Scientology

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For the unrelated "Christian Science" religious movement, see Church of Christ, Scientist.

Scientology is a new religious movement established in 1952 by science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard as a successor to his earlier psychotherapeutic system of Dianetics. Originally presented as a secular "study of knowledge", it was recharacterized by Hubbard the following year as an "applied religious philosophy" under the management of the Church of Scientology.

The Church presents itself as a religious non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging development of the human spirit and providing counseling and rehabilitation programs as an alternative to psychiatry, which Scientologists consider a barbaric and corrupt profession.[1] Members claim that Hubbard's teachings (called "technology" or "tech" in Scientology terminology) have freed them from addictions, depression, learning disabilities, mental illness and other problems.

However, the Church of Scientology has attracted much controversy and criticism. Critics have characterized the Church as an unscrupulous commercial organization, and it is often accused of harassing critics and exploiting members. Furthermore, critics have asserted that many of the Church's controversial actions are a direct reflection of Hubbard's original teachings. Scientology's principles have been characterized as pseudoscientific by many mainstream medical and psychotherapeutic practitioners, and many of the Church's methods have been compared to those of cults.

Contents

Beliefs and practices

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Scientology's doctrines were established by Hubbard over a period of about 33 years, from 1952 until his death in January 1986. Most of its basic principles were set out during the 1950s and 1960s.

Scientology was expanded and reworked from Dianetics, an earlier system of self-improvement techniques set out by Hubbard in his 1950 book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. By the mid-1950s, Hubbard had relegated Dianetics to a sub-study of Scientology. The chief difference between Dianetics and Scientology is that Dianetics focuses on the individual's present life and dealing with physical, mental or emotional problems, and teaches that most problems in a person's life are caused by reactions to past trauma. Scientology adopts a more overtly religious approach, dealing with spiritual issues such as past lives in addition to present-day issues [2]. Scientology also covers topics such as ethics and morality (The Way to Happiness), physical health as it relates to spiritual wellbeing (Purification Rundown), communication, marriage, raising children, dealing with work-related problems, study technology, and the very nature of life (The Dynamics).

Scientology beliefs are structured in a series of levels leading to the more advanced strata of esoteric knowledge. This is described as the passage up "the Bridge to Total Freedom", or simply "the Bridge".

Some central beliefs of Scientology are stated to be:

  • A person is an immortal spiritual being (termed a thetan) who possesses a mind and a body.
  • The thetan has lived through many past lives and will continue to live beyond the death of the body.
  • A person is basically good, but becomes "aberrated" by moments of pain and unconsciousness in his life.
  • What is true is what is true for you. No beliefs should be forced as "true" on anyone. Rather, the tenets of Scientology are expected to be tested and seen to be true, or not, by its practitioners.
  • Scientology can help the world on a large scale with problems such as drugs, crime, illiteracy, human rights, et cetera.

Scientology claims to offer an exact methodology to help a person achieve improved spiritual and ethical education, so that he or she may achieve a greater level of spiritual awareness and effectiveness in the physical world. Exact methods of spiritual counseling are proposed to enable this change. According to the church, its ultimate goal is to rehabilitate the soul back to its native state of total freedom, thus gaining control over matter, energy, space, time, thoughts, form, and life. This state is called Operating Thetan, or OT for short.

The structure of the mind

Scientology holds that the human mind consists of two parts: the "analytical mind" and the "reactive mind". Hubbard described the analytical mind as the positive, rational, computing portion, while the "reactive mind" operates on responses to pain and unconsciousness stimuli. Dianetics states that the reactive mind can cause irrational behavior and unwanted emotion while Scientology implies these effects undermine efforts to create lasting, prosperous, and sane societies. The "analytical mind" and the "reactive mind" have been compared to Freud's conscious and subconscious minds, respectively.

Auditing

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The central practice of Scientology is called "auditing" (from the Latin audire,"to listen"), which is one-on-one communication with a Scientology counselor or "auditor". The auditor follows an exact sequence of instructions, set out by Hubbard, to "clear" the reactive mind. Auditing utilizes a biofeedback device known in Scientology as the E-meter (a galvanic skin response measuring device), which reportedly monitors the neural pathways and the nerves of the brain and body of the auditee as influenced by the thetan. Parallels have been made to neurofeedback techniques; however, Scientology does not itself use this terminology in discussing auditing theory or practice.

The auditing process is intended to help people to unburden themselves of specific traumatic incidents, prior ethical transgressions and bad decisions, which are said to collectively restrict the person from achieving his goals and lead to the development of a "reactive mind". The auditor asks the auditee to respond to a list of questions which are designed for specific purposes and given to the auditee in a strictly regulated way. Auditing requires that the auditee understand the questions, and goes more smoothly when he or she understands what is going on. Per Church policy, auditors are trained not to "evaluate" their auditees, i.e. they are forbidden from suggesting, degrading or invalidating the auditee's answers. The E-meter is used to help locate an area of concern.

The Church has claimed that auditing can raise IQ, improve memory, alleviate dyslexia and attention deficit problems, and lead to relaxation; however, no scientific studies have verified these claims. Licensed psychotherapists have alleged that the Church's auditing sessions amount to mental health treatment without a license, but the Church vehemently disputes these allegations, claiming that it is merely conducting spiritual healing.

During the auditing process, the auditor may collect personal information from the person being audited in a manner similar to a psychotherapy session. Unlike the professions of psychology and psychiatry, the Church is under no legal obligation to uphold the privacy of any such information; however, the Church maintains that its confessional records are kept confidential. In some instances, former members have claimed the Church used information obtained in auditing sessions against them, but their complaints are legally unenforceable.

The ARC Triangle

Another basic tenet of Scientology is that there are three interrelated (and intrinsically spiritual) components that make up successful "livingness": affinity (emotional responses), reality (an agreement on what is real) and communication (the exchange of ideas). Hubbard called this the "ARC Triangle". Scientologists utilize ARC as a central organizing principle in their lives, primarily based upon the belief that improving one aspect of the triangle increases the level of the other two.

The tone scale

The tone scale is a characterization of human mood and behavior by various positions on a scale, originally developed for auditors. Positions on the tone scale are usually designated by an emotion, but Hubbard also describes many other things that can be indicated by the tone scale levels, such as aspects of an individual's health, sexual behavior, survival potential, or ability to deal with truth. The tone scale is used by Scientologists in everyday life to evaluate people. According to Scientology, the lower the person is on the tone scale, the more complex and involved his or her day-to-day problems tend to be, and the more care and judgement should be exercised regarding how involved to become.

Past lives

In Dianetics, Hubbard proposed that the cause of "aberrations" in the human mind was the accumulated unconscious memories of traumatic incidents and guilty feelings, some of which predated the life of the individual remembering them. He extended this view further in Scientology, declaring that thetans have existed for tens of trillions of years. During that time, Hubbard explains, they have been exposed to a vast number of traumatic incidents, and have made a great many decisions that influence their present state. According to an early lecture of Hubbard's, it is both impossible and undesirable to recall each and every such event. As a result, Hubbard's 30-year development of Scientology focused on streamlining of the process of addressing only key memories.

According to Hubbard, some of the past traumas may have been deliberately inflicted in the form of "implants" used by extraterrestrial dictatorships to brainwash and control people. Scientology doctrine includes a wide variety of beliefs in extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in Earthly events, collectively described by Hubbard as "space opera".

Operating Thetan levels and the Xenu incident

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The "Hidden Truth" about 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 most advanced of all are the eight Operating Thetan levels, for which the initiate needs to be thoroughly prepared. The highest level, OT VIII, is only disclosed at sea, on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds.

In the OT levels, Hubbard describes a variety of traumas commonly experienced in past lives. He explains how to reverse the effects of such traumas by "running" various Scientology processes. Among these advanced teachings, one episode that is revealed to those who reach OT level III has been widely remarked upon in the press: the story of Xenu, the galactic tyrant who first kidnapped certain individuals who were deemed "excess population" and loaded these individuals into space planes for transport to the site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (Earth). These space planes were supposedly exact copies of Douglas DC-8s except with rocket engines. He then stacked hundreds of billions of these frozen victims around Earth's volcanoes 75 million years ago before blowing them up with hydrogen bombs and brainwashing them with a "three-D, super colossal motion picture" for 36 days, telling them lies of what they are and what the universe should be like and telling them that they are 3 different things: 'Jesus, God, and The Devil. The traumatized thetans subsequently clustered around human bodies because they watched the motion picture together, making them think they are all the same thing, in effect acting as invisible spiritual parasites known as "body thetans" that can only be removed using advanced Scientology techniques. Xenu is allegedly imprisoned in a mountain by a force field powered by an eternal battery. He is said to be still alive today.

Scientologists argue that published accounts of the Xenu story and other colorful teachings are pulled out of context for the purpose of ridiculing their religion. Journalists and critics of Scientology 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".

Although reliable statistics are not available, it is fair to say that most Scientologists are not at a sufficiently high level on "the bridge" to learn about Xenu. Therefore, while knowledge of Xenu and Body Thetans is crucial to the highest level church teachings, it cannot be regarded as a core belief of rank and file Scientologists. On the other hand, Scientology literature does include many references to extraterrestrial past lives, and internal Scientology publications are often illustrated with pictures of spaceships and oblique references to catastrophic events that happened "75 million years ago" (e.g. the Xenu incident).

Scientology and other religions

Scientology teaches entry-level recruits that it is fully compatible with all existing major religions. The Church of Scientology has publicly stated:

"Scientology respects all religions. Scientology does not conflict with other religions or other religious practices." (What is Scientology? 1992, p.544)

However, the Church of Scientology has clashed with other religious groups, such as the Church of England, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Lutheran Church, all of which have at times criticized Scientology's activities and doctrines. That said, it has also worked closely with other religious groups on community outreach projects and campaigns against perceived persecution by governments around the world.

Scientology's claim of religious compatibility to entry-level Scientologists is soon added to by the additional teaching that the various levels of spiritual prowess which can be reached through Scientology are much more advanced than the spiritual levels which can be reached by all other religions. Critics maintain that, within Scientology, "spiritual abilities" tends to be more synonymous with "mystical powers" than with "inner peace". Hubbard himself cautioned against the unwise or improper use of powers in the book History of Man.

Because Scientology is a mystery religion, its more esoteric teachings, which are only made available to its most advanced practitioners and which the Church goes to great lengths to maintain the secrecy of, may not always be entirely consistent with its entry-level teachings. Should a practitioner succeed in advancing to a high enough "level" to access the more esoteric teachings of Scientology (which only a minority do), they will then learn a variety of secret doctrines. As a sort of a confirmation of the Church's position that it is superior to other religions, in its application for tax exempt status in the United States, the Church of Scientology International states:

"Although there is no policy or Scriptural mandate expressly requiring Scientologists to renounce other religious beliefs or membership in other churches, as a practical matter Scientologists are expected to and do become fully devoted to Scientology to the exclusion of other faiths. As Scientologists, they are required to look only to Scientology Scriptures for the answers to the fundamental questions of their existence and to seek enlightenment only from Scientology." (Response to Final Series of IRS Questions Prior to Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) As a Church, October 1, 1993)

Critics claim that a select group of advanced practitioners eventually discovered that Hubbard had left little doubt in his writings and lectures about the dim view he took towards existing major religions. In some of the teachings Hubbard had intended only for this select group, he claimed that Jesus had never existed, but was implanted in humanity's collective memory by Xenu 75 million years ago, and that Christianity was an "entheta [evil] operation" mounted by beings called Targs (Hubbard, "Electropsychometric Scouting: Battle of the Universes", April 1952). One of Scientology's highest levels, OT VIII, allegedly states that "Jesus was ... a lover of young boys and men [and] given to uncontrollable bursts of temper and hatred." [3] Thus, critics claim, Hubbard makes clear his belief that advanced Scientologists are to identify Jesus and Christianity more as a force of evil than as a force for good. Again, it should be emphasized that only a minority have been taught this advanced teaching.

Hubbard claimed that Islam was also the result of an extraterrestrial memory implant, called the Emanator, of which the Kaaba is supposedly an artifact. Mainstream religions, in his view, had failed to realize their objectives: "It is all very well to idealise poverty and associate wisdom with begging bowls, or virtue with low estate. However, those who have done this (Buddhists, Christians, Communists and other fanatics) have dead ended or are dead ending." (Hubbard, HCOPL of January 21, 1965)

Based on an interpretation of Buddhist writings which described, among other things, a man from the west with hair like flames around his head who was said to be due to return some 2,500 years after the first Buddha, the red-haired Hubbard sometimes identified himself with Maitreya, the Buddha of the future. (Hubbard, Hymn of Asia, 1952).

Origins

Immediately prior to his first Dianetics publications, Hubbard was involved with occultist Jack Parsons in performing rites developed by Aleister Crowley. Some investigators have noted similarities in Hubbard's writings to the doctrines of Crowley,[4] though the Church of Scientology denies any such connection. An influence that Hubbard did acknowledge is the system of General Semantics developed by Alfred Korzybski in the 1930s. [5] Scientology also reflects the influence of the Hindu concept of karma, as well as the less metaphysical theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and William Sargant.

Hubbard was repeatedly accused of adopting a religious façade for Scientology in order for the organization to maintain tax-exempt status and avoid prosecution for false medical claims. These accusations continue to the present day, bolstered by numerous accounts from Hubbard's fellow science-fiction authors that on various occasions he stated that the way to get rich was to start a religion. [6]

The word scientology has a history of its own. Although today associated almost exclusively with Hubbard's work, it was coined by philologist Allen Upward in 1907 as a synonym for "pseudoscience". [7] In 1934, the Argentine-German writer Anastasius Nordenholz published a book using the word positively: Scientologie, Wißenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wißens ("Scientology, Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge"). [8] Nordenholz's book is a study of consciousness, and its usage of the word is not greatly different from Hubbard's definition, "knowing how to know". However, it is not clear to what extent Hubbard was aware of these earlier uses. The word itself is a pairing of the Latin word scientia ("knowledge", "skill"), which comes from the verb scire ("to know"), and the Greek λογος lógos ("reason" or "inward thought" or "logic"). In a lecture given on July 19, 1962 entitled "The E-meter", Hubbard said:

"So Suzie and I went down to the library, and we started hauling books out and looking for words. And we finally found 'scio' and we find 'ology'. And there was the founding of that word. Now, that word had been used to some degree before. There had been some thought of this. Actually the earliest studies on these didn't have any name to them until a little bit along the line and then I called it anything you could think of. But we found that this word Scientology, you see—and it could have been any other word that had also been used—was the best-fitted word for exactly what we wanted."

There are also claims that Scientology was started as a result of a wager between science fiction authors. Some versions of this story have the other participant as Kurt Vonnegut, while other versions name Robert A. Heinlein.

The Church of Scientology

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The Church of Scientology was first incorporated in Camden, New Jersey as a non-profit organization in 1953. Today it forms the center of a complex worldwide network of corporations dedicated to the promotion of L. Ron Hubbard's philosophies in all areas of life. This includes:

  • drug treatment centers (Narconon);
  • criminal rehab programs (Criminon);
  • activities to reform the field of mental health (Citizens Commission on Human Rights);
  • projects to implement workable and effective educational methods in schools (Applied Scholastics);
  • a campaign to return moral values to living (The Way to Happiness);
  • an organization to educate and assist businesses in the use of Scientology management techniques (World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE);
  • a consulting firm based on Hubbard's management techniques (Sterling Management Systems);
  • a publishing company, e-Republic, which publishes Government Technology and Converge magazines and coordinates the Center for Digital Government;
  • and a campaign directed to world leaders, as well as the general public, to implement the 1948 United Nations document "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (with particular emphasis on the religious freedom elements).

The Church of Scientology has been, and remains, a controversial organization. Different countries have taken markedly different approaches to Scientology. In the United States, Scientology declares itself to be a religion and regularly cites religious protection under the First Amendment. In Canada the Church of Scientology is legal, but has the unique distinction of being criminally convicted as a corporation on two counts of breach of the public trust (for an organized conspiracy to break into government offices) following a trial by jury.

Other countries, notably in Europe, have regarded Scientology as a potentially dangerous cult and have significantly restricted its activities at various times, or at least have not considered the branches of the Church of Scientology to meet the legal criteria for being considered religion-supporting organizations. In Germany, for instance, Scientology is not seen as a religion by the government, but as a commercial business with potentially anti-democratic tendencies, and has been subjected to state surveillance as a result. The United Kingdom government does not recognize Scientology as a bona fide religion, and it has been subjected to considerable pressure from the state in Russia.

Scientology has also been the focus of criticism by anti-cult campaigners and has aroused controversy for its high-profile campaigns against psychiatry and psychiatric medication.

The many legal battles fought by the Church of Scientology since its inception have given it a reputation as an extremely litigious organization.

However, a notable number of countries around the world have apparently embraced Scientology, including Italy, Spain and Thailand. Also, the overall number of legal battles the Church has engaged in seemed to peak in the early-to-mid-1990s, and have been declining since then. Since that time, many Scientologists have adopted a more relaxed view toward minor criticism. The overall attitude in the Scientology community has partially shifted to spreading Scientology through direct application to communities, rather than combating those who attempt to stop or belittle it.

Independent Scientology groups

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Although "Scientology" is most often used as shorthand for the Church of Scientology, a number of groups practice Scientology and Dianetics outside of the official Church. Such groups are invariably breakaways from the original Church, and usually argue that it has corrupted L. Ron Hubbard's principles or otherwise become overly domineering. The Church takes an extremely hard line on breakaway groups, labeling them "apostates" (or "squirrels" in Scientology jargon) and often subjecting them to considerable legal and social pressure. Breakaway groups avoid the name "Scientology" so as to keep from being sued, instead referring to themselves collectively as the Free Zone.

Free Zone groups are extremely heterogeneous in terms of doctrine—unlike the official Church. Some Free Zoners practice a form of Scientology that adheres to Hubbard's original (Church-published) texts and principles, but without the supervision or fee system of the official Church. Others have developed Hubbard's ideas into radically new forms, some barely recognizable as being related to Scientology.

Controversy and criticism

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Of the many new religious movements to appear during the 20th century, Scientology has from its inception been the most controversial. The Church has come into conflict with the governments and police forces of several countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany) numerous times over the years, though supporters note that many major world religions have found themselves in conflict with civil government in their early years.

The ongoing controversies involving the Church and its critics include:

  • The Gabriel Williams sexual abuse case.
  • Scientology's harassing and litigious actions against its critics and enemies.
  • Differing accounts of L. Ron Hubbard's life. Some critics charge Scientology with being a cult of personality, with much emphasis placed on the alleged accomplishments of its founder. Scientologists claim that government files, such as those from the FBI, are loaded with forgeries and other false documents detrimental to Scientology, but have never substantiated this accusation.
  • Deaths of Scientologists, most notably Lisa McPherson, due to mistreatment by other members.
  • Scientology's disconnection policy, in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members critical of the Church.
  • Criminal activities by Scientologists, both those committed for personal gain (Reed Slatkin, others) and those committed on behalf of the Church and directed by Church officials (Operation Snow White, Operation Freakout, Fair Game, and others).
  • Claims of brainwashing and mind control.
  • Use of high-pressure sales tactics to obtain money from members.
  • Accounts of L. Ron Hubbard discussing his intent to start a religion for profit. [9]

This last criticism is referenced, among other places, in a May 1980 Reader's Digest article, which quotes Hubbard, "If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."

The nature of Scientology is hotly debated in many countries. Scientology is considered a religion in the United States and Australia, and thus enjoys the constitutional protections afforded to religious practice (First Amendment to the United States Constitution; Australian Constitution, s 116). In the United States, the church obtained "public charity" status (IRS Code 501(c)(3)) and the associated preferential tax treatment after extended litigation. Some European governments (including Germany) do not consider the Church to be a bona fide religious organization, but instead a commercial enterprise or totalitarian cult.

The Church pursues an extensive public relations campaign arguing Scientology is a bona fide religion. The organization cites numerous scholarly sources supporting its position, many of which can be found on a website the Church has established for this purpose. [10]

Scientology critics

Scientology critics come from a variety of sources, including former members, family, various members of the Internet community, free speech activists, practitioners of other faiths, and governments. Certain members of the Internet community resent the Church for trying to enforce copyright law with regard to its materials, and are skeptical of Scientology.

Critics dismiss many of the studies cited previously as biased, contending that they were commissioned by the Church to produce the results Scientology desired. Academic papers which conclude that Scientology is not a legitimate religion have also been published, and some are available online in the Marburg Journal of Religion. [11]

In the United States in October of 1993, the Internal Revenue Service, after reviewing voluminous information on the Church's financial and other operations, recognized the Church as an "organization operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes." [12] The Church uses this tax exemption to support its claim that it is a religion.

Many critics assert that Scientologist paid private investigators to obtain compromising material on the IRS commissioner and blackmailed the IRS into submission, NYT article costing taxpayers 1-2 billion dollars. [13] Six levels of indents down in the eventually leaked "closing agreement", [14] the IRS is contractually required to discriminate in their treatment of Scientology to the exclusion of all other groups:

"The following actions will be considered to be a material breach by the Service: ... The issuance of a Regulation, Revenue Ruling or other pronouncement of general applicability providing that fixed donations to a religious organization other than a church of Scientology are fully deductible."

The Sklars, in the case MICHAEL SKLAR; MARLA SKLAR v. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL No. 00-70753, attempted to obtain the same deduction for their payments to a Jewish school. On January 29 2002 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the IRS's opposition. Judge Silverman concurred, [15] saying:

"An IRS closing agreement cannot overrule Congress and the Supreme Court.
If the IRS does, in fact, give preferential treatment to members of the Church of Scientology—allowing them a special right to claim deductions that are contrary to law and rightly disallowed to everybody else—then the proper course of action is a lawsuit to put a stop to that policy."

To date, such a suit is not known to have been filed.

Another source of controversy was Scientology's infiltration of the United States Internal Revenue Service in what Scientology termed "Operation Snow White". Eleven high-ranking Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife Mary Sue Hubbard, served time in federal prison for their involvement in this infiltration.

In Australia, critics point to a certain passage in a 1982 ruling by the High Court of Australia. They claim that in the course of litigation between the Church and the government of Victoria, even though the government of the state found that the Church practiced charlatanism, (Church of the New Faith v. Commissioner Of Pay-roll Tax) due to certain legal technicalities, the government of Victoria nevertheless could not deny the Church the right to operate in Victoria under the legal status of "religion".

Also in Australia, the Church of Scientology has received criticism of its auditing conduct. An Australian report stated that auditing involved a kind of command hypnosis that could lead to potentially damaging delusional dissociative states.

Scientology and psychiatry

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Scientology is publicly and vehemently opposed to psychiatry and psychology.

This theme appears in some of Hubbard's literary works. In Hubbard's Mission Earth series, various characters praise and criticize these methods, and the antagonists in his novel Battlefield Earth are called Psychlos, a similar allusion.

What the Church opposes are brutal, inhumane psychiatric treatments. It does so for three principal reasons: 1) procedures such as electro-shock, drugs and lobotomy injure, maim and destroy people in the guise of help; 2) psychiatry is not a science and has no proven methods to justify the billions of dollars of government funds that are poured into it; and 3) psychiatric theories that man is a mere animal have been used to rationalize, for example, the wholesale slaughter of human beings in World Wars I and II. [16]

L. Ron Hubbard was bitterly critical of psychiatry's citation of physical causes for mental disorders, for instance chemical imbalances in the brain. Although there are many questions remaining, the statements by Hubbard deny that psychiatry through the scientific method has shown some psychiatric disorders are related to anatomical and chemical cerebral anomalies. Furthermore, it is evident much of his criticism is based upon old and flawed information regarding psychiatry [17]. He regarded psychiatrists as denying human spirituality and peddling fake cures. He was also convinced psychiatrists were themselves deeply unethical individuals, committing "extortion, mayhem and murder. Our files are full of evidence on them." [18] The Church claims that psychiatry was responsible for World War I [19], the rise of Hitler and Stalin [20], the decline in education standards in the United States [21], the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo [22], and even the September 11th attacks [23]. However, for all these statements, Hubbard failed to present any evidence supporting his view of psychiatry.

Scientology's opposition to psychiatry has also undoubtedly been influenced by the fact that a number of psychiatrists have strongly spoken out against the Church, resulting in pressure from the media and governments. Additionally, after Hubbard's book on Dianetics was published, in which he tried to present a new form of psychotherapy, the American Psychological Association advised its members against using Hubbard's techniques with their patients until its effectiveness could be proven. Because of this critique Hubbard came to believe psychiatrists were behind a worldwide conspiracy to attack Scientology and create a "world government" run by psychiatrists on behalf of Soviet Russia:

Our enemies are less than twelve men. They are members of the Bank of England and other higher financial circles. They own and control newspaper chains and they, oddly enough, run all the mental health groups in the world that had sprung up ...
Their apparent programme was to use mental health, which is to say psychiatric electric shock and pre-frontal lobotomy, to remove from their path any political dissenters ... These fellows have gotten nearly every government in the world to owe them considerable quantities of money through various chicaneries and they control, of course, income tax, government finance — (Harold) Wilson, for instance, the current Premier of England, is totally involved with these fellows and talks about nothing else actually. (Hubbard, Ron's Journal 67 [24])

In 1966, Hubbard declared war on psychiatry, telling Scientologists "We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one." He committed the Church to eradicating psychiatry in 1969, announcing "Our war has been forced to become 'To take over absolutely the field of mental healing on this planet in all forms.'" [25] Not coincidentally, the Church founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights that same year as its primary vehicle for attacking psychiatry.

Around the same time, Hubbard decided psychiatrists were an ancient evil that had been a problem for billions of years. He cast them in the role of assisting Xenu's genocide of 75 million years ago. In a 1982 bulletin entitled "Pain and Sex", Hubbard declares that "pain and sex were the INVENTED TOOLS of degradation", having been devised eons ago by psychiatrists "who have been on the [time] track a long time and are the sole cause of decline in this universe." (Hubbard, HCO Bulletin of August 26, 1982)

Celebrity Scientologists, notably Tom Cruise, have been extremely vocal in attacking the use of psychiatric medication. [26] Their position has attracted considerable criticism from psychiatrists, physicians, and mentally ill individuals who cite numerous scientific studies showing benefit from psychiatry. On top of that there is evidence Scientology adherents destroyed scientific data in a lengthy campaign to discredit research. [27] Nevertheless, it is still being defended and promoted by Scientologists. [28]

Scientology vs. the Internet

Main Article: Scientology vs. the Internet

Scientology leaders have undertaken extensive operations on the Internet to deal with growing allegations of fraud and exposure of unscrupulousness within Scientology. The organization states that it is taking actions to prevent distribution of copyrighted Scientology documents and publications online by people whom it has called "copyright terrorists". Critics claim the organization's true motive is an attempt to suppress free speech and legitimate criticism.


In January 1995, Church lawyer Helena Kobrin attempted to shut down the Usenet discussion group alt.religion.scientology by sending a control message instructing Usenet servers to delete the group on the grounds that

(1) It was started with a forged message; (2) not discussed on alt.config; (3) it has the name "scientology" in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion; (4) it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning these illegal practices. [29]

In practice, this rmgroup message had little effect, since most Usenet servers are configured to disregard such messages when applied to groups that receive substantial traffic, and newgroup messages were quickly issued to recreate the group on those servers that did not do so. However, the issuance of the message led to a great deal of public criticism by free-speech advocates.

The Church also started suing people for posting copies of its copyrighted scriptures on the newsgroup and the World Wide Web, and pressed for tighter restrictions on copyrights in general. This effort was spearheaded by Sonny Bono, a Scientologist, who introduced the controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. The even more controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act was also strongly promoted by the Church and some of its provisions (notably the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act) were heavily influenced by Church litigation against US Internet service providers over copyrighted Scientology materials that had been posted or uploaded through their servers.

Beginning in the middle of 1996 and for several years after, the newsgroup was attacked by anonymous parties using a tactic dubbed "sporgery" by some, in the form of hundreds of thousands of forged spam messages posted on the group. Although the Church neither confirmed nor denied its involvement with the spam, some investigators claimed that some spam had been traced to Church members.

Scientology in popular culture

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}} On November 16, 2005, Comedy Central aired a South Park episode called Trapped in the Closet about Scientology [30]. In the episode, Scientologists decide Stan is the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard. The story included some of the "secrets" cited above, regarding aliens being frozen and dumped in volcanos so their souls could be brainwashed and confuse future generations of human beings, seventy million years later. These were presented with the caption "This is what Scientologists actually believe".

The credits of the show were entirely populated by "John Smith," and "Jane Smith," a reference to the impression Scientologists sue or otherwise harass anyone who refers to their organization or its beliefs in an unflattering light. In fact, the show concludes with a group of Scientologists threatening to sue Stan.

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant, a live satire targeting Scientology, as presented by children, was awarded an Obie Award in 2004.

Frank Zappa also spoofed the religion in his satirical rock opera "Joe's Garage." The main character, Joe, is coerced into joining L. Ron Hoover and The Church of Appliantology.

Celebrity practitioners

The Church of Scientology has concertedly attempted to convert artists and entertainers — they have special recruitment facilities for public figures designated Celebrity Centres. They can be found in Hollywood, New York, Nashville, Las Vegas, London, Paris, and Vienna, though Hollywood is the largest and most important. Scientologists give this description:

L. Ron Hubbard recognized the importance of the artist to society. Thus he created Celebrity Centre International — a Church of Scientology that specializes in delivering Dianetics and Scientology services to celebrities, professionals, leaders and promising new-comers in the fields of the arts, sports, management and government.[31]

Publicity has been generated by Scientologists in the entertainment industry such as John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Kirstie Alley, Jerry Seinfeld (former), Chick Corea (pianist), Jason Lee, Tom Cruise, and Cruise's converted fiancée Katie Holmes. Cruise became known as an outspoken Scientologist in 2005, publicly criticizing Brooke Shields on national television for her use of anti-depressants in recovering from postpartum depression.

On June 24 2005, Cruise spoke to Today Show host Matt Lauer on the dangers of psychiatry and antidepressants during a promotional interview for his film War of the Worlds [32]. His intent may have backfired as late night comedians and morning radio programs frequently commented about Cruise's passionate frustration at Lauer's perceived lack of knowledge and respect for the topic's severity and mocked him as a radical celebrity. Despite the public backlash received, Cruise certainly rallied the faithful and exposed Scientology in a way that would have been difficult to attain otherwise. Katie Couric later interviewed two psychologists as to the validity of Tom Cruise’s statements. One agreed that it is still unknown if drugs can really correct chemical imbalances while the other stated that antidepressants may be over-prescribed.

Critics say the attention and care given to celebrity practictioners is vastly different from that of noncelebrity practictioners because the Church of Scientology uses the celebrities for advertisement. And thus, that the two experiences of Scientology are vastly different.

See also

References

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}}. Includes details of some of Scientology's high-level "Operating Thetan" teachings.

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}}. A critical history of Scientology, by a Scientology archivist and former Scientologist

External links

Official Scientology sites

Unofficial sites

Critical sites

Parody sites of the Church of Scientology

cs:Scientologie da:Scientology de:Scientology es:Cienciología eo:Scientologio fr:Scientologie gl:Ciencioloxía hr:Scijentologija io:Cientologio it:Scientology he:סיינטולוגיה lt:Scientologija hu:Szcientológia nl:Scientology no:Scientologi ja:サイエントロジー pl:Scjentologia pt:Cientologia sk:Scientológia fi:Skientologia sv:Scientologi zh:科学神教

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