Is Scientology just a cult?

Followers defend their beliefs Sacramento City College/November 29, 2007

Sunday church service met in a large office, with seven people attending. The chaplain, Gloria Leacox, spoke about pain and loss and gave an example of remembered pain in the form of an arthritic knee, saying, "Arthritis is the result of the body remembering previous traumas to the knee; it withdraws fluid from the joint because it wants to avoid more pain. Locate those past traumas and clear them, and 10 times out of 10, the arthritis disappears."

This was a service at the Church of Scientology, whose religion is touted as the "study of truth and whose teachings will help make a whole and safe spiritual being." This belief isn't limited to just this lifetime, "man is a spiritual being whose existence spans more than one life," according to the teachings.

Scientology's founder Ron L. Hubbard claimed to have discovered a part of the mind which contains recordings of past experiences of loss and pain in the form of mental images. These incidents accumulate in this life as well as previous lifetimes to form the reactive mind, which is the source of all unwanted fears, emotions, pains and psychosomatic illnesses (like arthritis). Auditing, the central religious practice of Scientology, is a spiritual counseling session which helps to uncover unwanted recordings and erase them. This brings a person into a state of spiritual awareness called clear.

Mike Klagenberg, spokesman for the Sacramento church, has been involved in Scientology for 16 years. He states that while Christians get eternal life and forgiveness of sins, Scientology offers "total spiritual freedom." People can be of any faith and still be a part of the Scientology movement because it is compatible with other religions.

According to Klagenberg, "Scientology is not really a belief system; it's a philosophy about life." Klagenberg believes he knows why people are reluctant to accept Scientology.

"There are many who have a vested interest in condemning Scientology said Klagenberg. "Like pharmaceutical drug companies, psychologists and psychiatrists, prisons and mental health facilities, because Scientology is diametrically opposed to psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs."

Both Klagenberg and Leacox, chaplain of the Church of Scientology in Sacramento, said that Scientology has seen them through very tough times. Klagenberg was a single parent of three small kids. He insisted that the teachings helped him to trust others again, and to shift his focus to become more financially secure.

Leacox, a Scientologist for 25 years, said she was heavily into drugs before getting involved with the church. "My life was definitely on the wrong path and going downwards," Leacox said. "I would probably be dead by now if it weren't for Scientology."

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