53]

The Scientology cross has eight corners representing the eight dynamics of life

The Scientology cross has eight corners representing the eight dynamics of life

The Dynamics

Scientology and Dianetics state that the dynamic principle of existence is to survive[54] and that man survives across the “eight dynamics of Self, Family and Sex, Group, Humanity, the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms, the Physical Universe, Spirits and God or Infinity”.[55] The “dynamics,” represented by the Scientology cross, must be considered equally[56]

Morals and Ethics

Main article: Ethics (Scientology)

Scientologists follow The Way to Happiness, which defines morals as “a code of good conduct laid down out of the experience of the race to serve as a uniform yardstick for the conduct of individuals and groups”[57] but warns that “over time, morals can become outmoded, burdensome, and so invite revolt.”[58]

Scientology states that there is no absolute right or wrong but that right and wrong are actually a gradient from right to wrong. An action must contain construction which outweighs the destruction it contains in order to be considered good. “Good is any action which brings the greatest construction to the greatest number of dynamics while bringing the least destruction. “An ‘absolute wrongness’ would be the extinction of the universe and all energy and the source of energy. . . . An ‘absolute “rightness”‘ would be the immortality of the individual himself, his children, his group, mankind and the universe.”[59]

Scientology defines ethics as “the actions an individual takes on himself to ensure his continued survival across the dynamics. It is a personal thing that an ethical person does by his own choice.”[60] “Ethics actually consists of rationality toward the highest level of survival for the individual, the future race, the group, Mankind and the other dynamics taken up collectively. Ethics are reason. Man’s greatest weapon is his reason.”[59] According to Scientology, various ethical states or “conditions” represent one’s degree of success and delineate a sequence of steps to improve that condition of existence.[61] From best to worst, these “conditions” are Power, Affluence, Normal, Emergency, Danger, Non-Existence, Liability, Doubt, Enemy, Treason and Confusion. Scientologists are expected to use statistical measurement to assess “measurement of survival potential,”[62] where a downward trend could identify an ’emergency condition’ and an upward trend could identify a ‘affluence condition’.[63] According to The Scientology Handbook, the Scientology method of statistics can and should be applied to individuals, groups and organizations inside and outside of Scientology.[64]

Prof. Stephen A. Kent quotes Hubbard as pronouncing that “the purpose of ethics is to remove counter-intentions from the environment. Having accomplished that, the purpose becomes to remove other intentionedness from the environment.” Kent interprets this as “a peculiar brand of morality that uniquely benefited [the Church of Scientology]. . . . In plain English, the purpose of Scientology ethics is to eliminate opponents, then eliminate people’s interests in things other than Scientology.”[65]

Past lives, “Secret” Levels and Extraterrestrial beings

See also: Operating Thetan and Space opera in Scientology doctrine

In Dianetics, Hubbard proposed that the cause of “aberrations” in a human mind was an accumulation of pain and unconscious memories of traumatic incidents, some of which predated the life of the human. He extended this view further in Scientology, declaring that “thetans” have existed for tens of trillions of years (several orders of magnitude greater than what mainstream science generally estimates the age of the universe to be). During that time, Hubbard says, they have been exposed to a vast number of traumatic incidents, and have made a great many decisions that influence their present state. Hubbard’s 1958 book Have You Lived Before This Life contains descriptions of past lives given by individual Scientologists during auditing sessions. According to an early lecture of Hubbard’s, it is, as a practical matter, both impossible and undesirable to recall each and every such event from such vast stretches of time.[66] As a result, Hubbard’s three-decade development of Scientology focused on addressing only “key factors.”

According to Hubbard, some past traumas may have been deliberately inflicted in the form of “implants” used by extraterrestrial dictatorships such as Helatrobus to brainwash and control the population. Hubbard’s lectures and writings include a wide variety of accounts of complex extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in earthly events, collectively described by Hubbard as “space opera.” There is a huge Church of Spiritual Technology symbol carved into the ground at Scientology’s Trementina Base that is visible from the air.[67] Washington Post reporter Richard Leiby wrote, “Former Scientologists familiar with Hubbard’s teachings on reincarnation say the symbol marks a ‘return point’ so loyal staff members know where they can find the founder’s works when they travel here in the future from other places in the universe.”[68]

Scientologists who have achieved the State of Clear may continue onto the Upper or OT (Operating Thetan) Levels. These levels are available by invitation only after a review of the candidate’s character, ethics and contribution to the aims of Scientology.[69] Individuals who have read these materials may not disclose what they contain without jeopardizing their standing in the Church.[69] Presently, there are eight such levels, OT I to VIII.[70] Church management has promised to release a ninth OT level once certain expansion goals are met.[71] The OT VIII designation is only granted at sea, on the Scientology ship, the Freewinds, which was established to provide a “safe, aesthetic, distraction-free environment” for this purpose.[72]

The organization says that it enforces confidentiality. Excerpts and descriptions of these materials were published online by a former member in 1995 and then circulated in mainstream media.[69] This occurred after the teachings were submitted as evidence in court cases involving Scientology, thus becoming a matter of public record.[73][74] In the previously confidential OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past.[73]

Among these advanced teachings, one episode revealed to those who reach OT level III is the story of Xenu (sometimes Xemu), introduced as an alien ruler of the “Galactic Confederacy.” According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living and continue to do this today. Hubbard called these clustered spirits “Body Thetans,” and advanced-level Scientologists place considerable emphasis on isolating these alien souls and neutralizing their ill effects.[75]

Practices

Main article: Scientology beliefs and practices

Auditing

A Scientologist introduces the E-meter to a potential student. Such introductory demonstrations are typically presented as

A Scientologist introduces the E-meter to a potential student. Such introductory demonstrations are typically presented as “free stress tests.”

Main article: Auditing (Scientology)

The central practice of Scientology is “auditing,” a one-on-one session with a Scientology counselor or “auditor.” Most auditing requires an E-meter, a device that measures minute changes in electrical resistance through the body when a person holds electrodes (metal “cans”), and a small current is passed through them; Scientology states that it helps locate an area of concern.[76]

In the auditing process, the recipient (referred to as a “preclear” or PC) discloses specific traumatic incidents, prior ethical transgressions and bad decisions, which, in Scientology theory, collectively restrict the preclear from achieving his or her goals and lead to the development of a “reactive mind.” In one form of auditing, the auditor asks the preclear to respond to a list of questions in strict order. The preclear is “a willing and interested participant who understands the questions” and what is going on.[77] Auditors are not to suggest, interpret, degrade or invalidate the answers.[78] Scientologists state that benefits from auditing include improved IQ, improved ability to communicate and enhanced memory.[79]

During the auditing process, the auditor may collect personal information from the person being audited. Auditing records are referred to within Scientology as “PC (preclear) folders” and are stored securely when not being added to during auditing sessions.[80]Auditors promise never to use secrets divulged in a session for punishment or personal gain[77], however reports suggest this is the purpose of maintaining these files[81].

Training

Training is the supervised process of learning and applying Scientology and auditing, is considered as important as auditing,[82] and follows a checklist that indicates which of Hubbard’s writings and lectures are to be studied. The student must demonstrate mastery of each topic in turn to get a pass in the checklist item.[82]

Scientology training consists of Academy Levels 0-IV and New Era Dianetics, also termed Academy Level V. The first five levels take two weeks each on a 40-hours-per-week schedule.[83]Level VI, the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, is done at special advanced organizations and comprises 16 individual checklists, each requiring an average of three to four weeks of study, and covering in total 12,000 pages of materials and 450 lectures.[84]

Silent birth and infant care

Main article: Silent birth

Stemming from his belief that birth is a trauma that may induce engrams, Hubbard stated that the delivery room should be as silent as possible[85] and that words should be avoided because any words used during birth might be reassociated by adults with their earlier traumatic birth experience.

Hubbard also wrote that the mother should use “as little anesthetic as possible.”[86] In the 1960s Hubbard gave certain dietary recommendations,[87] writing that breastfeeding should be avoided if the mother is smoking, drinking or is lacking good nutrition herself.[88] Hubbard described common replacement formulas as “mixed milk powder, glucose and water, total carbohydrate” and offered as an alternative to commercial products what he called the “Barley Formula” made from barley water, homogenized milk and corn syrup.[89] Hubbard said that he “picked it up in Roman days,”[90] referring to the use of barley.[91] Hubbard crafted the barley formula to, in his words, provide “a heavy percentage of protein”[90] and called it “the nearest approach to human milk that can be assembled easily.”[92] Although the formula is still popular with many Scientologists, health practitioners advise that it is an inappropriate replacement due to the absence of important nutrients like Vitamin C,[93] the lack of which causes scurvy.

Ceremonies

The Church of Scientology provides Sunday services and social ceremonies for marriage, birth and death that are performed by an ordained Scientology minister.[94][95] Most, if not all, of the actual ceremonies used were written by L. Ron Hubbard and are collected in the book, Ceremonies of the Church of Scientology.[96]

At a funeral service, the minister speaks directly to the departing spirit and grants forgiveness for anything the deceased has done so he can begin life anew.[94]

We do not contest your right to go away. Your debts are paid. This chapter of thy life is shut. Go now, dear [deceased], and live once more in happier time and place.[95]

Membership

The Church has an official membership system, the International Association of Scientologists, but IAS membership is not what the Church means by ‘member.’ Estimates of Scientology adherents worldwide vary considerably.[97] In 2005 Scientology stated its worldwide membership at 8 million people, and that number included people who took only the introductory course and didn’t continue on.[98] In 2007 the Church claimed 3.5 million members in the United States,[99] but according to a 2001 survey published by the City University of New York, 55,000 people in the United States would, if asked to identify their religion, have stated Scientology[100] Scientologists tend to disparage such surveys on the grounds that many members maintaining cultural and social ties to other religious groups will, when asked their religion, answer with their traditional and more socially acceptable affiliation.[97] Religious scholar J. Gordon Melton has said that the church’s estimates of its membership numbers are exaggerated.[101]

Organizations

Main article: Church of Scientology

Scientology is composed of a complex network of corporations, churches and organizations all geared towards promoting the use and dissemination of Scientology and related techniques.

The incomplete Super Power Building of the FLAG Scientology complex in Clearwater, Florida

The incomplete Super Power Building of the FLAG Scientology complex in Clearwater, Florida

Church of Scientology of Tampa, Florida

Church of Scientology of Tampa, Florida

The Scientology cruise ship Freewinds

The Scientology cruise ship Freewinds

The Church of Spiritual Technology is a non-profit organization that owns the copyrights to Scientology books. The Religious Technology Center (RTC) holds trademarks over the words Dianetics and Scientology.[102] Scientology organizations must license the right to use Scientology and related techniques from this organization. Its stated purpose is to maintain Scientology pure per the writings of L. Ron Hubbard.[103] RTC is headed by David Miscavige a man believed to be the most powerful person in Scientology.[104] The Church of Scientology International is the mother church of Scientology and manages all affiliated Scientology organizations worldwide.[105]

The first Church of Scientology was incorporated in Camden, New Jersey as a non-profit organization in 1953. The Scientology missions directory reports over 300 missions,[106] delivering basic Dianetics and Scientology services in 50 countries worldwide.[107] A Scientology Mission is considered a church when it has reached the size required to administer all courses and auditing required for delivering the state of “clear.”[108] Overall there are 142 churches in 28 countries established worldwide.[109] Scientology’s “Advanced Organizations” are churches specialized in the delivering of higher training levels.[110] Those organizations are located in Los Angeles; Clearwater, Florida;[111] Great Britain; Sydney, Australia; Copenhagen; and the cruise ship Freewinds.[112]

The World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE) licenses Hubbard’s management techniques for use in businesses.

The Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE), a non-profit organization with the stated purpose of reversing social decay, has four subdivisions:[113]

  • Narconon manages a number of drug treatment centers worldwide and was founded by William Benitez in 1966.[114] Benitez was an inmate who found a book by Hubbard in the Arizona State Prison library and got himself and other inmates off drugs.[115]
  • Criminon manages drug rehabilitation programs for inmates.
  • The Way to Happiness foundation promotes a secular moral code written by Hubbard.
  • Applied Scholastics promotes the use of Hubbard’s educational methods.

Scientologists take part in a number of social reform and charitable activities:

  • Activities to reform the field of mental health according to the theories of Hubbard (Citizens Commission on Human Rights);
  • A political action committee (Citizens for Social Reform), to promote social programs with U.S. legislators;
  • A campaign directed to implement the group’s interpretation of the 1948 United Nations document “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” (with particular emphasis on religious freedom).[116]
  • Started in 1993, the Drug-Free Marshals is a youth drug-education and prevention program. Providing free literature and information about drugs, they claim to have “sworn in” 3.1 million people as “Marshals” who pledge to remain drug-free and to encourage their peers to do the same.[117]
  • Another Scientology anti-drug campaign is the No to drugs – yes to life campaign, geared toward the public at large.[118]
  • Freedom Magazine, Scientology’s journal that is mailed to politicians and public figures, addresses issues that concern the Church of Scientology.
  • The Scientology Volunteer Ministers dedicate their time to help in disaster relief efforts and other charitable causes. Over the weekend, Scientology churches set up tents in towns and cities in their area and Volunteer Ministers provide one-on-one attention to people who visit.

Scientology splinter groups

Main article: Free Zone (Scientology)

Although “Scientology” is most often used as shorthand for the Church of Scientology, a number of groups practice Scientology and Dianetics outside of the official Church. Some groups are breakaways from the original Church while others have started up independently. The largest such group — an informal “network” rather than an organization — is known as the Free Zone, founded by Bill Robertson in 1982. [119]

The Church labels these groups as “squirrels” in Scientology jargon, and often subjects them to considerable legal and social pressure.

Non Affiliated

Two organizations that are sometimes confused with Scientology (due to a similarity in names) are Christian Science and Religious Science/Science of Mind. While Christian Science and Religious Science share some common roots (see New Thought) to each other, Scientology has no connection to them.[120][121].

Celebrities

See also: Scientology and celebrities and List of Scientologists
A Scientology Center on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

A Scientology Center on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.

Scientology has attracted several artists and entertainers, particularly Hollywood celebrities. Hubbard saw to the formation of a special church which would cater to artists, politicians, leaders of industry, sports figures and anyone with the power and vision “to create a better world.”[122] There are eight so-called Celebrity Centers, although Hollywood is the largest. Entertainers — including John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley, Jason Lee, Isaac Hayes, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and James Packer[123] — have generated considerable publicity for Scientology. Former Scientologists say that celebrity practitioners get more attention than non-celebrity practitioners. For example, former Scientologist Maureen Bolstad noted that a couple of dozen Scientologists including herself were put to work on a rainy night through dawn planting grass in order “to help Tom impress Nicole.”[124]

Andre Tabayoyon, a former Scientologist and Sea Org staffer, testified in a 1994 affidavit that money from non-profit Scientology organizations and labor from those organizations (including the Rehabilitation Project Force) had gone to provide special facilities for Scientology celebrities, which were not available to other Scientologists.[125] “A Sea Org staffer was taken along to do personal cooking for Tom Cruise and Miscavige at the expense of Scientology non-profit religious organizations. This left only 3 cooks at [Gold Base] to cook for 800 people three times a day. . . . Apartment cottages were built for the use of John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Edgar Winter, Priscilla Presley and other Scientology celebrities who are carefully prevented from finding out the real truth about the Scientology organization. . . . Miscavige decided to redo the meadow in beautiful flowers; tens of thousands of dollars were spent on the project so that Cruise and Kidman could romp there. However, Miscavige inspected the project and didn’t like it. So the whole meadow was plowed up, destroyed, replowed and sown with plain grass.”[126] Diana Canova, who experienced Scientology both before and during her period of TV stardom, expressed it in a September 1993 interview: “When I started, I wasn’t in television yet. I was a nobody—I’d done some TV, but I was not one of the elite, not by a long shot—until I did Soap. Then it became…I mean, you really are treated like royalty.”[127]

Controversies

Main article: Scientology controversies
Official German information leaflets (PDF:) from the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution on (from left to right) Islamic extremism, Scientology, and organized crime.

Official German information leaflets (PDF:[128]) from the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution on (from left to right) Islamic extremism, Scientology, and organized crime.[129]

Of the many new religious movements to appear during the 20th century, the Church of Scientology has, from its inception, been one of the most controversial, coming into conflict with the governments and police forces of several countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada[130] and Germany) numerous times over the years.[131][132][133][134][135][133][136][137][138][139][140][141]

Reports and allegations have been made, by journalists, courts, and governmental bodies of several countries, that the Church of Scientology is an unscrupulous commercial enterprise that harasses its critics and brutally exploits its members.[131][132] Some critics of Scientology have recanted under duress.[142] In some cases of US litigation against the Church, former Scientologists appearing as expert witnesses have since stated that they submitted false and inflammatory declarations intended to incite prejudice against Scientology,[citation needed] and harassed key Scientology executives, by advancing unfounded opinions to get a case dropped or to obtain a settlement.[143]

Germany categorizes Scientology as a business, rather than a religious organization, and has even gone so far as to consider a ban on Scientology.[144] Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom have not recognized Scientology as a religion.[145] Scientology has also not been recognized as a religion in Israel or Mexico. A recent judicial investigation in Belgium is now in the process of prosecuting Scientology.

Main article: Scientology and the legal system

The controversies involving the Church and its critics, some of them ongoing, include:

  • Scientology’s disconnection policy, in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members considered “antagonistic.”[146][147]
  • The death of a Scientologist Lisa McPherson while in the care of the Church.
  • Criminal activities committed on behalf of the Church or directed by Church officials (Operation Snow White, Operation Freakout)
  • Conflicting statements about L. Ron Hubbard’s life, in particular accounts of Hubbard discussing his intent to start a religion for profit, and of his service in the military.[148]
  • Scientology’s harassment and litigious actions against its critics encouraged by its Fair Game policy.[148]
  • Attempts to legally force search engines such as Google and Yahoo to omit any webpages critical of Scientology from their search engines (and in Google’s case, AdSense), or at least the first few search pages.[149]

Due to these allegations, a considerable amount of investigation has been aimed at the Church, by groups ranging from the media to governmental agencies.[131][132]

Although Scientologists are usually free to practice their beliefs, the organized church has often encountered opposition due to their strong-arm tactics directed against critics and members wishing to leave the organization. While a number of governments now view the Church as a religious organization entitled to protections and tax relief, others view it as a pseudoreligion or a cult.[150][151] The differences between these classifications has become a major problem when discussing religions in general and Scientology specifically.[98]

While acknowledging that a number of his colleagues accept Scientology as a religion, sociologist Stephen A. Kent wrote: “Rather than struggling over whether or not to label Scientology as a religion, I find it far more helpful to view it as a multifaceted transnational corporation, only one[sic] element of which is religious.” [152][153]

Scientology social programs such as drug and criminal rehabilitation have likewise drawn both support and criticism.[154][155][156][157]

Auditing confidentiality

In some instances, former members have claimed the Church used information obtained in auditing sessions against them.[158][159][160] The Church maintains that its auditing records are kept confidential. On 16 December 1969 the organization authorized the use of auditing records for purposes of “internal security.”[161]

Supporters of Scientology assert that no actual violation based solely upon use or revelation of auditing records has been documented[162] and such a violation of their Auditing Code is a high crime per Scientology justice codes.[163] “The Court refers to GO 121669 for justification for abolishing the clergyman-penitent privilege. Yet nowhere does the program call for a) external dissemination of the preclear folder or b) use of information against anyone. To cause preclear folders or preclear folder information to be released from the care and control of authorized Church ministers is to cause the destruction of its parishioners’ religious freedom and would be a severe violation of Church ecclesiastical policies.” (Declaration of Reverend Ken Hoden)[162]

However, a California court ruling recorded that “The practice of culling supposedly confidential [counseling folders or files] to obtain information for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment is repugnant and outrageous.” The court found that former members of the church knew that their confidential data might be used by “the Church or its minions” for “intimidation or other physical or psychological abuse” and noted: “The record is replete with evidence of such abuse.”[164]

Supporters of Scientology responded by stating: “Guardian’s Office policy letter written by Mary Sue Hubbard had allegedly authorized the practice of culling information from counseling folders. Any such directive is not part of the Scientology scriptures and was long ago canceled. The Guardian’s Office was disbanded by current Church management when it was found to have veered wildly off Church policies as laid down by Mr. Hubbard.”[165]

Scientology as a religion

Main article: Scientology and other religions
Main article: Scientology as a state-recognized religion

Scientology states that it is fully compatible with all existing major world religions and that it does not conflict with those religions or their religious practices. However, due to major differences in the beliefs and practices between Scientology and especially the major monotheistic religions a simultaneous membership in Scientology is seen as not compatible with the major world religions. For its part, Scientology only allows a passive formal membership in a second religion. Parishioners are not allowed to engage in other religious activities or ceremonies.[166]

The Church pursues an extensive public relations campaign for the recognition of Scientology as a bona fide religion.[167] Scientology does have “beliefs in something transcendental or ultimate, practices (rites and codes of behavior) that re-inforce those beliefs and, a community that is sustained by both the beliefs and practices” which are elements that a religion must contain .[98] Scientology is considered as a legitimate religion in Spain,[168][169] Taiwan,[170] Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa,[171] Australia, Sweden,[172] New Zealand,[173] and thus enjoys and regularly cites the legal protections afforded in these nations to religious practice. Other countries, mostly in Europe, have regarded Scientology as a potentially dangerous cult, or at least have not considered local branches to meet the legal criteria for being considered religion-supporting organizations.[174]

Although its religious status is often controversial, the Church of Scientology itself, on the other hand, holds that many of these issues were laid to rest by the recognition in 1993 by the United States Internal Revenue Service of being “operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes.”[175][176]

Scientology as a cult and hypnosis

The Anderson Report, an inquiry conducted in 1965 for the state of Victoria, Australia, found that the auditing process involved “command” hypnosis, in which the hypnotist assumes “positive authoritative control” over the patient. “It is the firm conclusion of this Board that most scientology and dianetics techniques are those of authoritative hypnosis and as such are dangerous. . . . The scientific evidence which the Board heard from several expert witnesses of the highest repute … which was virtually unchallenged—leads to the inescapable conclusion that it is only in name that there is any difference between authoritative hypnosis and most of the techniques of scientology. Many scientology techniques are in fact hypnotic techniques, and Hubbard has not changed their nature by changing their names.”[177] Hubbard was an accomplished hypnotist, and close acquaintances such as Forrest Ackerman (Hubbard’s literary agent) and A. E. van Vogt (an important early supporter of Dianetics) witnessed repeated demonstrations of his hypnotic skills.[178] (See Scientology and hypnosis). Licensed psychotherapists alleged that auditing sessions amount to mental health treatment without a license. The Church disputes these statements and said that its practice leads to spiritual relief. According to the Church, the psychotherapist treats mental health and the Church treats the spiritual being. Using the synonym of alternative religions, Barrett (1998:237) and Hunt (2003:195) place Scientology in the sociological grouping of personal development movements together with the Neurolinguistic Programming, Emin, and Insight.

In France, the Church of Scientology was categorized as a sect (or cult) in the report of the National Assembly of France in 1995.[179] A more recent government report in 2000 categorized the church as an “absolute sect” and recommended that all its activities be prohibited.[180] The United States has no such classification in its legal system.[98]

The Cult Awareness Network famously received more complaints concerning Scientology than any other group. They therefore listed the Church of Scientology at the top of their cult list, until they went into bankruptcy from suits initiated by Scientology (1996). Ultimately, they were bought in Bankruptcy Court by the Church of Scientology (1997), which now operates the new Cult Awareness Network as a promotional arm of the church.[181][182][183][184][185]

The federal government of Germany, as well as its states, have to a greater or lesser degree and for varying periods since 1997 placed Scientology and Scientologists under surveillance by its intelligence agency based on anti-democratic tendencies.[186] No criminal or civil charges have been brought as a result of this surveillance. On a Federal level, Scientology lost a complaint against continued surveillance by the federal Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz because the court gave its opinion that there are indications that Scientology is pursuing anti-constitutional activities. As of April 2007 the case was pending in appeal.[187][188] In Berlin, the court prohibited the use of paid undercover agents.[189] In Saarland, surveillance was stopped by the court as inappropriate because there is no local branch of Scientology and few members.[190]

Allegations of Scientology’s cult status may be attributed to its unconventional creation by a single authoritative and charismatic leader.[191]

On May 12, 2007 Journalist John Sweeney of BBC Panorama made highly critical comments regarding Scientology and its teachings, and further reported that since beginning an extensive investigation he had been harassed, surveilled, and investigated by strangers. Sweeney wrote, “I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a “bigot” by star Scientologists and chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers. Back in Britain strangers have called on my neighbors, my mother-in-law’s house and someone spied on my wedding and fled the moment he was challenged.” In another passage, “He [Scientology representative Tommy Davis] harangued me for talking to […] heretics. I told him that Scientology had been spying on the BBC and that was creepy.” And in another passage, “In LA, the moment our hire car left the airport we realized we were being followed by two cars. In our hotel a weird stranger spent every breakfast listening to us.”[192][193]

The Church of Scientology called John Sweeney’s documentary (first aired May 14, 2007) into question and produced its own documentary in which it claimed to have documented 154 violations in the BBC’s and OfCom’s guidelines.[194]

The Church documentary also claimed that the BBC had organized a demonstration outside a Church building in London in order to film it, following which e-mailed anonymous death threats had been made against the Church. The BBC described these allegations as “clearly laughable and utter nonsense” whilst representatives of the picket group stated that the BBC had simply turned up to a scheduled picket date that was part of an ongoing protest since 1996.[195] Sandy Smith, the BBC program’s producer, commented that the Church of Scientology has “no way of dealing with any kind of criticism at all.”[196]

Scientology as a commercial venture

Main article: Scientology as a business

The Church of Scientology and its many related organizations have amassed considerable real estate holdings worldwide, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as a large amount of other funds from the practice of auditing.[148] Hubbard was accused in his lifetime of adopting a religious façade for Scientology to allow the organization to maintain tax-exempt status and to avoid prosecution for false medical claims.[197] There have been numerous accounts from Hubbard’s fellow science-fiction authors and researchers, notably Harlan Ellison, Neison Himmel, Sam Merwin, Sam Moskowitz, Theodore Sturgeon, Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, and Lyle Stuart,[178] of Hubbard stating on various occasions that the way to get rich was to start a religion.[198] This is referenced, among other places, in a May 1980 Reader’s Digest article, which quotes Hubbard, “If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”[199]

The Church says that “One individual once claimed L. Ron Hubbard made such a comment during a lecture in 1948. The only two people who could be found who attended that very lecture in 1948 denied that Mr. Hubbard ever made this statement” and that therefore it is an “unfounded rumor.” The Church’s statement does not address any of the other individuals who have stated that they personally heard Hubbard make such a statement, some saying that he said it on multiple occasions. The Church also suggests that the origin of the “rumor” was a quote by George Orwell which had been “misattributed” to Hubbard. However, Robert Vaughn Young, who left the Church in 1989 after twenty years, said that he had discovered the Orwell quote, and suggested that reports of Hubbard making such a statement could be explained as a misattribution of Orwell, despite having encountered three of Hubbard’s associates from his science fiction days who remembered Hubbard making statements of that sort in person.[131]

Scientology pays members commissions on new recruits they bring in, encouraging Scientology members to “sell” Scientology to others.[148] In addition, Scientology franchises, or missions, pay the church roughly 10% of their gross income.[200] On that basis, it is often likened to a pyramid selling scheme.[201] Charges for auditing and other Church-related courses run to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.[202][203] Scientology maintains strict control over the use of its symbols, icons, and names. It claims copyright and trademark over its “Scientology cross”, and its lawyers have threatened lawsuits against individuals and organizations who have published the image in books and on Web sites. Because of this, it is very difficult for individual groups to attempt to publicly practice Scientology on their own, without any affiliation or connection to the Church of Scientology. Scientology has sued a number of individuals who attempted to set up their own “auditing” practices, using copyright and trademark law to shut these groups down.

In conjunction with the Church of Scientology’s request to be officially recognized as a religion in Germany, around 1996 the German state Baden-Württemberg conducted a thorough investigation regarding the group’s activities within Germany.[204] The results of this investigation indicated that, at the time of publication, Scientology’s main sources of revenue (“Haupteinnahmequellen der SO”) were from course offerings and sales of their various publications. Course offerings—e.g. “The Ups and Downs of Life”, “Hubbard’s Key to Life”, “Intensive Auditing”, etc.—ranged from (German Marks) DM 182.50 to about DM 30,000—the equivalent today of approximately $119 to $19,560 US dollars. Revenue from monthly, bi-monthly, and other membership offerings could not be estimated in the report, but was nevertheless placed in the millions.

In June of 2006, it was announced at the Book Expo America a Dianetics Racing Team joined NASCAR. The Number 27 Ford Taurus driven by Kenton Gray displays a large Dianetics logo.[205][206]

Scientology and psychiatry

Main articles: Scientology and psychiatry, CCHR, and Psychiatry: An Industry of Death
Scientologists regularly hold anti-psychiatry demonstrations called

Scientologists regularly hold anti-psychiatry demonstrations called “Psychbusts”

The Church of Scientology is one of a number of groups involved in the anti-psychiatry movement, and one of the few organizations that publicly oppose the study and application of psychology in addition to psychiatry, claiming that psychiatry was responsible for World War I,[207] the rise of Hitler and Stalin,[208] the decline in education standards in the United States,[209] the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo,[210] and the September 11 attacks.[211] The Church’s point of view on these issues is documented mainly by Church groups and magazines such as those published by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights and Freedom Magazine.

Scientology and the Internet

Main articles: Scientology and the Internet and Project Chanology

In the 1990s Scientology representatives began extensive operations to deal with growing allegations against Scientology on the Internet. The organization states that it is taking actions to prevent distribution of copyrighted Scientology documents and publications online by people whom it has called “copyright terrorists.”[212] Critics say that the organization’s true motive is to attempt to suppress the free speech of its critics.

An Internet-based group that only referred to itself as 'Anonymous' held protests outside Scientology centers in cities around the world in February 2008 as part of Project Chanology.  Issues they protested ranged from alleged abuse of followers to the validity of its claims to qualify as a state-sponsored religion.

An Internet-based group that only referred to itself as ‘Anonymous’ held protests outside Scientology centers in cities around the world in February 2008 as part of Project Chanology. Issues they protested ranged from alleged abuse of followers to the validity of its claims to qualify as a state-sponsored religion.[213]

In January 1995, Church lawyer Helena Kobrin attempted to shut down the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology by sending a control message instructing Usenet servers to delete the group on the grounds that:

(1) It was started with a forged message; (2) not discussed on alt.config; (3) it has the name “scientology” in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion; (4) it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning these illegal practices.[214]

In practice, this rmgroup message had little effect, since most Usenet servers are configured to disregard such messages when applied to groups that receive substantial traffic, and newgroup messages were quickly issued to recreate the group on those servers that did not do so. However, the issuance of the message led to a great deal of public criticism by free-speech advocates.

The Church also began filing lawsuits against those who posted copyrighted texts on the newsgroup and the World Wide Web, and pressed for tighter restrictions on copyrights in general. The Church supported the controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. The even more controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act was also strongly promoted by the Church and some of its provisions (notably the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act) were heavily influenced by Church litigation against US Internet service providers over copyrighted Scientology materials that had been posted or uploaded through their servers.

Beginning in the middle of 1996 and for several years after, the newsgroup was attacked by anonymous parties using a tactic dubbed “sporgery” by some, in the form of hundreds of thousands of forged spam messages posted on the group. Although the Church neither confirmed nor denied its involvement with the spam, some investigators said that some spam had been traced to Church members. Former Scientologist Tory Christman, after she left the Church, confessed to having been part of the sporgery project, taking money supplied by the Office of Special Affairs to open up Internet accounts at various ISPs under false names, accounts from which she later saw forged and garbled communications going out.[215]

In early 2008, another protest against the Church of Scientology was organised by the Internet-based group Anonymous, which originally consisted of users of the English speaking imageboards 4chan and 711chan.org, the associated partyvan.info wiki, and several Internet Relay Chat channels.

Protest by Anonymous against the practices and tax status of the Church of Scientology.

Protest by Anonymous against the practices and tax status of the Church of Scientology.

On January 14, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube.[216][217][218] The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video.[219] In response to this, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology.[220][221][222][223] Calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship, members of Project Chanology organized a series of denial-of-service attacks against Scientology websites, prank calls, and black faxes to Scientology centers.[224] On January 21, 2008, Anonymous announced its goals and intentions via a video posted to YouTube entitled “Message to Scientology”, and a press release declaring a “War on Scientology” against both the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center.[223][225][226] In the press release, the group states that the attacks against the Church of Scientology will continue in order to protect the right to freedom of speech, and end what they believe to be the financial exploitation of church members.[227] A new video “Call to Action” appeared on YouTube on January 28, 2008, calling for protests outside Church of Scientology centers on February 10, 2008.[228][229]

On February 2, 2008, 150 people gathered outside of a Church of Scientology center in Orlando, Florida to protest the organization’s practices.[230][231][232][233] Small protests were also held in Santa Barbara, California,[234] and Manchester, England.[235][231] On February 10, 2008, about 7,000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide.[236][237] Many protesters wore masks based on the character V from V for Vendetta (who in turn was influenced by Guy Fawkes), or otherwise disguised their identities, in part to protect themselves from reprisals from the Church of Scientology.[238][239] Anonymous held a second wave of protests on March 15, 2008 in cities all over the world, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, and Dublin. The global turnout was estimated to be between 7000 and 8000.[240] Anonymous held its third protest against Scientology on April 12, 2008.[241][242] Named “Operation Reconnect”, it aimed to increase awarenss of the Church of Scientology’s disconnection policy.[216]

Scientific criticism

A 1971 ruling of the United States District Court, District of Columbia (333 F. Supp. 357), specifically stated, “the E-meter has no proven usefulness in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, nor is it medically or scientifically capable of improving any bodily function.”[243] Scientology now publishes the following disclaimer in its books and publications: “By itself, the E-meter does nothing. It is an electronic instrument that measures mental state and change of state in individuals and assists the precision and speed of auditing. The E-Meter is not intended or effective for any diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease”[244] and that it is used specifically for spiritual purposes.

Professor Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, has described Scientology as “gullibiligy” and its statements as “purely made-up.”[245]

See also

Scientology Portal
Wikinews has related news:
Wikinews international report: “Anonymous” holds anti-Scientology protests worldwide
  • L. Ron Hubbard
  • Church of Scientology
  • Scientology beliefs and practices
  • Scientology bibliography
  • Scientology and Me
  • Scientology and Werner Erhard
  • Scientology controversies
  • Dianetics
  • Destructive cult
  • Symbols of Scientology
  • Scientology filmography
  • Scientology in popular culture
  • Scientology In Australia
  • Scientology and the Internet
  • Project Chanology
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