The Church of Scientology explained
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 19:05
It is rumored that L. Ron Hubbard, creator of the modern day religion Scientology, said that the best way to become wealthy is to start a religion. Now, whether or not he actually said that, over the past few decades, the statement has proven true for him, as Scientology claims to be the only major religion started in the 20th Century. However, while it is growing in popularity and representation by popular culture, instead of becoming clearer, the beliefs of Scientology have become increasingly vague.
Is it a cult? Is the alien Lord Xenu really going to come to earth and kill us all (or at least the weirdoes on “South Park”)? The Scientologist Church of Seattle has built a public information center to clear up these very issues.
A few minutes from Pike Place Market, this large building contains a touch pad controlled video tour that sleekly represents a modern day religion. Friendly staff members are always on hand to answer any questions, but the tour is self-guided.
It begins with a short biography on L. Ron Hubbard who many of you may be most familiar with as a sci-fi author. In fact, he wrote over 10 million words in his lifetime, of which 300 novels-worth supported extensive travels around the world. From India, to China, to the Philippines, Hubbard wandered the globe searching for the meaning of life; he studied the religions of many nations, and came away with a substantial knowledge of all things spiritual, and the ever present desire for understanding.
His breakthrough came during WWII when Hubbard, a lieutenant, helped the injured. He discovered that many soldiers, though being treated with the best of medical care, were not recovering, due to mental blockages. He used his spiritual experience to address these mental blocks, and found that it was highly effective.
Thus was born “Dianetics,” and the accompanying book “Dianetics: Science of the Mind,” which is the biggest selling book on the mind to date. The books that followed, compiled from the 3000 essays Hubbard wrote throughout his life, form the newest major religion of the 20th century: Scientology.
Dianetics, in Greek, literally means “through the mind.” Scientology explains it as follows: the mind records every moment of your life and uses this information to react to future experiences. Some experiences, the more painful ones, are stored in what Hubbard discovered and called “the reactive mind.” This part of the mind does everything possible to keep you from having these traumatic experiences again; in other words it inhibits your life, causing negative thoughts and deep-seated fears.
The book teaches Dianetics as a therapy method, which frees the mind from these experiences leaving you to enjoy life and reach your full potential. The attractive, obviously successful people testifying in this portion of the video tour claim that it had changed their lives, giving them unimaginable insight, and self-knowledge that they had never thought possible.
This therapy centers around a practice called “auditing,” wherein auditors (listeners) ask specifically worded questions that will help the patient identify experiences that need to be addressed. The “emeter,” a machine which was on display at the center, reads emotions, thusly identifying the thoughts that one finds distressing, allowing for spiritual enlightenment. Bear in mind, however, these sessions reveal highly personal information about the “patient” that the church will keep to do with as they please; this makes leaving difficult, and speaking out against the organization virtually impossible.
Now, Dianetics is only a part of Scientology, and can be utilized in a completely separate capacity. According to Lyra, a third-generation Scientologist and head of marketing for the Seattle Church of Scientology, actual Scientology is “the study of the spirit.”
According to Scientology, there are three parts of man: mind, body, and “thetan.” The thetan is the spirit that is “you,” however the word thetan is used to keep followers from confusing this concept with the soul. To the best of understanding, the thetan is what utilizes your body, as you would utilize a car; the body is simply a vehicle for the “self.”
The self is, in fact, only one of the eight forms of life; the human being is primarily focused on survival of these eight levels which Scientologists call dynamics.