The following question was posed by a college student doing a research paper on Scientology:
Does your family practice alone as Scientologists or within one of the churches?
In addition to my own answers, I asked a number of Scientologist friends to give their views on this. Their answers follow:
Cristal, businesswoman & nonprofit director: Because Scientology is an applied religion that requires extensive training, we are continually visiting our local church for study time. Study time and auditing require vigorous training and skill development so study time at their local church is a big part of all Scientologists who actively practice Scientology. That said, both study and auditing are done individually and at one’s own pace, not as a group.
Shaina, Scientology auditor: My family and I all practice as part of one of the local churches. For us, it’s a way to stay connected to fellow Scientologists, which is helpful in a number of ways. Firstly, it allows us to have a community of like-minded individuals who can be there for support, friendship, and group activities. It makes a big difference knowing you’re not alone in what you believe, and being around so many people who are also dedicated to helping make the world a better place is very uplifting. My father and I actually both volunteer full time at our local church, and find it very fulfilling to see what a difference we can make in the lives of people who come here looking to improve themselves.
Rosalyn, Scientology parent and grandparent: “Practicing Scientology” means studying Scientology materials, receiving Scientology counseling (“auditing”), and applying the concepts and tools learned through studying and auditing. So while studying can be done at home, with books and recorded lectures, most people do formal study at one a church, where there are course rooms, libraries, and knowledgeable staff to assist. The application of concepts and tools is done anywhere – much like a Christian would practice Christianity by doing good works and exercising personal prayer, or a Jew would practice Judaism by observing kosher laws. So… while my family does practice by studying and receiving counseling at Scientology churches, we also practice Scientology precepts in everyday life.
Michelle, educator: I would say a combination of both. We go to church to learn more about ourselves and about life; to gain more skills in how live happy, successful lives, to rid ourselves of the ravages of the past. But Scientology is also meant to be used in your day to day lives. It gives you tools to help yourself and those around you. Probably a day doesn’t go by that I don’t use some Scientology tenet in some way from better communication and relations with my husband, to helping my children with everyday problems, sorting out difficulties at work, helping a friend who has lost someone dear. So many ways.
Craig, Music Instructor: I would say both. For me I have done a lot of study of books and lectures at home as well as in the church. I have taken courses in the church as an individual and as part of a group.
Erin, mother: My family practices Scientology within one of the churches, but we also do things at home like reading books by Hubbard about how the mind works and about how people relate to one another. We live just outside of Portland OR and there is a church in Portland that we attend.
Katie, church staff: My family practices Scientology in both respects. It is a religious philosophy that is applied to life inside and outside the church. So basically, we go to the church to learn different aspects of the religion and then we can apply it in our own lives. For example, I recently took a course about the fundamentals of predicting human behavior and I am able to apply that outside the church in my social and professional life.
Tad, father of 3: We definitely take advantage of Scientology services in our local Church of Scientology. There is a lot one can learn about Scientology on one’s own, seeing as a large percentage of people who got involved with Scientology started just by reading books, and applying what they read to their own lives. L. Ron Hubbard’s first book on the subject, Dianetics, was made primarily for people to pick up, read for themselves, and then find someone else to apply it to.
However, looking at the broad scope of services available to a Scientologist, many of these only going to be accomplished in a Church of Scientology. I wrote a much more involved post on the topic of Scientology organizations, and their relationship to the religion itself, but again, yes, we’re quite well connected to our church and the Scientologists in our community.
Once we learn these things, we apply it in the world. There’s no point in learning something if there is no real world application.