The E-meter is an electronic device for displaying the electrodermal activity (EDA) of a human being. The device is used for auditing in Scientology[1] and divergent groups.[2][3] The efficacy and legitimacy of Scientology's use of the E-meter has been subject to extensive debate and litigation[4][5][6] and in accordance with a federal court order, the Church of Scientology now publishes disclaimers in its books and publications declaring that the E-meter "by itself does nothing" and that it is used specifically for spiritual purposes.[7]

Such devices have been used as a research tool in many human studies, and as one of several components of the Leonarde Keeler's polygraph (lie detector) system, which has been widely criticized as ineffective or pseudoscientific by legal experts and psychologists.[8][9]

Mark VIII E-Meter
The Scientology Mark VIII Ultra E-meter lying in its carry case. The device's protective cover is shown standing at the back.


Illustration provided by Volney Mathison in the original 1951 patent application for the E-meter, registered as U.S. Patent 2,684,670.

Electrodermal activity (EDA) refers to the changing electrical charges observed on the surface of the skin. EDA meters were first developed in 1889 in Russia, and psychotherapists began using them as tools for therapy in the 1900s.[10][11][12][13][14]

Volney Mathison (chiropractor, radio engineer, psychologist, and hypnotist) built an EDA meter based on a Wheatstone bridge,[15] a vacuum tube amplifier, and a large moving-coil meter that projected an image of the needle on the wall. He patented his device in 1954 as an electropsychometer or E-meter,[16] and it came to be known as the "Mathison Electropsychometer".[17] In Mathison's words, the E-meter "has a needle that swings back and forth across a scale when a patient holds on to two electrical contacts".[16] Mathison recorded in his book, Electropsychometry, that the idea of the E-meter came to him in 1950 while listening to a lecture by L. Ron Hubbard:[18]p. 64

In 1950 ... I next attended a series of lectures being given by a very controversial figure, who several times emphasized that perhaps the major problem of psychotherapy was the difficulty of maintaining the communication of accurate or valid data from the patient to the therapist.[19] ... it appeared to me that the psychogalvanometer showed most promise.[20]

L. Ron Hubbard told of that encounter in a 1952 recorded lecture:

This machine, the electropsychometer, has been acting as a pilot since about the first of January 1952. Very early I wanted a pilot; I had to have some method of metering preclears which was not dependent at all upon opinion or judgment. And I went out and looked at the existing lie detector equipment and I could not find anything which would do a job of work. Now, Volney Mathison out on the Coast heard a talk out there one day, and I mentioned this fact. ... I had one of the fanciest electroencephalographs made and it didn’t do anything very much, police detectors didn’t do anything very much, and Mathison went to work and he floated a current within a current. This machine is relatively simple, but it's a current floating inside another current .. And I am, by the way, very much indebted to Mathison just on this basis of all of a sudden having a pilot.[21]

Mathison began working with Hubbard in 1951[22] and that year filed application for his first E-meter patent, U.S. Patent 2,684,670. After the partnership broke up in 1954, Mathison continued improving his E-meters with additional patents (U.S. Patent 2,736,313, U.S. Patent 2,810,383), marketing them through his own company and publications, retaining many of the concepts and terms from his time with Hubbard.[23]

In a separate line of development, EDA monitors were incorporated in polygraph machines by Leonarde Keeler. Rigorous testing of the polygraph has yielded mixed results (see Polygraph main page), and some critics classify polygraph operation as a pseudoscience.


Scientology e meter blue
Mark Super VII Quantum E-meter, the previous standard model
Scientology - The E-Meter
The Mark VI E-meter

The E-meter was adopted for use in Dianetics and Scientology when Mathison collaborated with L. Ron Hubbard in 1951.[22] Some sources say the E-meter was "developed by Volney Mathison following Hubbard's designs",[24] or that Hubbard invented it.[25] Hubbard falsely claimed to be the inventor of the E-meter, a claim which is in keeping with the Scientology stance that Hubbard is the "source", or "the only originator of all Dianetics and Scientology material".[26]

The E-meter was not part of the early days of Dianetics and Scientology. Auditing was composed of conversation and not led by a mechanical device. Hubbard introduced an E-meter prototype during the 1952 Philadelphia Doctorate Course but did not introduce his transistorized version after several years later. The E-meter became "the principal material artifact" of Dianetics and Scientology from the 1960s onward.[27]

In the book, L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?, Bent Corydon wrote:

In late 1954 the use of the E-meter was discontinued by Hubbard. Wrote Hubbard: "Yesterday, we used an instrument called an E-Meter to register whether or not the process was still getting results so that the auditor would know how long to continue it. While the E-Meter is an interesting investigation instrument and has played its part in research, it is not today used by the auditor ... As we long ago suspected, the intervention of a mechanical gadget between the auditor and the preclear had a tendency to depersonalize the session ..."[28]

Though it seemed for a while that Scientology's more advanced techniques would serve without an E-meter, a few months later in May 1955, Hubbard wrote:

And here come E-Meters back into the picture. The HASI is, at this moment, building a new and better E-Meter than has ever been built before, under the trademarked name of Physio-galvanometer, or O-Meter. It has very little in common with the old type E-Meter. Nevertheless, an old type E-Meter can be utilized.[29]

The Scientology meter was smaller, based on transistors rather than vacuum tubes, and powered by a low-voltage rechargeable battery rather than line voltage.

From then on, the E-meter was a required tool for Scientology ministers. The "Hubbard Mark II" E-meter was christened in 1960 and the Hubbard Mark III shortly after.[30] On December 6, 1966, Hubbard won a patent on the Mark V version under the name "Hubbard Electropsychometer". Corydon wrote that the Hubbard E-meter was actually developed by Scientologists Don Breeding and Joe Wallis,[28] though the patent (U.S. Patent 3,290,589) does not list other developers.

Corydon's account was said to be based on the memoirs of Hubbard's son, Ronald DeWolf, but in 1987, DeWolf sued the publisher to prevent publication and swore an affidavit repudiating everything in the book.[31]

The Scientology E-meter has been redesigned and re-patented several times since its first introduction to Dianetics (e.g.: U.S. Patent 4,459,995, U.S. Patent 4,578,635, U.S. Patent 4,702,259).

In 1969, Scientology was accepted as a religion by the Court of Appeal and declared that the E-meter was useful in "bona fide religious counseling". District Court Judge Gesell, while denying medical validity to the device, returned the e-meter to the Church. All e-meters from this point forward had to be inscribed with a disclaimer that it was not for medical or scientific diagnoses, treatment or prevention of any disease. The church reformulated the disclaimer into: "The Hubbard electrometer is a religious artifact. By itself, this meter does nothing. It is for religious use by students and Ministers of the church in Confessionals and pastoral counseling only."[32]

Modern applications

Scientology Free Stress Test
A Scientologist administers a stress test using an e-meter.

EDA meters are used in both therapist-patient[33] and bio-feedback settings.[34][35] EDA is one of the factors recorded by polygraphs, and EDA meters are often used in human studies to gauge psychological responses.[36][37][38] EDA monitoring is on the increase in clinical applications.[39] Hugo D. Critchley, Chair in Psychiatry at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School states, "EDA is a sensitive psychophysiological index of changes in autonomic sympathetic arousal that are integrated with emotional and cognitive states."[40]


E-meters are used in Scientology and Dianetics by Scientology ministers known as "auditors". Scientology materials traditionally refer to the subject as the "preclear", although auditors continue to use the meter on subjects who are well beyond the "clear" level. The auditor gives the preclear a series of commands or questions while the preclear holds a pair of cylindrical electrodes ("cans") connected to the meter, and the auditor notes both the verbal response and the activity of the meter. Auditor training includes familiarization with a number of characteristic needle movements, each with a specific significance.[41] Religion scholar Dorthe Refslund Christensen describes the e-meter as "a technical device that could help the auditor locate engrams and areas of change when auditing a preclear".[42]

Some critics of Dianetics and Scientology assert that the Scientology concepts associated with the E-meter and its use are regarded by the scientific and medical communities as pseudoscience, and that the E-meter has never been subjected to clinical trials as a therapeutic tool.[43] Nevertheless, by 1972, more than 1500 articles on electrodermal activity (EDA) had been published in professional publications, and today EDA is regarded as a popular method for investigating human psychophysiological phenomena.[44]

Scientologists claim that in the hands of a trained operator, the meter can indicate whether a person has been relieved from the spiritual impediment of past experiences.[45] In accordance with a 1974 federal court order, the Church of Scientology asserts that the E-meter is intended for use only in church-sanctioned auditing sessions; it is not a curative or medical device.[46] The E-meters used by the Church were previously manufactured by Scientologists at their Gold Base facility,[47] but now are manufactured in Hong Kong and Taiwan.[47]

According to Hubbard, the E-meter is used by the operator for three vital functions:

  1. To determine what process to run and what to run it on.[48]
  2. To observe how well the process is running.[49]
  3. To know when the process should be stopped.[50]

The Church claims that the E-meter can be used to assess the emotion charge of single words, whole sentences, and questions, as well as indicating the general state of the subject when the operator is not speaking.[41] Few users of the E-meter claim that it does anything to the subject. To most, it does no more than suggest to the operator a change of mental, emotional, or parasympathetic nervous state or activity.[51][52]

New religious movement scholar Douglas Cowan writes that Scientologists cannot progress along the Bridge to Total Freedom without an E-meter, and that Hubbard even told Scientologists to buy two E-meters, in the event that one of them fails to operate.[27] According to anthropologist Roy Rappaport, the E-meter is a ritual object, an object that "stand[s] indexically for something intangible".[53]

Functional description

One of E-meter's primary components is a Wheatstone bridge, an electrical circuit configuration invented in 1833[54] that enables the detection of very small differences between two electrical impedances (in this case, resistance). The E-meter is constructed so that one resistance is the subject's body and the other is a rheostat controlled by the operator. A small voltage from the battery is applied to electrodes held in the subjects hands. As the electrical properties (electrodermal activity) of the subject's body changes during the counseling,[55][56][57] the resulting changes in the small electric current are displayed in needle movements on a large analog panel meter. The dial face is without numbers because the absolute resistance in ohms is relatively unimportant, while the operator watches primarily for characteristic needle motions.[58][59][60] The voltage applied to the electrodes is less than 1.5V, and the electric current through the subject's body is less than a half a milliampere.[61][62]

In the Scientology E-meter, the large control, known as the "tone arm", adjusts the meter bias, while a smaller one controls the gain. The operator manipulates the tone arm to keep the needle near the center of the dial so its motion is easily observed.[63] A simple E-meter powered by direct current, such as that used by the Scientologists and the like, displays several kinds of electrodermal activity (EDA) on the one dial without distinction, including changes in conductance, resistance, and bioelectric potential. Researchers in psychophysiology are also exploring admittance and impedance aspects of EDA that can be observed only with alternating current.[64]

The E-Meter, measuring variations in electrodermal activity (which can be highly responsive to emotion[40]), functions on one of the same physiological data sources as the polygraph or lie detector. According to Scientology doctrine, the resistance corresponds to the "mental mass and energy" of the subject's mind, which are claimed to change when the subject thinks of particular mental images (engrams).[65] One account tells about L. Ron Hubbard using the E-meter to determine whether or not fruits can experience pain, as in his 1968 assertion that tomatoes "scream when sliced".[66][67]

The traditional theory of EDA holds that skin resistance varies with the state of sweat glands in the skin. Sweating is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system,[68] Because sweat contains dielectrics (salt, etc.), conductivity is increased when the sweat glands are activated. But some advocates argue that the meter responds more quickly than would be possible by the exudation and drying of sweat.[69][70][71] They propose an additional mechanism termed the "Tarchanoff Response" through which the cerebral cortex of the brain affects the current directly.[72] This phenomenon is not completely understood, and further research needs to be performed.[73][44]


United States

The medical establishment had been watching Hubbard's enterprises since 1951 when the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners prosecuted the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation (Elizabeth, New Jersey) for practicing medicine without a license.[74] In 1958, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized and destroyed 21,000 Dianazene tablets from Hubbard's Distribution Center, Inc., charging that they were falsely labeled as a treatment for radiation sickness.[75][76][77]

On January 4, 1963, in service of an FDA complaint, more than 100 US marshals and deputized longshoremen with drawn guns[78] raided the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. and confiscated more than three tons of property[18]p. 135 including 5,000 books, 2,900 booklets, and several hundred E-meters.[4]:1151[79] The FDA accused the Church of making false medical claims that the E-meters could treat physical and mental illnesses. The FDA also charged that the meters did not bear adequate directions for treating the conditions for which they were recommended.[80][81]

The Church claimed that they had not written any publication that the E-meter could or would heal anything,[18]p. 136 and sued to get the property back. Years of litigation ensued. In the first trial beginning on April 3, 1967, the jury found that the Church misrepresented the E-meter and the judge ordered the confiscated materials destroyed.[18][82] But in 1969, the US Court of Appeals reversed the verdict; the Church, it said, had made substantial showing that Scientology is a religion and the government had done nothing to rebut the claim.[82] The US Court of Appeals wrote:

[The Founding Church has] made no attempt to contradict the expert testimony introduced by the Government. They have conceded that the E-meter is of no use in the diagnosis or treatment of disease as such, and have argued that it was never put forward as having such use. Auditing or processing, in their view, treats the spirit of man, not his body, though through the healing of the spirit the body can be affected. They have culled from their literature numerous statements disclaiming any intent to treat disease and recommending that Scientology practitioners send those under their care to doctors when organic defects may be found. They have introduced through testimony a document which they assert all those who undergo auditing or processing must sign which states that Scientology is "a spiritual and religious guide intended to make persons more aware of themselves as spiritual beings, and not treating or diagnosing human ailments of body or mind, and not engaged in the teaching of medical arts or sciences * * *."
Finally, with respect to their claim to be a religion and hence within the protection of the First Amendment, they have shown that the Founding Church of Scientology is incorporated as a church in the District of Columbia, and that its ministers are qualified to perform marriages and burials. They have introduced their Creed into evidence. The Government has made no claim that the Founding Church is not a bona fide religion, that auditing is not part of the exercise of that religion, or that the theory of auditing is not a doctrine of that religion.[4]

Having found that Scientology was a religion, the Court wrote that the government was forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution to rule on the truth or falsity of the Church's doctrines and interfere with its practices, provided the claims are not manifestly insincere and the practices are reasonably harmless.[4] The Court ordered a new trial with the mandate that the trial court could not forbid auditing, use of the E-meter, or purveyance of the literature within a religious context.[83][84] The FDA appealed the decision, but in 1969, the US Supreme Court declined to review the case, commenting only that "Scientology meets the prima facie test of religion".[85] In his 1973 judgment, District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell ruled that:

Hubbard and his fellow Scientologists developed the notion of using an E-Meter to aid auditing. Substantial fees were charged for the meter and for auditing sessions using the meter. They repeatedly and explicitly represented that such auditing effectuated cures of many physical and mental illnesses. An individual processed with the aid of the E-Meter was said to reach the intended goal of 'clear' and was led to believe that there was reliable scientific proof that once cleared many, indeed most, illnesses would successfully be cured. Auditing was guaranteed to be successful. All this was and is false.[86]

Unable to do more under the mandate from the Court of Appeals, Judge Gesell ordered all the property to be returned to the Church, and thereafter, the E-meter may be used only in "bona fide religious counseling". All meters and referring literature must include a label disclaiming any medical benefits:

The E-Meter is not medically or scientifically useful for the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease. It is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone.[5]

The church adopted a modified version of that statement, which it still invokes in connection with the E-meter. The current statement reads:

The Hubbard Electrometer is a religious artifact. By itself, this meter does nothing. It is for religious use by students and Ministers of the church in Confessionals and pastoral counseling only.[87]

Judge Gesell also ordered the Church to pay all the government's legal fees and warehousing costs for the confiscated property for the nine years of litigation. He also required the church to pay the salaries and travel expenses of FDA agents who might, from time to time, inspect for compliance with the court's order.[18]p. 143 The raid was ruled illegal, but the government retained copies of the documents.[78]


In 1979 in Sweden, a court forbade calling the E-meter "an invaluable aid to measuring man's mental state and changes in it" in an advertisement. The prohibition was upheld by the European Commission of Human Rights in case X. and Church of Scientology v. Sweden.

In October 2009, a three-judge panel at the Correctional Court in Paris, France convicted the church and six of its members of organized fraud.[88] The Court's decision followed a three-week trial, where two plaintiffs alleged they were defrauded by the organization. One plaintiff's complaint involved the use of an E-Meter by Scientologists with medical implications. This plaintiff claimed that, after being audited with the device, she was encouraged to pay tens of thousands of euros for vitamins, books, and courses to improve her condition. She argued that amounted to fraud. The Court agreed, and the ruling was upheld on appeal in 2013.[89] See Scientology in France § Conviction for fraud.


In 1964, the government of Victoria, Australia held a Board of Inquiry into Scientology which returned its findings in a document colloquially known as the Anderson Report. Psychiatrist Ian Holland Martin, honorary federal secretary of the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, gave evidence that the E-Meter "used for Scientology" was a "psycho-galvano-meter" and was "dangerous in unqualified hands".[6] He said that if the E-meter "was suggested to possess mysterious powers" to someone who did not understand that it had "been thoroughly discredited as a lie detector" then "that person would be suggestible to ideas foisted on him by the operator".[6] The final report of the inquiry stated that the E-meter enabled Scientology

to assume, intensify and retain control over the minds and wills of preclears. Fears of its abilities keep them in constant subjection. Its use can be so manipulated by cunningly phrased questions that almost any desired result can be obtained, and it is used unscrupulously to dominate students and staff alike. All the evil features of scientology are intensified where the E-meter is involved. When used in conjunction with hypnotic techniques, its evil impact is greatly increased. This simple electrical device is not, of course, the sole basis for the condemnation of scientology, but without the E-meter scientology would be partly disarmed.[90]

In 1965, Victoria banned the use of the E-meter without a license, with Western Australia and South Australia following suit. In 1969, the High Court of Western Australia ruled the ban illegal. South Australia repealed its law in 1973, and Victoria repealed it in 1982. In 1983, the High Court of Australia ruled that Scientology was a religion, and as such had the same rights and protections.[91]

Scientology beliefs and theories

Within the Church of Scientology, the early psychoanalysts are credited with first use of the E-meter.

Bob Thomas, senior executive of the Church of Scientology in the United States, described the E-meter ... "Some very early work on this was done by Jung, who used a list of words. I think he combined it with the psycho-galvanometer. By this word association, he was attempting to increase the effectiveness of the free association techniques, which he was not sure about."[18]p. 62-64

L. Ron Hubbard credited Mathison with recreating the E-meter and bringing the first model to Hubbard for use in Dianetics.[92] Hubbard set out his theory of how the E-meter works in his book Understanding the E-Meter:

For the meter to be read, the tiny flow of electrical energy through the preclear (person) has to remain steady. When this tiny flow is changed the needle of the E-Meter moves. This will happen if the preclear pulls in or releases mental mass. This mental mass (condensed energy), acts as an additional resistance or lack of resistance to the flow of electrical energy from the E-Meter.

Hubbard claimed that this "mental mass" has the same physical characteristics, including weight, as mass as commonly understood by lay persons:

In Scientology it has been discovered that mental energy is simply a finer, higher level of physical energy. The test of this is conclusive in that a thetan "mocking up" (creating) mental image pictures and thrusting them into the body can increase the body mass and by casting them away again can decrease the body mass. This test has actually been made and an increase of as much as thirty pounds, actually measured on scales, has been added to, and subtracted from, a body by creating "mental energy". Energy is energy. Matter is condensed energy.

This text in Understanding the E-Meter is accompanied by three drawings. The first shows a man standing on a weighing scale, which reflects a weight of "150" (the units are not given). The next shows the man on the same scale, weighed down under a burden of "Mental Image Pictures", and the scale indicates a weight of "180". The last picture shows the man standing upright on the scale, now unburdened by "Mental Image Pictures" and with a smile on his face, while the scale again indicates a weight of "148".

Bob Thomas, senior executive of the church in the early 1970s, gave a prosaic description.

The immediate goal of the E-meter is to enhance communication. In other words, just to take a parallel: if an analyst were allowing his patient to free-associate, and the patient were connected in some way with a galvanometer which showed the analyst what things the patient mentioned were emotionally charged and what things were not emotionally charged, a lot of time would be saved. So it's simply an assist for the practitioner to direct the individual to areas which he himself may not realize are troubled or charged with emotion or are repressed; and to better direct his attention into those areas ...

The E-meter is a simple psycho-galvanometer. It's got some increased sensitivity built into it and the myological reactions that you sometimes get in the galvanometer have been damped out by the circuitry, so that the mental reactions, the reactions of the spirit, on the body are emphasized and can be read more clearly. But that's simply the design of the circuitry; it doesn't basically affect the kind of device. It registers what is called, commonly, the psychogalvanomic reflex, which is a reflex that is a poorly understood mechanism of the psyche. The body resistance seems to vary when the individual thinks of a painful or pain-associated or traumatic-associated concept, or word or idea. ... Some very early work was done on this by Jung ...[18]p. 62-64

See also


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  51. ^ Lebron, Robyn (13 Jan 2012). Searching for Spiritual Unity... Can There Be Common Ground?. CrossBooks. p. 549. ISBN 9781462719525. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
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  71. ^ Shepherd, Peter (18 July 2001). "The GSR Meter Course" (PDF). Tools for Transformation. Trans4Mind Ltd. p. 20. Retrieved 9 April 2015. The GSR Meter helps the Practitioner to discover these key items, since when one's attention is drawn to an item, the charge on the item will cause an increase in brain arousal, which is visible on the GSR Meter as a sudden fall in body resistance, i.e. an instantaneous fall of the needle.
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External links

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant is a satirical musical about Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, written by Kyle Jarrow from a concept by Alex Timbers, the show's original director. Jarrow based the story of the one-act, one-hour musical on Hubbard's writings and Church of Scientology literature. The musical follows the life of Hubbard as he develops Dianetics and then Scientology. Though the musical pokes fun at Hubbard's science fiction writing and personal beliefs, it has been called a "deadpan presentation" of his life story. Topics explored in the piece include Dianetics, the E-meter, Thetans, and the story of Xenu. The show was originally presented in 2003 in New York City by Les Freres Corbusier, an experimental theater troupe, enjoying sold-out Off-Off-Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Later productions have included Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Early in the production of the musical, the president of the Church of Scientology in New York sent a letter to the producer pointing out the Church's history of litigation. This led Timbers and Jarrow to insert the word "Unauthorized" into the title, upon the advice of legal counsel. During the Los Angeles production, representatives of the Church of Scientology visited the production staff in the midst of rehearsals and handed out documentation of successful litigation against critics of Scientology. Parents of some of the Los Angeles cast members also received phone calls from Scientologists in the entertainment industry, asking them not to allow their children to perform in the musical.

A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant has been well received. The 2003 New York production received an Obie Award, and director Alex Timbers received a Garland Award for the 2004 Los Angeles production. The musical also received positive reviews in the press. The New York Times characterized it as a "cult-hit", and The Village Voice, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian all gave it favorable reviews. Variety and The Boston Globe had kind words for the updated 2006 edition. A 2004 cast recording released by Sh-K-Boom Records received four out of five stars from Allmusic and plaudits from The Los Angeles Daily News.

Auditing (Scientology)

In the Church of Scientology, auditing is a process wherein the auditor takes an individual, known as a "preclear", through times in their life and gets rid of any hold negative situations have on them. Auditing began as an integral part of the Dianetics movement and has since, with the E-meter, become a core practice in Scientology. Auditing is defined by the Church as "the application of Dianetics or Scientology processes and procedures to someone by a trained auditor. One formal definition of auditing is the action of asking a person a question (which he can understand and answer), getting an answer to that question and acknowledging him or her for that answer." Auditing is considered "a technical measure," that according to the Church, "lifts the burdened individual, the 'preclear,' from a level of spiritual distress to a level of insight and inner self-realization." The process is meant to bring the individual to clear status.

According to scholar Eric Roux, auditing is one of the "core practices" of Scientology. The primary aim of auditing in Scientology doctrine is to rediscover an individual's natural abilities, while understanding that one is a spiritual being.

Some auditing actions use commands, for example "Recall a time you knew you understood someone," and some auditing actions use questions such as, "What are you willing for me to talk to others about?"


Dianetics (from Greek dia, meaning "through", and nous, meaning "mind") is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body created by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Dianetics is practiced by followers of Scientology, the Nation of Islam (as of 2010), and independent Dianeticist groups.

Dianetics divides the mind into three parts: the conscious "analytical mind", the subconscious "reactive mind", and the somatic mind. The goal of Dianetics is to erase the content of the "reactive mind", which Scientologists believe interferes with a person's ethics, awareness, happiness, and sanity. The Dianetics procedure to achieve this erasure is called "auditing". In auditing, the Dianetic auditor asks a series of questions (or commands) and elicits answers to help a person locate and deal with painful experiences of the past, which Scientologists believe to be the content of the "reactive mind".Practitioners of Dianetics believe that "the basic principle of existence is to survive" and that the basic personality of humans is sincere, intelligent, and good. The drive for goodness and survival is distorted and inhibited by aberrations "ranging from simple neuroses to different psychotic states to various kinds of sociopathic behavior patterns." Hubbard developed Dianetics, claiming that it could eradicate these aberrations.When Hubbard formulated Dianetics, he described it as "a mix of Western technology and Oriental philosophy". He said that Dianetics "forms a bridge between" cybernetics and general semantics (a set of ideas about education originated by Alfred Korzybski, which received much attention in the science fiction world in the 1940s)—a claim denied by scholars of General Semantics, including S. I. Hayakawa, who expressed strong criticism of Dianetics as early as 1951. Hubbard claimed that Dianetics could increase intelligence, eliminate unwanted emotions and alleviate a wide range of illnesses he believed to be psychosomatic. Among the conditions purportedly treated were arthritis, allergies, asthma, some coronary difficulties, eye trouble, ulcers, migraine headaches, "sexual deviation" (which for Hubbard included homosexuality), and even death. Hubbard asserted that "memories of painful physical and emotional experiences accumulate in a specific region of the mind, causing illness and mental problems." He taught that "once these experiences have been purged through cathartic procedures he developed, a person can achieve superior health and intelligence." Hubbard also variously defined Dianetics as "a spiritual healing technology" and "an organized science of thought."Dianetics predates Hubbard's classification of Scientology as an "applied religious philosophy". Early in 1951, he expanded his writings to include teachings related to the soul, or "thetan". Dianetics is practiced by several independent Dianetics-only groups not connected with Scientology, and also Free Zone or Independent Scientologists. The Church of Scientology has prosecuted a number of people in court for unauthorized publication of Scientology and Dianetics copyrighted material.

Doctrine of Exchange

The Doctrine of Exchange is a central tenet of Scientology, which dictates that for spiritual well-being, "anytime a person receives something, he must pay something back" and balance "inflow" with "outflow". The Church of Scientology has presented this as the reason some of its services, such as auditing, its central practice of Scientology, must never be given away, but must be paid for.

Quid pro quo transactions are prohibited in tax-exempt organizations, and the Church of Scientology has argued in its requests for tax exemption that Scientology courses must have fixed fees because of this religious doctrine.

Have You Lived Before This Life?

Have You Lived Before This Life is a non-fiction book published by L. Ron Hubbard in 1958. It was one of the canonical texts of Scientology,The book was Hubbard's response to the success of the Bridey Murphy phenomenon in the UK. Hubbard saw this as an opportunity to increase public interest in past life regression.It purports to be a collection of "forty-one actual case histories" of reincarnation and past-life experiences, gleaned from auditing with an e-meter at the Church of Scientology's "Fifth London Advanced Clinical Course" held in October-November, 1958. Some of these "case histories" took place on other worlds or in the extremely distant past. The book was based on an earlier privately printed softcover circulation made available to students who attended that course.

Scientology's official website says of the book: "The major portion of the book is devoted to the auditing case histories of individuals, detailing their memories of past lives. These case histories graphically show how a person’s attitudes and actions in present time can be affected by incidents in his or her past lifetimes. They also document the improvements that occurred when such incidents were addressed and run out in auditing."

The book was in print until 1989. It is still sold in Church bookstores but it is not currently offered for sale today by Scientology's Bridge Publications and New Era Publications websites.

Keeping Scientology Working

Keeping Scientology Working (often referred to by Scientologists as KSW) is a Church of Scientology policy letter that serves as the keystone for a series of related policy letters written by church founder L. Ron Hubbard.Dated 7 February 1965, it lays out ten points concerning the exact application and preservation of "Standard Tech" in Dianetics and Scientology, and the eradication of "non-standard tech", more commonly referred to in Scientology as "squirreling."

It is one of the most important and oft-repeated policies in Scientology. It was the principal subject discussed by Tom Cruise in his leaked video of January 2008.

List of Scientology security checks

In Scientology, the security check (or sec check) is an interrogation technique put into practice by founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1960. It involves an "Ethics officer" probing the thoughts, attitudes and behavior of an individual member by asking them large numbers of questions. The bulk of the questions deal with criminal or sexual activity or intentions, or other things that the interviewee might be ashamed of. The questions also probe negative thoughts that the person might have about Scientology or Hubbard. As with traditional auditing, the subject holds the electrodes of the E-meter, a simple lie-detector device that measures electrical conductivity in the human body, while they are given a series of highly probing, personal questions.Hubbard described security checking as a remedy for "unreasonable action", specifically "the compulsion or obsession to commit actions" the person feels must be kept secret. Checks are given to all Scientologists on the Bridge to Total Freedom, every six months to all Operating Thetans, according to officials, "to make sure they're using the tech correctly", and to members who are leaving staff.In a "Code of Reform" issued in 1968, Hubbard announced that he was cancelling security checks, along with the policies of Fair Game and Disconnection. However, later Scientology documents refer to the practice, and former members report that it still continues.Sec Checks are also known in the Scientology Justice system as "Integrity Processing" or "Confessional Auditing".

List of trademarks owned by the Church of Scientology and its affiliates

The following are trademarks, service marks, or collective membership marks that the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations claim to own, some of which are registered in some nations. Additional notes are provided in parentheses after the trademark. Non-English trademarks are listed under their English-language equivalents.


OT VIII (Operating Thetan Level 8) is the highest current auditing level in Scientology. OT VIII is known as "The Truth Revealed" and was first released to select high-ranking public Scientologists in 1988, two years after the death of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. OT VIII is only delivered to members of the Church of Scientology in one place—aboard the organization's private cruise ship, the Freewinds. OT8 is also available in the Scientology Independent Field. There are a few advanced auditors that are able to deliver the level to those who meet the prerequisites.

"This Solo-audited level addresses the primary cause of amnesia on the whole track and lets one see the truth of his own existence. This is the first actual OT level and brings about a resurgence of power and native abilities for the being himself. The CoS does not currently deliver LRH's OT 8 but an eclipsed version of one part."


R2-45 is the name given by L. Ron Hubbard to what he described as "an enormously effective process for exteriorization but its use is frowned upon by this society at this time". In Scientology doctrine, exteriorization refers to the separation of the thetan (soul) from the body, a phenomenon which Hubbard asserts can be achieved through Scientology auditing. R2-45 is said to be a process by which exteriorization could be produced by shooting a person in the head with a .45 pistol. This literal meaning is acknowledged by the Church of Scientology, although they deny that it is meant seriously.

Reactive mind

The reactive mind is a concept in the Scientology religion formulated by L. Ron Hubbard, referring to that portion of the human mind that is unconscious and operates on stimulus-response, to which Hubbard attributed most mental, emotional, and psychosomatic ailments:

"What can it do? It can give a man arthritis, bursitis, asthma, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high blood pressure and so on, down the whole catalog of psychosomatic ills, adding a few more which were never specifically classified as psychosomatic, such as the common cold." - L. Ron Hubbard (Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, 1999 paperback edition, pg.69)

Despite the lack of scientific basis for his claims, Hubbard's book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health claimed that the Reactive Mind is composed of impressions of past events of pain and unconsciousness, which he called engrams.

In Scientology, an auditor uses an E-meter (a galvanic skin response detector) to locate engrams in the parishioner which are then erased, using Dianetics. Scientology promotes such treatments to clear engrams believed to limit the individual's spiritual ability, to halt the decline of his spiritual awareness, and to increase his survival potential.From the end of the 1950s until the early 1970s, author William S. Burroughs used Hubbard's reactive mind theory as the basis of his Cut-up Method, which was applied to novels such as The Soft Machine.

Rehabilitation Project Force

The Rehabilitation Project Force, or RPF, is the Church of Scientology's program for members of its Sea Organization who have allegedly violated expectations or policies. This may include members who are deemed to have hidden evil intentions towards Scientology, members who are unproductive in their work or who produce poor-quality work.

The program includes manual labor tasks and the study of L. Ron Hubbard's works. The rehabilitation program may take more than a year to complete, and the Church has been accused of overworking and mistreating its participants. Critics have characterized the RPF as a forced labor and re-indoctrination program comparable to the Soviet gulag system.


Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices launched in May 1952 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Hubbard initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.Hubbard describes the etymology of the word "Scientology" as coming from the Latin word scio, meaning know or distinguish, and the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known". Hubbard writes, "thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge".Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable opposition and controversy. In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of criminal infiltration of the U.S. government.Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are often a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect". In France, they have been classified as a dangerous cult by some parliamentary reports.

Scientology beliefs and practices

The Church of Scientology says that a human is an immortal, spiritual being (thetan) that is resident in a physical body. The thetan has had innumerable past lives and it is observed in advanced Scientology texts that lives preceding the thetan's arrival on Earth were lived in extraterrestrial cultures. Based on case studies at advanced levels, it is predicted that any Scientologist undergoing auditing will eventually come across and recount a common series of events.

According to the Church, founder L. Ron Hubbard's discovery of the thetan places Scientology at the heart of the human quest for meaning, and proves that "its origins are as ancient as religious thought itself." However, Scientology considers that its understanding of the thetan distinguishes it from other religious traditions, especially Judaism and Christianity, in three important ways. First, while many religions fuse the concept of the body and the soul, the thetan (spirit) is separate and independent. Second, unlike the three great world monotheisms, Scientologists believe in past lives and that the thetan has lived through many, perhaps thousands of lifetimes. Third, contrary to Christian concepts of original sin, Scientology holds to the intrinsic goodness of a being and believes that the spiritual essence has lost touch with its nature. "The spirit, then, is not a thing," Hubbard writes. "It is the creator of things."Scientology describes itself as the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others, and all of life. Scientologists also believe that people have innate, yet suppressed, power and ability which can be regained if cleared of enforced and unwanted behaviour patterns and discomforts. Scientology is described as "a religion to help people use scientific approaches to self-actualize their full potential." Believers reach their full potential "when they understand themselves in their true relationship to the physical universe and the Supreme Being. " There have been many scholarly studies of Scientology and the books are freely available in bookshops, churches and most libraries.The Church of Scientology believes that "Man is basically good, that he is seeking to survive, (and) that his survival depends on himself and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe," as stated in the Creed of the Church of Scientology.Roy Wallis of Columbia University describes Scientology as "a movement that straddles the boundaries between psychology and religion, [offering] a graded hierarchy of 'auditing' and training" with the intention of releasing the individual's full potential.Scientology does not require that their members must exclusively believe in Scientology, distinguishing it from biblical religions. Scientologists may profess belief in other religions, such as Protestantism and Catholicism, and may participate in their activities and sacred rites. Jacob Neusner emphasizes this in the section on Scientology in his book World Religions in America. According to J. Gordon Melton, "Scientologists aim to utterly make the world instead of taking refuge from it," as they participate in culture instead of being isolated. Scientology is inherently nondenominational and open to individuals, regardless of religious background; according to Mary A. Mann, it contains the elements necessary for a global religion and caters to people of all different ethnicities and educational upbringing.Wilson writes that Scientology "constitutes a religious system set forth in the terms of scientific discourse." Hubbard similarly states that "along with science, Scientology can achieve positive invariable results. Given the same conditions, one always get the same results ... What has happened is the superstition has been subtracted from spiritual studies."

Scientology in France

The Church of Scientology of France is organized as a group of secular nonprofit organizations. France is a secular state, which protects the rights of citizens to practice their religion. Although citizens can form religious associations based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State, which grants certain benefits, the Church of Scientology of France is instead organized into secular associations based on a 1901 law regarding nonprofit groups.A 1995 parliamentary report lists Scientology as a cult, which has since been under the watch of MIVILUDES and its predecessors (Observatoire interministériel sur les sectes and interministérielle de lutte contre les sectes). In its 2006 report MIVILUDES classified Scientology as a dangerous cult.Seven officials from the Church of Scientology in France have been convicted of crimes such as embezzlement, and contribution to suicide.

Space opera in Scientology

Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard included space opera narratives in his writings, wherein thetans (the name given to human souls) were reincarnated periodically over quadrillions of years, retaining memories of prior lives, to which Hubbard attributed complex narratives about life throughout the universe. The most controversial of these myths is the story of Xenu, to whom Hubbard attributed responsibility for many of the world's problems.

Some space opera doctrines of Scientology are only provided by the church to experienced members, who church leaders maintain are the only ones able to correctly understand them. Several former members of the church have exposed these secret documents, leading to lengthy court battles with the church, which failed to keep the secret. Critics of the church have noted that some of the narratives are scientifically impossible, and have thus assailed the church as untrustworthy for teaching them. The space opera teachings have also been satirized in popular culture. Scholars of religion have described the space opera narratives as a creation myth designed to encourage reverence of Hubbard as a supreme messenger. Several academics have drawn attention to the similarity of the space opera myths to themes of the 1950s Cold War culture in which they were constructed.

Supernatural abilities in Scientology doctrine

In the Church of Scientology doctrine, supernatural or superhuman abilities are a recurring subject, appearing throughout Scientology and Dianetics materials, from the most basic introductory texts to the highest-level Operating Thetan information. Virtually all of these concepts were authored by the church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and have not been subjected to testing outside the Church. The Church of Scientology have never offered any externally accepted, empirical, peer-reviewed evidence that Scientologists possess any of these abilities.

Volney Mathison

Volney G. Mathison, also known by the pseudonym Dex Volney (August 13, 1897 – January 3, 1965), was an American chiropractor, writer, and inventor of the first E-meter used by the Church of Scientology.

X. and Church of Scientology v. Sweden

X. and Church of Scientology v. Sweden (7805/77) was a case decided by European Commission of Human Rights in 1979.

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