The best known fact about Scientology is that John Travolta
and Tom Cruise are both followers, but few understand what this
Honolulu’s Church of Scientology is one of approximately 1,100
Scientology churches, missions, and groups throughout the world.
It recently relocated from Bethel Street to Fort Street Mall,
right in the middle of HPU’s downtown campus, and it is stirring
curiosity in the students along the way. What is Scientology
really all about?
Founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology evolved from
his study of Dianetics. According to Scientology Minister Wilbur
Chun, Dianetics is defined as “healing of the mind.” Dianetics
involves spiritual healing techniques that help to discharge
unwanted emotions, alleviate injuries, and heal stress-related
According to “The Description of the Scientology Religion”
brochure, Hubbard’s research began with his travels to the Far
East to study the religions, customs, and beliefs of various
cultures. He then went on to study engineering and nuclear physics
in the Western world, both formally and on his own. He combined
his knowledge of these two worlds in his 1950 book Dianetics:
The Science of Mental Health and later in the concept of Scientology.
According to its Web site, Scientology is defined as “the study
of applied religious philosophy” and a scientologist is “one
who knows he has found the way to a better life through Scientology
and who, through Scientology books, tapes, training, and processing,
is actively attaining it.”
A note at the beginning of Hubbard’s book states the basic
principle behind Scientology: “In reading this book, be very
certain you never go past a word you do not fully understand.”
In other words, Scientology is about “knowing how to know.”
Scientology is a religion, and the first churches of Scientology
opened in 1954. It has ministers licensed by the state to perform
services of the more traditional religious nature, such as weddings
Unlike most churches, Scientology does not emphasize any traditional
religious beliefs. Any person of any religion can be a member
of the Church of Scientology. “Scientology doesn’t say what
to believe or what to worship,” said Chun.
Church services are often educational in nature and focus on
spiritual uplifting. Healing techniques are used to help members
find relief from any troubles they may face at work or at home.
“(Scientology) is dealing with the application of knowledge
to increase spiritual awareness,” said Chun. “It offers tools
The Church of Scientology is also a school that offers life
improvement classes “designed to improve one’s conditions in
life.” Classes include: Personal Values and Integrity; How to
Improve Relationships with Others; and Financial Success. Courses
start at $25, which is considered a fixed donation.
The church is completely supported by donations and memberships,
and the IRS recognizes its charitable and educational institutions
as tax-exempt organizations.
The church offers members free personal counseling (called
“auditing”) and introductory video screenings on the purpose
of Scientology. Church personnel administer free personality
tests to help anyone interested determine areas of strength
and weaknesses in life and identify ways to change negative
conditions. The church also sells Hubbard’s books, which, according
to Chun “were designed to use in everyday life.”
Free introductory lectures in Scientology are offered every
Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The Church of Scientology is open Monday
to Friday, from 9 a.m to 10 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to
6 p.m. For more information, visit www.scientology-hawaii.org,
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop in across the Mall
from the computer lab.