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Scientology Death and Funeral Rituals and Customs

Scientology Death and Funeral Rituals and Customs

Scientologists believe that the body is an impermanent vessel for the individual’s spiritual self, or “thetan.” Funeral services, usually led by a Scientology minister, typically focus on celebrating or acknowledging the deceased’s attributes or life achievements. Because of the body’s impermanence, there are no rules about how physical remains are treated; someone may be cremated or buried. At the funeral service, there may be a casket, a photo or an urn. The deceased is often spoken to directly during the service and thanked for spending time on earth. Readings from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard are usually included, and services are likely to end with this message:

“You are a spirit
You are your own soul
You are not mortal
You can be free”

Things to know:

  • Flowers are appropriate at the funeral, in the chapel or at a graveside service
  • There are no stated rules around attire
  • Non-Scientologists are welcome to attend services, even when held in a Scientology chapel
  • Recording devices of any kind — audio, video or photo — are not permitted


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