The Church of Scien­tol­ogy

Is the mys­te­ri­ous sect open to LGBT's?

GA Voice - - Front Page - By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS

The Church of Scien­tol­ogy has opened up a 45,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity in a highly pop­u­lated area of metro At­lanta, mak­ing for the Church’s largest foot­print in the state of Ge­or­gia since the re­li­gion’s found­ing in 1954.

The At­lanta Ideal Church of Scien­tol­ogy is five times the size of their pre­vi­ous fa­cil­ity in Do­rav­ille and strikes an im­pos­ing fig­ure on the busy cor­ner of Roswell Road and Glen­ridge Drive in Sandy Springs.

“Today hon­ors a tale of Ideal Org cre­ation that epit­o­mizes Ideal Org spirit,” said David Mis­cav­ige, world­wide leader of the Church of Scien­tol­ogy, at the April 2 rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony. “It’s all the more in­spir­ing for the fact yours is a city of en­dur­ing in­spi­ra­tion, a city of grace and magic, a city where even oaks and mag­no­lias pos­sess souls; and a city of re­mem­brance that also fore­tells of the fu­ture.”

But the Church has landed in the head­lines in re­cent years, with some ques­tion­ing its prac­tices and in par­tic­u­lar the views of founder L. Ron Hub­bard, who among other things called ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity an “ill­ness” and a “sex­ual per­ver­sion.”

Dia­net­ics and be­com­ing a ‘Clear’

To un­der­stand the Church of Scien­tol­ogy, one has to un­der­stand Hub­bard, whose teach­ings are the ba­sis of ev­ery­thing the Church’s mem­bers do on a daily ba­sis. Hub­bard was a science-fic­tion and fan­tasy au­thor be­fore de­vel­op­ing a sys­tem called Dia­net­ics in the 1950s.

The ba­sis of Dia­net­ics is that peo­ple have an an­a­lyt­i­cal mind—the con­scious mind— and a re­ac­tive mind, which keeps a record of all of the pain, neg­a­tiv­ity and trauma one has en­dured in their life. Hub­bard claimed to have de­vel­oped tech­niques that will “erase” the con­tents of the re­ac­tive mind, i.e. rid some­one of the pain and neg­a­tive thoughts hold­ing them back. If some­one man­ages to erase the con­tents of the re­ac­tive mind, they are con­sid­ered a “Clear.” Be­com­ing a Clear is the goal of all Scien­tol­o­gists.

Scien­tol­o­gists work to erase the con­tents of the re­ac­tive mind by prac­tic­ing some­thing called “au­dit­ing,” in which a Church-des­ig­nated au­di­tor acts in what’s sim­i­lar to the role of a ther­a­pist to an­other in­di­vid­ual, known as a “pre­clear.” The pre­clear uses an in­ven­tion of Hub­bard’s called the Hub­bard Elec­tropsy­chome­ter, or “e-me­ter,” which Scien­tol­o­gists be­lieve mea­sures the changes in one’s re­ac­tive mind.

The e-me­ters and space de­voted to au­dit- ing take up a large por­tion of the Church’s new At­lanta fa­cil­ity, where Hub­bard looms around ev­ery cor­ner, be it in the large por­trait or time­line of his life in the lobby, the bust of his like­ness in the chapel, his more no­table quotes posted on nu­mer­ous walls, or the of­fice the Church in­cluded for him as a trib­ute, com­plete with desk and name­plate.

But it’s Hub­bard’s cen­tral role in the Church’s teach­ings, and Church lead­ers’ sub­se­quent prac­tices in the 30 years since his pass­ing, that have also led to much of the crit­i­cism. Most no­tably, there was last year’s Emmy-award win­ning doc­u­men­tary “Go­ing Clear,” which has been de­nounced by the Church.

But Hub­bard’s teach­ings re­main, in­clud­ing this pas­sage from his “Dia­net­ics: The Modern Science of Men­tal Health,” which is cred­ited with launch­ing the re­li­gion: “The sex­ual per­vert (and by this term Dia­net­ics, to be brief, in­cludes any and all forms of de­vi­a­tion in Dy­namic II [i.e. sex­u­al­ity] such as ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, les­bian­ism, sex­ual sadism, etc., and all down the cat­a­log of El­lis and Krafft-Ebing) is ac­tu­ally quite ill phys­i­cally... he is very far from cul­pa­ble for his con­di­tion, but he is also far from nor­mal and ex­tremely dan­ger­ous to so­ci­ety.”

He re­peated th­ese views in sub­se­quent books through­out the rest of his life, and those un­al­tered books re­main the foun­da­tion of the Church’s cur­rent teach­ings and are avail­able at their new At­lanta fa­cil­ity.

Church down­plays anti-LGBT teach­ings

The modern Church has dis­puted claims of be­ing anti-LGBT, and when asked about their stance on LGBT peo­ple, the At­lanta Church’s com­mu­nity af­fairs di­rec­tor Deb­o­rah MacKay tells Ge­or­gia Voice, “We don’t get in­volved in any po­lit­i­cal agenda of any kind or any dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind. What we’re look­ing for is to im­prove the spir­i­tual well be­ing of a per­son. We don’t de­fine for you what that is, and we have many mem­bers who are of all dif­fer­ent per­sua­sions in their moral and po­lit­i­cal be­liefs so we of­fer to you what you be­lieve needs to be han­dled about you.”

MacKay did say that if some­one came in that felt their same-sex at­trac­tion was “con­tribut­ing to their un­hap­pi­ness and spir­i­tual fail­ing,” then the Church would help them “ad­dress” that, but that they don’t force peo­ple to try and change their sex­u­al­ity. “The goal is a per­son who is not haunted by life’s darker ex­pe­ri­ences and who can be causative, cre­ative and pro­duc­tive in life,” MacKay says.

MacKay also says they don’t have a po­si­tion on same-sex mar­riage and when pressed on whether they would al­low same-sex mar­riages to be per­formed at the church, she says, “If it was from some­one from the com­mu­nity, for sure. They could come and use our chapel. It’s open to the com­mu­nity al­ways for any­thing.”

“The sex­ual per­vert is ac­tu­ally quite ill phys­i­cally...he is very far from cul­pa­ble for his con­di­tion, but he is also far from nor­mal and ex­tremely dan­ger­ous to so­ci­ety.” — The late L. Ron Hub­bard, founder of the Church of Scien­tol­ogy, from the book that’s cred­ited with launch­ing the move­ment

The At­lanta Ideal Church of Scien­tol­ogy’s 45,000-square-foot fa­cil­ity fa­cil­ity opened on April 2. (Photo by Pa­trick Saun­ders)

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