NEWS ARCHIVE

Speaker comes ready to explain, defend Scientology

By: Chris Jagger

Issue date: 2/13/09 Section: News

Scientology, the religion that has grabbed mainstream attention thanks to its celebrity followers, sparked curiosity on the Cal Poly campus last night as a church leader came to clear up what he calls misconceptions surrounding the religion.

More than 100 students attended the speech, which was sponsored by Cal Poly Theisms. As seats filled up, many attendants stood while others watched a broadcast in an adjacent room.

Rev. Lee Holzinger, a leader in the Santa Barbara Church of Scientology and 30-year follower, came prepared to give the audience a crash course on the religion. He displayed 18 Scientology books written by L. Ron Hubbard on the front podium. He also cued up clips from a DVD aimed to help clarify some Scientology concepts. Holzinger seemed ready to defend Scientology against any claim.

"I have heard every strange thing and misconception there is about the Church of Scientology, so it's hard to shock me," he said. 

Holzinger said he is aware of the rumors and controversy Scientology breeds and he wants to dispel some of the negativity by discussing what Scientologists actually believe and practice. 

Scientology is often criticized for believing that humans are actually immortal beings known as Thetans, who have lived before birth and will live on after death. Holzinger confirmed this ideology but noted that it is not forced upon members of the church.

"I am a scientologist. I believe I have lived a long time. It isn't something we would preach to anyone. It's just something people discover on their own."

Holzinger said that Scientologists discover their true being with the help of "auditing" sessions. These sessions claim to provide a way for people to recall a previous existence. Holzinger said he made this discovery and is happy with the belief that he is an immortal spirit.

"It's really a very clarifying and stable thing to get to understand, to really know who you are," Holzinger said. 

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