The Church of Scientology is the product of the vivid imagination of its found L. Ron Hubbard. Originally a pulp science fiction writer, Hubbard transformed his Freudian-based, human potential, quasi-pop psychological "technology" that he earlier labeled Dianetics into what is more commonly known as Scientology. In fact, Dianetics is still the undergirding philosophy of Scientology beliefs to this day.
Dianetics was originally published in 1950, with the Church of Scientology being officially incorporated in 1954. According to Hubbard's son, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (aka Ron DeWolf) and former Scientologist Bent Corydon, his father's self-help therapy was actually borrowed from several other sources, including Sigmund Freud, Abreaction psychiatry (which is where Hubbard derived his "reactive mind" theory), and Richard Simon (also "Semon"), who wrote The Mneme (which where Hubbard derived the term "engram"). Couple those ideas with L. Ron Hubbard's interest in the occult (he adored the famed occultist Aleister Crowley), the psychological theories of Polish mathematician Alfred Korzybski (who created General Semantics), and hypnosis, and one readily begins to see that what Hubbard created in Dianetics, and practiced in Scientology, was anything but original.
Prior to Hubbard's venture into "religion," though, Hubbard not only wrote voluminously, but traveled the world, served in great capacities in the Navy, attended George Washington University, was an inventor, motion picture producer, and then authored Dianetics, using all his life experiences and skills. What very few Scientologists realize, however, is that all the grandiose claims about Hubbard were bogus. In exhaustive detail Russell Miller outlines the life of L. Ron Hubbard in his book Bare-Faced Messiah, in which he debunks one claim after another made by Hubbard, and Scientologists themselves. Despite the facts, Scientologists uphold his god-like status, and are more than willing to harass, intimidate, threaten, bully, or sue those who object otherwise.
Dianetics is the primary text by which all Scientologists must read and live by. That said, though, all other written directives, documents, books, or articles that L. Ron Hubbard wrote are considered sacred. In every "church" where Scientologists meet for auditing and counseling an office specifically designated for Hubbard's attendance has been set up where all of Hubbard's books are placed. Most books are readily available to the general public, but some are considered to contain information so valuable and powerful that they may be read only by select persons within the "church." Operating Thetan (OT) level materials are some of those kinds of extremely important documents that militant Scientologists believe are off-limits to anyone unqualified to view them.
ARC. An acronym which literally means Affinity, Reality, Communication. It was L. Ron Hubbard's quasi-outlook on life which attempted to sum up human understanding. Affinity has to do with feelings. Reality is relative, depending on who agrees with what is real. Communication is the hinge upon which the two former attributes rely in order for understanding to take place. In Scientology ARC is symbolized by the triangle.
Auditing. The means by which someone is "cleared" of engrams from one's reactive mind. Typically this takes place during counseling sessions with an experienced auditor. The auditor, with the help of an e-meter, asks a series of questions of the audited (aka "parishoner") to try and detect engrams that the audited can then deal with and eliminate. Those who are able to pay for enough auditing sessions may enter a state of "clear," and then again, with enough money, are able to scale the various Operating Thetan levels unto eventual godhood.
Clear. The mental condition whereby the Scientologist no longer has a reactive mind. All engrams have been "cleared," meaning that the supposed debilitating experiences that have encumbered his life have been audited away. When a person is determined to have attained a state of "clear," that person allegedly has the potential to become more happier, self-determined, and freer from accidents.
E-meter. A superficial lie detector (aka "Electropsychometer") used by Scientology auditors to try and detect the presence of engrams during an auditing session. Constructed of a small panel and two wires connected to two electrodes that the auditee holds in his hands while being questioned, a small charge of about 1.5 volts of electricity pulsates back and forth between the person and the machine, while the auditor pays special attention to the instrument's dial looking for indications of variant readings brought on by the responses to the questions.
Engram. An engram is an impression that is supposedly etched in the mind which causes the person to react adversely later on in life when certain events or activities happens which are similar to the engram. It is the Scientologist's duty during auditing sessions to help a person eliminate what could be millions, if not billions, of these engrams to achieve a state of "clear." Only then will the so-called "reactive mind" be neutralized, and the person enabled to make totally free decisions in life.
God. Scientologists do not believe in a personal God, but instead in what they would call the "eighth dynamic," which is their way of saying that there is an infinite, supreme something; they just don't know what it is. In some ways this is reminiscent of what Buddhists believe, which is perhaps one of the reasons why Hubbard believed he was finishing what Gautama Buddha started millennia ago. Infinity supposedly "embraces the allness of all," which is a logical absurdity when one begins to consider the finitude of observable existence.
Jesus. Scientologists hold to a Gnostic-type conception of Jesus. He is not believed to have always been the Christ, but more of legendary figure whose main mission was not to free man from his sins, but to liberate man from his physical body and bring "a new awareness of man's true nature," which is essentially good. This concept of Jesus is not only Gnostic in nature, but also embraces other ancient heresy known as Pelagianism, which also saw man in a more favorable light than would Jesus credit him.
Man. As already noted, Scientology sees man as essentially good, not evil. It also teaches that man is a spirit, not that he possesses one. According to Scientology all persons are actually "thetans," which is meant to assume the ultimate spiritual nature of everyone. Some persons, or thetans, can actually possess clusters of body thetans, for which only Scientology auditing can rid a person of them.
MEST. Acronym for Mass, Energy, Space, and Time. They are the four elements that comprise the physical universe, and along with the theta universe, make up life. The only reason that the physical universe exists is because the Thetans agree that is does. It is a phantom universe, though, created by Thetans as part of a "game" they were playing on each other. For as former Scientologist John Atack explains, "One universe ended and another began, and there have been many universes, each more solid and entrapping than the last…In each universe Thetans have become more enmeshed in matter, energy, space and time (MEST), to the point wehre many have identified themselves totally with it, and consider themselves nothing but MEST. Thetans are by now in a hypnoid state, having forgotten their quadrillions of years of existence and their original godly power, barely capable of even leaving their bodies at will."1
Operating Thetan. Gradated godhood might be a good way to define what an Operating Thetan is. It is a spiritual state above clear where the adherent not only becomes his own self-auditor, but where the OT takes controls of his eternal destiny. "On the OT levels on is rising to eternity" [emphasis theirs]. As one progresses along the various levels the OT discovers not only where he came from in respect to the villainous galatic space warrior Xenu, but one is allowed to wear the illustrious OT bracelet when one attains level VIII success.
Salvation. According to a manual published by the Church of Scientology (An Introduction to Church Services) man's "spiritual salvation depend upon himself and his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe." Salvation amounts to "a route to higher states of spiritual existence. The ultimate goal of Scientology is true spiritual enlightenment and freedom—a goal that is attainable in the here an now." In layman's terms, to attain salvation in Scientology is tantamount to divorcing oneself from MEST (Matter, Energy, Space, Time) universe and return to man's former condition and that is the state of godhood.
Suffering. Scientology teaches that everyone is responsible for the problems that happen to them. In fact, a person's engrams are often to blame for misfortune, and the quicker one is able to audit away one's engrams, which are like blemishes on the soul that cause a person to react in specific ways, then the better off that person will be.
Thetan. At the base level, this is what all humans beings are: they are thetans. The human "soul" that must be released from the physical world. One does not have a soul (aka thetan); one is a soul. "The thetan is not a thing. It is the creator of things" [emphasis theirs].2 In fact, "The thetan is the source of all creation and is life itself."3 In other words, a thetan is a god, is the creator of all that is, including the very animation that makes what it is.
There are literally dozens of front groups, businesses, and corporations that Scientology has created to not only propagate its beliefs, but are used to garner favorable images in communities, governments, and educational systems that would otherwise reject Scientology claims if the groups went by the Scientology label. Some of those groups are:
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Citizens for an Alternative Tax System
Concerned Businessmen's Association of America
Cult Awareness Network
Drug Free Marshalls
Foundation for Religious Freedom (aka Foundation for Religious Tolerance)
I HELP (International Hubbard League of Pastors)
Narconon & Narcodex
National Parents Association
Sterling Management Systems
Volunteer Ministers Association
Way to Happiness Foundation
WISE (World Institution of Scientology Enterprises)
World Literacy Crusade
1 Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky (New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1990), 381.
2 What is Scientology? (Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, 1992), 147.