Leah Remini’s A&E series, Scientology and the Aftermath, has kicked up a lot of new interest in Scientology, particularly on social media. So we’re seeing a lot of great questions about the subject popping up on places like Twitter. (And we’ve tried to answer some of them at our feed, @TonyOrtega94.)
Naturally, people new to the subject tend to express amazement about some of Scientology’s more bizarre space opera tenets. And a few Scientologists do their best to tamp down that interest. In particular, some church members are touchy about the subject of outer space “aliens” in the cosmology of Scientology.
Two years ago, actor Giovanni Ribisi, during an appearance on Marc Maron’s podcast, said, “I have never ever heard of aliens in Scientology, and I’ve been a Scientologist all my life.” When Maron then asked him if, in fact, the idea of “thetans” in Scientology was the church’s version of space aliens, Ribisi objected…
Well, that’s not an alien. The concept of a thetan comes from this notion of what’s called theta, right? And the idea of a thetan is essentially the person. It’s the Scientology term for a spirit.
Got that? Thetans — the spirits that make up all of us — may have spent millions and billions of years in previous lives in other bodies on other planets and in other galaxies, but we’re all just spiritual beings and it’s incorrect to call such spiritual entities “aliens.”
That’s not just a cute lexical sleight of hand. Scientologists use it as a thought-stopping technique. This week, for example, as questions about Scientology heated up online, church defenders tried to shut down critics by telling them they were incorrect about “aliens” and Scientology…
— Gemma Harris (@gemthetwit) December 1, 2016
And we’ve even heard from ex-Scientologists who caution us against bringing up the subject; they tell us that talking about space aliens only reinforces to Scientologists that you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you should be ignored.
Well, fair enough. As Marc Headley explained in that story about Vonni Ribisi and Marc Maron two years ago, many Scientologists never get very far on the “Bridge to Total Freedom” and may not be exposed to such esoteric secrets as the “OT 3” materials, for example. Headley told us that he really only learned about Scientology’s space opera beliefs after he left the church, and he’d worked at its secretive International Base with its highest ranking executives for fifteen years!
We do understand that many Scientologists never go Clear or learn the secrets of the OT levels. But does that mean that the rest of us can’t examine what L. Ron Hubbard was driving at with Scientology?
Because once again, we can’t help wondering, have Scientologists who say space aliens play no part in Scientology actually read and listened to this guy?
Hubbard started things with a 1950 book, Dianetics, which proposed the idea that you could unleash amazing hidden powers by recalling what had happened to you as a fetus in the womb and by wiping away traumatic memories that were masking your true inner self.
By 1952, however, Hubbard’s followers weren’t satisfied with only going back to the womb. They wanted to “remember” things that had happened earlier, in past lives. And with an electronic device called the E-meter, Hubbard told them they could remember these experiences with infallible scientific precision. You could recall not only what had happened to you in previous centuries, but even millions or billions of years back, or farther.
And he had come out with a truly remarkable book, A History of Man, to help his counselors (called “auditors”) recognize some of the memories that their subjects would be recalling when they went back that far. Because, you see, Hubbard proposed that as explorers of the human mind, Scientologists were mapping out a common past.
In a lecture he gave in London on October 30, 1952, Hubbard explained that not only is this common past something we’ve all “agreed” to, but that “it’s actually true.” Here, listen to this short portion of the lecture for yourself. We’ve transcribed it in a brief Fair Use segment from the lecture, titled “Role of Earth”….
Hubbard is saying that you can take any Scientology counseling subject — a “preclear” — and put them on the meter, and it will turn out that they remember experiencing these elements of space opera, including “entities” (loose, unseen thetans), “bodies in pawn” (a bizarre idea about a person having a second body in a vat of fluid) and spaceships. And no matter who you put on the meter, these same memories will come up because they are actual incidents from our collective past. Anyone off the street — not even necessarily a Scientologist — would come up with the same results, because they are remembering a past that is real.
So Hubbard then goes into a specific example. He’s going to tell you about a young woman who is terrified that Scientology auditing is allowing her to suddenly “remember” her own role in that wild space opera narrative that we all have in common. (This segment follows immediately after the last.)
In Hubbard’s tale, the young woman undergoing auditing from him is overwhelmed with the knowledge that she sees herself in another life that she has no knowledge of. She’s sitting at a “communications panel” — on board a spaceship somewhere, perhaps. Hubbard isn’t fazed; he asks her for the codes on the panel, but she passes out. Hubbard explains that it was too much for her — she was overwhelmed because she wasn’t used to the idea that in a previous life she’d played a part in space opera. “She’d never heard of bodies in pawn or other governments or invader forces or anything of the sort,” he says. But for Hubbard, it’s old hat. In fact, he boasts to his credulous audience that he knows what to ask her because he’s been here before in his own mental trips into the distant past: “This is a very funny thing to say, but I happen to know her commanding officer!”
In the next segment, which follows immediately after the last, Hubbard tells a story about another young woman he had audited who had also recovered a memory of working at a communications panel. In her current life, this young woman knows nothing about electronics. But auditing is helping her remember a time when she was not only working in communications, but she was helping to run “space stations” that are in the asteroid belt of our solar system…
Hubbard repeats the common misconception that the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is the remains of a broken up planet. It isn’t. All of the asteroids put together make up only about 4 percent the mass of our moon, and their chemical compositions show that they come from diverse sources anyway. But Hubbard and his subjects “remember” with the E-meter that the asteroids and their low gravity are used as launching and landing points for ships coming from other galaxies. And that role as a launching pad has thrust this solar system into prominence. It’s known as “Space Station 33” to interstellar wanderers, Hubbard says.
Because of that prominence, a “Fourth Invader Force” has inhabited parts of the solar system for “skillions” of years, Hubbard says. And they were here long before a “Fifth Invader Force” arrived sometime later, not realizing that the Fourth Force was already here. The Fifth Invaders set up a complex operation on Mars with a sophisticated screen to keep us from detecting them, or something.
Anyway, the Fifths started losing crews, and still didn’t realize that they had infringed on Fourths territory. So, some 8,200 years ago, the Fifth Invader Force, trying to solve the mystery of its missing crews, sent a battalion down to the earth and set up a base in the Himalayas.
And to emphasize how easy this was, Hubbard says that there was no reason to worry about the locals living there. Why not? Because those locals were HOMO SAPIENS….
Did you get that? The Fifth Invader Force didn’t worry about setting up a base on earth because the only thing in their way were HUMAN BEINGS. So what, we ask you, does that make the beings of the Fifth Invader Force?
They had come from somewhere beyond our solar system, perhaps even from beyond our galaxy, and they were traveling in spaceships, and they set up an operation on Mars and they came to earth and they did not fear Homo Sapiens because they were not Homo Sapiens. Because they were….
SPACE ALIENS. The meaning of which is, extraterrestrials, beings from a planet other than Earth.
It gets even better. Hubbard explains that the Fourth Invader Force finally emerged and kicked that Fifth Invader Force battalion’s ass, and then “knocked them back into this human race here.”
Again, Hubbard must specify “human race” because THE FIFTH INVADER FORCE WERE NOT HUMAN BEINGS.
The Fourth Invader Force, which specializes in this kind of thing, had separated the spirits (thetans) from the bodies of the battalion, and then had implanted those spirits into the human race.
And, as Hubbard says, “they’re still here.”
Because yes, Scientology (or at least Hubbard) says that we human beings today have inside us the disembodied souls of space aliens.
If you say it that way, your typical Scientologist (or even ex-Scientologist) will argue that you don’t have the slightest understanding of Scientology and that you are an ignorant wog. In Hubbard’s cosmology, they will tell you, there are thetans but not aliens.
Go ahead, let them say that. But we have Hubbard’s own words, and they are quite clear.
A month and a half after he gave this lecture in London, Hubbard returned to the subject of invader forces in a December 13, 1952 lecture in Philadelphia. He said that not only could you find invader ancestors in current human beings, but that you could also find a number of other bizarre types, including Snake Men and Cat People.
“God knows where the Cat People came from. Lord! Lord! Lord! These people are sure lost. Most of them are mad as hatters. And they have huge, huge, often slanted…And the eyes will be big and quite often uh.. uh.. very feline. And they’re lost. They don’t know where they are. And they kinda look like cats. And they’ll talk to you about catbirds from some place or another.”
Hubbard reveals that there are some “12 or 15 thetan races here on Earth” that can be found in the “five [human] races” on the planet.
It’s good to know that we have some Snake Man and Cat People alien blood running through our veins.
So what became of the Fourth and Fifth Invader Forces? Eleven years later, in a 1963 lecture he gave in the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, Hubbard returns to the subject, explaining that the two invader forces continue to operate on Mars and Venus, where they run “implant stations.”
These invaders go to enormous trouble to capture us when we die and leave our bodies. As a thetan, you are whisked to Venus or Mars, where you will have false memories implanted about the way that you died, for some reason. (And Derek Bloch first brought to our attention that Hubbard, decades before John Gray came along, suggested that men tended to be taken to Mars, and women to Venus.) After this memory wiping and implanting, you then get to return to earth, where you head to a maternity ward to jump into a newborn and start another life.
Because of these invaders and their between-life implanting, we can’t really make any progress. And in his 1963 lecture, Hubbard at times seems at a genuine loss why these invading don’t-call-them-aliens are doing this to us.
“They’ve maintained it for thousands of years without any change…Why are they maintaining this thing? Why? Why is it so important to them?”
He concludes that Earth must be a prison planet, and the invaders are our jailers. And so you begin to see where the “Bridge to Total Freedom” is actually supposed to take you — it’s a prison break so we can escape our alien jailers!
The very fact that this is a prison planet, that it is being monitored this carefully right this minute … Right this instant, as I’m talking here, some Joe off this planet has appeared on that landing stage and is being told how he just got through an airplane crash, whereas the guy probably died of pneumonia. See? Right this minute, you see. And this instant, another guy did. In other words, this is a continuing situation that’s going on and on and on and on and on. Gives you an understanding of what’s happening.
Only through the highest-level Scientology processing can you beef up your superpowers so that you can resist the between-life implanting and live as an all-powerful “operating” thetan.
This, then, is the actual end-goal of Scientology. To break free from our alien invaders and become free, exteriorized, and all-powerful thetans. And come on, that’s pretty fun and exciting, as cosmologies go.
It’s a shame that Scientology does everything it can to hide it, even from most of its own members.
Go here to start making your plans.
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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield