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What is a Scientology wedding?

When Tom Cruise marries Katie Holmes on Saturday, like many a devout Scientologist, he may promise to provide her with "a pan, a comb, perhaps a cat."

The formal wedding of the Hollywood stars in Italy is shaping up as possibly the most famous Scientology wedding since science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard founded the church in Los Angeles in 1954.

Here are some details of a Scientology wedding:

Concepts

  • What makes a Scientology wedding unique is the advice offered in the ceremony for couples to maintain and improve their relationship.
  • A basic concept in the Scientology religion is that reality is created by agreement. The wedding is a gathering of family and friends who, during the ceremony, are asked to give their agreement to the union and its lasting happiness.
  • Scientologists say they recognize marriage as a part of the second of the eight dynamics of existence. The second dynamic includes all creative activity, including sex, procreating and the raising of children.
  • A Scientology minister performs Scientology wedding ceremonies with similar protocol to weddings in other churches including a bridal procession and the traditional role of the father of the bride and best man.

Ceremonies

  • There are several versions of the wedding ceremony, ranging from the Traditional to the Double Ring.
  • The ceremony includes fundamental principles of Scientology that provide the couple with practical information to assist them in a successful relationship. The basic principle of ARC is most predominant.
  • ARC consists of three elements that make up Understanding. A is Affinity which is the degree of closeness, liking or affection one has for something or someone; R is Reality which is what we agree on; and C is Communication which is the interchange of ideas between two people.
  • In the Double Ring ceremony, the ring is a symbol of permanency and reaffirms the ARC principles.
  • In the old-fashioned language that marks the Traditional version, the groom is reminded that "girls" need "clothes and food and tender happiness and frills, a pan, a comb, perhaps a cat" — and is asked to provide them all.
  • They make a pact with each other that they won't go to sleep at night without having repaired any upset they may have had during the day.
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