Putting a Light to Scientology By Madeleine Reynolds
Scientology is a word that stirs so many opinions and elicits raised eyebrows. It’s a religion immersed in intrigue and mystery, but what exactly is it?
Its origins began with L. Ron Hubbard, an American science fiction writer. He created Scientology in 1955, inspired by his findings and investigations of human behavior, the material universe and the fundamentals of life. It is the world’s youngest major religion and has followers around the globe. Scientology is closely based on Hubbard’s journey and life experiences and describes itself as seeking spiritual fulfillment and self-knowledge through graded courses and training. Hubbard described it as a “modern fusion of science and spirituality.”
Scientology has eight fundamentals, called the eight dynamics. The first is self, which is survival as an individual. The second is creativity, this includes having a family and raising children. The third dynamic is group survival, which is similar to the first, but instead of living for oneself, they live as a group of any size. The fourth is species, meaning the survival of all mankind. The fifth dynamic is life forms, another about surviving but this time with anything that’s alive. Whether that’s with animals, insects, or even plants. The sixth is the physical universe, which of course is the urge for the physical universe to survive. This physical universe is made up of four components, matter, energy, space and time. The seventh is spiritual dynamic, which is the not-so-surprising need to survive as a spiritual being. The eighth and final dynamic is the “urge toward existence as infinity.” This dynamic has several names, God, the Supreme Being, and the Creator, but its official name is simply infinity. Hubbard explained that once the Seventh Dynamic is reached to its fullest, only then can someone discover the true Eighth Dynamic.
While these dynamics may come across as strange to an outsider’s eye, it’s the least of Scientology’s controversies. One of the more well-known controversies is how much money the members put into religion. As stated earlier, Scientology is based upon graded courses and training that members have to pay ridiculous sums of money for. The 12 basic books in Scientology cost $4,000 alone. Not to mention, these books are often updated, forcing members to buy the newest versions. The bill doesn’t just stop there, members have to buy Hubbard’s lectures, audio CDs, donate to the church’s causes, and pay a membership fee. The detailed course list is called the Bridge to Freedom. This is required in order for members to reach spiritual actualization and awareness (rising through the dynamics). These courses cost $650 each and can compel members to study from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The courses are also paired with auditing sessions that cost $800 an hour and can last two and a half hours at a time. These auditing sessions are described as Scientologists’ “therapy” and is done with an E-meter. An E-meter is a device that measures electrical activity on a human’s skin and supposedly helps with the sessions.
Another one of their serious controversies is on a subject called disconnection. Disconnection is the shunning of members who left the church by friends and relatives who are still in the church. Even the leader of Scientology, David Miscavige has disconnected with his father. Once a member leaves the church, they are deemed a suppressive. Of course, leaving isn’t as simple as it sounds. With heavy indoctrination, thousands of dollars in investments, and the member’s family on the line, it’s hard for those doubting Scientology to make an escape.
A more popular aspect of Scientology is its celebrity following. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the church is extremely focused on its famous followers. In L.A. they even have their own building called the Celebrity Centre. Celebrity Scientologists aren’t treated like the others, especially the more prominent ones, the most famous being Tom Cruise.
The disappearance of David Miscavige’s wife, Michele Miscavige is still a mystery to this day. She was last seen in August of 2005. Ex-members like Leah Remini are a mission to try and find her. But, with the church covering their tracks, it’s been a difficult task. Ron Miscavige (David Miscavige’s father) believes that his son has locked Michele Miscavige away in an effort to protect the secrets of the church. Suppressives like Jon Miscavige don’t think this is a crazy idea because the church is operating a facility called The Hole. The Hole is a makeshift prison where 120 members at a time are banished to for unknown reasons. Some “prisoners” have been locked away for over 15 years. Their conditions include awful things like sleeping on the floor, terrible food, sometimes no electricity, and they’re physical. The physical abuse amongst the church doesn’t just stop there. Mike Rinder and Leah Remini confessed that David Miscavige himself beat them multiple times. Rinder, the former Head of Special Affairs for Scientology, was held in The Hole for a grueling two years. This extremely inhumane behavior makes the idea of Miscavige holding his wife captive not so insane.
Scientology is far deeper than just a religion of spirituality and science. With layers of controversy and ex-members striving for justice, it’s no wonder why it’s always under scrutiny. There’s still so much that hasn’t been exposed by this secretive religion. So, become aware of what’s out there, and put a light to the shadows of Scientology.