Most notably recognized in Los Angeles as an extravagant building that houses A-list celebrities, the Church of Scientology has experienced some great pains and misconceptions painted by the public. In the light of the recent headlines the Church has been making since actress Leah Remini’s statement for leaving the Church, the members of Scientology once again brave the blows of the rumor mill and push forward.
Science or Fiction?
In popular media culture, the Church of Scientology has endured great ridicule, taunts and its fair share of bad press. As a relatively new religion, its progress has been under great scrutiny by people of all different faiths and dogmas. Yet despite it all, the Church of Scientology has remained faithful to its credo and diligently served its membership.
It has brought much needed spiritual enlightenment upon some very distinguished individuals. Pro athletes, world-class actors, global leaders and the common man—each has sought the personal empowerment fostered by the teachings of the Church. Regardless of what others may say of the Church of Scientology, its congregation members have dearly adhered and invested their trust in the truth it has provided.
Though outsiders are quick to shake their fingers and heads, dismissing the Church of Scientology as fictitious, few take the time needed to actually understand the doctrinal make up of the Church.
The Fundamental Truths of Scientology
According to the Church of Scientology website, there are a set of fundamental truths. Of these, three are exceptionally important and basic:
1) Man is an immortal spiritual being.
2) His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime.
3) His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.
The Church strives to actively encourage members to find personal growth and enlightenment through training and courses provided by the Church. The Scientology doctrine stresses the importance of the person’s spirit, not his or her body and mind.
It also does not impose a God upon the members of the Church. Instead, through each member’s own level of awareness and spirituality—which increases with continual participation in the Church—he or she is able to make more certain every spiritual dynamic.
The Church of Scientology refers to the idea of God as a system of “universal survival.” What the Church desires for each of its members is the same: that through guided trainings and auditing, each would raise his or her awareness of spiritual matters and in doing so achieve a level of certainty and complete understanding of infinity, known as the Eighth Dynamic.
The Eighth Dynamic is in reference to the concept of God and the impetus for eternal existence. The ultimate goal for every member of Scientology is spiritual enlightenment and liberation from anything unspiritual and in doing so perceive the universal system by which the world survives.
Scientology in Life Practice
It may be a mystery to many outside of the Church of Scientology: how did the Church get its start? Why is it so popular when many more “traditional” religions that have persisted hundreds of years longer are readily available?
The Church of Scientology differs from traditional churches in that it does not impose the confined idea of God or the one system of beliefs that demands absolute control over the believer’s life. It allows for self-exploration, personal growth and active participation. At the same time, it does require a great amount of commitment and focus which is common to most religions and belief systems. Yet it is the skilled level of focus that has raised so many successful Scientology believers.
Unfortunately for the Church, high-profile agents and stories such as the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes incident last year, or even more recently, Leah Remini’s denouncement of the Church cause unsavory news coverage, putting the Church of Scientology in a negative light.
Yet the agenda of the Church remains undeterred by whatever social perception may be. The affairs of the Church remain in the Church and regardless of its members’ and tenants’ extracurricular decisions, it continues to function as a church.