Over last weekend, the world learned that A-list Hollywood couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are husband and wife no more. Holmes, who filed for divorce from Cruise last week, is allegedly against the idea of their daughter being sent to a Scientology organization, thus the impending sole custody battle over Suri.
Tom, as we all know, has had his share of condemnation for his extensive association with said religion. This particular topic has baffled us too long, so we decided to look into it. We want to give it the benefit of the doubt, so we ask: What is Scientology?
What is Scientology?
Scientology is a body of beliefs and religious philosophies created by L. Ron Hubbard in 1952. It was derived by his earlier self-help system called Dianetics. Scientology teaches that all people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. The church aims its members to rediscover that.
Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counseling known as auditing – an activity wherein a person trained in the said practice listens and gives auditing commands to a subject, which is referred to as a preclear. It’s similar to a Catholic confession, wherein all communications during a session are kept confidential between the auditor, the case supervisor, and the preclear.
According to Hugh B. Urban, auditing can trigger personal insights and cause dramatic changes in one’s psychological state. The recalling and expression of old hurts in response to the auditor’s questions feels like an unburdening, which then leads to elation.
Who is L. Ron Hubbard?
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was an American pulp fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology. Best known for his science fiction and fantasy stories, he came up with the concept of Dianetics – a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and the body, exploring the existence of the mind and removing its reactive nature.
During the late 60s and 70s, he spent much of his time at sea on his personal fleet of ships as “Commodore” of the Sea Organization, an elite inner group of Scientologists. While he was considered as a fraud by the rest of the world, the Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms. He spent the remaining years of his life in California, where he died in 1986. By then, Scientology has garnered itself massive amount of followers.
Why is Scientology controversial?
Since its inception in 1950s, it has been one of the most controversial churches, conflicting with the government and countries such as Canada, France, Germany, and United Kingdom. Scientology has also been dubbed as a commercial enterprise that financially exploits its members by means of unspecified donations, and is most certainly unfriendly to journalists, media men, and governmental bodies.
Among the most notable ones are their disconnection policy, which encourages members to cut off all contact with friends and family who are non-believers, cases of organized fraud, rumors of intimidation and Mafia-like blackmail, instances of search engine omissions, and other criminal cases that were settled out of court.