The Los Angeles Times questions a Scientologist about some of the claims media and critics make about the religion. Here are her answers:
Critics of Scientology bring up unusual topics such as Xenu and thetans and aliens …
You are a thetan. I am a thetan. Think of it as “soul” or “spirit” or “identity.” We have our minds and our bodies, but we are not these things. We don’t have mass or motion or wavelength or a position in time or space. We can perceive, and we can imagine/decide/postulate things. As such, it’s not useful to try to think of the real “you,” in measurable material terms. There is a general view among Scientologists that people’s personal histories predate the very existence of the material universe as such, and that had we not been here already, matter, energy, space and time would not be here. That view naturally subsumes the idea of ancient and future civilizations rising and falling over time, and the potential of intelligent life in more than one place in the universe. We do not otherwise take “aliens,” etc. into account in our daily thinking or Scientology practice. The vast, vast majority of Scientologists have never even heard of such things, except in the context of “how did we arrive at the state of affairs of human society today?”
Ron put forth some early theories as to how intelligent life might have happened to arise on this particular planet, and these theories [take] into account the possibility that you and I existed for a very long time before Earth was habitable and that the presence of water, carbon compounds, and the resulting evolution of life here provided an opportunity for you and I to be alive here rather than somewhere else.
The idea of the existence of timeless, deathless spiritual beings necessarily assumes that we exist independent of the state of affairs on this speck of rock at the edge of the Milky Way. It also implies that it would be rather conceited of man to think himself the only intelligent life in the universe. We think of ourselves (many Scientologists do — if they have experience, recollection or perception they see as supporting the view) as spiritual beings who preexisted this planet, and we may not be alone in the universe. Scary, no?
Do you think Scientology is secretive?
No. The Masons are secretive. The CIA is secretive. Anonymous is secretive. We’re a bunch of folks studying stuff you can access on the shelves of any library in Los Angeles.
Critics say the highest levels of Scientology are only available to those who pay large sums of money to access it. Is that true?
It is true that the very top levels are reserved for people who are ready for them. Access to very advanced principles can be either useless or upsetting to people who can’t digest them. As a person who has done most of them, I can tell you they are as controversial (from the point of view I had going in) as recipes in a cookbook. They are ways to look at, and to do things which leave one with a forever-improved outlook on life and existence in general.
Some people pay handsomely once they are at that level. I didn’t. I exchanged my labors and some little (not a lot of) money as well. Were I not giving something for what I got, there would have been no building to do it in, and nobody to do it. So I’m cool with that. I and my family are persons of very modest means. So were most of the people who were on the upper levels at the same time I was. And yet, there we were. I met John Travolta one day while I was there. Another time, I bumped intoKirstie Alley in an elevator. Sure there were well-off people there, and I suspect they were donating a good deal more than I was — because it was easy for them to do so, and they didn’t mind. I pinched my pennies and did the same stuff they were doing right alongside them. Anyone who really wants to do it can do it.