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Auditing was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and is described by the Church of Scientology as "spiritual counseling which is the central practice of Dianetics and Scientology".

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Description

Auditing in the context of Dianetics and Scientology is an activity where a person trained in auditing listens and gives auditing commands to a subject, which Scientologists refer to as a "preclear".[citation needed] Critics of auditing have suggested that it has similarities with cult style programming and some behavior modification techniques which result in psychological manipulation of the subject. According to the Church of Scientology's official guidelines, all communications during auditing are confidential.

Auditing involves the use of "processes," which are sets of questions asked or directions given by an auditor. When the specific objective of any one process is achieved, the process is ended and another can then be used. By doing this, the subjects are said to be able to free themselves from unwanted barriers that inhibit their natural abilities.[citation needed] Scientologists state that the person being audited is completely aware of everything that happens and becomes even more alert as auditing progresses.[citation needed]

The auditor is obliged by the church's doctrine to maintain a strict code of conduct toward the preclear called the Auditor's Code.[citation needed] Auditing is said to be successful only when the auditor conducts himself in accordance with the Code.[citation needed] A violation of the Auditor's Code is considered a high crime under Scientology law.[citation needed]

The code outlines a series of 29 promises which include pledges: [1]

1. “Not to evaluate for the preclear or tell him what he should think about his case in session”
2. “Not to invalidate the preclear’s case or gains in or out of session.”
3. “Never to use the secrets of a preclear divulged in session for punishment or personal gain.”

The E-meter

Most auditing sessions employ a device called the Hubbard Electropsychometer or E-Meter. This device measures changes in the electrical resistance of the preclear by passing approximately 0.5 volts through a pair of tin-plated tubes much like empty soup cans, attached to the meter by wires and held by the preclear during auditing. These low-potential changes in electrical resistance are believed by Scientologists to be a reliable and a precise indication of changes in the reactive mind of the preclear. Hubbard claimed that the device also has such sensitivity that it can measure whether or not fruits can experience pain, claiming in 1968 that tomatoes "scream when sliced."[2]

Scientology teaches that individuals are immortal souls or spirits (called Thetans by Scientology) and are not limited to a single lifetime. The E-meter is believed to aid the auditor in identifying ingrained memories ("engrams", "incidents", and "implants") of past events in a thetan's current life and in previous ones. In such Scientology publications as Have You Lived Before This Life, Hubbard wrote about past life experiences dating back billions and even trillions of years.

Controversy

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Preclear folders

The Scientology/Dianetics auditing process has raised concerns from a number of quarters, as auditing sessions are permanently recorded in the form of handwritten notes in preclear folders. Although they are represented to practitioners as being private, one documented organizational directive written by Mary Sue Hubbard authorized the use of these folders for internal security purposes. This directive was later canceled because it was supposedly not part of Scientology as written by L. Ron Hubbard. The Guardian's Office itself was disbanded due to claims it had deviated from Church of Scientology policy.[citation needed] Some critics have noted that Scientology's collecting of intensely personal and private information through auditing leaves an adherent vulnerable to potential blackmail should they ever consider leaving the Church.[3] Judge Paul Breckenridge, in Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong, noted that Mary Sue Hubbard (plaintiff in that case) "authored the infamous order 'GO 121669' which directed culling of supposedly confidential P.C. [Preclear] files/folders for the purposes of internal security ... for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment".[4] Critics and former members assert that preclear folders have indeed been used for such intimidation and harassment.[5][6][7]

Hypnosis

The Anderson Report, an official inquiry conducted for the state of Victoria, Australia, found that auditing involved a form of "authoritative" or "command" hypnosis, in which the hypnotist assumes "positive authoritative control" over the patient. "It is the firm conclusion of this Board that most scientology and dianetic techniques are those of authoritative hypnosis and as such are dangerous. ... the scientific evidence which the Board heard from several expert witnesses of the highest repute ... which was virtually unchallenged - leads to the inescapable conclusion that it is only in name that there is any difference between authoritative hypnosis and most of the techniques of scientology. Many scientology techniques are in fact hypnotic techniques, and Hubbard has not changed their nature by changing their names." [8]

Medical claims

Scientologists have claimed benefits from auditing including improved IQ, improved ability to communicate, enhanced memory and alleviation of dyslexia and attention deficit disorder; however, no scientific studies have verified these claims. Indeed, the aforementioned Anderson report stated that auditing involved a kind of command hypnosis that could lead to potentially damaging delusional dissociative states. Licensed psychotherapists have alleged that the Church's auditing sessions amount to mental health treatment without a license, but the Church vehemently disputes these allegations, and claims to have established in courts of law that its practice claims only to lead to spiritual relief. So, according to the Church, the psychotherapist treats mental health and the Church treats the spiritual being.

A 1971 ruling of the United States District Court, District of Columbia (333 F. Supp. 357), specifically stated, "the E-meter has no proven usefulness in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, nor is it medically or scientifically capable of improving any bodily function."[9] As a result of this ruling, 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.[9]

References

Note: HCOB refers to "Hubbard Communications Office Bulletins", HCOPL refers to "Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letters", and SHSBC refers to "Saint Hill Special Briefing Courses". All have been made publicly available by the Church of Scientology in the past, both as individual documents or in bound volumes.

  1. ^ website: Scientology.org / THE AUDITOR’S CODE
  2. ^ "30 Dumb Inventions". Life. 1968-01-01. http://www.life.com/image/76796742/in-gallery/25371. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  3. ^ Hines, Bruce. Interview with Hoda Kotb. Inside Scientology. Countdown with Keith Olbermann. CNBC.
  4. ^ Memorandum of Intended Decision in Church of Scientology of California vs. Gerald Armstrong
  5. ^ Atack, Jon (1990). "Chapter Four - The Clearwater Hearings". A Piece of Blue Sky. Lyle Stuart. p. 448. ISBN 0-8184-0499-X. 
  6. ^ Girardi, Steven (1982-05-09). "Witnesses Tell of Break-ins, Conspiracy". Clearwater Sun: pp. 1A. 
  7. ^ Barnes, John (1984-10-28). "Sinking the Master Mariner". Sunday Times Magazine. 
  8. ^ Report of the Board of Enquiry into Scientology) by Kevin Victor Anderson, Q.C. Published 1965 by the State of Victoria, Australia.
  9. ^ a b http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/E-Meter/Mark-VII/

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