Expertise on the Historic Practice
of Maintaining Confidential Scriptures

by Petro B.T. Bilaniuk
Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
University of St. Michael's College
in the University of Toronto

To Whom it may Concern

      I am a professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada as well as Visiting Professor of Church History, Ukrainian Free University, Munich, Germany, Visiting Professor of Eastern Christian Theology, John XXIII Institute for Eastern Christian Studies, Bronx, New York and Visiting Professor of Moral Theology and Church History, St. Clement Ukrainian Catholic University, Rome. I was educated at the Grand Seminaire de Theologie, L’ Universite de Montreal (Baccalaureus Theologiae), University of Munich (Doctor Theologiae [magna cum laude]), and Ukrainian Free University, Munich (Doctor Philosophiae [summa cum laude]). I hold two honorary degrees, a cultural doctorate in Sacred Philosophy from the World University, Tuscon, Arizona (1982) and Doctor of Divinity, College of St. Thomas, Montreal (1985). I am a member of thirty-six learned societies and academies including the Canadian Theological Society, Catholic Theological Society of America, the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology. I have received awards and honours including the Albert Einstein Academy Foundation Medal for Peace, 3rd class with ribbon in 1991. I have published thirteen books and pamphlets and 160 articles. I am also a Right Reverend Mitrophoric Archpriest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and Honorary Canon of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv.

      I am acquainted with the beliefs and practices of the Church of Scientology and have testified as an expert witness to the bona fide religious nature of the Scientology religion to the Quebec Court, Province of Quebec, Canada.

      The Church of Scientology’s religious practice of maintaining the confidentiality of certain Church scriptures deemed to be sacred (information pertaining to the advanced levels of “operating thetan”) has precedent in the early Christian church. A custom known as “disciplina arcani” began in the 3rd century with the establishment of Christian religious schools and continued through the 4th and 5th centuries. This practice forbade clergy and the faithful to speak of various rites and articles of faith to non-believers and beginning members. This included such things as the rites of Christian initiation, the Lord’s Prayer, the Eucharist and the Creed.

      The reasons for this, best illustrated as excerpted from the Encyclopedia of the Early Church, Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, James Clarke and Co., were “experience must accompany knowledge of the Christian mysteries step by step”,"knowledge itself must gradually be transformed into love, which makes the truth known an object of prayer”, “the need for gravity, discipline, respect for authority in a well-ordered social organization like the church” and the “keeping of intimate relations with God from profane eyes”.

      The reasoning is similar to the current rationale used by Scientologists for maintaining confidentiality to their sacred materials. It is a primary belief and practice of Scientology that an individual must be prepared spiritually by the knowledge of lower Scientology levels as well as demonstrate good character in order to receive these confidential scriptures. However, unlike the early Christian Church, Scientology belief includes the notion of possible spiritual detriment should an individual receive these articles of faith without this extensive prior preparation. This apparently is the major reason for the withholding of such scriptures.

      The confidentiality of such sacred material is a firm internal policy and instituted practice laid down by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. It is a central practice of the Scientology religion and should be respected and protected as such.

November 26, 1994

Right Reverend Mitrophoric Archpriest
PETRO B.T. BILANIUK
S.T.B., Dr. Theol., Dr. Phil., C.D.S.P., D.D., L.F.I.B.A.
Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Honorary Canon of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv
University of St. Michael's College
in the University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1J4

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