Is the Church of Scientology a path to self-realization or is the Church of Scientology one of the most dangerous cults operating in America today?
The Church of Scientology is a philosophical religion that was founded by Lafayette Ronald Hubbard. L Ron Hubbard was born in 1911 and died in1986 at the age of 75. Hubbard’s book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health published in 1950 set forth the basis of his philosophy, offering an alternative path to overcoming physical and mental stress. The church believes that a person’s spirit can be cleared of past painful experiences through a process called auditing which is freeing the person of the burdens that interfere with happiness and self-realization.
Dianetics became an instant bestseller, spending the entire second half of 1950 on the New York Times bestseller list and causing nationwide interest in the subject. As a do-it-yourself alternative to psychotherapy, Dianetics appealed to a broad range of people who used the instructions given in the book to apply the method to each other, thus becoming practitioners themselves. Overnight, Hubbard found himself the leader of a growing Dianetics movement. He became a popular lecturer and established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he trained his first Dianetics counselors or “auditors”.
Dianetics soon met with criticism. Morris Fishbein, the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and a noted debunker of quack medicine, dismissed Hubbard’s book; an article in Newsweek stated that “the Dianetics concept is unscientific and unworthy of discussion or review”; and in January 1951 the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation for teaching medicine without a license, which eventually led to that organization’s bankruptcy.
By 1952, Hubbard had lost the rights to Dianetics, having bailed out just before the bankruptcy of the original Hubbard Research Foundation. He had also managed to avoid the charges brought against that Foundation by the New Jersey Medical Association for teaching medicine without a license.
Some practitioners of Dianetics reported experiences which they believed to have occurred in past lives, or previous incarnations. Hubbard decided to take the reports of past life events seriously and postulated the existence of the “thetan”, an immortal and individual soul that he believed existed across multiple lifetimes. This added a spiritual dimension to Dianetics and was an important factor in the subsequent transition from secular Dianetics to the religion of Scientology.
In a matter of days in the early spring of 1952, Hubbard moved from his purported “science of mental health” into the territory of reincarnation and spirit possession.
The first church was established in Los Angeles in 1954. A prolific author, Hubbard wrote many works on Scientology and is also noted for his science-fiction novels and short stories.
In a scathing 1980 Reader’s Digest article entitled, “Scientology: Anatomy of a Frightening Cult” by Eugene H. Methvin, the author states:
In the late 1940s, pulp writer L. Ron Hubbard declared, “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”
Hubbard did start his own “religion” calling it the “Church of Scientology and by 1980 had grown into an enterprise grossing an estimated $100 million a year worldwide (in 1993 their assets were nearly $400 million). His churches have paid him a percentage of their gross, usually ten percent, and he has stashed untold riches away in bank accounts in Switzerland and elsewhere under his and his wife’s control. Surrounded by aides who cater to his every whim, he reportedly lives on church-owned property, formerly a resort, in Southern California.
Scientology is one of the oldest, wealthiest — and most dangerous — of the major “new religions” or cults operating in America today. Some of its fanatic operatives have engaged in burglary, espionage, kidnapping and smear campaigns to further their goals. Says Assistant U.S. Attorney Raymond Banoun, who directed a massive investigation that resulted in conspiracy or theft convictions of nine top Scientology officials in Washington, D.C.: “The evidence presented to the court shows brazen criminal campaigns against private and public organizations and individuals. The Scientology officials hid behind claims of religious liberty while inflicting injuries upon every element of society.”
When this article was published in 1980, Eugene H. Methvin pointed out that Hubbard may live more regally than did the Maharajah of Jaipur, whose 30-room mansion and 57-acre estate in England Hubbard bought in the late 1950s as “world headquarters” for his growing movement. His retinue includes young women, known officially as “messengers,” who light his ever-present cigarettes and catch the ashes. They record every word he says, including his frequent obscene outbursts of rage. They help him out of bed in the morning, run his shower and dress him. They scrub his office for a daily “white glove” inspection and rinse his laundry in 13 fresh waters. (Former members say he erupts volcanically if he sniffs soap on his clothes.)
Hubbard attracts and holds his worshipful followers by his amazing capacity to spin out an endless science-fiction fantasy in which he is the supreme leader of a chosen elite. He tells them he is a nuclear physicist who was severely wounded while serving with the U.S. Navy in World War II. “Taken crippled and blinded” to a Naval hospital, he claims to have “worked his way back to fitness and full perception in less than two years.” In the process, he developed the “research” that led him to discover “Dianetics” and Scientology, the answers to most of mankind’s ills.
The truth is something else. Hubbard did take a college course in molecular and atomic physics, which he flunked. He served in the Navy, but Navy records do not indicate he saw combat or was ever wounded. He was discharged and later given a 40-percent disability pension because of an ulcer, arthritis and other ailments. About this time he was petitioning the Veterans Administration for psychiatric care to treat “long periods of moroseness and suicidal inclinations.” He was also arrested for petty theft in connection with checks.
Since Dianetics, Hubbard’s bizarre “philosophy” has expanded into a 25-million-word collection of books, articles and tape-recorded lectures. Hubbard claims to have traced human existence back 74 trillion years, suggesting it began on Venus. Today’s earthlings are material manifestations of eternal spirits who are reincarnated time and again over the eons. But, Hubbard claims, our earthly troubles often result from ghostly mental images which he calls “engrams” — painful experiences either in this life or in former incarnations.
Hubbard’s original book created a sensation; he claimed to have “cleared” 270 cases of engrams, thus greatly increasing the subjects’ I.Q.s and curing them of assorted ills from arthritis to heart troubles. Later Hubbard said that Scientology eradicated cancer and was the only specific cure for atomic-bomb burns.
To detect engrams, Hubbard adopted a battery-powered galvanometer with a needle dial wired to two empty tin cans. Charging $150 an hour, a Scientology “minister” audits a subject by having him grip the tin cans and answer detailed questions about his present or past lives. The needle’s gyrations supposedly detect the engrams. By causing the subject to “confront” the engrams, the ‘minister’ claims to “clear his memory bin,” thus raising both body and mind to a superhuman state of “total freedom.”
The Scientology auditor also carefully records any intimate revelations, including sexual or criminal activities or marital or family troubles. According to the church’s own documents and defectors’ affidavits, such records are filed for blackmail purposes to be used against any member, (or member’s family) that becomes a “potential trouble source” by threatening to defect, go to the authorities, or generate hostile publicity.
Of course, new prospects are never asked to swallow the whole ridiculous story at first gulp; they get it in timed-release capsules. The process transforms them into what one who went through it calls a “robot-like” state.
One becomes a Scientologist by (to varying degrees) substituting L. Ron Hubbard’s perception of reality for one’s own. Scientology is not swallowed whole; it is accepted incrementally via a carefully constructed series of agreements into which the individual is led, bolstered by profoundly invasive hypnotic techniques, peer pressure, hard-sell tactics and “whipped up gung-ho.” This is a subtle, effective process that inhibits evaluative thinking and entraps people “through deceptive manipulation of our best qualities: loyalty, courage and desire to help.”
Scientology appeals to people by offering them a grand game; a unique and comprehensive self-improvement system; a solution for almost every problem (many people come to Scientology when their lives are in crisis); and a welcoming group focused on major societal issues such as drug abuse, mental health, education, spirituality and morality. After joining the Church of Scientology, one meets with increasing demands for money, time and recruiting others. Those who resist these demands bolt, usually quickly. Those who remain go step-by-step into agreement with indoctrination, all the while believing that they are becoming more aware and self determined.
While the basic ideas of Scientology had nearly all been expressed by the end of 1952, Hubbard continued to pour out new techniques that were “guaranteed” to cure all human ills. He borrowed from many forms of therapy and meditation to create an elaborate “Bridge” which he claimed led to “total freedom”.
Scientology indoctrination usually begins with the Communication Course Training Routines or “TRs”. These are supposed to enhance the ability to communicate, but have been called by one expert “the most overt form of hypnosis used by any destructive cult”.
In the first TR, two people sit silently facing each other, with their eyes closed. In the second, they stare at each other, sometimes for hours on end, inducing hallucinations and an uncritical euphoria.
In the next stage, the student has to sit motionless, while the “coach” does everything possible to disturb him or her. The student progresses to reading aloud disconnected phrases from Alice in Wonderland, and then to acknowledging statements read out at random from the same text. Then comes, TR-3, where the student repeatedly asks the coach either “Do fish swim?” or “Do birds fly?” In the last “Communication Course” Training Routine, the student again asks one of these questions repeatedly; learning not to be distracted by anything the coach says or does. Repetition is another way of inducing an altered or trance state. Following these procedures definitely makes the individual more susceptible to direction from Scientology.
From the Communication Course, the new recruit will usually go onto the “Purification Rundown”, after a meeting with a Scientology salesperson, who convinces the recruit that the Rundown is well worth the high price demanded for it. Those on the “Purification Rundown” take extremely high doses of vitamins and minerals, and combine running and sauna treatment for five hours each day. Such high doses of vitamins can create various physiological reactions, including drug-like experiences. The heat exhaustion brought on by the sauna can lead to euphoric experiences, yet again weakening critical thinking.
The sequence of steps on the Scientology Bridge has changed from one year to the next. After the “Purification Rundown’ – and another interview with a salesperson-the recruit might well go on to the “Hubbard Key to Life Course” (at a cost of 4,000- $8,000). This supposedly undercuts all previous education by returning the individual to the basics of literacy. Factually, because it treats all clients as pre-school children, it tends to cause age regression, making people yet more susceptible to Scientology.
There are several hundred Scientology counseling procedures or “auditing processes”. The “Objectives” were first introduced in the 1950s. Hubbard asserted that it is necessary to show the individual that reactive impulses can be controlled by being put under the control of another person (the Scientology “auditor”). This might be more simply termed “mind control”. On the Objective Processes, the individual is given strict orders to repeat an overwhelmingly tedious cycle of behavior.
Salvation is achieved through the practices and techniques of Scientology, the ultimate goal of which is to realize one’s true nature as an immortal spirit, a thetan. The path to salvation, or enlightenment, includes achieving states of increasingly greater mental awareness–Pre-Clear, Clear, and ultimately Operating Thetan. The science fiction content of Scientology is revealed to them after they have reached the state they call “Clear”, meaning freed from the aberrations of the mind. However, perhaps “brainwashed” would be a more applicable word to describe the mental state of someone who has survived the near entire delusional contents of their subconscious mind brought to the surface and presented to them as “truth”. Once “Clear”, they are ready for the Advanced Courses of Scientology, the “Operating Thetan” or “OT” levels.
An Operating Thetan is a spirit who can control matter, energy, space, time, thought, and life. Practitioners (“Auditors”) are regarded as ministers and counselors who assist others to achieve self-enlightenment. Auditors help others to identify their prebirth, current, and past-life disturbances, which are obstacles to happiness and spiritual enlightenment.
The scientologist who has made it to OT level 3 is introduces to the story of Xenu:
75 million years ago there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu. Xenu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.
Now Xenu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were over-populated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.
Xenu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyze them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).
These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralyzed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xenu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.
The story doesn’t end there though. Since everyone has a soul (called a “thetan” in this story) then you have to trick souls into not coming back again. So while the hundreds of billions of souls were being blown around by the nuclear winds he had special electronic traps that caught all the souls in electronic beams (the electronic beams were sticky like fly-paper).
After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, the devil and Christ. In the story this process is called “implanting”.
When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.
As for Xenu, the Loyal Officers finally overthrew him and they locked him away in a mountain on one of the planets. He is kept in by a force-field powered by an eternal battery and Xenu is still alive today.
That is the end of the story. And so today everyone is full of these clusters of souls called “body thetans”. And if we are to be a free soul then we have to remove all these “body thetans” and pay lots of money to do so. And the only reason people believe in God and Christ was because it was in the film their body thetans saw 75 million years ago.
Past lives, evolution, implanted memories from aliens? L. Ron Hubbard was fascinated by and interested in the occult. In his 1952 lectures, Hubbard referred to Tarot cards, saying that they were not simply a system of divination but a “philosophical machine.” It is impossible to arrive at an understanding of Scientology without taking into account L. Ron Hubbard’s extensive involvement with his religious and ideological mentor, Aleister Crowley, the most famous Satanist and black magician of the twentieth-century.
According to its official teachings, the Church of Scientology “regards the family as the building block of any society and marriage as an essential component of a stable family life.” According to his unofficial biographers, Hubbard had at least seven children by three different wives, including one bigamous marriage
Hubbard presented himself as a messiah, as Maitreya the last Buddha, but in fact he was privately a highly disturbed and frequently ill man. There are a number of reports of his drug abuse. He advocated the use of amphetamines. He admitted to barbiturate addiction and was also at times a heavy drinker. The truth is that this false messiah, described as a madman by his own son, who supposedly had achieved the ability to exert power over matter, energy, space, and time, died a physically and mentally sick man, of a stroke.
How can we share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ with a brain-washed and possibly demonized Scientologist?
The vast majority of Hubbard’s followers are ordinary people who genuinely believe that the techniques of Scientology can help the world. They have placed their faith in the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. How then can we prove that the book in which we have placed our faith, the Bible is trustworthy, and even more than that, is divinely inspired?
Bible writers claimed repeatedly that they were transmitting the very Word of God, infallible and authoritative in the highest degree. This is an amazing thing for any writer to say, and if the forty or so men who wrote the Scriptures were wrong in these claims, then they must have been lying, or insane, or both.
But, on the other hand, if the greatest and most influential book of the ages, containing the most beautiful literature and the most perfect moral code ever devised, was written by deceiving fanatics, then what hope is there for finding meaning and purpose in this world?
If one will seriously investigate these Biblical evidences, he will find that their claims of divine inspiration (stated over 3,000 times, in various ways) were amply justified.
The remarkable evidence of fulfilled prophecy is just one case in point. Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, specifically and meticulously, often long after the prophetic writer had passed away.
For example, Daniel the prophet predicted in about 538 BC (Daniel 9:24-27) that Christ would come as Israel’s promised Savior and Prince 483 years after the Persian emperor would give the Jews authority to rebuild Jerusalem, which was then in ruins. This was clearly and definitely fulfilled, hundreds of years later.
There are extensive prophecies dealing with individual nations and cities and with the course of history in general, all of which have been literally fulfilled. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Christ Himself at His first coming. Other prophecies deal with the spread of Christianity, as well as various false religions, and many other subjects.
There is no other book, ancient or modern, like this. The vague, and usually erroneous, prophecies of people like Jeanne Dixon, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and others like them are not in the same category at all, and neither are other religious books such as the Koran, the Confucian Analects, and similar religious writings. Only the Bible manifests this remarkable prophetic evidence, and it does so; on such a tremendous scale as to render completely absurd any explanation other than divine revelation.
The historical accuracy of the Scriptures is likewise in a class by itself, far superior to the written records of Egypt, Assyria, and other early nations. Archeological confirmations of the Biblical record have been almost innumerable in the last century. Dr. Nelson Glueck, probably the greatest modern authority on Israeli archeology, has said:
“No archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.”
Another striking evidence of divine inspiration is found in the fact that many of the principles of modern science were recorded as facts of nature in the Bible long before scientist confirmed them experimentally. A sampling of these would include:
• Roundness of the earth (Isaiah 40:22)
• Almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe (Isaiah 55:9)
• Law of conservation of mass and energy (II Peter 3:7)
• Hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7)
• Vast number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22)
• Law of increasing entropy (Psalm 102:25-27)
• Paramount importance of blood in life processes (Leviticus 17:11)
• Atmospheric circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:6)
• Gravitational field (Job 26:7)
• and many others.
These are not stated in the technical jargon of modern science, of course, but in terms of the basic world of man’s everyday experience; nevertheless, they are completely in accord with the most modern scientific facts.
The remarkable structure of the Bible should also be stressed. Although it is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 or more different men over a period of 2,000 years, it is clearly one Book, with perfect unity and consistency throughout.
The individual writers, at the time of writing, had no idea that their message was eventually to be incorporated into such a Book, but each nevertheless fits perfectly into place and serves its own unique purpose as a component of the whole. Anyone who diligently studies the Bible will continually find remarkable structural and mathematical patterns woven throughout its fabric, with an intricacy and symmetry incapable of explanation by chance or collusion.
The one consistent theme of the Bible, developing in grandeur from Genesis to Revelation, is God’s great work in the creation and redemption of all things, through His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible was produced by God, not just men:
All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:21
Both the Old and New Testaments are strongly supported by manuscript evidence (the evidence of early hand written copies). The famous Dead Sea Scrolls are one example of the Old Testament evidence. These documents came from the “library” of a settlement founded at Qumran before 150 B.C. and abandoned about 68 A.D. Some of the manuscript copies were made during that period, and some were written earlier (third century BC) and brought to the settlement. The Dead Sea Scrolls match the Hebrew text behind today’s Old Testament, in spite of the passage of over 2,000 years.
Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament text. This makes the New Testament the most reliable document of antiquity (a document written before the printing press). These manuscripts vary in size from a part of a page to an entire Bible (Old and New Testaments). The earliest New Testament manuscripts date from the second century (100-199) AD. These manuscript copies were written in different languages by people of different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds. In spite of all those differences between them, the New Testament texts all agree.
The Bible is an accurate historical account comprised of 66 books written by 40 authors over the course of 1,600 years in three languages that contains actual geographical locations, predictive prophecy and scientific facts. There are incredible numerical structures in both, the Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek as well as Bible Codes that were not discovered until the age of computers! The Bible is indeed the divinely inspired WORD OF GOD!