One of the major tenets of Scientology is a belief that each human is inhabited by alien spirits, what L Ron Hubbard dubbed, " The Space Opera". It is a basic belief of Scientology that a human being is actually an immortal spiritual being, termed a thetan, that is presently trapped on planet Earth in a "meat body." The thetan has had innumerable past lives and it is accepted in Scientology that lives antedating the thetan's arrival on Earth lived in extraterrestrial cultures. Descriptions of space opera incidents are seen as true events by Scientologists.
Prime among Scientology's beliefs is: "that man is a spiritual being whose existence spans more than one life and who is endowed with abilities well beyond those which he normally considers he possesses.
Scientology believes man to be basically good and that his experiences have led him into evil; that he errs because he seeks to solve his problems by considering only his own point of view; and that man can improve to the degree he preserves his spiritual integrity and remains honest and decent.
According to the Church, the ultimate goal is: "a civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights.”
The purpose of Scientology is "to know"; to achieve complete certainty of one's spiritual existence and one's relationship to the Supreme Being. In Scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith; the tenets of Scientology are expected to be tested and seen to be either true or not by Scientology practitioners. "That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true."
Scientology says its practice provides exact and precise methods by which a person can achieve greater spiritual awareness. "Auditing" and "Training" are the primary practices of Scientology.
According to the official website, in Scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith; emphasis is given to individual observation. Scientology holds as its most important tenet: "that which is true for you is what you have observed to be true". It is considered a high crime in Scientology for an Auditor to evaluate or invalidate for the preclear in any form or fashion. Scientologists believe that an individual would discover for himself that Scientology works by personally applying its principles and observing or experiencing results. However, the alteration of any of the works, or techniques was declared by Hubbard as Squirelling the tech and considered by Scientology doctrine as a high crime. Individuals who are in an off shoot known as the Freezone were litigated against for using and modifying the practices to suit them.
It is believed in Scientology that Scientology will only work when it is applied in its pure form as Hubbard intended. Any alteration to the application of these techniques is considered a high crime under Scientology law because it hinders Scientology's effectiveness. Restating or interpreting the source text in your own words is frowned upon and strongly disadvised.
However scientology and the organizations that promote it have remained highly controversial since their inception. Journalists, courts and the governing bodies of several countries have stated that the Church of Scientology is a cult and an unscrupulous commercial enterprise that harasses its critics and abuses the trust of its members. An example is France, where the Church of Scientology is being subjected to a lawsuit accusing them of with abuse of civil liberties, misleading publicity and attempted fraud. Scientology officials argue that most negative press has been motivated by interest groups and that most of the controversy is past history. While the U.S. State Department has commented negatively in its annual International Religious Freedom Reports on countries that discriminate against Scientologists and their religious freedoms, it has also commented negatively on the efforts of Scientology officials to denigrate such governments themselves.
The spirit in Scientology is represented with the Greek letter 'Theta' (Θ) that means 'thought' or 'god'. An individual spiritual being in Scientology is called a Thetan: "The personality and beingness which actually is the individual and is aware of being aware and is ordinarily and normally the "person" and who the individual thinks he his.“
Facsimile is the term used in Scientology to describe a mental image picture. A facsimile is an impression of motion and it contains all perspectives about an experience including pleasure and pain.
“A Heavy Facsimile is an experience, complete with all perceptions and emotions and thoughts and efforts, occupying a precise place in space and a moment in time.”
In Scientology, the mind is subdivided in two distinguishable sections:
Scientologists believe that the Reactive mind is "that part of the mind which is not accessible to the spirit and it unknowingly affects the spirit; it is mostly composed of moments of pain and unconscious. It is said to operate on an irrational, stimulus-response basis. This could be likened to the unconscious or subconscious mind.
- Axiom 1 Life is basically a static.
- Axiom 4 Space is a viewpoint of dimension.
- Axiom 21 Understanding is composed of affinity, reality and communication
- Before the beginning was a Cause...
- The first action of beingness is to assume a viewpoint.
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.
- Self: This dynamic represents one's effort or urge to survive as an individual. Says the Church, "This dynamic includes the individual plus his immediate possessions. It does not include other people."
- Sex. This was the original Second Dynamic as set by Hubbard. It had two divisions: (a) the sexual act, and (b) the family unit. An additional meaning of this dynamic was added to the definition later: "Creativity", which "also incidentally includes sex as a mechanism to compel future survival."
- 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."
- 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."
- All living things. "This includes all living things whether animal or vegetable, anything directly and intimately motivated by life."
- The physical universe. "The physical universe has four components. These are matter, energy, space and time," which the Church commonly acronyms to MEST.
- Spirits. "The seventh dynamic is life source. This is separate from the physical universe and is the source of life itself."
- 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."
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.
Later this scale was expanded to represent spiritual states that go beyond human manifestation. These states are represented with the values from negative forty (-40) to forty (40). Forty represents "Serenity of Beingness" and negative forty represents "Total Failure.
|Number Value||Tone Level||Handling of Truth||Reality (Agreement)|
|4||Enthusiasm||High concept of truth.||Searches for different viewpoints in order to broaden own reality.|
|3.0||Conservatism||Cautious on asserting truths.||Awareness of possible validity of different reality.|
|2.0||Antagonism||Truth twisted to suit antagonism.||Defends own reality while undermines other's reality.|
|1.0||Fear||Vicious perversion of truth.||Doubt of own reality.|
Among Scientologists, Hubbard's technical writings are referred to as "Standard Tech" or simply "The Tech." These writings (and taped lectures) include not only auditing procedures, but also materials governing training and the administration of Scientology facilities. As the developer of the Tech, Hubbard himself is referred to as "Source," and his statements are considered the sole and definitive source of the Tech.
"Standard Tech" describes the correct application of Hubbard's instructions, which is to say that they are "on Source," transmitted without any deviation from Hubbard's original intentions.
The Church of Scientology has issued versions of some of Hubbard's texts and recordings that contain alterations or omissions with respect to their original versions. These variant texts have been a subject of controversy, especially among Free Zone practitioners, who say that the current Church management is deviating from Standard Tech.
In July 2007, a massive re-release of all of Hubbard's basic books and tape recordings on Dianetics and Scientology was announced. The announcement was made in a speech given by David Miscavige and the Flag Land Base. In an almost three hour briefing he presented that many errors had been found in previous versions of the books, and that a large-scale project was undertaken to locate the original dictaphone recordings and annotated transcriptions of the books and restore each work to its original form, as intended by Hubbard.
The common definition of reincarnation has been altered from its original meaning. The word has come to mean “to be born again in different life forms” whereas its actual definition is “to be born again into the flesh or into another body.” Scientology ascribes to this latter, original definition of reincarnation.
The 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 a variety of lines of recall, including all stages of human evolution, genetic line recalls in other lines of development, including 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 Scientologists believe Xenu trapped on Earth 75 million years ago.
Many Scientologists report recalling past lives through auditing. Scientology says 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.
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.
See also the general article on Reincarnation.
The church states 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 out the truth of the matter 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 what Scientologists believe to be 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. It was released in the late 1980s.
Since being entered into evidence in several court cases beginning in the early 1980s, synopses and excerpts of these secret teachings have appeared in numerous publications.
Scientologists argue that published accounts of the Xenu story and other 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."
Scientologists who are undergoing auditing during the pre-clear and OT levels are forbidden for the duration of such auditing from engaging in "other practices" that are designed to bring about mental or spiritual change.
The central practice of Scientology, and Dianetics preceding it, is an activity known as auditing (listening) which 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 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.
At various times the Church of Scientology has dictated that its system of conditions, formulas and penalties for ethics violations should be applied even to those who are not Scientologists. The Church warns against what they term "antisocial personalities," which it publicly describes as meaning those "who possess characteristics and mental attitudes that cause them to violently oppose any betterment activity or group," including the Church itself. The Church's official position states, "The importance of detecting the antisocial personality becomes eminently clear when one considers his effect on the lives of those around him," and such a person is to be designated a "Potential Trouble Source. The Potential Trouble Source, or PTS, was directly linked with controversial policies advocating revenge against Scientology's enemies, including Fair Game and the concept of Suppressive Persons.
In 1982 Hubbard authored Pain and Sex, an official Scientology bulletin in which the biological act of sex and the body's ability to feel pain were announced to be "the invented tools of degradation" created by psychiatrists millions of years ago. According to Hubbard, "When sex enters the scene, a being fixates and loses power," and "Lovers are very seldom happy."
The Purification Rundown is usually the first step for a Scientologist towards going "Clear." The program usually takes a few weeks, depending on the person's drug and toxin history. As well as spending time in saunas, Scientologists are required to do light jogging.
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.
Scientologists hold that concepts related to Scientology are correctly grasped only when taken directly from the published works of Hubbard, be they books, audio recordings, or movies. Students of Scientology are taught to direct others to those original sources, rather than to convey any interpretation of the concepts in their own words. Verbally discussing Scientology processes is called "verbal tech," and this is believed to ultimately interfere with the proper understanding, and thus the effectiveness, of the Tech.
As a matter of policy, verbal tech is forbidden, whether between unsupervised scientologists (lest they discuss subjects for which they are not ready), or with outsiders, who should learn of Scientology through proper channels and with close supervision over which materials are disclosed in what order.
Scientology contends that the policy of forbidding "verbal tech" exists in order to keep the Tech pure and unadulterated, and to prevent students from passing on their misunderstandings to others. Hubbard's efforts to prevent future misunderstandings of this sort led to the development of the system known as "Standard Tech."
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 data out of order can 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, if a person studies appropriate means must be taken to ensure full understanding. It is argued that 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, something is true only when that person experiences it for himself.
Patter drills are a drilling method used in courses in the Church of Scientology which were added to many Church courses in mid-1995, by David Miscavige. The action of these drills is, while seated facing a wall, to repeat a section of course material verbatim to the wall until it can be done without reference to the written material. The student's verbatim ability is then checked by a fellow student or a course supervisor. These drills have created some controversy, as there is no reference written by Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard which authorizes them.
The Church describes marriage as simply "an essential component of a stable family life." In 2005, a spokeswoman for the Church told the New York Daily News that the Church had "not taken an official position on gay marriage, and that members prefer not to talk about it."
However, Scientologists not affiliated with the official church say 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.
Recent legal actions involving the Church of Scientology's relationship with ex-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. See Legal Waivers for more details.
Scientology and Dianetics place a heavy emphasis on understanding word definitions. Hubbard 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"). It is believed in Scientology that complete understanding of a subject matter requires first complete understanding of the words of that subject matter. Hubbard also assembled the Technical Dictionary (ISBN 0-686-30803-4, ISBN 0-88404-037-2), a lexicon of hundreds of words, terms, and definitions that are used by Scientologists. Hubbard created his own definitions for many existing English words, such as "clear" and "static." He also coined many terms that are variants on standard English words, such as "enturbulate" and "havingness."
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).
Common Scientology terms include: