The Church of Scientology has been a part of the Clearwater community since 1975, and a member of the broader community of religions in the United States since 1954. Although much is reported and said about Scientology due in no small part to its rapid growth throughout the world it is still a relatively new religion, leading many to ask: so just what is Scientology?
On the following pages we cover fundamentals of the religion which can be found in comprehensive reference works on the subject: What is Scientology? and Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion. Both texts, as well as smaller booklets defining the religion and its activities, are available through Churches of Scientology (complimentary for religious leaders, government officials and members of the news media). What is Scientology? can also be found in public bookstores. Books by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, including Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought, are also available in Churches of Scientology and public bookstores.
girl with crippling shyness gains confidence and an ability to easily communicate with others. A man who never thought he could be happy learns how life can indeed be fun and rewarding, and becomes happy.
A married couple embroiled in bitter arguments realize they actually do love each other and dont need to file for divorce after all.
These are not a series of random happy endings. These are daily occurrences in a Church of Scientology.
Thus the question what is Scientology? is answered to a significant degree by the results and successes of those who apply its principles to their lives.
Such results also answer why Scientology is one of the fastest growing religions on the planet today.
The word Scientology itself comes from two Latin words, scio meaning knowledge or wisdom and logos meaning the study of. Literally translated, Scientology means knowing how to know or knowing in the fullest sense of the word.
In its simplest terms, Scientology is an applied religious philosophy. The emphasis is on application of its scriptures to achieve higher states of awareness, improved conditions in life for self and others, and ultimately spiritual freedom.
The Scientology philosophy is comprised of the research, discoveries and observations of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the religion. The application is achieved by means of exact technology developed by Mr. Hubbard, through which tenets in the religion can be put to use for self and others.
For example, it is one thing to know that one should have loving and constructive relationships with family, and resolve conflicts or disagreements for the good of all concerned. But it is quite another to know and be able to apply precise tools that can bring that about.
Scientology is based on these fundamental truths:
- Man is an immortal spiritual being.
- His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime.
- His capabilities are unlimited.
Scientology further holds that man is basically good, and that his salvation depends upon himself and his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with them. Scientology is concerned with the spiritual rehabilitation of the individual, and all church services have this as their ultimate goal.
Scientology is a non-denominational religion. A person need not convert to Scientology in order to be a Scientologist. This is because Scientology addresses the individuals own spirituality, a quality that is inherent in all people. While Scientology affirms the existence of a Supreme Being, it holds no dogma or faith system on the subject. Rather, following the spiritual path of Scientology leads the individual to come to his own understanding of the nature of, and his relationship to, God.
In commenting on that relationship, founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, No culture in the history of the world, save the thoroughly depraved and expiring ones, has failed to affirm the existence of a Supreme Being. It is an empirical observation that men without a strong and lasting faith in a Supreme Being are less capable, less ethical and less valuable to themselves and society ... A man without an abiding faith is, by observation alone, more of a thing than a man.
Scientology deals with man as a spiritual being not his brain or his body, but with his true, spiritual nature. The idea that man is a spiritual being is very old, one that Scientology shares with all great religions.
The aims of Scientology are quite simple, and the ideals expressed are ideals that are held by many other religions. The aims as stated by Mr. Hubbard are: A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology.
The exact path of how one attains these aims is laid out in the scriptures of Scientology. These scriptures came about after many years of research, which began in the early part of this century.
A Brief History
Mr. Hubbard, born in 1911, began his avid research into the mind and life at a young age. In his travels around the world with his father, an officer in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Hubbard saw civilizations that possessed great wisdom or technology, but also possessed much misery and poverty.
Over several years, he studied more than 21 different cultures to find out what was the one common denominator that made all man kin. After two decades, he discovered what this was. Whether royalty, criminal, or an average businessman, what all men shared was the effort to survive.
Thus Mr. Hubbards most fundamental discovery was that survival itself is the dynamic principle of existence. From there, he was able to understand and find a means to resolve a vast many problems that plagued mans behavior.
Mr. Hubbards research first culminated in 1950 in the publication of the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The book became a national bestseller, and Mr. Hubbard was flooded with letters and other requests asking for more information. He began teaching others in his New Jersey home while continuing his research.
In 1951, he was led to the inescapable conclusion that man is fundamentally a spiritual being, and he began a new line of research to determine what can be done to help an individual regain his natural abilities. Mr. Hubbard called this study Scientology, and lectured on the results of his research throughout the United States and England.
In 1954, in recognition of the spiritual nature of this philosophy, a number of Scientologists in Los Angeles formed the first Church of Scientology. Since then, the one church in Los Angeles has grown into thousands of churches, missions, study groups and field ministries in nearly 150 countries around the world.
The Practice of Scientology
The application of the Scientology religion breaks down into two parts, spiritual counseling and ministerial training.
In counseling (known as auditing from the Latin root audire, meaning to listen), an individual is helped by an auditor (one trained in the Scientology scriptures and their application) to locate areas of travail and upset in their life. Using exact processes, the auditor directs the attention of the individual to these upsets, and through precise questions, the individual comes to answer for himself and understand the roots of his spiritual troubles.
The auditor is greatly assisted by the use of a Hubbard electrometer known as an E-meter.
The E-Meter device does not diagnose or cure anything. It measures the mental state and change of state in a parishioner, helping the auditor to locate areas of spiritual distress or travail so that they can be addressed.
Ministerial training (known simply as training) is encouraged, as when one knows the ideas and principles behind why auditing works, one can not only himself be helped, but he can help his family and friends to lead happier lives. The training usually starts before a person even enters a Church of Scientology. Books such as Dianetics contain the exact steps and information a would-be auditor can know to bring about an improvement in those around him.
For further training, he would go into a mission or Church of Scientology where he would attend courses to gain knowledge of more scriptures and more means of application.
Scientology training perfects the auditors ability to communicate and help the parishioner. Auditors in training become completely familiar with the E-Meter and how to use it in a counseling session.
Both auditing and training are arranged in levels which an individual ascends to achieve further and further degrees of spiritual awareness and freedom. The route or path in Scientology is likened to crossing a bridge from mans current troubled state to one of total spiritual freedom.
Nothing in Scientology need be taken on faith. Its truths are self-evident, its principles are easily demonstrable and its technology can be seen at work in any Church of Scientology. The Scientology philosophy is available to anyone who wishes to reach for it. And no matter how different Scientologists may be, they hold one vital factor in common: having significantly bettered their lives, they know that Scientology works.