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Scientology, Church of

Scientology, Church of

In 1950 writer L. Ron Hubbard announced the discovery of Dianetics as a new system of mental health. Several years later he announced the further development of Dianetics into a comprehensive system of spiritual philosophy and religion, which he termed Scientology. Both Dianetics and Scientology now form the teachings and practice of the Church of Scientology.

Dianetics

Developed in part in reaction to the dominance of behavioral approaches to psychology and then-current psychotherapeutic practices such as electric shock therapy, Dianetics is based upon the idea that the human is identified with the soul (termed the Thetan), and Dianetics identifies what the soul does to the body through the mind. It was first exposed to the public in the article "Dianetics An Introduction to a New Science" in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction (May 1950), a magazine published by one of Hubbard's friends who had become enthusiastic about the possibilities of the new approach. Several weeks later Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health was published, on May 9, 1950, and became an overnight best-seller.

Hubbard suggested that the goal of life was what he termed "infinite survival." Pain, disappointment, and failure are the results of actions that do not promote survival, he said. The mind operates to solve the problems relating to survival. From the information it receives, stored in mental pictures, it directs the individual in actions geared toward surviving. Such mental images are three dimensionalthey have energy and mass, they exist in space, and they tend to appear when someone thinks of them, Hubbard said. They are strung together in a consecutive record accumulated over a lifetime Hubbard called a "time track."

The theory of Dianetics is a variation on preexisting concepts of conscious and unconscious mind, using the terms analytic and reactive mind. The analytic mind, according to Hubbard, records the mental image pictures derived from our experiences. However, pictures of experience which contain pain or painful emotions are recorded in the reactive mind. Also, experiences that occur when a person is unconscious (on the operating table, for example) or partially conscious (when inebriated) are recorded by the reactive mind and are not available to the analytic mind, he said.

The problem with the reactive mind is that it stores particular types of mental images called "engrams" (a term borrowed from psychologist Richard Semon to denote a memory trace), creating a complete record of unpleasant or unconscious experiences. It also thinks in identities, equating the various elements of a painful experiences. In the future, when one experiences several elements in the engram, all of the pain and emotion of past experiences will flood back into the present. Over a lifetime, the cumulative effect of engrams can be a set of unwanted and little-understood negative conditions, including, but not limited to, pains, emotional blocks, and even physical illnesses, according to Hubbard. Armed with Hubbard's book, any ordinary individual was considered competent to practice a simple system of psychotherapy superior to those involving specialized training.

Having discovered the nature of the human psyche, Hubbard set out to discover the means of addressing psychological disorders. His techniques are supposed to erase the contents of the reactive mind, rendering them useless in further affecting the person without his/her conscious knowledge.

The aim of the techniques is the production of a "clear," a person whose reactive mind has been cleared, who has no engrams. The primary technique is called "auditing," a one-onone counseling process that uses an instrument called an "Emeter," a modified whetstone bridge that measures the level of electrical resistance in the human body. It is the belief that such resistance is directly related to the focus upon an engram. The process of becoming a clear occurs in a series of classes and personal counseling sessions. Participants record the state of clear in degrees.

Hubbard founded the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in June 1950. He spent the rest of the year traveling and lecturing and the following year opened the Hubbard College in Wichita, Kansas. By this time Hubbard had speculated that human beings are basically spiritual, and that once cleared, have great potential. These insights led to what would be termed "Scientology." The Hubbard Association Scientology International was founded in 1952, and the first Church of Scientology opened two years later. Dianetics became the method of entering the church and discovering its teachings.

Scientology

Hubbard proposed the existence of engramspainful impressions from past experiences, extending back into innumerable previous incarnations. According to his book The History of Man (1952), the human body houses two entitiesa genetic entity (for carrying on the evolutionary line), and a Thetan, or consciousness, like an individual soul, that has the capacity to separate from body and mind. In man's long evolutionary development the Thetan has been trapped by the engrams formed at various stages of embodiment, Hubbard says.

As soon became obvious in Dianetics, clears were not the fully liberated individuals it had been hoped they would be. The idea of engrams from past lives explained the problem, thus a new concept appeared in Scientologythe "MEST-Clear" (MEST = Matter-Energy-Space-Time). Much of Hubbard's thinking resonates with the concepts of reincarnation and transmigration of souls found in Eastern religions. The goal of Scientology training thus became the final clearing of the individual of all engrams and the creation of what is termed an "Operating Thetan." Among the abilities of the operating Thetan is the soul's capacity to leave and operate apart from the body.

The exact content of the teachings of the Church of Scientology are imparted in the classes attended by church members and are not revealed to the public. Such is especially true of the highest classes (OT-4-7 levels), though jumbled accounts have been presented in books by former members, several of whom left the church with the confidential materials used in the classes and who tried to hurt the church by making these materials available to the general public. As in Dianetics, one progresses through the OT levels on a degree basis, the mastering of one level being a prerequisite to the next.

Scientology's Controversy

Almost from its beginning, Scientology has been a controversial religion. Soon after his announcement of the discovery of Dianetics, Hubbard encountered opposition by the American Medical Association, and in 1958 a two-decade battle with the Food and Drug Administration began. The initiation of these continuing battles had immense consequences, and critics of the church used the actions in one country as a basis for initiating actions elsewhere. Also, government files, not checked for accuracy, were passed to other government agencies and to other countries. Suddenly, in the 1960s, Scientology found itself under attack from a variety of quarters and has spent 30 years in the courts in the attempt to vindicate its existence and program.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, the church fought battles with the Internal Revenue Service in the United States (finally resolved in the early 1990s) and with several former members and anticult organizations who accused it of brainwashing church members. The church itself initiated legal action against publications that it believed libeled the organization and its founder. Important international cases were fought and won in Australia, Canada, and Great Britain, and ongoing cases are pending in Germany, among the most conservative of Western countries concerning religious freedom issues.

In the midst of its fight with the U.S. government, and continually blocked in its attempt to gather documentation of covert government actions against the church, in the mid-1970s several high officials conspired to infiltrate targeted agencies and obtain copies of files on the church. The FBI, CIA, and IRS were especially high on their list. When the plan was discovered, it resulted in a massive raid on the church's headquarters. Several church officials were arrested and convicted of theft of government property.

As of the 1990s, with the solving of its problems with the U.S. government, the church has moved to gain its rights as a viable religion in Germany and to oppose the actions of the Cult Awareness Networkwhich it believes is simply an antireligious organizationand similar groups internationally.

The Church of Scientology reports members in 129 countries and the words of L. Ron Hubbard have been translated into over 30 languages. They also maintain social reform and community activities among services such as the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises (WISE), that provide professional groups with strategies to find harmony in the workplace.

For an authoritative account of Dianetics and Scientology, see current editions of L. Ron Hubbard's books Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and History of Man, both published by the Church of Scientology, Los Angeles, and available at local Scientology organizations. Address: US IAS Members Trust, 1311 N. New Hampshire Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. Website: http://www.scientology.com/.

Sources:

Atack, Jon. A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics, and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1990.

Church of Scientology. http://www.scientology.com/. April 14, 2000.

Corydon, Bent, and L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? New York: Lyle Stuart, 1987.

Evans, Christopher. Cults of Unreason. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973. Reprint. New York: Dell, 1975.

Hubbard, L. Ron. Dianetics 55! Los Angeles: Publications Organization, 1954.

. Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. New York: Hermitage House, 1950.

. Handbook for Preclears. Los Angeles: Publications Organization, 1951.

. Science of Survival. Los Angeles: Publications Organization, 1951.

. Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought. Los Angeles: Publications Organization, 1956.

. Self-Analysis. Los Angeles: Publications Organization, 1951.

. You Have Lived Before This life? Los Angeles: Publications Organization, 1977.

Miller, Russell. Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard New York: Henry Holt; London: Michael Joseph,1987.

Wallis, Roy. The Road to Total Freedom. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.

What Is Scientology? Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, 1992.

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Scientology

SCIENTOLOGY

SCIENTOLOGY. The religious movement known as Scientology originated in the United States with the 1950 publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The book's author, L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), was a popular science fiction writer who envisioned Dianetics as an alternative to traditional therapy. Like other human potential systems, Dianetics promised its followers both enhanced survival mechanisms and new modes of self-expression. Drawing heavily on modern psychology, Hubbard claimed that detailed memory records of past traumatic experiences, called Engrams, are the cause of irrational and aberrant behavior. Subjects could uncover and eliminate their Engrams to become Clear through a process of Auditing, overseen by a practitioner of Dianetics using a device called an E-meter.

The more explicitly religious dimensions of Scientology evolved from Dianetic theory, as Hubbard and his followers began to make wider claims about the nature and meaning of human life. Hubbard posited that in addition to a body and a mind, each person is also an immortal spiritual entity called a Thetan, which spans lifetimes and has the power to create the basic elements of existence: matter, energy, space, and time. With the help of Scientology, church members move along a path to spiritual enlightenment known as the Bridge to Total Freedom. The aim of this spiritual pilgrimage is to attain higher states of consciousness, marked by successive levels of Operating Thetan status.

Since its founding in Los Angeles in 1954, the Church of Scientology has grown steadily, enjoying a high profile


due to its appeal among well-known entertainers. Membership estimates range from fifty thousand to several million. The church operates in more than one hundred countries and maintains an elaborate and well-funded network of institutions dedicated to promoting religious practice, the training of practitioners, and moral and political reform. Scientology has tirelessly sought legal status as a religion and has consistently assumed an aggressive posture toward its critics.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Church of Scientology International. Scientology: Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion. Los Angeles, Calif.: Bridge Publications, 1998.

Jenkins, Philip. Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions in American History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Miller, Russell. Bare-Faced Messiah: A Biography of L. Ron Hubbard. London: Michael Joseph, 1987.

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Scientology, Church of

Church of Scientology, philosophical religion founded by L(afayette) Ron(ald) Hubbard, 1911–86, b. Tilden, Nebr. Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (1950) first 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," freeing the person of the burdens that interfere with happiness and self-realization. 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.

Scientology has been regarded with suspicion by many during its history. The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association questioned the tenets of Scientology during the 1950s, and in the 1960s the governments of England, Australia, and the United States opened investigations into church activities, particularly for suspected practices of tax evasion. The church's status as a religion was, however, ultimately established in those and other countries, but elsewhere it has been regarded as a sect. It has continued to face governmental challenges, perhaps most notably in Germany, where it has been accused of being antidemocratic and unconstitutional and where its members have experienced personal discrimination, and in France, where it has been convicted of fraud. Some, including some former members, view the church as an elaborate cult, a charge the church and some religious scholars deny. In 1996 there were more than 3,000 churches, missions, and groups worldwide, with headquarters in Los Angeles.

See J. Reitman, Inside Scientology (2011); H. B. Urban, The Church of Scientology (2011); L. Wright, Going Clear (2013).

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Scientology

Scientology. The creation of L. Ron Hubbard, who in the early 1950s, using his theory of lay psychotherapy (Dianetics) as its basis, developed a religious philosophy which was then incorporated into the Church of Scientology. While Dianetics deals in the main with the ‘reactive mind’ (the subconscious), Scientology is concerned with the ‘Thetan’ or everlasting spirit.

The movement has been accused of aggressive and on occasion unlawful methods in its ways of recruitment and its methods of defence against critics, so that its short history has been surrounded by controversy.

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scientology

scientology ‘Applied religious philosophy’ based on a form of psychotherapy called dianetics, which was founded (1954) by L. Ron Hubbard in California, USA. It advocates confrontation with, and assimilation of, painful experiences from the past to achieve true mental health. The movement is officially known as the Church of Scientology. It aroused controversy over its methods of recruiting and keeping members.

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Scientology

Sci·en·tol·o·gy / ˌsīənˈtäləjē/ • n. trademark a religious system based on the seeking of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment through graded courses of study and training. It was founded by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86) in 1955. DERIVATIVES: Sci·en·tol·o·gist / -jist/ n.

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Scientology

Scientology trademark name for a religious system based on the seeking of self-knowledge and spiritual fulfilment through graded courses of study and training. It was founded by American science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86) in 1955.

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Church of Scientology

Church of Scientology: see Scientology, Church of.

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Scientology

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