|Links: Pages on Scientology, Other Religions|
|Texts||Writings of founder and leaders|
|Area of Origin||USA|
|Founder||By L. Ron Hubbard|
|Numbers in the UK (Census results)|
|2001||1 781||2011||2 418|
“A naughty alien called Xenu caused a lot of trouble on Earth 75 million years ago - trouble which has startling repercussions today.”
“The mind consists of two entities: the analytical mind and the reactive mind [which] is irrational [...] and stores memories of unpleasant events [...] known as 'engrams', and require to be eliminated. When this is achieved, the reactive mind disappears altogether and the student is declared 'clear'. Te become clear, the 'pre-clear' must undergo a process of 'auditing'. This is a form of counselling in which the pre-clear is invited to recall all the details of unpleasant past incidents [...]. Scientologists believe that toxins in one's body impede the process of becoming clear. Pre-clears are encouraged to take a 'Purification Rundown' course, which involves physical exercise, vitamins and frequent saunas, the aim of which is to sweat the toxin's out of one's body. [...]
The OT material is strictly confidential, and it is said, can cause mental or even physical harm if it is divulged to those who are unauthorized to receive it. Some lapsed Scientologists ('subversives') claim to have placed OT material on the internet, but Scientologists insist that such material is a mere travesty. From official Scientology literature, however, it seems likely that OT material relates to 'body thetans' - the remains of thetans who lost their bodies many millions of years ago as a result of a gargantum explosion. These beings, devoid of physical bodies, continue to latch on to the physical bodies of others, and it is incumbent on those who progress through OT levels to help to release them from this situation.
Scientology is often criticized for being expensive. [...] There are around 5.6 million practising Scientologists worldwide.'
MEST=matter, energy, space and timeOT = operating thetan, OT material = expensive courses and secret Scientology literature”
"The Church of Scientology" by George D. Chryssides (2004)3
“(2) Why make a religion? "His increasing fortune also became more and more interesting to the US tax authorities. These problems were solved when Hubbard established [Scientology as a religion to encompass Dianetics...]. Hubbard could now claim that his Dianetics procedures were a part of the Church's sacred liturgy rather than 'medical'. What's more, religions are exempt from paying tax in the USA. [In the 1930s and 1940s he] told many people that he believed that the best way to make a fortune was to become the founder of a religion.'(4) 'Although it's easy to mock its pseudo-scientific approach, contradictions and poorly researched claims, there's no denying the originality of Dianetics.'(5) 'The high cost of being a Scientologist has been one of the most consistent criticisms. [...] There have also been repeated accusations of psychological damage inflicted on people involved with the group (several of whom have successfully sued[...]) [...] The Cult Awareness Network received more calls for help about Scientology than any of the other 200 'mind control' organisations that it monitored.'(7) 'Eleven high-ranking members of the church, including Hubbard's wife, had been arrested in the 1980s for 'infiltrating, burglarising and wiretapping' upwards of a hundred private and governmental agencies, and about the 'Mafia'-like activities of the Scientologists.'(8) 'The write Richard Behar also detailed a policy Hubbard had instituted known as 'Fair Game', according to which all perceived enemies of Scientology were subject to being 'tricked, sued or lied to, or destroyed'. Those who criticized the Church, said Behar, often found themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private detectives, beaten up or even threatened with death. [...] The Scientologists responded to the attack with typical subtlety: they launched a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Time magazine.'(10) Hubbard died in hiding, which he went into for years as the American revenue service sought him, during an ongoing criminal case against him. 'A California judge declared (in a 1984 case in which the Scientologists sued a biographical researcher) that the old man was 'a pathological liar'.'”
The Church of Scientology was founded in 19543.
“L. Ron Hubbard first presented his thoughts on what he called 'Dianetics' in an article in Astounding Science Fiction. Hubbard believed that the human mind was a marvellous computer. Operating perfectly, it would have total recall of all sense impressions and vastly improved mental agility. This state Hubbard called 'clear'. His contrast with clear was [caused by the] painful experience in our past [which] were stored in our subconscious as 'engrams' and prevented our functioning fully. The various techniques of Dianetics were designed to discover the origins of these engrams and, by forcing the patient to confront them, clean them away until the mind was free to function at full capacity. [...] The E (for engram) Meter was a primitive lie detector. Holding a tin can wired to a dial which could be seen only by the Dianetics counsellor, the subject would be questioned until a swing of the needle suggested that a sensitive topic had been discovered. Then that area was probed for evidence of engrams. [...]
[Hubbard was] disappointed with the small numbers who stayed loyal to his therapy. People took up Dianetics in the search for a cure for a particular psychological problem. Perhaps it worked. Perhaps, as with most of our psychological problems, the bad bit just passed. Either way, a lot of people dabbled and then moved on. Hubbard's response was to claim new revelations and insights that he used to change Dianetics into the sectarian religion of Scientology. The doctrines and the practices were codified and presented as a series of stages in a clear and lengthy career structure for consumers. Part of Hubbard's new revelation was a belief in rebirth. When you completed the first round of courses and eliminated all the engrams from this life, there were still those from previous lives to be removed before you became an 'operating thetan'! [...] The courses were expensive. The more of them you did, the more you had invested in Scientology, literally as well as figuratively, and the greater the pressue to continue to believe. Furthermore, members were given large discounts on course costs if they recruited and trained others.”
"Religion in the Modern World: From Cathedrals to Cults" by Steve Bruce (1996)5
“Hubbard claimed that nearly seventy per cent of seemingly physical illnesses were actually caused by the mind.”
Dianetics attracted much criticism from the medical profession. Sittings with dianetics practitioners are directed towards the types of experiences that the questioner expects from the patient, with heavily loaded questions revealing 'truths' that tie the patient into the pseudo-psychiatric treatment. The entire escapade of Dianetics appointments fits squarely within the confines of cold-reading, popularist pseudo-psychology and basic abuse of the doctor-patient relationship.
“A leading psychoanalyst at the time, Rollo May, voiced the sentiments of many when he wrote in the New York Times: 'Books like this do harm by their grandiose promises to troubled persons and by their oversimplification of human psychological problems.' [...] These problems were solved when Hubbard established [Scientology]. Hubbard could now claim that his Dianetics procedures were a part of the Church's sacred liturgy rather than 'medical'.”
“Most of the folks claiming to have the key to unleashing your inner brain so that you can reach your mythical true potential are trying to sell you an illusion. Chabris and Simons call it the illusion of potential. Steve Salerno wrote a whole book about the sellers of this illusion, the movers and shakers in the human potential movement. He called it Sham. The stars of this movement include [...] L. Ron Hubbard.”
"Unnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Science Exposed!" by Robert Todd Carroll (2011)6
“Of all the defenses which can be made of dianetics, the defence that 'it works' is the most irrelevant. It is irrelevant because in the cure of neurotic symptoms, anything in which a patient has faith will work. [...] The case histories of dianetics are not one whit more impressive than the hundreds of testimonials to be found in young Perkins' book on the curative power of his father's metallic tractors. They prove that dianetics can operate on some patients as a form of faith healing.”
Scientology's Narconon programme attracts many people unknowingly into the fold of Scientology. It could easily be seen as a force for good with its anti-illegal-drugs message. But Scientologists have also "actively campaigned against the use of drugs to control psychiatric conditions, arguing that this treats the self as a physical rather than a spiritual entity"8. And this reveals Narconon as a harmful pseudo-scientific outfit which is no better than the rest of Scientology.
“In February 2005, the State Superintendent urged all schools in California to stop allowing representatives from the Scientology anti-drugs programme Narconon into their classrooms. The San Francisco Chronicle had reported that as well as teaching the dangers of drugs, the Narconon men and women had been preaching the benefits of Scientology. Teachers also said that the children were being passed some very suspect information - like the idea that drug residues can be sweated out in saunas and that coloured ooze is produced when drugs exit the body.”
Some of the crazier Dianetics beliefs include idea that our current psychological problems derive from traumas that we suffered while in the womb. L Ron Hubbard did admit to knowing that many patients "indulge in fantasies about their uterine experiences"7.
“Actually, the notion that neurones and psychosomatic ills trace back to experiences when the mind was unconscious - whether in or out of the womb - is so completely unsupported by anything faintly resembling controlled research that not a single psychiatrist of standing has given it a second thought. More then one psychoanalyst has pointed out that the practice of blaming one's ills on events that occurred when one was an embryo, is an extremely convenient device for avoiding any real understanding of the roots of a neurosis.”
This information comes from handwritten documents by L. Ron Hubbard, which were part of a court case that the Church of Scientology was involved in. They were published in the Los Angeles Times, and documented by (amongst many others) Sam Jordison.
Information about the harmful 'engrams', that limit human minds, is given to Scientologists when they each the advanced level of clearing known as Operating Thetan III. This takes about $50,000 worth of courses over five years. "Hubbard used to claim that the knowledge gained at this level was powerful enough to kill anyone not prepared for it":
“The gist of this fascinating story is that mankind's problems began 75 million years ago when the planet Earth (then called Teegeeach) was part of a confederation of ninety planets under the leadership of a tyrannical ruler named Xenu. Xenu cured intergalactic overpopulation by paralysing the people of the other planets, flying them to Earth in space planes, plopping them down near volcanoes and dropping H-bombs on them. The souls of these murdered people (more accurately the 'thetans') were then taken to cinemas and shown films for several days. The end result was that the souls clustered together and now inhabit people in their thousands. And, of course, they must be removed - at huge expense.
Important Scientologists have denied in the past that this is the literal basis of their religion. But it does help explain where all those pictures of volcanoes on the covers of Hubbard's books come from...”
The Church of Scientology has fought many long legal battles against ex-members, in many cases forcibly taking down others' websites that reveal the deeper secrets of Scientology. But in the age of information-exchange, this is proving an endless task. For example, a sustained campaign against the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology has failed because activists keep recreating it9.
Scientology had an early run-in with the Internet-based activists known as Anonymous, which is a loose collection of hackers and IT gurus based around some chat rooms and forums.
“The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) used to help people involved with cults [...]. For twenty years it was a lifeline. Then, in 1996, its trade name, post-office box, helpline number and service mark were all bought by a Scientologist. The rights to the Cult Awareness Network name were bought up in a bankruptcy court. The small not-for-profit organisation had gone bust after what Cynthia Kisser, the executive director of the old CAN, described as a concerted attempt by Scientology to destroy her organisation. Scientologists had long described CAN as a 'hate group' and even picketed meetings that Kisser was attending. [...] CAN was bombarded by applications from Scientologists wanting to join up. When Kisser refused, the writs started pouring in. CAN was hit by more than fifty lawsuits [and although CAN won many cases, it still cost them $2million. [... Now] people who've called the hotline [...] have reported that they've ended up speaking to practising Scientologists.”
“The founder of Scientology wrote in his book Dianetics (1950) that homosexuals and lesbians are all "perverts", with mental and physical disorders, and are "dangerous to society", although he does believe that they're not completely to blame for their disease. Other official books published by the Church of Scientology have bolstered this position. The Church uses its invented science, Dianetics, to try to cure homosexuals of this, and many other, mental problems.10
“One of the first major incidents of open dissent against Hubbard's activities came when, in 1959, his eldest son, Ron Junior, or 'Nibs', turned against him and made a very public declaration that his father was insane. [...] Tragedy struck in 1976 when Hubbard's second son, Quentin, committed suicide because he realized that his homosexuality would not be tolerated in the Church of Scientology.”
In recent years (as of 2011), some gay Scientologists have argued that Scientology has changed (although others disagree) Some suspect that the seeming tolerance touted by some Scientologists is an attempt to trick homosexuals into joining the Church of Scientology hoping that they can thereafter 'cure' them. But Scientology has proven itself to be continuing in its stance against homosexuality politically.
In the book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright & Alfred A. Knopf, a story is told about Hollywood screenwriter Paul Haggis, who joined Scientology in 1975. "He didn't begin asking questions until 2008, when the Church's name appeared on a list of organizations supporting Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative to ban gay marriage. When Haggis, two of whose daughters are gay, failed to get satisfactory answers about the issue, he began researching the Church he thought he knew. What he learned led to his resignation. He tells Wright: 'I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't' "12.”