Since its creation in December 1953, the Church of Scientology is recruiting followers. Scientology: Truth or Lie?
Defining itself as “a new religion which offers a precise route leading to a complete and accurate understanding of the true spiritual nature of each individual:
- of one’s relationship with oneself, with family, groups, humanity, all forms of life, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being.
However, in 2015, HBO published a documentary entitled “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”. Which features the testimony of former members who claim to have been victims of abuse – physical and psychological – in the so-called Church, which they consider a cult.
At the same time, several of their most well-known international representatives -such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta- have defended what for them is the religion that guides their lives.
What is Scientology? Is it really a Church? When was it formed? How does it work?
What is Scientology?
Developed in December 1953 by American science fiction writer Ron Hubbard, it is defined on its website as a new religion based on “the study and handling of the spirit in relation to itself, the universes and other living beings. Scientology: Truth or Lie?
The word Scientology, according to its online portal, comes from the Latin “scio”. Which means “to know, in the broadest sense of the word”; and from the Greek word logos, which means “study of”.
Together, according to the Scientology website, they mean “knowing how to know”.
Hubbard, who died in January 1986, has based Scientology on three supposedly fundamental truths:
- Man is a spiritual being,
- His experience goes far beyond a single life, and
- His capacities are unlimited, even if he does not currently realize it.
The purpose of Scientology
The purpose of Scientology is “to enable man to improve his destiny through understanding.
Scientology, although considered by its members as a religion, has no developed concept of any god or supreme being. Nor does it have a dogma about the divinity it imposes on its members.
Rather, Scientology expects each individual to arrive at his or her own understanding of the supreme being.
Background and Origins
On the spiritual level, according to its website, “its roots are in the deepest beliefs and aspirations of all the great religions. It encompasses a religious heritage as old and as varied as man himself”.
The origin of Scientology dates back to the 1950s, when Ron Hubbard published his book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. Which appeared on The New York Times bestseller list for 26 consecutive weeks.
At the same time, the writer, along with a lawyer, a publicist, a doctor and an engineer, formed the Dianetics Research Establishment (HDRF).
Dianetics sought to answer the question of who or what was making the mind work. On this path of “basic and elementary discovery of the human spirit,” Scientology was born.
And with it, groups of students travelled from all over the world to Phoenix, Arizona, where Hubbard was giving classes and lectures on Scientology.
Upon returning to their countries, these people formed groups based on this so-called religion. Thus, in February 1954, a group of “Scientologists” formed the first Church of Scientology. From there on it expanded worldwide.
The beliefs of Scientology
The beliefs that guide Scientology to this day are the same ones that Hubbard wrote.
Unlike religions such as Catholicism, Scientology does not base its teachings on a supreme god, but on supposedly helping its members understand their spiritual essence and abilities.
In this sense, the writings of the creator of Scientology speak of the “thetan,” a concept similar to that of the soul. Hubbard, in his books, writes about the experience of “externalization.
The separation of the body and the individual consciousness.
What is this? It is the separation of the body and the individual consciousness.
For Scientology, the thetan is the “basic self” and the source of life for each of us.
Unlike contemporary psychology, Scientology does not regard the mind as a product of the brain, but as belonging to the thetan, which is a non-physical entity: “The thetan uses its mind in handling life and the physical universe.
The body (including the brain) is the thetan’s communication center. It is a physical object, not the being itself,” the group explains on its website.
The concept of the thetan is also important because, according to Hubbard, it explains the physical and mental ills that we humans suffer. How does this happen?
According to Scientology, on Earth there are disembodied thetans (fleshless spirits). Every time a human is born, this disembodied thetans enter into them (they may be one or several).
These thetans have what Hubbard called “engrams,” which are negative mental images that affect the lives of the subjects to which they attach.
These thetans, too, would have once had physical bodies, but would have been deliberately separated from them 75 million years ago by the forces of an alien leader named Xenu.
To make an analogy, we can say they are immortal souls living on earth.
Scientology: Truth or Lie
This may all sound a bit strange. But the basic idea is that Scientology promises to help us “expel” these thetans we have in our bodies. Scientology seeks to have its members become what they call “operating thetans. What does this mean?
According to the Church of Scientology, an operating thetan is someone who can live as a spiritual being, “who can handle things without having to use a physical body.
Despite Scientology’s promises, several former members have denounced this institution for causing them health problems.
Hana Eltringham, for example, became recognized as a “senior Scientologist” but years later reported that she suffered from depression during her time in Hubbard’s organization.
“I couldn’t understand how I could have all these spirits of dead people stuck to me, on top of me, inside me. (…) Those years of introspection eventually led me to honestly consider that I was so bad that I couldn’t confront how bad I was. I didn’t know it at the time but I suffered from a depression that lasted for years. (…) I had to find swords in me. Hypothetical swords, imaginary swords that caused me all that damage,” she told the HBO documentary in reference to the supposed disembodied thetans.Hana Eltringham
The situation of Scientology outside the United States
In the beginning, the first countries in which there were Scientology groups were, in addition to the United States, Venezuela, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Australia.
However, in 1970 the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom declared in a ruling that Scientology was not a religion. Because it did not revere any god or supreme being.
Two years earlier, the British minister of health, Kenneth Robinson, had declared that “Scientology is harmful to society and a danger to all those who submit to its precepts.
The British Supreme Court
The British Supreme Court’s position changed in 2013, when it overturned the past ruling and argued that not recognizing Scientology as a religion “would mean an unacceptable form of religious discrimination in today’s society.
In Germany, too, the federal government does not recognize Scientology as a religion. Germany constantly monitors them through the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a police intelligence body.
By 1977, and with more than 674,000 followers in Europe, Scientology was under judicial investigation by authorities in France, the United States and Switzerland.
In Milan, the Church of Scientology faced a legal process that lasted two decades. It was accused of being a criminal organization whose members practiced – among other things – the crime of fraud.
The legal process culminated in 2000, when the Court of Appeal of Milan recognized Scientology as a religion. In France, although Scientology was not banned, it was condemned in 2009 to pay fines totalling US$900,000 for “organized gang fraud”.
For its part, the American Psychological Association (APA) noted in 1950 that it could not determine “the final validity of the claims made by the author of Dianetics.
This is because the claims in Hubbard’s book “are not supported by empirical evidence of the kind required for the establishment of scientific generalizations. Scientology: Truth or Lie?
The APA still does not consider dianetics to be a valid practice.
Testimonials from Former Scientology Members
The documentary mentioned above includes the testimony of hundreds of former Scientology members. They have reported physical and psychological abuse within the organization.
Moreover, the film also mentions the tax privileges the group enjoys because it is recognized as a Church. Which has also allowed them to increase their patrimony.
In 2009, Paul Haggis, who belonged to the organization for 35 years, wrote a letter of resignation from Scientology. This letter was leaked to the press.
In the letter, the also Oscar winner expressed his indignation with the group for its imposed policies. Also for having denied the existence of disconnection practices.
The latter alludes to one of the maxims of Scientology. Which orders that any member of the organization must cut ties with anyone who speaks bad of this religion. This which often involves fathers, mothers or children.
Later, in 2012, Tom Cruise, another of the organization’s most representative figures, announced his separation from actress Katie Holmes. Cruise confessed that Scientology was the reason for his divorce.
Some time later, Holmes told the press that he had feared for the safety of Suri, the daughter they have in common. To this day, Cruise does not see her daughter because the Church of Scientology has forbidden her to do so.
Today, the focus has shifted back to this church after Sam Domingo. Sam Domingo (daughter-in-law of the renowned tenor Placido Domingo), revealed what his life was like within the organization to which he belonged for 22 years.
In Sam Domingo’s interview with the Daily Mail, he said that his children, as well as the children of other celebrities, are “indoctrinated”.
Domingo specifically referred to Isabella, one of Tom Cruise’s daughters, who was being “used” as the “poster girl” for Scientology in London.
The tenor’s daughter-in-law said that after Cruise’s separation from Nicole Kidman in 2001, the church began the alleged indoctrination of hatred for Kidman.
So, according to her version, the actress’ two adopted children (Isabella and Connor Cruise) have been forbidden to see her since she separated from Cruise.
Scientology: Truth or Lie
“I know the techniques they used. I know what was done to them by the second in command, Marty Rarthbun. Who made them believe that they should ignore and isolate their mother because she was considered ‘a suppressive person'”.
Another episode told by Domingo is about the death of John Travolta’s son, Jett, in January 2009. According to Sam’s testimony, Jett (16) suffered a heart attack during a family vacation in the Bahamas.
According to Domingo’s account, Travolta performed a ritual in which he tried to bring Jett’s spirit back into his body.
This is because Scientologists believe that when a person dies, their spirit can “come back” to the body of a newborn baby and somehow “revive” them.
Scientology: Truth or Lie?
– Scientology has been investigated in countries such as France, the United Kingdom and Italy.
– Several former members of the organization have denounced having suffered physical and psychological violence within the self-described Church.
– One of the maxims of the Church of Scientology is the disconnection with any person who speaks ill of their religion.
– Although Scientology promises to improve the mental health of its members, the American Psychological Association (APA) does not recognize its techniques as valid.
– The Church of Scientology has been fined in France for “organized gang scams.