F. Kenneth Taylor
Despite popular belief, Scientology and/or the Church of Scientology isn’t something new that recently “popped up”. Scientology actually began in the mid-50s by Science Fiction author, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). Hubbard developed, based and began the religion of Scientology from his 1953 publication, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health”. The work is canon in the world of Scientology, and simply referred to as, ‘Book One’. Due to its unorthodoxed practices and beliefs, the Church of Scientology has received an overwhelming level of biblical, political, and global controversy. The secrecy of the church further contributes to surrounding controversy.
Dianetics is defined as a metaphysical relationship between the mind and body by exertion of a set of ideas and practices. Dianetics was originally designed to be used as a form of psychotherapy—not, as a religion as Hubbard would have it. Many experts and critics consider Dianetics as a pseudoscience. Nonetheless, Scientology is founded upon the use of Dianetics. The Church of Scientology recruits and attracts followers under the guise of wanting to help one achieve a ‘Clear’ state, personal salvation. This is the first installment of a series examining Scientology, The Church of Scientology, and its controversies.
“Scientology works 100 percent of the time when it is properly applied to a person who sincerely desires to improve his life” – Church of Scientology
“For a Scientologist, the final test of any knowledge he has gained is, ‘did the data and the use of it in life actually improve conditions or didn’t it?” – L. Ron Hubbard
“A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war; where the world can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology.” – L. Ron Hubbard
Claims of Controversy:
One may ask, what’s so controversial about the Church of Scientology? Many religious experts, former parishioners, and government officials have referred to the organization as an abusive, mind-controlling cult. The Church of Scientology is documented with a “Religious” status; the church is “tax-exempt”, yet it blatantly operates as a “Commercial Enterprise” with more than a $1.2 billion net worth. The sect utilizes the practice of “Auditing”, to control its members. Auditing closely resembles a deceitful, psychological interrogation tactic used by the CIA to obtain personal details of an individual for manipulative purposes. These are just a few of the mainstream controversies surrounding the questionable entity.
The Church of Scientology recruits new members by sending their Auditors to interact with the general public through ‘field surveys’. These surveys are used to pre-screen potential candidates for membership. If the candidate provides the answers the auditor wants to hear, the auditor invites the unsuspecting candidate back to their ‘office’, where the pair auditor discusses things such as; how to become a better person, and how to make the world a better place—seemingly innocent things that further lures the candidate in.
Auditing, Pre-Clears & PC Folders:
The initial meeting often leads to the candidate joining the church, at which point, the true auditing process begins. When someone first joins The Church of Scientology, they are classified as “Pre-Clear” because they haven’t become “Clear” yet. From Day-One, members/parishioners are audited almost on a daily basis, and are psychologically coaxed into revealing their most personal details of their lives. These confessions are documented, copied, and filed in the Pre-Clear’s “PC Folder”, and often used as blackmail later, should the Pre-Clear suddenly threaten the integrity or well being of the church.
The church explains to its followers, that through ‘counseling’ (auditing), they will become ‘Clear’ of themselves, and eventually achieve the status of ‘Operating Thetan’, which will be explained in another installment. However, in actuality, the auditing process is designed to achieve the exact opposite, and draw a person farther away from who they really are, therefore, making them much easier to manipulate.
Auditing is conducted with an E-Meter, a device that measures small, electrical resistance in the body while a person is making physical contact with its electrodes. Wikipedia explains that members/students/parishioners hold a metal tube (the E-Meter’s electrodes) in each hand, as the auditor uses the E-Meter to pinpoint and hone-in on ‘areas of concern’ in an attempt to fully and permanently eliminate them from the member’s thought process altogether. A reading on the E-Meter allows the auditor to not only locate the area of concern, but also verifies that it has been ‘corrected’.
Scientology’s claim that auditing improves the IQ, alleviates ADD and dyslexia, while enhancing the memory; stands highly disputed with licensed therapists as well as U.S courts, who argues the practice actually increases mental health dangers, and that the E-Meter has no proven use in mental health diagnosis and/or treatments.
Stay Tuned For Part Two