If reports are to be believed, Scientology seems to have been a major part, if not the deal breaker in the breakdown of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes recent relationship demise, leading us to query – just what effect does it have on relationships?
Scientology; what is it? This is a tricky one and it kinda depends on who you’re asking… Mr Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston; all ardent Scientologists would tell you it’s a religion – a religion that equips you with the tools to use during life. Simple as that.
Developed by L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology is a religion that offers a precise path leading to a complete and certain understanding of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to self, family, groups, Mankind, all life forms, the material universe, the spiritual universe and the supreme being. Scientology addresses the spirit—not the body or mind—and believes that Man is far more than a product of his environment, or his genes.
Scientology comprises a body of knowledge which extends from certain fundamental truths. Prime among these are:
- Man is an immortal spiritual being.
- His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime.
- His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.
Scientology further holds Man to be basically good, and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself, his fellows and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe. Scientology is not a dogmatic religion in which one is asked to accept anything on faith alone. On the contrary, one discovers for oneself that the principles of Scientology are true by applying its principles and observing or experiencing the results.
The ultimate goal of Scientology is true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all.
Well that doesn’t sound all that bad does it? Borrowing from eastern religions, such as Buddhism – where achieving a bliss-like nirvana state is the ultimate goal and Hinduism which also focuses on the whole peace, love and being a stand up guy – why don’t these religions achieve the same levels of vitriol Scientology attracts? Except it’s not necessarily as simple as that, a more detailed look at the Scientology movement reveals adherents attempting to navigate an extremely complicated network of ‘levels’ while following some – we’re gonna be polite here… somewhat unorthodox beliefs…
If you decide to meditate, you’re not paying thousands of dollars for the privilege. Nor – if you choose to skip out on a yoga class are you likely to find yourself disconnected and declared an SP – basically excommunicated and deemed to be a suppressive person. The bestowing of the “suppressive person” crown can be given for as minor an offense as daring to publicly speak negatively about Scientology in any way to announcing intentions to leave. The punishment involves not being allowed to fraternize with other Scientologists – including family members.
Despite the organizations insistence that it isn’t dogmatic, adherents are expected to blindly follow these rules; they also consider homosexuals to be “1.1” - pronounced “one one“, meaning that someone is “covertly hostile” – they smile to your face but stab you in the back. Hubbard, the founder, claimed that gay people and psychiatrists were “1.1.”
There’s a minefield of negative press out there from people who would consider it to be less of a religion and more like a cult. A particularly hot topic at the moment, given the recent coverage as a result of the TomKat split – it’s not difficult to find a whole host of people willing to share their, all too often unpleasant experiences of Scientology and its dark side…
What kind of problems this is likely to cause for Tom, Katie and Suri we can only imagine– it is thought that Katie’s unlikely to continue with Scientology and given Tom’s outspoken support for it – it’s likely he’s not planning on becoming an SP any time soon. As this whole situation continues to get weirder and weirder, stick with us – we’ll keep you posted…
Tokii interviewed Powell C who has a degree in religious studies, minor in journalism and plenty to say about Scientology. So does everyone, right? He brings to the proverbial table an academic and unbiased understanding of the religion, from it’s founding and L. Ron Hubbard to the current expansion of the church that we are seeing in Hollywood and our neighborhoods.
In a word, yes. There is no institutional law mandating that a Scientology cannot marry outside the religion. That being said, the church does place a lot of emphasis on secrecy for non-members. This would make it hard for the individuals in the relationship to trust each other, if one was being told secrets and also being told not to share this information with their spouse. While possible, I think there would be a great deal of strain on a relationship between a Scientologist and a non-Scientologist.
Question: If a couple would like to be married but the female is Catholic, must she convert to Scientology?
No. The Church of Scientology does not turn people away based on their faith, as they offer services to people outside of their accepted clears and preclears (terms for members of the church). A minister of Scientology could preside over any wedding and neither the groom nor the bride HAS to be a Scientologist. You just have to pay the minister for his or her services. In Tom and Katie’s case, I would think that the catholic church would be first to deny their marriage because Tom has been divorced twice. Catholics hate that.
Question: Scientology encompasses the practice of one’s true spiritual nature and one’s relationship to family. How is Scientology beneficial for relationships?
Scientology, and all religions really, can have extreme positive effects on a relationship. If both people are on the same page spiritually, than they often display an emotional connection that works to strengthen their commitment to each other. Scientology promotes an idea of self-sufficiency and understanding, but also relates what one learns by doing this into a family or community. In other words, your personal trials and aberrations, once cleared, will work to strengthen your self and so your family and spouse.
A number of difficulties can occur in a relationship due to Scientology’s more eccentric beliefs and practices. One I touched on earlier is the wall of knowledge that goes up between a Scientologist and a non-Scientologist. This wall even exists between two Scientologists because the two of them are not necessarily on the same OT level. Information and doctrinal secrets are passed on to the clears as they move up the ladder and towards perfection, these levels being the OT levels I-VIII. These secrets are believed to be harmful to those not ready for them, and so an interesting dichotomy develops between the “haves” and the “have-nots” of information in a personal relationship. Rationally, a believer would know that their loved one is not being forthcoming about their day because they are trying to protect them, but emotionally, humans have a different response to their loved one keeping secrets. Resentment, anger and distrust are all normal reactions to this sort of division within a marriage, and all of those emotions have an obvious adverse effect on a couple.
Question: If someone is deemed an SP, is his or her partner automatically an SP as well?
No. Each SP must be separately declared by the church itself. They would, however, be labeled as a PTS, or Potential Trouble Source. This means that the person in question is closely tied to an SP and should be monitored.
Question: Are there more females converting their male partners to Scientology or vise versa?
I’d say it’s about even. Anyone who decides that they love a person might choose to make that change if it would help their relationship become more open. At least they could share some secrets.
Question: Scientologists hold their family values to a very high standard. How do you think this impacts partners when they do not agree on the same approaches to religion?
All religions place a certain emphasis on family. After all, family is how a religion is passed on through the generations. The Catholic church has had a ban on contraceptives for millennia and as a result they are one of the largest churches in the world. This is not an accident. Having numerous, healthy offspring guarantees the survival of the church. When members of a family disagree on their approach to religion, dissent is inevitable. Religious discord in the home has claimed a number of families throughout history and I do not think Scientologists will prove to be any different.
Absolutely. L. Ron Hubbard’s career was built off those who were unable to help themselves. That is what he knew. It should come as no surprise that this work carried over into his more humanitarian efforts. Creating a religion isn’t easy, but someone with Hubbard’s knowledge and experience would know how to inspire a mind to take control over itself and better its quality of life. The commercials, the one-liners they shout at you as you pass their table, the slogans; all of these are ways to make you feel as though you need help. The surprise comes when you ask for it, they tell you the answers are within you, and then send you a 2000 dollar bill. Self-help can be beneficial to many different types of people when it truly comes from within, but one should always be wary of a price tag on enlightenment. Personally, I think the type of “self-help” that Scientologists are peddling is detrimental to relationships because it promotes the supremacy of money as the key to knowledge and happiness. This only leads to more walls between lovers.
There may be some positions in Scientology that do not permit the holder to have children, but I haven’t heard or read any reference to them. Children make up the next generation of the faithful, so not allowing children is almost religious suicide. Sickness is an interesting issue in Scientology. Scientologists believe that any physical or mental sickness or ailment is the result of Body Theatans or aberrations attacking the psyche and soul of the sick person. It is up to the individual to help themselves out of this affliction by going to counseling sessions, giving the church money or going to RPF, or the Rehabilitation Project Force. Here, Scientologists attempt to free their bodies from oppressive lost souls, or thetas, by doing physical labor. It is my opinion that when you have sick people doing physical labor, they usually don’t get better.
Question: The birth and upbringing of children is strictly controlled. How do you think this impacts the development of the child and the dynamics of the family if two parents do not agree on the same approach?
Greatly. The church of Scientology knows the value of children to a religion. The earlier you start telling them the beliefs of the church, and so themselves, the more fervently they will believe and defend that belief. A child that is raised by parents who give authority over their child to an institution would be wrought with a few emotions. Guilt, because the child would believe that they were not good enough to be raised by their parents. Anger at the parents for conceding the development of their son or daughter to an institution. Also, they would feel love for the institution that took them in when their own parents left them to the wolves. If one parent disagrees with the direction their child is going than it probably falls to the church to decide what is best, as one or more of the parents have been declared an SP because of their dissatisfaction with the church. It is all quite diabolical, actually. Anyway you spin it, the church wins.