Questions & Answers: Regarding Practicing Scientology, Second-Guessing my Beliefs and What Makes My Beliefs Different
I got the following questions from a college student doing a research paper on Scientology.
- 1 Does your family practice alone as Scientologists or within one of the churches?
- 2 To you, what does “reaching your full potential” mean in Scientology?
- 3 With all the accusations against the religion did that make you and your family second guess Scientology at all?
- 4 What makes Scientology different than any other religion?
- 5 Do you really have to spend a lot of money to be a part of Scientology?
- 6 Also if it’s not too much to ask do you think you could tell me what you believe in as a Scientologist and how that might differ from another Scientologist?
- 7 Related
Does your family practice alone as Scientologists or within one of the churches?
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.
To you, what does “reaching your full potential” mean in Scientology?
That’s one of the deeper questions that someone has asked me, actually. There are a few sides to “potential,” I think. What are the properties and qualities and capabilities that I feel I should have, or that I could have at some future time, or assuming some ideal set of circumstances?
To me, it’s best quantified by first trying to look at life in its component parts. What is my potential as myself? For my relationship with my wife? For my kids? My work? My group and my church? Mankind as a whole?
For any of those things, what are they like now, and what would their ideal state be? For that last bit, sometimes one doesn’t even know how good something can be. Someone who has never been athletic in their life likely wouldn’t know the elation an elite gymnast feels at nailing a perfect floor routine. Someone who’s grown up in a broken, dysfunctional household likely might set the bar pretty low at what would be a “perfect relationship”. Someone who’s never had kids might not know how to accurately define what being an “ideal parent” might look like.
For me, personally, it’s something I iterate on. There are some things in my life that are going swimmingly, others that I know I’m simply not doing as well as I could. But I’ve got goals I want to achieve for myself, my family, and my group, and to the degree that I’m not able to hit them, well, I’d say I’m not living up to my potential.
But that’s what Scientology has always solved for me. It’s been a path by which I can take my life as it is, in my own estimation, and improve those things that need to be improved. In some cases it’s been my productivity, in other cases it’s been my honesty and integrity to my goals and to my friends that needed address. In other cases it’s been a matter of being able to let go of past upsets, and bad decisions that I was still using illogically to curb what I was doing in the here and now.
In any case though, all that really matters is that one is living up to one’s own standards of “full potential” so that one can achieve their own goals. I hope that answers things.
With all the accusations against the religion did that make you and your family second guess Scientology at all?
Not in the least bit.
Scientology is a really personal thing. One sits and studies it and decides what makes sense, decides what works for you, and what you can use. If I do something in Scientology that makes me genuinely happier, makes me a more honest person, improves my relationship with my family, and brings my extended family closer together, there is no TV show that can suddenly change that and make me realize, “oh, perhaps I’m not so happy after all.”
I’ve been involved in Scientology most of my life. I have worked as church staff, and have been around countless members of church management. I’ve personally studies the entirety of the 18 books and 200+ recorded lectures that comprise the entire foundation of the Scientology religion. I’ve got a few family members and quite a few close friends that are presently staff at local, regional and international managment levels in the church. There’s honestly no “accusation” that someone can make that I can’t turn around and see the actual state of affairs firsthand. Scientologists, specifically the staff, are the most wonderful, caring, good-intentioned and big-hearted people I know. Anyone who’d think otherwise from media they’ve seen or read should just go and spend some time in a Church talking to people, and then make up their own mind.
What makes Scientology different than any other religion?
The part which, to me, makes it different is the focus on techniques for application. Most faiths have a moral code, and this (I think) is one of their most important aspects, and is something that’s no different in Scientology in that we have a moral code and a code of ethics, things that are right and wrong and define really what it’s like to “live as a Scientologist”. The core of that, you can read online as it’s encapsulated in The Way to Happiness.
However, the fact of Scientology’s tenets and techniques being expected to be applied, each of them having exact and repeatable results – this is what I feel sets Scientology apart from more traditional faiths.
And it’s because of the fact that there are repeatable results that can be attained by anyone, that I love being involved in Scientology so much. I know that whatever I have going on in my life, whatever part of it that I feel I’m not excelling at or feel needs to be better, I know has a workable, usable solution in Scientology. Most of my site here is filled with specifics on that, as it pertains to parenting, but obviously there’s so much else to life. Whether it’s personal happiness (or depression), personal honesty (or lack of it), being able to effectively communicate in a business setting, or simply being able to organize life so that one can achieve one’s goals, I know that there are workable ways I can improve these things to my satisfaction in Scientology.
Do you really have to spend a lot of money to be a part of Scientology?
You do not. There is no tithe system in Scientology, and being a member or calling oneself a Scientologist doesn’t mean you need to support the church financially.
Yes, there are services one does in a church, where there are numerous church staff who are there to extremely well-educated in the subject, who are there to do things like Marriage Counseling, course supervision, and the supervision of your individual counseling progress. Yes, the church asks a donation when you’re taking services that require people’s time. It would be amazing if we lived in a world where the staff of a church could live without money, could be housed for free, and where a church building was free. But we don’t live in that world, so the church has to be there somehow.
But apart from that, there are many ways that one can learn & apply Scientology on your own. Scientologists, over the past few years, have participated in massive donation programs to ensure that every public library in the USA has a full set of Scientology books in them. So, you can go down to your local library and read everything we’ve got. Several of those texts, including Dianetics, Self Analysis and Handbook for Preclears are written to be used by an individual by themselves or with another person, and do not require an organization nor professional help to do.
There are also free online courses the church maintains.
Being a Scientologist really adds up to being someone who studies Scientology, finds parts of it that work for them, and then apply it do their lives – and that’s something anyone with the will, can go ahead and do.
Also if it’s not too much to ask do you think you could tell me what you believe in as a Scientologist and how that might differ from another Scientologist?
Sure, I can do that. Let me see if I can sum up what I believe a succinctly as possible. I’ve written longer articles about what Scientology is to me, but let me see if I can sum up in a few bullet points, along with some reference material as appropriate that you may find enlightening.
- I believe that I’m a spiritual individual, and am not “my body”. I believe I have a body, but that concepts like love, fear, honor, friendship, and one’s own goals and purposes in life are positively not a part of the body or brain, but are something we create as individuals. This video on the parts of man illustrates this further.
- I believe that it is possible to know about the mind, the spirit, and life. Meaning, I do think that solutions to one’s problems as an individual, a family or group member, are not out of one’s hands, or can only be understood by the infinite, or “transcend the boundaries of human understanding” like old-time philosophers thought. I believe that no matter how hard one’s problems are in life, that something can be done about them, and Scientology contains intensely workable solutions for such.
- I believe that religious choice is an intensely personal thing, and that anyone, studying Scientology, should do so for themselves, should read actual Scientology books for themselves, and should make up their own mind about it. I think that Scientology (or any religious philosophy) cannot be forced on someone, because there is nothing at all more individual and personal than how one feels about himself. Nobody can tell you how you feel about yourself, because nobody else is you. Therefore, a personal, spiritual philosophy can never, ever be jammed down your throat. There is no replacement for quality time, by yourself, in front of a book.
Now, in terms of what I believe and how that might differ from another Scientologist: one thing that is part & parcel to Scientology that bears a similarity to other religions, is that we’ve all got a central agreement on “what Scientology is”. The source materials on Scientology are what L. Ron Hubbard wrote in his books, policies and recorded lectures. So, regardless of what we all think, use and feel personally about ourselves and our relationship to the church, at least we agree on what Scientology is.
I hope that answers your questions!
2 thoughts on “Questions & Answers: Regarding Practicing Scientology, Second-Guessing my Beliefs and What Makes My Beliefs Different”
I think my favorite of all LRH writings that covers the above in totality is called, The Code of Honor. An expanded version of this, where Ron explains each one in detail is from his “Research and Discovery” Volumes and can be found in Vol 9 which is entitled there as, “The Code of Behavior”. I’ve attached a copy of it below.
All the best,
The Code of Honor
L. Ron Hubbard
Ethics, on the other hand, can make man good. It tells a man he has a responsibility that concerns the survival of himself and others, and that ethical conduct is not simply that undefined word “honesty”. Ethics is reason.
What is reasonable is survival, and whatever is reasonable survival is ethical.
The basic intent of the individual is in the direction of a code. It is a code that doesn’t really need to be written because it is inherent in the individual.
The unaberrated individual follows this code instinctively. The proof of this code is that every time and every place it has been violated is an aberration for the individual.
The more a person breaks the code, the less self determined he is, and the less self determined he is, the more he will break the code. It is a dwindling spiral of aberration and ill health.
The Code of Honor
1. Never Desert a Comrade In Need, In Danger, Or In Trouble.
Just never do that. It is not only non-survival for comrades, it is very non-survival for you.
2. Never Withdraw Allegiance Once Granted.
It is ten times worse to be a backslider than to never have been part of a group. This is the situation where you grant allegiance – make a postulate that you are going to have allegiance – to a group, an entity or a god and afterwards decide you are not going to.
The person who never made the postulate, of course, isn’t trying to overcome a postulate. But the person who says, “I am now a true son of the church”, then a few years later discovers he is not a true son of the church, and doesn’t want to have anything to do with the church any more, really goes to the devil. The only thing that is making him go to the devil is his postulate to be part of that group. So, it’s much worse to be a backslider than never to have been at all.
3. Never Desert a Group To Which You Owe Your Support.
A person sometimes has to differentiate what group he’s supposed to support and how wide that support is and what these elements are. But a person who deserts a group will show up on an E-Meter, even if he deserted that group a thousand years ago.
4. Never Disparage Yourself Or Minimize Your Strength Or Power.
No matter how much other people would like you to believe that this is the way to be polite, the way to win friends and influence people, I can guarantee you that minimization of yourself, your strength and power is the fastest way in the world to make enemies, and be torn limb from limb. It says, “I’m weak. Come on boys, go ahead, knock me flat! I’m nobody.” In the most decadent societies, the oldest and most tired societies, you find that the minimization of one’s strength and power is the order of the day. The Japanese says, “I withhold my foul breath from your face. This unworthy one would like to say to glorious you, that in his humble and ignorant opinion . . .” This is chatter! Where are these people on the tone scale? They are almost dead.
Back before Christ, if you were to ask a German knight, “Come on, admit it. You aren’t the strongest knight in five tribes around. . . .” he would probably have taken his battle axe to you. You had insulted him. By the way, the German tribes were almost unaberrated.
They had terrifically high self-determinism, and were very powerfully minded people. The Romans were strung along the Rhine trying to hold them down. Some German knight would ride back and forth and announce that he was the strongest, the most powerful, the best, he was worth any 180 Romans. They would send 180 Romans so they could eat him up and he would eat them up!
These tribes suffered, when they suffered at all, because of tremendous individualism. They would not hang together as political entities to fight Rome. Rome was very down tone scale but it had its good organized marching legions and, as a result, could hit a solid blow into the thin individualistic tribe-coalitions.
If you want to lick the German nation, get in there and make it the vogue to negate self. Tell them this is the “polite” way to live. Tell them not to blow hard about what one can do, not be egotistical, always listen to the other fellow say what he can do. If you could do that, you would fix the German nation so you would never have any more trouble with them.
By the way, an actual clinical checkback on the process of the “how to win friends and influence people” type show that this particular attitude towards life is the most certain way to make an individual sick and hated. It says, “Go into ARC with everybody you meet, regardless of where he in on the tone scale.” That’s a great trick! How sick do you want to be?
5. Never Need Praise, Approval Or Sympathy.
But never need praise or approval. People have an awfully hard time trying to figure that out until they find out why they had to have praise and approval. Praise and approval are licenses to survive. An individual would have to be down tone scale and not-self-determined indeed to go around and ask other individuals, “Can I survive?”
6. Never Compromise With Your Own Reality.
If you think it is real, it is real. Do not ever compromise with it. If somebody else comes along and says, “Well, it’s not real actually. On page 64 of Professor Wittebunk’s cranium depository system it says there that they are hallucinations and illusions . . .” and you say, “Anybody who could be that confused must be right”, you would be compromising your own reality. It is a mighty tough thing to tell somebody who was very circuit-determined instead of self-determined that any time he considers something it is right for him and he had better not change his mind about it. Accepting other realities than your own, against your own assessment, is a certain way to go down tone scale. You’ll get sick.
7. Never Permit Your Affinity To Be Alloyed.
In other words, never permit a feeling of affection you have to be tampered with by somebody else. You can tamper with it if you want to but don’t let someone else come along and tell you that “the reason why you shouldn’t like Jones is because . . .” and tell you a lot of things about Jones. And don’t let somebody come along and tell you you have to like Mrs. Smith, like they used to do when you were a little kid. Remember? “You have to like Aunt Bessie.” You know she has a lot o money that she’ll probably leave you (they don’t tell you that). But you have to like her because “It makes her feel bad when you don’t run into the room and kiss her when she comes in. You must run in and say hello.” That might or might not be the way to handle Aunt Bessie, but that is the way to kill yourself. If you don’t like Aunt Bessie, you’ll get a lot further saying, “I don’t like you! She’ll immediately get confused and say, “Why, dear?” This will worry her. “Well, I don’t like your nose and I don’t like the way you are wearing your glasses. And I don’t like the clammy kisses you give me.” Aunt Bessie will probably put on Act 624 and say, “You’re very cruel to me.” “Well, I don’t mean to be cruel, I just want to tell you the truth.” First thing you know, Aunt Bessie will be interested in only one person in that family! That’s the boy who would say those things to her. Fascinating!
8. Do Not Give Or Receive Communication Unless You Yourself Desire It.
9. Your Self-Determinism And Your Honor Are More Important Than Your Immediate Life.
10. Your Integrity To Your Self Is More Important Than Your Body.
11. Never Regret Yesterday. Life Is In You Today, And You Make Your Tomorrow.
12. Never Fear To Hurt Another In a Just Cause.
If you want to have a guy who is going to do a terrible job of managing, get somebody who is afraid to hurt people. Get somebody who can tear people to pieces any time that it’s indicated and you’ll have a good, smooth running organization.
It is not because it is force that is required, but honesty. An individual who is afraid to hurt people is going to be dishonest to those people. He is afraid to hurt them so he will wind up hurting them more by a hundred times.
13. Don’t Desire To Be Liked Or Admired.
Don’t give a darn, because if you start giving a darn you won’t be liked or admired. The only way, really, to be liked or admired is to not care if you are liked or admired, but to act most any way you please. And you’ll be surprised at how many people will like and admire you.
But that isn’t why you act the way you please. You act the way you please and as you should because it’s the honest way to act. It is kind of a lie to be one thing and act like another just because it is polite.
14. Be Your Own Adviser, Keep Your Own Counsel And Select Your Own Decisions.
That is a heck of a thing, isn’t it? You are educated from childhood to listen to the opinions of others. To you they are worth nothing because only you have enough data to evaluate you. You can sit down and communicate for days, weeks, months to a person and not even then give him all the data you have about you.
So go around and get advice if you want to. It is not going to be good advice because it is not based on all the facts. Only you have all those facts. If you want to get along well, be your own advisor. If you take council with yourself about what is right and wrong, you can then take council with others to find out if your data agrees with theirs. Or what between you, you can pool as data which makes a new conclusion.
15. Be True To Your Own Goals.
To cause things, one must be cause. And the primary requisite of being cause is a statement of intention and goal, a clear statement of what you are trying to do. Only when you clearly state it can you avoid being yourself an eventual effect. “What am I trying to do?” Only when you clearly state it can you avoid being yourself an eventual effect. “What am I trying to do?” If you can’t answer that you’ll foul up!
Even a poor goal is better than none. You can put that down as a beautiful maxim. It sounds like one of those horrible truisms but it will fish you out of more holes than you can imagine you can get yourself into! You’ll find yourself very often squirreling and spinning around. You don’t know which way you are going or which way is up because you decided all the goals you could put your eyes on were too vague or too poor or too unwanted to try to attain. That itself is a bad aberration and shows a misdirection and misestimation on your part. And a lack of understanding on your own part of what you are doing.
You are, yourself, cause. How on earth can you set it up so cause can be anything else but cause?
There is no goal vast enough to absorb your total capabilities, because your total capabilities are so vast that they make goals.
L. Ron Hubbard
I’m a Scientology parent and grandparent !
Scientology has given me a tool box in which to deal with life and livingness !
I have 3 great kids and 2 grandchildren !