Unusual Belief Systems (con’t)
I have saved Scientology for last, and it deserves an individual posting. The “official”core belief of this alleged religion is the belief that human beings are immortal, that a person’s life experience transcends a single lifetime, and that human beings possess infinite capabilities.
According to L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology’s fundamental creation myth goes something like this: Xenu (also referred to as Xemu) was once ruler of the Galactic Confederacy, an ancient organization of 76 planets. Having existed for 20 million years, the planets were struggling from extreme overpopulation.
Fearing he’d be thrown out of power, Xenu gathered billions of his people, froze them to capture their souls (“thetans”), and transported them to Earth (then called Teegeeack) for elimination. He dumped them at the bottom of volcanoes and then destroyed them in a series of nuclear explosions, killing all but a few and sending their souls into the air.
Once in the air, the souls were captured by Xenu, who then implanted into them misleading information, including concepts related to all of the world’s religions.
After all this evil was carried out, Xenu was eventually imprisoned, and Earth was left to be a mere prison planet by the Galactic Confederacy.
The frozen thetans of the Xenu story go on to play a huge role in Scientology beliefs. Each human has their own thetan and Scientologists strive to purify these spirits through “auditing” sessions until they reach a state of “clear.”
Auditing is one of the central practices of Scientology, in which practitioners are cleared of negative influences, called engrams, to heighten spiritual awareness and access untapped potential. The Church of Scientology has stated the procedure is 100% effective as long as it is done properly and the recipient is truly seeking change.
Happily for the Church of Scientology, auditing is also wildly expensive. It is estimated that reaching Clear costs about $128,000.
After becoming Clear and learning how to fully embrace and control the capabilities inherent in all thetans, the practitioner is now known as an Operating Thetan (OT). According to Scientology, OTs are not limited by physical form or the physical universe. According to the church itself:” “OT is a state of spiritual awareness in which an individual is able to control themselves and their environment.”
From there, many OT levels exist, all of which promise increasingly awe-inspiring knowledge and powers, and which, of course, cost more and more money to attain. At OT level three, for example, practitioners are able to hear the Xenu story above.
According to official Scientology doctrine, reading and reacting to other people is key to being successful. While that’s not an outlandish statement, Scientology holds that most people are simply no good at connecting an apparent, outward emotion to its true inner emotion.
Created to “take the mystery out of human behavior,” the tone scale teaches Scientologists how to read people and provide the appropriate emotional response.
The tone scale runs from -40 to 40. The higher on the scale you are, the better. A score of 40 is described as “Serenity of Beingness.” A 1.1 is considered covert hostility (smiling on the outside while plotting inside) and describes someone who can’t be trusted. If you don’t believe in Scientology, you are a 1.1.
And because Scientology — like many other religions supposedly built on love and acceptance — employs homophobic doctrine, the tone scale also aligns with sexual orientation. If someone is gay, they automatically fall into the Covert Hostility category and can only move up into heterosexuality and spiritual elevation through auditing.
In L. Ron Hubbard’s book, Scientology: The History of Man, he goes into deep descriptions of incidents in our past lives. Because thetans are eternal entities, they have past lives that have experienced traumas throughout time. As a result, people today have subconscious memories of past lives as everything including clams, atoms, cells in the process of mitosis, early photosynthetic organisms, and sloths, just to name a few.
The clam, in particular, provides a great example. Hubbard argues that the hinges of the clam eventually became the hinges of the human jaw and that by invoking your clam past, you can have a very real effect on a human today. As Hubbard writes in Scientology: The History of Man.