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Auditing, from the Latin audire meaning "to listen", is a central practice of both Dianetics and Scientology. It most often takes place in one-on-one settings, with one of the people being an "auditor" who guides the session, but it can also take place in group settings, or it can be performed alone, with a person acting as their own auditor. Auditing frequently uses a device called an E-meter, which measures the electrical resistance of the human body and which followers of Hubbard claim actually "measures the spiritual state or change of state of a person". The E-meter is believed to aid the auditor in identifying "engrams".
In some situations and with training, an individual reads the things the auditor would say, responds to them, notes the meter's reading, writes down what is happening, and thus an auditor need not be present in person.
The memories and emotions discussed in auditing sessions are recorded in the form of handwritten notes in "preclear folders." The Church of Scientology claims that these files are held private and strictly confidential. However, this has been a topic of controversy, as at least one organizational directive has specifically authorized the use of the data in preclear folders for "internal security" purposes, and many former Scientologists have testified that this private information was used by the Church to harass or intimidate them, or that they themselves had used it in this fashion at the direction of the Church.
- Main article: Engram (Dianetics)
A person who has confronted such moments in such a way so as to always be at cause to all memories is said to have reached the state of Clear. Until a person has become at cause over all such memories, the person is said to be a "preclear".
The auditor conducts the session and helps the preclear by applying Dianetics and/or Scientology procedures. Auditing has been compared to the Roman Catholic Confessional because it involves an adherent and a trained listener, and because its purpose is to free an adherent of past travails.
Engrams are memories of past events. Whenever they occurred, they are audited similarly. In such Scientology publications as Have You Lived Before This Life, Hubbard wrote about past life experiences dating back billions and even trillions of years. Scientology teaches that individuals are immortal souls or spirits (called Thetans by Scientology) and are not limited to a single lifetime. While Dianetics procedures were intended to audit travails of a preclear's present liftime, Scientology procedures were developed to audit any travail.
- Main article: E-meter
Most auditing sessions employ a device called the Hubbard Electropsychometer or E-Meter. This device measures changes in the electrical resistance of the preclear by passing approximately 0.5 volts through a pair of tin-plated tubes much like empty soup cans, attached to the meter by wires and held by the preclear during auditing. These low-potential changes in electrical resistance, are believed by Scientologists to be a reliable and a precise indication of changes of mental tension in the preclear.
Restrictions on AuditingEdit
Before a person can receive auditing, a checklist exists which is gone over to make sure a person is qualified to receive auditing. Typically, this includes items such as:
- A person cannot be suffering from a major untreated medical condition.
- A person cannot be wanted by the police or authorities, or be liable for arrest for a crime committed in this lifetime.
- A person must be there of his own volition, not under duress.
- A person must honestly want to be audited, and is not acting according to some other agenda.
- A person must not be constantly attacking Scientology.
In such cases, the person would have to be treated for the medical condition, turn himself in to the police, or take whatever other steps necessary to address his issue.
The Scientology/Dianetics auditing process has raised concerns from a number of quarters, as auditing sessions are permanently recorded in the form of handwritten notes in preclear folders. Although they are represented to practitioners as being private, at least one organizational directive has authorized the use of these folders for internal security purposes.
Some critics have noted that Scientology's collecting of intensely personal and private information through auditing leaves an adherent vulnerable to potential blackmail should they ever consider leaving the Church. Judge Paul Breckenridge, in Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong, noted that Mary Sue Hubbard (plaintiff in that case) "authored the infamous order "GO 121669" which directed culling of supposedly confidential P.C. [Preclear] files/folders for the purposes of internal security ... for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment". Critics and former members assert that preclear folders have indeed been used for such intimidation and harassment.
The Anderson Report, an official inquiry conducted for the state of Victoria, Australia, found that auditing involved a form of "authoritative" or "command" hypnosis, in which the hypnotist assumes "positive authoritative control" over the patient. "It is the firm conclusion of this Board that most scientology and dianetic techniques are those of authoritative hypnosis and as such are dangerous. ... the scientific evidence which the Board heard from several expert witnesses of the highest repute ... which was virtually unchallenged - leads to the inescapable conclusion that it is only in name that there is any difference between authoritative hypnosis and most of the techniques of scientology. Many scientology techniques are in fact hypnotic techniques, and Hubbard has not changed their nature by changing their names." 
Scientologists have claimed benefits from auditing including improved IQ, improved ability to communicate, enhanced memory and alleviation of dyslexia and attention deficit disorder; however, no scientific studies have verified these claims. Indeed, an Australian report stated that auditing involved a kind of command hypnosis that could lead to potentially damaging delusional dissociative states. Licensed psychotherapists have alleged that the Church's auditing sessions amount to mental health treatment without a license, but the Church vehemently disputes these allegations, and claims to have established in courts of law that its practice claims only to lead to spiritual relief. So, according to the Church, the psychotherapist treats mental health and the Church treats the spiritual being. A 1971 ruling of the United States District Court, District of Columbia (333 F. Supp. 357), specifically stated, "the E-meter has no proven usefulness in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, nor is it medically or scientifically capable of improving any bodily function."  As a result of this ruling, Scientology now publishes disclaimers in its books and publications declaring that the E-meter "by itself does nothing"  and that it is used specifically for spiritual purposes.
- ↑ The Scientology E-meter. Church of Scientology International. URL accessed on 2006-04-25.
- ↑ Memorandum of Intended Decision in Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong (PDF format)
- ↑ Atack, Jon (1990). "Chapter Four - The Clearwater Hearings" A Piece of Blue Sky, 448, Lyle Stuart. ISBN 081840499X.
- ↑ Steven Girardi (9 May 1982). Witnesses Tell of Break-ins, Conspiracy. Clearwater Sun: p. 1A.
- ↑ Prince, Jesse (1999). Affidavit of Jesse Prince. Estate of Lisa McPherson v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc., case no. 97-01235. URL accessed on 2006-06-13.
- ↑ Report of the Board of Enquiry into Scientology (PDF format) by Kevin Victor Anderson, Q.C. Published 1965 by the State of Victoria, Australia.
- ↑ What is the E-Meter and how does it work? The President of the Church of Scientology Answers Your Questions. Church of Scientology International. URL accessed on 2006-05-19.
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