Scientology: Tom Cruise’s beliefs, religion or cult?

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Scientology was the talk of the town last year when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split. Scientology was put in the limelight when media began reporting that Holmes scientology_027allegedly left her husband because they had been arguing about Suri, their daughter, joining the church. Other famous Scientologists include Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis and John Travolta.

Scientology, a controversial religion that teaches that human beings have forgotten their true nature, was created by Ron Hubbard in 1952. Scientology has beliefs and practices that are based on research and science. Since beginning in the 1950s Scientology has spread to Britain, Ireland, South Africa and Australia. In the sixties it was banned in some parts of Australia for hypnosis and it still remains banned in some parts of the country.

Hubbard developed Scientology after his self-help system Dianetics. Both Dianetics and Scientology use a form of rehabilitation called “auditing.” During auditing, they re-experience painful or traumatic experiences and events as a way to move on from the past. Auditing is only available to members after a specified donation. This was seen as a new form of psychotherapy.

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Scientologists believe that our souls, called “thetans” reincarnate after death and that they have lived on other planets before Earth in a previous lifetime. Scientologists also observe events like weddings, child naming and funerals which are performed by ordained Scientology ministers.

They also believe in two divisions within the mind: the reactive mind and the analytical mind. The reactive mind stores mental images and absorbs pain and emotional trauma. These memories are not available to the analytical mind and are called engrams. The analytical mind is rational and responsible for consciousness. Engrams are considered painful and debilitating. When engrams are accumulated people move away from who they truly are. In order to stop this, auditing is necessary to move towards what is called the “clean state.”

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Scientology also studies personalities. Hubbard believed that about 80 percent of people had social personalities. People with this personality are people who contribute to the welfare of others. He also believed that 20 percent of people were suppressive personalities. Of this 20 percent, only 2.5 percent are considered to have a hopelessly antisocial personality. These people are are truly dangerous people who are evil. Those who go against Scientology are called suppressive people. Katie Holmes was labeled this after her break up with Tom Cruise.

The religions uses the Scientology cross which says “the horizontal bar represents the material universe, and the vertical bar represents the spirit. Thus the spirit is seen to be rising triumphantly, ultimately transcending the turmoil of the physical universe to achieve salvation.”

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In 1953 Hubbard incorporated three churches in Camden, New Jersey, and in 1954 he set up the first church called the Church of Scientology of California. The Church of Scientology claimed in 2005 that they had 8 million followers worldwide with 3.5 million followers in the United States. A survey in 2001 found that there were only 55,000 Scientologists in the United States.

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Scientology gets a lot of criticism and some people even say that it’s not a religion, but a cult. The religion is learned through studying Scientology materials that are separated in advancing levels that become increasingly harder. This process is called the Bridge to Total Freedom and it has two sides: training and processing. Training is the education received about Scientology principles and the practice of auditing while processing is the personal development that results from training. It is necessary for members to make donations to study and move up the Bridge to Total Freedom. The later teachings are not reveals until members have paid thousands of dollars. For this reason, most Scientologists only move up the bridge so far as their income allows. The official memorial page for Lisa McPherson also blames Scientology for her death. McPherson died of pulmonary embolism while under the care of the Flag Service Organization which is a branch of the Church of Scientology

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One thought on “Scientology: Tom Cruise’s beliefs, religion or cult?

  1. Rev. Mary Anderson says:

    Quite a well thought out article, but a few points need correction. Scientology has never practiced hypnosis: in fact it is totally opposed to it. It is legally recognised as a religion by courts around the world, including Australia; and is therefore free to operate without hindrance.

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