This video is part of my series on the Basics of Scientology. my critical analysis of Scientology’s philosophies and methods. I thought before we get too deep in to that series, I should first give an overview of the path to spiritual freedom and personal immortality which Scientology promises. I’ll go over the history of this and then cover the various services Scientology offers. In this first part, we’re going to cover the lower Grade Chart up to the OT levels, which as you’ll see, is a lot. In the second part, we’ll cover the upper Grade Chart with the OT levels and advanced Scientology training levels. Let’s get to it.
In Scientology, the series of training and counselling services are collectively called The Bridge to Total Freedom, also known more formally as the Classifiation, Gradation and Awareness Chart of Levels and Certificates. The analogy of a bridge is a concept Hubbard actually came up with in 1950 when he wrote the final words of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health:
“One might here use an analogy of bridge engineering. Let us suppose that two plateaus exist, one higher than the other, with a canyon between them. An engineer sees that if the canyon could be crossed by traffic, the hitherto unused higher plateau, being much more fertile and pleasant, would become the scene ofa new culture.
“In this handbook we have the basic axioms and a therapy which works.
“For God’s sake, get busy and build a better bridge!”
Throughout the 1950s, Dianetics and Scientology counselling, or what they call auditing, did not follow a strict regimen. Instead, Hubbard came up with many different procedures and approaches and auditors would do whatever they felt was right for the person they were auditing, following very loose guidelines from Hubbard.
Dianetics was all about the reactive mind and directly addressed past incidents of pain and unconsciousness using a recall or regression technique. By 1952, Hubbard was developing procedures designed to pull a person out of their head spiritually, a state he called exteriorization, and then get the spiritual being (or thetan as he called it), to perform exercises on the body or in the physical universe that would free it from its mortal anchors. That didn’t really pan out so well, so by 1955 Hubbard was coming up with what he called Objective Processes, designed to have a person move around and look at his environment and touch and interact with real world objects rather than engage in subjective, thinking-type processes. These Objective Processes were supposed to orient a person in the real world and bring their awareness to the current moment. In Scientology, this is called “being in present time” and is a highly valued ability that Scientologists practice as a kind of ever-ready panacea. If a person is in present time, so the reasoning goes, then their attention is not stuck in the past on traumatic incidents which plague or distract them from what is going on right now.
At the same time, in the early to mid 1950s, Hubbard posited a new state of spiritual awareness and existence called Operating Thetan or OT. This was far beyond the promises of the state of Clear that Hubbard had made in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. One of the final decriptions of this state Hubbard settled on was “a thetan exterior who can have but doesn’t have to have a body in order to control or operate thought, life, matter, energy, space and time.” (SHSBC 82, 6611C29) Another was “willing and knowing cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time. And that of course would be mind and that of course would be universe.” (SHSBC 80, 6609C08). But even more simply, “an individual who could operate totally independently of his body whether he had one or didn’t have one. He’s now himself, he’s not dependent on the universe around him.” (SHSBC 66, 6509C09). This state of OT is the ultimate prize in Scientology and is why people stick with it for as long as they do and pay as much as they do to get to through all the counselling and training services Scientology offers.
But again, through the 1950s and early 1960s, all of the processes and techniques Hubbard developed were rather randomly carried out on Scientologists with no fixed path or set way of making it to OT. There were a few stabs made at standardizing things but these were always short lived because Hubbard was constantly coming up with new processes and ideas as to what it would take to get people to Clear and OT. Until November 28, 1963 when Hubbard gave a lecture called “Seven Classifications” where he talked about organizing the administration of auditing and how it required bringing people along on a gradient approaching, meaning there was no one-shot Clear or OT procedure but instead a series of processes which had to be carried out in an exact sequence, each one increasing a person’s responsibility level and ability. These were divided into seven classification levels, meaning each level had an associated class of auditor who was required to deliver the auditing. Hubbard put this in writing in a policy letter of November 26, 1963 called “CERTIFICATE AND CLASSIFICATION CHANGES, EVERYONE CLASSIFIED.” This was a major shift in how Scientology operated worldwide and changed how auditors were trained and how people received Scientology auditing.
Hubbard then spent months refining and revising this classification system throughout 1964. By May of 1964 it was broadly announced worldwide with refined nomenclature that has lasted to this day to describe the various levels, classifications and grades in what Hubbard called the Gradation Program. Further changes were made as problems came up and as Hubbard developed more and more techniques. In September 1965, Hubbard even filmed a lecture for broad distribution describing the newly revised Classification and Gradation chart and explaining its use (show film clip). He added 52 levels of awareness from Unexistence at the bottom all the way up to Clear at the top. From this point forward, this chart became a central reference point for all Scientologists and gave a clear-cut path from brand new Scientologist to Operating Thetan.
Revisions and changes have been the order of the day for years with this chart but the basic layout has remained pretty standard since the early 1980s. As you can see, it’s split into two halves, the left side being Scientology training and the right side being auditing. Theoretically, one could go through all the levels on the auditing side without doing much on the training side, but training is heavily encouraged because Hubbard’s books and lectures are supposed to give each Scientologist a unique understanding of themselves as spiritual beings, how their mind works and how they got so screwed up over the millenia of their existence here on Earth and in earlier civilizations on other planets, going all the way back billions and trillions of years to when they first entered the physical universe. That information is mainly contained on the auditor training levels.
To briefly walk through this, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. On the training side, it starts with a Book Auditor, meaning someone who has read Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and can deliver basic Dianetics auditing. This is simple one-on-one regression therapy which does not use Scientology’s E-meter.
After that comes the Hubbard Apprentice Scientologist and Hubbard Qualified Scientologist courses, which give a basic overview of Scientology principles and some practice doing light forms of auditing such as basic memory recall, assists and simple Objective Processes.
Then comes the Student Hat, a course that teaches Hubbard’s study methods.
Then comes the Professional TRs Course. The TRs or Training Routines on this course are numbered 0 through 4 and are drills that are supposed to teach good communication skills. After learning Hubbard’s ideas about good communication, one sits for many hours with another student also on this course and practices doing these drills. I’ll be covering in another video just what these drills consist of specifically and why they are potentially harmful to people who do them.
Following the Pro TRs Course is the Professional Upper Indoc TR Course. This course focuses on TRs 6 – 9 which teach a student Hubbard’s methods of control. In Scientology auditing, it can sometimes be necessary to physically control the person receving the auditing and make them carry out auditing commands even if they resist or don’t want to do it anymore. This is especially true when doing Objective auditing. The student on this course is trained to ignore the protests or complaints of another and get them to carry out whatever command the student is supposed to get executed.
Once the TR Courses are done comes training on the Hubbard E-meter or electropsychometer, a device which is supposed to be able to register the thoughts a person has in response to auditing commands and questions. I will also be doing another video about the E-meter itself, because there is a lot of lore and myth connected with this device, most of it wholly undeserved. The E-meter is a simple device that registers resistance to an electric current that runs through a person’s body when they hold the electrodes or cans that are hooked up to the meter. That resistance comes from the body, not the person’s mind or spirit, but Scientologists are trained on this course to believe otherwise. They do an extensive series of drills that are supposed to result in someone who can make a meter respond no matter who is holding the cans and can therefore use the meter to do Scientology auditing.
What we have covered so far are the pre-requisite courses to do formal Scientology auditor training. Let’s bounce over to the lower level processing services and catch up to the level we’ve gotten to on this training side.
First there is the Purification Rundown. This is a detox program which involves sweating in a sauna for five hours a day and taking massive amounts of niacin and vitamins. According to L. Ron Hubbard, drugs or heavy chemicals can impede a person’s ability to think because the drugs stay lodged in the fatty tissues of a person’s body and can come back into effect, recreating past incidents of pain and trauma. In Scientologyh, this is called restimulation. So by sweating these toxins and drugs out, the person is supposed to be rid of their harmful effects. The end result is “freedom from the restimulative effects of drug residuals and other toxins.” The program is based on pure pseudoscience and is in fact potentially deadly to people who do it. I’ve detailed the specifics of this program in a separate video and the link to that is in the description below.
Once a person is supposedly detoxified of drugs and chemicals, they then do the Survival Rundown. This is basically a simple series of Objective Processes that is done on a co-audit basis, meaning two students learn how to do the Objective Processses and then proceed to spend 100 – 300 hours or more auditing each other on them. If someone doesn’t want to co-audit, they can pay for a professional auditor to do these Objectives on them instead, but that would cost a lot more. The end result of the Survival Rundown is a person “oriented in the present time of the physical universe with new perception, awareness and control of one’s environment, body, mind and thought.”
Next is the Happiness Rundown, which is a series of processes to clear up past transgressions and mistakes a person has made against a moral code L. Ron Hubbard wrote in the booklet The Way to Happiness. This moral code includes precepts like “Honor and Help Your Parents” and “Do Not Harm a Person of Good Will” as well as standards such as “Do Not Murder” and “Do Not Steal.” By addressing these past incidents of poor moral conduct, a person is supposed to now live a moral life. The end result is a person who “knows he really is on the way to happiness.”
Then there is ARC Straightwire, a series of memory recall processes in which a person not only recalls things from their past, but also tries to remember various senses connected with those incidents. There are a number of ways this is done but all of them involve taking trips down memory lane and working to get the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and other senses connected with them. The end result is the “ability to recall the past, and have a fresh look at the present and future.”
Now going back to the Chart, we see that Level 0 is parallel to Grade 0, Level 1 is parallel to Grade I, etc. This is because the auditor level required to deliver each grade is the same number. So a person trained on the Level 0 auditor course can now deliver Grade 0, a Level I auditor can deliver Grade I and so on. The Scientology Grades each consist of a series of processes centered around one main subject with the purpose of addressing past traumas, errors and problems connected with each subject. At Grade 0, communication is the focus of attention. Processes are run which ask a person to look at or recall times in the past where communication was difficult, was impossible or was messed up in some fashion, going earlier and earlier in a person’s life and even in to past lives to find the earliest incidents the person can recall of communication problems. By tackling this from many different angles, including not just a person’s own problems with communicating to others, but also problems others had communicating to them, others had communicating with others and even problems the person had communicating with himself, the person receiving Grade 0 is supposed to finally achieve the “ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject.” While this sounds great, one has only to look at how Scientologists deal with critics of Scientology to see that they do not have this ability at all, but in fact run and hide from anyone who challenges their belief structure or attempts to talk critically to them about it. Thus, Scientologists are hardly able to communicate to anyone except other Scientologists about difficult subjects and fail this test every day of the week.
The same then holds true for Grade I, except instead of communication, the subject is problems. Different times the person has had problems in the past are focused on, again tackling them from different angles: problems the person has had with others, problems others have had with him, problems others have had with others and problems the person has had with himself. Many different questions are asked in different auditing procedures. The end result is the “ability to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish.” Given that Scientologists continue to be plagued by the same financial, familial and work problems that the rest of us face, this ability gained doesn’t show itself to be very valid in the real world, but that doesn’t stop Scientologists from believing they have gained this wonderful new skill.
Grade II deals with moral transgressions, or what are called overt acts in Scientology, and the incidents of withholding or not telling anyone about those overts. The ability gained after confessing a lot of these overts and addressing overts and withholds with other auditing procedures is “relief from the hostilities and sufferings of life.”
Grade III tackles personal upsets and interpersonal difficulties. The ability gained here is “freedom from the upsets of the past and ability to face the future.”
Grade IV tackles a mental mechanism Hubbard invented called a service facsimile. Briefly, this is an idea a person has which they use to gain sympathy from others and which makes them right for being injured, ill or otherwise disabled in some fashion. When a child tries to fake getting sick to stay home from school and it doesn’t work, Hubbard says that the child may actually mentally recall earlier times he was really sick and do this hard enough to make himself actually sick now in real time. This mechanism he calls a service facsimile. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s basically how it works and Grade IV seeks to eradicate any tendency on the person’s part to use these service facsimilies to make themselves right and other people wrong and to disable themselves. The end result of this grade is “moving out of fixed conditions into ability to do new things.”
Above Grade IV is the auditing level of New Era Dianetics or NED. This is matched on the training side by the Class V auditor course. In 1978, Dianetics was refined and greatly expanded upon and the E-meter was incorporated into its procedure. This is the level where a person tackles past traumatic incidents of great emotional loss and pain and unconsciousness. The end result of this level is supposed to be the state of Clear but it sometimes happens that a person goes through all the actions of New Era Dianetics and doesn’t say and do the things they are supposed to in order to be validated as Clear. At some point during thier auditing, they are supposed to say that they are creating their own reactive mind, the part of their mind which holds all these past traumas and which they are trying to eradicate with the NED auditing. If the person never says something like that during their auditing, then they have to do what’s called the Alternate Clear Route.
The Alternate Clear Route is the series of steps everyone in Scientology did before 1978 to achieve the state of Clear, before NED came along.
The first step is to do a class called the Solo Auditor Course Part I. Although this is a training step done in a courseroom, it’s on the auditing side of the Grade Chart because the only reason one does this course is to train to audit themselves. Hubbard came up with Solo auditing in the mid 1960s and said it was necessary for many of the more advanced levels of Scientology auditing to audit oneself because of the speed of mental phenomena that would occur in an advanced auditing session. A regular auditor giving the person auditing questions and having to process the person’s answers and so on would just take too long, so Hubbard devised a system wherein a person would go in to a room alone with an E-meter, sit down at a desk and have a series of pre-written questions or commands to carry out on themselves while using the E-meter to see what registers and what doesn’t. That, in a nutshell, is Solo auditing and that is what a person learns to do on the Solo Auditor Course.
Now the first two auditing steps of the Alternate Clear Route are not done solo. They are called Power and Power Plus. These are confidential levels, as are the rest of the Alternate Clear Route steps. Power and Power Plus basically address a person’s inability to deal with having and maintaining power, both personally and in groups. The auditing procedures are rather complex and involved so it’s beyond the purpose of this video to get too deeply into that but the end result of Power and Power Plus is the “ability to handle power.”
Following this, the person does the Solo Auditor Course Part II where they actually go in and do practice auditing sessions on themselves. Once they’ve shown they’re competent at that, they do Grade VI, addressing not traumatic incidents but instead things the person has been doing and being as a spiritual entity far far back in history. It should be noted that by this point in auditing, a person has ceased tackling much in the way of current life issues and is directed by Hubbard to things Hubbard claimed happened millions and even trillions of years in the past which have made us the way we are today. The end result of Grade VI is “freedom from dramatization” which basically means no longer doing harmful things brought about by past identities the person was caught up in all this time.
Finally on the Alternate Clear Route is the Clearing Course, another solo auditing action which has the end result of the person being Clear. This can take months and months of solo auditing and is an insanely complicated procedure I could not even begin to describe here because it’s heavily laden with advanced Scientology terminology.
Whether through NED or the Alternate Clear Route, once a person achieves the state of Clear and has trained on the Solo Auditor Course, he is ready for the OT levels. There are two intermediate steps which are no longer listed on the Grade Chart itself but which are done before one can receive an invitation to start the OT levels. You see, you don’t just pay your money and start on the OT levels. You have to receive a security clearance first so the Church will trust you with their highly confidential, advanced materials. Those steps are OT Preparations and then OT Eligibility.
Often times a person will take a break from auditing after they go Clear and go off into the world to live their life, as well as save up the tens of thousands of dollars they will need to do the OT levels. So when they come back, OT Preparations is done to fix or remedy any problems they may have run into in their life and get them feeling good again. There are a couple of steps at this point that everyone receives, regardless of whether they take a break or not, but most of the time an OT Preps program is tailored to the individual to deal with any specific problems he has, especially if anyone is giving him a hard time about doing Scientology such as friends or family members.
Once all the prep work is done, the person is given OT Eligibility. This is a prepared interrogatory that asks all about any potential security threats or problems the person may have which would make them ineligibile to do the OT levels at this time. Such things might include hostile family or friends, if the person ever was insecure with confidential materials of any kind, whether they are connected or related to anyone who works in the government or for the media, what they’ve been up to on the internet and whether they have ever seen or heard anything critical of Scientology or its leadership, whether they have any doubts or reservations about Scientology itself, what they think of L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology executives, etc. The point of this is to find anything that might give the Church any reason to think this person is not in a passionate daze about being a Scientologist and getting the secrets of the universe revealed to them.
If anything comes up during the interrogatory, the person is sent to see an Ethics Officer to handle these points. Let’s say they were on the internet and read some critical articles about Scientology. They would end up doing an extensive study program of Hubbard’s books and lectures to address why they were having doubts and they would be given information compiled by the Church that is supposed to prove to the person that all of Scientology’s critics are lying and the Church is blameless and did not deserve any such criticism. The person would have to demonstrate that they truly believe that before they would be given a pass by the Ethics Officer.
Once a person successfully passes the steps of OT Eligibility, they are given a written invitation to start the OT Levels.
And with that, we will wrap up Part 1. In our next part, we’ll look at the upper levels of the Grade Chart, the infamous OT Levels and the advanced auditor training levels and what they cover also.
Thank you for watching.