Eric Roux, Scientologie
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Eric Roux
Eric Roux
Ministre du culte de L'Eglise de Scientologie, après 25 années passées dans le clergé de l'Eglise, Eric Roux est aujourd'hui le président de l'Union des Eglises de Scientologie de France et Vice Président du Bureau Européen de L'Eglise de Scientologie pour les affaires publiques et les droits de l'homme.
Ce blog est une initiative personnelle destinée aux gens qui s'intéressent à la spiritualité, ou à ceux qui souhaitent en apprendre plus sur la scientologie, à ceux qui pensent que la liberté de conscience est un droit fondamental qui mérite d'être défendu, à mes coreligionnaires ou encore à ceux qui sont curieux...

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Présentation Scientologie lors de la Conférence INFORM à la London School of Economics and Political Science
Le 2 février, j'étais invité à donner une présentation sur les évolutions de la Scientologie dans le monde pendant les 25 dernières années dans le cadre du colloque annuel d'INFORM (Information Network Focus on Religious Movements), qui fêtait ses 25 ans dans la très prestigieuse London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) à Londres.

Ce colloque réunissait plus d'une centaine d'universitaires venus du monde entier, des responsables du gouvernement britannique, des responsables des églises établies en Angleterre, des responsables de la police, etc.

Pour ceux qui lisent l'anglais, vous pouvez ici vous renseigner sur INFORM, et sur sa fondatrice, Eileen Barker, titulaire d'un doctorat en sociologie des religions, professeur émérite à la LSE, décorée comme officier de l'Ordre de l'Empire Britannique : http://www.inform.ac/

Et le texte de mon intervention en anglais :

Présentation Scientologie lors de la Conférence INFORM à la London School of Economics and Political Science
Scientology: from controversy to global expansion and recognition
Eric Roux
 
Inform Anniversary Conference – 2 February 2014
 
 
The story of Scientology, a religion relatively young at 60 years old, is quite a rich story. I will focus on the last 25 years, but with a prologue from the early 80’s, just before the death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard – here’s a broad overview in 20 minutes.
 
In 1984, L. Ron Hubbard was no longer involved in Church management affairs and had not been for years. He was kept informed but his primary activity was to work on his research in order to complete his work regarding the Bridge to total freedom that was the culmination of a life of research and which he left for all those who wish to travel it. The Church of Scientology, especially in the US, was undergoing some quite vicious  attacks from some of its detractors, some of whom had the plan to close the Church down. Without entering too much into details, part of this plan was a tremendous number of civil trials that had been instigated throughout America, on fabricated charges by Church detractors having used former members or false former members to pretend they had been harmed by Scientology, and these false charges were repeated throughout every single state in the USA.
 
Facing these attacks, Scientologists from all over the world decided to unite in order to guarantee that the Scientology religion could be practiced freely for all time and to defend the rights of man and the freedom of all religions. They formed the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, Sussex, England, in 1984 when delegates from around the world gathered in recognition of the need to unite all Scientologists as one international body « to Unite, advance and protect the Scientology religion ».
 
In Portland one particular trial had turned bad for the Church, the jury asking for many millions of dollars in damages for a Church apostate claiming to have been defrauded out of 3000 dollars in course fees in 1975, reproaching the Church not to have improved her communication skills, intelligence and creativity. That Church could not have afforded to pay the damages, even if it would have used all of its reserves. But more to the point, this trial was set up to serve as a precedent in the US, and with dozens of other similar trials on-going, it represented the intention of bringing about a complete bankruptcy of Scientology internationally. This was the purpose of the opponents of the Church, should the Portland trial decision have been upheld and the resulting precedent applied to the other trials.
 
Then, through the work of the IAS, 15 000 Scientologists from all over the world converged on Portland to protest this ruling which was a denial of the protection guaranteed by the first amendment of the US constitution, and asked the Presiding Judge to overturn the ruling. This was the first of a long series of Scientology Religious Freedom Crusades. Tens of thousands of Scientologists united in the city. For some 60 days, they assembled for peaceful marches, concerts and candlelight vigils. And the result was unmitigated success, as after having seen the proof that the plaintiff had been “deprogrammed” before having filed her complaint, that her witnesses were in fact acting as government agents, and that Scientology teachings were religious in nature, the judge overturned the judgment, and by that decision, took apart this particular strategy of the antagonists of the Church.
 
However, the battle was by no means over in the US. The Internal Revenue Service had opened a determined national campaign against all the different Churches of Scientology, refusing to allow them religious status, conducting fiscal harassment campaigns against every Church corporate entity, engaging in malicious rumour campaigns against Church leaders, harassing them by conducting fabricated charges for triggering criminal investigations against them, and also by harassing 3000 Scientologists personally simply because they were Scientologists.
 
In 1986, when L. Ron Hubbard passed away, the Church had to struggle past this point which can be seen as a critical test for every religious movement: the death of its founder. History showed that this test has been very successfully passed, but few really knew what the Church had to endure during the following years.
 
The battle with the IRS sometimes went to a point where the existence of the Church itself was endangered, and this continued up till 1991, when IRS finally agreed to conduct, at the insistence of the Church, a full and transparent examination (as opposed to biased) which lasted 2 years. This became the most thorough inquiry that has ever been conducted of a religious movement, encompassing all the Church of Scientology’s worldwide activities including all financial records. It culminated with the issuance, by the IRS, of ruling letters, dated the 1st first October 1993, recognizing the tax-exempt religious and charitable status of the Church of Scientology International - the mother church of the Scientology religion - and 150 affiliated Churches, missions and social betterment organizations.
 
This was of course a real turning point for Scientology not only in the US, but also worldwide. Indeed, even though Scientology had never ceased growing during these years, this engagement with the IRS consumed a lot of attention from Scientology leaders and management, as well as many resources that would have otherwise been employed towards the growth of the religion were these attacks not to have existed. So, when in 1993 the Ecclesiastical leader of the Church Mr David Miscavige announced to thousands of Scientologists in Los Angeles “The War is Over”, he in fact announced that the real work of the Church could start, as all the resources used to fight this battle were now to be assigned to the fundamental mission of the Church: serving parishioners with the Scientology spiritual technology all over the world, building new churches in every major city of the planet, conducting social betterment and humanitarian campaigns in every country or place where help was needed, and other programs dedicated to forward the aims of Scientology: A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights.
 
The change was absolute. This was the start of a period of expansion for Scientology that has continued, as the USA became a “safe place” for Scientology, permitting the Church management to focus on global expansion plans aimed at making Scientology available in its purest form all over the world.
 
One of these major plans has been what Scientologists called the “Golden Age of Tech”, Tech being a shortened form for “Technology”, being the whole body of Scientology religious techniques aimed at bringing total freedom to individuals as spiritual beings. The first stage of the Golden Age of Tech was implemented in May 1996, with the release of an entire body of training exercises aimed at enabling Scientology auditors (an auditor is a minister or minister-in-training of the Church of  Scientology), to be trained far more effectively and efficiently in applying the spiritual and religious procedures of Scientology technology. The goal of auditing is to restore the innate ability of oneself, the spiritual being. This is accomplished by: (1) helping individuals rid themselves of any spiritual disabilities; (2) increasing spiritual abilities,. These “Golden Age of Tech” exercises had been compiled following instructions of the Founder, L Ron Hubbard and their compilation had necessitated hundreds of thousands hours of work, as there were thousand of exercises that had to be developed to follow the instructions of Mr Hubbard precisely regarding the large amount of technology contained in Scientology scriptures.
 
The 1996 launch of the Golden Age of Tech was followed by reviews of the way the “Bridge to Total Freedom” - the specific spiritual pathway within Scientology - was delivered to parishioners, in order to remove any unauthorised alterations which may have slowed down the spiritual progresses of Scientologists.
 
Between 2005 and 2010, Scientologists experienced the completion of a 25-year program to recover, verify and restore the Scripture of the Scientology religion. The quarter-century endeavour involved some 2 million man-hours to recover and make fully accessible all written and spoken words of L. Ron Hubbard. This completion has been called by Scientologists “The Golden Age of Knowledge”. With the launch of The Golden Age of Knowledge in 2005 came the release of the Congress Lectures, L. Ron Hubbard's special events containing his announcements of each new milestone breakthrough in the research and development of Dianetics and Scientology. In 2007 came the release of the fully restored “Basics”, Mr Hubbard's 18 books and 280 lectures comprising the core teachings of the Scientology religion.. In the final days of 2009 came the release in English of L. Ron Hubbard's Advanced Clinical Course Lectures. In all, these materials comprise more than 1,000 lectures and 500 written issues chronicling the day-to-day record of L. Ron Hubbard’s path of discovery in Dianetics and Scientology.
 
All these releases, which includes the full audio restoration of all 3,000 LRH lectures were done in at least 15 languages each, but some basic materials have been translated in 50 languages.
 
This review culminated in November 2013 when the Church announced the release of what we called “Golden Age of Tech phase 2”. All these projects have tracked back the original writings and lectures of the founder, tens of millions of words which have been studied in chronological order, and compared to the various existing manuscripts and other primary records, in order to find any departure from the original and correct any impact it had on the delivery of Scientology to Scientologists. This has led to significant changes in the way the Bridge to total freedom is delivered to parishioners, both in regards to auditing and to the training of auditors, all of it fully aligned with the intention and the writings of the founder. It has been the biggest and most important step of the history of Scientology regarding giving to Scientologists the purest Scientology possible, exactly as conceived by the Founder. This project has been driven not so much by an ideological desire to have something in its original form but quite simply because, as has been experienced again and again by scientologists, when the technology is applied correctly, it works. Additives and subtractions are considered by scientologists as having only served to confuse and detract from the workability of Scientology religious technology.
 
In addition, a major auditing action never released previously, described by Ron Hubbard as able to put Scientologists into a new realm of ability enabling them to create a new world, was released for the first time.   This auditing action can be now undergone by every Scientologist at a new building at the Scientology Headquarters in Clearwater Florida. This is called the Super Power rundown, and since December 2013, Scientologists from all over the world have completed this.
 
In parallel to these programs, another program has been run for some years in the world of Scientology. It’s called the Ideal Orgs program (Ideal org means ideal organization, ideal church). This program is aimed at making Scientology available to a greater numbers of people and consists of opening new church buildings throughout the world, with each of these buildings being either newly built or purchased and fully renovated to meet the highest standards and full panoply of delivery of Scientology religious services. These buildings are designed to meet all the requirements as conceived by Mr. Hubbard, such requirements having been gleaned from the management and administrative methods outlined by him regarding how a Church of Scientology should be operated. An Ideal Org is configured to provide the full services of the Scientology religion to its parishioners, while also serving the community with social betterment and outreach programs. And each of these buildings is of a significant size in order to be able to serve thousands of parishioners each week.
 
To date, dozens of Ideal Orgs have opened their doors in major cities across four continents, and new ones are dedicated each month. For example, in December 2013, the first ideal org of Asia was opened in Taiwan before a gathering of 4000 Scientologists, and blessed by a speech from the highest officials of the Taiwanese government. Since 2003, Ideal Orgs have opened their doors in Johannesburg, Madrid, San Francisco, New York City, London, Berlin, Malmo in Sweden, Dallas, Nashville, Roma, Washington DC, Brussels, Quebec City, Las Vegas, a second one in Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Pasadena, Seattle, Melbourne, Moscow, Tampa Florida, St Paul Minnesota, Inglewood in the Heart of the Faro American community of Los Angeles, Hamburg, Sacramento, Cincinnati, San Jose California, Orange County, Denver Colorado, Phoenix Arizona, Buffalo in the State of New York, Los Gatos in California, Tel Aviv in Israel, Padova in Italy, Cambridge in Canada, Pretoria in South Africa, Portland Oregon.
 
And many others are coming in 2014.
 
While this is just a rapid overview of these last 30 years for Scientology, doesn’t include many other developments in the Church during these years, I can say that there was a real turning point in our history in 1993 with the US recognition. Internationally, after that turning point, we have been able to concentrate on our real mission: give Scientology to the world in its purest form, as well as serving the community with social betterment programs to an order of magnitude never reached before. Even if there are still some skirmishes here and there, the recognition of Scientology as a bona fide religion has spread to many other countries. To cover all the legal victories and government recognitions we have had over the years would be another talk, but to mention the two last ones here is worth noting: On 17 October 2013, in the Netherlands, the Appeal Court of Amsterdam, in addition to recognizing Scientology as an authentic religion, granted it public benefit status after having ruled that  the purpose and objective of participating in Scientology religious services was no different than the purpose and objective of participating in the religious services of other religious institutions. And here in United Kingdom, as many of you will know, on 11 December 2013, the United Kingdom Supreme Court ruled that Scientology was a religion and that the London Church of Scientology chapel “is a place of meeting for religious worship within section 2 of the Places of Worship Registration Act”. The Supreme Court accordingly ordered that the Scientology chapel be registered as a place of worship and as a place for the solemnisation of marriages and in so doing brought the definition of religion, as viewed by the British courts, from the 19th to the 21st Century.
 
In conclusion, if I were to summarize the changes that have occurred within the Church of Scientology in one sentence in the last 30 years, which is quite a dangerous exercise, I would say that 30 years ago, the Church was struggling for its very existence because of the intensity of the attacks against it, but that since then, it has won a sufficient number of battles for it to be no longer struggling for its existence and has reached the point where this is a foregone conclusion and it is now able to concentrate on the help it can bring to peoples of the world, through its religious services delivered to a growing numbers of parishioners throughout 167 countries, and through its social betterment programs which now reach millions of people every year.

Eric Roux