What Happens at a Scientology Naming Ceremony?

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I wanted to share with the community our naming ceremony that we did at our Church of Scientology in Nashville, as I feel it’s an important window into our philosophy of how we welcome our children into the world, and our thoughts and hopes for their future.

The various naming & christening services for our religion are detailed in the book, The Background, Ministry, Ceremonies and Sermons of the Scientology Religion.  We decided on using the full christening ceremony (as opposed to the more abbreviated informal christening) as it more fully both delineates our intent as parents, as well as the duties and expectations of the godparents.

We had about 50 people in attendance, both Scientologists and non-Scientologists alike.  Both my husband and I were raised Catholic, and so we had our parents and some extended family in there, as well as members of our local Scientology congregation.  Being Catholic, our family members were of course familiar with the concept of a christening and so doing the ceremony communicated well to the two religious backgrounds.

Scientology christening at the Church of Scientology Nashville

The reception from our family was wonderful, and everyone spoke about how beautiful the ceremony was, both in presentation and in message. They also each commented on how my daughter actually seemed to understand what was going on. She was very intent on the minister when he was going over the data in the ceremony, looked at my husband and I when he laid out our responsibilities and was watching the godparents when they were accepting their responsibilities. She then looked at and smiled at the congregation when they welcomed her. Definitely tracking with the fact that this was data and orientation for her.

I am a minister myself, and have officiated several naming ceremonies. I have noticed a difference in the kids who have done naming ceremonies and those who haven’t in terms of their security within the group. So, doing the ceremony was important to me so that Harper was oriented to her new group, knew our responsibilities to her and her rights within our group.

Just as a side note, our daughter’s godparents have a little girl (Anna) 5 months older than my daughter, Harper. My husband and I are also her godparents, and Anna’s naming ceremony was 2 weeks before Harper’s.

As an interesting aside, for both Anna and Harper, the parents and godparents are more or less socially interchangeable, whereas neither one is nearly as open to other adults.  It has been an interesting phenomenon to watch. As they get older, they are more open to others, but my daughter would still prefer to be with either of her godparents than just about anyone else, sometimes including my husband and I.

This quote from the Recognition and Naming Service, in The Background, Ministry, Ceremonies & Sermons of the Scientology Religion gives a good summary, I think, on why this was important to us:

“Yet always remember this:  Young [baby’s name]’s life is HIS and, in the final account, it is for him to make the choice what path he choose, what game he play.  And should he in later time decide, to turn away from that which seems to us to be the only game worthwhile, then that too is his right.

“Our job is to teach and to ensure that he in time to come reaches that freedom that he can deliver himself the good and rightful judgement of his fate.

“We help, we teach, and by our skills we introduce into our fellow being the capacity to understand.  AND THAT IS ALL.

“Let no one say, ‘You must do thus and thus, we have so decided.'”

Reference:  Scientology Naming Ceremony on scientology.org

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