The Church of Scientology (COS) claims to have over 8 million members with 2,318 churches and missions, in 107 countries. They claim 500,000 new converts per year (The Church of Scientology,40th Anniversary Booklet, p. 2).
They also claim that it "is the fastest growing church in the world today" (What Is Scientology?, p. 553). Yet, there is often a deep gulf between what Scientology says and what is actually true.
Scientology is quite controversial. It has a long history of fraud and deception, of abusing members both financially and spiritually, as well as harrassment of its critics.
Scientology has an axiom that one should never pass by a word that isn't clearly understood without first defining it (Dianetics, p. viii, 1987 edition).
Fraud: intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value; a person who is not what he or she pretends to be; implies guilt and often criminality in act or practice (Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, pp. 463-4).
Deceit: to cause to accept as true or valid that which is false or invalid; to lead astray by underhandedness; telling of a lie in order to escape guilt or to gain an end (Ibid., p. 298).
Scientology claims to be an applied religious philosophy and a religion. Indeed, the I.R.S. did recently grant the COS a religious tax-exempt status, "ending a 40-year battle with the controversial church over its purpose and methods of dealing with opponents, which included burglary and intimidation" (St. Petersburg Times, 23 October 1993, p. 1A).
Many researchers and former members who have chronicled the origin, development, beliefs and practices of Scientology, view it more as a totalitarian, abusive, business cult, wrapping itself in the cloak of religion for reasons of opportunism and expediency.
Several European governments have already rejected Scientology's claim to be a religion. Denmark has withdrawn Scientology's missionary status; France has withdrawn Scientology's tax-exempt and religious status; and in Germany the courts stripped the COS of its religious and tax-exempt status, ruling that it was "only a pretext for pursuing business interests" (Associated Press Release, 22 March 1995).
The appellate court in Germany stated that to qualify as a church Scientology must demonstrate itself as such both in "spiritual content" and "visible activities." The court denied that either existed sufficiently and that Scientology was acting as a church to serve "as a cover for pursuing business interest" (Landesarbeitsgericht Hamburg ruling of 21 May 1994, as cited in The Cult Observer, July/August 1995, p. 11).
In the United States, religious freedom is more broadly defined. But freedom of religion does not grant immunity from criminal and civil breaches of the law, including the abuse of people's right to an informed choice (fraud) without coercion. A future article in this series will document the long history of Scientology's many violations in these areas.
Dianetics, "the nation's number one self-help bestseller" reads the cover of L. Ron Hubbard's mass-marketed book, published by Scientology's Bridge Publications. Dianetics is also prominent on television infommercials.
Scientologists claim the word dianetics is derived from Greek and that it means "what the soul is doing to the body through the mind" (Reference Guide to the Scientology Religion, p. 1). However, the only discernable Greek roots to which the word could lay claim have nothing to do with the body. Dianetics had its origin in a science fiction article by L. Ron Hubbard titled "Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science," published in the May, 1950, issue of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine.
Scientology and Dianetics did not always claim to be a religion. In fact, in the Hubbard Information Letter of 12 April 1961, Hubbard wrote, "Scientology auditing [counseling] is today the only validated psychotherapy in the world.... Scientology is a precise science.... The first science to put the cost of psychotherapy within the range of any person's pocketbook."
Many believe Scientology's claim to be a religion is only a pretense. Not only does the original intent of Dianetics/ Scientology support this idea, it exposes one of the many contradictions in Scientology. Today, Scientology vehemently denies any identification with psychotherapy. In fact one of its arch-enemies and targets for attack is psychiatry.
Scientology is a mixture of Hubbard's megalomania, science fiction, New Age beliefs, and Freudian psychology. It is ruthless and aggressively totalisitc. Hubbard declared, "The world is ours, own it" (L.A. Times, 24 June 1990, p. A-36). For its members Scientology has an all consuming, never-ending urgency. "The whole agonized future of this planet, every Man, Woman, and Child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology. This is a deadly serious activity" ("Keeping Scientology Working," Hubbard Communications Office (HCO) Policy Letter, 7 February 1965, p. 9).
Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard's writings and lectures (tapes) are considered to be infallible Scripture. He is known as the exclusive "Source" of the only truth to lead man to total spiritual freedom. Scientology's spokeswoman Leisa Goodman writes, "Mr. Hubbard's writings and lectures on the human spirit comprise the Scripture of Scientology religion.... As the sole source of the Scriptures, he has no successor" (L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of Dianetics and Scientology, p. 1). In addition, no one else is allowed to alter his issues. They are to remain intact. Only Hubbard can revise them (Scientology Policy Directive 19, 7 July 1982).
God-like through OT
Scientology claims that it "brings man to total freedom and truth. The essential tenets of Scientology are these: You are an immortal, spiritual being. Your experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. And your capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized" (A Description of the Scientology Religion, p. 57). The common New Age tenets of reincarnation and the inherent deity of man are recognizable in these statements.
THETAN. Scientology claims that our true nature is that of a "Thetan," the true essence of a person whose goal is to arrive at the god-like state of Operating Thetan (OT). The Thetan is the soul or spirit, not the body or mind. In this way, Scientology is an expression of New Age gnosticism, again in the New Age family of cults.
OPERATING THETAN. The spirit who is "able to operate without dependency on things." An OT is "at cause over life," being "able to control matter, energy, space, and time [MEST]" (What is Scientology? p. 566). He or she is able to astral travel and read minds (Scientology Catechism, pp. 213, 215).
How does one achieve this alleged rehabilitated OT state? For one thing, it takes a lot of money and a total surrender of mind and will to Scientology. Hubbard "discovered" or developed an elaborate and very rigid system of expensive steps (courses) to reach this state. These courses are supposed to move the individual through various "gradients" along the path (called "The Bridge") to becoming "Clear."
BECOMING CLEAR. Scientology teaches that the human mind is divided into portions 3/4 thereactive mind and the analytical mind. The reactive mind is roughly equivalent to what Freud called the sub-conscious. Stored in the reactive mind are engrams, which are negative or painful experiences that have occurred in the past - including past lives. Engrams are supposedly the source of irrational behavior and psychosomatic ills (What Is Scientology? pp.144-45).
AUDITING. The solution to man's problems, then, is to become free of engrams, by taking very expensive Scientology courses where one is audited. During auditing sessions a "pre-clear" is attached to an expensive Scientology E-meter, an "electropsychometer" (a crude electrogalvanometer or lie detector), and asked a series of structured questions, supposedly uncovering these "buried" experiences (A Description of the Scientology Religion, pp. 60-75).
Scientology's goal for auditing is to eliminate the effects of the engrams, erasing them from the reactive mind and re-filing them in the analytical mind, which is supposedly able now to make rational conclusions based on the truth of Scientology axioms. When a person is supposedly free of engrams in the reactive mind, that person reaches the state of "Clear," the end result of Dianetics (Ibid., p. 76).
CLEARLY PERFECT. Today, Scientology claims that a person who is Clear is "freed from ...psychosomatic illness," is "able to perceive, recall, imagine, create and compute at a level high above the norm," and can "resolve problems of living with accuracy" (What is Scientology? p. 146). Scientology also claims that a Clear's I.Q. will "increase rapidly" (Scientology Catechism, p. 213). According to Jon Atack, a former Scientologist who had advanced to the level of OT 5 before becoming disillusioned, Hubbard also claimed that a Clear would have "near perfect memory" and be "phenomenally intelligent" (A Piece of Blue Sky, p. 108).
PERFECTLY CLEAR? Persons who become Clear soon experience Scientology's frequent tactic of "bait and switch." After striving to reach the prize of being Clear, with all its promises, upon reaching it they discover that instead of being in a wonderful state they are now in grave danger. The Scientologists learn that they are actually inhabited with clusters of "body thetans." A mass of "body thetans" have attached themselves to every person and are influencing their thoughts, feelings, and behavior with their own [the body thetans'] engrams and implants (L.A. Times, 24 June 1990, p. A-36).
An implant is "a painful and forceful means of overwhelming a being with false concepts in a malicious attempt to control and suppress him" (Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary, p. 206).
Of course this is also a handy explanation for why Scientologists, despite going Clear, may still be a little depressed, still lose their tempers, or not have perfect memory. For complete mastery, Scientologists must proceed further along "The Bridge" through the eight levels of Operating Thetan (OT). The purported conclusion of successful completion of OT III is a "return to full self determinism: freedom from overwhelm" (A Piece of Blue Sky, p. 31).
This process is essentially the same as exorcism in that the thetan spirits must be identified and cast off in order for the Scientologist to be free. At what cost? The price will vary between $200,000 and $400,000 depending on how much money one can procure and how many hours are needed in auditing to accomplish the gradient goals (Time, 6 May 1991, p. 34). The spiritual cost may be beyond counting.
Scientology vs. Christianity
Scientologists claim their religion "respects all religions," and does "not conflict with other relgions or religious practices" (What is Scientology? pp. 544 -45). Claiming to be compatible with Christianity and respectful of Jesus Christ, they write, "Scientologists hold the Bible as a holy work, and have no argument with the Christian belief that Jesus Christ was the Savior of Mankind and the Son of God.... There are probably many types of redemption. That of Christ was to heaven" (Ibid., p. 545).
Scientology goes even further in saying, "there is no attempt to change a person's beliefs or to persuade him away from any religion to which he already belongs" (Ibid. p. 544).
All of this is subterfuge; none of it is true. In reality, Scientology is very alien and hostile to Christianity. Hubbard's many taped lectures, thousands of policy letters and directives, and the so-called secret or hidden teachings contained in upper level courses, provide ample evidence of Scientology's duplicity and its true beliefs about Christianity (and other religions). Also shown are Scientology's own bizarre, science fiction type of doctrines, which can only be regarded as, quite literally, "doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1).
FOREIGN FOUNDATIONS. Hubbard claimed that he consulted the beliefs of various ancient cultures, the Tao, Buddha's Dharma & Discourses, the lamaseries in China, and the Hindu Vedas, in the development of Scientology. Hubbard claimed in his Phoenix Lectures that, "A great deal of our material in Scientology is discovered right back there" (p. 12).
FALSE DEFINITIONS. He displays his ignorance with his own "false data," claiming that "the Hebrew definition of Messiah is One Who Brings Wisdom," and "Messiah is from 'messenger'" (p. 27).
The truth is, the Hebrew "messiah" or mashîah literally means "annointed one." In the biblical context it refers to the Anointed King and Savior of God's people - fulfilled in Jesus Christ (see, Theological Worldbook of the Old Testament, Vol. 1, pp. 530-31).
Hubbard stated that there were other messiahs prior to Christ, that early Christianity is not the same as the Christianity today, that the New Testament contains legends, Judgment Day is a superstition, and finally, he repeated a typical New Age claim that Christianity is actually traced back and is subsumed in the Hindu Vedas (Phoenix Lectures, pp. 28-31).
The following are a list of quotations from Hubbard's writings, the "Scriptures" of Scientology, that demonstrate its blasphemous nature.
"There are gods above all other gods, and gods beyond the gods of the universes." Hubbard taught that man's goal through Scientology processing is to arrive at the I AM state himself. He also ridiculed God's justice and the idea that God punishes sin (Scientology 8-8008, pp. 72-3).
"The whole Christian movement is based on the victim.... A Scientologist is not a victim.... We can win by converting victims. Christianity succeeded in making people into victims. We can succeed by making victims into people" (HCO Bulletin, 18 July 1959).
Scientology claims that it alone "brings man to total freedom and truth" (A Description of the Scientology Religion, p. 57).
"It is despicable and utterly beneath contempt to tell a man he must repent, that he is evil" (Professional Auditor Bulletin [PAB] #31, 23 July 1954).
"Nobody but the individual can die for his sins" (HCO Bulletin, 2 January 1960).
Like the Christian Science cult, Scientology teaches that "It is a basic tenet of Scientology that man is basically good.... Sin is composed ...of lies and hidden actions and is therefore untruth" (What is Scientology? p. 546).
"Hell is a total myth, an invention just to make people unhappy and is a vicious lie" (PAB #130, 15 Feb. 1958).
"Religion...being basically a control mechanism used by those who have sent the preclear into a body. You will find the cross as a symbol all over the universe, and the Christ legend as an implant [a false concept designed to over power and control] in preclears millions of years ago" (PAB #31, 23 July 1954).
In Scientology's Class 8 course, lecture 10, (3 October 1968) Hubbard taught, "Somebody somewhere on this planet, back about 600 B.C. found some pieces of R6 [a suppressive implant], and I don't know how they found it, either by watching madman or something. But since that time they have used it and it became what is known as Christianity. The man on the cross. There was no Christ" (Corydon and Hubbard, L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? p. 362).
"Also the Christian church used (and uses) implanting.... They took over the Nicene Creed before the year zero, in vented Christ (who comes from the crucifixion in R6 75M years ago, and implanted their way to power" (HCO Bulletin, 23 September 1968, Class VIII).
Hubbard claimed that through "scientific research," not opinion, he went to heaven. He wrote, "For a long while some people have been cross with me for my lack of cooperation in believing in a Christian Heaven, God, and Christ. I have never said that I didn't disbelieve [sic] in a Big Thetan, but there was something very corny about heaven, et.al.... There was a heaven.... Yes, I've been to Heaven. And so have you. You have the pattern of its implants.... The Symbol of the crucified Christ is very apt indeed. It's the symbol of a thetan betrayed.... The place [heaven] is so full of lies by implant that the preclear becomes quite confused.... somebody discovered ...and utilized them to install religious mania and pin thetans down to 'one life' and planets" ("Routine 3", HCO Bulletin, 11 May, A.D. 13 [pub. 1963] pp. 1-3).
Hubbard went on to write, "But I imagine when we finally manage to communicate with beetles under rocks and free them, we'll no doubt find the Creator of Heaven who 43+ trillion years ago designed the Pearly Gates and entrapped us all. Good Lord, I'd hate to be guilty of that overt [harmful act]" (Ibid.,p.4)
Antithetical to Christianity, and to reality, is the Scientology belief in past lives or reincarnation. For some reason, Scientology tries to equivocate on terms, claiming that they "do not believe in reincarnation" (Reference Guide, p. 10).
This is a specious, semantical argument because Hubbard clearly identifies with and teaches the concept of reincarnation. Scientology teaches that man's spirit, or thetan, continues to enter into other bodies after each body dies - hence re-incarnation (Have You Lived Before This Life? pp. 1, 31-45).
Also, in an official response to a critical newspaper series on Scientology, August Murphy, president of the Church of Scientology of San Francisco wrote, "Another basic concept Scientology shares with universal religious thought is reincarnation. Like Buddhism, Hinduism, and early Christianity, Scientology believes that the individual as an immortal being has assumed many bodies in his evolution in the physical universe toward an ultimate realization and freedom from material bondage" (The News-Herald, 27 July 1992 p. 5).
Hubbard, like many New Age proponents, erroneously claims that reincarnation was a belief held by the early Chris tian church and was removed by "four monks" at the "synod of Constantinople" in 553 A.D. (Have You Ever Lived Before This Life? p. 2). This demonstrates more woeful ignorance of historical facts.
Probably the most insane and diabolical (and apparently embarrassing) teachings of Hubbard are his Operating Thetan (OT) levels. Hubbard claimed that anyone who learned about OT III before they had progressed (paid their money and passed the prior gradients), would catch pneumonia and die (The American Lawyer, March 1996, p. 70). Scientology's attempts to suppress this information from public awareness has been most fierce.
Fortunately, the OT documents and other bizarre writings have been made public documents through various legal cases.They have been disseminated widely, through the Internet, books written by former OTs exposing Scientology, and in major newspaper stories. The courts have been ruling that these documents can not be considered "trade secrets." To even claim "trade secret" status for these documents, and "commercial harm done" by their public distribution, betrays the true nature of Scientology as a commercial enterprise.