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Coughing up facts on fall allergies

by Dava Della, assoc. S & E editor

 

The best known fact about Scientology is that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are both followers, but few understand what this means.

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 illness.

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 and funerals.

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 for living.”

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 cofshawaii@earthlink.net, or drop in across the Mall from the computer lab.

 

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