The funeral service might be said over the remains of the deceased or at a memorial without the physical remains present. The service is usually held in a Scientology chapel.
Because Scientologists attach very little meaning to the physical body, there are no specific guidelines which must be followed regarding the way physical remains are treated. The remains of the deceased may be cremated or interred, according to their wishes or those of their family. The casket, urn or photo of the deceased is usually present at the service.
Scientology views the spiritual self, known as the “thetan” (From the Greek letter Theta), as being the individual, and perceives the body as simply a vehicle by which they interact with each other and the physical universe.
Each thetan is believed to be billions of years old, passing from one human life to the next through reincarnation. That process happens automatically, without the need for special ceremony or ritual. There is no talk about either heaven or hell.
The deceased is often spoken to directly during the service, thanking the departed for spending time on Earth, praising or acknowledging life attributes or achievements, bidding them farewell, and wishing them well in their future existence. Services often conclude with Hubbard’s message:
“You are a spirit
You are your own soul
You are not mortal
You can be free”
Non-Scientologists are welcome to attend any portion of the funeral service.