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Religion Library: Scientology


Written by: J. Gordon Melton

All Scientology churches and facilities also have a minister designated as the Ethics Officer.In the local church, that officer may be approached by members who are working on an ethical issue that is causing any dysfunctionality in their life, especially their progress up the Bridge.In the higher-level church organizations, the Ethics Officer is assigned the task of making sure that unethical behavior does not reduce the efficiency of the church in performing its task.

Those ministers who wish to operate at a more advanced level may attend one of the Saint Hill Organizations.Integral to their curriculum would be the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, which takes about a year to complete and offers a detailed survey of the development of Scientology.Becoming an auditor to people who are engaged in the Operating Thetan (OT) training presupposes that the auditor has already attained an equal level.The auditors at the OT levels are assumed to be among the most competent auditors in the world and have received the most advanced training available within the movement.

Members of the Sea Organization are not necessarily ministers.Many Sea Org members hold administrative or technical posts that do not require ministerial status, however, the majority of Sea Org members, especially those in sensitive policy-making positions, are ordained clergy.At the same time, the Sea Org operates like the sangha in Theravada Buddhism and the religious orders in Catholicism, and its highly dedicated members provide a variety of specialized services-from translation of texts to the preparation of food to the repair and maintenance of church facilities.Following the crisis of 1979, the Sea Org took charge of the church.

Though existing in an ordered community and living with what is effectively a vow of poverty, Sea Org members are allowed to marry but must select a spouse from among other Sea Org members.Should a couple in the Sea Org have a child, they must leave until the child is of age and then may reassume their duties.Sexual relationships outside of marriage may subject individuals to disciplinary action.

Study Questions:
     1.    Who can serve as a minister within the Scientology community?
     2.    What is “I HELP”? Why was it founded?
     3.    Should full-time auditors be considered clergy? Why or why not?
     4.    How does the church utilize traditional religious leadership roles?
     5.    Why is it difficult for Scientology to employ full time auditors, or auditors engaged in the operating Thetan?


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