Thursday, December 31, 2009

Scientology 2009 - The Year in Review

This has been an amazing year for Scientology. In fact it has been the greatest year of expansion in the religion's 59 year history (if you start from the publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health).

I won't repeat all the great wins here, I'll just link to places where other people are talking about it:

- David Miscavige presents 2009 for the Church of Scientology
- Church of Scientology: 2009 the best year ever
- All Scientology and Dianetics Materials have now been fully restored!
- Church of Scientology Announces Biggest Expansion in Scientology History

And as a special bonus, just to round out the year:

- The Church of Scientology Recognized as Public Benefit Charity in Spain

Have a Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scientology: How did you come to adopt the religion you practice?

I came across Scientology when I was at University. I read the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, took a basic course and found that it worked.

It was a course in Communication and it got rid of about 50% of my intense shyness. That wasn't the purpose of the course, it was just a side-effect.

The purpose of the course was to improve my ability to communicate with others and it sure accomplished that. So I decided to try other courses and I found that they delivered what they promised too and I continued from there.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Scientology: Have you always belonged to this religion?

No. I was raised in the Christian faith. I went to Sunday School as a kid. You'd probably call the church Protestant. My mother was into it, my father didn't really care and by the time I hit fourteen or fifteen I was an atheist. The whole religion thing made no sense to me. I wanted proof. I wasn't into faith and belief.

So when I came across Scientology, I carefully ignored the fact that the organization was called the "Church of Scientology". A church was something I was not interested in being part of. But the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health made sense to me and I wanted to know more so ... onto the next question.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Scientology: What happens in a typical church service? (5)

Yesterday I watched a really nice Christmas movie called The Preacher's Wife. Some of the movie takes place inside a Christian church and you see church services with a preacher who is inspirational and a congregation who joins in with "praise the lord" and "hallelujah", etc. As I was watching I thought about the Scientology Sunday Service and how different it is from that.

Some Scientology haters have portrayed the Scientology Sunday Service as a sham and other Scientology Church Services as window dressing.

So I thought, after seeing that movie, that I'd put in my two cents worth.

First of all, naming ceremonies, marriages and memorials are most definitely not window dressing. They are very important events and are treated that way. The Scientology ceremonies I've attended tend to be less serious than similar ceremonies I've attended in other, more traditional, churches. For example, at my mother's funeral at a very stuffy traditional church the minister talked about God all the time and my mother hardly got a mention.

I think the Scientology ceremonies are less serious because they are very much focused on the person or persons the ceremony concerns rather than on a deity. Also memorials are lighter because we know the person is coming back and so it's not such a heavy loss.

Now let's look at the Sunday Service. If you compare a Scientology Sunday Service to the one shown in "The Preacher's Wife", then the Scientology Sunday Services I've attended are very tame indeed. My take on this is that it is because Scientology is a religion of wisdom. It's main services are training people in that wisdom and then getting them to use that wisdom in their lives. It's a more analytical than emotional religion. So it follows that our Sunday Services, not being geared toward worship, would look quieter and more reserved, and because, as I said in my earlier article, most Scientologists will have been attending services most nights or days of the prior week, so they are less likely to feel the need to attend an additional service on Sunday.

As Scientology continues to expand, Sunday Service may morph into something bigger and more boisterous, or the fact that Scientology is open to people of all religions may mean that people who like a more lively service may simply continue to go to their traditional churches.

Personally I think having both the analytical side (as in Scientology) and the emotional side (as in, for example, a Baptist church) is a great combination: that way you get the best of both worlds.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scientology: What happens in a typical church service? (4)

We also have what you might think of as a "traditional" service on a Sunday where there is a reading from the writings of L. Ron Hubbard that is usually something applicable to the lives of those attending. There can be other things at the service, such as group auditing (auditing delivered to more than one person at a time also called "Group Processing") and live music. Other than the reading there are no set rules.

Sunday Service is not as big a deal in Scientology as in other western religions, but that is because we go to our church much more often than just on Sunday. As you read in my earlier articles on Scientology Training and Scientology Auditing, these are the "big two" and a person might be on course five evenings a week, so they might not attend the Sunday Service. But if you are not on course or getting auditing, then Sunday Service can be a nice thing to attend for the sense of community it gives.

There are also Scientology ceremonies that mark major points in life such as naming ceremonies (what you'd call christenings), marriages and memorials (funerals). Also other events are celebrated such as minister ordination.

One can also go to the Chaplain for help on personal matters or if one has a dispute with another Scientologist, marriage problems, etc.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Scientology: What happens in a typical church service? (3)

Scientology Training consists of courses that train you in how to help others, primarily by leaning how to audit. There are training courses in other areas of life too.

The way the training is delivered is different to what you are used to based on how you are taught in school or college. For 3,000 or more years teaching has basically consisted of a teacher or instructor standing up in front of a group of students telling them about a subject. When printing came along books were added in and now the teacher had you read a book as well as watch him lecture.

Scientology training does not follow this old method. When you start a course you get the written materials and you get a thing called a checksheet, which is a list of things to study and do which will end up with you understanding and being able to apply what you studied.

So, for example, you study an article on personal relationships then you write an essay on what you learned and how you could use it, then you will do a practical exercise to gain skill with using what you learned.

There is a course supervisor who is there to help you understand and apply the materials, but he or she isn't an instructor or a teacher. Instead he is an expert in study and the barriers you hit when you study.

By the end of the course, you not only know the data you studied, but you can use it too. (Which is what Scientology is all about - application.)

One big advantage with this method over the traditional method of teaching is that each student gets to go along at their own pace, so faster students are not held up by slower students, and the slower students don't feel they are holding others back.

So that's training.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Happy Merry and a Merry Happy to All

Well today is Christmas day in the Christian world and has other significance for other religions.

It's not a special day as such in Scientology, but because Scientology is all-denominational (meaning you can be a member of any religion and also a Scientologist) we get to celebrate it anyway.

I'm right now listening to some rockin' Christmas music: Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Lost Christmas Eve and I realize that the great thing about Christmas is that it's a celebration of existence and a time when we try to be nice to each other (good will to all men, etc.).

Well, here is a radical idea, why not be nice to each other all year round? I know people say that every year, but let's just try it. Let's make 2010 a year of tolerance and good will.

What do you think?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scientology: What happens in a typical church service? (2)

The next part of my answer is this:

The major services of a Scientology Church are called "Auditing" and "Training".

Scientology Auditing is one-on-one spiritual counselling. It consists of very specific and exact procedures aimed at helping an individual attain higher spiritual levels. The goal of auditing is to restore individuality and ability. This is accomplished by (1) helping the individual rid himself of any disabilities and (2) increasing individual abilities. Obviously, both are necessary for an individual to achieve full potential.

It is difficult to compare it to practices in other religions, because it is not like anything I've ever come across anywhere else. There are hundreds of different procedures (called "processes") arranged in a very specific order. For example, one set of processes is aimed at achieving "The ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject" another set achieve "Freedom from the hostilities and sufferings of life." One of the major goals is called the "State of Clear" which is a person who is self-determined and no longer the effect of his past and the traumas of his past.

Here is a video that gives a basic introduction to Scientology Auditing:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Scientology: Questions from a student

I recently received a request from a student to answer a set of questions her professor had set. I thought that maybe the questions and their answers might be of interest to many of my blog readers, so I have taken my original answers to her (which I had to come up with very quickly) and expanded them.

I'll be posting the expanded answers in the next few blog posts.

Thanks to Stephanie and her professor for the original questions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Spirit of the Season

Here is something to help you get into the spirit of the holiday season. It's from the Church of Scientology, Mission of Seattle blog: A Mid-Holiday Season Pick-Me-Up!

Splurge on it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Scientology and Human Rights

Eric asked: I notice that Scientology makes a big deal out of human rights, although I don't know what LRH or Scientology itself has to say on the matter of human rights.

To be even more specific, does Scientology assert that humans have inherent rights (and if so, what are they as understood by Scientology?), or do Scientologists simply endorse and stand by the established legal understanding of human rights, i.e. the Universal Declaration on Human Rights?

Thanks for any clarification you can give on this matter.

Hey Eric,

Great question. There are multiple answers:

Why do we "make a big deal out of human rights"?

Scientologists and the Church of Scientology make a big deal of human rights because you can't help individuals to become more spiritually free in an oppressive society. For example, if a person can be imprisoned without trial then people will be walking around with this threat hanging over their heads and just won't be able to put their attention onto the spiritual trauma underlying their current condition.

It's like you have a guy sitting with a boa constrictor wrapped around him about to swallow him and you ask him to recall a time he was happy - it isn't going to work. You have to handle the boa constrictor first.

This applies to almost every human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If conditions such as discrimination, slavery, inequality, imprisonment without trial, torture, no asylum, no freedom of thought, etc. are prevalent in a society then spiritual improvement will be either very difficult or impossible.

Aside from the spiritual side, life is much harder to lead in all areas without these rights. No one but a totalitarian could object to human rights.

Between the mid-1960s and early 1980s, following a geopolitical study of what most plagues this world, L. Ron Hubbard wrote a series of essays on the "cultural inadequacies" of the late twentieth century. In these articles he mentions human rights a great deal and covers why they are so important.

Does Scientology assert that humans have inherent rights (and if so, what are they as understood by Scientology?)

Specific human rights that are regarded as inherent are mentioned in the Creed of the Church of Scientology.

For example:
- That all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others;
- That all men have inalienable rights to their own defense;

Do Scientologists endorse and stand by the established legal understanding of human rights, i.e. the Universal Declaration on Human Rights?


Scientologists and the International Association of Scientologists support and sponsor a huge human rights educational program that is aimed at making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights known to people all over the world so that human rights become a reality rather than just an idea or theory.

-Youth for Human Rights
-United for Human Rights
-Human Rights Public Service Announcements (Videos)
-What are Human Rights? (Video)

I hope that answers your questions.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Helping Kids stay off Drugs

The Church of Scientology of Los Angeles was where the Drug Free Marshals program started, 16 years ago. Since then the program has activated young people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities in pledging to live drug-free lives and helping their friends and families do the same.

And the program is still going strong: Church of Scientology of Los Angeles Youth Help Kids Say No to Drugs

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Helping Kenya

A guy I know has just gone to Kenya to deliver a week long training session to Scout Leaders. The whole purpose of the training is to give them tools to help them deal with a changing society in their country.

Here is more about it: Scientology Volunteer Minister Returns to Kenya

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Scientology and Abortion

The other day, in the real world, someone asked me what was the Church of Scientology's position on abortion.

I didn't have a ready answer because I don't think the Church has one. I've never heard it mentioned because it's one of those things that is up to the individual, and the Church doesn't interfere with individual choices in such things.

I would assume that staying out of this area is covered by the "Second Dynamic Rules" policy where L. Ron Hubbard says "It has never been any part of my plans to regulate or attempt to regulate the private lives of individuals." (I mentioned this policy recently in the post "Scientology and Homosexuality".)

So I guess the answer is: "It's up to the individual."