I saw an accurate media report today – What is Scientology?

No shit, really! The Los Angeles Times this morning came out with a great interview called “What is Scientology?” And guess what? They actually answer the question!

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-what-is-scientology-20120712,0,2872139,full.story

Ok, without the help of Laurie they probably had not gotten the point. But it’s a start.

– L

Los Angeles Times, 12 July 2012:

What is Scientology? A Scientologist offers her point of view
July 12, 2012, 7:00 a.m.

The tabloids tell us that Scientology was at the root of the breakup between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. If the “sources” fueling the entertainment media’s frenzied coverage of the divorce are correct, Holmes realized Suri was reaching an age where her religious instruction would begin in earnest, and could not bear it. Neither Cruise nor Holmes nor their representatives are confirming any of this.

Regardless, the rumors and related coverage raise the question: What is Scientology?

Critics portray Scientology as a cultish religion brought to the masses via science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, one that allegedly encourages its members to part with the contents of their wallets in order to achieve higher levels of spiritual awareness.

But what about the other side? There are plenty of people who believe Scientology has helped them achieve great personal fulfillment and happiness — and no shortage of celebrities who say Scientology gave them the emotional foundation they needed to withstand the rigors of Hollywood.

We asked Laurie Hamilton, a second-generation Scientologist and ordained Scientology minister who does consulting work, to talk about her experiences with Scientology and to offer readers a primer on it from her point of view. She declined to reveal specifics about where she lives or works for fear that some clients might hold her beliefs against her.

What follows is an edited transcript of an interview conducted via email at Hamilton’s request because she wanted black-and-white clarity to her answers.
What is the reaction within the Scientology community to the Cruise/Holmes breakup?

That’s a little like asking what the reaction is in the Catholic community. Catholics as individuals may have opinions, and may know that Katie is Catholic, but I doubt that as a “community” they have an opinion.  Scientologists are nothing if not individualistic.

My own personal reaction to the break up was threefold. As a fan:  “Bummer — they looked really happy together.” As someone over halfway through the 37th year of my first and only marriage: “Wonder why they couldn’t make it work?” As a Scientologist: “Oh, great. Here comes all the BS, prejudice and ill-informed commentary again.”

Does Scientology consider itself a religion?

Yes. We believe in a god and in a supernatural origin of the cosmos — and that by doing Scientology, we can regain our direct awareness of the ultimate truths of things for ourselves.

What is Scientology? (Admittedly, this is tough to answer in brief. But we’re trying to give readers a primer on its basics.)

Scientology is a religion. It is a philosophy. It is a way of life. It is a hella-big toolbox full of ways to deal with life, success, failure, and life’s vicissitudes. It approaches life and living from the idea that there are root causes and mechanisms for all natural, spiritual and human events, issues and states of affairs. Scientologists as a whole tend to agree that L. Ron Hubbard (whom we refer to almost exclusively simply as “Ron,”) had a unique insight and a particular knack for figuring out these root causes and using them to develop a useful methodology for dealing with life, preparing for the hereafter, and achieving mental and spiritual clarity, strength and equilibrium.

What Scientologists are trying to do by way of their study and use of the subject, and by being counseled according to its methods, is to become more themselves, jettison mental and spiritual junk that they have accumulated over time, and to become happier and more effective in their lives so that they can retain mental and spiritual clarity and grow as individuals — not backslide and fall back into traps and misery that they knew before, and which is all-too-commonly the human lot.

We take the view that we are not bodies or minds, but that we are spiritual beings who have bodies and minds, and that the hierarchy is: Spirit is greater than mind is greater than body. This is a natural outgrowth of the idea that the physical universe is here only because we (spiritual beings in general, including you) are here, rather than the other way around. Theoretically, you and I are the ultimate cause of everything, though we have fooled ourselves over time into believing that we are not, that it is all being done to us, that the universe is the ultimate reality and we are just muddling through.

Can you talk about the role of Hubbard’s teachings to today’s Scientologists?

Part of being a Scientologist is the agreement held in common with other Scientologists that Ron had it right, that as to Scientology we will do it the way he said and not some other way, and that we won’t try to develop or change Scientology to be different or “better,” but we will adhere to Ron’s teachings on the subject.

Scientology is the body of thought as contained in Ron’s dozens of books, hundreds of lectures and tens of thousands of individual bulletins and letters respecting technical theories and procedures and organizational policies. Scientologists are people who take these writings as authoritative, and whose life experience is that they have found a way to a better life through Scientology.

You take issue with the portrayal of Scientologists as blind followers or believers.

A prime principle in Scientology is Ron’s statement on personal integrity, “What is true for you is what you have observed yourself. And when you lose that, you have lost everything.” — L. Ron Hubbard. That prime principle is one reason why you find Scientologists to be perfectly happy to disagree with each other about nearly anything. It reminds me of the Jewish tradition of healthy debate.

The Church of Scientology is the way we keep everything organized and preserve the fidelity and the practice of Ron’s writings so that we can spread the word, and not fall victim to gradual changes, and therefore losses in effectiveness, in using the techniques he developed.

Can you discuss Scientologists’ opposition to drugs?

Part and parcel of our principles is that psychoactive drugs are bad for you and limit your spiritual growth. Abuse of them can physically damage your nervous and endocrine systems, and this physical damage can make it so that you can’t benefit from our practices anymore. You’re just too damaged for them to work. So we like to speak out against the abuse of both recreational and “medicinal” psychoactive drugs.

Name three of the most basic beliefs in Scientology. What do members have to believe in, in order to be Scientologists?

There is no belief, per se, in Scientology, because folks are asked to come to experience and therefore know things, but not to believe them until they have observed them. However, some basic principles are:

You are a spirit (we use the word “thetan” to refer to your spiritual self), who has a mind and a body. You are eternal. This is not your first corporeal life, and is unlikely to be your last. You are basically good. When you behave badly, it is due to having the wrong answers about how to solve your problems, and/or because you have strayed from healthy and constructive purposes. Having done bad, one tends to limit and punish oneself in ways that can do lasting damage. Some of Scientology’s techniques are aimed at unraveling self-inflicted damage.

What is ARC?

Understanding can actually be broken down into elements of Affinity (liking or willingness to be near), Reality (sameness, accuracy or agreement with a referent) and Communication (the exchange of unaltered information). The increase of these factors increases understanding, life, “love,” vitality, success, camaraderie, emotional state, etc. The decrease of these factors decreases the foregoing. The decrease of one of these elements with regard to a particular person, activity, thing or subject, will reduce the other two elements. So you hear Scientologists talk about ARC — and when they do so, they are referencing understanding, friendship, cooperativeness, etc. It’s a little like “Shalom” or “Aloha” as a word. It multitasks.

What are three of the most commonly held mistaken beliefs about Scientology?

1) The belief that Scientology or Scientologists are odd, secretive, “different” in some way, or that their exposure to Scientology causes them to view the world through a filter, etc. We’re regular folks.

2) That we have something against medicine or doctors. We are some medicine-takin’, doctor-goin’ fools, with respect to anything that might be a physical ailment, and for which there is some known/approved medical treatment/remedy. Yeah, some of us think herbs, vitamins, chiropractors are a good first line of defense, but when a dog rips a hole in my hand, you will find me in the ER getting stitched up, and then at the pharmacy filling my scrip. Further, I may seek an “assist” from a Scientologist friend to help me not be bogged down by trauma or “phantom” pains from the bite. Or, I might just see the doc and get the antibiotics and leave it at that.

3) I gotta say, I recently read an article which named Tom Cruise as the “No. 2 or 3 ranking” Scientologist. What? He’s not even a Scientology staffer or anything like that. How’s he gonna have a “rank?” He’s a private Scientologist like me — except I’ve BEEN on staff, and he never has, to my knowledge. This is all tied up in this weird idea that Scientology or Scientologists or the Church of Scientology somehow have some say in what high-profile Scientologists do with their lives, how they behave, what kinds of things they say, who they hang out with, what projects they pursue, etc. Hogwash.

Critics of Scientology bring up unusual topics such as Xenu and thetans and aliens …

You are a thetan. I am a thetan. Think of it as “soul” or “spirit” or “identity.” We have our minds and our bodies, but we are not these things. We don’t have mass or motion or wavelength or a position in time or space. We can perceive, and we can imagine/decide/postulate things. As such, it’s not useful to try to think of the real “you,” in measurable material terms. There is a general view among Scientologists that people’s personal histories predate the very existence of the material universe as such, and that had we not been here already, matter, energy, space and time would not be here. That view naturally subsumes the idea of ancient and future civilizations rising and falling over time, and the potential of intelligent life in more than one place in the universe. We do not otherwise take “aliens,” etc. into account in our daily thinking or Scientology practice. The vast, vast majority of Scientologists have never even heard of such things, except in the context of “how did we arrive at the state of affairs of human society today?”

Ron put forth some early theories as to how intelligent life might have happened to arise on this particular planet, and these theories [take] into account the possibility that you and I existed for a very long time before Earth was habitable and that the presence of water, carbon compounds, and the resulting evolution of life here provided an opportunity for you and I to be alive here rather than somewhere else.

The idea of the existence of timeless, deathless spiritual beings necessarily assumes that we exist independent of the state of affairs on this speck of rock at the edge of the Milky Way. It also implies that  it would be rather conceited of man to think himself the only intelligent life in the universe. We think of ourselves (many Scientologists do — if they have experience, recollection or perception they see as supporting the view) as spiritual beings who preexisted this planet, and we may not be alone in the universe. Scary, no?

Do you think Scientology is secretive?

No. The Masons are secretive. The CIA is secretive. Anonymous is secretive.  We’re a bunch of folks studying stuff you can access on the shelves of any library in Los Angeles.

Critics say the highest levels of Scientology are only available to those who pay large sums of money to access it. Is that true?

It is true that the very top levels are reserved for people who are ready for them. Access to very advanced principles can be either useless or upsetting to people who can’t digest them. As a person who has done most of them, I can tell you they are as controversial (from the point of view I had going in) as recipes in a cookbook. They are ways to look at, and to do things which leave one with a forever-improved outlook on life and existence in general.

Some people pay handsomely once they are at that level. I didn’t. I exchanged my labors and some little (not a lot of) money as well. Were I not giving something for what I got, there would have been no building to do it in, and nobody to do it. So I’m cool with that. I and my family are persons of very modest means. So were most of the people who were on the upper levels at the same time I was. And yet, there we were. I met John Travolta one day while I was there. Another time, I bumped into Kirstie Alley in an elevator. Sure there were well-off people there, and I suspect they were donating a good deal more than I was — because it was easy for them to do so, and they didn’t mind. I pinched my pennies and did the same stuff they were doing right alongside them. Anyone who really wants to do it can do it.

What do you say to ex-members who refer to Scientology as a cult?

I say “Good job of self-justification, jerk.” Apostates have to denigrate that which they formerly held dear. It’s a human psychological necessity.

Critics say some people join Scientology and become completely absorbed in it.

Adherents to a cohesive “theory of life” that helps them to define not only who they are, but who their friends and not-friends are, and how life works, and the reasons for everything, may get eyeball-deep in it because it is working for them. They may join the most hard-core adherents in a total dedication to the cause.

Some religions have monks and such who dedicate themselves to all-religion-all-the-time. Scientology has a small order of deeply dedicated staffers, adults only, which does not admit all comers. It’s called the “Sea Org,” (short for sea organization) because it began at sea as Ron’s crew on a boat manned by his closest supporters. The vast majority of Scientologists are grocers, mechanics, secretaries, baristas, cabbies and the like.

What are two or three things you would like people to know about Scientology?

1) Scientology is not “weird.” It is logically and internally consistent, and answers a lot of questions and solves a lot of problems. It’s not a plot, conspiracy or cabal, we don’t want any members who don’t want to be members, we don’t want to brainwash you or your kids, and we are not trying to take over the world. We would like less war, less insanity, less criminality; people who are free, kind to their fellow man, and not suffering from the psychic wounds that make some seem evil or without hope. We want people to be able to rise through their own accomplishments, and without harming others along the way.

2) Scientologists are not “weird.” We’re ordinary folks who do ordinary things — with a little more insight, success, and a little less upset than before we had Scientology, we like to think.

3) It’s not about power, and it’s not about money. No one in Scientology profits from it. We do insist that if anyone wants our help, that they earn it with work, or with some material contribution that we can use to keep the lights on, pay the rent, keep a roof over the staff’s heads, pay our “supervisors” (think teachers), counselors, clergy, etc., maintain our cars and vans, mow the lawns, provide private spaces for counseling and quiet, orderly rooms and texts, etc. for training, chapels for services and ceremonies, get the word out, etc. We don’t pass a contribution plate at services. We only ask those who are actually getting something to give anything. Everyone else is allowed to hang around to their heart’s content for no exchange at all.

 

98 Comments

  1. Scientology is fascinating and I would join in a heartbeat if I didn’t have anxiety so bad to where I don’t even drive And have to take ativan which now I’m.addicted too. I’d love to be a scientologist because iv seen it work iv read the books and it’s the greatest religion iv ever studied. I own most of ron’s book but have not read them alldue to having trouble understanding. Words. I praise this wonder religion and I love that its a religion u do and see for urself what’s true for you u as pat keeps saying. I hope I overcome my fears so I get get the benefits and live a wonderful life due to the tech Scientology has to offer. I envy anyone who is able to go to church and do and see the most wonderful things. May one day I have the privilege of being a scientologist it’s one of my main future goals :) please excuse any typos

    • I think that your priority is to see a medical doctor who will help you get off the drugs on the proper gradient. Meanwhile, keep reading the books :)

      • And when I’m off will the church accept me??

      • Michael- I think it’s great that you’re looking into things to make up your own mind!

        This is just my opinion, but I think that (in addition to Pat’s advice) you might benefit from seeking out your local org (you can find one on scientology’s website) and asking them for advice- and even support as you make your medical decisions.

        There’s also a wealth of information online (simply by googling “scientology”), which includes many of Hubbard’s writings.

      • Also, Michael (and Pat, please correct me if I’m incorrect), but I believe that the church will accept you even while you’re taking psychiatric medication. While taking the medicine, it may (again, Pat?) impact your ability to receive spiritual auditing, but there’s many services that you could take advantage of even immediately.

        You can find the nearest org using www (dot) locator (dot) scientology (dot) org.

      • Appless, As Michael has noted, the drugs affect his ability to study so he’s better off being off the drugs. He can certainly go into any Church or Mission and have support for what he needs to do. CCHR is better equipped to refer him to a doctor who has the experience of getting him off the drug. That’s where the Church would refer him. http://www.cchrint.org has the data on alternatives and he can call for a referral.

      • Thank you, Pat. If I implied that he should stay on the medication (which is his choice either way), than that was in error.

        I’m only saying that I’m sure that his local org would be more than happy to give him all the information that he’s looking for. And if he’s ready to get off of the meds, and it’s medically safe for him to do so, I’m sure he’ll find support there as well.

  2. Louanne- I keep having trouble posting! It’s rather weird; I can post, but if I try to post again under the same username, it doesn’t “take”. But if I change the name, it posts fine. Is this a ban, or is there another reason? is it getting stuck in the mod queue?

  3. Yes. Laid out brilliantly by LRH in the Command of Theta lectures, as well as many places in the basic books. The postulate.

    • Sorry for hitting wrong reply.

      This was in response to “In other words, is there any way that your spiritual efforts actually impact the physical universe?”

      I actually don’t expect this to be true for you until you personally experience it for yourself. Discussing it doesn’t help. It won’t make it any more real for you. We don’t accept everything LRH says unless that condition has been met. I don’t expect it of you either. I have expectations for you to go read the books so you can apply in your own life and see if it works. Without confirmation bias. If it doesn’t work for you so be it.

    • Pat, I’m talking about the physical universe- you keep ignoring the direct question. I understand your perception, it’s not too far different from other philosophies and belief systems. My question is could you directly interact with the physical universe in such a way that’s not dependent on personal belief and interpretation?

      For example, if the police came up to you right now and said, “Pat- we understand that you are able to operate exterior to your body. We have a little girl trapped in a well, and she’s unconscious. We need to see what she’s stuck under so we know how to get her out. Can you help us?”

      What could you tell them? Could you actually, physically see what’s happening in that well?

      • Realize, pat, that this topic is well within the scope of this blog; it’s a common “myth” related to scientology, and one of the most discussed concepts by critics, the media and those that have not yet formed an opinion on scientology. Surely you can see how important this topic truly is!

      • I couldn’t do that “on demand”, no. That’s somewhat more advanced than I am at this point. But it can be done, based on success stories and wins I’ve heard, and occasional glimpses of my own. You’re bordering right now, on insulting comments.

        “you keep ignoring the direct question.”

        No, I don’t. You didn’t ask me if I could see into a well until now. That’s a direct question.

        “My question is could you directly interact with the physical universe in such a way that’s not dependent on personal belief and interpretation?”

        You didn’t ask that before either. And that has already been covered ad nauseum. What is true for me is true because I personally observed it. So if I say I can go exterior to my body that’s true for me. It’s not belief or “interpretation”. It’s not true for you obviously because you’re questioning my personal experience as “interpretation”.

      • Did you not see the earlier post where I pointed out that it’s not a myth? It’s readily available to read in publications like the Advanced Mag that AOLA produces. Are you saying that exteriorization is something the public made up or is “rumoring about”?

      • not public but “non-scientologists”.

      • What is it exactly that I’m supposed to debunk?

      • My intent is not to insult you; far from it. I realize there’s little that I can do if you are insulted by the concept, but I hope that I am not at cause over your emotions.

        Consider Louanne’s page- both this and her other. There are several topics that she, and you I assume, consider to be reality or truth. Some disagree, but many agree with you. If it’s more correct, I’ll refer to this concept in the future as a “subjective experience”. Would that be more accurate?

        Perhaps you missed the other direct questions; I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. If you were to read the rest of the posts, you would see that there were several direct questions that were not answered by you. You picked up on the well one, but not the others. That’s not a problem, they were asking for your perception on a similar concept.

        You say that some scientologists, more advanced, could do this. In other words, to answer the original question (after a few days :)), you’re saying that some scientologists CAN do things that no one else has been able to demonstrate. And, what’s more, you’re saying that it could be done in a way that is very verifiable; in this case, a scientologist could identify where the little girl is and what has trapped her- rescuers would be able to act on that information and rescue her using the information provided by said scientologist. Does my understanding match your statement?

        “You didn’t ask that before either. And that has already been covered ad nauseum.”
        So I didn’t ask it… but it’s been covered “ad nauseum”? Okay…
        But you say, “So if I say I can go exterior to my body that’s true for me”. I acknowledge that, and I think that’s wonderful. But that is the exact same validation that convinces someone that they are the second coming of the messiah or that they’re able to heal with the power of their mind. I don’t see the utility of it if they can’t actually “do” anything in the physical world. If someone claims to be a spiritual healer, and are as convinced of this as you are, what happens when they actually try to heal someone?

        Now, maybe your belief is that you can exteriorize in the SPIRITUAL realm, which is separate from the physical one. Maybe you are saying that you can zoom around a world that I can’t see, and that from that world, you can’t see me. I can completely get behind that- Shamans do the same all the time. But if you’re saying that you could exteriorize and go into another room, and read something that’s written there, then I can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to demonstrate this if only to yourself. As it is, there’s no difference between being “subjectively true” and being something that one “really really believes in”. That’s the same strength of conviction held by spiritual mediums and voodoo priests, which are equally valid by your definitions.

        I guess here’s the part that I just don’t understand; if a sufficiently advanced scientologist is able to operate outside of their body in a way that is detectable in the physical world, why aren’t they? What I mean is this- several years ago, there were miners trapped in the underground caverns in Chili- do you remember that? The families were worried, and the rescuers had trouble finding them or learning their status. Could a Scientologist have provided those answers?

        Like I said, I’m not trying to offend, but only to discuss this very important topic; it’s a common sticking point in the discussion, and I think we have an opportunity to explore it. If you find subjective experience to be sufficient validation, than more power to you- I mean that sincerely, that’s more than fine. For me, and I think much of the public, we like to see if our subjective concepts line up to the objective.

        to answer your question- I present to you no myth, nor do I expect you to debunk anything.

        Visitor 25

      • If someone else wants to chime in on this, that’s fine. I’m bored with it.

      • I am as well… We’re tgree days into a twenty minute conversation. It would be best if someone could take I’ve for pat here- Aussie Luke is able to discuss difficult topics and I hope he comes back soon.

        It’s nothing against you, pat- I’ve asked that question of many scientolofgists, and none of them could answer either. Thus, I continue to seek.

        Sincerely, thank you for your time.

        Visitor 25

      • You speak in generalities. You never ask the question again, just snidely state that Scientologists can’t answer “it”, whatever that is.

        Believe me when I tell you — the problem is not in not getting an answer but not accepting the answer you get. Because we are individuals and what is true is different from person to person, you’ll never get an answer that you expect.

        There! Now I’m done.

      • No, Pat. I don’t claim that scientologists can’t asnwer “it” (referring to the question that I had asked and you “got bored” instead of answering), merely that no scientologists so far has been able to. That’s not a judgement, but a pure fact as supported by this thread.

        If your answer is simply “we’re individuals” and you think that answers the question… then I’ll wait for aussie luke.

  4. “If I were to tell you that I can see exactly what you’re doing right now- would you consider it to be “true” because I believe it? ”

    I see this as the base question. What is true for me is true because I personally observed it to be true on application. It can only be true for you if you also experience it first hand, and not because anyone “says so” or agrees with you. That’s bottom line. In over 41 years, I’ve lived that and it works very well for me. There’s a code in the Code of Honor something like “Never need praise, approval or sympathy”. For me, that means that I never compromise with what I know, just because someone else thinks it’s wrong. If I were to get a new fact that bears out in actuality, then I can adjust, but I’m the one adjusting, on my determinism. There are no absolutes in this universe. Things change. With auditing, I may change what I know, it’ll grow and I may respond to the world differently, with more responsibility for myself and others. But, it still comes down to “What is true for me is true because I personally observed it to be true on application.”

    • So, “would you consider it to be “true” because I believe it? ”

      No.

      • Why not?

      • Because your universe and mine are not the same. What is true has to be first hand and not because you believe it.

      • Your identity crisis is amusing, v.

      • identity crisis? You must be referring to the troubles that I’m having posting. That amuses you?

      • “Because your universe and mine are not the same. What is true has to be first hand and not because you believe it.”

        So, therefore, my claim that I can travel outside of my body is equally valid, and has the same physical evidence, as your claim that you can do so? In other words, you can operate exterior to your body as effectively and in the same way that I can?

      • I don’t deny your claim that you can do that. Doing it the same as me? Who knows. And I don’t know why you’d even ask that considering what I’ve already said about collapsing me with you, making me same as versus an individual.

      • Is that why you keep changing your nick?

      • No, I already explained that. I’m having connectivity troubles, for some reason. My sincere apologies for any confusion.

        In the meantime, you might want to research the concept of “Occam’s Razor”

  5. Pat,

    Two things sincerely concern me; that you can’t see the difference between “asking for an explanation” and “being told what to think” and that you can’t simply admit when you don’t know something. Those are not healthy behaviors.

    But let’s explore your solution. What shall I word clear in her “joke”? I understand every word and love the book- the reality is that any way you look at her statement / link, it doesn’t pass the common-sense test. It doesn’t hold to any degree of logic. Something that is so illogical, is it any surprise that one would ask the original poster to apply logic to it? How do you word clear an opinion?

    Is it truly your stance that one should not clarify their position, when it’s unclear? If so, your posting history makes much more sense- there are many, many specific examples of you doing exactly what you describe.

    • Drat; of course that should have been in reply to pat. My error.

    • You’re right. It’s illogical. That’s the point. You’re too linear. Need to be more figurative at times.

      • The ability to think figuratively does not preclude logic, pat. Isn’t it better to make logical statements that effectively communicate your position?

      • No, it’s better to not assume innuendo or hidden meaning in the comments here. You question everything L or I say (even Luke) as though we’re really meaning something else. Seriously, I say what I mean and I mean what I say.

      • You’ll notice, pat, that it’s very different when talking to lousnne or Luke. Luke especially- I may not agree with him, but I respect that he can honestly and openly answer questions. That’s not too much to ask on a site that invites such questions.

        I don’t understand why you come here, if not to discuss myths related to Scientology. You seem to prefer to provide links, which is nice, but handled well by google. There are so few scientolofgists openly posting online that it’s difficult to explore their point of view.

      • I answer questions about Scientology. I don’t discuss opinions how it isn’t that way or it is that way. I think that’s the basic misunderstanding here. I don’t discuss. I answer. Most of the time with source info. Sometimes that’s unacceptable. This isn’t a philosophy forum. This isn’t a site for you to air your criticisms, to “get a Scientologist”. This is me willing to talk to a critic and criticized every step of the way. This is NOT a discussion forum.

        Reference: the FAQ

      • (not sure why it’s having trouble going through… My Internet might be struggling)

        Pat, no one obligates you to answer, join in or discuss- particularly when the questions are directed at another person.

        See, pat, the questions that you’re historically comfortable answering are those that you can easily answer- they’re already thoroughly covered in multiple venues. We can google, so you’ll find very few questions that fall within the confines of your standards for acceptable topics.

        So, bottom line, I’m not trying to force you to discuss anything that you don’t want to, and I’m not trying to “get” anyone. There are some very serious topics that aren’t bring discussed by Scientology, while the substantial critical movement is considering things that you will not discuss.

        Consider the implications of this- there’s a spike in searches because of cruise’s recent divorce- people search for Scientology and find a wealth of information; most of it, at least in the critical top search engine ranks, are negative and would give someone a negative perception of Scientology. They can not balance that wave of negative data because the few scientolofgists that post online refuse to discuss it, much like you have above. So the end result is a negative perception. Sure, the attention may gain a few converts- but how many does it lose?

        The reality is that those perceptions are out there, and ignoring them wont make them go away. Ignoring them will only do harm to Scientology. I respect reason and logic- believe it or not, if you would consider and confront the criticism, you would only strengthen Scientology by helping to counteract the negative perceptions that searches display.

        You’re very close to implying that I, at any time, attack a scientolofgist. You can believe what you would like, and I’ve not even tried to take that from you. But any organization is subject to criticism, and must address it to survive in the long run.

      • “You’ll notice, pat, that it’s very different when talking to lousnne or Luke”

        Don’t “collapse terminals”. I’m not Luke or Louanne. It’s more sane to see differences rather than always trying to make me or others similar or like another. I’m sorry if my viewpoints are difficult to understand. Scientology is new. The technology is new, its organizational structure is new, and what it means to the world in the here and now is entirely new. Anyway, I don’t see any purpose to go on and on about this. It will still come down to individuals and what is true for each one.

      • Pat,
        your viewpoints are quite easy to understand, but oft incomplete.
        it’s a simple matter of pattern recognition; some people can fully and openly converse about differing viewpoints and consider different points of view, and some cannot. I would be a fool if I couldn’t see the difference.
        of course, today, you’re being rather forthcoming. I respect that.
        Chris

      • By the way, call me Chris if you’d like. Or V25- just don’t call me late for dinner, lol! :)

    • I didn’t take a position. Just pointed out that the last line was there, because in your query to L you left it out. I don’t see why you would expect me to tell you what it means, and that’s the same as asking me to clarify.

      • Dots be quite honest, Pat, I don’t expect you to be able to explain or clarify. However, I understand it and could explain it to you, if you’d like.

        But, I’m sure you’re more untested in your own thoughts than a joke by Louanne. Do you believe that the spike on that day meant anything positive for Scientology?

      • Typo: dots = to

      • Sigh, and untested = interested
        Wtf, me?

      • Something just occurred to me- you pointed out the last line… Why? Did you feel it was significant to my question? If so, how?

      • L referred you to the post. You reiterated everything in it except the last line so I pointed it out. That’s all. You must go crazy trying to add significance to everything here instead of just accepting the words written as what they say. Not everyone is at the tone of snide innuendo, so stop trying to put it there.

      • No, pat. What drives me crazy is when people take a position that they can’t logically justify or explain. Or when someone can’t answer a very simple question, which makes me wonder why they even spend do much time on a site that claims to be about answering questions. That’s the motto, isn’t it? “ask if you dare”… I dare. Asking appears to be the easy part.

        So I’m left with a genuine curiosity, yet so many unanswered questions. Only one of them being why you spend so much time here, yet answer so few questions.

      • You’re not making any sense. If you don’t get it, ce la vie. Any amount of telling you that it was a joke, an illogical, which I validated you for spotting, seems to go in one ear and out the other. Not gonna go over it anymore. I have better things to deal with.

      • (continued Internet issues, sigh!!)

        That was validation? You said it was illogical, and it was intended to be so, and that I was “too linear”.

        Some validation. :)

        The problem is that the joke is based on a wrong assumption, so it is nonsensical.

        Anyways, maybe louanne will address it at some point. I just can’t see that it’s unusual to expect someone that strives to provide answers to do so in a way that is correct, accurate and clear. Don’t you think that’s reasonable? I do.

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  7. Was the deletion of the majority of comments in the last thread intentional?

    • Likely due to the fact folks were making statements rather than asking questions. I commend you on asking a question (re: God) and not making a statement about it, in keeping with the FAQ.

      • And I commend you for answering a question, or at least providing a link.

        So asking to explain a “joke” is a statement?

      • No. I won’t tell you what something means. I expect you to work it out for yourself. Why do I have to keep repeating that? I absolutely refuse to tell you what to think.

      • Oh, pat. How can I make this clear to you, as I’ve tried several times. Asking for clarification on a comment is not the same as asking you to tell me “what to think”. To be very frank, it’s very concerning that you can’t see the difference between the two. Why, by your logic, asking L Ron Hubbard, when he was living, to clarify something that he said is the same ask asking him what you should think. Or have you never asked anyone to clarify their statement before?

        But you’ve made it clear that you don’t know the answer, which I suspect is your actual reason for refusing…

      • For starters, my commending you was about the God question, not the joke. As for this issue of “clarification”, the only reason for non-comprehension here that I see is failure to clear the words in what you ask to have clarified. So, clear the words and you’ll get your clarification. I’m not going to tell you what it means since you’re an intelligent human being who can figure it out. Stop asking me to clarify comments. Clear the words. It works.

      • You literally can’t just say, “I don’t know,” can you? It’s clear you don’t, yet you can’t be honest about that. And if you can’t answer a simple question or admit wgen you dont know, I really don’t know what you’re doing here.

        So, appropriately, I’m not asking someone that can’t answer- the question is better for louanne, who probably does know. But my point remains, that my question was exactly that- a question, rather than a statement- and it was deleted, too. So your conjecture as to why louanne mass-deleted all discussion is faulty.

        Anywho, if I have a question that could be answered by a link, I’ll be sure to ask you. If I have a question that relies on a little bit more discussion, I hope to find louanne or Aussie Luke around.

      • I gave you the solution on how to clarify something without having to bug someone else to tell you what it means.

        I sincerely doubt that anyone who’s a Scientologist will tell you what to think. Maybe one of your critic squirrellies will “help” you.

      • Ah, same old Pat… it’s comforting, in a way.

        I can explain it to you, Pat. Louanne made an error, and deleted the comments that point out the error. She reached an erroneous conclusion as to the cause of the “spike”; but certainly if she believed it to be a positive thing, she’d be very surprised to look at it today! But, that’s why you can’t explain her joke when asked- because it’s not based on any sort of reality.

      • Louanne didn’t make any conclusion as to the cause of the spike. Reread that post. Do you see where she says WHY it happened?

      • There was a great deal of discussion on that, pat, which Louanne was a part of. Alas, she deleted the discussion as well as the rationale for why such a spike was very bad news for Scientology.

        You may disagree with that, however, so the question bears repeating, do you think that such a spike means anything positive for Scientology?

      • Do I think a graph showing increased searches on the term Scientology as a good thing? Yes. The reason is irrelevant because with every such spike you’ll find people discovering and liking Scientology. Some will. Some won’t.

        That’s why we don’t mind if someone brings attention to Scientology

      • Pat! :) :)
        You’ve made my morning- I’m not being sarcastic; but sincere. Thank you for addressing a direct question.
        So, essentially, even though the spike was caused by bad news and has since plummeted, the belief is that one or more persons would have heard about Scientology as a result and gained a positive, rather than a negative interest, yes?

        Is this similar to the old adage, “there’s no such thing as bad press”?

      • Absolutely! By George I thinks he got it!

      • Oh, yes- absolutely. I believed that’s what you were getting it, and I can respect your opinion on the matter. I don’t fully agree with your conclusion (based on case studies- I’m a business nerd), but I can certainly appreciate your thought on the matter.

    • Who’re you asking? There were some statements being made that violated the FAQ and perhaps she just wanted to make a point. That’s pure speculation on my part. I’m not Luanne LOL

      • Yes, it is speculation. Perhaps we’ll never know, eh? But this if you’re correct, her standards are rather sporadic, aren’t they?

      • I don’t see that. I see a busy person who doesn’t always have time to monitor daily. Just today you’ve pushed everything off the radar with a plurality of comments. Who has time to go over them all? I sure don’t.

      • Then you and I see two different things, and neither of us can possibly know for sure.

        However, it remains true that her enforcement of your interpretation of her rules is sporadic.

      • I see many things more important in life than that. It’s really boring compared to the world situation right now.

      • Ah, yes, true- there are very many important things in life to focus on. I’m very happy that, as humans, we can focus on multiple issues at the same time with varying levels of attentiveness. This, of course, is one thing that I focus on, although I completely agree about the world situation?

        On that note, while we’re chit-chatting, I know that you were hoping for Dr. Ron Paul to get the nomination, but of course Romney’s now the front runner. Do you think he’d do a decent job if elected?

      • Yes, Louanne, this is off-topic. I’ll keep it short

        “On that note, while we’re chit-chatting, I know that you were hoping for Dr. Ron Paul to get the nomination, but of course Romney’s now the front runner. Do you think he’d do a decent job if elected?”

        Is that what we were doing? Ah, ok.

        Ron Paul now has the plurality in 6 states with two more being determined. According to RNC rules, this puts him on the ballot in August for the nomination. According to RNC Rule 38, and the Federal election laws, all delegates are unbound. With that, even with the RNC declaring Romney the presumptive nominee (violating Rule 10), who can legitimately say who the front runner is? You could even see Gingrich or Santorum pop back in if they have pluralities in 5 states. It could go to a brokered convention.

        In other words, it’s any man’s game. Now, since this is off topic, let’s just leave off on this.

      • interesting

  8. I really like Laurie. While I don’t always agree with everything she says, she always puts a lot of thought into her answers and presents them well. She is an excellent de facto representative for Scientology.

    I’m curious, what god do scientologists believe in?

    • What God is, is up to each individual

      http://www.scientology.org/faq/scientology-beliefs/what-is-the-concept-of-god-in-scientology.html

    • I second that. I was raised a Catholic where God was more like a “person” – old man, long beard type – but since being a Scientologist this picture has changed to a Creator, or the concept of the allness of all (don’t you dare chuckle about that!).

      – L

      • Louanne- some claim that scientologists, when sufficiently progressed along the bridge, gain abilities that some would consider “god-like”. Is there any truth to this?

      • Here again is my earlier post:
        What God is, is up to each individual

        http://www.scientology.org/faq/scientology-beliefs/what-is-the-concept-of-god-in-scientology.html

        If an individual equates his abilities with something he envisions God would do, then it could be “God-like” in his point of view. It’s all up to the individual what God is.

      • What is true for you, is true because you personally observed it. If you didn’t observe it for yourself then it isn’t true for you. Trying to make an issue out of another’s belief, is just saying it isn’t true for you and you have to attack it.

      • I suspect, pat, that your irrelevant reply is the reason why s/he asked Louanne directly. He was not asking what scientologists believe about god, but asking about myths / rumors / claims regarding the oft-repeated claim in the media that sufficiently advanced scientologists have certain powers that are “god like”. Some, for example, claim that high-level scientologists are able to accurately describe events that are physically apart from them- like in another city or in a sealed room. Do you, pat, have any thoughts on that common claim?

        Are myths and questions like this not what this site is designed to address?

      • Reponse to Comment by MIlper the duck on July 18, 2012 12:16 am

        Sure there is truth to that. “God-like” is such a vague term. For example yesterday I considered someone “God-like” when he managed to get my AC going again. I think what god-like is is up to the individual. IMHO nothing compares to God. However if increasing your abilities means to become more like God, well, that’s a good thing.

        – L

      • That’s a very valid and interesting point, Louanne, and your explanation certainly makes sense. However, it seems that he’s referring to the common myth (hence the appropriateness to this site) that certain scientologists can do things that a non-scientologists could not. Things such as viewing a remote location reliably, for example.

        Would you be able to address this myth?

      • “some claim that scientologists, when sufficiently progressed along the bridge, gain abilities that some would consider “god-like”. Is there any truth to this?”

        I think some would consider what abilities we can attain “god-like”.

        But that’s speculation on my part what others think.

      • “Would you be able to address this myth?”

        It’s a myth that “some claim that scientologists, when sufficiently progressed along the bridge, gain abilities that some would consider “god-like”?

        As to what we attain, that’s readily available on the Classification and Gradation Chart.

        I guess you’d have to ask those that are making the claim. I don’t deny that they’re making the claim. I don’t see where you get myth out of this. Perhaps, if Mllper were to rephrase what the myth is?

      • “Things such as viewing a remote location reliably, for example. ”

        That’s not a myth. I’ve done it myself when I went exterior to my body in auditing. I’ve been able to do that even in lower level auditing. That’s just simply me outside of the body.

        Do you consider then that being able to go out of body is a myth?

      • okay, pat- we can try this.

        “I think some would consider what abilities we can attain “god-like”.”
        Can you please elaborate on this? I understand that you’re referring to the classification and gradation chart, but I can’t find anything on that chart that’s unique to scientology- anything that any other religion couldn’t claim. What is it that I’m missing?

        I’m very interested in your experience! Is your certainty based on your own experiences, or were you able to validate it after doing so? What I mean is this- if -I- were to leave my body, I wouldn’t stay around! I would go to different areas and see things; did you do so?

        Now, I’ve studied eastern and new-age religions, and in meditation, I experienced something exactly like you describe. It was quite an experience! Would that indicate that the experience is not limited to scientologists?

        It’s interesting, your question; you ask “Do you consider that being able to go out of the body is a myth?” Interesting question, but that answer is more in line with my actual question, which specifically includes “viewing a remote location reliably”; this precludes the subjective “sense” that one did something, and brings it into the realm of objectivity. When you left your body, do you think you could have reliably viewed something specific in another room?

      • “I think some would consider what abilities we can attain “god-like”.”

        “Can you please elaborate on this?”

        Not really. It is what it is. Consideration. That’s basic. The point is that it’s other peoples consideration not mine. I can let that be what it is.

        You are saying, I think, that the Grade Chart abilities are so normal as to be true of anything. And “some would consider these are “god-like”. I don’t know if you’re getting the drift here… What is “god-like” to you may not be true for another. It all has to do with personal experience. I am not you, so what I experience as true is not your experience. You would have to accept that what is true is only true if you experience it first-hand. Up to that point it’s only individual belief or dis-belief and not debatable. It is what it is. If you don’t get that individually, you are not me and I’m not you. What is true for me is not going to be true for you unless you personally experience it, so asking for it to be explained so you get it ain’t gonna happen. You have to experience it for it to be true for you.

      • Thank you for this interesting and though-provoking discussion, Pat!

        So we could conclude, based on your feedback, that the scientologist who’s personal experience shows them that they’re able to leave their body at will has an equally valid experience as a wiccan whose personal experiences tell them that they’re able to summon and communicate with otherworldly beings. That’s not to imply that either claimant can not do what they claim, but that the individual beliefs are equally valid.

        Interestingly, in my youth, I was a wiccan (I got better, lol). I had personal experiences that match each of the experiences of scientologists- everything that’s discussed is also found in other belief systems based on individual experiences. What gave me pause was when I realized was that if what I was experiencing was actually happening, then I could validate it to myself in such a way that couldn’t be explained by my imagination… sadly, I could not. While I could leave my body at will (called “astral projection” in non-scientology circles), I found that there was no way to eliminate my experiences as pure imagination.

        Although, generally speaking, the same could be said of many claims, to include voodoo, spiritualism, etc.

        Anyways, I’m glad that your experiences are edifying to you. I can see that scientology is but one route of multiple to help people experience the things that humanity has been striving for since early man, and that many scientologists have found it that way. My question is whether or not these experiences were unique to scientology, and we can conclude that they are not.

      • I hear you. Looks like to me that there’s self invalidation involved, in your experiences. An uncertainty of knowingness (a condition of knowing versus faith in or belief). Correct?

      • You could say that, I suppose. But for me, it was ensuring that my beliefs lined up with objective reality.

        For example, when I was younger, I believed that I could do certain things in the supernatural arena- for example, I believed that I could project astrally (real word?) because I had personally experienced it; it felt very real. But when I tried to ensure that my beliefs lined up to an objective reality, I found that it did not. If it had, I would have been very able to validate it to myself when approached without confirmation bias, but I found that this was not the case. Of course, if I could, I would have won The Amazing Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge!

        To me, it’s wonderful to believe that one is able to do something, but there’s only limited utility if it’s only within the realm of belief. Consider this- if someone believes that they’re able to view remote locations, and they believe that they’re able to zoom around the universe- that makes it true for them, correct? But is there any utility to the rest of the world, who may not benefit from their belief? This is the question that drove me in my quest for knowledge- what if someone were to ask me how many hostages are at risk in a building… could I have helped them? Could, perhaps, a scientologist help them?

        So, to answer your question, I appreciate the concept of belief, but I have to be sure that my belief holds up to logical scrutiny. Yes, I desired a condition of knowing versus faith or belief, when the subject lends itself to being able to be known.

      • Got it.

      • “but I have to be sure that my belief holds up to logical scrutiny. ”

        So, for example you see a green room, do you immediately think “is that really a green room?” Maybe it’s yellow in reality, wait, no that could be blue. Do you have to ask someone else to validate that you perceived a green room for you to be able accept it as something you know is true?

        You either know it or you don’t. Certainty of knowingness is an ability. Refer Know to Mystery scale in Scientology 0-8, Book of Basics. Have you had someone in your life constantly question your knowingness? How did it feel? Did you then start questioning your own perception?

      • Okay, Pat- let’s use your example. If you walk into a room, and you’re sure that it’s green, then it most likely is. But what if no one but you can see that the room is green? What if you turn to your friend and you say, “what a beautiful green room!” and they say, “green? it’s red!” That raises the question of belief versus objective reality.

        Now, instead of a room, let’s pretend that it’s a light- a traffic light. If your belief (that the light is green) does not match to your observations (no cars are going through the “green” light, but are instead stopping), would you not question why your beliefs don’t line up with what can be observed, what can have an impact in the world?

        Your example is a rather benign one, however- it’s essentially a strawman argument that removes the original context. There’s a great difference between being able to identify colors and holding the belief that you can accurately view remote locations.

        But here’s the big question- could a scientologist purposely create a measurable impact through their purported ability to operate exterior to their body? In other words, if you were to view another location, do you believe your observations would be accurate? If you haven’t taken the time to consider this, then it’s not possible to move from the realm of belief to that of absolute certainty- believing that you know isn’t exactly the same as it being true.

        To answer your question, no one has “constantly” questioned by “knowingness” (or what I would call beliefs). But, if I were to start making claims like, “I can move things with my mind” or “I could turn invisible at will”, I would expect them to question those specific elements. If I were to tell you that I can see exactly what you’re doing right now- would you consider it to be “true” because I believe it?

        Visitor 25

      • Pat, I am IN NO WAY implying that you are anything less than a sane, well-adjusted individual. This question does NOT refer to you.

        There are people that we refer to as “insane”- the are often homeless and left to wander the streets to survive on their own. Some of these people see things that only they can see and hear things that only they can hear. Many of them are very certain that they are Jesus Christ, while others have absolute certainty that aliens or the government are reading or controlling their thoughts. They are absolutely certain that their perceptions are true- they have that sense of knowingness.

        What is the difference between that and what you’re describing?

      • BTW, I am invisible :P LOL
        (As a spiritual being) It makes it difficult when people insist on physical universe evidence for something that is not part of the physical universe, but part of the spiritual universe.

      • Thank you for the engaging discussion. You said,

        “(As a spiritual being) It makes it difficult when people insist on physical universe evidence for something that is not part of the physical universe, but part of the spiritual universe.”

        Okay, I can understand that. But that indicates that the spiritual claims are ONLY a part of the spiritual realm. Does not the spiritual claims interact directly with the spiritual one? To be specific- if you operate exterior to your body and come over to my house. At my house, I’m planning a surprise birthday party for you and have written, in very large letters, the date and time of your party.

        Is the party ruined?

        In other words, is there any way that your spiritual efforts actually impact the physical universe?


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