Is there something to being human that cannot be explained through biology and psychology? And just how can mankind be saved through the actions of man? Perhaps the truth lies in the past, and how it affects the present. Not societal events, but personal experiences... Ranging to thousands of years ago. According to L. Ron Hubbard, this is precisely what lies in store for those who follow his philosophy, that of the Church of Scientology. The name Scientology, as he created it, was derived from both the Greek and Latin for "to know," making the art of Scientology "knowing how to know." Scientology teaches that physical illness, mental instability, and any form of personal malady may be corrected through aided analysis, or "auditing." A person will sit in front of an associate holding two metal cans connected to an "E-meter." This device receives impulses which can help determine the emotional state of the subject. As the person running the session speaks, he watches the meter to find which of his words brings a reaction from the subject. He then takes the examiner through past events in which the malady shows up in some form. Finally, the original event, the first occurence of the unpleasantness, is reached. Supposedly upon playing through the original source of the pain directly, any further pain is thwarted. This may understandably work rather effectively in some cases of stress headaches and phobias. However, the process is used to treat sinusitis, influenza, and other ailments which are purely physical in nature.
At times, the subject may not find the original mental scar. This means that the event did not occur during the person's life: It remains from a previous lifetime. Scientologists believe that a person's soul, the Thetan, travels from body to body, weighted down by all the accumulated experiences that hide its nature from itself. It brings all these memories with it to each new body, where they lie dormant until exhumed. Naturally, the only reliable method to do this is through Scientology and auditing. In order to reach an experience from a previous lifetime, the subject is put into a trance very similar to one through hypnosis, and attempts to drift backward in time. If he is successful, he will touch upon a memory from before his birth, in another body, in another time. With practice, the subject may be able to experience millions of years worth of lives.
Through the re-experiencing of traumatic events, a person's thetan may be freed of its wordly bonds, and may return to doing whatever thetans do without bodies. However, it must be awakened through conscious effort on the part of the personality controlled by the thetan. To learn to do this, years of practice and constant learning are required.
Scientology deals with God in a very offhand manner. In most cases, interpretation of God is an individual effort. It is only referred to as the "Supreme Being," or the "Eighth Dynamic." These references are rare and obscure, and most Scientological practices leave out any mention or thought of any kind of higer power, save the individual thetan. The thetans are not looked upon as gods, merely ancient beings of pure spirituality who were trapped in their own games when they decided to play at being material. They are not creators, but inhabitants of creations.
In order to be saved, the Scientologist must clear his mind of all mental corrosion accumulated throughout his and all his past lives. Then he must awaken the various thetans adhering to his thetan, and send them away. In addition, he is expected to read and digest all the writings of L. Ron Hubbard throughout his career as a Scientologist. These are accessed through time-consuming and expensive courses. In the upper levels of Scientology, activities such as meditation become more commonplace as a person seeks to acknowledge his own thetan, rather than have the consciousness goaded out of him.
Scientologists are also expected to spend most if not all of their time studying in centers devoted to Scientology. Inside the centers, those who disobey the leaders are relegated to menial labor or, for smaller offenses, isolation and contemplation. They are also to take the word of L. Ron Hubbard as infallible, not doubting a thing he says.
The closest to religious rituals to be found in Scientology are the process of auditing and the constant buying of higher-level courses.
There are no true clergy in Scientology, though higher-level students are routinely granted respect and authority over initiates.
Scientology. The name sounds dignified, distinguished. They believe that they are the only hope to save mankind from a nuclear holocaust, by making the entire world aware of the thetans inhabiting their bodies. Will they be enough, or is Scientology simply a moderately successful cult? It's hard to say, but Hubbard and his disciples definitely have the money to back up their eccentricities. To much of the modern-day world, that's all that matters.