Founded by L. Ron Hubbard
The main symbol of Scientology is composed of:
The letter "S" which represents Scientology
An upper triangle whose sides represent three closely interrelated factors: knowledge, responsibility and control
A lower triangle which represents affinity, reality and communication.
The Founder of the Church of Scientology is Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986), born in Tilden, Nebraska on 1911-MAR-13. Hubbard traveled extensively during his youth, covering some quarter of a million miles by the time he was twenty years of age, including directing two expeditions to the Caribbean. On one expedition, he made the first mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico.
During the 1930's, he became a famous author. Although he was known mostly for his science fiction, he also worked in other genres including mystery, western and adventure. He was also successful as a screen writer. His lifetime output of published fiction was over 200 novels, novelettes and short stories.
In 1938, in an unpublished manuscript Excalibur, he delineated the common denominator of existence as "survive" and outlined the theory that "life is composed of two things: the material universe and an X-factor...that can evidently organize and mobilize the material universe." This fundamental concept was to be the basis of his researches for both Dianetics and Scientology.
The Second World War intervened and his first published work on Dianetics appeared in the Winter/Spring 1949-1950 issue of the Explorers Club Journal entitled "Terra Incognita: The Mind". At this time he offered his findings on the mind to both the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. Both organizations rejected them and later attempted to discredit his work and reputation. In 1950-MAY, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" was published; it has since sold over 17 million copies worldwide. In the fall of 1951, Hubbard formed the religious philosophy of Scientology, which is based on his discovery that man is most fundamentally a spiritual being -- the X-factor. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles on 1954-FEB-18 by persons other than Hubbard. The Founding Church of Scientology was founded in Washington, DC in 1955-JUL.
The US Food and Drug Administration raided Scientology offices on 1963-JAN-4 and seized hundreds of the Church's E-meters as illegal medical devices. The devices are now required to carry a disclaimer saying that they are a purely religious artifact. They are used in a Scientology counseling technique known as "auditing". During the 1970s, the Church and many other emerging religions came under increasing attack from the anti-cult movement. In 1977, as a result of an FBI raid, some senior people in the movement's Guardian's Office were convicted of stealing government documents. In 1965, the Australian government had banned Scientology, however in 1983, the High Court of Australia overturned the decision, contributing greatly to the scope of religious freedom in that country. From 1968 to 1980, the British government restricted people who wished to enter the country to pursue a Scientology course.
In 1993-OCT, the Internal Revenue Service of the United States granted full religious recognition and tax exemption to all Scientology Churches, missions and social betterment groups in that country. The Church is also officially recognized in every province in Canada where it has an organization.
L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986. Unlike many emerging religions, the movement survived the transition to new leadership. Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center, is now the head. The St. Petersburg Times published an extensive interview of Mr. Miscavige in 1998-OCT-25
Scientology is an applied religious philosophy that contains methodologies
intended to improve life and achieve spiritual freedom for oneself
and society. The Church states that its membership is 8 million.
It currently has more than 3,000 churches, missions and groups in
over 120 countries. Scientology continues its rapid growth worldwide.
Scientologists follow Mr. Hubbard's belief that a person is neither mind nor body, but a spiritual being - a soul. However, the word "soul" is an ambiguous term, which had been given many meanings by many religions. In order to avoid confusion, Mr. Hubbard selected the word thetan from the Greek letter "theta" which has traditionally meant "thought" or "life". A Thetan is the essence of a person, One does not have a Thetan, one is a Thetan. The brain, and the rest of the body, is looked upon as a mechanism, a communication center for the Thetan. The mind is perceived as a collection of pictures.
Scientology recognizes Eight Dynamics. A "dynamic" is an urge, drive or impulse. Understanding these dynamics help a person gain insight and harmonize all their life activities. The first four dynamics were initially described by Mr. Hubbard in Dianetics; the remaining four were added with the creation of Scientology: The First Dynamic is the urge to survive as oneself.
The second the urge to survive through family and sex.
The third is to survive in various groups such as a company or with a group of friends.
The fourth is to survive as mankind.
The fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth are the urge to survive through other life forms such as animals, the physical universe, the spiritual universe and Infinity or God respectively.
The human mind is divided into two components: the analytical mind
and the reactive mind. The former resembles Freud's concept of the
conscious mind; it senses, remembers, reasons and recalls. The reactive
mind is somewhat similar to Freud's unconscious. It records physically
and psychologically disturbing events in this life and prior lives.
These include perceived assaults in the womb, the birth process,
assaults, injuries etc. They are recorded as engrams which are a
form of psychic scar. These engrams are considered "the single
source of all man's insanities, psychosomatic illnesses and neuroses.".
They are not sensed by the analytical mind directly. However, they
will degrade a person's life and keep an individual from reaching
their full potential. By removing the engrams, one can progress
from being preclear (PC) to clear; i.e. totally free of engrams.
A person can progress beyond "clear" to becoming a OT or Operating Thetan. An OT is able to leave their body and mind. They can see, hear and feel without access to their normal senses.
Great religious leaders like Buddha and Jesus Christ are regarded as being slightly above "clear".
Scientologists reject the concept of eternal life in hell and heaven. They believe in reincarnation in which a person passes through a number of lifetimes. "....personal salvation in one lifetime [is] freedom from the cycle of birth and death".
They believe that God exists, but do not have a specific belief about the nature of deity.
Their goal is to help sufficient numbers of people to become "clear" so that a significant impact can be felt in areas of crime, mental illness, warfare, drug addiction, physical illnesses etc.
Scientology "auditing" is a unique form of personal counseling intended to help an individual look at his own existence and improve their ability to confront what and where they are. It is a precise, thoroughly codified activity with exact procedures. A Scientology counselor is known as an "Auditor". Auditing is assisted by use of a specially designed meter (E-Meter or Electro-psychometer) which they believe helps locate areas of spiritual distress or travail by measuring the mental state or change of state of the person being audited. It does this by continuously measuring the electrical resistance of the person's body. Variations of resistance are shown on a ammeter which are then interpreted by the Auditor. The E-Meter was invented by Volny Mathieson who gave it to L.R. Hubbard. It is covered under US Patent 3,290,589 "Device for Measuring and Indicating Changes in the Resistance of a Human Body", issued on 1966-DEC-6.
An equal part of the practice of Scientology is training in Scientology principles which includes the technology of the auditing process.
The whole purpose of auditing and training is to graduate individuals to a higher state of spiritual existence or to cross "The Bridge to Total Freedom." The goal is to revive the individual as a spiritual being and free him from dependence on the material universe. The metaphor of a bridge has long been used in religious tradition to denote the route across the chasm from where we are now to a higher plateau of existence.
Auditors become ministers, are ordained and wear clerical clothing.
Not being an exclusive religion, members are welcomed to retain their church affiliation when they become Scientologists.
Another Scientology symbol is an eight-pointed cross. The eight points represent the eight Dynamics, described above. The cross also represents the transition from materialism to spirituality and the crossing of that barrier.
Many counter-cult groups accuse the Church of Scientology (and other religious groups with which they disagree on theological grounds) of not allowing members to leave the church, or of endlessly harassing them in an attempt to force them back into the fold. We have found these claims to be false with other religious groups, and we believe that it is also untrue in the case of Scientology. The church's official position is that if a person leaves and asks to be taken off the membership/mailing lists, they are not contacted. Otherwise they might expect to get a phone call or letter of inquiry.
Scientology Books and Magazines:
L. Ron Hubbard left a legacy of over 100 non-fiction books and 91 booklets as well as over 6,000 hours of taped lectures. So far over 90 of his works have been translated into 31 different languages and are being distributed in over 120 countries. The two most popular are:
L. Ron Hubbard, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health",
Bridge, Los Angeles (1950, 1978)
L. Ron Hubbard, "Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought", The Church of Scientology of California Publications Organization, Los Angeles, (1973)
Other books are: Science of Survival; Dianetics 55!; Self Analysis; A New Slant on Life; The Problems of Work; Have You Lived Before This Life?; The Phoenix Lectures; Clear Body, Clear Mind; and An Introduction to Scientology Ethics.
The Church of Scientology has published two important works about their religion:
"What is Scientology?," an encyclopedia on the basic
beliefs, practices and organization of the Scientology religion.
"The Scientology Handbook"; a compilation of the works of Mr. Hubbard and specific Scientology technologies dealing with communication, integrity and honesty, marriage, children, drugs, and education, etc.
Periodicals published by various units in the organization are:
Source, The Auditor, Advance and Freedom.
The Church of Scientology supports a number of secular programs utilizing the various technologies developed by L. Ron Hubbard through the Association for Better Living (ABLE). The following programs are supported:
Narconon is a rehabilitation program, assisting individuals to
overcome their drug dependencies. Their Purification Rundown procedure
involves exercise, sauna, vitamins and drills. Narcanon has 37 locations
in Canada, United States and other countries. Independent studies
have showed that about 75% of Narconon graduates have remained off
drugs when they were checked two years after completing the program.
This is a success rate that is considerably higher than most programs.
Criminon is a program to rehabilitate criminals through utilizing Hubbard's book, The Way to Happiness, which is a 21-precept modern moral code.
The Way to Happiness Foundation promotes The Way to Happiness throughout society to improve moral and family values.
Applied Scholastics utilizes the educational ideas of Hubbard, which stress complete understanding through the use of unique study principles.
The World Institute of Scientology Enterprises is a religious fellowship made up of businessmen and professionals in numerous fields, who utilize and promote the administrative technology of Hubbard.
The Church has several social reform groups, the most notable being the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights which exposes abuses in the field of psychiatry and mental health. In Canada, the Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life campaign is well known.
Scientologists celebrate many important dates in their history. The most important are:
March 13: L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday
May 9: The anniversary of the book Dianetics, first published on that date in 1950
September - Second Sunday: Auditor's Day, when the contributions of auditors is acknowledged.
October 7: The International Association of Scientologists Anniversary, which is held in a different city each year.
Attacks From Counter-cult Groups:
Many emergent religions suffer repeated attacks by counter-cult groups. Scientology was one of their main targets; these attacks continue today. Their main organized opposition seems to have come from two organizations: Fight Against Coercive Tactics network (FACTnet) and the Cult Awareness Network (CAN). [CAN closed in mid 1996 and its assets were liquidated. In an ironic twist, its name, logo, phone number and other assets were purchased by a new group run by a multi-faith board which is dedicated to promoting religious tolerance. (12) The original CAN's bankruptcy was caused by costs assessed by a court as a result of their association with a vicious kidnapping and assault.]
Attacks From Internet Free-Speech Advocates:
A war of sorts is raging on the Internet between the church, anti-Scientology individuals and persons dedicated to preserving total freedom of speech on the Internet. Starting in 1994-DEC, the Church has aggressively attempted to defend their copyright on a wide range of confidential Church documents including rituals that they regard as highly secret. This has brought them into conflict with numerous Internet users and service providers who are keen to promote the complete freedom of speech on the Net, without regard to copyrights held by individuals and organizations.
The Church has aggressively engaged in a number of lawsuits, including:
law suits against Dennis Erlich, Keith Henson, Arnie Lerma, Grady
Ward, and other individuals
law suits against Netcom, DGSys, Washington Post, FACTnet (an agency supplying information on groups who allegedly use coercive mind control), XS4ALL and 14 other Dutch Internet Service Providers, and "anon.penet.fi" (a Finnish anonymous remailer).
Some interesting conflicts include:
The Religious Technology Center (RTC) v. Netcom On-Line Communication
Services Inc. (Netcom): RTC was one of the copyright owners of writings
by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Dennis Erlich was
a church minister, but left the organization and became a critic
of the religion. He posted part of the church's works on the Usenet
news group alt.religion.scientology; this was an illegal act, because
he had not first obtained permission from the copyright holder.
His posting went through a BBS system owned by Thomas Klemsrud where
the files were stored for 3 days. The postings were automatically
forwarded to the Internet service provider Netcom, where they were
stored for 11 days. Netcom's software made postings available to
Usenet servers around the world. Netcom personnel do not monitor
or censor any postings; all were processed automatically without
The Church asked Erlich to stop the postings; he refused. They then asked Klemesrud to remove the postings and keep Erlich off his BBS. Klemsrud replied by asking the Church to prove that it owned the copyrights for the postings. The Church refused this request as being unreasonable. They then asked Netcom to refuse Erlich access to the Internet. Netcom refused, because the only way for them to accomplish this would be to disconnect hundreds of other BBS users as well. The Church sued Klemesrud and Netcom for copyright infringement. When this suit is settled, it will probably became a landmark case in copyright law on the Internet.
The court recognized that even though the BBS and Netcom files
were only saved for 11 days or less, that they were still sufficiently
"fixed" to constitute copies under the copyright act.
But because there was no actual manual intervention by Netcom, the
court considered their involvement analogous to the owner of a public-access
copy machine who allows customers to duplicate material. The court
held that only the original subscriber can be held liable for "direct
infringement" of any posting of a copyrighted work to a Usenet
group. But if the Church could prove that Netcom was aware of the
copyright infringement in time to prevent its distribution, and
that they took no action, then Netcom could be considered liable
to "contributory infringement."
The Fishman Documents: Steven Fishman, a former Scientologist and
convicted felon was being sued by the Church over comments that
he had made to a reporter for Time Magazine. These comments had
formed part of an article "Scientology: The Cult of Greed."
which Time magazine had published in 1991. Time had called the Church
a "hugely profitable global racket." The Church had sued
Time for libel. Time won, and the decision was affirmed on appeal.
The magazine spent over 7 million dollars to contest the court action.
Fishman had included into the trial record about 65 pages of the
Church's Operating Thetan (OT) documents - about 10% of the total
writings by Hubbard on this topic. Although most of his writings
are public, the OT documents are very carefully protected by the
Church. A 1993 court ruling recognized that their scriptures are
trade secrets. Access is only permitted to members who are judged
to be spiritually and ethically fit to handle the material. Fees
totaling tens of thousands of dollars are paid by members to read
and study all 8 levels of the documents.
The 65 pages were put on the WWW by a Webmaster in Amsterdam. On 1995-SEP, Scientology representatives asked the Dutch XS4ALL ("access for all") Internet Service Provider to delete the documents from their customer's page; the provider refused. When the smoke cleared, duplicate sets of documents had appeared at more than 100 other WWW sites. The Church then sued 3 other service providers; this was later increased to a total of 23 separate parties. The Church lost.
In 1995-JAN, a Church lawyer approached Usenet administrators,
unsuccessfully attempting to have the "alt.religion.scientology"
newsgroup removed. She argued that the name of the group included
their trademarked name "Scientology".
In 1995-FEB, Scientology officials worked through Interpol and the Finnish police to obtain the "True Name" of one user from "anon.penet.fi", an anonymous remailer. In 1996, they asked for two more names. Rather than comply, the owner of the remailer, Julf Helsingius, closed down the facility.
From 1996-MAY-19 to SEP-17, thousands of spam postings from over 20 accounts or pseudonyms have been made to newsgroup "alt.religion.scientology". The postings consist of text taken from the Church's web site. Some newsgroup subscribers blame this on the Church. But there is no indication what individual or group is responsible.
A series of lawsuits against individuals and service providers came to the attention of the Washington Post. They published a story on the dispute, and quoted a total of 46 words from the secret writings by Hubbard. The Church sued the Post and two of its reporters for copyright infringement.
Just as the Jehovah's Witnesses have historically engaged in many
legal battles to define the limits of religious freedom, the Church
of Scientology cases may well play a major role in defining the
limits of free speech on the Net
Church Legal Problems:
There have been friction between the Church and a number of European governments:
Germany: The government has sponsored an ongoing campaign against
new religions for years. New religious movements are being considered
as alien to the country's culture by many Germans. Meanwhile, the
Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish religious communities have special
legal status in this country. The state collects an income tax surcharge
on all members of these faith groups; state governments subsidize
Church-affiliated schools. The Church of Scientology, and numerous
other small faith groups remain outside these lucrative financial
arrangements. In addition, tax officials are attempting to abolish
the Church's tax exempt status because they regard it as a business
and are concerned with some of its teachings.
The Church has received recognition of its status as a religion from the courts, which should theoretically give it protection under the religious freedom clause of the German constitution. However, persecution of the Church within Germany is ongoing.
France: A Scientology center was closed in France because of tax
problems. At the request of the widow of a follower of Scientology,
a 5 year investigation was conducted by a French court into the
organization's beliefs, practices, global structure and finances.
24 senior members of the French branch of the Church have gone on
trial with charges ranging from manslaughter to embezzlement, fraud
and complicity. Jean-Jacques Mazier, the former head of the Lyons
Mission of the Church of Scientology, was convicted of manslaughter
and fraud. He was sentenced on 1996-NOV-22 to 18 months in jail.
According to the prosecution, he and Patrice Vic unsuccessfully
tried to persuade Vic's wife to lend him money to take a Scientology
course. Vic committed suicide by jumping off his apartment building.
According to the defense, Vic's suicide was caused by alcohol abuse
Greece: On 1997-JAN-17, the Church, which has operated in that country as Center of Applied Philosophy was labeled a danger to society and ordered to close by an Athens court. Judge Constandia Angelaki wrote: "It is an organization with medical, social and ethical practices that are dangerous and harmful. It claims to act freely so as to draw members who subsequently undergo...brainwashing by dictated ways of thinking that limit reaction capabilities." Scientology representative Heber Jentzsch wrote: "The case is a sham. It is unfortunately reminiscent of the former junta that ruled Greece as a totalitarian state and the assault today is simply because the mission is not 'orthodox' according to the prevailing vested interests in Greece." In 1999-MAY, the Third Court of Appeals dismissed all charges after the prosecutor asked that they be withdrawn.
Italy: On 1997-JAN-18, 29 members of the Church were sentenced to between 9 and 20 months in prison for criminal association. Fabio Amicarelli, a spokesman for Scientology, said that Scientologists are being persecuted in Italy just as in Germany.
So much controversy has been generated by pro and anti Scientology individuals and groups that the truth is impossible to separate from the propaganda. Like many other new emerging faith groups, Scientology has been accused of ethics violations, brainwashing techniques, swindling people, etc. Their opponents have been accused of violating copyright laws, violating the civil rights of Church members by kidnapping, confining and brainwashing them, etc.
Internet and Magazine Resources
Letter from Mario E Roy, Assistant Secretary, The Explorers Club, 1970-FEB-4
The official Scientology home page can be accessed at: http://www.scientology.org/SCNHOME.HTM
There are an enormous number of Scientology related sites on the WWW. We are at a loss trying to separate the reliable ones from the garbage. Yahoo has a large selection of pro and anti-Church sites at: http://www.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion/
There is a Scientology newsgroup frequented by a few pro and many anti-Scientologists. See: news:alt.religion.scientology
The Secrets of Scientology: The E-Meter page describes the E-Meter. See: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/E-Meter/
The "Internet Wars" are described in: Ron Newman's home page documents conflicts "that are hostile to the spirit of free speech on the Net". The page is titled: "The Church of Scientology vs. the Net" See: http://www2.thecia.net/users/rnewman/
Wendy Grossman, "alt.scientology.war", Wired magazine, 1995-DEC
Alison Frankel, "Making Law, Making Enemies", American Lawyer magazine, 1996-MAR
David Post, The State of Nature and the First Internet War: Scientology, its Critics, Anarchy, and Law in Cyberspace", Reason magazine, 1996-APR
Rod Keller at firstname.lastname@example.org Emails a weekly update on Scientology,
from a negative perspective
Harriet Whitehead, "Renunciation and Reformation: A Study of Conversion in an American Sect" Cornell (1987) (An anthropological study of the Church of Scientology)
Roy Wallis, "The Road to Total Freedom: A Sociological Analysis of Scientology" (1977)
An analysis of the Erlich-Netcom case is at: http://188.8.131.52/home/mccarthy/web/docs/mt-istra.html
The Free Zone Association is an international group centered in Germany, founded in 1982 by Bill Robertson. They are attempting to apply L. Ron Hubbard's technology and philosophy independently of the Church. See: http://www.freezone.org
The new Cult Awareness Network as reorganized by the "Foundation for Religious Freedom" has a Web site at: http://www.cultawarenessnetwork.org
T.C. Tobin, "The man behind Scientology," at: http://www.sptimes.com/TampaBay/102598/