Tad Reeves, of the Scientology Parent blog, answers 14 questions posed by a student about Scientology. Here are his first five answers. Published courtesy of the Scientology Parent website.
A student asked the following questions for a school presentation on the subject of Scientology.
As a preface to my answers to the questions asked, my name is Tad, I’m a father of 3, a second-generation Scientologist, and am a systems engineer for an Internet service provider. I’ve been in and around Scientology nearly my entire life.
1)HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN SCIENTOLOGY AND WHAT GOT YOU STARTED?
I first started taking Scientology courses when I was about 9, and by age 10-11 or so, I did really consider myself a Scientologist – so that’d put it at ~30 years or so that I’ve been involved.
My mother and father became Scientologists a few years before I was born. The bits of Scientology terminology & philosophy thrown around in daily life had my interest, and on my own volition at around age 9 I began taking courses at my closest Church – which was, unfortunately for me, a good 2-hour drive from my house in Maine. At the time, I had seen my parents taking courses at the church, and in many cases, gaining something valuable from it. I naturally asked if I could take a course too, and enrolled onto a course communication course. At the end of that communication course, I honestly felt I had learned something – I had figured out how to communicate better, I figured out that I could get my point across clearly, I understood why people didn’t like being interrupted, and that it was enjoyable for both parties when you’d acknowledge when you understood what they said. I continued my studies after that, picking up things – sometimes tidbits, sometimes much more significant than tidbits, which made it easier to live in the world, and helped explain the things I saw around me. I also gained a firm footing in morality – that there is a moral code that is good to live by, because it makes all human interactions smoother.
If you want to get answers to this same question from a number of other Scientologists, I got around 25 friends to answer the question of how they got involved in Scientology here, which should give you some other perspectives.
2)WHY ARE ALL THE CHURCHES IN SCIENTOLOGY HIERARCHY LEGALLY SEPARATE?
It’s a question that has a complex set of answers. I’ll do my best though.
Each Church of Scientology is its own separate organization with its own board of directors and management, as each church is, itself, responsible for proper delivery of Dianetics & Scientology services to its parishioners. There is a management structure for Scientology churches discussed here on the church website, if you want more details.
The current corporate structure of the church was implemented in 1982 when L. Ron Hubbard donated the trademarks and service marks of Scientology to Religious Technology Center, as part of a massive re-organization of the church. Religious Technology Center (or RTC) was then entrusted with the purity and ethical use of Scientology, and was made a separate entity from the mother church itself (Church of Scientology International) as well as the various churches, missions and groups which would then use Scientology, Dianetics, or other related works of LRH. RTC then specifically grants permission to each individual Church of Scientology to use Scientology materials and services. The whole purpose here is to ensure that the technologies of Dianetics & Scientology are used properly and as originally intended, and are not altered, perverted or otherwise misused.
There is a ton more to the story than that, but hopefully this answers your question.
3)HOW DO YOUR BELIEFS AFFECT YOUR DAILY LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS?
I’d say the easiest way to quantify this, for me, is that my daily life and interpersonal interactions are (by and large) fairly smooth and stress free, and a lot of that I attribute to work I’ve done in Scientology. Communicating with my family, my wife, extended family members & in-laws, friends, etc is all fairly drama-free, with a distinct lack of grudges, long-running upsets, feuds, etc. As I’ve got 3 kids, this lack of stress is important to me as I’ve often found a direct correlation between home stress and illness, as if kids are around a chaotic household they tend to get sick more often. Luckily, all three of my kids have nearly always been in great health, they’re outdoors a lot and active, and are bright & generally doing well.
But a lot of that I’ve seen incrementally improve both in myself and my wife after services we’ve done at our church. I’ve detailed some of those online here when talking about one service called the Survival Rundown, and another here when talking about a communication course we did together.
4)WHERE DO YOU SPEND THE MAJORITY OF YOUR TIME STUDYING SCIENTOLOGY, AT CHURCH OR ELSEWHERE?
I’d say it’s been about 50/50 at home and at my church. There are a number of courses of study which get done exclusively at a church, because they require supervision in practical application which you can’t just do on your own. However, there are also a number of books & lectures which comprise the basics of the Scientology religion, and those I’ve studied at home, most of the time also doing a mail-in extension course sending in lessons to my local church. I’ve done plenty of study just on my own, but I like the lessons as I get to ensure I’ve gotten all of the main points out of the text and didn’t leave things behind.
5)WHEN MONEY IS GIVEN TO ADVANCE IN SCIENTOLOGY WHERE DOES IT GO?
There’s a short answer and a long answer here. The short answer is that when money is donated to the church, it goes to that church itself to support it, keep the doors open, the lights on, and to pay the staff. A percentage of it also goes to church management.
There’s a pretty extensive white paper here on how church finances work, which is the longer answer.