The Church of Scientology may not celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa in the traditional sense, but that hasn’t stopped it from releasing an annual holiday catalog full of L. Ron Hubbard-approved items and memorabilia. The “Dianetics & Scientology Holiday Catalog and Gifts 2014” encourages the masses to “Give the Gift of Source” as opposed to, say, a labelmaker or tea set.
“Here you find L. Ron Hubbard’s treasures for those you care about – your family, friends and associates. There is no greater gift you can give. A gift that transcends the MEST universe itself. A gift of truth and eternal knowledge that will last forever. This holiday season, give the gift of Source to everyone you know. Give them the priceless technology of Dianetics and Scientology that will change their lives – forever,” the catalog’s introduction said.
The Scientology holiday catalog features an array of potential gifts. For example, the Mark Ultra VIII E-Meter, complete with free solo electrodes, is available for $5,000. The device purportedly uses “cutting-edge technology to take your up the Bridge to Clear and OT with astounding speed and clarity.” Shoppers interested in more than the run-of-the-mill version can buy the “once-in-a-lifetime” Mark Ultra VIII E-Meter Commemorative Edition, available in red, green and blue.
From there, customers are presented with a variety of books and audio selections with which to begin their tutelage under Hubbard’s teachings. Scientology’s Student Hat Dictionary, complete with “every technical term, every slang word and phrase, every historical reference, defined exactly in the context Ron used them,” can be had for $75. A series of audio lectures is available for $200.
Would-be newcomers to Scientology can get acquainted with the philosophy through the “Beginning Books Package,” which sells for $175. Veterans of the religion can snag the “Legacy Collection,” which includes 19 books, 65 lecture series, 1,517 lectures and six DVDs for $10,000.
Though Scientologists do not celebrate Christmas in a religious sense, adherents still celebrate by trading gifts and decorating trees, the Houston Chronicle reported in 2010. The church even holds an annual show called “Christmas Stories,” complete with standard Christmas imagery.
“Christmas is Christmas. It’s a season of people coming together. Obviously it has all the religious connotations, but there’s nothing with Scientology that conflicts with Christmas,” Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis said at the time.
Scientology has drawn scrutiny in recent weeks for less festive reasons – specifically, a pair of incidents in which current church members confronted individuals who have left the church. In the most recent instance on Dec. 14, several church members approached Marty Rathbun, a former member and consultant for broadcaster Louis Theroux’s BBC documentary on Scientology, outside the organization’s headquarters in San Jacinto, California.
"[Church of Scientology head David] Miscavige knows I am consulting on this production, am featured in Alex Gibney's upcoming HBO-produced film, and am involved in a number of other major media and theatrical productions involving the deep, dark underside of Scientology. He is following Scientology policy to attempt to terrorize me -- to 'shudder' me into silence,” Rathbun said at the time.