The cross bears some resemblance to the Christian cross, but differs from it with the addition of four diagonal rays between the conventional horizontal and vertical arms. The eight points of the cross represent the eight dynamics in Scientology:
- The Self
- Creativity, sex, and procreation (family)
- Group, society, community
- Species survival (humankind)
- Life forms in general
- Matter, Energy, Space & Time (physical universe)
- Spirit (self or others as a spiritual being)
- Infinity or Supreme being
According to Ability magazine, a sand casting presenting a cross was dug up by L. Ron Hubbard in the mid-1950s, the model of which "came from a very ancient Spanish mission in Arizona". This cross came to be the new minister insignia besides the formal ceremonial medallion and ribbon. He also occasionally referred to it as the "sunburst cross". Scholars speculate the Scientology cross may have been inspired by Aleister Crowley's use of the Rose Cross.[page needed]
The practice of prominently displaying the cross in Scientology centers was instituted in 1969 following hostile press coverage in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, when Scientology's status as a legitimate religion was being questioned. In response, Hubbard ordered that, "Any staff who are trained at any level as auditors (but not in AOs) are to be clothed in the traditioned ministerial black suit, black vest white collar silver cross for ordinary org wear."
- "New Minister Insignia" (PDF). Ability (14): 13. 1955.
The model of the cross came from a very ancient Spanish mission in Arizona, a sand casting which was dug up by Ron. [...] This new ministers cross does not replace the formal ceremonial medallion and ribbon.
- Hubbard, L. Ron (1976). "Operational Bulletin No. 5". The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology: Volume II 1954-1956 (PDF). Scientology Publications. p. 294. ISBN 9788787347822.
A Sunburst Cross and lapel pin will cost 8 gns.
- Urban, Hugh (2012). "The Occult Roots of Scientology?". Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. 15 (3). doi:10.1525/nr.2012.15.3.91.
- Hubbard, L. Ron (1999). "HCO Policy Letter of February 1969: Religion". An Encyclopedia of Scientology Policy (PDF). Los Angeles: Church of Scientology of California. p. 196. ISBN 0-88404-031-3.
Any staff who are trained at any level as auditors (but not in AOs) are to be clothed in the traditioned ministerial black suit, black vest white collar silver cross for ordinary org wear.