The Significance of Rituals in Scientology: A Brief Overview and a Few Examples

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Scientology’s rituals may be divided into four categories, which are all mentioned in this article: 1) rituals aimed at the spiritual transformation of the individual, most profoundly the auditing procedure; 2) collective, very often calendrical ceremonies, usually termed “Events,” where the community of Scientologists, the organization itself, and its exalted founder are celebrated; 3) rites of passage such as weddings, namings, and funerals; and 4) services that to some extent (and probably strategically) emulate their Christian counterparts. In this article the focus is on the auditing procedure and “Events,” with a special emphasis on L. Ron Hubbard’s obsequies in 1986. On the basis of ritual analysis, it is argued that Scientology, apart from the proclaimed ambition of liberating the entrapped soul (thetan), is best understood as a devotional cult aimed at revering the mythologized founder of the organization.1

The Significance of Rituals in Scientology: A Brief Overview and a Few Examples

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