What is Scientology?

To me, Scientology, real Scientology, is just three things:

1. One person sitting across from another person and helping him.
2. A classroom where people are learning how to do 1.
3. A set of technologies and techniques and theories that are used in 1.

That to me is it. To me. I know that the name “Scientology” is also applied to the GO, the SO, Miscavige, forced abortion, the Hole, crazy management structures, crazy “justice” structures, rote adherence to words on paper, enforcement of rote adherence to words on paper, all ex-members of the SO, GO, the church, and Charles Manson. But, no. To me, Scientology is just these three things.

To me, number 3 is a subset of all that Hubbard wrote. And also, to me, number 3 contains things that Hubbard did not write. But at the end of the day, Scientology really is people helping people. If something happens inside the walls of an org that is NOT people helping people, then it is not Scientology to me. This, frankly, is the standard Scientologists (and Hubbard himself, for that matter) should have been applying all along.

When I was on staff at Flag in the mid-’70s, I was already a Class IV auditor, and has already helped people and had been helped through auditing. Then I joined staff, and saw the shenanigans that was going on in the name of Scientology at Flag – CMO girls lording it over adults, people yelling at people, stupid solutions to real problems. At that time I looked at this and said “that’s not Scientology.” It wasn’t. It was a bunch of people running around in a Scientology building who were not actually doing Scientology or applying Scientology principles.

Over the years of my active involvement, there were always pockets of people doing Scientology, and pockets of people who were doing something else. They were mixed up in the same buildings. When all the uncertainty was happening in the early ‘80s, I was on the Briefing Course at ASHO Foundation, and my measuring stick was whether or not things were OK technically on the BC. And things were OK when I was there on the BC, even though it was sometimes surrounded by some crazy things. 

I was vocal, but not disruptive, in voicing my concerns about idiocy like the Finance Police, 5% per months increases, SO nazism. I did see my share of MAA/Ethics Officers because of it. 

My thinking at the time was that craziness does happen – is almost bound to happen, but I felt the craziness would subside as more people learned their own technology, their own religion. I viewed these disruptions as growing pains of a new religion, a new group. I was hopeful that the tech would win out in the end, and that eventually things would mature into a real group doing the right thing and focussing on helping people. I figured we would follow an arc like the Mormon Church, for example. I was wrong.

But regardless of what happened organizationally, Scientology still is, to me, the three things I listed above, and ultimately distilling down into one thing: Scientology is people helping people. 

To all the people who have left the church and are trying to sort out their experience with Scientology, and trying to figure out what is and what is not valuable about the technology and writings, I suggest using this one yardstick: Does what I am looking at truly help people? At the end of the day, nothing else matters.


4 thoughts on “What is Scientology?

  1. Chris Thompson

    “At that time I looked at this and said “that’s not Scientology.””

    My opinion is those shenanigans weren’t you but that sure was Scientology. Well meaning people take tools like Scientology and use the good parts to help people and seeing people being helped think they owe it to an ideology. But I think you are just a good guy trying to do good things for people with a look to a better future. You are probably a quick study and pay attention. People like YOU are what is good about Scientology and not Scientology per say.


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