When I was a younger child, my father would have my 3 siblings and I sit in a circle for our daily prayer. One night in specific, I recall my father telling a story about a celebrity who was a part of something that was spreading lies, pretending to be good when in the dark would be the exact opposite. The celebrity he spoke about was called by the name of Leah Remini. Being quite young at the time, I did not think much about the topic nor did I care for it. However, now that I attend Felician University I have been given the opportunity to find an abundance amount of information on a subject that I am particularly interested in. My father explained to me that The Church of Scientology is not what it claims to be but is rather a Cult. However, now being an adult, I can and will be examining the controversial affair and concluding for myself, what exactly is The Church of Scientology?
The Church of Scientology was founded in December of 1953 by American author Lafayette Ronald Hubbard or Ron Hubbard for short. Ron was born in small town Tilden, Nebraska on March 19, 1911 where he lived an average life of being an only child to school teacher, Ledora May and Navy officer, Harry Ross Hubbard (www.Wikipedia.com). It was not until high school when things began to get sufficiency harder for young Hubbard. After failing out of Helena high school in Helena, Montana, Hubbard decided to join the Navy after his father but unfortunately failed the pre-entry exam (www.Wikipedia.com). It was during this time when Hubbard began to write short stories and essays. Because of his mother’s educational background, Hubbard was reading well beyond his years: Shakespeare, Greek philosophy and an array of other classics (www.Scientology.org). It is to no surprise that Hubbard would later grow up to love writing.
The short writings that Ron would compose would later turn into his first science fiction novel, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. Dianetics was a self-help book aimed at providing a sense of spiritual healing through a concept called mental auditing. Mental auditing later became one of the focused practices for both new and experienced practitioners of scientology. It is a psychological analysis that seeks to dig into your past experiences and traumas to get to the root of what troubles you and eventually release you from anxiety, or make you ‘clear,’ as scientologists call this (www.interexchange.org).
According to the official Scientology website, Scientology is ” a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being” (www.Scientology.org). The website also states that Scientology addresses the spirit, not the body or mind. Scientology explains that human life is much more than part of the environment or genetics.
So, who follows this new and popular religion? Well, Costa Rica first recognized Scientology as a religion in 1991 when it was first founded. However, this religion grew rapidly and is now being followed all around the world. Mainly being followed in the Western countries, there are many members of the church who are at a higher status. There are countless celebrities who are a part of this church like, John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Kristie Alley. It is because of influencers like these that caused the movement of Scientology to grow so vast (www.Google.com).
It is understood that Scientology sees past the human body and into the human spirit. What people do not know about this church is that Scientology is an undercover religion and doesn’t publicize a portion of its core beliefs to outcasts. Specialists on the religion state that the church authorities abstain from talking about a portion of these convictions with new members and it isn’t until they have been a part of Scientology for a while that they gain proficiency with a portion of the more magical beliefs (www.interexchange.org). At the core of scientology is the possibility of a Thetan, an otherworldly being not bound to a body, that floats through the universe searching for a host. The Thetan can be considered the church’s Divine. Scientologists accept that at the hour of a child’s birth to the world, a Thetan descends and connects itself. It is accepted that an individual’s character and conduct is controlled by the Thetan. These Thetans bring their own baggage, in any case, from their previous existences, and it is the job of the scientologist to build their thetan level, or soul control, to determine the Thetan’s past injury and to turn out to be ‘clear’ (www.interexchange.org).
Those who do not follow this religion tend to believe that the entire concept of scientology is one giant science fiction novel. This idea is because the church itself was made from Ron Hubbard’s sci-fi novel Dianetics. As well as that there is no other religion or group of civilians who believe in a Thetan. A Thetan is a divine that was created for this church and it is only believed by this church (www.interexchange.org).
Scientology is all about trying to do things to improve circumstances in one’s own life and in others’ lives in general. An effective Scientologist is viewed not only as someone attending a Scientology church or practicing Scientology, but as someone who actively uses the wisdom and information that Scientology gives them to make a real, meaningful difference in the lives of others (www.Scientology.org). Those who are interested by the church normally start by reading the Scientology books and material. Once the individual has decided they want to join, they begin the process called “Scientology Training”. All the books, lectures, and films recorded by L. Ron Hubbard outlined his theories and ideas. His books also explained many strategies like auditing that can be used to improve conditions in many areas of life. Scientology believes that the information in the books will provide greater freedom, happiness, and spiritual awakening. Training in Scientology consists of learning this knowledge and learning how to correctly apply it to enhance one’s own spiritual understanding and ability and help others. It is by training that one really becomes a Scientologist, which according to them is a person capable of helping others effectively (www.Scientology.org).
Mental auditing was stated before in an earlier paragraph but was not explained. Auditing is the core practice of Scientology and according to the official Scientology website, “The goal of auditing is to restore beingness and ability” (www.scientology.org). This process consists of ridding the individual of any psychological limitations or what they like to call, spiritual disabilities. Once eliminated, the next process is to gain in their own individual abilities.
In auditing one can look at their own life and improve their willingness to consider what they are and where they are. Scientologist claim there are big differences between auditing techniques, religious practice and other customs. Auditing can be performed by a person on his own using certain Scientology books one-to-one, or administered by group such as Scientology Sunday service (www.scientology.org).
Most if not all religions have considered the afterlife or some type of life after death. The human body is considered similar in Scientology to that of other religions in that the spirit will leave the body at death. “Life and personality go on. The physical part of the organism ceases to function” (L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary).
Therefore, Scientology believes in the ‘immortality of each individual’s spirit,’ making death a minor concern. In order to grow and survive, the spirit acquires another body. The primary objective is to establish the true identity of a person. Scientology itself, according to Scientology’s teachings, is a combination of science and spirituality, believing in an eternal spirit and enhancing it. Normally, scientologists do not dwell on Heaven or Hell or the afterlife, but rather focus on the soul. According to the religion of Scientology, redemption is attained through the auditing process by ‘clearing’ engrams and implant, the root of human misery. Salvation is limited to life today and there is no ‘final salvation or damnation’ (www.wikipedia.com).
Now that I have laid out and uncovered all the information on Scientology, do I think it is a cult like my father proclaimed? Yes, I do, the online definition for a cult is “a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object” Or “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing” (lexico.com). My original thought on the matter was no, that it was not a cult, but it was also not a religion either. In my opinion, I see that Ron Hubbard wrote a lot of science fiction novels and was so involved with his stories that he eventually believed in one. So, Scientology is not a religion but a big game of “house” or in this scenario “church”. That was my original thought however, now seeing the definition of a cult. Scientology clearly “excessively admires a particular person/thing” which would be the Thetan. The church of Scientology may be very popular at this moment, but everybody knows that Cults lead to no good and will end up breaking a part, lets just see how long it takes.