What is a Scientologist?
The Religious Technology Center (RTC), holder of various copyrights and trademarks of the Church of Scientology it seems are attempting to monopolize the word and restrict it's use to those people whom they consider are in good standing as members of the officially registered Church of Scientology and that anyone who is not considered by that same church as in good standing with them, regardless of the reason why, cannot call themselves a scientologist. Although they do NOT hold a trademark or copyright over the use of the word, this does not stop them attempting to blur the issue and give the apparency that the word is copyright, they call it a 'collective mark'. A dubious term at best and an outright lie at worst.
Of course one could ask the question, why would anyone want to call themselves a scientologists? Perhaps for the same reason that a Christian calls themselves a Christian or a Muslim calls themselves a Muslim or a Hindi calls themselves a Hindi or a Buddhist calls themselves a Buddhist. Because they chose to announce their faith by demonstrating their belief to the world.
However, being a practicing scientologist requires no copyright, trademark or 'thou shalt not call oneself a scientologist unless we say you can.' It has nothing to do with any particular orthodox church. Indeed, there are established Jewish people by birth or religion that call themselves Jewish yet are not a member of any orthodox Jewish order. To call oneself an Orthodox Jew may require one to participate in the practices of the orthodox Jewish order of course. There is also the reform Jewish Church or movement. The Orthodox does not bring legal proceedings against the reform church because they call themselves Jewish. Perhaps we should call ourselves reform scientologists? Except that we are not. We are, more like, Original Scientologists. In most of the countries of the world a person is entitled to call themselves whatever they wish in relation to their beliefs. And publicly state so as well. indeed the Creed of the Church of Scientology explicitly states, "That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices and their performance." It does not say, 'some men.'
The scientology religion has an orthodox, if you will, church. This was set up by L Ron Hubbard, the founder in order to effectively disseminate the technology and philosophy he developed. He pointed out, on several occasions and in many written issues, that in order to achieve the results of applying the applied philosophy or technology he developed, it needs to be understood fully and applied in the exact manner he proscribed. Part of ensuring this was done was the establishment of a church to act as a custodian for the technology so that it was not altered or perverted resulting in less or no results through misunderstanding and misapplication.
Unfortunately, since the demise of Ron Hubbard, 'changes' to the technology and the application have been made that violate this principle. Some of these may be found documented at http://scientologistsfreezone.com. others at http://friendsoflrh.org and many other sites. In fact the 'orthodox' church has rewritten much of L. Ron Hubbard's work and burnt or thrown away as garbage many copies of the original. in some religions this wou be regarded as blasphemy. Imagine if the Koran or the Torah or the Bible were just tossed in the garbage because they were old? This is a radical and major departure from the 'original scriptures', as the church likes to call them in court. So what philosophy is the church protecting?
In fact the church has changed beyond all recognition and is 'scientology' in name only, no longer in fact.
At this point a very brief summary of the structure of the church might be enlightening. A the top of the lucrative fiscal food chain you have the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST). Contrary to the name this is not a church but a privately owned corporation.
Corp Id Number: C1074287
Date of Incorporation: 5/28/1982
CHURCH OF SPIRITUAL TECHNOLOGY
419 N LARCHMOUNT BLVD #86
LOS ANGELES, CA 90004
Agent for Service of Process:
6400 CANOGA AVE STE 315
WOODLAND HILLS, CA 91367
The CST owns the Religious Technology Center (RTC), another privately owed business, and between them these corporations own some trademarks and copyrights somehow acquired at or around the death of the Founder L. Ron Hubbard. They license these trademarks and copyrights to the Church of Scientology international who have first rights to the use of the trademarks and copyrights but legally and, if felt so disposed, could rescind this license at anytime.
So the Church of Scientology does not actually own the copyrights or trademarks it uses, but pays a private company for the right to use them. This amounts to millions of dollars per year. Being a private company no financial statements or balance sheets are issued by the CST at any time. The directors are, for the most part, NOT scientologists. Their directors fees are not disclosed and the use of the many millions of dollars obtained through royalties is not disclosed either.
But what has this to do with the attempt to monopolies the word scientologist you may ask?
There are many people outside of the church who have either been booted out or have no wish to belong to the official church. In fact almost ALL of the original experienced scientologists who assisted Ron Hubbard in building up the church and the Saint Hill organizations to their, now former glory, have all been excommunicated or, in church parlance, declared. However that does not immediately mean they are no longer scientologists. Just no longer members of the official church. The two states are not synonymous, or in scientological terms, not an A=A=A.
The definition of a scientologist as per the original published works of Ron Hubbard, as written by the originator of the philosophy and technology himself specifically in the book, "The Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary' by L. Ron Hubbard, published by Author Services, a name by which the RTC goes by, states:
SCIENTOLOGIST, 1. one who betters the conditions of himself and the conditions of others by using Scn technology. 2. one who controls persons, environments and situations. A Scientologist operates within the boundaries of the Auditor's Code and the Code of a Scientologist. 3. one who understands life. His technical skill is devoted to the resolution of the problems of life. 4. a specialist in spiritual and human affairs.
Looking very carefully we do not see it mentioned anywhere in that officially approved definition, that one is obliged to be an officially approved member of the Church of Scientology.
The word scientology itself does not mean, that which is owned by the Church of Scientology and that which can only be practiced by the church known as the Church of Scientology. Indeed in that very same dictionary the word is defined as, "a science of life. It is the one thing senior to life because it handles all the factors of life. It contains the data necessary to live as a free being. A reality in Scientology is a reality on life."
Last I heard, one cannot copyright life.
Indeed there is probably legal cause to object to the registration of the words 'Scientology', 'Hubbard' and 'L. Ron Hubbard', as a generic name for a religion (which the church was keen to have established by the High Court in the USA) interestingly enough, and respectively the name L. Ron Hubbard and Hubbard is a name of an individual.
As Ron Hubbard himself pointed out on more than one occasion,
"I know no man who has any monopoly upon the wisdom of this universe. It belongs to those who can use it to help themselves and others."
"People look on this as being 'my science'. Yeah, I own all of your postulates. I bought them one day at a raffle. Like the devil I did! About the only thing, as I told you the other day, that I have done is organize and put together, and maybe I can look a little bit better than anybody else has been looking for a long time, and so I can see it. But if you can see it, well, so help me Pete, it's yours. Got that?"
From LRH tape lecture 1MACC-26 of 25 Nov 59, titled "Individuation".
Presuming that the RTC agree with the tenets of L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the very groups which comprises the Church of Scientology and the RTC, then the Creed of the Church of Scientology should also be studiously followed, and I quote.
"We of the Church believe:
That all men have inalienable rights to their own religious practices
and their performance.
That all men have inalienable rights to conceive, choose, assist and
support their own organizations, churches and governments.
And that no agency less than God has the power to suspend or set aside
these rights overtly or covertly."
Of course, If the CST, the RTC and the Church of Scientology do not agree with the Creed of the Church of Scientology, or the definition of a scientologist as given in the church official list of definitions by virtue of their propensity to engage in legal frivolous suits, then of course, apart from being a church that does not follow it's own precepts, it could be questioned on it's stated motives for applying legal pressure for the protection of the trademark and copyrights that it does.
The copyright and trademark laws were set up for the protection of financial interests of business and corporations and it is possible that the RTC and their responsible body of directors, The CST, could conceivably be held liable for the possible libilities of misuse of copyright and trademark laws and perverting the use of the legal system. Now that would be an interesting scenario!
Of course no individual has the monopoly on the spiritual freedom of man. Anyone who deigned to consider themselves a god above all man and to maintain a tight grip on the only key to man's spiritual freedom, paid for and released only through exorbitant financial payments, is eventually going to go the way all past religions and organizations have gone which have attempted to monopolize freedom, and will incur the same derision by man that has been incurred before.
Anyone who has made a serious study of the Koran and believes and follows the traditions of the Moslem faith is entitled to call themselves a Muslim. Anyone who has studiously studied the Bible and believes in Christ and what he stands for is entitled to call themselves a Christian. Anyone who has studied the Torah and calles themself a person of the jewish faith is entitled to call themselves a Jew. Anyone who has similarly made a study of scientology and follows and applies the traditions and practices thereof is also entitled to call themselves a scientologist. None of them are obliged by law to 'belong' to or be subservient to any official church.
Any attempt therefore to reduce ones inalienable right to their religious practice and their performance of scientology would be, at the very least, to any ethical and moral scientologist, a distasteful act, certainly not in the spirit of spiritual freedom which Ron Hubbard intended for the church or even for the spiritual freedom of this planet. There is also the question of course as to whether it is actually legal to do so constitutionally.
The majority of the original scientologists who assisted Ron Hubbard in building up the Church have been ousted since his death. Even his late wife, a tireless supporter and major assistant in developing the technology is persona non gratia. One wonders, if Ron Hubbard were alive now, whether he would be ousted as a heretic and persona non gratia along with his original adherents.
Fortunately, the Association of Professional Independent Scientologists (APIS), along with many other free organizations, are not cowed or bound under the new regime of the official Church of Scientology. They stand upright and practice their right to call themselves whatever they wish. They believe they are entitled to call themselves scientologists. Independent scientologists. In the original meaning of the term, as per the definition cited above. And are proud to do so.
They also believe:
That a scientologist is one who betters the conditions of himself and the conditions of others by using scientology technology.
That a scientologist is a person, whether an accepted member of the 'official' church or not, who practices and uses the philosophy and technology of scientology to the best of their ability.
That a scientologist is one who understands life. His technical skill is devoted to the resolution of the problems of life.
That a scientologist is a specialist in spiritual and human affairs.
And that lastly, a scientologist is not one who lives in fear of 'what the church may do'.
Man's spiritual freedom does not depend upon one man's whim or a private organizations obsession for protecting financially lucrative copyrights and trademarks as being more important that mans spiritual freedom. That way spiritual freedom will simply go down the tubes.
Man's spiritual freedom depends upon that individual who will stand up for his or her rights and be the scientologist of which Ron would be proud.