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By Rick Branch
Founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1953, the history of Scientology actually begins much earlier. Hubbard had become a well known science fiction writer in the 1930's. In fact, some of his ideas which are "common to Scientology" first appeared in his 1938 manuscript titled Excalibur.2 Dianetics came out in 1950 and the religion of Scientology was established by 1953. Wild claims have been made about Hubbard's earlier life by Scientology publications. For example, they have claimed that he,
...graduated in civil engineering from George Washington University as a nuclear physicist, although the university records show that he attended for two short years, during the second of which he was on academic probation, and failed physics. Hubbard's Ph.D. was said to be from a Sequoia University in California, although there is no proof of the existence of any accredited institution in California by that name that grants doctorates.3
Gerry Armstrong, a devout Scientologist assigned by the Church to write an authorized biography of Hubbard, discovered other inconsistencies in Hubbard's history. Armstrong, who has now left Scientology, states: "Nor was Hubbard a World War II hero who miraculously cured himself of nearly fatal combat wounds, as he claimed. Hubbard never saw combat. After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he was granted 40% disability pay for arthritis, bursitis and conjunctivitis. He continued to collect this pay long after he claimed to have discovered the secret of how to cure such ailments."4
Biographers have also uncovered Hubbard's involvement with the Occult, which probably influenced his writings. Hubbard claimed to have had a near-death experience where he learned everything that ever puzzled the mind of man. The notorious Satanist, Aleister Crowley, was Hubbard's mentor and he lived with Crowley protege John Parsons, engaging in sex magic at their black magic mansion hospice.5
Despite the inconsistencies in his history, Hubbard would become one of the wealthiest and most well known leaders of a religious movement in only a few years. As of 1986 over eight million copies of his book Dianetics had been sold.6 Scientology's methodology and beliefs have led them into a long history of criminal and civil actions and convictions. Both the U.S. Federal and Canadian courts have found top Scientology officials, and the church, guilty of charges such as burglarizing, wiretapping, and conspiracy against government agencies.7
Because of the hundreds of unique terms in Scientology, the theology is often confusing to those who are new to the subject, and to those who have studied it for many years! According to Scientology, Man is, at the core of his being, a Thetan. Hubbard's Dianetics and Scientology: Technical Dictionary explains,
The Thetan is immortal and is possessed of capabilities well in excess of those hitherto predicted for man. In the final analysis what is this thing called Thetan? It is simply you before you mocked yourself up and that is the handiest definition I know of.8
The Thetan is thus that part of each individual which is immortal and which has become contaminated or debased by the influences of MEST.
As another of Hubbard's books states, "By MEST is meant the physical universe of matter, energy, space, and time, as we know them in the physical sciences."9 Not only is the Thetan immortal, but also, "Hubbard discovered the means of separating the human personality from the body and mind. The Thetan has the power to create MEST, that is, matter, energy, space and time, or the basic stuff of existence."10
Hence, Hubbard and Scientology would have America and the World believe that Man is an immortal Thetan, able to create MEST. However, not all MEST is good MEST. Sometimes MEST comes into conflict with the Thetan, resulting in an engram.
As Scientology endeavors to render this MEST mess intelligible they write, "An engram comes about when the individual organism suffers an intense impact with MEST. Every moment of physical pain contains with it a partial or major shutdown of the analytical function of the mind."11 Thus, an engram is a memory which is caused when any accidental event (be it major or minor) is experienced. However, at the instant that the engram is formed, often the person is unaware of the event. How is this possible?
In a series of lectures given during August and September 1950, Hubbard explained the process.
An engram is a moment of pain and unconsciousness which contains perceptics. Actually there are thousands of moments of pain with just a little unconsciousness. Even a little thing such as someone burning his finger still causes a flick of attenuation of the analytical mind. The engram has one common denominator above all else, unconsciousness. But unconsciousness is common to every single engram, because unconsciousness does just one thing; it closes down the analytical mind. So, we have coined the word anaten. It is a contraction of the two words analytical attenuation (Attenuation means shutting or closing down).12
This engram is thus that "mental picture" which "contains, as part of its content, unconsciousness and physical pain" and is stored in the individual's mind.13 But which mind?
As Hubbard explained, every person has two minds - the analytical mind and the reactive mind. Both having very specific functions, though not necessarily beneficial functions. In the booklet, Basic Dictionary of Dianetics and Scientology, the two minds are defined in the following ways: "analytical mind: In Dianetics and Scientology the analytical mind is the one which is alert and aware and the reactive mind simply reacts without analysis." It continues with, "reactive mind: the portion of the mind which works on a stimulus-response basis. It consists of locks, secondaries, engrams and chains of them and is the single source of human aberrations and psychosomatic ills."14
Thus, Man in his true nature is an immortal thetan. However, the thetan is responsible for the creation of MEST. Though the thetan created the MEST, sometimes the MEST collides with the thetan resulting in the acquisition of an engram. Because every engram is accompanied by unconsciousness to a greater or lesser degree, not all engrams are known to exist by the thetan's analytical mind. As a result of the build-up of thousands of known and unknown engrams, stored in his reactive mind, man seems to experience problems throughout his life. These engrams have accumulated not only in this life but in many past lives as well through reincarnation. Thus, it is Scientology's purpose to rid the thetan of these unwanted engrams. How is this accomplished? By becoming Clear.
In defining Clear, Hubbard used an interesting analogy. Clear is "The name of a button on an adding machine. When you push it, all the hidden answers in the machine clear and the machine can be used for a proper computation. So long as the button is not pressed the machine adds all old answers to all new efforts to compute and wrong answers result. Really, that's all a Clear is. Clears are beings who have been Cleared of wrong answers or useless answers which keep them from living or thinking." The Clear " can create energy at will, and can handle and control, erase or re-create an analytical mind or reactive mind. The Clear has no engrams which can be restimulated to throw out the correctness of computations by entering hidden and false data in it."15
Hence the thetan who has reached the desired state of Clear has, in actuality, become a blank slate simply waiting for new data to be entered. As Hubbard explained in a lecture series, " you have to have a new education if you are going to change a clear's viewpoint."16 Thus, the new data, given by Scientology is not merely a rearrangement of already existing beliefs and ideas. Rather, it is completely "new" material, which is precisely what is needed for the "new education." Without this new education it is impossible to reach the state of Clear. But if Clear is a higher state of being to which all should desire to evolve, then how is this to be accomplished? By the Scientology practice of Auditing.
Remember, the reactive mind consists of "locks" and chains of engrams. In order for the thetan to be declared Clear, the reactive mind with its engrams must be removed by auditing. "The reactive mind is removed by `returning' the pre-clear to the engram, and laying its contents before the scrutiny of the analytical mind."17
Once the engram is openly expressed by the pre-clear (Scientology student), then "Auditing gets rid of unwanted barriers that inhibit, stop or blunt a person's natural abilities as well as gradiently increasing the abilities a person has so that he becomes more able and his survival, happiness and intelligence increase enormously. An activity of an auditor taking over the control of and shepherding the attention of a pc [pre-clear] so as to bring about a higher level of confront ability."18 After the thetan has remembered the engram, it is then removed from the reactive mind during the auditing session with the aid of the Scientology E-Meter. This device, similar in function to a lie-detector, is said to be "An electronic instrument for measuring mental state and change of state in individuals, as an aid to precision and speed in auditing."19
It has been correctly observed that to summarize the basic theology of Scientology in a few words is indeed a difficult task. However, in the beginning were the thetans. These were to eventually create the MEST, which in actuality would not be the best thing they could have done. For when the thetan, who inhabits the MEST comes into conflict with other MEST, an engram is recorded in the reactive mind. This engram, whether it be remembered or not, due to unconsciousness which accompanies every engram, is stored in the reactive mind and causes the thetan to believe false data [erroneous ideas]. It is the purpose of Scientology, through its auditing efforts to rid the thetan of all engrams so that in turn that thetan, who now possesses a new educational perspective on reality, as a result of the auditing, may advance to a higher state of being or Clear.
Despite claims that its doctrines do not conflict with other religions including Christianity, Scientology theology is alien and hostile to Christianity blending Occultism, Eastern mysticism and science fiction. "Hubbard attacked Christianity as an `implant' and said Christ was fiction."20 Hubbard wrote, "neither Lord Buddha nor Jesus Christ were OT's [Operating Thetans] according to the evidences, they were just a shade above clear."21
Various articles on Scientology written by Watchman Fellowship staff and previously published in the Expositor. Includes information on lawsuits filed against Watchman by Scientology, various doctrinal papers and Scientology President's claim to be a practicing Mormon. 23 pages.
Jon Atack. This book was written by a former Scientologist who is one of the premiere experts on the subject. It traces the history and sordid details of the organization. 428 pages, hardback.
Brent Corydon. Written by a former high ranking member with the help of L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (the founder's son), this book exposes the "corruption and mind-control" of Scientology. 402 pages. $13.
Margery Wakefield and Bob Penny. Ex-Scientologists, now Christian, give detailed understanding of the inner workings, beliefs and front organizations of Scientology. 167 pages.
An autobiographical account revealing the methodology and unethical induction techniques in novel form. 169 pages.