How Does the Day-to-Day of Being a Scientologist Compare to Other Religions?
A student wrote in, asking:
In your personal opinion, how do you think Scientology is different from other religions ex: Christianity, Catholic, Islam, when it comes to day to day living?
This is a question that I’ve been asked enough that I figured merited posting, so as to gather other similar responses. I’ll post my answers here, but the answers to this question will likely be as different as the people who practice the religion. That being said, there are a lot of ways that Scientologists treat their beliefs similarly to other religions, in terms of the religion providing some direction, focus, and (most importantly) moral compass to use to go about day to day life.
The differences, I’d say, are:
(1) By and large, I’d say that Scientologists actively participate a bit more in their religion than many other faiths. By that, I mean that there’s a good bit of religious study and counseling that is intrinsic to the faith, and as such it’s not uncommon to spend a few days a week in your local church, or even take a few weeks for intensive study every so often. I usually spend 10-12 hours/week in my local church, for example. It generally isn’t just a religion where the expectation is that you go to church on Sunday, hear a sermon, and then that concludes your participation. I know that many Judeo-Christian faiths have much more involved participation than just that, but by and large, Scientologists do tend to be quite present at their Church.
If you read down some of the interviews I’ve put up here you’ll get some other takes of how much time & involvement folks have in their churches, to give you a better idea of what the norm is.
(2) I’d say another difference with some (but certainly not all) faiths is the degree to which many Scientologists are active in social outreach programs. Most Scientologists I know are active to some degree in church-sponsored or related activities, doing anti-drug education, human rights education, tutoring, etc. While it’s not a requirement for being a Scientologist, such activities are very much encouraged.
11 thoughts on “How Does the Day-to-Day of Being a Scientologist Compare to Other Religions?”
As a Scientology minister and Executive Director of our local Church, my life probably differs significantly from that of the average participant of any religion. But the most significant differences are intrinsic to the differences between Scientology and other religions, namely that it is not about faith or belief. In Scientology we are taught tools to use in life to improve our lives and the world around us.
Being raised Catholic, I was taught to pray to God and to trust in God’s grace; that everything (good or bad) is God’s will. Taught not to question why, but to be humble and know that God had a plan for my life. Similar themes run through the other Judeo-Christian religions I have studied. This doctrine is very present in the lives of my friends and family.
Where I find my life differs in my day-to-day actions is that I am an active participant in my life and my fate. I think as Scientologists, we take to heart the maxim that “God helps those who help themselves” and apply what we learn through our scriptures, courses and religious counseling to make our life what we want it to be.
I do totally agree to the above.
Nevertheless I’d like to also share my point of view, for those who’d like to read it.
For me, being a Scientologist for almost 6 years now, I’d say I can explain the difference best by explaining the difference between before and now. While I concidered myself an atheist in the past, I have to say, many of my ‘religious’ friends (they were ‘born’ as christians, but did not involve much in their ‘official’ religion) concidered themselves mostly likely. So the day-to-day living from then (being an atheist, with mostly atheist as close friends) compared to now (being a scientologist with mostly scientologist as close friends) may interest some too.
While taking responsibility was something we would do now and then, being an atheist, I often felt someone should take responsibilty for things and take care of the world. For sure in most cases I felt I could never change anything, if I felt something was going wrong in my country. To take care of the whole planet was something even more far away, and something I would not have to think about. If something would go wrong, ‘someone’ would have to take the responsibility.
This point of view is something I would have had regarding friend-groups, my country, or the planet, or even regarding my very own personal life. So my day to day living was very much having a lot of leisure time to play video games, go on partys, or just hang out. All this while not feeling very happy about things and feeling that I could not do a lot about it.
I became a scientologist when a friend brought me in a church, 6 years ago. The first thing I did was participating in a ‘personal efficiency seminar’ and reading a book, called ‘problems of work’. The first time in my life I felt like getting data, that would really apply to my life, and giving me a tool to really change conditions to the better. So I continued from then doing courses and studying books ab
out life itself, and so becoming a scientologist. This is one of the main differences from my life before and now. I study much more, spending time in our local church. In this way I was able to learn and apply data to not only better the condition of my very personal life but also my environment. I started to engage in a campaign, educating human rights all over the world, and doing other voluntary works instead of spending time doing nothing, watching a lot of movies and so on. And I can say since then I feel much more satisfied with myself. I know now, that I can do something about it, when things go wrong, and I actively do something about it.
My life also differs significantly from other Scientologists in that my “work” involves introducing people to Scientology. I am not a staff member of the Church…I have a “private practice” outside of the Church. There are a number of us who do this around the world, and I imagine they find it as fulfilling as I do.
My practice has helped individuals on a one-to-one basis; we have restored marriages using a very unique form of marriage counseling; and from time to time, we have helped people in their business life.
What I find particularly beneficial is the “quantity” of benefit others derive from the application of Scientology principles.
My wife and I have applied these principles to our daughter, pretty much from birth onward. She is now a very happy, stable and productive person with a happy marriage and two cool kids. Bias noted 🙂
We enjoy knowing that, for virtually any area of life seeking improvement, we are able to locate some information in Scientology to help us with that area.
For me a key difference is instead of going to church only on Sunday, my family and I go at various times of the week for classes, counseling session and community activities. I was there last week to work with my women’s group on our holiday project to bring Christmas gifts to the low income apartment building across the street.
I use Scientology principles in my day to day life to improve situations. This includes at work, with my kids, with my husband and even my neighbors. Scientology is a practical religion that encourages you to go out and enjoy life and use the tools you have learned to be more successful and help others around you.
Scientology is a relatively new religion, so many Scientologists spend time every day disseminating in some form or another. Some do it by holding staff positions at their local church, others as field staff and some simply by sharing information online and in person about scientology and our church sponsored global betterment campaigns such as Truth About Drugs.
Growing up Jewish, I always felt that the decisions I made in daily life had meaning beyond their immediate result; that it was important to always be thinking of how I could be improving my own life and improving the world around me. It’s a central belief / practice in Judaism. When I discovered Scientology, this was a principle that I found mirrored in Scientology teachings: that everything you do has consequences, and the way you live your life in every moment can affect your future and the future of your family, your friend, mankind, and the planet. But in Scientology, it isn’t just a set of rules and guidelines for living responsibly, there are actual “how-to” courses that show you the way to be a better friend, a better parent, a better employee, a better employer, a better citizen, and so forth. Learning the nuts and bolts of what makes up human relationships, and how to put order into chaos makes it possible to live an ethical and even joyful life, by putting these things into practice. For example, one of the most basic concepts in Scientology is how to increase understanding by applying the simple effects of affinity, communication, and agreement. This makes it easy to talk to people, to resolve conflicts, to get things done, to make friends, to help people, and so forth. So, my daily life definitely includes the use of Scientology, through the application of useful tools to interact with people, get things done, be more efficient, solve problems, etc. I attend courses at my church several times a week, and there is always something new to learn; some additional way to improve my abilities. I also volunteer regularly at the church. It’s a busy place, and there are always people there to interact with.
Since the application of Scientology principles produced the desired change and / or results in my life, I always feel I want to learn more. For this reason, I incorporate the study of Scientology principles into my day to day life. This means that spending my time learning becomes very important to me and takes precedence.
I also take part in local community or charity events where our church is involved. I would compare my daily life to a very active and participating life of a member of any church.
I’m a stay at home mom of two.
I don’t believe my day to day life differs very much from other religious families. Through my teachings from Scientology I’ve learned so much about life and the attainment of happiness. Scientology has taught me the true value of responsibility. Like many of my Christian friends whom would describe themselves as having a servants heart, my family and I spend much time and effort giving back to our community, our church, our neighbors. We take responsibility for our environment. In my family we don’t merely hope or pray for change, we take a much more causative approach to ensuring our happiness. Our daughters have been actively volunteering with us since they were small infants. They know that we McCanneys help people.
Like others have commented on this post, we also probably spend more time at our church than my Christian neighbors. Multiple days a week rather than just Sunday mornings. While it takes more time out of my week, studying the teachings of Scientology is something that revitalizes and inspires me. I find it to be like an extra boost of life force, I’m much more productive and efficient than I would be had I not devoted that time to take care of my spiritual self.
I think our approach to handling life situations is different because of the knowledge Scientology has given us.
I frequently have friends from other religions come to me for advise. Through Scientology I have an understanding of people. What makes them act like they do. How to resolve conditions, problems & conflicts. Through this understanding, I’ve become a much more patient, tolerant and compassionate person than I once was.
Our daughter, in kindergarten is now getting her first exposure to dramitizations of hostility, anger, and now even a classmate expressing rage. Like most kids do, she came home dramatizing these mean tendencies on her little sister, “I won’t be your friend if you don’t give me that”, etc. Rather than just punish her, when she was sent to her room, I gave her a talk about the emotional tonescale. That people use all different emotions and what those emotions do to others around her. On her own she realized the emotions we use in our home and why we do not use those negative emotions. On her own accord she decided she wasn’t going to use those hostile emotions with her sister anymore. Nipping that one it the butt was such a parenting win for me!
There are many many other examples I could list about how Scientology affects my day to day life. But to put it in a nutshell, we’re not all that much different than other happily religious families. My Husband works during the day at Chrysler. I stay home with he kids. We’re both on local Boards in the Village we live in. We both volunteer at the kid’s school. We have a lovely home. We’re thought well of by our neighbors and acquaintances. We celebrate Easter, Christmas, and Halloween too.
But I think that our happiness comes easier to us and we’re more effective at ensuring it continues. And for that we owe to Scientology! ?
Being a Scientologist gives me a perspective on day to day life that allows me to not be the effect of unknowns. Even after reading two or three books I knew I had enough data to finally make sense of life and other people and myself. This alone makes life much more enjoyable.
The day-to-day life is not different — for me. I go through my day with faith, with belief and hope in myself, others, a Supreme Being and an effort to make this world a better place.
If I see something “off” in myself or the environment which is destructive or which is not in alignment with the goals of the greatest good — I do something about it (and because of my studies and because of the auditing I’ve received/done in Scientology — results are typically good).
I feel that LRH provided more information, we can all use, to become better Christians, better Muslims, better Buddhists, etc. Innately, we all want the same things. Innately we are all good beings with high-quality purposes and goals. BUT we need more high-quality, workable (usable) technology — scientific in nature — to guarantee longer-lasting and higher-plane results. That’s Scientology. It makes us better at whatever we ARE and want to be. And that’s the goal of most religions as well. They are not different things. They’re approaching the same end goal but Scientology is the science part necessary to achieve improved spirituality. A man cannot be spiritually happy if he lacks the proven technology on how to communicate, how to raise children, how to be a better employee, how to be a better servant of god and his fellow mankind.
From the outside, our lives look somewhat like others’ lives, that is, lives that include building your own home, homeschooling your kids, running a business from home, and spending several hours a week at church to complete services offered.
One pronounced aspect of doing this as a Scientologist is that I always knew I was doing this as a spiritual being, and that put another perspective on life that some people I ran into didn’t seem to have.
Life on Earth is pretty much what you make of it but Scientology can help a person change his perspective on it and help a person enjoy the game more.