Top 10 SHOCKING FACTS About SCIENTOLOGY
Welcome to Top10Archvie! Though Scientology is over 60 years old, it wasn’t until the mid-2000’s that it started to garner a lot of media attention. The attention has spanned from general critiques about the belief system to downright labeling the religion as a strong cult. Regardless of personal opinion on the Church of Scientology, it’s difficult to deny that it does have a rather interesting history that was chronicled in HBO’s Going Clear documentary. In this installment, we’re going to dive into L. Ron Hubbard’s creation and syphon out ten of the most interesting tidbits about the church, its beliefs, and some of its sordid past.
Hubbard was an Alleged Abuser
Scientologists praise Hubbard for his ideals and salute him during large congregations, but the general public may have a different viewpoint on Scientology’s creator. Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup, divorced the writer after a 6-year marriage, but court documents don’t paint the divorce as some clean, mutual agreement. According to Northrup, Hubbard was an abusive man. She alleged that Hubbard would try to make her commit suicide to avoid divorce proceedings. She also claimed he kept her sleep deprived, nearly strangled her to death, and ran her over with their car. One of his more famous feats against Sara was the kidnapping of their child, Alexis. Hubbard had taken Alexis to Havana, Cuba and was said to have called Sara, claiming he had murdered their daughter – all as part of a sadistic mind game as Alexis was alive and well with him.
The Church is Worth Over 1.2 Billion Dollars
The thought of a church worth anything more than just its religious value may sound a little absurd, but it’s not really all that uncommon. Some attribute the massive worth of Scientology to the likes of celebrity spokespeople like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, but regardless of how the money was earned, a 990-T Exempt Organization Business Income Tax uncovered in April of 2014 showed that two of its affiliated organizations showed a value of over 1 billion dollars. The 990-T for the Church of Scientology International listed the book value of all of its assets at the end of 2011 at almost 800 million dolalrs. To put things in perspective, though, in 2012 the Catholic church spent around $170 billion in one year alone.
France Considers it a Cult
Like Germany, there are still countries that hold a very negative viewpoint, though some are a bit more brazen and forceful with their negative opinion. Unlike the United States, France has deemed that the Church of Scientology is a dangerous cult. Fraud and embezzlement have been charged against some of its leading members, but possibly the most sinister of accusations is the church’s link with the suicide of Norwegian student, Kaja Ballo. In 2008, Ballo killed herself only hours after taking Scientology’s Oxford Capacity Test. No chargers were brought against the church, but the case did not help the country’s already negative viewpoint.
Germany Refuses to Recognize Scientology as a Religion
Though the United States recognizes Scientology as a religious organization, the rest of the world is not so accepting. The church has had a presence in Germany since the 1970’s, but that hasn’t been due to a mutual relationship; in fact, Germany is quite outwardly opposed to the existence of the church. German press and the country’s government have been known to speak out against Scientology and regard the organization as an abusive business under the guise of a religion. There is strong dissent against the church within the country, to the point where posters had been publicly posted – though later ordered removed – warning the public of Scientology’s hidden dangers. Despite the battle it had put up against Scientology, the United States Government now criticizes Germany for its stance against the religion, showcasing hypocrisy at its finest.
The Fight for Tax Exemption
Scientology wasn’t always considered a religion. In fact, despite the official declaration by the United States government, there are still those that question whether or not it requested and earned its status as a recognized religion for the right reasons. During a lengthy battle with the Internal Revenue Service, leading members of Scientology fought to keep the tens of millions of dollars owed in taxes to the IRS. As the IRS upheld its 25 year judgement that Scientology was a commercial enterprise, the church utilized guerrilla tactics to get the federal agency to change its mind. The church conducted surveillance operations on individual IRS employees to uncover secrets within their private lives and publicly attacked the agency. The IRS was facing a massive smere campaign and in what seemed like a waiving of the white flag, on October 8th, 1993, finally agreed to officially recognize Scientology as an exempt organization.
For some religions, when believers encounter a person that is either antagonistic or oppressive against their belief system, they try even harder to convert that individual. Scientology has what comes across as a no-tolerance policy for these types of people and suggests that its followers disconnect with the suppressive individuals. What constitutes a suppressive person? Typically, they’re viewed as anyone that speaks against Scientology, practices the religion outside of the Scientology Umbrella Organization, takes legal action against scientology, or even just associates with other suppressive individuals. When one disconnects, they completely cut that person out of their lives to avoid having their progress towards Clear hindered in any emotional way. Disconnection knows no boundaries as members of the church have been known to disconnect from even close family members.
Scientologists Generally Shy Away from Xenu
Once a follower in Scientology reaches Operating Thetan Level III, they are provided Hubbard’s writings that tell of an ancient being, Xenu – the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” – that brought billions of lifeforms to earth only to slaughter them with hydrogen bombs. The spirits of these lifeforms, according to Hubbard, are the Thetans that inhabit us today. What is most surprising about this school of thought is that Scientologists today do everything they can to sweep it under the rug. In 1997, after a judge mentioned Xenu, Scientology lawyers fought to have the ruling sealed. When the higher being is referred to by Scientologists, it is simply referred to as something that, only after years of study, can be understood.
The True Belief System was Once Hidden
There was a time when even members of Scientology didn’t quite understand the true belief system of their Church. Before the wonders of the internet and the mainstreaming of Scientology, people initially signed on with the intention of achieving a state of “Clear”, which is basically a state of mental cleanliness. Once one reached a status of clear, they would start the journey of the Operating Thetan, which essentially is when Hubbard’s belief of Xenu and the alien Thetans is made known. When a member reached level three of the Operating Thetan scale, they would receive, in secret, a copy of Hubbard’s hand-written notes and manual that detailed Xenu and his genocide of thetans.
Thetans and Telekinesis
When an individual reaches the higher statuses of Operating Thetan, closer to what is considered a Supreme Being, it is believed that the thetan inside the human body can function without the nuances of a physical form. What this boils down to is that the church believes we are able to achieve such a level of “Clear” that we can be telekinetic. The concept even made headlines when it was alleged by the Church of Scientology in 2012 that the religion’s poster boy, Tom Cruise, had reached such a level of Operating Thetan that he was a telekinetic. Of course, there are those that believe the Church will use Cruise for any means of propaganda.
The Human Spirit
Until HBO’s Going Clear, chances are if you asked anyone to recite what the Church of Scientology truly believes at its roots, few would have been able to answer. Truth be told, many of these people probably have heard the belief system, but maybe attributed it as the plot of the next Ridley Scott movie. According to the Church of Scientology’s belief system, a human’s physical form is just a shell for a thetan, or a spirit that makes up the persons core self. The thetan is the “mind” of the human and all physical components are just aspects that it controls. The human body is thought to be a shell that the thetan moves on from after the physical form expires.