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Scientology

Essay by   •  October 10, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  3,679 Words (15 Pages)  •  1,023 Views

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The first amendment of the constitution protects a citizen’s rights to freedom of religion. But in order to fully take advantage of this right, the term “religion” must be defined. The US Supreme Court defines religion as “a sincere and meaningful belief that occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to the place held by God in the lives of other persons” (Religion 1). With this definition it is very easy to create a new religion in America as long as there is a decent following. This was the case with Scientology. The Church of Scientology was established in 1953 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. The religion’s basic beliefs were based on the concepts and ideas in his novel, Dianetics. While some swear by the teachings of the church, some have shared terrible stories of abuse and harassment from those running the church. And while the ethics of the church can be indefinitely argued, it is completely undeniable that over  the decades the church has been a money making machine, technically qualifying as a religion in the eyes of the law, remaining tax exempt, and raking in millions dollars every year, making the church seem more like a business than a place to be “saved”.

    The basic concepts of Scientology are inherently simple. Every human body is inhabited by an immortal soul called a thetan. Thetans are passed from body to body by reincarnation. Scientologists believe that each thetan was created good and pure, and gives its possessor “unlimited capabilities”, as long as they are clear of all engrams ( Scientology 101: The Basics 1). Traumatic events are harvested in the body in the form of engrams. The brain is split into two hemispheres, the analytical and the subconscious. Engrams “sit in the unconscious hemisphere of the brain and cause the thetan misery” and diminishing its unlimited abilities (Scientology 101: The Basics 1). A thetan can even bring engrams from past lives into the current life they are occupying, and those must be uncovered and gotten rid of as well. Once a person can rid themselves of all these engrams, they are considered “clear”. Once someone is clear they have a neutralized mind that can think one hundred percent rationally with no distractions. This is when a thetan’s abilities can be fully appreciated. Some Scientologists say that clears can read people's minds or move things with their mind, all because they have rid themselves of any trauma. Once someone is clear, they start the process of moving through the levels of “Operating Thetans”.

    The main goal in Scientology is to obtain Operating Thetan Level VIII, the highest level of clear being a thetan can reach. The main means of reaching a state of clear is through auditing, which is basically a cross between Catholic Confession and psychotherapy. In auditing, the pre-clear holds two metal cylinders similar to soup cans, one in each hand, attached by metal wires to an E-Meter. An E-Meter is essentially a more primitive lie detector that is meant to measure a person’s “mental mass and energy”, even though there is no scientific proof that thoughts have any mass (Gibney 1). The pre-clear is then asked a series of very intimate personal questions, with emphasis on a line of questioning that sparks high activity on the E-Meter. The pre-clear is essentially forced to relive the experience being brought to the forefront of their mind by the auditor in order to have a complete grasp on it and then let it go and never let it bother them anymore. These auditing sessions are often video and audio recorded and the auditor takes very close notes on everything the preclear is saying, and puts it into a “PC Folder”.

A person’s PC Folder has holds the type of information that could essentially ruin careers, marriages, friendships, any kind of relationship a person has with the people around them. When a person enters Scientology and agrees to enter the auditing program, they sign an agreement that states that the PC Folders are completely private, and only the auditors see them, which has been found to be not necessarily true. Scientology has a “attack the attacker” policy (which will be elaborated on later) that pushes for officials to use any damaging information present in a person’s PC Folder to keep them from saying anything negative about the church, essentially blackmail. Additionally, because auditing sometimes involves lots of physical contact for extended periods of time, there have also been cases reported where there have been unprofessional relationships between preclears and auditors, and even times where preclears have reported being raped by their auditor. When looked at from a scientific point of view, auditing has “minimal to no positive effect psychologically” on the person it’s being performed on (Scientology Auditing and Training 1). It’s simply a forced confession.

In order to fully understand the building blocks and basics of the church of Scientology, it is necessary to understand the creator, science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard holds the world record for most books published, having published over 1,000 short books about space travel and the future and eventually the ideals of Scientology. When he was younger, Hubbard was in the Navy. He loved to talk about extravagant stories of his bouts as a war hero, saying he “gunned down enemy ships…, went blind in one eye”, broke his neck, but all of the stories he told were fabrications (L. Ron Hubbard 1). One time in an attempt to shoot down what he thought was an enemy ship, he actually “shelled a civilian populated Mexican Island” causing him to be discharged shortly after (L. Ron Hubbard 1). After he left the Navy, he started dating a woman named Sara Northrup. He was thirteen years older than her but she was won over by all his false war hero stories. She eventually uncovered his lies and wanted to leave him, but he threatened suicide if she didn’t marry him. She was worried not only for him but for her own safety, so she agreed to marry him. All throughout their marriage he was extremely paranoid that she would leave him, so he would abuse her and scare her into staying. He told her on multiple occasions that “he would kill her before he would let her leave him” (Gibney 1). The main thing that kept her with him was their daughter. But Hubbard could sense that she was the only thing Sara loved about their relationship, so one day he kidnapped the baby and brought her to Cuba. From there he gave her to a mother and daughter who were later found to be mentally handicapped, where they kept her in a cage like an animal. On a daily basis Hubbard would call his wife saying that he had killed the baby and it was her fault, and then hang up. Then an hour later call again saying never mind. After months of this routine day in and day out he finally brought their daughter home. From

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