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This article examines the beliefs and practices of Scientology as taught by the Church of Scientology. For variants, see Free Zone.

Beliefs and central tenets of Scientology Edit

The central tenets of Scientology are based on the belief that a person is an immortal spiritual being (referred to as a thetan) who has a mind and is motivating a body, but is neither of these. A thetan is basically good and trying to survive. No person survives alone, but does so ultimately in coordination with their fellows, and with the greater world around them.

An important theme running through Scientology writings is helping people. Scientology holds that not only can people change -- improving themselves and their conditions, but they can be helped. This is summed up in the phrase: "Something can be done about it", meaning the problems of people and the world. Scientology believes that something should be done about the problems of people and the current condition of the world at large.

Another important theme is the importance of using specific Scientology procedures. There are said to be procedures for addressing almost any condition imaginable, and using the correct procedure for a particular condition is said to guarantee a successful result in a short period of time (if this result does not ensue, the cause is held to be that the incorrect procedure was applied, or was applied improperly.) Each procedure is used until a specific end result is accomplished.

The Dynamics Edit

Scientology holds that man's survival depends upon more than just himself. The urge to survive is expanded by Scientology tenets into eight areas, known as "dynamics". These dynamics can be pictured as increasingly larger and wider-ranging areas. They are:[1]

  1. One's self. This dynamic represents one's effort to survive as an individual. Says the Church, "This dynamic includes the individual plus his immediate possessions. It does not include other people."
  2. Sex. This was the original Second Dynamic as set by Hubbard. It had two divisions: (a) the sexual act, and (b) the family unit. In recent years, however, the Church has changed this dynamic to "Creativity" and minimizes the importance of sex: "It also incidentally includes sex as a mechanism to compel future survival".[2]
  3. Groups. "A group can be a community, friends, a company, a social lodge, a state, a nation, a race or in short, any group. It doesn’t matter what size this group is, it is seeking to survive as a group."
  4. Mankind. "Whereas the American nationality would be considered a third dynamic for Americans, all the nationalities of the world together would be considered the fourth dynamic."
  5. All living things. "This includes all living things whether animal or vegetable, anything directly and intimately motivated by life."
  6. The physical universe. "The physical universe has four components. These are matter, energy, space and time", which the Church commonly acronyms to MEST.
  7. Spirits. "The seventh dynamic is life source. This is separate from the physical universe and is the source of life itself."
  8. The supreme being, or Infinity. "The eighth dynamic is commonly supposed to be a Supreme Being or Creator. It is correctly defined as infinity. It actually embraces the allness of all." [3]

According to Scientology doctrine, these areas are used to understand one's life, and to improve one's solutions to life by bettering one's understanding of the different areas of life.

Because Scientology teaches that furthering "survival" is the preferred spiritual path, a common phrase used within the organization is: "The greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." The idea implies a balance among all areas.

Critics state this goal is designed to ensure all actions made by Scientologists benefit the Church first, before any other accomplishments are taken into consideration. Scientology responds that any decent and honest organization has the right to work for its survival, and maintains true survival for the individual depends on a proper balance of all of the dynamics of Life, which each person must decide for themselves.

The Dynamics do not only encompass survival in the narrow aspect of living one more day, but in the larger aspect of creating a better future.

Reactive mindEdit

Main article: Reactive mind

L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health states that a person's upsets, limitations and harmful acts can be attributed in part to a portion of his mind of which he is normally unaware, called the reactive mind. This portion of the mind stores exact impressions, (engrams) of past events which occurred while the person was unconscious or otherwise not completely aware. The common element in these recordings are pain and unconsciousness, which then act to cross associate and cross wire the incidents involved in the mind. Linked by pain, these cross associations interfere with logical thinking and action. These engrams can be restimulated to a greater or lesser degree, when the current situation matches in some way the contents of the engram, especially when a person is tired, causing irrational emotional responses or psychosomatic illnesses. The aware reasonable portion of a person's mind is referred to as the analytical mind.

Scientologists believe that the reactive mind has a malignant effect, causing irrational behavior and creating individual weaknesses as well as undermining efforts to create lasting, prosperous, and sane societies. Past painful incidents are seen as acting as templates for future actions and events, which are often acted out with destructive results. This not only applies to an individual, but to cultures and societies as well. Engrams can take place on each of the Dynamics. Scientologists take it as a given that ultimately, such situations are only fully resolvable by confronting the actual root causes of the situation.

Dianetics can be said to be Hubbard's effort to investigate and address the pathology of the stimulus response mechanism of the human mind, as seen in the various behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of people. Dianetics does not propose any particular physical change of a human body resulting from such stimulus and response, except for the remission of various psychosomatic components of illnesses, along with various mind/body phenomena observed in hypnosis. Hubbard stated in the beginning of the book Dianetics that he was not interested in investigating the structure of the brain and body, claiming that instead he was purely interested in people, and the causes of personal suffering.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

The Tone scaleEdit

Main article: Tone scale

The tone scale is a characterization of human mood and behaviour by various positions on a scale from +40 to -40. For example, 40 on the tone scale (often described as Tone 40) corresponds to "Serenity of Beingness" whilst -40 corresponds to "Total Failure". Negative tones are said by Scientology to be dangerous, as the emotions or moods in the negative range theoretically impair the person's interactions with the world around them.

Scientologists claim that people get to a higher level on the tone scale through "auditing."

The Bridge Edit

Scientology bases its teachings on the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. The Church of Scientology claims to be one of the first religious organizations to have the vast majority of its founder's writings and thoughts available both in print, as approved by the author, and in over 6,000 taped lectures. Over a period of more than thirty years, Hubbard developed an enormous body of instructions, rules, and regulations for properly "applying" Scientology.

With such a wide variety of material, Hubbard decided to optimize the sequence of study and auditing to the most essential elements in the best sequence. This sequence was revised many times, and was ultimately standardized by Hubbard as the Bridge. Scientology teaches that the Bridge is the best and most correct sequence of auditing, study, and training to follow. This sequence is claimed to mark out the only known way out of what Hubbard calls "the physical universe trap" to full awareness of oneself as a spiritual being and true spiritual freedom. It consists, in large part, of addressing those areas that are claimed by Scientology to trap people if left unhandled.

While the Bridge is held to be an unalterable sequence that all Scientologists must follow in precise order, there are exceptions in various optional procedures designed to address specific issues.

One such is called Life Repair, where various elements of the Tech are used as needed to help address the ordinary travails of life. Another example is the Student Repair rundown, addressing the upsets and travails one has experienced as a student. There are a large number of such optional repair procedures for a wide number of circumstances. When these are done (as needed) and fully completed to the satisfaction of the person being audited, one then proceeds to the next step of the Bridge.

The original goal of Dianetics was to reach the level of "awareness" known as the state of "Clear". Hubbard originally claimed that a person who obtained the "state of Clear" would find himself able to use "100%" of his mind, and engage in superhuman feats of mental skill.

After the discovery of the Thetan came the development of Scientology, and it became apparent to Hubbard that there were confusions between what was possible with a Clear, and what was possible with the states of being that were being researched.

Achieving Clear is still considered vitally important. Scientology still promotes the State of Clear as a goal to be reached, and Scientology courses are intended to provide a path to the state of Clear, and beyond. Scientology promotes this path as the "Bridge to Total Freedom", and it encourages all Scientologists to "move up the Bridge" towards this level of awareness. After becoming Clear, Scientology encourages its adherents to move towards the level of "Operating Thetan" (OT).

For the most dedicated, moving to higher levels on the Bridge towards total freedom takes precedence over all other duties in Scientology, and all tasks performed by Scientologists are seen as a step towards "moving up the Bridge." However, it is not uncommon to find Scientologists who have dedicated a portion of their time to a variety of social betterment activities, temporarily delaying their progress on the Bridge for the sake of improving society.

One less well known aspect is that the levels above Clear are by invitation only. Anyone can purchase published scientology materials and study them, and work towards the level of Clear. Only those who have actually contributed to the organization are invited to the Advanced levels.

Another less well known aspect of the Bridge is that while the lower levels are delivered in auditing sessions with a professional auditor, in the upper levels much of the auditing is done is a specialised set of procedures called "Solo Auditing", where the person is his/her own auditor. A person does not pay fees for being his own auditor.

Critics of Scientology note that the cost of "moving up the Bridge" becomes increasingly greater as one proceeds further into Scientology initiation. This cost, which amounts to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time the upper levels are reached, is the source of enormous tension between Scientology, its critics, and Scientologists who eventually leave the organization before obtaining the state of Clear, or after it. The schedule of donations is comparable to fees for a university education. As such, it is the only major religion that charges its members for what amounts to pastoral counseling.(See Church of Scientology for additional details of its costs.)

Standard Tech Edit

Main article: Standard Tech

An integral part of the Bridge is what is known as Standard Tech. Hubbard's effort was to ensure total comprehension of his work, and to see that his writings and instructions were fully, correctly, and competently applied. As a result of this effort, Hubbard developed what became known as the system of Standard Tech. Standard Tech is the system developed and codified by Hubbard in the 1960s at his home at Saint Hill in England. These writings, which are looked upon as scripture in Scientology, are officially known as "Training and Auditing Technology," although among Scientologists, Hubbard's technical writings are referred to as Standard Tech or simply The Tech. They include not only auditing procedures, but also include materials governing training, and the administration of a fully operational Scientology facilty.

Standard Tech, according to Scientology, must always be delivered to Scientologists in its pure form. As the developer of the Tech, Hubbard himself is referred to as Source, and his writings are considered the only true source of the Tech.

However, since Hubbard's death and his replacement by successor David Miscavige, there have been many subtle and not-so-subtle alterations and omissions from Hubbard's texts and even recordings. These altered texts in Scientology doctrine have caused controversy both inside and outside the Church, especially among Free Zone practitioners. [4]

Past lives Edit

Much of the controversy surrounding Scientology is a consequence of the doctrine of the immortal spirit in combination with the acceptance of past lives.

The logical extension is that if one is immortal, then one did not always have past lives in human form, only in historically documented cultures, or only on planet Earth. In fact, given a truly immortal being, and immense periods of time, unusual coincidences between events widely separated in time and space would easily attract more attention and notoriety than the commonplace and often boring lifetime of, for example, a serf or a peasant. A truly immortal being might not even be restricted to living his or her existence in a single universe.

Hubbard is documented to have written about past life memories that include all stages of human evolution since the clam (see Scientology History of Man), lives on past planets as other life forms, and real and implanted memories from the alien spirits that Xenu trapped on Earth 75 million years ago.

Often, a newcomer will become fascinated with speculations about who or what he was in a past life. Scientology does not engage in spiritualist readings to tell or find out for someone who or what he was. The Scientology auditor's code is supposed to prevent an auditor from telling or suggesting answers to these questions. Rather, Scientologists claim that auditing will bring these things to light as a secondary benefit of the procedure.

Another aspect of past lives is that, with "life times that number like grains of sand on the beach," almost any combination of circumstances may have occurred in the past, with any number or combination of people, and as such many things will repeat to one degree or another. You could have hundreds of lifetimes as a pirate, housewife, tribesman, or in a world on the brink of a major war.

What this means is that while a person may be pleased or thrilled or displeased or horrified with a particular past life, ultimately the significance of past lives is not as important as you would think at first. What is more important is releasing the force of impact of events and amnesia about past events that continue to compel one into a specific aberrant behavior or attitude, even when that original incident is long forgotten.

Many Scientologists report recalling past lives through auditing. Scientology claims that through auditing, ultimately anything that has happened to one was something the person somehow himself created or allowed and that they need to take responsibility to be free of its burden. A person must be willing to confront and be responsible for the situation he finds himself in. Thus Scientologists tend to have strong feelings regarding personal responsibility for the world around them, especially since they believe they will come back to live in the world they helped create. However, since they are taught that Scientology is the only means to really help the world and "clear the planet", this "responsibility" mainly takes the form of propagating Scientology and forwarding its agenda in any way they can.

Critics call this belief a pseudoscience, stating the theory seems to be tailored so it is not falsifiable by any observations of the real world. They point out that whatever reaction a person has can be ascribed to some previously unknown incident in one of the many past lives. Writer Alan Levy described, in a 1968 article for the magazine Life, the incident that caused him to leave Scientology: the E-meter "determined" the date of an incident that Levy knew to have happened on a Sunday morning to be March 18, 1958 (a date which Levy subsequently discovered with an almanac was not a Sunday at all, but a Tuesday.) Levy wrote:

I am sure that among the millions of words Elron has written, there are some to convince me that the Engram I unlocked in that one auditing session did happen on a Tuesday -- in another life -- or that March 18 did fall on a Sunday when I was in the womb. But, thankfully, it no longer matters.[1]

See also the general article on Reincarnation.

Secret levels and writings Edit

The church acknowledges that at the higher levels of initiation (OT levels), teachings are imparted which may be considered "mystical" and potentially harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. The secrets are about methods, techniques, skills, and the context which underlies them in order to accomplish a specific spiritual goal. They are not intended for those who would use them for purposes of personal entertainment, critical review or other non-spiritual reasons.

Certain materials have been made confidential. Some are said to have been made confidential because it was found they were subject to abuse when made freely available, even when students should have known better. Other materials are said to require a certain amount of expertise, skill, and understanding before they can be used correctly and properly applied. Therefore certain prerequisites are in place before these particular materials are made available to the parishoner or student auditor.

Some information has been claimed to be confidential, when in fact it is not, and so a large amount of information that was not previously available has been published and made broadly available in recent years. A large number of recorded lectures have been made available in multiple languages.

One of the premises of the church is that the OT levels are meant to be an empirical subject, something one "discovers for oneself" through processing (auditing).

The church claims that if a person reads "distorted" versions of the higher level teachings one is likely to question one's own experience when "in session" adding time to the process in order to sort matter out fully and thereby sabotaging the process. According to the church, it opposes the distribution of the "confidential" levels in order to protect them (and the Scientologists attaining them) from contamination by outside sources.

The "Hidden Truth" about the nature of the universe is taught to the most advanced Scientologists in a series of courses known as the Advanced Levels. These are the levels above "Clear" and their contents are held in strict confidence within Scientology. The Advanced Levels are also known as the eight Pre-OT (Operating Thetan) levels. The highest level, OT VIII, is only disclosed at sea, on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds, and is said to be the first true OT level. Since being entered into evidence in several court cases beginning in the 1980s, synopses and excerpts of these secret teachings are said have appeared in numerous publications.

Scientologists argue that published accounts of the Xenu story and other colorful teachings are pulled out of context for the purpose of ridiculing their religion. Journalists and critics counter that Xenu is part of a much wider Scientology belief in past lives on other planets, some of which has been public knowledge for decades. For instance, Hubbard's 1958 book Have You Lived Before This Life? documents past lives described by individual Scientologists during auditing sessions. These included memories of being "deceived into a love affair with a robot decked out as a beautiful red-haired girl", being run over by a Martian bishop driving a steamroller, being transformed into an intergalactic walrus that perished after falling out of a flying saucer, and recalling life as "a very happy being who strayed to the planet Nostra 23,064,000,000 years ago."

Although reliable statistics are not available, it is fair to say most Scientologists are not at a sufficiently high level on "the bridge" to learn about Xenu. Therefore, while knowledge of Xenu is claimed by critics to be crucial to the highest level church teachings, it cannot be regarded as a core belief of common Scientologists. On the other hand, Scientology literature does include many references to extraterrestrial past lives and internal publications are often illustrated with pictures of spaceships and oblique references to catastrophic events that happened "75 million years ago".

Scientology and the Supreme Being Edit

Scientology acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being and believes perception and worship of God is a personal matter. The Church of Scientology is non-denominational. Scientologists worship God as they choose to.

Practices Edit

Daily PracticesEdit

Churches of Scientology are busy places. Courses are taught days, evenings and weekends. Auditing goes on during many of a church's public hours. This is a contrast to the Sunday Church Service found in many Christian Churches. Scientology is an applied spiritual philosophy based on Mr. Hubbard's writings (perhaps as many as 25 million words); thus, education is a key element of what goes on in Scientology Churches. Parishoners can attend Sunday Service, though this has no special merit in Scientology scriptures. They often study auditing part time or full time in the evenings, weekends, or during the day. Introductory courses usually run from a day or evening to a few weeks. Part-time students of professional level courses maintain a schedule of 12.5 hours per week, while full time students might be in class as much as 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will often take part in a variety of groups and church activities, including artist associations, charity events and anti-drug crusades, among others.

Scientologists do not have any dietary restrictions, aside from good sense and cultural preferences. They are not opposed to modern medicine (excluding psychiatry), can receive blood transfusions, and receive routine medical care. A person is encouraged to maintain health using good sense. Parishioners must seek medical treatment for medical conditions before being accepted for spiritual counseling.

They are outspoken against the use of street drugs. There is no specific prohibition against social use of alcohol, as Hubbard himself mentions use as a young man. However, alcohol abuse is a concern. There are no particular prohibitions against hair coloring, music styles or body piercings. Maintaining good appearance is considered an exercise in good manners. In the Sea Org, perfume and even perfumed soaps or washing powders are frowned upon, especially in areas dealing with service to the public.

There are no specific daily rituals or prayers.

Silent birth Edit

Main article: Silent birth

Women are encouraged to be as silent as possible and avoid taking drugs during birth. Newborns are deemed especially vulnerable to induced engrams and trauma transmitted from their mother or acquired from their environment.

Scientology holidays Edit

Main article: Scientology holidays

There are many holidays, commemorations and observances in the Church, but three notable ones are L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday in March; the Anniversary of the first publication of Dianetics in May; and a holiday honoring all auditors, called Auditor's Day, in September. Most official celebrations are scheduled on weekends as a convenience to parishoners. Scientologists also celebrate secular holidays such as New Year's Eve, and other local celebrations. For example, many exchange gifts at Christmas where this holiday is popular.

Auditing Edit

Main article: Auditing (Scientology)

The central practice of Scientology, and Dianetics before it, is an activity known as auditing (listening) which, Scientologists claim, seeks to elevate an adherent to a State of Clear, one of freedom from the influences of the reactive mind. The practice is one wherein a counselor called an auditor addresses a series of questions to a preclear, observes and records the preclear's responses, and acknowledges them. An important element in all forms of auditing is to not to suggest answers to the preclear, and invalidate or degrade what the preclear says in response. It is of utmost importance the auditor create a truly safe and distraction free environment for the session.

This practice is one of the controversial aspects of Scientology as auditing sessions are permanently recorded in the form of hand written notes in Preclear Folders. Practical concerns prohibit a stenographic approach to the notes, which must include a variety of technical details and observations.

The Purification Rundown Edit

Main article: Purification Rundown

The 'Purification Rundown, known as "The Purif" within Scientology, is a program of "detoxification" developed by L. Ron Hubbard, involving the use of saunas, vitamins, and the drinking of oils. While it is heavily promoted as a health regimen within Scientology, and in Scientology's rehabilitation program Narconon, the procedure is viewed as dangerous by most medical professionals, as it calls for saunas and vitamins far in excess of what mainstream medicine considers safe levels.

The Purification Rundown is usually the first step for a Scientologist towards going "Clear". The program usually takes about two weeks. As well as spending time in saunas, Scientologists are required to do light calisthenics.

Auditor Training Edit

Auditors are required to become routinely expert in the use of their E-meters. A typical exercise in auditor training (from the Book of E-Meter Drills) is to be able to determine the number a silent person is thinking of. A sophisticated training simulator, able to recreate all manner of E-meter reactions, is now used in Scientology churches to assist in Auditor training. E-meters now include circuitry for feeding the various signals to special course training supervisors who can monitor the session of a student auditor, and via microphone can coach a student auditor to delivering a better auditing session without disturbing the person receiving auditing. Auditors are also required to become routinely expert in the use of the procedures that they will be using, so much so that they know the correct action to take under any circumstance that may occur in session. Auditors do not receive final certification until they have successfully completed an internship, and have demonstrated and proven ability in the skills they have been trained in. In this system, auditors do not deliver procedures in which they have not been certified.[2]

Auditors often practice their auditing with each other, as well as friends, or family. Church members pair up often to get their training, doing the same course at the same time, so that they can audit each other up through the various Scientology levels.

Verbal Tech Edit

One of the more controversial aspects of Scientology is the tendency of its members to avoid answering direct questions about their faith with anything but a quote from L. Ron Hubbard. Observers have noted an ongoing policy in Scientology that forbids actual discussion of the processes of Scientology and how they work. Some observers requesting verbal explanations have become very annoyed with being asked to read original source materials.

In Scientology teachings, the best course is to get explanations of concepts and ideas directly from Hubbard, be it through books, or audio recordings, or movies. For beginning students, this is also the simplest way of giving an explanation of a particular concept. The act of discussing Scientology processes in a spoken manner is called "verbal tech," and this is believed to ultimately interfere with the direct understanding, and thus the working of the Tech. The Tech can only be delivered to Scientologists in its original form, as written or spoken on tapes and seen in films.

When the actual discussion of the Tech is not coming from Hubbard himself, it is seen as being diluted or distorted, and thus is no longer 100% pure. As a result, engaging in "verbal tech" is forbidden within Scientology. This disallowing of "verbal tech" directs Scientologists to the original source materials[5] (Hubbard's original writings) to clarify a concept, such as the actual workings of what Scientology is and how it works.

Scientology holds that the best course is to get explanations of concepts and ideas directly from Hubbard, be it through books, or audio recordings, or movies. Scientology contends that this policy of forbidding "verbal tech" exists in order to keep the Tech pure and unadulterated, and to prevent students from passing on their misunderstandings of Hubbard's instructions to others. Secondary materials produced by students are considered inferior to Hubbard's original works, due to their creators' misinterpretation of Scientologist doctrine; Hubbard's efforts to rectify this problem and prevent any future misunderstandings led to the development of the system known as "Standard Tech".

"Truth itself must be approached on a gradient" Edit

A key component of Scientology training and auditing is that one is learning about oneself and the universe and one's place in it on a gradient. While one can purchase thousands of pages of material and literally thousands of hours of audio lectures, some material is introductory material, and some is intended for the professional auditor. The church has published a best sequence of study, so that auditors develop their skills in a way meant to quickly ensure maximum skill and expertise.

Critics cite this as the idea that a Scientologist must receive the "truth" (i.e. newer and higher levels of Scientology teaching) only when he or she has completed one level and is ready for the next step. Scientology's beliefs on learning include the concept of a "gradient": breaking down a complicated idea into smaller pieces so that someone who could not grasp the whole idea at once can learn it piece by piece. This is not unique to Scientology; what is unique is the assertion that any piece out of order can actually be harmful to the would-be learner. The degree of harm can range from the "nonoptimum physical reactions" of "feel[ing] squashed [...] feel[ing] bent, sort of spinny, sort of dead" (Basic Study Manual) that come from proceeding past a "misunderstood", to the pneumonia by which (in Hubbard's words) "The [R6] implant is calculated to kill [...] anyone who attempts to solve it."

Under this doctrine, Scientologists must therefore suppress information that is "too advanced" for the information-seeker (for the latter's own good). This explains some notable contradictions in what Scientology professes as its beliefs and practices, such as stating to the public that Scientology is compatible with all other religions when OT III (see "Secret Writings" below) teaches that God and the Devil are merely implants. The Scientologist would say that approaching information on a gradient keeps people from being confused, but the critic would say that it keeps people from being able to evaluate what Scientology is telling them in any context except the one Scientology has planned for them

The idea of approaching the truth gradually is reflected in a quotation from L. Ron Hubbard that is frequently repeated by Scientologists when asked for an explanation of their beliefs: "What is true, is true for you." This statement can be seen as meaning that to a person (specifically a Scientologist), something is true only when that person experiences it for himself.

Ethics Edit

Main article: Scientology Ethics

Scientology Ethics differs from common philosophical discussions of ethical problems in that many issues that arise in such discussions are seen as covered and handled by auditing technology. Thus a typical moral dilemma is no longer a problem in real life, because, with auditing, one can become able to make the needed decision, and one can often see an alternate path that one was blind to when caught inside the dilemma.

This contrasts with modern research on ethical decision making, where individuals are presented alternative solutions to moral dilemmas which are more and more impossible to choose between. In real life, one would not be limited to the conditions imposed by the research problem, and a person not overwhelmed by the issue or the choices is likely to be creative enough to come up with an alternate solution.

Thus, Scientology Ethics becomes more of a system related to achieving the goals and purposes one espouses. It dovetails with administrative policy and techniques, in order to ensure that people are working together as part of the same team, and are in agreement as to goals, purposes, and the common agenda.

In this light, the ideal scene would be a group of people in knowing and understanding agreement on their goals and purposes, expert and competent in their various jobs, trusting of each other, working together towards a capable and desirable honest goal. Various difficulties would be handled by the correct body of techniques, be it auditing, training, research and development, or whatever else was needed. Everyone would be there because they wanted to be there. Persons working under false pretenses would get spotted and sorted out one way or another, including those working for some other team or interest group.

In a larger context, the system of ethics within Scientology is described by Hubbard as a way of ensuring "the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." (see discussion above) The system defines a number of "conditions" (in Life) defined from lower to higher; the system for moving to these higher conditions involves following the formulas for the appropriate conditions.

Ethics also involves the use of security checks, called "sec checks" within the organization, in which the Scientologist will work with an auditor to answer a long series of confessional questions. During these "sec checks" the E-meter is used to determine when a truthful answer is given, in a manner similar to the use of a lie detector. In the past, individuals working under false pretenses were discovered working in Scientology organisations, and methods were developed to discover them.

Critics and former members describe the system as a method of social control designed to enforce strict behavior and obedience among Scientologists. Critics claim the safeguards built into the Tech are designed to secure Hubbard's absolute authority over Scientology, as they effectively prevent Scientologists from actually questioning the policies of Scientology. Hubbard's position as Source ensures his writings as the final authority in Scientology, and they can never be questioned; even the act of merely talking about his writings without proper supervision is discouraged, lest the person questioning Hubbard's authorities be labeled P.T.S. (or worse, an S.P.), and required to undergo Scientology ethics.

Patter drills Edit

Main article: Patter drill

Patter drills are a part of Auditor training of the official Church of Scientology. Their use is disputed by Scientologists who are no longer affiliated with the official Church. The main point of contention is their introduction in 1995 several years after the death of L. Ron Hubbard.

This dispute forms, with other other issues, the basis for a competing and loosely coordinated unofficial churches of Scientology. For non-Scientologists, the issues under dispute are arcane, involving technical details not easily understood by a novice reader of the subject. The relationship is similar in some regards to the separation of the Protestant Churches from the Catholic Church in Christianity, where disputes over subtle points of doctrine sometimes led to wars between nations. Each side defines the other as not fulfilling the true intention of L. Ron Hubbard.

Other Aspects Edit

Squirrels Edit

Scientology also claims that unauthorized distribution of information about Scientology practices will create a risk of improper application. This, the Scientology hierarchy contends, is the reason it wants Hubbard's writings to be distributed only by persons legally authorized to do so. Claiming that they want to keep the technology pure, the Religious Technology Center has pursued individual breakaway groups that have practiced Scientology outside the official Church without authorization. The act of applying Scientology in a form different from what was originally written by Hubbard is called "squirreling" within Scientology, and is considered a "high crime" against Scientology.

However, Scientologists not affiliated with the official church point out that the Church has itself introduced changes to Hubbard's Scientology, such as the "patter drills" introduced in 1995, and cite this as an indication that the Church is more worried about losing its position as the only source of 'true' Scientology than in keeping Scientology true to Hubbard. This is part of a larger picture of splinter groups in dispute with the original founding organization.

Salaries Edit

Scientology church leaders receive comparatively modest salaries and nothing to approach evangelists like Billy Graham, Benny Hinn or Joyce Meyers. The majority of donations received go to promotional and expansion activities, as well as routine operational expenses. Church Leader David Miscavige reported a yearly salary of $62,683.50 (US dollars) in 1991.

Legal waivers Edit

Recent legal actions involving the Church of Scientology's relationship with its members (see Scientology controversy) have caused the church to publish extensive legal documents that cover the relationship between the church and its parishioners. It has become standard practice within the church to require members to sign lengthy legal contracts and waivers before engaging in Scientology services — a practice that contrasts greatly with many mainstream religious organizations. See Legal Waivers for more details.

Scientology language Edit

In the years of developing and promoting Scientology, Hubbard developed the Technical Dictionary (ISBN 0686308034, ISBN 0884040372), an immense lexicon of hundreds of words, terms, and definitions that are used by Scientologists on a regular basis. He redefined many terms of regular English to have entirely different meanings within Scientology. This is one reason why Scientology and Dianetics place a heavy emphasis on "understanding" words. Hubbard even wrote a book entitled How to Use a Dictionary, in which he defined the methods of correcting "misunderstoods" (a Scientology term referring to a "misunderstood word or symbol"). Emphasis is placed on total understanding of terms, both in the ordinary context in English, and in any specialized utilization. Churches routinely have at least one copy of the main dictionary of the dominant language of the country they are in, such as the Oxford English Dictionary

The exclusivity of these terms can make it difficult for readers unfamiliar with Scientology to understand many of Hubbard's statements, such as: "The ability of an individual to assume the beingness, doingness and havingness of each Dynamic is an index to his ability to live" (L. Ron Hubbard, The Conditions of Existence). A quick rendering of that sentence into common English words would be that a "spiritual being is as alive as they are able to be something, to do something, to have something, to operate across the complete spectrum of existence."

Critics of Scientology have accused Hubbard of "loading the language" and using Scientology terms to keep Scientologists from interacting with information sources outside of Scientology (see cult for additional information). Hubbard's commentary on "Propaganda by Redefinition of Words" has been taken by critics to explain his use of language as follows:

A long term propaganda technique used by socialists (Communists and Nazis alike) is of interest to PR practitioners. I know of no place it is mentioned in PR literature. But the data had verbal circulation in intelligence circles and is in constant current use.
The trick is - Words are redefined to mean something else to the advantage of the propagandist.
Many examples of this exist. They are not natural changes in language. They are propaganda changes, carefully planned and campaigned in order to obtain a public opinion advantage for the group doing the propaganda.
Given enough repetition of the redefinition public opinion can be altered by altering the meaning of a word. The technique is good or bad depending on the ultimate objective of the propagandists. (...)
We find Professor Wundt 1879, being urged by Bismark at the period of German's greatest militarism, trying to get a philosophy that will get his soldiers to kill men. And we find Hegel, the great German Philospher, the idol of supersocialists, stressing that WAR is VITAL to the mental health of people.
Out of this we can redefine modern psychology as a German military system used to condition men for war, and subsidized in American and other universities at the time the government was having trouble with the draft. A reasonable discourse on why they had to push psychology would of course be a way of redefining an already redefined word, psychology (...)
Thus it is necessary to redefine medicine, psychiatry and psychology downward and define Dianetics and Scientology upwards. -- L. Ron Hubbard, Propaganda by Redefinition of Words (Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, October 5, 1971)

Supporters of Hubbard claim that these writings of Hubbard should be taken as his loathing of and criticism of the technique for selfish, manipulative ends. Critics point out, however, that Hubbard openly states it to be "necessary" to employ the same "propaganda technique" he has just decried in the hands of others, stating that it is the "ultimate objective" that determines whether the technique is good or bad -- affirming a belief that the ends justify the means.

Common Scientology terms include:

  • Theta (Θ)--life force; spirit
  • entheta--enturbulated theta
  • Thetan (Θn)--a spiritual being; similar to the immortal soul in Judaism and Christianity or Jiva in Hinduism
  • Static--a Thetan in its natural state, prior to having immersed itself in a universe by assuming a point of view; cf. the Hindu concept of Atman in contrast to the dynamics. Compare also to the physics terms of a static (point of rest) and Dynamic (element in action or motion or change)
  • S.P. (Suppressive Person)-- A person whose means of advance is through the opposition or suppression of others. The definition is asserted to include anyone who actively opposes Scientology.
  • P.T.S. (Potential Trouble Source)--a person who is under the influence of an S.P. and so may become a source of trouble to those around them. E.g. "Wanda is PTS to Jim" means that because she is in contact with Jim (a bad influence), Wanda is having trouble in her life that may spill over to threaten others.
  • reality--The common reality around us, also the group agreement of what is true. As seen in the sentence "My sense of reality is that birds fly and fish swim"
  • (reactive) bank-- the sum of experiences (such as engrams, etc) whose main common component is pain and unconsciousness that influence a Thetan's thinking and behavior
  • Clear (as noun) --(after the clear key on adding machines) a person whose reactive bank does not insert erroneous data into one's analytical thinking. Usually refers a person who is clear with regard to survival for Self.
  • to clear (verb) -- To clarify one's understanding with regard to a particular concept or term or symbol, leading to conceptual understanding of the same. This permits the person to rephrase the term or concept in words other than the original, without loss of the clarity when communicating with someone not educated in the subject. Note that the complexity of the subject may impose other learning curves or barriers to communication.
  • Fair Game -- A status assigned to those whom the Church of Scientology has officially declared to be S.P. One who has been declared "fair game" "may be deprived of property or injured by any means ... May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." Often claimed to have been cancelled in 1968, but in fact the letter that "cancelled" it specified that no policies on handling critics were changing, only the practice of using the term as "it causes bad public relations". As late as 1985 Church attorneys were arguing in court that "fair game" was actually a Constitutionally-protected "core practice" of Scientology.

See also: Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis


  1. Levy, Alan (Nov. 15, 1968). "A True-Life Nightmare". Life, p. 114. Cited at .
  2. The Golden Age of Tech, American Saint Hill Organization.

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