by Matt Slick
Founder: L. Ron Hubbard, born March 13, 1911, and died January 24, 1986. He began studying the mind in 1923.
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Origins: The first Scientology church was formed in Los Angeles in 1954.
Membership: Less than 1 million worldwide.
Doctrines: Man is primarily a spiritual force. He is called Thetan. A Thetan is the person himself, that is, his identity makes him aware of himself which is separate from mind and body. Man is, by nature, good. God exists but is different from different people. Good is constructive action and thought. Evil is destructive action and thought. Accepts reincarnation. There are 8 dynamics or urges that influence people: self, sex and family, groups, mankind, living things, the universe, spirits, and the Supreme Being. There are three universes: the first is one's own universe, the second is the material universe and all that is in it, and the third is the group of all universes of all other people.
Practices: Hubbard teaches in Dianetics that there are two parts to the human mind. One is the analytical mind, the other is the reactive mind. The analytical mind is our thinking processes, logic, and memory. This is our conscious mind. The reactive mind is where memories of intense pain and suffering are stored. This is our unconscious mind which "takes over" during traumatic episodes. The reactive mind records everything that happens and forms called "Engrams." Anything associated with the trauma can induce the ill effects of that trauma. For example, if a person is knocked unconscious in an auto accident, and while unconscious a train passes by, the negative engram of the passing train can later trigger ill effects even long after physical healing. Dianetics claims to be able to cure a person's negative engrams not only in this life but also in past lives.
The process of removing these engrams is called "auditing." It is the application of Dianetic principles by a trained person. Primarily, this process involves asking various questions and receiving a response from the one being audited. Additionally, an E-Meter is used to aid the auditor in discovering engrams. E-meter is short for electropsychometer. This device is basically a lie detector that registers physical reactions to various questions.
The goal of Dianetics is to achieve "Clear." Clear is the state of development attained through auditing where a person is no longer affected by the reactive mind. He has no engrams. Supposedly, someone who has attained the state of Clear is happier, healthier, more productive, better socially, more able to enjoy life, and is more mentally stable.
The path to Clear is called The Bridge, which is development of knowledge in the principles of Dianetics as well as achieving Dianetic goals. The progress is measured on a Classification Gradation and Awareness Chart. This process is expensive, and costs range in the thousands of dollars.
Operating Thetan is a state above Clear. It is a place of mental and spiritual health where the person is in control of himself and can cause positive effects upon himself and thought, life, matter, time, and space.
Miscellaneous Information: Some adherents sign a billion-year contract to show their commitment to Scientology practices. There are ministers who have been trained in the Scientology's Minister Course. All auditors are ministers or ministerial candidates. Field Staff members are people who communicate the teachings of Scientology to others. They use "free personality tests" as a means of recruitment. The organization claims to take in 1 million dollars a week through its church system and psychological examination programs.
Publications: Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard, first published in 1950, Child Dianetics, Science of Survival, a Management Series, and much more.
Comments: Scientology is a religious organization that is definitely non-Christian. It denies the essential doctrines of Christianity including the necessity of the atoning work of Christ, His redemptive sacrifice, His deity, judgment, Heaven, Hell, and the true nature of God. From a Christian standpoint, it is dangerous. It is a man-made religious and philosophical system that can easily take control of a person's will and substitutes Biblical truth for Hubbard's philosophical presuppositions. It uses non-verifiable theological beliefs. Additionally, the Scientology group has shown to be very aggressive, using law suits regularly and freely.