Scientology, which means “knowing how to know,” is a religion based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). The first church was established in Los Angeles in 1954, and today there are more than 4,300 Scientology churches, missions and groups around the world. Scientology teaches that a person is an immortal spiritual being (called a “thetan” from the Greek letter “theta,” meaning “spirit”), who has a body and a mind and lives on from lifetime to lifetime. Scientologists believe that the “reactive mind” (the portion that works on a totally stimulus-response basis, not under the control of the individual) commands one’s awareness, purposes, thoughts, body and action. Through spiritual counseling called “auditing,” Scientologists believe they can reduce and ultimately erase the power of the reactive mind, a source of irrationality, fears and nightmares. Its eradication achieves the State of Clear and brings to view the individual. Scientologists think this is a landmark step in the full discovery of one’s true nature and in ultimately achieving full spiritual awareness and freedom.
Scientologists recognize marriage as a part of the second of eight dynamics of existence. The second dynamic includes all creative activity, including sex, procreation and child rearing. The Scientology marriage ceremony is traditional and addresses a union between a man and a woman.
As described in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, abortion and attempted abortion can traumatize the mother and unborn child physically and spiritually. Abortion is therefore rare among Scientologists, recognizing that even the fetus may have already been occupied by a spiritual being. In some instances, abortion might be chosen of health concerns of the mother or other personal factors.
Procreation and child rearing are considered part of one of the eight dynamics of existence. Couples are free to decide the size of their families, and do so by determining the greatest good across the dynamics. Personal and social circumstances, profession and income are part of this decision, as with members of any faith.
Scientologists believe the thetan (spirit) has lived lifetime after lifetime. An individual experiences in his next lifetime the civilization he had a part in creating today. With this knowledge comes more responsibility to help make that tomorrow a good one to return to.
Scientology affirms the existence of a Supreme Being, although its dogma is unique and does not include the worship of one. Scientologists believe that only through total spiritual enlightenment can one then truly discover and understand the Supreme Being.
Female and/or married ministers
The ministry is open to both men and women, married or unmarried. As people are spiritual beings, the gender of a minister is not an issue.
BY THE NUMBERS
1-billion – Years of service pledged to the church by Sea Org members
20-million – Dianetics books sold since published in 1950
$605,488 – Pinellas property taxes paid by the church last year
15,000 – Scientologists traveling to Clearwater each year
4,378 – Scientology churches, missions and groups worldwide
$750 – Most expensive room rate for visiting Scientologists, the penthouse at the Osceola Inn (Osceola’s regular rooms: $65)
155 – Countries with Scientology churches and organizations
106 – Drug and alcohol rehab centers using L. Ron Hubbard technology
$75 – Weekly salary earned by Sea Org members (church provides meals, lodging, clothes, medical care and transportation)
5 – Scientology-related informational programs airing four to five times each week in Pinellas on Brighthouse and Knology public access channels.
The founder of Scientology was born Lafayette Ronald Hubbard in Tilden, Neb., on March 13, 1911. According to church biographies, Hubbard traveled extensively through Asia as a teenager and studied Eastern religions and philosophies. He later served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II and went on to become a prolific and popular science fiction writer. His best known work is the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which was published in May 1950 and became a nationwide bestseller.
His writings on Dianetics and Scientology inspired Scientologists to form the first Church of Scientology in Los Angeles in 1954. He also wrote on the subjects of education, business management, drug rehabilitation, morals and art. Hubbard died of a stroke on Jan. 24, 1986, at a central California ranch where he had been living in seclusion for several years.