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What People Believe: Scientology

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Scientology is an ideology that is constantly in the spotlight, with advertisements visible across London and celebrities such as Tom Cruise espousing its ideals. TNS delves into the truth behind Scientology...

Who?

Scientology was founded in the USA in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard. The religion succeeds Hubbard’s earlier self-help system, Dianetics.

Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices which aim to eliminate all mental illness and psychosomatic illness via the process of ‘auditing’ whereby a Scientology auditor asks the auditee personal questions. Famous Scientologists include Tom Cruise, Juliette Lewis, John Travolta and Patrick Swayze.

What do they believe?

Scientologists believe that human beings are immortal with unlimited capabilities which are held back from them by their subconscious or ‘reactive mind’. However, they can reach their true potential, or true self – the ‘thetan' - via auditing.

They also believe that 75 million years ago, an alien called Xenu brought billions of his people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs.The souls of these people remained and inhabit humans in modern times, causing them spiritual harm. The Xenu story is considered a sacred and esocteric teaching in the Church of Scientology and it has gone to considerable effort to maintain the story's confidentiality, including legal action on the grounds of copyright and trade secrecy.

What do they do?

Hubbard claimed that ever-higher levels of spiritual enlightenment could be reached by continuous treatment or auditing. Members of the Church can gradually climb up the ladder of authority, achieving increased enlightenment, awareness and mental control. However, the cost of treatment is high and the rough cost of getting to the top of the ladder in the Church of Scientology is $500,000.

Scientologists advocate 'silent birth', a birthing procedure advised by Hubbard in which "everyone attending the birth should refrain from spoken words as much as possible" and where "... chatty doctors and nurses, shouts to 'PUSH, PUSH' and loud or laughing remarks to 'encourage' are avoided".

Weird Facts

  • The Scientology cross, a symbol of Scientology, has eight corners representing the eight dynamics of existence – the self, family, society, humankind, life forms, matter, spirit and supreme being.
     
  • In the late 1940s, perhaps not doing his cause any favours, 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."
     
  • In the mid-sixties, the Church of Scientology was banned in Australia based on a government report that the "cult" relied heavily on controlling members via hypnosis.
     
  • Psychiatrists are the single most hated beings according to the cult's doctrine, and several leading personalities - including Cruise and Travolta - have been campaigning against psychiatrists.
     
  • Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain although in other countries, notably Canada, France, Germany and the UK, Scientology does not have comparable religious status, but Churches are allowed.



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