Operating Thetan

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In Scientology, Operating Thetan (OT) is a spiritual state above Clear. It is defined as "knowing and willing cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time (MEST)".[1] According to religious scholar J. Gordon Melton, "It's basically a variation of the Gnostic myth about souls falling into matter and the encumbrances that come with that".[2]


Scientology doctrine defines OT as the "highest state there is". The OT is able to "control or operate thought, life, matter, energy, space, and time" whether he or she has a body and mind or not.[3][4] The state of Operating Thetan is represented by a symbol consisting of the letters OT with the T inside the O and each of the points of the T ending at the O's circumference, evoking not only the level's initials but also the medieval O-T map representing the known world and, metaphorically, the entirety of the observable universe, over which a fully developed OT allegedly has immediate control.

After having removed one's own reactive mind and thus attaining the state of Clear, one may then go on to the OT levels.[5]


OT I[edit]

"This Solo-audited level is the first step a Clear takes toward full OT abilities, and that first step is a fresh causative OT viewpoint of the MEST universe and other beings."[6] The cost to 'upgrade' to this level is $2,750.[7]

OT II[edit]

"By confronting hidden areas of one's existence on the whole track [that is, by confronting past incarnations], vast amounts of energy and attention are released. Those on this Solo-audited level experience a resurgence of self-determinism and native ability. OT II unlocks the aberrative factors on the whole track that have allowed the thetan to lose his innate freedom and ability and one achieves the ability to confront the whole track."[6] The cost to 'upgrade' to this level is $5,225.[7]

OT III: The Wall of Fire[edit]

Main article: Xenu

"This Solo-audited level goes through what is called the "Wall of Fire" that surrounds a previously impenetrable whole track mystery. What prevents a being from being himself? This level answers that question. Once complete, a being is free of the whole track overwhelm that has trapped him. Here he confronts and eradicates the fourth dynamic engram that has plagued this universe for millennia."[6] The cost to 'upgrade' to this level is $8,910.[7]

Church dogma regards OT III as a dangerous process which can lead to pneumonia, to lack of sleep or even to death if not run correctly. In Church of Scientology of California v. Kaufman, it was noted that the defendant had been required to sign a waiver to the effect that "the Scientology Organization, its branches and members, and L. Ron Hubbard are not responsible for anything that might happen to my body or mind on OT III".[8]

OT IV: OT Drug Rundown[edit]

"This level handles the hidden problems and stops in a being's universe caused by the effects of drugs and poisons on the whole track. This is the final polish that rids one of any last vestige of the effects of drugs on the spirit. Ministered at Advanced Organizations or Flag. Approximately 12½ to 25 hours."[6]

OT V: New Era Dianetics for OTs[edit]

"The Second Wall of Fire consists of 26 separate rundowns and has been described as dealing with "living lightning, the very stuff of life itself." This level addresses the last aspects of one's case that can prevent him from achieving total freedom on all dynamics. An audited level ministered at Advanced Organizations or Flag. Approximately 50 hours."[6]

OT VI: Hubbard Solo New Era Dianetics for OTs (Solo NOTs) Auditing Course[edit]

"The training one receives before starting to solo audit on New OT VII is so powerful that it actually constitutes an entire OT level. On Solo NOTs one is dealing with complexities intended to crush one's true power and abilities as a thetan. Solo NOTs auditors acquire a wide range of auditing skills to handle the vast phenomena that can occur on OT VIII. Approximately 3–4 weeks with the new Solo Auditor Course done."[6]

OT VII: Hubbard Solo New Era Dianetics for OTs Auditing[edit]

"On New OT VII one solo audits at home daily. This is a lengthy level, requiring a considerable amount of time to complete. It is the final pre-OT level, and culminates in attainment of the state of CAUSE OVER LIFE."[6]

OT VIII: Truth Revealed[edit]

Main article: OT VIII

"This Solo-audited level addresses the primary cause of amnesia on the whole track and lets one see the truth of his own existence. This is the first actual OT level and brings about a resurgence of power and native abilities for the being himself. This may be done at the Flag Ship Service Organization."

Unreleased levels[edit]


Beyond Operating Thetan[edit]

Once someone has completed the OT level XVIII SUPREME BEING, they can go on to the ultimate powerful level of the Cleared Theta Clear state. Cleared Theta Clear is beyond that of an Operating Thetan level and gives a person the power to control MEST to an extent above that of an OT working outside of the body using only mind, controlling any and all things within this universe and beyond. Hubbard describes this way:

A thetan who is completely rehabilitated and can do everything a thetan should do, such as move MEST and control others from a distance, or create his own universe; a person who is able to create his own universe or, living in the MEST universe is able to create illusions perceivable by others at will, to handle MEST universe objects without mechanical means and to have and feel no need of bodies or even the MEST universe to keep himself and his friends interested in existence.

— L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology 8-8008, p. 114 (1st ed), p. 151 (1990 ed.)


Following its rise to prominence, a growing number of former Scientologists have made public allegations that the church encourages its members to complete very expensive courses and expect wonderful results; when the improvements fail to be realized, further courses are then promoted to facilitate the anticipated changes. Criticism stems from a pattern of cycles wherein members continue to pay increasing amounts for these courses, while some even put their families into debt chasing the elusive life-changing results under the stewardship of the "church".[9]

Legal issues and copyright[edit]

In March 2008 WikiLeaks leaked the Church of Scientology's Operating Thetan documents.[10] The Church of Scientology portrayed hosting the documentation as a copyright violation implying that the collection is Church doctrine. A court found that it was legal to download, use, read, and practice these teachings outside the church.[11]

In 1997 Zenon Panoussis  ( sv ) sent copies of the NOT documents to various government authorities,[citation needed] thereby making the documents public according to the Swedish principle of public access to official records.[clarify] The Church of Scientology responded by ordering members to continuously borrow the available copies in order to prevent non-members from reading them.[citation needed] The Church of Scientology also sued Panoussis for copyright infringement, since he had also made the documents available online without permission.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The State of Operating Thetan (Church of Scientology)
  2. ^ Verini, James (2005-06-28). "Missionary Man: Tom Cruise and the Church of Scientology". Salon.com. Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2008-10-26. 
  3. ^ Technical Dictionary of Dianetics and Scientology; L. Ron Hubbard; Bridge Publications; ISBN 0-88404-037-2
  4. ^ The Official Scientology and Dianetics Glossary definition of pre-OT levels; accessed 2008-02-03 (mirror)
  5. ^ www.whatisscientology.org, Grade chart of Scientology courses, training and processing
  6. ^ a b c d e f g What is Scientology compiled by the staff of Church of Scientology International. c1998 published Bridge Publications Inc. ISBN 1-57318-078-5 pg. 840-841
  7. ^ a b c "Chapter 7 OT -- Through the Wall of Fire and Beyond". The OT Levels. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Church of Scientology of California v. Kaufman, [1972] F.S.R. 591 per Goff J - in the Chancery Division of the High Court
  9. ^ Atack, Jon [1990] A Piece of Blue Sky, Carol Pub. Group, Chap 3, ISBN 0-8184-0499-X http://www.xenu.net/archive/books/apobs/bs1-3.htm
  10. ^ wikinews:Church of Scientology's 'Operating Thetan' documents leaked online
  11. ^ Metz, Cade (8 April 2008). "Scientology threatens Wikileaks with injunction". The Register. Retrieved 2008-12-09. 
  12. ^ Macavinta, Courtney (30 March 1999). "Scientologists settle legal battle". CNet News. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 


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