Mark Super VII Quantum E-meter An E-meter is an electronic device used during Dianetics and Scientology auditing. The device is a variation of a Wheatstone bridge, which measures electrical resistance and skin conductance. It is formally known as the Hubbard Electrometer, after the Church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Most of the Scientology concepts associated with the "E-meter" and its use are regarded by the scientific and medical communities as pseudoscience. The device itself is essentially a modified ohmmeter.
The Church of Scientology restricts the use of the E-meter to trained Scientologists, treating it as "a religious artifact used to measure the state of electrical characteristics of the 'static field' surrounding the body". The meter, when used by a trained Scientologist, is claimed to reflect or indicate whether or not a person has been relieved from spiritual impediment of past experiences. Officials within Scientology assert that the E-meter is intended for use only in Church-sanctioned auditing sessions and is in itself not a curative or medical device. The E-meters used by the Church of Scientology are manufactured by Scientologists at their Gold Base facility.
Description and use
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The device's primary component is an electrical measuring instrument called a Wheatstone bridge, which measures the subject's galvanic skin response. By inducing a tiny electrical current, the device measures changes in the human body's electrical resistance. In the case of the E-Meter the voltage applied is between 1V and 5V, and the induced current in the order of fractions of a milliamp. According to Scientology doctrine, the resistance corresponds to the "mental mass and energy" of the subject's mind, which change when the subject thinks of particular mental images (engrams). Scientologists believe that the device has such sensitivity that Hubbard could use it to determine whether or not fruits can experience pain, as in his 1968 assertion that tomatoes "scream when sliced."
E-meter sessions are conducted by Scientology staff known as auditors. Scientology materials traditionally refer to the subject as the "preclear," although auditors continue to use the meter well beyond the "clear" level. The preclear holds a pair of cylindrical electrodes ("cans") connected to the meter while the auditor asks the preclear a series of questions and notes both the verbal response and the activity of the meter. Auditor training describes many types of needle movements, each with a specific significance.
The meter has two control dials. The larger dial, known as the "tone arm," adjusts the meter bias, while the smaller one controls the gain. Auditors manipulate the tone arm during an auditing session to keep the E-meter needle on a marked reference point.
The documentary "Inside Scientology" from the production company Carlton Television suggests that an E-meter is also used as a primitive lie-detector by Scientology, to get rid of critics that could be spying on Scientology's practices.
The E-meter has undergone many changes since it was invented by Volney Mathison, an early collaborator with Hubbard. The Mathison Electropsychometer (as it was then called) was adopted for use in Dianetics and Scientology by Hubbard in the early 1950s, before being temporarily dropped in 1954 during a dispute with Mathison.
In a quote from Bent Corydon's Messiah or Madman?,
It was the Mathison E-Meter, and Mathison was determined to keep it that way. So in late 1954 the use of the E-meter was discontinued by Hubbard. Wrote Hubbard: "Yesterday, we used an instrument called an E-Meter to register whether or not the process was still getting results so that the auditor would know how long to continue it. While the E-Meter is an interesting investigation instrument and has played its part in research, it is not today used by the auditor... As we long ago suspected, the intervention of a mechanical gadget between the auditor and the preclear had a tendency to depersonalize the session..." 
In 1958 when Scientologists Don Breeding and Joe Wallis developed a modified, smaller battery-operated version, which they presented to Hubbard, he again used it. This was christened the Hubbard electrometer. Hubbard patented it on December 6, 1966, as a "Device for Measuring and Indicating Changes in the Resistance of a Human Body" (). The patent is now expired and in the public domain. The Church of Scientology continues to make, sell, and teach its use in auditing.
Mathison never litigated the appropriation of his invention, but he felt bitter and disillusioned about Hubbard. Mathison remarked in 1964, "I decry the doings of trivial fakers, such as scientologists and the like, who glibly denounce hypnosis and then try covertly to use it in their phony systems".
Food and Drug Administration interest
In the early 1960s the US Food and Drug Administration became concerned that the church was using the E-meter to practice medicine without a license.
On January 4, 1963, more than one hundred E-meters were seized by US marshals at the "Founding Church of Scientology" building, now known as the L. Ron Hubbard House, located in Washington, D.C. The church was accused of making false claims that the devices effectively treated some 70 percent of all physical and mental illness. The FDA also charged that the devices did not bear adequate directions for treating the conditions for which they were recommended.
Prolonged litigation ensued, with a subsequent jury trial finding that the E-meter had indeed been misrepresented. The church's contention that its literature was exempt from legal action because it was issued by a religious organization was rejected by the court as irrelevant. However, the Court of Appeals reversed the verdict on the basis that the government had done nothing to rebut the church's claim that Scientology was a religion. A new trial was ordered which upheld the findings and verdict of the first trial.
Judge Gerhardt A. Gesell found that:
The judge ordered use of the E-meter be confined to "bona fide religious counseling" and the device be prominently labeled with a warning notice:
The church has adopted a modified version of this statement, which it still invokes in connection with the E-meter. The current statement reads:
In 1979 in Sweden, a court forbade calling the E-meter an invaluable aid to measuring man's mental state and changes in it in an advertisement. The prohibition was upheld by the European Commission of Human Rights in case X. and Church of Scientology v. Sweden.
In October 2009, a three-judge panel at the Correctional Court in Paris, France convicted the church and six of its members of organized fraud. The Court's decision followed a three week trial, where two plaintiffs alleged they were defrauded by the organization. The focus of the plaintiff's complaint was on the use of an E-Meter by Scientologists. The plaintiffs alleged that, after using the device, they were encouraged to pay for vitamins and books and claimed that amounted to fraud. The Court agreed. See Scientology in France.
Today, models of the E-meter include the Mark V, the Mark VI and the Mark VII. As of January 2005, the cost of the Mark V was $900 and the Mark VII Super Quantum E-meter was US $4,650.00 (up from US $3,850 in 1995). Scientologists of the Free Zone have developed their own E-meter models which are available at much lower prices. They also offer circuit diagrams and instructions for building a meter.
Scientology's views on the device
L. Ron Hubbard sets out his theory of how the E-meter works in his book Understanding the E-Meter:
Hubbard claimed that this "mental mass" has the same physical characteristics, including weight, as mass as commonly understood by lay persons:
This text in Understanding the E-Meter is accompanied by three drawings. The first shows a man standing on a weighing scale, which reflects a weight of "150" (the units are not given). The next shows the man on the same scale, weighed down under a burden of "Mental Image Pictures", and the scale indicates a weight of "180". The last picture shows the man standing upright on the scale, now unburdened by "Mental Image Pictures" and with a smile on his face, while the scale again indicates a weight of "150".
- List of Scientology Security Checks
- Rehabilitation Project Force
- United States District Court, District of Columbia, 1971. "United States of America, Libelant, v. An Article or Device... 'Hubbard Electrometer' or Hubbard E-Meter,' etc., Funding Church of Scientology, et al., Claimants. No. D.C. 1-63 (July 30)
- Official Church of Scientology site of the E-Meter
- What is Scientology: The E-Meter
- Scientology Today: What is the E-Meter and how does it work?
- ''The Scandal of Scientology''
- The E-Meter Papers
Secrets of Scientology: The E-Meter, David S. Touretzky
- Scientology abuses eBay's VeRO program to practice religious, price discrimination
- French court convicts Church of Scientology of fraud
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