Ask A Scientologist.

I’ve seen these threads here and I’ve done a version of this thread on other boards, so I thought I’d do it here.

In the interest of full disclosure. I do not currently, nor have I ever, considered myself to actually be a Scientologist, although the Church of Scientology would consider me one by virtue of the fact that I have taken and completed a course under the auspices of the Church of Scientology. I made the mistake of once buying a copy of Dianetics and taking a correspondence Dianetic auditing from the official Church of Scientology sources and… well… trust me on this one… that’s not a mailing list you want to get yourself on.

Regardless, I do have at least a little first hand familiarity with the subject. I have nearly complete copies of all publicly available Scientology scripture (and that’s a lot) and I even have copies of some of the confidential materials that I believe to be accurate by virtue of the fact that they have been authenticated by former Scientologists to be complete and accurate representations of what they saw when doing the confidential courses.

I will leave it up to the mods to determine whether or not we should talk about those confidential materials. Scientology is notoriously litigious and talking publicly about those materials may gain us attention that we don’t want.

With that in mind, ask away.

-Is Scientology really all about science or does it have a hint of spiritualism in it?
-How do scientologists ‘worship’?

:cool:

Wow, great.
Okaaaay.

Do people really have “minders”?
There was a ton of press that Katie Holmes had a “minder” who followed her around day and night and watched everything she said and did. Does that sound kosher?

Is it true that the births need to be silent? Again, I read this info re Katie…that people in the delivery room are cautioned to speak as little as possible so that the baby’s (and mother’s?) “reactive” mind doesn’t record anything possibly negative?

It doesn’t seem like a “religion” to me, more like a psychological framework to follow. Is it actually set up like a religion where there are religious “leaders” and specific doctrines and rituals?

I’m sure I’ll have more to come…

Thanks!

It’s all spiritualism. The “Scient” in “Scientology” is for “scientia” or knowledge (in Latin). Hence Scientology is “knowing how to know.”

Short answer, they don’t.

Longer answer, Scientology posits no personal God, per se (or at least no personal God in particular.) It is a religion more akin to Buddhism in that it is entirely concerned with the individual and his or her own personal, spiritual development.

That having been said, Scientology churches do, in fact, have services on Sunday mornings. These services are considered “introductory group processing.” Hardly anybody goes to them.

I don’t buy it. It’s possible that certain high profile celebrities may have Scientology ministers in their entourages, but there’s no hard or fast rule on that.

Well… this is hard to answer without getting down into the weeds of what Dianetics purports to be all about, but basically the idea is that there is a portion of the mind (called the Reactive Mind) that is incapable of determining causal relationships between things. This portion of the mind is active all the time, but whenever the conscious mind (called the Analytical Mind) is not active, when we experience trauma, for instance, the Reactive Mind is still there silently recording everything that’s going on in the form of engrams. Later, this can manifest as psychosomatic pain, emotional upset, or spiritual problems when any stimulus that is present in the engram becomes present in the environment.

If you were to, for instance, trip and fall and hit your head and bang your knee while a dog barked in the other room, you may very well experience an otherwise unexplained headache or knee pain every time a dog barks. Words in engrams are particularly troublesome, since the Reactive Mind can only obey the commands, it can’t analyze what is being said in context. If, in our previous example, we add someone in the garage saying “You worthless so-and-so…” to his car, you would experience feelings or worthlessness along with your headache/knee-pain.

In traditional “Book One” Dianetics, the basic engram is almost always birth. As a result, Scientology recommends a practice of silent birth so that this basic engram is less likely to be restimulated later on down the line and thus, will also be easier to clear via Dianetic or Scientology auditing.

Most scholars of new religions who have looked at it have concluded that it is, indeed, a bona fide religion, albeit one that is lacking a lot of the features of older, more traditional religions.

There are definitely leaders. L. Ron Hubbard was, obviously, the unquestioned leader of the religion while he was alive. After his death in 1986, however, Hubbard left behind an incredibly complex and convoluted power structure with several layers of checks and balances that he, purportedly, designed specifically to be nigh-unto-incomprehensible to outsiders and impossible to subvert from within.

However, as often happens with new religious movements, one man was able to slowly, over the next 20 years or so, essentially take over the whole shebang. That man is David Miscavige, Chairman of the Religious Technology Center (the corporation that holds all of Hubbard’s copyrights.) Most of the controversies that you may have heard of recently within Scientology all more or less revolve around Miscavige and his “purges” of Scientology officers that are not absolutely loyal to him.

As far as rituals go. They do, believe it or not, have weddings and even baptisms, but the only ritual that every Scientologist goes through, indeed the ritual that is the heart and soul of Scientology in its entirety, is Auditing. Auditing is a process of spiritual counseling, performed by Scientology ministers, that clears out engrams and enables a person, as a spiritual being, to gradually rise through greater and greater echelons of enlightenment.

See also my comments in this thread:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=795811

Scientology doesn’t have baptism. I think you’re thinking of the Naming Ceremony for infants, which doesn’t include a washing/water purification ritual.

You’re absolutely right. I called it a baptism because that’s what most people would think of it as, even though nobody gets wet.

I know that L. Ron Hubbard was, for a time, a follower of Aleister Crowley (he was a member of the O.T.O, Crowley’s “religious organzation”) and claimed to be a personal friend. Hubbard’s son has also purportedly claimed that Scientology was really a repackaging of Crowley’s brand of Satanism, which he called Thelema. Are you familiar with Crowley and if so, what parallels do you see between the two systems?

I have a copy of Dianetics I bought at a used bookstore. Should I read it through?

No. Go to www.xenu.net to understand why.

Is Scientology actually a religion ( like Christianity)?

Does scientology also teach morals?

That’s an oft-cited facet of Hubbard’s life, but one without a lot of substance to it. There’s no real evidence to connect Hubbard to the O.T.O. other than his brief association with Jack Parsons. Parsons does appear to have written to Crowley about what they were doing, but Crowley wrote them both off as crack pots.

I am familiar with Crowley and Thelema, and you can, sort of, maybe, if you turn your head and squint hard enough, connect Scientology and Thelema, but they really are quite different. The only real similarity is in the idea of a gradual ascent to greater and greater levels of spiritual enlightenment, but once you get past the superficial notion of “levels” then there really are no similarities at all.

If I were to compare Scientology to anything, it would be generic Buddhism glommed on to neo-Freudian analysis and repackaged in a way palatable for “modern” folk circa 1950-1960.

Sure. You’ll get a solid grounding in at least half of the basic theory Scientology that way. What you have to remember though is that Dianetics is not Scientology, per se. Dianetics precedes Scientology. Dianetics was (and largely still is) sold as a “do-it-yourself” psychoanalysis. Scientology came a few years later and it is, in essence, a theology built around Hubbards “new and improved” forms of Dianetics like Dianetics 55! and especially New Era Dianetics.

Again, most serious scholars of new religious movements consider it to be a bona fide religion. I do too, but it is definitely lacking in some of the things that we normally associate with religions. There’s not a lot of direct teaching about God, for one, but it does have a theory of man, of the origin of the universe, a path to their version of salvation, and so on.

As with so many things in Scientology, the answer to this question is a resounding “sort of.”

Does Scientology have a list of things that it considers to be objectively right and wrong? Not really. There certainly some things that are strongly encouraged, even demanded of its adherents and there are, likewise, some things that are strictly verboten, but those things are always presented in the context of Scientology Ethics.

Without getting down into the weeds, Scientology Ethics (and indeed, most of Scientology) is built around one simple word: SURVIVE! (and that’s how Hubbard wrote it in Dianetics, all caps and everything.)

What they mean by that is that the primal urge of all things, from people to animals to plants to even more abstract entities such as matter and energy, is to continue to exist. This urge works itself out along eight progressively larger circles of affairs called Dynamics. The lowest dynamic is that of the Self, we progress upwards through the Family and Organizations to things like the Species and the Universe itself and finally to a kind of pantheistic “God” (or the closest thing that you’ll get to any God in Scientology.)

Scientology Ethics is rooted in doing the greatest amount of good (which they define as anything that is pro-survival) for the greatest number of dynamics (both in terms of counting the number of dynamics involved and in how high on the food chain, so to speak, the involved dynamics are.)

Beyond that basic framework, Scientology really doesn’t care what you do, as long as you’re staying “on course” and are continuing to take classes.

Scientology is more of a philosophy, if we ascribe a category to it. It does not involve worship of a deity, and is very much focused on man and how to advance yourself. In the services that I participated in (which seem to be more than what the OP participated in ;)), there was little if any mention of God/deity, nor really anything about addressing my soul. It was more about how to deal with certain things in life, as well as mental aspects.

Without a doubt, the extent of my “formal” Scientology training is a Hubbard Dianetics Auditor Course and some Life Improvement Courses.

I still have that little yellow card around here somewhere.:smiley:

But again… the intervening 10+ years has brought well read copies of the Red Vols, all the Basic Books and Lectures, course checksheets all the way up to Class VI, processing lists up through the lower OT levels, etc. I’ve poured over them a lot over the years and have gotten to know other ex-Scientologists.

I was never that I really thought that this stuff was real, I was just more fascinated with it than anything else and thought I would give them the benefit of the doubt and get at least some knowledge right from the horse’s mouth. Big mistake. One does not simply remove themselves from the Scientology mailing list.

Indeed. And they will do anything and everything to make sure you stay on course, come in for course and services, sign up/pay for your next course/service, buy the books, lectures, and other materials, etc. There’s no “oh, well, I’ll just do this course and take a break for a month or two then do something else”. :rotfl:

And then, of course, there’s the Reging “on credit.”

Registrar: You’re a mess you really need to take this course.

Pre-Clear: That’s really expensive. I can’t afford this right now.

Registrar: That’s ok, we can make you a loan.

Pre-Clear: That interest rate is awfully high and I don’t think I could make the payments.

Registrar: That’s ok, you’ll make more money once you take the course and then you’ll be able to make the payments.

Pre-Clear: I don’t know…

Registrar: If you’re still unconvinced, you may be PTS/SP. You should go see the Ethics Officer to get that cleared up before continuing with any more processing…

Pre-Clear: Nope! That’s ok! No out-ethics here! Sign me up for the course, whatever it is!

That is scary to me that you can’t get off their mailing list! Sounds like a bit of a case of stalking:eek:

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