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Religion Library: Scientology

Symbolism

Written by: J. Gordon Melton

Hubbard was a naval officer during World War II, and the Sea Organization was founded when the church's headquarters was operating aboard three ships.During this time, the Scientology leadership wore clothing suggestive of that sea-going period, and to this day, Sea Org members occasionally dress in uniforms suggestive of their sea-born origins.Along with the uniforms, church leadership developed a set of emblems that quickly identified the wearer's place and position in the church.

Each of the various departments of the church -- from the top organizations, the Religious Technology Center (RTC) and the Church of Scientology International, to the auxiliary organization such as the International Association of Scientologists or the Citizens Commission for Human Rights -- have a specific symbol.The RTC symbol combines the symbols for Dianetics and Scientology, while that of the Church of Scientology International is the Scientology symbol in a circle with four arms coming out of it.

Among the symbols in common use but adopted by the Church of Scientology for its own purposes is the horizontal "8" -- the popular symbol for infinity.Within Scientology it represents the human urge toward infinity (the eighth dynamic).Within the church, it is usually combined with other symbols.It is combined with the ARC triangle, for example, as the symbol of Division 6 of the church.Division 6 is the distribution division, which in Scientology is assigned the task of making Scientology grow.The Division 6 symbol placed in a circle is used to designate field staff personnel.

Scientology arose in the late 20th century, and like most churches that have developed logos and distinctive symbols, the church has trademarked its distinctive symbols, and those trademarks have become part of the possessions placed in the hands of the RTC, whose duty is to protect the church.As with the copyrights, the various symbols of the church are licensed to the local churches and other Scientology-related organizations, with the understanding that any licenses can quickly be withdrawn should the organization deviate from standard practice.


Study Questions:
     1.    What are Scientology's symbols? Which is most popular, and what does it represent?
     2.    What are the two triangles of Scientology? What do they represent?
     3.    Why is symbolism important to the participants of the Scientology tradition?

 

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