Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was born on the 13th of March 1911 in Tilden, Nabraska (Hubbard, 1995). He was an author based in America whereby he became popular through his fantasy and science fiction stories. Eventually, he developed the Dianetics system which was later written and published in 1950. Subsequently, he developed various ideas based on different practices and doctrines through his Church of Scientology religious movement. These ideas as well as his writings were the guiding texts for Church of Scientology and several other affiliated organizations. However, his Dianetics system (modern science of mental health) made him more popular in the psychological and scientific world because of the ideology that it was based on. Therefore, this paper will look at his contributions to DSM and mental health through Scientology, how other famous Scientologists have used fame to promote Hubbards ideology and the significance of this ideology from a psychological perspective.
Significance of L. Ron Hubbard
Hubbard founded Scientology during the early 1950s, and this later led to the popularization of his Church of Scientology into a global organization (Hubbard, 1988). According to Hubbard, the Church of Scientology represented his discovery of a unique kind of research whereby he considered man as a spiritual being (Hubbard, 1988). Furthermore, he expanded on the elements of Dianetics and constructed a doctrine that was spiritually oriented. The concept he focused on was that a persons true self is referred to as a thetan (omniscient, immortal and almost omnipotent entity). Moreover, he taught that thetans created the material universe and then forgot their supernatural powers hence they became trapped inside physical bodies. Therefore, from his perspective, Scientology is meant to rehabilitate an individuals thetan to restore its initial capacities and then become an Operating Thetan once again.
Nevertheless, Hubbard stressed that humanity had fallen prey to the aberration forces, and this resulted to engrams that have been carried by immortal thetans for many centuries (Hubbard, 1988). Therefore, he introduced the E-meter device and claimed that it had mystical powers that could reveal a persons innermost thoughts. However, Hubbards thoughts were widely criticized by various individuals including the media because they believed that his claims could not be supported by proper empirical evidence. But, despite the criticism, Hubbard managed to popularize Scientology through several published books, lectures and through providing auditor training sessions.
Scientology's View of Mental Health and the DSM
Scientology had a long time struggle with psychiatry, but it managed to gain success due to the social conditions at that particular time. However, Scientology is currently applied even though there have been successful alternative psychiatric treatments (Lewis, 2009). Therefore, one cannot measure the influence Scientology has had on the psychiatric field, but its elements have somehow coincided with the substantial problems to psychiatry. Hubbard introduced several cures for mental illnesses and disorders within an individuals body using Scientology technology.
According to Hubbard, the remedies that he had were unique remedies that could be applied by Scientologists to cure mental illness. These remedies included things like prompting the disturbed person to take a walk or go out and look at and point at things. On the other hand, the more complex mental treatment was known as Introspection Rundown whereby it could cure a person with a psychotic break (Lewis, 2009). Moreover, this method comprised of locking up the individual and avoiding verbal communication; instead written instructions would be provided by a case supervisor and the individual would be fed forcefully whenever necessary. However, this method has been proven to be barbaric and brutal because it led to one death (among other unidentified deaths) during the 1990s.
Scientologists do not agree with the fact that most brain disorders or mental problems are as a result of the brains chemical imbalances as stated by scientific researchers. Furthermore, they disagree that various diagnoses of mental illnesses require different treatment. They believe that all mental cases should be treated using the same methods by certified Scientology auditors. Besides, they believe that a brain and mind are separate entities hence they should be treated differently. They also do not believe in Hyperactivity Disorder, learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.
According to Scientologists, DSM is not an appropriate guide when it comes to mental illness because its techniques apply the use of unnecessary treatments (Martin & Christian Research Institute, 2005). Furthermore, they believe that the manual contains mental illnesses that should not be termed like that. Therefore, they prefer the use of their mental treatments on all kinds of mental illnesses and do not support the use of the manual to treat mental diseases. This clearly shows the difference between psychiatry and Scientology due to the various treatments that they each recommend for different mental illnesses.
Have Famous Scientologists Used Their Fame to Promote Scientology Views
Since the death of Hubbard, the Church of Scientology remains active to this day. The strong believers of Scientology opted to continue with the church to protect Hubbards beliefs. As a result, various famous people have been attracted to the churchs beliefs and have joined the group of Scientologists. They have been highly vocal about their beliefs through the media, and this has kept the popularity of Scientology afloat over the decades. The utilization of their fame has also managed to attract more followers to the Church of Scientology.
Currently, there are several celebrities and other famous people who have stated that they are Scientologists (Martin & Christian Research Institute, 2005). They have utilized their fame to ensure that they publicize the perceptions of the Church of Scientology. For instance, they make statements that support some of the views that Scientologists believe in such as the fact that there are various mental disorders like learning disorders that should not be termed as such. John Travolta for instance is an actor that has bluntly revealed that use of medication does not assist in curing mental diseases effectively. Furthermore, he believes that pharmaceutical companies are taking advantage so that they can widen their market and increase profits.
Tom Cruise is a famous Hollywood actor and Scientologist that has used his global fame to promote his Scientology views. He has been specifically vocal in rebuking the utilization of the psychiatric medication. Scientology is particularly against the use of medication when it comes to treating mental illnesses or diseases. This perspective can be found in numerous Scientology books; it recommends their way of treatment which requires the use of a trained Scientology auditor. Tom Cruises open support for Scientology has gained global attention and has influenced individuals on a global level. However, his stance has gained a lot of criticism from various psychiatrists and persons that suffer from depression.
I believe that Scientology only promotes loyalty and faith and discourages any attempts to enhance Hubbards doctrines. For instance, since his death, no further studies have been done by Scientologists to find alternative ways in which mental illnesses can be cured. Most of Hubbards views are mainly assumptions that do not have tangible proof. Furthermore, most of the treatments that he conducted or recommended have not been successful in patients with mental illnesses. Scientology exclusively contains Hubbards teachings, theories, and techniques that are to be applied practically and these are the basis of Scientologys rituals.
I also believe that it is absurd for Hubbard to state that there are natural laws of the spiritual universe that can be utilized when it comes to its prediction and control. This statement is far fetched because he has only used assumptions instead of factual data to prove it. Besides, he claimed that each person has a thetan that inhabits the body. According to Hubbard, thetan can be recognized in a persons personality because it is separate from the brain and the physical body. This means that the mind and brain are separate. To me, this claim is not factual because scientific evidence shows that the brain controls an individuals personality and thought processes. Therefore, Scientology is only based on theories that cannot be proven through science; this makes its claims false.
In conclusion, it is evident that the claims of the Church of Scientology are largely theoretical in nature especially regarding mental illnesses. Scientology and psychiatry have been at odds for many years due to the different ideologies behind them. Each party has strongly supported its views through several literature, studies and theories. However, one cannot pick one from the other because of the controversies that both parties have managed to build over the years. Therefore, it is important to consider both ideologies when it comes to assessing mental health.
Hubbard, L. R. (1995). L. Ron Hubbard: A profile. California: L. Ron Hubbard Library.
Hubbard, L. R. (1988). Scientology: The fundamentals of thought. Los Angeles, Calif: Bridge Publications.
Lewis, J. R. (2009). Scientology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Martin, W., & Christian Research Institute. (2005). Scientology. San Juan Capistrano, Calif: Christian Research Institute.
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