Is Scientology auditing confidential?

Individuals opposed to the religion have spread misinformation on the Internet and elsewhere about auditing and the confidentiality of information divulged by parishioners to their ministers.

Scientology ministers maintain and practice a code of conduct known as the Auditor’s Code. The Auditor’s Code provides exact ethical standards to ensure that all auditing is ministered in an orthodox and ethical manner and that priest-penitent communications remain strictly confidential.

Auditing is ministered to a person under his own determinism and for his improvement. Auditing will not work if it is attempted without the recipient’s full agreement and decision to participate in the auditing action. Also, much like the Catholic Church, Scientologists participate in confessionals. Like many religions, moral and ethical transgressions (sins) are believed to hinder spiritual advancement and freedom. But the allegation that an E-Meter is analogous to a lie detector is not only ridiculous, it is tired and offensive. Any trained Scientology auditor knows an E-Meter reacts on emotion and a person accused of something he did not do is as likely to register as on something he did do. The E-Meter is used for the benefit of the person receiving auditing and aids Scientologists in locating their own areas of spiritual travail. Because of its strictly religious purpose, the E-Meter may only be used by Scientology ministers or ministers-in-training.

Auditing must be conducted within a framework of complete trust. Thus, as with ministers of other religions, the Auditor’s Code requires auditors to treat communications from parishioners with total confidentiality. The Auditor’s Code requires a minister to never use the secrets divulged by a parishioner in an auditing session. Traditionally, all communications between a minister and his parishioner have been privileged and confidential. This is also the case in auditing. The information given in trust during an auditing session by a parishioner to a minister is considered sacrosanct by the Church and Church ministers. All such information is kept strictly confidential by a Scientology minister and the Church.

The Church of Scientology has gone to considerable lengths to ensure that these records remain strictly confidential and the courts have supported the Church’s position. For example, in Funderburg v. United States of America, a United States Federal District Court confirmed that Scientology auditing records were privileged, finding that:

“(1) audit[ing records] are deemed strictly confidential by the Church.

“(2) audit[ing sessions] are conducted by trained auditors and occur only between such auditor and preclear.

“(3) the records from such audits are maintained in separate files which are marked ‘confidential’ and stored in locked cabinets.”