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The criticisms of Scientology

Recently there has been a new religious movement sweeping across the world, causing a lot of controversy. You hear it on the news about famous actors such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other celebrities converting and following that religion. However, not all of this press is positive as there have been many controversies surrounding it. It has been accused of being a cult, hording donation money, and brainwashing people. This relatively new movement I am talking about is Scientology. Scientology was founded by a science fiction author named L. Ron Hubbard. Already one can find some irony with the fact that the founder of the religion was actually a science fiction author. It was originally intended to be a self- help system called "Dianetics". It was basically an understanding of how the mind works and how to remove problematic memory traces from the mind, but this system was later modified into a new religion.

Scientology considers the belief in a God or gods as something personal and therefore is no specific belief. The nature of the Supreme Being is revealed personally through each individual as they become more conscious and spiritually aware. There exists a life energy or force called Theta within all of us. All humans are immortal spiritual beings or "thetans" capable of realizing a nearly godlike state through Scientology practices.

The main Scientology religious practice is spiritual counseling called "auditing." It is a form of personal counseling intended to help an individual look at his own existence and improve his ability. Through viewing his own existence, an individual attempts to walk an exact route to higher states of awareness. Auditing is assisted by use of a specially designed meter (Electro-psychometer) which helps locate areas of spiritual distress by measuring the mental state or change of state of the person being audited. Auditing uses processes such as an exact sets of questions asked or directions given by an auditor to help a person find out things about themselves and improve their condition.

Critics have argued that the purposes of these practices are attempts to weaken the person's mind. The mind goes from a rational state to an irrational one as the delusional contents of the subconscious are brought to the surface and are assumed to be valid. It puts the person into a permanent light hypnotic trance and allows that person can be more easily controlled. In essence, it is simply "brainwashing". The person will, to a much greater extent, believe and do whatever they are told. And of course this may be used to persuade them to hand over further money and dedicating themselves further to the religion or "cult".

When person loses the ability to think for themselves they can also lose the ability to challenge rationally incorrect ideas which makes them easier to control. It can also isolate and alienate the person from normal society and into their "Scientology" society. This would further increase their vulnerability to the influence of their group. They end up being afraid of society, believing all society to be controlled by a group of drug companies, psychiatrists and financiers all of whom report to more remote masters. In other words they are in a state of mass paranoia. They avoid reading newspapers and the like since they fear it will disturb their belief.

There is a hierarchy or stages based on how "enlightened" one is called "Operating Thetan Levels" As the individual moves up, they head close towards perfection. Critics believe it is related to how brainwashed the person have become. One would move up through generous donations and would be educated about various doctrines of scientology. When I initially found out about some of the things they learn as they move up the hierarchy, like most people viewing the religion from the outside, it seemed preposterous. Apparently when they reach "Operating Thetan Level 3", they learn about Hubbard's version of cosmology.

According to Hubbard, seventy-five million years ago, "Xenu" was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth, which was then known as Teegeeack. The Galactic Confederacy's civilization was comparable to our own, with aliens living remarkably similar to American society in the 1950-1960s on Earth. The planets were overpopulated, each having an average population of 178 billion. Xenu was supposed to have gathered up all the overpopulation in this sector of the galaxy, brought them to Earth and then exterminated them using hydrogen bombs. The souls, called thetans, of these murdered people were captured by Xenu's forces and were then taken to a type of cinema, where they were forced to watch a movie for thirty-six days. During this, they implanted ideas God, the Devil and so on. This included all world religions, with Hubbard specifically attributing Roman Catholicism and the image of the Crucifixion as a creation by Xenu. In addition to implanting new beliefs in the thetans, the images deprived them of their sense of personal identity. When the thetans left these cinemas, they started to cluster together in groups of a few thousand, having lost the ability to differentiate between each other. Each cluster of thetans is then supposed to infest the body of everyone who survived the explosion. They are then called "body thetans". People who believe this story assume all their bad thoughts and faulty memories are due to these "body thetans" infesting every part of their body and influencing them mentally. The only way to remove these "body thetans" is through auditing. With this information, it is revealed that the true



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