Tom Cruise talks for nine minutes in his instantly famous Scientology video -- now, can anyone figure out what he's actually saying?
Apparently, non-Scientologists are just "spectators." It's a far nicer thing to call us -- kind of like "Muggles in "Harry Potter" -- than the term they usually use, "wog," which is more equivalent to the derogatory "Mudbloods" in the "Potter" books. Here's a breakdown of some of the other Scientologese words, acronyms and turns of phrase -- culled from a variety of sources, including books, Web sites, and current and former church members -- that might get lost in translation:
LRH: L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology and author of sci-fi books such as "Battlefield Earth" and "Mission Earth."
"I take this as a half-ack": What was that sound? A furball? Actually, a "half-ack" -- a half-acknowledgement -- means you were encouraged. In LRH's communication theory, you have to give signals to pre-clears (people who have not yet "cleared" themselves of unwanted emotions) -- like "good," "OK," "I got that." Get that?
KSW: Keeping Scientology Working. Refers to a policy LRH published in 1965 that requires all Scientologists to follow his words and rules exactly.
"It is something that you have to earn": Cruise is referring to taking Scientology courses. According to the church, to get to the higher levels of Scientology -- he's an OT VII, the highest level is OT VIII -- you must complete a number of courses and auditing sessions, a sort of Scientological take on the Catholic confession. And it all costs; depending on your level, the tab for wisdom can be hundreds if not thousands of dollars. To finally learn what the basis of Scientology's precepts are (about how we got remnants of space aliens known as thetans trapped in our system), you must attain the level of OT III. The secrets of Xenu aren't free!
"Am I going to look at that guy or am I too afraid?": Cruise's relentless stare is actually a technique from "Success Through Communication" training routine (TR) drills. According to former and current members, pre-clears have to learn to look someone straight in the eye for hours. It's supposed to generate self-confidence and intimidate the other party. No blinking!
"... Because I have my own out-ethics": The church says ethics are moral choices but belong to a distinct moral system, based on LRH's book "Introduction to Scientology Ethics." If you misbehave, you have "out-ethics." If you're behaving, you have your ethics "in." To put your ethics "in" someone else, as Cruise later says, is to make someone else conform.
"The ability to create new and better realities and improve conditions": "Conditions" refer to LRH principles, which are charted on a scale. It's a Scientologist's goal to "improve conditions," which means improving your relationship with yourself and to those within your group. The "conditions" (in order) are: confusion, treason, enemy, doubt, liability, nonexistence, danger, emergency, normal, affluence, power change and power, according to numerous accounts of church practices. These are the practical applications of "ethics."
Tech: Otherwise known as "ethics tech." The methods and principles learned in Scientology courses.
"Orgs are there to help": Not Orcs from "Lord of the Rings" -- orgs, as in Scientology churches and other organizations, such as Narconon, Criminon and Second Chance, all of which can be found online.
Criminon: Scientology group that recruits through prisons, promising alcohol and drug rehabilitation.
SP: "Suppressive Person." An SP is someone who commits suppressive acts, like murder, criticizing Scientology or altering LRH's teachings, according to former and current members. Journalists are automatically considered SPs because they traffic in bad news and so are barred from entering Scientology. Psychiatrists would also be SPs, so Cruise says, "Crush these guys! I've had it! No mercy! None! Go to guns!" as a call to arms. Since all's fair in war, LRH once issued a policy called "Fair Game" that decreed that anyone who opposed Scientology could be "tricked, sued or lied to and destroyed." The church says it no longer officially practices this, however, it is still a fairly contentious organization.
PTS: "Potential Trouble Sources," as in Scientologists who are losing the faith or are being influenced by an SP.
PTS/SP: A course in how to "handle" and/or "disconnect" PTS and SPs, which usually costs about $1,600, according to estimates from church members.
"Ways to Happiness": Actually, "A Way to Happiness," a booklet of the Scientology version of the 10 Commandments, except theirs has 21 Commandments. The number-one precept is "Take Care of Yourself." Also on the list: "Don't Be Promiscuous," "Set a Good Example," "Do Not Murder," "Do Not Harm a Person of Good Will" and "Flourish and Prosper."
Perhaps "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry said it more succinctly: "Live long and prosper."