Scientologists explain religious views
Series of spirital levels lead to greater awareness, say leaders from local Scientologist church
Published: Friday, January 20, 2006
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
"Scientology is just not like anything else," said Rev. Robert Castagna of the Church of Scientology in Boston on Tuesday night. "Some say it is a blend of Eastern and Western religious customs. Others try to label it as a 'self-help' kind of program. The fact of the matter is that there is just nothing like it in the entire world."
Castagna's opening remarks set the stage for the night as he and his colleague and fellow Scientologist Erik Bayersdorfer attempted to answer many questions about the history and beliefs of the Church of Scientology.
Scientology, Castagna said, is now the fastest growing religion in the world. He points to the inherent flexibility of the religion as its major appeal.
"In Scientology, we don't tell you how to worship and we certainly don't tell you who to worship," he said. "What's true for you is true for you. We, instead, help you to strengthen your spiritual life."
Next, Castagna recounted the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. Hubbard, already an esteemed writer by his early 20s, began to travel the world in search of "a common denominator unifying all knowledge."
It was only after his search had ended that he published his most famous book, Dianetics, which spurred the beginning of Scientology.
Castagna then shifted to the particulars of the religion. He described it as a series of gradient levels, all leading to spiritual awareness and enlightenment.
The first level, for example, is called the Purification Rundown. Here, the convert sits in a sauna and sweats out whatever drugs and toxins the body has accumulated over time.
The idea behind this exercise is that drugs hinder one's ability to become more spiritually aware.
Moving on, Castagna introduced Bayersdorfer, who explained "a locational assist," one of the key tools of Scientology. An assist, he said, helps a person speed up recovery from injury.
"The procedure is simple. You help the victim take his mind off the problem and focus on the objective environment. Although the duration of this procedure may vary, the results are always the same - success."
Before concluding, Castagna opened the floor to questions from the audience.
Students voiced their complaints with the ambiguity surrounding Scientology. One student questioned the validity of a locational assist.
Another student even asked how Scientology can be characterized as a religion at all, since it does not make any metaphysical or universal claims.
Castagna did his best to clarify his views to the audience, but many left still wondering what exactly Scientology is and why it is growing so rapidly.
"I admire him for coming into a hostile environment such as this, but to me, this all seems too fantastical," said Ronnie Ervin, A&S '09.
The event was sponsored by the Undergraduate Government of Boston College.