Scientology was founded in the mid-20th century by SF author L. Ron Hubbard and somehow has always been a subject of controversy. We know how people love to go deep into conspiracy theories and this makes no exception. From secret teachings to eerie facilities, here are just some weird and scary things about Scientology.
1. Xenu and the Galactic Confederacy
Scientology claims that an alien overlord named Xenu (pictured above in a South Park episode) exiled billions of beings to Earth 75 million years ago and then subjected them to a horrific “space opera.” Believers are required to undergo expensive auditing sessions to “rid” themselves of the spiritual trauma caused by these events.
2. The E-Meter
Scientologists use a device called an E-Meter during auditing sessions to measure spiritual progress. Critics argue that it’s a pseudoscientific gadget with no proven efficacy but who are we to judge?
3. Sea Org and billion-year contracts
The Sea Organization, Scientology’s elite group, requires members to sign “billion-year contracts” committing themselves to the group across multiple lifetimes. Many join as teenagers, leading to allegations of coercion.
Scientology practices “disconnection,” which involves cutting off all contact with individuals considered “suppressive” or critical of the church. This policy has resulted in families being torn apart, see the Tom Cruise and Suri scandal.
5. Fair game policy
Scientology’s “Fair Game” policy allows for aggressive tactics against perceived enemies of the church. This has included stalking, harassment, and legal battles against former members and critics. Nothing screams religion more than the oppression of non-believers.
6. Financial drain
Scientology is known for its expensive courses and auditing sessions. Many members have reported spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on their spiritual journey within the church.
7. The Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF)
The RPF is a controversial program within Scientology where members deemed to be in “spiritual trouble” are subjected to intensive physical labor and isolation.
8. Secretive nature
Scientology operates on a tiered system of secrecy. Members are only introduced to the church’s most confidential doctrines, teachings, and writings as they progress through the ranks. This means that individuals may spend years and considerable sums of money before being granted access to the “advanced” materials. These secrets are guarded religiously!
9. Litigious nature
Scientology has a reputation for pursuing legal action against critics, journalists, and former members. If you’re not with them, you’re against them.
10. The Hole
A general term used to describe confinement facilities within Scientology’s international base near Hemet, California. Often described as a place where high-ranking members and executives of the church have been subjected to punitive and coercive measures, the exact purpose and function of “The Hole” remain unknown. Former members who have managed to leave the church report that it’s a place where individuals are sent for perceived transgressions or disloyalty to the church.
11. Private investigator tactics
These guys have a history of hiring PIs to hover over and intimidate former members and critics. This includes infiltrating meetings and digging up personal information they can use for blackmail.
12. L. Ron Hubbard’s achievements that never were
Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s claimed military and exploratory achievements, including being a war hero and a nuclear physicist, have been debunked as embellishments or fabrications.
13. Children in Scientology
This is a tough one! In this religion kids are often subjected to auditing and intense indoctrination from a young age. They may also sign billion-year contracts to join the Sea Org.
14. Supernatural abilities
Scientology teachings play around with the idea that through advanced spiritual training, individuals can develop supernatural abilities, more precisely stuff like telekinesis and telepathy.
15. Treatment of critics
Scientology’s “Suppressive Person” label can be applied to anyone critical of the church, including former members or the friends and family bubble. The church uses various methods to identify SP, including interrogations, the use of the E-Meter mentioned above, and reports from other church members.
16. Tax-exempt status
If you label yourself as a religion you get a tax-exempt status and voila, easy money. And considering how many funds are pumped there you know this is in the wrong.
17. Celebrity influence
For some reason Scientoloy attracts celebrities like honey attracts bees. To name just a few, we have Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, and Elisabeth Moss. Their endorsements have drawn both attention and criticism.
18. Operation Snow White
The 1970s scheming “Operation Snow White,” a massive sting meant to infiltrate U.S. government agencies and purge unfavorable records about the church is the stuff of nightmares.
L. Ron Hubbard once spouted about a process called “R2-45,” suggesting that it involved shooting a person in the head. While later on he tried to paint it as a joke, there’s still a lot of theories being thrown around.
20. Anti-psychiatry stance
This is an insane one guys! Apparently the church is against psychiatry and psychiatric medications or in-person treatment aka sessions. Among their many claims: psychiatrists were behind September 11.
Roundup done! The weird and scary things about Scientology that have somehow leaked through the years are being criticized and over-analyzed. We know these facts may sound too outlandish to be considered true but let’s face it, there’s no denying that Scientology will continue to keep us hooked like a bad reality show, with all the intense debate that usually follows.
Recommended reading next: From Ukulele To Typewriters: 23 Weird Celebrity Hidden Talents
Was L. Ron Hubbard a liar?
When you have the founder of your own religion as the subject of intrigue and controversy, you should see one or two red flags. Here’s the scoop:
Military service: Hubbard went on to make quite a few claims about his military service, including that he served as a decorated war hero in World War II. Again, closer investigations and records have shown this was not the case.
Explorer and adventurer: Hubbard claimed to have embarked on extensive journeys and expeditions as an explorer and adventurer. He never failed to talk about his exotic trips but many of his claims have been questioned for their accuracy.
Nuclear physicist: Hubbard always claimed that he held advanced degrees in nuclear physics and engineering. Instead, he did the following: took a course in nuclear physics at George Washington University, scored an F, then quickly dropped out.