Scientology and the Search for Significance
What do Scientologists believe? How can we learn from them?
BY: Jim Denison
Scientology claims eight million members worldwide, and says it is the fastest-growing religion in the world, welcoming 4.4 million new members every year. Actually, only 30,000 people are members of the International Association of Scientologists, and only 25,000 Americans call themselves Scientologists.
Despite its miniscule numbers, the organizations holds more than $1 billion in liquid assets, a figure that eclipses most of the world's religions. It owns 12 million square feet of property around the world; it holds 26 properties in Hollywood, valued at $400 million.
What do Scientologists believe? What can we learn from them?
The claims of Scientology
"Scientology" means "the study of truth." The movement was founded in 1952 by L. Ron Hubbard, an American fiction writer. He had earlier authored a self-help system called Dianetics. Hubbard later called Scientology an "applied religious philosophy" and the basis for a new religion. Hubbard produced more than 500,000 pages of writings in support of his movement, working from 1952 until his death in January of 1986.
As a young man, Hubbard was highly influenced by Freudian analysis. He later befriended writers who were influenced by the Hindu concept of karma and the theories of Carl Jung. He credited the Tao Te Ching, the Dharma, and Gautama Buddha as forerunners of his movement.
There is no single book which forms the basis for Scientology. Fifteen books, 15,000 pages of writing, and over 3,000 lectures compose the "canon" of the religion. Followers study these books and lectures in chronological order. Dianetics is the founding document of the religion. Its publication in 1950 marks "year one" of Scientology. In their nomenclature, we would be in the year A.D. 63.
The goal of Scientology 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." Hubbard claimed that "the whole agonized future of this planet, every Man, Woman and Child on it, and your own destiny for the next end-less trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology."
There are three levels of membership:
• Public Scientologists—the rank and file.
• Celebrity Scientologists, many of whom are recruited as a result of a specific strategy we'll discuss shortly.
• The "clergy," called the "Sea Organization" or "Sea Orgs." Many have worked for the religion most of their lives, at miniscule wages. They sign contracts for a billion years of service, which is a miniscule moment of time in their minds, since the universe is four quadrillion years old. More of this shortly.
All non-Scientologists are "wogs."
The beliefs of Scientologists
Scientology is "the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life." Followers believe that we are spiritual beings, that our existence spans more than one life, and that we are endowed with abilities beyond our normal experiences. We are basically good, though we err by considering only our own point of view. Nothing is to be accepted on faith; all is to be tested by observation. Scientology provides means by which people can achieve greater spiritual awareness of themselves and their world.
We are immortal spirit beings (thetans) who possess both mind and body. We have lived through many past lives and will continue to live beyond the death of the body. Through "auditing," we can free ourselves of past traumas and bad decisions which restrict us from being "Clear" and becoming an "Operating Thetan." In each state we recover our spiritual abilities and achieve mental and physical benefits. We are good but become "aberrated" by pain and unconsciousness. Psychiatry and psychology are destructive practices which keep us from progressing toward our personal fulfillment.
Humans are Mind, Body, and Spirit. The thetan (spirit/individual being) has no mass or energy; it is the creator of all other things. The Body is a carbon-oxygen machine engineered by the thetan. The Mind is the way our thetan communicates with our environment. We have an "analytical" or conscious mind and a "reactive" or subconscious mind. "Dianetics" is a set of ideas and practices that help us resolve our engrams (bank of traumatic memories) which inhibit our success and happiness. Many of these have been accumulated in past lives, as thetans have lived for tens of trillions of years.
Some of our past traumas resulted from "implants" used by extraterrestrials such as Helatrobus to brainwash and control us. A gigantic Church of Spiritual Technology symbol is carved into the ground at Scientology's Trementina Base so that followers know how to find Hubbard's works in future lives when they travel to Earth from other places in the universe.
We live successfully when we coordinate affinity (emotions), reality, and communication (the exchange of ideas). This is the ARC triangle. When we increase Knowledge, Responsibility, and Control, we improve our lives and take control over our environment. This is the KRC triangle.
The "tone scale" locates our behavior from -40 ("Total Failure") to +40 ("Serenity of Being"). Emotions, physical health, mating behavior, and ability to deal with truth can help identify our place on the tone scale.
Those who have achieved the State of Clear may proceed onto the Upper or OT (Operating Thetan) Levels. These are designated OT I to VIII, and are open only to those who have been invited into the process. OT VIII is granted only at sea, aboard the Freewinds, the Scientology ship. Teachings which lead to these levels have been guarded zealously by the movement, but some elements have been leaked by followers or entered into court records over the years.
One example of these teachings is Hubbard's description of Xenu, an alien ruler of the "Galactic Confederacy." He brought billions of beings to Earth (originally called Teegeeack) 75 million years ago in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes, and blew them up with hydrogen bombs. Their souls stuck to the bodies of the living; alien souls continue to do this today, creating many of our problems and diseases. They are called "Body Thetans"; advanced Scientologists work hard to remove them and their effects. There can be millions of them inside a person's body. Scientology can "clear the planet" of them, solving all our problems.
"Auditing" is one-on-one communication with a trained Scientology counselor ("auditor"). An E-meter (electropsychometer) is used to measure small changes in electrical resistance. The follower (a "preclear" or PC) unburdens himself of specific traumas and bad decisions, often by answering specific questions. The E-meter helps locate areas of concern. Auditing is said to lead to improved IQ, enhanced memory, and general happiness.
At "Clear," the thetan is able to recall every moment of its life, including its own conception. As a result, the thetan can be freed of its body ("exteriorization"). It can then roam the universe, stroll on Mars, and even create new universes. In this way, it recovers its immortality.
Followers progress from "Scientology Zero" to "Scientology Five." They learn how to deal with their environment; then find ways to live better; then engage in specific Scientology training; then begin OT levels; then reach the highest echelons. Hubbard claimed to have reached OT VIII, as have many Scientologists since. According to Hubbard, Jesus was "just a shade" above Clear, but he did not reach even OT I.