Auditing is a central practice in Scientology through which a practitioner is cleared of negative influences known as engrams in order to heighten spiritual awareness and access currently untapped potential. The Church of Scientology claims the procedure is 100% effective so long as the auditor properly administers it and the recipient both follows the rules and is honestly seeking change. Auditing can become immensely expensive, leading some to question the Church's ultimate motivations.
Auditing sessions involve two people: the person being audited and an auditor. The person being audited is generally referred to as a pre-Clear in public Scientology literature, although Clears continue to participate in a similar process. The auditor monitors a device known as an electro-psychometer, or E-meter. The pre-Clear holds a metal cylinder in each hand, both of which are attached by wires to the E-meter.
According to Scientologists, the E-meter measures mental mass and energy, which are affected by engrams. While the auditor asks the pre-Clear a number of questions, the E-meter indicates what issues might be connected to harmful engrams. Once the problem spot is identified, the auditor helps the pre-Clear work through the issue while the E-meter measures his progress. The procedure is entirely painless. The Church stresses that the auditor never actually does anything to the pre-Clear but rather acts as a guide while the pre-Clear confronts past traumas and releases the engrams bound up within them.
Auditing Past Clear
Once a Scientologist has been declared Clear, his next goal is to become an Operating Thetan or OT. Because Clears no longer have a reactive mind, which is the source of engrams, auditing focuses on other negative influences known as body thetans. OTs learn to use greater portions of their innate abilities as they learn more about their true natures and eliminate the influence of body thetans.
All auditors are ministers or ministers-in-training, and auditing sessions are considered highly confidential.
Auditors are specifically trained in the auditing process. Because auditing is viewed as a science and a procedure, there are specific steps that the auditor must follow in order for it to be successful.
The Church states that, on average, it takes one to two years for someone to reach Clear. This will of course vary depending upon how much time the individual devotes to auditing, training and education in Scientology methods.
Critics claim that the E-meter is nothing more than a galvanometer (a device measuring electrical current) and that variations in readings stem from changes in electrical resistance in the skin due to stress, similar to the functioning of a lie detector. As such, while the auditor accepts a certain reading as the clearing of an engram, the critic would attest the reading to a reduction of stress resulting from a session that strongly resembles psychotherapy.
Numerous ex-members have also accused the Church of breaching confidentiality and exposing secrets gained through auditing in an attempt to control potentially wayward members.