In case you haven't been paying attention, Scientology sends out its lawyers for just about everything.
So who are they and what makes them famous?
To be fair I will give you the link to their website where they have their own answer. (I wish I had a website with that kind of production values.)
Having gotten that out of the way: Scientology is a belief system that evolved out of L. Ron Hubbard's earlier self-help system in the early 1950s. Hubbard had been a science fiction writer, an occultist, and perhaps an asset of the Office of Naval Intelligence. The later a claim made by Scientology's official doctrine and perhaps just too good of a story not to be believed. Of course if he wasn't then he was just a crook and a con man who ran off with his friend Jack Parson's (of Jet Propulsion Laboratory fame) girl and money. If, I said.
Dianetics was the origin of Scientology, in which Hubbard explained how through a process he called auditing rid ones self of negative emotions and their consequences. This eventually evolved into a whole doctrine that can be briefly described as follows:
- Thetans are the expression of the creative force of the universe, are spiritual and immortal. However, the thetans fell when they identified too much with what they had created and became corporeal beings who eventually lost their memory and powers.
- Humans are thetans who are trapped in life after life in physical bodies and who must free themselves from it.
That much is, actually, not that novel. Its a dose of Gnosticism mixed with the reincarnation beliefs of many traditions. However, when you add in things like:
- Xenu (sometimes Xemu), is the tyrant ruler of the "Galactic Confederacy". According to his story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effect
-Seeking spiritual development within Scientology is undertaken by studying Scientology materials ("tech").These are structured in sequential levels so that easier steps are taken first and greater complexities are handled at the appropriate time. This process is sometimes referred to as moving along "the Bridge". The Church of Scientology believes in the principle of reciprocity, involving give-and-take in every human transaction. Thus you have to pay your way up the Bridge. Apparently only the rich can be truly free (although that too is not unprecedented).
-The state of "going clear" is when a person is free of unwanted emotions or painful traumas, accumulated over multiple lives, not readily available to the conscious mind. According to Hubbard: "A Clear is a being who no longer has his own reactive mind, and therefore suffers none of the ill effects the reactive mind can cause. The Clear has no engrams which, when restimulated, throw out the correctness of his computations by entering hidden and false data." A second stage clear is capable of "move [matter, energy, space, and time (MEST)] and control others from a distance, or create his own universe." In case you are wondering what that looks like there may be hints at in Phenomena staring John Travolta, a prominent Scientologist.
Honestly, it is one of those things that gets stranger and stranger the more you look into it. Maybe it helps people. One of its affiliates is Narconon, a drug rehab program.
However, the more I look into the more I think it is clearly insane.