XENU (/ˈziːnuː/ ), also called XEMU, was, according to
L. Ron Hubbard , the dictator of the "Galactic
Confederacy" who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people
Earth (then known as "Teegeeack") in DC-8 -like spacecraft, stacked
them around volcanoes , and killed them with hydrogen bombs . Official
Scientology scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of
these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm.
These events are known within
Scientology as "Incident II", and the
traumatic memories associated with them as "The Wall of Fire" or "R6
implant ". The narrative of
Xenu is part of Scientologist teachings
about extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in
earthly events, collectively described as "space opera " by Hubbard.
Hubbard detailed the story in Operating
Thetan level III (OT III) in
1967, warning that the "R6 implant" (past trauma) was "calculated to
kill (by pneumonia , etc.) anyone who attempts to solve it".
Within the Church of
Scientology , the
Xenu story is part of the
church's secret "Advanced Technology", considered a sacred and
esoteric teaching, which is normally only revealed to members who
have completed a lengthy sequence of courses costing large amounts of
money. The church avoids mention of
Xenu in public statements and has
gone to considerable effort to maintain the story's confidentiality,
including legal action on the grounds of copyright and trade secrecy .
Officials of the Church of
Scientology widely deny or try to hide the
Xenu story. Despite this, much material on
Xenu has leaked to the
public via court documents, copies of Hubbard's notes, and the
Internet . In commentary on the impact of the
Xenu text, academic
scholars have discussed and analyzed the writings by Hubbard and their
Scientology within the contexts of science fiction, UFO
Gnosticism and creation myths .
* 1 Summary
* 3 Origins of the story
* 4 Influence of
OT III on
* 5 Name
* 6 Church of Scientology\'s position
* 7 Leaking of the story
* 8 In popular culture
* 9 Commentary
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes
* 12 References
* 13 External links
A DC-8 aircraft in 2004. Hubbard described Xenu's spacecraft as
looking exactly like DC-8s without "fans" (meaning the jet engines, or
The story of
Xenu is covered in
OT III , part of Scientology's secret
"Advanced Technology" doctrines taught only to advanced members who
have undergone many hours of auditing and reached the state of Clear
followed by Operating
Thetan levels 1 and 2. It is described in more
detail in the accompanying confidential "Assists" lecture of October
3, 1968, and is dramatized in
Revolt in the Stars (a screen-story –
in the form of a novel – written by
L. Ron Hubbard in 1977).
Hubbard wrote that
Xenu was the ruler of a Galactic Confederacy 75
million years ago, which consisted of 26 stars and 76 planets
including Earth, which was then known as "Teegeeack". The planets
were overpopulated, containing an average population of 178 billion.
The Galactic Confederacy's civilization was comparable to our own,
with aliens "walking around in clothes which looked very remarkably
like the clothes they wear this very minute" and using cars, trains
and boats looking exactly the same as those "circa 1950, 1960" on
Xenu was about to be deposed from power, so he devised a plot to
eliminate the excess population from his dominions. With the
assistance of psychiatrists , he gathered billions of his citizens
under the pretense of income tax inspections, then paralyzed them and
froze them in a mixture of alcohol and glycol to capture their souls.
The kidnapped populace was loaded into spacecraft for transport to the
site of extermination, the planet of Teegeeack (
Earth ). The
appearance of these spacecraft would later be subconsciously expressed
in the design of the
Douglas DC-8 , the only difference being that
"the DC8 had fans, propellers on it and the space plane didn't". When
they had reached Teegeeack, the paralyzed citizens were unloaded
around the bases of volcanoes across the planet. Hydrogen bombs were
then lowered into the volcanoes and detonated simultaneously, killing
all but a few aliens. Hubbard described the scene in his film script,
Revolt in the Stars:
Simultaneously, the planted charges erupted. Atomic blasts ballooned
from the craters of Loa ,
Vesuvius , Shasta , Washington , Fujiyama ,
Etna , and many, many others. Arching higher and higher, up and
outwards, towering clouds mushroomed, shot through with flashes of
flame, waste and fission. Great winds raced tumultuously across the
face of Earth, spreading tales of destruction ... — L. Ron
Revolt in the Stars
The now-disembodied victims' souls, which Hubbard called thetans ,
were blown into the air by the blast. They were captured by Xenu's
forces using an "electronic ribbon" ("which also was a type of
standing wave ") and sucked into "vacuum zones" around the world. The
hundreds of billions of captured thetans were taken to a type of
cinema, where they were forced to watch a "three-D , super colossal
motion picture" for thirty-six days. This implanted what Hubbard
termed "various misleading data"' (collectively termed the R6 implant
) into the memories of the hapless thetans, "which has to do with God,
Devil , space opera , etcetera". This included all world religions
; Hubbard specifically attributed Roman Catholicism and the image of
Crucifixion to the influence of Xenu. The two "implant stations"
cited by Hubbard were said to have been located on Hawaii and Las
Palmas in the
Canary Islands .
In addition to implanting new beliefs in the thetans, the images
deprived them of their sense of personal identity . When the thetans
left the projection areas, they started to cluster together in groups
of a few thousand, having lost the ability to differentiate between
each other. Each cluster of thetans gathered into one of the few
remaining bodies that survived the explosion. These became what are
known as body thetans , which are said to be still clinging to and
adversely affecting everyone except Scientologists who have performed
the necessary steps to remove them.
A government faction known as the Loyal Officers finally overthrew
Xenu and his renegades, and locked him away in "an electronic mountain
trap" from which he has not escaped. Although the location of Xenu
is sometimes said to be the
Pyrenees on Earth, this is actually the
location Hubbard gave elsewhere for an ancient "Martian report
station". Teegeeack was subsequently abandoned by the Galactic
Confederacy and remains a pariah "prison planet" to this day, although
it has suffered repeatedly from incursions by alien "Invader Forces"
since that time.
In 1988, the cost of learning these secrets from the Church of
Scientology was £ 3,830, or US$6,500. This is in addition to the
cost of the prior courses which are necessary to be eligible for OT
III, which is often well over US$100,000 (roughly £ 60,000). Belief
Xenu and body thetans is a requirement for a Scientologist to
progress further along the
Bridge to Total Freedom . Those who do not
experience the benefits of the
OT III course are expected to take it
and pay for it again.
Within Scientology, the
Xenu story is referred to as "The Wall of
Fire" or "Incident II". Hubbard attached tremendous importance to
it, saying that it constituted "the secrets of a disaster which
resulted in the decay of life as we know it in this sector of the
galaxy". The broad outlines of the story—that 75 million years ago
a great catastrophe happened in this sector of the galaxy which caused
profoundly negative effects for everyone since then—are told to
lower-level Scientologists; but the details are kept strictly
confidential, within Scientology.
OT III document describes that Hubbard entered the Wall of Fire
but emerged alive ("probably the only one ever to do so in 75,000,000
years"). He first publicly announced his "breakthrough" in Ron's
Journal 67 (RJ67), a taped lecture recorded on September 20, 1967, to
be sent to all Scientologists. According to Hubbard, his research was
achieved at the cost of a broken back, knee, and arm.
OT III contains
a warning that the R6 implant is "calculated to kill (by pneumonia
etc.) anyone who attempts to solve it". Hubbard claimed that his
"tech development"—i.e. his OT materials—had neutralized this
threat, creating a safe path to redemption.
The Church of
Scientology forbade individuals from reading the OT III
Xenu cosmogony without first having taken prerequisite courses.
Scientologists warn that reading the
Xenu story without proper
authorization could cause pneumonia.
In RJ67, Hubbard then alludes to the devastating effect of Xenu's
And it is very true that a great catastrophe occurred on this planet
and in the other 75 planets which formed this Confederacy 75 million
years ago. It has since that time been a desert, and it has been the
lot of just a handful to try to push its technology up to a level
where someone might adventure forward, penetrate the catastrophe, and
undo it. We're well on our way to making this occur.
OT III also deals with Incident I, set four quadrillion years ago.
In Incident I, the unsuspecting thetan was subjected to a loud
snapping noise followed by a flood of luminescence, then saw a chariot
followed by a trumpeting cherub . After a loud set of snaps, the
thetan was overwhelmed by darkness. It is described that these
traumatic memories alone separate thetans from their static (natural,
Hubbard uses the existence of body thetans to explain many of the
physical and mental ailments of humanity which, he says, prevent
people from achieving their highest spiritual levels.
OT III tells
the Scientologist to locate body thetans and release them from the
effects of Incidents I and II. This is accomplished in solo auditing,
where the Scientologist holds both cans of an
E-meter in one hand and
asks questions as an auditor. The Scientologist is directed to find a
cluster of body thetans, address it telepathically as a cluster, and
take first the cluster, then each individual member, through Incident
II, then Incident I if needed. Hubbard warns that this is a
painstaking procedure, and that OT levels IV to VII are necessary to
continue dealing with one's body thetans.
The Church of
Scientology has objected to the
Xenu story being used
Scientology as science fiction fantasy (see Space opera in
Scientology doctrine ). Hubbard's statements concerning the R6 implant
have been a source of contention. Critics and some
that Hubbard's statements regarding R6 prove that
is incompatible with Christianity, despite the Church's statements
to the contrary. In "Assists", Hubbard says:
Everyman is then shown to have been crucified so don't think that
it's an accident that this crucifixion, they found out that this
applied. Somebody somewhere on this planet, back about 600 BC, found
some pieces of R6, and I don't know how they found it, either by
watching madmen or something, but since that time they have used it
and it became what is known as Christianity. The man on the Cross.
There was no Christ. But the man on the cross is shown as Everyman.
ORIGINS OF THE STORY
OT III in late 1966 and early 1967 in North Africa
while on his way to
Las Palmas to join the Enchanter, the first vessel
of his private
Scientology fleet (the "
Sea Org "). (
OT III says "In
December 1967 I knew someone had to take the plunge", but the material
was publicised well before this.) He emphasized later that
OT III was
his own personal discovery.
Scientology have suggested that other factors may have
been at work. In a letter of the time to his wife Mary Sue , Hubbard
said that, in order to assist his research, he was drinking alcohol
and taking stimulants and depressants ("I'm drinking lots of rum and
popping pinks and greys"). His assistant at the time, Virginia
Downsborough, said that she had to wean him off the diet of drugs to
which he had become accustomed.
Russell Miller posits in Bare-faced
Messiah that it was important for Hubbard to be found in a debilitated
condition, so as to present
OT III as "a research accomplishment of
Elements of the
Xenu story appeared in
Scientology before OT III.
Hubbard's descriptions of extraterrestrial conflicts were put forward
as early as 1950 in his book Have You Lived Before This Life?, and
were enthusiastically endorsed by Scientologists who documented their
past lives on other planets.
OT III ON SCIENTOLOGY
The volcano and fireball on the cover of
Dianetics refers to the
The 1968 and subsequent reprints of
Dianetics have had covers
depicting an exploding volcano, which is reportedly a reference to OT
III. In a 1968 lecture, and in instructions to his marketing staff,
Hubbard explained that these images would "key in" the submerged
memories of Incident II and impel people to buy the books.
A special 'Book Mission' was sent out to promote these books, now
empowered and made irresistible by the addition of these overwhelming
symbols or images. Organization staff were assured that if they simply
held up one of the books, revealing its cover, that any bookstore
owner would immediately order crateloads of them. A customs officer,
seeing any of the book covers in one's luggage, would immediately pass
one on through. — Bent Corydon, L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman?
Since the 1980s, the volcano has also been depicted in television
commercials advertising Dianetics. Scientology's "
Sea Org ", an elite
group within the church that originated with Hubbard's personal staff
aboard his fleet of ships, takes many of its symbols from the story of
Xenu and OT III. It is explicitly intended to be a revival of the
"Loyal Officers" who overthrew Xenu. Its logo, a wreath with 26
leaves, represents the 26 stars of Xenu's Galactic Confederacy.
According to an official
Scientology dictionary, "the
Sea Org symbol,
adopted and used as the symbol of a Galactic Confederacy far back in
the history of this sector, derives much of its power and authority
from that association".
In the Advanced Orgs in
Edinburgh and Los Angeles,
were at one time ordered to wear all-white uniforms with silver boots,
to mimic Xenu's Galactic Patrol as depicted on the cover of Dianetics:
The Evolution of a Science . This was reportedly done on the basis of
Hubbard's declaration in his Flag Order 652 that mankind would accept
regulation from that group which had last betrayed it—hence the
imitation of Xenu's henchmen. In Los Angeles, a nightwatch was ordered
to watch for returning spaceships.
The manuscript of
OT III contains the only known example of Xenu's
name in Hubbard's handwriting.
The name has been spelled both as
Xenu and Xemu. The Class VIII
course material includes a three-page text, handwritten by Hubbard,
headed "Data", in which the
Xenu story is given in detail. Hubbard's
indistinct handwriting makes either spelling possible, particularly
as the use of the name on the first page of
OT III is the only known
example of the name in his handwriting. In the "Assists" lecture,
Hubbard speaks of "Xenu, ahhh, could be spelled X-E-M-U" and clearly
says "Xemu" several times on the recording. The treatment of Revolt
in the Stars—which is typewritten—uses
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY\'S POSITION
In its public statements, the Church of
Scientology has been
reluctant to allow any mention of Xenu. A passing mention by a trial
judge in 1997 prompted the Church's lawyers to have the ruling sealed
, although this was reversed. In the relatively few instances in
which it has acknowledged Xenu,
Scientology has stated the story's
true meaning can only be understood after years of study. They
complain of critics using it to paint the religion as a
Senior members of the Church of
Scientology have several times
publicly denied or minimized the importance of the
Xenu story, but
others have affirmed its existence. In 1995,
Scientology lawyer Earl
Cooley hinted at the importance of
Scientology doctrine by
stating that "thousands of articles are written about
Coca-Cola , and
they don't print the formula for
Scientology has many
graduated levels through which one can progress. Many who remain at
lower levels in the church are unaware of much of the
Xenu story which
is first revealed on Operating
Thetan level three, or "OT III".
Because the information imparted to members is to be kept secret from
others who have not attained that level, the member must publicly deny
its existence when asked.
OT III recipients must sign an agreement
promising never to reveal its contents before they are given the
manila envelope containing the
Xenu knowledge. It is knowledge so
dangerous, members are told, that anyone learning this material before
he is ready could become afflicted with pneumonia.
Religious Technology Center director Warren McShane testified in a
1995 court case that the Church of
Scientology receives a significant
amount of its revenue from fixed donations paid by Scientologists to
study the OT materials. McShane said that Hubbard's work "may seem
weird" to those that have not yet completed the prior levels of
coursework in Scientology. McShane said the story had never been
secret, although maintaining there were nevertheless trade secrets
contained in OT III. McShane discussed the details of the story at
some length and specifically attributed the authorship of the story to
When John Carmichael, the president of the Church of
New York, was asked about the
Xenu story, he said, as reported in the
September 9, 2007, edition of the
Daily Telegraph : "That's not what
we believe". When asked directly about the
Xenu story by Ted Koppel
on ABC 's Nightline ,
David Miscavige said that he
was taking things Hubbard said out of context. However, in a 2006
Rolling Stone ,
Mike Rinder , the director of the
Office of Special Affairs , said that "It is not a story, it
is an auditing level", when asked about the validity of the Xenu
BBC Panorama programme that aired on May 14, 2007, senior
Scientologist Tommy Davis interrupted when celebrity members were
asked about Xenu, saying: "None of us know what you're talking about.
It's loony. It's weird." In March 2009, Davis was interviewed by
investigative journalist Nathan Baca for
KESQ-TV and was again asked
OT III texts. Davis told Baca "I'm familiar with the
material", and called it "the confidential scriptures of the Church".
In an interview on
ABC News Nightline , October 23, 2009, Davis
walked off the set when
Martin Bashir asked him about Xenu. He told
Bashir, "Martin, I am not going to discuss the disgusting perversions
Scientology beliefs that can be found now commonly on the internet
and be put in the position of talking about things, talking about
things that are so fundamentally offensive to Scientologists to
discuss. ... It is in violation of my religious beliefs to talk about
them." When Bashir repeated a question about Xenu, Davis pulled off
his microphone and left the set.
In November 2009 the Church of Scientology's representative in New
Zealand , Mike Ferris, was asked in a radio interview about Xenu. The
radio host asked, "So what you're saying is,
Xenu is a part of the
religion, but something that you don't want to talk about". Ferris
responded, "Sure". Ferris acknowledged that
Xenu "is part of the
esoterica of Scientology".
LEAKING OF THE STORY
Despite the Church of Scientology's efforts to keep the story secret,
details have been leaked over the years.
OT III was first revealed in
Robert Kaufman's 1972 book Inside
Scientology , in which Kaufman
detailed his own experiences of OT III. It was later described in a
1981 Clearwater Sun article, and came to greater public fame in a
1985 court case brought against
Lawrence Wollersheim .
The church failed to have the documents sealed and attempted to keep
the case file checked out by a reader at all times, but the story was
summarized in the
Los Angeles Times and detailed in William
Poundstone 's Bigger Secrets (1986) from information presented in the
Wollersheim case. In 1987, a book by
L. Ron Hubbard Jr. , L. Ron
Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? quoted the first page of
OT III and
summarized the rest of its content.
Xenu as depicted by Panorama
Since then, news media have mentioned
Xenu in coverage of Scientology
or its celebrity proponents such as
Tom Cruise . In 1987, the BBC
's investigative news series Panorama aired a report titled "The Road
to Total Freedom?" which featured an outline of the
OT III story in
On December 24, 1994, the
Xenu story was published on the Internet
for the first time in a posting to the
alt.religion.scientology , through an anonymous remailer . This led
to an online battle between Church of
Scientology lawyers and
detractors . Older versions of OT levels I to VII were brought as
exhibits attached to a declaration by
Steven Fishman on April 9, 1993,
as part of Church of
Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz.
The text of this declaration and its exhibits, collectively known as
Fishman Affidavit , were posted to the Internet newsgroup
alt.religion.scientology in August 1995 by Arnie Lerma and on the
World Wide Web
World Wide Web by
David S. Touretzky . This was a subject of great
controversy and legal battles for several years. There was a copyright
raid on Lerma's house (leading to massive mirroring of the documents)
and a suit against Dutch writer
Karin Spaink —the Church bringing
suit on copyright violation grounds for reproducing the source
material, and also claiming rewordings would reveal a trade secret.
The Church of Scientology's attempts to keep
Xenu under wraps have
been cited in court findings against it. In September 2003, a Dutch
court, in a ruling in the case against Karin Spaink, stated that one
objective in keeping OT II and
OT III secret was to wield power over
members of the Church of
Scientology and prevent discussion about its
teachings and practices:
Despite his claims that premature revelation of the
OT III story was
L. Ron Hubbard wrote a screenplay version under the title
Revolt in the Stars in the 1970s. This revealed that
Xenu had been
assisted by beings named Chi ("the Galactic Minister of Police") and
Chu ("the Executive President of the Galactic Interplanetary Bank").
It has not been officially published, although the treatment was
circulated around Hollywood in the early 1980s. Unofficial copies of
the screenplay circulate on the Internet.
On March 10, 2001, a user posted the text of OT3 to the online
Slashdot . The site owners took down the comment after the
Scientology issued a legal notice under the Digital
Copyright Act . Critics of the Church of
used public protests to spread the
Xenu secret. This has included
creating web sites with "xenu" in the domain name , and displaying
Xenu on banners, and protest signs.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
Xenu as depicted in
Versions of the
Xenu story have appeared in both television shows and
stage productions. The
Off-Broadway satirical musical A Very Merry
Scientology Pageant , first staged in 2003
and winner of an
Obie Award in 2004, featured children in alien
costumes telling the story of Xenu.
Xenu story was again satirized in a November 2005 episode of the
Comedy Central animated television series
South Park titled "Trapped
in the Closet ". The Emmy -nominated episode, which also lampooned
Tom Cruise and
John Travolta as closeted homosexuals,
Xenu as a vaguely humanoid alien with tentacles for arms, in
a sequence that had the words "This Is What Scientologists Actually
Believe" superimposed on screen. The episode became the subject of
controversy when musician
Isaac Hayes , the voice of the character
"Chef " and a Scientologist, quit the show in March 2006, just prior
to the episode's first scheduled re-screening, citing South Park's
"inappropriate ridicule" of his religion. Hayes' statement did not
mention the episode in particular, but expressed his view that the
show's habit of parodying religion was part of a "growing
insensitivity toward personal spiritual beliefs" in the media that was
also reflected in the Muhammad cartoons controversy : "There is a
place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends
and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others
begins." Responding to Hayes' statement,
South Park co-creator Matt
Stone said his resignation had "nothing to do with intolerance and
bigotry and everything to do with the fact that
Isaac Hayes is a
Scientologist and that we recently featured
Scientology in an episode
South Park ... In 10 years and over 150 episodes of South Park,
Isaac never had a problem with the show making fun of
Jews . He got a sudden case of religious
sensitivity when it was his religion featured on the show. Of course
we will release Isaac from his contract and we wish him well." Comedy
Central cancelled the repeat at short notice, choosing instead to
screen two episodes featuring Hayes. A spokesman said that "in light
of the events of earlier this week, we wanted to give Chef an
appropriate tribute by airing two episodes he is most known for." It
did eventually rebroadcast the episode on July 19, 2006. Stone and
South Park co-creator
Trey Parker felt that Comedy Central's owners
Viacom had cancelled the repeat because of the upcoming release of the
Tom Cruise film Mission: Impossible III by Paramount , another Viacom
company: "I only know what we were told, that people involved with MI3
wanted the episode off the air and that is why
Comedy Central had to
do it. I don't know why else it would have been pulled."
Writing in the book
Scientology published by Oxford University Press
Mikael Rothstein observes that, "To my knowledge no real
analysis of Scientology's
Xenu myth has appeared in scholarly
publications. The most sober and enlightening text about the
is probably the article on (English version) and, even if
brief, Andreas Grünschloss's piece on
Scientology in Lewis (2000:
266–268)." Rothstein places the
Xenu text by
L. Ron Hubbard within
the context of a creation myth within the
Scientology methodology, and
characterizes it as "one of Scientology's more important religious
narratives, the text that apparently constitutes the basic (sometimes
implicit) mythology of the movement, the
Xenu myth, which is basically
a story of the origin of man on
Earth and the human condition."
Rothstein describes the phenomenon within a belief system inspired by
science fiction, and notes that the "myth about Xenu, ... in the shape
of a science fiction-inspired anthropogony, explains the basic
Scientological claims about the human condition."
Andreas Grünschloß analyzes the
Xenu text in The Oxford Handbook of
New Religious Movements, within the context of a discussion on UFO
religions . He characterizes the text as "Scientology's secret
mythology (contained especially in the
OT III teachings)".
Grünschloß points out that L. Ron Hubbard, "also wrote a science
fiction story called Revolt in the Stars, where he displays this
otherwise arcane story about the ancient ruler
Xenu in the form of an
ordinary science fiction novel". Grünschloß posits, "because of the
connections between several motifs in Hubbard's novels and specific
Scientology teachings, one might perceive
Scientology as one of the
rare instances where science fiction (or fantasy literature generally)
is related to the successful formation of a new spiritual movement."
Comparing the fusion between the two genres of Hubbard's science
fiction writing and
Scientology creation myth, Grünschloß writes,
"Although the science fiction novels are of a different genre than
other 'techno-logical' disclosures of Hubbard, they are highly
appreciated by participants, and Hubbard's literary output in this
realm (including the latest movie, Battlefield Earth) is also well
promoted by the organization." Writing in the book UFO Religions
Christopher Partridge , Grünschloß observes, "the
enthusiasm for ufology and science fiction was cultivated in the
formative phase of Scientology. Indeed, even the highly arcane story
of the intergalactic ruler
Xenu ... is related by Hubbard in the style
of a simple science fiction novel".
Several authors have pointed out structural similarities between the
Xenu story and the mythology of gnosticism . James A. Herrick, writing
Xenu text in The Making of the New Spirituality: The Eclipse
of the Western Religious Tradition, notes that "Hubbard's gnostic
leanings are evident in his account of human origins ... In Hubbard,
ideas first expressed in science fiction are seamlessly transformed
into a worldwide religion with affinities to gnosticism." Mary
Farrell Bednarowski, writing in America's Alternative Religions,
similarly states that the outline of the
Xenu mythology is "not
totally unfamiliar to the historian acquainted with ancient
gnosticism", noting that many other religious traditions have the
practice of reserving certain texts to high-level initiates.
Nevertheless, she writes, the
Xenu story arouses suspicion in the
Scientology and adds fuel to "the claims that Hubbard's
system is the product of his creativity as a science fiction writer
rather than a theologian."
Authors Michael McDowell and Nathan Robert Brown discuss
misconceptions about the
Xenu text in their book World Religions at
Your Fingertips, and observe, "Probably the most controversial,
misunderstood, and frequently misrepresented part of the Scientology
religion has to do with a
Scientology myth commonly referred to as the
Legend of Xenu. While this story has now been undoubtedly proven a
part of the religion (despite the fact that church representatives
often deny its existence), the story's true role in
often misrepresented by its critics as proof that they 'believe in
alien parasites.' While the story may indeed seem odd, this is simply
not the case." The authors write that "The story is actually meant to
be a working myth, illustrating the
Scientology belief that humans
were at one time spiritual beings, existing on infinite levels of
intergalactic and interdimensional realities. At some point, the
beings that we once were became trapped in physical reality (where we
remain to this day). This is supposed to be the underlying message of
Xenu story, not that humans are "possessed by aliens". McDowell
and Brown conclude that these inappropriate misconceptions about the
Xenu text have had a negative impact, "Such harsh statements are the
reason many Scientologists now become passionately offended at even
the mention of
Xenu by nonmembers."
Free speech lawyer
Mike Godwin analyzes actions by the Scientology
organization to protect and keep secret the
Xenu text, within a
discussion in his book
Cyber Rights about the application of trade
secret law on the Internet. Godwin explains, "trade secret law
protects the information itself, not merely its particular expression.
Trade secret law, unlike copyright, can protect ideas and facts
directly." He puts forth the question, "But did the material really
qualify as 'trade secrets'? Among the material the church has been
trying to suppress is what might be called a 'genesis myth of
Scientology': a story about a galactic despot named
Xenu who decided
75 million years ago to kill a bunch of people by chaining them to
volcanoes and dropping nuclear bombs on them." Godwin asks, "Does a
'church' normally have 'competitors' in the trade secret sense? If the
Catholics got hold of the full facts about Xenu, does this mean
they'll get more market share?" He comments on the ability of the
Scientology organization to utilize such laws in order to contain its
secret texts, "It seems likely, given what we know about the case now,
that even a combination of copyright and trade secret law wouldn't
accomplish what the church would like to accomplish: the total
suppression of any dissemination of church documents or doctrines."
The author concludes, "But the fact that the church was unlikely to
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