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Michael Parisi

5/6/2015

World Religions

Scientology

Scientology is one of the newest religions that has been introduced the world. The

religion is quickly gaining popularity with a recent ad claiming they get around 4.4 million new

members every year (Wright ix). Scientology also leaves a negative impression on a lot of

people simply because of their practices. Scientology has very different beliefs and practices

than most other religions which set it apart from other religions. Either way Scientology is a

new religion that is sweeping the nation.

To completely understand the practices and beliefs of the religion, it is imperative that

you understand the history and founder of the religion, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. Hubbard

was born in Tilden, Nebraska, and was raised as a Methodist (20-21). From a young age

Hubbard was interested in magic and shamans. He even was made a blood brother to the

Blackfoot Indians by and elderly medicine mane named Old Tom Madfeathers (21). This started

Hubbard on his eccentric path that has affected the lives of many throughout his life. For the

majority of his early life he was a part of the navy. Throughout his time with the Navy he

learned a lot about Freudian theories which were beat into his head by his father. Once

Hubbard got married he started writing pulp fiction stories to support his family (27). He wrote

several short stories/films such as; Stagecoach starting John Wayne, The Plainsman with Gary
Cooper and The Secret of Treasure Island (29). On New Year’s Day, 1938 Hubbard had a

revelation that would change his life. While under the influence of a gas anesthetic for a dental

operation he believes in those hallucinatory moments he believes that the secrets of existence

were accidently revealed to him (29). After his manuscript retelling his events failed he found

success as a science fiction writer for a magazine. This let his mind explore the impossible

worlds of fiction and gave him the opportunity to expand his mind. Various rumors about

Hubbard started popping up. The most influential rumor was that Hubbard said, “You don’t get

rich writing Science Fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” This quote makes

people think the entire religion is a fraud to make money however the church would argue

against whether this actually happened. In 1950 Hubbard wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science

of Mental Health. The book talks about how the mind has two parts; the analytic and the

reactive mind (61). This became a therapy for mental illness which left the patient feeling

“Clear” (63). The people made this book a best seller and started Hubbard on a new project.

This project became known as Scientology.

Some of the beliefs and practices that the member of the Church of Scientology believe

are fairly different from the normal religious beliefs that other religions preach. From the

outside the Church of Scientology may be seen as an expression of an extreme individualism

because its core service is auditing which aims to help individuals progress along “The Bridge of

Total Freedom” (Lewis 143). This is the equivalent to other religion’s salvation. The Dianetics:

The Modern Science of Mental Health is basically a manuscript for a do-it-yourself method of

therapy. From this perspective it appears as if the Church of Scientology is a giant mental health

rehabilitation center with a religious twist. According to the Scientology Website, Scientology is
the study of knowledge. It is about knowing yourself, family, friends, God and others

(“Scientology Beliefs and Practices: What is Scientology?”). Most other religions focus on

spirituality and devoting yourself to God and doing God’s will, while Scientology is primarily

focused around yourself and understanding how your spirit is interconnected with everything.

There are several fundamental truths that are primary throughout the religion. A few of

them are: “Man is an immortal spiritual Being” “His experience extends well beyond a single

lifetime” and “His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized” (“Scientology Beliefs

and Practices…”). This immortal spiritual being is called a thetan (Lewis 111). The thetan is in his

native state capable of being at cause in all kinds of decisions and actions with no physical,

mental, spiritual or practical boundaries or limitations to realizations of his will (111). The

second truth is known as the second notion time track. Every experience that happens to the

thetan throughout its entire lifetime makes up the time track. The notion of the time track is

fundamental to the ritual practice of auditing (111). The third notion is based around how the

founder L. Ron Hubbard discovered these truths; he didn’t invent them (112).

One belief that is prevalent in Scientology is the idea of reincarnation. The second truth

mentioned above talks about how a life extends beyond the normal lifetime into several.

Reincarnation is a religious phenomenon that varies between religions. In Hinduism, and

Buddhism they believe that your actions in one life directly impact the next life, based on the

law of karma (Gomes). Those religions believe in the idea of reincarnations while other religions

such as Islam and Christianity believe in a Heavenly afterlife. Those that pass over to the

afterlife are said to watch over you as you live your life in some religions. Scientology is more
closely related to that of Hinduism and Buddhism, where what you do in one life affects the

others. The physical body of the thetan takes on attributes based upon the past lives of the

thetan. This is damaging not only to the personal wellbeing and down to earth happiness in the

present incarnation but in a larger perspective to spiritual and personal development and

ultimate salvation (112).

Scientology further holds Man to be good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon

himself and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe (“Scientology Beliefs and

Practices…”). Everyone has the potential to be saved and reach true enlightenment within

Scientology. Several other religions believe the same philosophy that you can be saved but only

if you follow their religion. One interesting difference is that Scientology is not a dogmatic

religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone (“Scientology Beliefs and

Practices…”). Most of the stories from the Bible, and other religions are fables that could have

happened but seem a little dramatic to have actually happened. They require the member of

their religion to accept that the miracles happened because of the power of God and their faith

in the religion. In Scientology one discovers for oneself that the principles of Scientology are

true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results (“Scientology Beliefs

and Practices…”). The only people that would know if Scientology works would be those who

accept the religion and practices what the religion believes is the way to salvation. From their

perspective it has more meaning to feel something moving than to put all of your trust in a God

that you never truly understand or know until you die and go to heaven, if that even happens.
The central practice of Scientology is called Auditing. Auditing is a process of restoring

being and ability to the person. This is accomplished by helping the individuals rid themselves of

any spiritual disabilities and by increasing their spiritual abilities (“Scientology Beliefs and

Practices…”). The person being audited is called the preclear and is asked a set of questions.

The individuals search their memories for a related memory and report that experience to the

auditor who observes their responses on the electropsychometer (E-Meter) (Lewis 94). The E-

Meter is a religious device that could measure the mental state and change of state in

individuals and assists the precision and speed of auditing (“Scientology Beliefs and

Practices…”). If the E-Meter doesn’t pick up any disturbance then they check for present time

problems. They then talk about the problems at hand. If the problem does not resolve they

must continue auditing until the E-Meter needle floats. Once the level is beyond clear the

practitioners are trained to communicate with and set free the troublesome clusters of body

thetans that have attached themselves to practitioners. Thus the preclear is liberated and they

are clear to enjoy their freedom (Lewis 95). Regardless of their experience or background, the

individual is assisted in locating not only areas of spiritual upset or difficulty in their life, but the

source of the upset. The practices tend to be more focused on the individual and their own

personal gain rather than pleasing a god or following a strict path to righteousness. In Judaism

the followers try and maintain a kosher diet and keep the Sabbath day holy. Through those

beliefs and other rituals they believe they can ascend to the afterlife, whereas with Scientology

you can directly experience “being clear” without moving onto another life.

In conclusion, Scientology is one of the newest and fastest growing religions in the

world. They have various beliefs and practices that may appear to be a little out of the ordinary
to most but to the church they are the correct steps in achieving enlightenment. Various

comedians and televisions shows like South Park took some of the crazier ideologies and beliefs

of the religion and exaggerated them in order to get laughs and to downplay the religion and

make it seem like a joke. Either way the religion is growing rapidly and will soon become more

prevalent. Scientologists view the world as a game, in which everyone can win and no one

needs to lose (“Scientology Beliefs and Practices…”).


Bibliography

Gomes, Gabriel. Discovering World Religions: A Guide for the Inquiring Reader. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Lewis, James R. Scientology. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

"Scientology Beliefs & Practices: What Is Scientology?" Scientology Beliefs & Practices: What Is

Scientology? N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2015.

Wright, Lawrence. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. N.p.: n.p., n.d.

Print.

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