Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT DOES THE WORD SCIENTOLOGY MEAN?
The word Scientology, conceived by L. Ron Hubbard comes from the Latin scio which means “know” or “distinguish,” and from the Greek word logos which means “reason itself” or “inward thought.” Thus it means the study of wisdom or knowledge. It means knowing how to know. Scientology, however, is defined as the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, universes and other life.
WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY ABOUT?
Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and of one’s relationship with self, family, groups, mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the Supreme Being, or infinity.
Scientology addresses the spirit–not simply the body or mind–and believes that man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes.
Scientology further holds man to be basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself and his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.
Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to believe anything on faith. An individual discovers for himself that Scientology works by applying its principles and observing or experiencing results.
The ultimate goal of Scientology is true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for the individual.
WHY IS SCIENTOLOGY CALLED A RELIGION?
Scientology certainly meets all three criteria generally used by religious scholars around the world used to determine religiosity:
1.a belief in some Ultimate Reality, such as the Supreme or eternal truth that transcends the here and now of the secular world
2.religious practices directed toward understanding, attaining or communing with this Ultimate reality
3.and a community of believers who join together in pursuing this Ultimate Reality.
Scientology holds in common with all great religions the dream of peace on Earth and salvation for man. What is new about Scientology is that it offers a precise path for bringing about spiritual improvement in the here and now and a way to accomplish it with absolute certainty.
WHY IS SCIENTOLOGY CALLED A CHURCH?
The word church comes from the Greek word kyrios meaning “lord” and the Indo-European base kewe, “to be strong.” Current meanings of the word include “a congregation,” “ecclesiastical power as distinguished from the secular” and “the clerical profession; clergy.”
A church is simply a congregation of people who participate in common religious activities. Church is also used to refer to the building where members of a religious group gather to practice their religion and attain greater spiritual awareness and well-being.
In the 1950s , Scientologists recognized that L. Ron Hubbard’s technology and its results dealt directly with the freeing of the human spirit, and that greater spiritual awareness was routinely being achieved. There was no question in their minds that what they were dealing with was a religious practice; thus, in the early 1950s, they voted that a church be formed to better serve the spiritual needs of themselves and others who shared their belief. The first Church of Scientology was then incorporated in 1950.
Thus, Scientology is a religion and the use of the word church when referring to Scientology is correct.
WHAT IS THE SCIENTOLOGY CROSS?
It is an eight-pointed cross representing the eight parts or dynamics of life through which each individual is striving to survive. These parts are: the urge toward existence as self, as an individual; the urge to survive through creativity, including the family unit and the rearing of children; the urge to survive through a group of individuals or as a group; the urge toward survival through all mankind and as all mankind; the urge to survive as life forms and with the help of life forms such as animals, birds, insets, fish and vegetation; the urge to survive of the physical universe and each one of its component parts; the urge to survive as spiritual beings or the urge for life itself to survive; the urge toward existence as infinity. To be able to live happily with respect to each of these spheres of existences is symbolized by the Scientology cross.
As a matter of interest, the cross as a symbol predates Christianity.
IS SCIENTOLOGY A SECRET SOCIETY?
Not at all. One may go into a Scientology church at any time. Scientology scripture and other literature are readily available to anyone. There is no demand for one to withdraw from society when he begins Scientology; on the contrary, Scientologists are widely known for becoming very involved in life around them as they are eager to take responsibility for improving conditions.
IN WHAT WAY DOES SCIENTOLOGY DIFFER FROM OTHER RELIGIONS?
While Scientology has much in common with other religions in the regard, particularly in terms of its basic religious concepts and its outreach into the community with social reform programs, the most valuable asset that Scientology has to offer is a wealth of technology which brings about greater spiritual awareness.
The Scientology religion offers practical tools one can use to better oneself and others. Some religions offer salvation in the hereafter, while Scientology offers certainty of eternal salvation now.
Scientology makes it possible for any religion to attain its goals and is therefore a religion of all religions.
IS SCIENTOLOGY LIKE HYPNOTISM, MEDITATION, PSYCHOTHERAPY OR OTHER MENTAL PRACTICES?
There is no resemblance. In fact, it was as a result of L. Ron Hubbard’s investigation of hypnotism and many other mental practices that he saw the need for practical answers to man’s problems. In his book, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, he wrote that he had found hypnotism and psychotherapy to be dangerous and impractical. Nearly all other methods of alleged mental science are based on principles that are quite opposite of those used in Scientology. They treat man as a “thing” to be conditioned, not as a spiritual being who can find answers to life’s problems and who can improve enormously.
No. It is a religion in the fullest sense of the word. “Cult” is usually meant in a disparaging sense to imply a secret or closed group with limited membership and mysterious beliefs. Religious scholars point out that the term has become almost meaningless, since its modern use reflects a growing prejudice against all religions.
Scientology is unique in that it does not require or tell anyone to “believe” anything. Rather, Scientology believes every individual should think for himself. In Scientology, what is true for the individual is only what he has observed personally and knows is true for him. Scientology is not authoritarian, but offers a technology one can use and then decide whether it works for him.
WAS L. RON HUBBARD A MILLIONAIRE?
L. Ron Hubbard was one of those fortunate people who never made problems over money. He inherited some wealth at an early age, but in the early 1930s became one of the highest paid writers in America, long before Dianetics. He was a millionaire several times over from his book royalties. His public book sales continue to be astronomical.
DO SCIENTOLOGISTS USE MEDICAL DOCTORS?
Yes. The Church of Scientology has always encouraged its staff and parishioners to see medical doctors to handle the physical aspect of any illness or injury.
WHAT DOES “CLEAR THE PLANET” MEAN?
It means that Scientologists want to rid the planet of insanity, war and crime, and in its place create a civilization in which sanity and peace exist. In order to do this they must help individuals become free of their own individual insanities and regain awareness that they are basically good.
DOES SCIENTOLOGY ENGAGE IN BRAINWASHING OR MIND CONTROL?
No. In fact, what we do is exactly the opposite. We free people and enable them to think for themselves.
Factually, Mr. Hubbard was one of the first to discover and expose actual mind control and brainwashing experimentation conducted by United States military and intelligence agencies during WWII. Not only did he uncover blatantly destructive experimentation, he also discovered that the technology he developed, Dianetics, could undo the effects of an insidious form of hypnotism called pain-drug-hypnosis and free a person from its grip.
Over the years, the Church of Scientology has exposed numerous instances of brainwashing or mind control practices, such as those involved in so-called “deprograming.” Such practices are diametrically opposed to the aims of Scientology, which are to free man and return to him his ability to control his own life.
WHY DO SCIENTOLOGISTS SOMETIMES SEEM SO INTENT ON WHAT THEY ARE DOING?
If you had a chance to change yourself and civilization so greatly you would be interested as well.
HOW ARE CHURCHES OF SCIENTOLOGY SUPPORTED FINANCIALLY?
By their members, just like every other church.
Some churches have a system of tithes, others require their members to pay for pew rentals, religious ceremonies and services. In the church of Scientology, parishioners make donations for auditing or training they wish to receive. These contributions by Scientologists are the primary source of financial support for the Church and fund all the religious and social betterment activities the Church engages in. Scientologists are not require to tithe or make other donations.
IS THE CHURCH PROFIT MAKING?
No. Scientology churches are nonprofit organizations, and all donations they receive are used exclusively in their ministries.