Scientology

Scientology

Overview
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices
Scientology beliefs and practices
Scientology is defined as a set of beliefs written by founder L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology describes itself as the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others, and all of life...

 created by science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 and fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 author L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 (1911–1986), starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 system, Dianetics
Dianetics
Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body that was invented by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology...

. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

 in Camden, New Jersey
Camden, New Jersey
The city of Camden is the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey. It is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 77,344...

.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation
Psychiatric rehabilitation
Psychiatric rehabilitation, also known as psychosocial rehabilitation, and usually simplified to psych rehab, is the process of restoration of community functioning and well-being of an individual who has a psychiatric disability...

 is a type of counselling known as auditing
Auditing (Scientology)
Auditing was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and is described by the Church of Scientology as "spiritual counseling which is the central practice of Dianetics and Scientology".-Description:...

, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects.
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Encyclopedia
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices
Scientology beliefs and practices
Scientology is defined as a set of beliefs written by founder L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology describes itself as the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others, and all of life...

 created by science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 and fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 author L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 (1911–1986), starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 system, Dianetics
Dianetics
Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body that was invented by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology...

. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

 in Camden, New Jersey
Camden, New Jersey
The city of Camden is the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey. It is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 77,344...

.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation
Psychiatric rehabilitation
Psychiatric rehabilitation, also known as psychosocial rehabilitation, and usually simplified to psych rehab, is the process of restoration of community functioning and well-being of an individual who has a psychiatric disability...

 is a type of counselling known as auditing
Auditing (Scientology)
Auditing was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and is described by the Church of Scientology as "spiritual counseling which is the central practice of Dianetics and Scientology".-Description:...

, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Study materials and auditing courses are made available to members in return for specified donations. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States and some other countries, and the Church of Scientology emphasizes this as proof that it is a bona fide religion. In other countries, notably France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Scientology does not have comparable religious status.

A large number of organizations overseeing the application of Scientology have been established, the most notable of these being the Church of Scientology. Scientology sponsors a variety of social service programs. These include the Narconon
Narconon
Narconon is a residential program aimed at substance abusers, headquartered in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. It operates through several dozen treatment centers worldwide, chiefly in the United States and Western Europe. Each Narconon center is independently owned and operated under a license...

 anti-drug program, the Criminon
Criminon
Criminon is a program for rehabilitating prisoners using L. Ron Hubbard's teachings. Criminon International, a non-profit, public-benefit corporation managing the Criminon program, was spawned from Narconon International in 2000, and is part of Association for Better Living and Education's public...

 prison rehabilitation program, the Study Tech
Study Tech
Study Technology, or Study Tech, is a methodology for learning developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard's "Study Technology" is used by Church of Scientology members as part of their training, and is also promoted outside the church by a church-affiliated...

 education methodology, a volunteer organization
Volunteer Ministers
The Volunteer Minister program of the Church of Scientology dispatches groups of Scientologists using techniques developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard...

, a business management method
World Institute of Scientology Enterprises
World Institute of Scientology Enterprises is an organization affiliated with the Church of Scientology that educates and assists businesses in the use of management methods and techniques developed by Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, such methods and techniques being, like all of Hubbard's...

, and a set of moral guidelines expressed in a booklet called The Way to Happiness
The Way to Happiness
The Way to Happiness is a 1980 booklet written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard listing 21 moral precepts, and distributed by The Way to Happiness Foundation International, a Scientology-related non-profit organization founded in 1984....

.

The Church of Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements to have arisen in the 20th century. It has often been described as a cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

 that financially defrauds and abuses its members, charging exorbitant fees for its spiritual services. The Church of Scientology has consistently used litigation against such critics, and its aggressiveness in pursuing its foes has been condemned as harassment.




"Oral Questions to the Minister of State for the Home Office, 17 December 1996" Hansard, vol. 760, cols. 1392–1394 quote: "Baroness Sharples: Is my noble friend further aware that a number of those who have left the cult have been both threatened and harassed and many have been made bankrupt by the church?" Further controversy has focused on Scientology's belief that souls ("thetans") reincarnate
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 and have lived on other planets before living on Earth. Some former members claim that some of Hubbard's writings on this remote extraterrestrial
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 past, included in confidential Upper Levels, are not revealed to practitioners until they have paid thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology. Another controversial belief held by Scientologists is that the practice of psychiatry
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

 is destructive and abusive
Anti-psychiatry
Anti-psychiatry is a configuration of groups and theoretical constructs that emerged in the 1960s, and questioned the fundamental assumptions and practices of psychiatry, such as its claim that it achieves universal, scientific objectivity. Its igniting influences were Michel Foucault, R.D. Laing,...

 and must be abolished.

Etymology and earlier usage


The word Scientology is a pairing of the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word scientia ("knowledge", "skill"), which comes from the verb scīre ("to know"), and the Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 λόγος lógos ("word" or "account [of]").

In 1901, Allen Upward
Allen Upward
Allen Upward was a poet, lawyer, politician and teacher. His work was included in the first anthology of Imagist poetry, Des Imagistes, which was edited by Ezra Pound and published in 1914....

 coined Scientology "as a disparaging term, to indicate a blind, unthinking acceptance of scientific doctrine" according to the Internet Sacred Text Archive
Internet Sacred Text Archive
The Internet Sacred Text Archive is a website dedicated to the preservation of electronic public domain texts, specifically those with significant cultural value...

 as quoted in the preface to Forgotten Books' recent edition of Upward's book, The New Word: On the meaning of the word Idealist. Continuing to quote, the publisher writes "I'm not aware of any evidence that Hubbard knew of this fairly obscure book."

In 1934, philosopher Anastasius Nordenholz
Anastasius Nordenholz
Anastasius Nordenholz is the author of Scientologie, Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und der Tauglichkeit des Wissens written in 1933.-His life:...

 published a book that used the term to mean "science of science". It is also uncertain whether Hubbard was aware of this prior usage of the word.

Dianetics


Scientology was developed by L. Ron Hubbard
L. Ron Hubbard
Lafayette Ronald Hubbard , better known as L. Ron Hubbard , was an American pulp fiction author and religious leader who founded the Church of Scientology...

 as a successor to his earlier self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 system, Dianetics
Dianetics
Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body that was invented by the science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is practiced by followers of Scientology...

. Dianetics uses a counseling technique known as auditing, developed by Hubbard to enable conscious recall of traumatic events in an individual's past. It was originally intended to be a new psychotherapy
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a general term referring to any form of therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client or patient; family, couple or group...

 and was not expected to become the foundation for a new religion.

Hubbard, an American writer of pulp fiction
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

, especially science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, first published his ideas on the human mind in the Explorers Club Journal and the May 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine. Two of Hubbard's key supporters at the time were John W. Campbell Jr., the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, and Dr. Joseph A. Winter. Winter, hoping to have Dianetics accepted in the medical community, submitted papers outlining the principles and methodology of Dianetic therapy to the Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of the American Medical Association
The Journal of the American Medical Association is a weekly, peer-reviewed, medical journal, published by the American Medical Association. Beginning in July 2011, the editor in chief will be Howard C. Bauchner, vice chairman of pediatrics at Boston University’s School of Medicine, replacing ...

and the American Journal of Psychiatry
American Journal of Psychiatry
The American Journal of Psychiatry is a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal covering all aspects of psychiatry and the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association. The first volume was issued in 1844, at which time it was known as the American Journal of Insanity...

in 1949, but these were rejected.

May 1950 saw the publication of Hubbard's Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health
Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is a book by L. Ron Hubbard which sets out self-improvement techniques he developed, called Dianetics. The book is also one of the canonical texts of Scientology. It is colloquially referred to as Book One...

. His book entered the New York Times best-seller list on June 18 and stayed there until December 24 of that year. Dianetics appealed to a broad range of people who used instructions from the book and applied the method to each other, becoming practitioners themselves. Hubbard found himself the leader of a growing Dianetics movement. He became a popular lecturer and established the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 124,969, retaining its ranking as New Jersey's fourth largest city with an increase of 4,401 residents from its 2000 Census population of 120,568...

, where he trained his first Dianetics counselors or auditors.

Dianetics soon met with criticism. Morris Fishbein
Morris Fishbein
Morris Fishbein M.D. was a physician and the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association from 1924 to 1950. In 1961 he became the founding Editor of Medical World News, a magazine for doctors. In 1970 he endowed the Morris Fishbein Center...

, the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and well-known at the time as a debunker of quack medicine, dismissed Hubbard's book. An article in Newsweek stated that "the dianetics concept is unscientific and unworthy of discussion or review". In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners instituted proceedings against the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation for teaching medicine without a license, which eventually led to that foundation's bankruptcy.

Some practitioners of Dianetics reported experiences which they believed had occurred in past lives, or previous incarnations. In early 1951, reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 became a subject of intense debate within Dianetics. Campbell and Winter, who was still hopeful of winning support for Dianetics from the medical community, championed a resolution to ban the topic. But Hubbard decided to take the reports of past life events seriously and postulated the existence of the thetan
Thetan
In Scientology, the concept of thetan is similar to the concept of spirit or soul found in other belief systems. The term is derived from the Greek letter theta, which in Scientology represents "the source of life, or life itself." In Scientology it is believed that it is the Thetan, not the...

, a concept similar to the soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

. This was an important factor in the transition from secular Dianetics to the religion of Scientology.

Also in 1951, Hubbard introduced the electropsychometer (E-meter
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, for the Church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard...

 for short), a kind of galvanometer
Galvanometer
A galvanometer is a type of ammeter: an instrument for detecting and measuring electric current. It is an analog electromechanical transducer that produces a rotary deflection of some type of pointer in response to electric current flowing through its coil in a magnetic field. .Galvanometers were...

, as an auditing aid. Based on a design by Hubbard, the device is held by Scientologists to be a useful tool in detecting changes in a person's state of mind.

The Church of Scientology



In 1952, Hubbard built on the existing framework set forth in Dianetics, and published a new set of teachings as Scientology, a religious philosophy. In December 1953, Hubbard incorporated three churches – a "Church of American Science", a "Church of Scientology" and a "Church of Spiritual Engineering" – in Camden, New Jersey
Camden, New Jersey
The city of Camden is the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey. It is located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 77,344...

. On 18 February 1954, with Hubbard's blessing, some of his followers set up the first local Church of Scientology, the Church of Scientology of California, adopting the "aims, purposes, principles and creed of the Church of American Science, as founded by L. Ron Hubbard." The movement spread quickly through the United States and to other English-speaking countries such as Britain, Ireland, South Africa and Australia. The second local Church of Scientology to be set up, after the one in California, was in Auckland, New Zealand. In 1955, Hubbard established the Founding Church of Scientology
L. Ron Hubbard House
The L. Ron Hubbard House, also known as the Original Founding Church of Scientology, is a historic house museum and former Scientology church located at 1812 19th Street, NW in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., United States. The home served as the residence of Scientology founder L...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 In 1957, the Church of Scientology of California was granted tax-exempt status by the United States Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 (IRS), and so, for a time, were other local churches. In 1958 however, the IRS started a review of the appropriateness of this status. In 1959, Hubbard moved to England, remaining there until the mid-1960s.

The Church experienced further challenges. The United States Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (FDA) began an investigation concerning the claims the Church of Scientology made in connection with its E-meters. On January 4, 1963, they raided offices of the Church of Scientology and seized hundreds of E-meters as illegal medical devices. The devices have since been required to carry a disclaimer saying that they are a purely religious artifact.

In the mid-sixties, the Church of Scientology was banned in several Australian states, starting with Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 in 1965. The ban was based on the Anderson Report
Anderson Report
The Anderson Report is the colloquial name of the report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology, an official inquiry into the Church of Scientology conducted for the State of Victoria, Australia. It was written by Kevin Victor Anderson QC and published in 1965.-Background:In 1959, L...

, which found that the auditing process involved "command" hypnosis, in which the hypnotist assumes "positive authoritative control" over the patient. On this point the report stated,
It is the firm conclusion of this Board that most scientology and dianetic techniques are those of authoritative hypnosis and as such are dangerous ... the scientific evidence which the Board heard from several expert witnesses of the highest repute ... leads to the inescapable conclusion that it is only in name that there is any difference between authoritative hypnosis and most of the techniques of scientology. Many scientology techniques are in fact hypnotic techniques, and Hubbard has not changed their nature by changing their names.
The Australian Church was forced to operate under the name of the "Church of the New Faith" as a result, the name and practice of Scientology having become illegal in the relevant states. Several years of court proceedings aimed at overturning the ban followed.

In the course of developing Scientology, Hubbard presented rapidly changing teachings that were often self-contradictory. For the inner cadre of Scientologists in that period, involvement depended not so much on belief in a particular doctrine but on unquestioning faith in Hubbard. In 1966, Hubbard stepped down as executive director of Scientology to devote himself to research and writing. The following year, he formed the Sea Organization or Sea Org
Sea Org
The Sea Organization or Sea Org is an association of Scientologists established in 1968 by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and founder of Scientology. Its members are found in the central management organizations of the Church of Scientology as well as in individual churches...

, which was to develop into an elite group within Scientology. The Sea Org was based on three ships, the Diana, the Athena, and the Apollo, which served as the flag ship. One month after the establishment of the Sea Org, Hubbard announced that he had made a breakthrough discovery, the result of which were the "OT III" materials purporting to provide a method for overcoming factors inhibiting spiritual progress. These materials were first disseminated on the ships, and then propagated by Sea Org members reassigned to staff Advanced Organizations on land.

In 1967, the IRS removed Scientology's tax-exempt status, asserting that its activities were commercial and operated for the benefit of Hubbard, rather than for charitable or religious purposes. The decision resulted in a process of litigation that would be settled in the Church's favour a quarter of a century later, the longest case of litigation in IRS history.

In 1979, as a result of FBI raids during Operation Snow White
Operation Snow White
Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard...

, eleven senior people in the church's Guardian's Office were convicted of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. In 1981, Scientology took the German government to court for the first time.

On January 1, 1982 Scientology established the Religious Technology Center
Religious Technology Center
The Religious Technology Center is a Californian non-profit corporation. RTC was founded in 1982 by the Church of Scientology in order to control and oversee the use of all of the trademarks, symbols and texts of Scientology and Dianetics, including the copyrighted works of Scientology founder and...

 (RTC) to oversee and ensure the standard application of Scientology technology.

On November 11, 1982, the Free Zone
Free Zone (Scientology)
The Free Zone comprises a variety of groups and individuals who practice Scientology beliefs and techniques independently of the Church of Scientology . Such practitioners range from those who closely adhere to the original teachings of Scientology's founder L...

 was established by former top Scientologists in disagreement with RTC. The Free Zone Association was founded and registered under the laws of Germany, and believes that the Church of Scientology has departed from its original philosophy. .

In 1983, in a unanimous decision, the High Court of Australia
High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and...

 recognized Scientology as a religion in Australia, overturning restrictions that had limited activities of the church after the Anderson Report.

On January 24, 1986, L. Ron Hubbard died at his ranch near San Luis Obispo, California
San Luis Obispo, California
San Luis Obispo is a city in California, located roughly midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the Central Coast. Founded in 1772 by Spanish Fr. Junipero Serra, San Luis Obispo is one of California’s oldest communities...

 and David Miscavige
David Miscavige
David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations. His title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center , a corporation that controls the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology. Miscavige was an assistant to Hubbard while a...

 became the head of the organization.

Starting in 1991, persons connected with Scientology filed fifty lawsuits against the Cult Awareness Network
Cult Awareness Network
The Cult Awareness Network was founded in the wake of the November 18, 1978 deaths of members of the group Peoples Temple and assassination of Congressman Leo J. Ryan in Jonestown, Guyana. CAN is now owned and operated by associates of the Church of Scientology, an organization that the original...

 (CAN), a group that had been critical of Scientology. Although many of the suits were dismissed, one of the suits filed against the Cult Awareness Network resulted in $2 million in losses for the network. Consequently, the organization was forced to go bankrupt. In 1996, Steven L. Hayes, a Scientologist, purchased the bankrupt Cult Awareness Network's logo and appurtenances. A new Cult Awareness Network was set up with Scientology backing, which operates as an information and networking center for non-traditional religions, referring callers to academics and other experts.

In a 1993 U.S. lawsuit brought by the Church of Scientology against Steven Fishman, a former member of the Church, Fishman made a court declaration
Fishman Affidavit
The Fishman Affidavit is a set of court documents submitted by ex-Scientologist Steven Fishman in 1993 in the federal case, Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz The Fishman Affidavit is a set of court documents submitted by ex-Scientologist Steven Fishman in 1993 in the federal...

 which included several dozen pages of formerly secret esoterica
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

 detailing aspects of Scientologist cosmogony
Cosmogony
Cosmogony, or cosmogeny, is any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of the universe, or about how reality came to be. The word comes from the Greek κοσμογονία , from κόσμος "cosmos, the world", and the root of γίνομαι / γέγονα "to be born, come about"...

. As a result of the litigation, this material, normally strictly safeguarded and only used in Scientology's more advanced "OT levels", found its way onto the Internet. This resulted in a battle between the Church of Scientology and its online critics over the right to disclose this material, or safeguard its confidentiality. The Church of Scientology was forced to issue a press release acknowledging the existence of this cosmogony, rather than allow its critics "to distort and misuse this information for their own purposes." Even so, the material, notably the story of Xenu
Xenu
Xenu ,also spelled Xemu, was, according to the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs...

, has since been widely disseminated and used to caricature Scientology, despite the Church's vigorous program of copyright litigation.

Recognition as a religion



In December 1993, the Church of Scientology experienced a major breakthrough in its ongoing legal battles when the IRS
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 granted full tax exemption to all Scientology Churches, missions and organizations. Based on the IRS exemptions, the U.S. State Department formally criticized Germany for discriminating against Scientologists and began to note Scientologists' complaints of harassment in its annual human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 reports, as well as the annual International Religious Freedom Reports it has released from 1999 onwards.

In 1997, an open letter to then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
Helmut Kohl
Helmut Josef Michael Kohl is a German conservative politician and statesman. He was Chancellor of Germany from 1982 to 1998 and the chairman of the Christian Democratic Union from 1973 to 1998...

, published as a newspaper advertisement in the International Herald Tribune
International Herald Tribune
The International Herald Tribune is a widely read English language international newspaper. It combines the resources of its own correspondents with those of The New York Times and is printed at 38 sites throughout the world, for sale in more than 160 countries and territories...

, drew parallels between the "organized oppression" of Scientologists in Germany
Scientology in Germany
The Church of Scientology has been present in Germany since 1970. German authorities estimate that there are 5,000–6,000 active Scientologists in Germany today; the Church of Scientology gives a membership figure of around 30,000...

, and the treatment of Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

 in 1930s' Nazi Germany. The letter was signed by Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters....

, Goldie Hawn
Goldie Hawn
Goldie Jeanne Hawn is an American actress, film director, producer, and occasional singer. Hawn is known for her roles in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Private Benjamin, Foul Play, Overboard, Bird on a Wire, Death Becomes Her, The First Wives Club, and Cactus Flower, for which she won the 1969...

 and a number of other Hollywood celebrities and executives. Commenting on the matter, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State said that Scientologists were discriminated against in Germany, but condemned the comparisons to the Nazis' treatment of Jews as extremely inappropriate, as did a United Nations Special Rapporteur.

In 2000, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that Scientology is a religion for legal purposes. In recent years, religious recognition has also been obtained in other countries, including Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and Hungary, as well as Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

 and the Republic of China
Republic of China
The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

 (Taiwan). Other countries, notably Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Belgium and the United Kingdom, refuse to grant Scientology religious recognition.

Membership statistics


In 2005, the Church of Scientology stated its worldwide membership to be eight million, although that number included people who took only the introductory course and did not continue on. In 2007 a Church official claimed 3.5 million members in the United States, but a 2001 survey conducted by the City University of New York
City University of New York
The City University of New York is the public university system of New York City, with its administrative offices in Yorkville in Manhattan. It is the largest urban university in the United States, consisting of 23 institutions: 11 senior colleges, six community colleges, the William E...

 found only 55,000 people in the United States who claimed to be Scientologists. Worldwide, some observers believe a reasonable estimate of Scientology's core practicing membership ranges between 100,000 and 200,000, mostly in the U.S., Europe, South Africa and Australia. In 2008, the American Religious Identification Survey found that the number of American Scientologists dropped to 25,000.

Scientologists tend to disparage general religious surveys on the grounds that many members maintaining cultural and social ties to other religious groups will, when asked their religion, answer with their traditional and more socially acceptable affiliation. On the other hand, religious scholar J. Gordon Melton
J. Gordon Melton
John Gordon Melton is an American religious scholar who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is currently a research specialist in religion and New Religious Movements with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara...

 has said that the church's estimates of its membership numbers are significantly exaggerated.

Beliefs and practices


According to Scientology, its beliefs and practices are based on rigorous research, and its doctrines are accorded a significance equivalent to that of scientific laws. "Scientology works 100 percent of the time when it is properly applied to a person who sincerely desires to improve his life", the Church of Scientology says. Conversion is held to be of lesser significance than the practical application of Scientologist methods. Adherents are encouraged to validate the value of the methods they apply through their personal experience. Hubbard himself put it this way: "For a Scientologist, the final test of any knowledge he has gained is, 'did the data and the use of it in life actually improve conditions or didn't it?'"

Body and Spirit


Scientology beliefs revolve around the thetan, the individualized expression of the cosmic source, or life force, named after the Greek letter theta
Theta
Theta is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, derived from the Phoenician letter Teth...

 (θ). The thetan is the true identity of a person – an intrinsically good, omniscient, non-material core capable of unlimited creativity.

In the primordial past, thetans brought the material universe into being largely for their own pleasure. The universe has no independent reality, but derives its apparent reality from the fact that most thetans agree it exists. Thetans fell from grace when they began to identify with their creation, rather than their original state of spiritual purity. Eventually they lost their memory of their true nature, along with the associated spiritual and creative powers. As a result, thetans came to think of themselves as nothing but embodied beings.

Thetans are reborn time and time again in new bodies through a process called "assumption" which is analogous to reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

. Like Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, Scientology posits a causal relationship between the experiences of earlier incarnations and one's present life, and with each rebirth, the effects of the MEST universe (MEST here stands for matter, energy, space, and time) on the thetan become stronger.

Emotions and the mind



Scientology presents two major divisions of the mind. The reactive mind is thought to absorb all pain and emotional trauma, while the analytical mind is a rational mechanism which is responsible for consciousness. The reactive mind stores mental images which are not readily available to the analytical (conscious) mind; these are referred to as engrams. Engrams are painful and debilitating; as they accumulate, people move further away from their true identity. To avoid this fate is Scientology's basic goal. Dianetic auditing
Auditing (Scientology)
Auditing was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and is described by the Church of Scientology as "spiritual counseling which is the central practice of Dianetics and Scientology".-Description:...

 is one way by which the Scientologist may progress toward the Clear state, winning gradual freedom from the reactive mind's engrams, and acquiring certainty of his or her reality as a thetan.

Scientology uses an emotional classification system called the tone scale. The tone scale is a tool used in counseling; Scientologists maintain that knowing a person's place on the scale makes it easier to predict their actions and assists in bettering their condition.

Survival and ethics


Scientology emphasizes the importance of survival, which it subdivides into eight classifications that are referred to as dynamics. An individual's desire to survive is considered to be the first dynamic, while the second dynamic relates to procreation and family. The remaining dynamics encompass wider fields of action, involving groups, mankind, all life, the physical universe, the spirit, and the Supreme Being. The optimum solution to any problem is held to be the one that brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number of dynamics.

Scientology teaches that spiritual progress requires and enables the attainment of high ethical standards. In Scientology, rationality is stressed over morality. Actions are considered ethical if they promote survival across all eight dynamics, thus benefiting the greatest number of people or things possible while harming the fewest.

ARC and KRC triangles



The ARC and KRC triangles are concept map
Concept map
For concept maps in generic programming, see Concept .A concept map is a diagram showing the relationships among concepts. It is a graphical tool for organizing and representing knowledge....

s which show a relationship between three concepts to form another concept. These two triangles are present in the Scientology symbol. The lower triangle, the ARC triangle, is a summary representation of the knowledge the Scientologist strives for. It encompasses Affinity (affection, love or liking), Reality (consensual reality) and Communication (the exchange of ideas). Scientologists believe that improving one of the three aspects of the triangle "increases the level" of the other two, but Communication is held to be the most important. The upper triangle is the KRC triangle, the letters KRC positing a similar relationship between Knowledge, Responsibility and Control.

In Scientology, social problems are ascribed to breakdowns in ARC – in other words, a lack of agreement on reality, a failure to communicate effectively, or a failure to develop affinity. These can take the form of overts – harmful acts against another, either intentionally or by omission – which are usually followed by withholds – efforts to conceal the wrongdoing, which further increase the level of tension in the relationship.

Social and antisocial personalities


While Scientology states that many social problems are the unintentional results of people's imperfections, it asserts that there are also truly malevolent individuals. Hubbard believed that approximately 80 percent of all people are what he called social personalities – people who welcome and contribute to the welfare of others. The remaining 20 percent of the population, Hubbard thought, were suppressive persons. According to Hubbard, only about 2.5 percent of this 20 percent are hopelessly antisocial personalities; these make up the small proportion of truly dangerous individuals in humanity: "the Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

s and the Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

s, the unrepentant murderers and the drug lords." Scientologists believe that any contact with suppressive or antisocial individuals has an adverse effect on one's spiritual condition, necessitating disconnection.

In Scientology, defectors who turn into critics of the movement are declared suppressive persons, and the Church of Scientology has a reputation for moving aggressively against such detractors. A Scientologist who is actively in communication with a suppressive person and as a result shows signs of antisocial behaviour is referred to as a Potential Trouble Source.

Auditing



Scientology asserts that people have hidden abilities which have not yet been fully realized. It is believed that increased spiritual awareness and physical benefits are accomplished through counseling sessions referred to as auditing
Auditing (Scientology)
Auditing was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, and is described by the Church of Scientology as "spiritual counseling which is the central practice of Dianetics and Scientology".-Description:...

. Through auditing, it is said that people can solve their problems and free themselves of engrams. This restores them to their natural condition as thetans and enables them to be at cause in their daily lives, responding rationally and creatively to life events rather than reacting to them under the direction of stored engrams. Accordingly, those who study Scientology materials and receive auditing sessions advance from a status of Preclear to Clear and Operating Thetan. Scientology's utopian aim is to "clear the planet", a world in which everyone has cleared themselves of their engrams.

Auditing is a one-on-one session with a Scientology counselor or auditor. It bears a superficial similarity to confession
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

 or pastoral counseling, but the auditor records and stores all information received and does not dispense forgiveness or advice the way a pastor or priest might do. Instead, the auditor's task is to help the person discover and understand engrams, and their limiting effects, for themselves. Most auditing requires an E-meter
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, for the Church's founder, L. Ron Hubbard...

, a device that measures minute changes in electrical resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

 through the body when a person holds electrodes (metal "cans"), and a small current is passed through them. Scientology asserts that watching for changes in the E-meter's display helps locate engrams. Once an area of concern has been identified, the auditor asks the individual specific questions about it, in order to help them eliminate the engram, and uses the E-meter to confirm that the engram's "charge" has been dissipated and the engram has in fact been cleared. As the individual progresses, the focus of auditing moves from simple engrams to engrams of increasing complexity. At the more advanced OT auditing levels, Scientologists perform solo auditing sessions, acting as their own auditors.

The Bridge to Total Freedom


Spiritual development within Scientology is accomplished by studying Scientology materials. Scientology materials (called Technology or Tech in Scientology jargon
Scientology terminology
Scientology terminology consists of a complex assortment of jargon used by Scientologists in conjunction with the practice of Scientology and in their everyday lives. It is difficult if not impossible to understand Scientology without understanding its terminology the way Hubbard defines it.L...

) are structured in sequential levels (or gradients), so that easier steps are taken first and greater complexities are handled at the appropriate time. This process is sometimes referred to as moving along the Bridge to Total Freedom, or simply the Bridge. It has two sides: training and processing. Training means education in the principles and practices of auditing. Processing is personal development through participation in auditing sessions.

The Church of Scientology believes in the principle of reciprocity, involving give-and-take in every human transaction. Accordingly, members are required to make donations for study courses and auditing as they move up the Bridge, the amounts increasing as higher levels are reached. Participation in higher-level courses on the Bridge may cost several thousand dollars, and Scientologists usually move up the Bridge at a rate governed by their income.

Space opera and confidential materials


The Church of Scientology holds that at the higher levels of initiation (OT levels
Operating Thetan
In Scientology, the state of Operating Thetan is a spiritual state above Clear. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, defined it as "knowing and willing cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time ". According to religious scholar J...

) mystical teachings are imparted that may be harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. The Church states that the secrecy is warranted to keep its materials' use in context, and to protect its members from being exposed to materials they are not yet prepared for.


These are the OT levels, the levels above Clear, whose contents are guarded within Scientology. The OT level teachings include accounts of various cosmic catastrophes that befell the thetans. Hubbard described these early events collectively as space opera
Space opera in Scientology doctrine
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard used the science fiction term space opera to describe what he said were actual extraterrestrial civilizations and alien interventions in past lives...

.


In the OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past. Among these advanced teachings is the story of Xenu
Xenu
Xenu ,also spelled Xemu, was, according to the founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs...

 (sometimes Xemu), introduced as the tyrant ruler of the "Galactic Confederacy." According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8
Douglas DC-8
The Douglas DC-8 is a four-engined narrow-body passenger commercial jet airliner, manufactured from 1958 to 1972 by the Douglas Aircraft Company...

 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects.

The material contained in the OT levels has been characterized as bad science fiction by critics, while others claim it bears structural similarities to gnostic
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 thought and ancient Hindu myths of creation and cosmic struggle. J. Gordon Melton
J. Gordon Melton
John Gordon Melton is an American religious scholar who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is currently a research specialist in religion and New Religious Movements with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara...

 suggests that these elements of the OT levels may never have been intended as descriptions of historical events, and that, like other religious mythology, they may have their truth in the realities of the body and mind which they symbolize. He adds that on whatever level Scientologists might have received this mythology, they seem to have found it useful in their spiritual quest.

The high-ranking OT levels are made available to Scientologists only by invitation, after a review of the candidate's character and contribution to the aims of Scientology. Individuals who have read these materials may not disclose what they contain without jeopardizing their standing in the Church. Excerpts and descriptions of OT materials were published online by a former member in 1995 and then circulated in mainstream media. This occurred after the teachings were submitted as evidence in court cases involving Scientology, thus becoming a matter of public record. There are eight publicly known OT levels, OT I to VIII. The highest level, OT VIII, is only disclosed at sea, on the Scientology cruise ship Freewinds
Freewinds
MV Freewinds is a cruise ship operated by International Shipping - Miami and owned by San Donato Properties, which is a company connected to the Church of Scientology. It was built in 1968 by Wärtsilä Turku Shipyard in Turku, Finland for Wallenius Lines as MS Bohème for service with Commodore...

. It has been rumored that additional OT levels, said to be based on material written by Hubbard long ago, will be released at some appropriate point in the future.

There is a large Church of Spiritual Technology
Church of Spiritual Technology
The Church of Spiritual Technology, also known as CST, is a Californian 501 non-profit corporation, incorporated in 1982, which owns all the copyrights of the estate of L. Ron Hubbard. The CST is doing business as L. Ron Hubbard Library...

 symbol carved into the ground at Scientology's Trementina Base
Trementina Base
Trementina Base is the popular designation for a property of the Church of Spiritual Technology near Trementina, New Mexico.-Overview:According to the CST, an entity formed to manage the Church of Scientology's copyright affairs, the purpose of the base is to provide storage space for an archiving...

 that is visible from the air. Washington Post reporter Richard Leiby wrote, "Former Scientologists familiar with Hubbard’s teachings on reincarnation say the symbol marks a 'return point' so loyal staff members know where they can find the founder’s works when they travel here in the future from other places in the universe."

Ceremonies


In Scientology, ceremonies for events such as weddings, child naming, and funerals are observed. Friday services are held to commemorate the completion of a person's religious services during the prior week. Ordained Scientology ministers may perform such rites. However, these services and the clergy who perform them play only a minor role in Scientologists' religious lives.

Influences


The general orientation of Hubbard's philosophy owes much to Will Durant
Will Durant
William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975...

, author of the popular 1926 classic The Story of Philosophy
The Story of Philosophy
The Story of Philosophy: the Lives and Opinions of the Greater Philosophers is a book by Will Durant that profiles several prominent Western philosophers and their ideas, beginning with Plato and on through Friedrich Nietzsche...

; Dianetics is dedicated to Durant. Hubbard's view of a mechanically functioning mind in particular finds close parallels in Durant's work on Spinoza.

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

's psychology, popularized in the 1930s and 1940s, was a key contributor to the Dianetics therapy model, and was acknowledged unreservedly as such by Hubbard in his early works. Hubbard never forgot meeting Cmdr. Joseph Cheesman Thompson, a U.S. Navy officer who studied with Freud, when he was 12 years old, and when he wrote to the American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

 in 1949, he stated that he was conducting research based on the "early work of Freud".

Another major influence was Alfred Korzybski
Alfred Korzybski
Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski was a Polish-American philosopher and scientist. He is remembered for developing the theory of general semantics...

's General Semantics
General Semantics
General semantics is a program begun in the 1920's that seeks to regulate the evaluative operations performed in the human brain. After partial program launches under the trial names "human engineering" and "humanology," Polish-American originator Alfred Korzybski fully launched the program as...

. Hubbard was friends with fellow science fiction writer A. E. van Vogt
A. E. van Vogt
Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded by some as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the "Golden Age" of the genre....

, who explored the implications of Korzybski's non-Aristotelian logic
Non-Aristotelian logic
The term non-Aristotelian logic, sometimes shortened to null-A, means any non-classical system of logic which rejects one of Aristotle's premises .-History:...

 in works such as The World of Null-A
The World of Null-A
The World of Null-A, sometimes written The World of Ā, is a 1948 science fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt. It was originally published as a three-part serial in Astounding Stories...

, and Hubbard's view of the reactive mind has clear and acknowledged parallels with Korzybski's thought; in fact, Korzybski's "anthropometer" may have been what inspired Hubbard's invention of the E-meter.

Beyond that, Hubbard himself named a great many other influences in his own writing – in Scientology 8-8008, for example, these include philosophers from Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae in Asia Minor, Anaxagoras was the first philosopher to bring philosophy from Ionia to Athens. He attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the sun, which he described as a fiery mass larger than...

 and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 to Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era....

 and Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, physicists and mathematicians like Euclid
Euclid
Euclid , fl. 300 BC, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". He was active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I...

 and Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

, as well as founders of religions such as Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

, Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

, Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and Mohammed – but there is little evidence in Hubbard's writings that he studied these figures to any great depth.

As noted, there are elements of Eastern religions evident in Scientology, in particular the concepts of karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

, as present in Hinduism
Karma in Hinduism
Karma is a concept in Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth...

 and in Jainism, and dharma
Dharma
Dharma means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. In the context of Hinduism, it refers to one's personal obligations, calling and duties, and a Hindu's dharma is affected by the person's age, caste, class, occupation, and gender...

. In addition to the links to Hindu texts, Hubbard tried to connect Scientology with Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

. Scientology has been said to share features with Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 as well.

In the 1940s, Hubbard was in contact with Jack Parsons, a rocket scientist and member of the Ordo Templi Orientis
Ordo Templi Orientis
Ordo Templi Orientis is an international fraternal and religious organization founded at the beginning of the 20th century...

 then led by Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley , born Edward Alexander Crowley, and also known as both Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast, was an influential English occultist, astrologer, mystic and ceremonial magician, responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. He was also successful in various other...

, and there have been suggestions that this connection influenced some of the ideas and symbols of Scientology. Religious scholars like Gerald Willms and J. Gordon Melton
J. Gordon Melton
John Gordon Melton is an American religious scholar who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion and is currently a research specialist in religion and New Religious Movements with the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara...

 have pointed out that Crowley's teachings bear little if any resemblance to Scientology doctrine.

Organization



There are a considerable number of Scientology organizations (or orgs) which generally support one of the following three aims: enabling Scientology practice and training, promoting the wider application of Scientology technology, or campaigning for social change. These organizations are supported by a three-tiered hierarchical structure comprising lay practitioners, staff and, at the top of the hierarchy, members of the so-called Sea Organization or Sea Org
Sea Org
The Sea Organization or Sea Org is an association of Scientologists established in 1968 by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and founder of Scientology. Its members are found in the central management organizations of the Church of Scientology as well as in individual churches...

. The Sea Org, comprising over 5,000 members, has been compared to the monastic orders found in other religions; it is composed of the most dedicated adherents, who work for nominal compensation and symbolically express their religious commitment by signing a billion-year contract.

The internal structure of Scientology organizations is strongly bureaucratic, with detailed coordination of activities and collection of stats - or statistics, to measure organizational and individual performance. Organizational operating budgets are performance-related and subject to frequent reviews. Scientology has an internal justice system (the Ethics system) designed to deal with unethical or antisocial behavior. Ethics officers are present in every org; they are tasked with ensuring correct application of Scientology technology and deal with violations such as non-compliance with standard procedures or any other behavior adversely affecting an org's performance, ranging from errors and misdemeanors to crimes and suppressive acts, as defined by internal documents.

A controversial part of the Scientology justice system is the Rehabilitation Project Force
Rehabilitation Project Force
The Rehabilitation Project Force, or RPF, is a controversial program set up by the Church of Scientology Sea Organization, intended to rehabilitate members of the Sea Organization who have not lived up to the Church expectations or have violated certain policies...

 (RPF). When a Sea Org member is accused of a violation, such as lying, sexual misconduct, dereliction of duty, or failure to comply with Church policy, a Committee of Evidence examines the case. If the charge is substantiated, the individual may accept expulsion from the Sea Org or participate in the RPF to become eligible to rejoin the Sea Org. The RPF involves a daily regimen of five hours of auditing or studying, eight hours of work, often physical labor, such as building renovation, and at least seven hours of sleep. Douglas E. Cowan
Douglas E. Cowan
Douglas E. Cowan is a Canadian academic in religious studies and the sociology of religion and currently holds a teaching position at Renison College, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada...

 and David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. He has written extensively about "cults", new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.- Education and career :Bromley received his...

 state that scholars and observers have come to radically different conclusions about the RPF and whether it is "voluntary or coercive, therapeutic or punitive".

Practice and training organizations


Many Scientologists' first contact with Scientology is through local informal groups and field auditors practicing Dianetics counseling. In addition to these, Scientology operates hundreds of Churches and Missions around the world. This is where Scientologists receive introductory training, and it is at this local level that most Scientologists participate. Churches and Missions are licensed franchises; they offer services for a fee, and return a proportion of their income to the mother church. They are also required to adhere to the standards established by the Religious Technology Center
Religious Technology Center
The Religious Technology Center is a Californian non-profit corporation. RTC was founded in 1982 by the Church of Scientology in order to control and oversee the use of all of the trademarks, symbols and texts of Scientology and Dianetics, including the copyrighted works of Scientology founder and...

 (RTC), which supervises the application of Scientology tech, owns the trademarks and service marks of Scientology, and collaborates with the Commodore's Messenger Organization
Commodore's Messenger Organization
The Commodore's Messenger Organization is a unit in the Church of Scientology organization that communicates and enforces policies of the Religious Technology Center....

 to administer and control the various corporate entities within Scientology. The RTC's Chairman is David Miscavige
David Miscavige
David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations. His title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center , a corporation that controls the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology. Miscavige was an assistant to Hubbard while a...

, who, while not the titular head of the Church of Scientology, is believed to be the most powerful person in the Scientology movement.

Once an individual has reached Clear and wishes to proceed further, they can take OT auditing and coursework with Advanced Organizations located in Los Angeles, Sydney, East Grinstead
East Grinstead
East Grinstead is a town and civil parish in the northeastern corner of Mid Sussex, West Sussex in England near the East Sussex, Surrey, and Kent borders. It lies south of London, north northeast of Brighton, and east northeast of the county town of Chichester...

 and Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

. Beyond OT V, the Flag Service Organization
Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc.
The Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization is an American 501 non-profit corporation. Within the worldwide network of Scientology corporations and entities, the FSO is officially referred to as the "spiritual headquarters" of the Church of Scientology...

 in Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. In the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and in the east lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787. It is the county seat of...

 offers the auditing and course work for OT levels VI and VII, while OT VIII is offered only by the Flag Ship Service Organization aboard the Scientology ship Freewinds. Since 1981, all of these Churches and organizations have been united under the Church of Scientology International
Church of Scientology International
The Church of Scientology International, Inc. is a Californian 501 non-profit corporation. Within the worldwide network of Scientology corporations and entities, CSI is officially referred to as the "mother church" of the Church of Scientology....

 umbrella organization, with the Sea Org providing staff for all levels above the local Churches and Missions.

Technology application organizations



A number of Scientology organizations specialize in promoting the use of Scientology technology as a means to solve social problems.
  • Narconon
    Narconon
    Narconon is a residential program aimed at substance abusers, headquartered in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. It operates through several dozen treatment centers worldwide, chiefly in the United States and Western Europe. Each Narconon center is independently owned and operated under a license...

     is a drug education and rehabilitation program. The program is founded on Hubbard's belief that drugs and poisons stored in the body impede spiritual growth, and was originally conceived by William Benitez, a prison inmate who applied Hubbard's ideas to rid himself of his drug habit. Narconon is offered in the United States, Canada and a number of European countries; its Purification Program uses a regimen composed of sauna
    Sauna
    A sauna is a small room or house designed as a place to experience dry or wet heat sessions, or an establishment with one or more of these and auxiliary facilities....

    , physical exercise, vitamins and diet management, combined with auditing and study.
  • Criminon
    Criminon
    Criminon is a program for rehabilitating prisoners using L. Ron Hubbard's teachings. Criminon International, a non-profit, public-benefit corporation managing the Criminon program, was spawned from Narconon International in 2000, and is part of Association for Better Living and Education's public...

     is a program designed to rehabilitate criminal offenders by teaching them study and communication methods and helping them reform their lives. The program originally grew out of the Narconon effort and today is available in over 200 prisons. It has experienced steady growth, based on a good success rate, with low recidivism
    Recidivism
    Recidivism is the act of a person repeating an undesirable behavior after they have either experienced negative consequences of that behavior, or have been treated or trained to extinguish that behavior...

    .
  • Applied Scholastics
    Applied Scholastics
    Applied Scholastics is a non-profit corporation founded in 1972 to promote the use of study techniques created by L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction author and the founder of the Church of Scientology...

     promotes the use of Hubbard's educational methodology, known as study tech
    Study Tech
    Study Technology, or Study Tech, is a methodology for learning developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard's "Study Technology" is used by Church of Scientology members as part of their training, and is also promoted outside the church by a church-affiliated...

    . Originally developed to help Scientologists study course materials, Hubbard's study tech is now used in some private and public schools as well. Applied Scholastics is active across Europe and North America as well as in Australia, Malaysia, China and South Africa. It supports literacy efforts in American cities and Third World
    Third World
    The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned with either capitalism and NATO , or communism and the Soviet Union...

     countries, and its methodology is sometimes included in management training programs.
  • The Way to Happiness Foundation
    The Way to Happiness
    The Way to Happiness is a 1980 booklet written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard listing 21 moral precepts, and distributed by The Way to Happiness Foundation International, a Scientology-related non-profit organization founded in 1984....

     promotes a moral code written by Hubbard, to date translated into more than 40 languages.
  • The Association for Better Living and Education
    Association for Better Living and Education
    The Association for Better Living and Education is a non-profit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It states that it is "dedicated to creating a better future for children and communities." It promotes secular uses of L. Ron Hubbard's works, and has been classified as a...

     (ABLE) acts as an umbrella organization for these efforts.
  • The World Institute of Scientology Enterprises
    World Institute of Scientology Enterprises
    World Institute of Scientology Enterprises is an organization affiliated with the Church of Scientology that educates and assists businesses in the use of management methods and techniques developed by Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard, such methods and techniques being, like all of Hubbard's...

     (WISE) is a not-for-profit organization which licenses Hubbard's management techniques for use in businesses. The most prominent training supplier to make use of Hubbard's technology is Sterling Management Systems
    Sterling Management Systems
    Sterling Management Systems offers practice management seminars and training to Accounting, Medical and Dental and other private practice professionals. Founded in 1983 in the back office of a dental practice in Vacaville, Ca., it is currently located in a office in Glendale, CA. It has been named...

    .

The Church of Scientology has also instituted a Volunteer Ministers
Volunteer Ministers
The Volunteer Minister program of the Church of Scientology dispatches groups of Scientologists using techniques developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard...

 program to provide disaster relief; for example, Volunteer Ministers were active in the aftermath of 9/11, providing food and water and applying Scientology methods such as "Assists
Assist (Scientology)
In Scientology, the Assist is described as a "process which is done to alleviate a present time discomfort".Despite the use of assists to treat pain and injuries, the Scientology Handbook states:...

" to people in acute emotional distress.

Social reform organizations




Some Scientology organizations are focused on bringing about social change. One of these is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is an advocacy group established in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Thomas Szasz. The group promotes several video campaigns which support views against psychiatry...

 (CCHR). Founded in 1969, it has a long history of opposing psychiatric
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

 practices such as lobotomy
Lobotomy
Lobotomy "; τομή – tomē: "cut/slice") is a neurosurgical procedure, a form of psychosurgery, also known as a leukotomy or leucotomy . It consists of cutting the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the brain...

, electric shock treatment and the use of mood-altering drugs. The psychiatric establishment rejected Hubbard's theories in the early 1950s. Ever since, Scientology has argued that psychiatry suffers from the fundamental flaw of ignoring humanity's spiritual dimension, and that it fails to take Hubbard's insights about the nature of the mind into account. Scientology holds psychiatry responsible for a great many wrongs in the world, saying it has at various times offered itself as a tool of political suppression and "that psychiatry spawned the ideology which fired Hitler's mania, turned the Nazis into mass murderers, and created the Holocaust." In recent years, the CCHR has conducted high-profile campaigns against Ritalin, given to children to control hyperactivity, and Prozac, a commonly used antidepressant
Antidepressant
An antidepressant is a psychiatric medication used to alleviate mood disorders, such as major depression and dysthymia and anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder. According to Gelder, Mayou &*Geddes people with a depressive illness will experience a therapeutic effect to their mood;...

. Neither drug was taken off the market as a result of the campaign, but Ritalin sales decreased, and Prozac suffered bad press.

The main other organization in this field is the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice, devoted to combating what it describes as abusive practices by government and police agencies, especially Interpol
Interpol
Interpol, whose full name is the International Criminal Police Organization – INTERPOL, is an organization facilitating international police cooperation...

.

Other entities


Other prominent Scientology-related organizations include:
  • International Association of Scientologists
    International Association of Scientologists
    The International Association of Scientologists is an English non-profit organization, which was formed in October 1984 by a group of Scientologists, who assembled at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, Sussex, England...

    , the official Scientology membership organization.
  • Church of Spiritual Technology
    Church of Spiritual Technology
    The Church of Spiritual Technology, also known as CST, is a Californian 501 non-profit corporation, incorporated in 1982, which owns all the copyrights of the estate of L. Ron Hubbard. The CST is doing business as L. Ron Hubbard Library...

    , a non-profit organization that owns the copyrights to Scientology books.

Free Zone


Although Scientology is most often used as shorthand for the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

, a number of groups practice Scientology and Dianetics outside of the official Church. These groups, collectively known as the Free Zone
Free Zone (Scientology)
The Free Zone comprises a variety of groups and individuals who practice Scientology beliefs and techniques independently of the Church of Scientology . Such practitioners range from those who closely adhere to the original teachings of Scientology's founder L...

 or as Independent Scientologists, consist of both former members of the official Church of Scientology, as well as entirely new members. Capt. Bill Robertson, a former Sea Org member, was a primary instigator in the movement; more recently, high-profile defectors Mark Rathbun
Mark Rathbun
Mark "Marty" C. Rathbun was Inspector General of the Religious Technology Center , the organization that controls the copyrights and trademarks of the materials relating to Dianetics and Scientology...

 and Mike Rinder
Mike Rinder
Michael "Mike" Rinder is an Australian Scientologist who was a former chief spokesman of the Church of Scientology. Rinder served as Executive Director of the Office of Special Affairs and was a director of the Church of Scientology International...

 have formed the nucleus of a group of Independent Scientologists. The Church labels these groups as squirrels in Scientology jargon
Scientology terminology
Scientology terminology consists of a complex assortment of jargon used by Scientologists in conjunction with the practice of Scientology and in their everyday lives. It is difficult if not impossible to understand Scientology without understanding its terminology the way Hubbard defines it.L...

, and often subjects them to considerable legal and social pressure.

Scientology status by country


The Church of Scientology has pursued an extensive public relations
Public relations
Public relations is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc....

 campaign for the recognition of Scientology as a religion in the various countries in which it exists. Opinions around the world still differ on whether Scientology is to be recognized as a religion or not, and Scientology has often encountered opposition due to its strong-arm tactics directed against critics and members wishing to leave the organization. A number of governments now view the Church as a religious organization entitled to protections and tax relief, while others continue to view it as a pseudoreligion
Pseudoreligion
Pseudoreligion, or pseudotheology, is a generally pejorative term applied to a non-mainstream belief system or philosophy which is functionally similar to a religious movement, typically having a founder, principal text, liturgy and faith-based beliefs....

 or cult. The differences between these classifications have become a major problem when discussing religions in general and Scientology specifically.

Scientology is officially recognized as a religion in the United States. Recognition came in 1993, when the Internal Revenue Service
Internal Revenue Service
The Internal Revenue Service is the revenue service of the United States federal government. The agency is a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, and is under the immediate direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue...

 (IRS) stated that "[Scientology is] operated exclusively for religious and charitable purposes."

The New York Times noted in this connection that the Church of Scientology had funded a campaign which included a whistle-blower organization to publicly attack the IRS, as well as the hiring of private investigators to look into the private lives of IRS officials. In 1991, Mr. Miscavige, the highest-ranking Scientology leader, arranged a meeting with Fred T. Goldberg Jr.
Fred T. Goldberg, Jr.
Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. is an American tax lawyer who has served in high ranking positions in the United States Government, including holding the position of Commissioner of Internal Revenue.-Education:...

, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service at the time.
The meeting was an "opportunity for the church to offer to end its long dispute with the agency, including the dozens of suits brought against the IRS." The committee met several times with the Scientology legal team and "was persuaded that those involved in the Snow White crimes had been purged, that church money was devoted to tax-exempt purposes and that, with Mr. Hubbard's death, no one was getting rich from Scientology." In August 1993, a settlement was reached; the church would receive its tax-exempt status and end its legal assault on the IRS and its personnel. The church was only required to resubmit new applications for exemption to the IRS exempt organizations division; the division was told "not to consider any substantive matters" because those issues had been resolved by the committee. The secret agreement was announced on Oct. 13, 1993 with the IRS refusing to disclose any of the terms or the reasoning behind their decision. Both the IRS and Scientology rejected any allegations of foul play or undue pressure having been brought to bear upon IRS officials, insisting that the decision had been based on the merits of the case. IRS officials "insisted that Scientology's tactics had not affected the decision" and that "ultimately the decision was made on a legal basis".

Elsewhere, Scientology has been able to obtain religious recognition in such countries as Australia, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Sweden, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan , officially the Kyrgyz Republic is one of the world's six independent Turkic states . Located in Central Asia, landlocked and mountainous, Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east...

. In New Zealand, the Inland Revenue Department classified the Church of Scientology as a charitable organization and stated that its income would be tax exempt. It has gained judicial recognition in Italy, and Scientology officials have won the right to perform marriages in South Africa.

The Church has so far failed to win religious recognition in Canada. In the UK, the Charity Commission for England and Wales ruled in 1999 that Scientology was not a religion and refused to register the Church as a charity, although a year later, it was recognized as a not-for-profit body in a separate proceeding by the UK Revenue and Customs and exempted from UK value added tax
Value added tax
A value added tax or value-added tax is a form of consumption tax. From the perspective of the buyer, it is a tax on the purchase price. From that of the seller, it is a tax only on the "value added" to a product, material or service, from an accounting point of view, by this stage of its...

. After considerable investigation, the German government dropped its attempt to ban Scientology after finding insufficient evidence of illegal activity. Historically, Germany has considered Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation's constitution. Germany will continue to monitor Scientology's activities in the country, despite continued objection from the Church of Scientology who cite such monitoring as abuse of freedom of religion. France and Belgium have not recognized Scientology as a religion, and Stephen A. Kent
Stephen A. Kent
Stephen A. Kent, is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He researches new and alternative religions, and has published research on several such groups including the Children of God , the Church of Scientology, and newer faiths...

, writing in 2001, noted that no such recognition had been obtained in Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 or Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 either. The Belgian State Prosecution Service has recommended that various individuals and organizations associated with Scientology should be prosecuted. An administrative court is to decide if charges will be pressed. In Greece, Scientology is not recognized as a religion by the Greek government, and multiple applications for religious status have been denied, for example in 2000 and 2003.

Scholarly views on Scientology's status as a religion


While acknowledging that a number of his colleagues accept Scientology as a religion, sociologist and professor Stephen A. Kent
Stephen A. Kent
Stephen A. Kent, is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He researches new and alternative religions, and has published research on several such groups including the Children of God , the Church of Scientology, and newer faiths...

 wrote: "Rather than struggling over whether or not to label Scientology as a religion, I find it far more helpful to view it as a multifaceted transnational corporation
Multinational corporation
A multi national corporation or enterprise , is a corporation or an enterprise that manages production or delivers services in more than one country. It can also be referred to as an international corporation...

, only one element of which is religious" [emphasis in the original]. Kent also holds that the US government sees Scientology not as a religion, but as a charitable organization due to their religious claims.

David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. He has written extensively about "cults", new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.- Education and career :Bromley received his...

 of Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University is a public university located in Richmond, Virginia. It comprises two campuses in the Downtown Richmond area, the product of a merger between the Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia in 1968...

 characterizes Scientology as "a 'quasi-religious therapy' that resembles Freudian 'depth psychology' while also drawing upon Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

."

Dr. Frank K. Flinn, adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis wrote, "it is abundantly clear that Scientology has both the typical forms of ceremonial and celebratory worship and its own unique form of spiritual life." Flinn further states that religion requires "beliefs in something transcendental or ultimate, practices (rites and codes of behavior) that re-inforce those beliefs and, a community that is sustained by both the beliefs and practices," all of which are present within Scientology.

Using the synonym of alternative religions, Barrett (1998:237) and Hunt (2003:195) place Scientology in the sociological grouping of personal development
Personal development
Personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitates employability, enhance quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations...

 movements together with the Neurolinguistic Programming, Emin
The Template Network
The Template Foundation, once known as the Emin Society or the Emin Foundation, is a belief system that stems from the work of Raymond Armin, known to members as Leo...

, and Insight
Insight
Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context. Insight can be used with several related meanings:*a piece of information...

. According to Religious Studies professor Mary Farrell Benarowski, Scientology describes itself as drawing on science, religion, psychology and philosophy but "had been claimed by none of them and repudiated, for the most part, by all."

Describing the variety of scholarly opinions in existence, David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. He has written extensively about "cults", new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.- Education and career :Bromley received his...

 and Douglas E. Cowan
Douglas E. Cowan
Douglas E. Cowan is a Canadian academic in religious studies and the sociology of religion and currently holds a teaching position at Renison College, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada...

 stated in 2006 that "Overall, however, most scholars have concluded that Scientology falls within the category of religion for the purposes of academic study, and a number have defended the Church in judicial and political proceedings on this basis." Bromley and Cowan noted in 2008 that Scientology's attempts "to gain favor with new religion scholars" had often been problematic.

Scientology as a commercial venture




While NRM
New religious movement
A new religious movement is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in...

 scholars have generally accepted the religious nature of Scientology, media reports have tended to express the opinion that "Scientology is a business, often given to criminal acts, and sometimes masquerading as a religion." During his lifetime, Hubbard was accused of using religion as a façade for Scientology to maintain tax-exempt
Tax exemption
Various tax systems grant a tax exemption to certain organizations, persons, income, property or other items taxable under the system. Tax exemption may also refer to a personal allowance or specific monetary exemption which may be claimed by an individual to reduce taxable income under some...

 status and avoid prosecution for false medical claims. According to several of his fellow science fiction writers, Hubbard had on several occasions stated that the way to get rich was to start a religion.

Hubbard grew up in a climate that was very critical of organized religion, and frequently quoted anti-religious sentiments in his early lectures. The scholar Marco Frenschkowski (University of Mainz) has stated that it was not easy for Hubbard "to come to terms with the spiritual side of his own movement. Hubbard did not want to found a religion: he discovered that what he was talking about in fact was religion. This mainly happened when he had to deal with apparent memories from former lives. He had to defend himself about this to his friends." Frenschkowski allows that there naturally were practical considerations about "how to present Scientology to the outside world", but dismisses the notion that presentation as a religion was just an expedient pretense, pointing to many passages in Hubbard's works that document his struggle with this issue. Drawing parallels to similar struggles for identity in other religious movements such as Theosophy
Theosophy
Theosophy, in its modern presentation, is a spiritual philosophy developed since the late 19th century. Its major themes were originally described mainly by Helena Blavatsky , co-founder of the Theosophical Society...

 and TM
Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation refers to the Transcendental Meditation technique, a specific form of mantra meditation, and to the Transcendental Meditation movement, a spiritual movement...

, Frenschkowski sees in Hubbard's lectures "the case of a man whose background was non-religious and who nevertheless discovers that his ideas somehow oscillate between 'science' (in a very popular sense), 'religion' and 'philosophy', and that these ideas somehow fascinate so many people that they start to form a separate movement. As in the case of similar movements, it was quite unclear to Hubbard in the beginning what Scientology would become."

The Church of Scientology denounces the idea of Hubbard starting a religion for personal gain as an unfounded rumor. The Church also suggests that the origin of the rumor was a quote by George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 which had been misattributed to Hubbard. Robert Vaughn Young
Robert Vaughn Young
Robert Vaughn Young commonly known by his initials RVY, was a whistleblower against the Church of Scientology after working high inside their organization for over twenty years.-In Scientology:...

, who left the Church in 1989 after being its spokesman for twenty years, suggested that reports of Hubbard making such a statement could be explained as a misattribution of Orwell, despite having encountered three of Hubbard's associates from his science fiction days who remembered Hubbard making statements of that sort in person. It was Young who by a stroke of luck came up with the "Orwell quote": "... but I have always thought there might be a lot of cash in starting a new religion, and we'll talk it over some time..." It appears in a letter by George Orwell (signed Eric Blair) to a friend Jack Common, dated 16-February-38 (February 16, 1938), and was published in Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, vol. 1. In 2006, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

's Janet Reitman writes Hubbard said the same thing to science fiction writer Lloyd Eshbach, a fact quoted in Eshbach's autobiography.

Scientology maintains strict control over the use of its symbols, icons, and names. It claims copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 and trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 over its "Scientology cross", and its lawyers have threatened lawsuits against individuals and organizations who have published the image in books and on Web sites. Because of this, it is very difficult for individual groups to attempt to publicly practice Scientology on their own, independent of the official Church of Scientology. Scientology has filed suit against a number of individuals who have attempted to set up their own auditing practices, using copyright and trademark law to shut these groups down.

The Church of Scientology and its many related organizations have amassed considerable real estate holdings worldwide, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Scientology encourages existing members to "sell" Scientology to others by paying a commission to those who recruit new members. Scientology franchises, or missions, must pay the Church of Scientology roughly 10% of their gross income. On that basis, it is likened to a pyramid selling scheme. While introductory courses do not cost much, courses at the higher levels may cost several thousand dollars each.

In conjunction with the Church of Scientology's request to be officially recognized as a religion in Germany, around 1996 the German state Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

 conducted a thorough investigation regarding the group's activities within Germany. The results of this investigation indicated that at the time of publication, Scientology's main sources of revenue ("Haupteinnahmequellen der SO") were from course offerings and sales of their various publications. Course offerings ranged from (German Marks) DM 182.50 to about DM 30,000 – the equivalent today of approximately $119 to $19,560 USD. Revenue from monthly, bi-monthly, and other membership offerings could not be estimated in the report, but was nevertheless placed in the millions. Defending its practices against accusations of profiteering, the Church has countered critics by drawing analogies to other religious groups who have established practices such as tithing, or require members to make donations for specific religious services.

Controversies


Of the many new religious movement
New religious movement
A new religious movement is a religious community or ethical, spiritual, or philosophical group of modern origin, which has a peripheral place within the dominant religious culture. NRMs may be novel in origin or they may be part of a wider religion, such as Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism, in...

s to appear during the 20th century, the Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

 has, from its inception, been one of the most controversial
Controversy
Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of opinion. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus – "turned in an opposite direction," from contra – "against" – and vertere – to turn, or versus , hence, "to turn...

, coming into conflict with the governments and police forces of several countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany). It has been one of the most litigious religious movements in history, filing countless lawsuits against governments, organizations and individuals.

Reports and allegations have been made, by journalists, courts, and governmental bodies of several countries, that the Church of Scientology is an unscrupulous commercial enterprise that harasses its critics and brutally exploits its members. Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine published an article
The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power
"The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power" is an article, written in 1991 by U.S. investigative journalist Richard Behar, which is highly critical of Scientology. It was first published by Time magazine on May 6, 1991, as an eight-page cover story, and was later published in Reader's Digest in October...

 in 1991 which described Scientology as "a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner."

The controversies involving the Church and its critics, some of them ongoing, include:
  • Scientology's disconnection
    Disconnection
    Disconnection, when used in Scientology, is a term used to describe the severance of all ties between a Scientologist and a friend, colleague, or family member deemed to be antagonistic towards Scientology. The practice of disconnection is a form of shunning. Among Scientologists, disconnection is...

     policy, in which members are encouraged to cut off all contact with friends or family members who are "antagonistic" to Scientology.
  • The death of a Scientologist Lisa McPherson
    Lisa McPherson
    Lisa McPherson was a member of the Church of Scientology who died of a pulmonary embolism while under the care of the Flag Service Organization , a branch of the Church of Scientology...

     while in the care of the Church. (Robert Minton
    Bob Minton
    During a April 20, 2002, hearing in the Lisa McPherson wrongful death lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, Minton spoke against Ken Dandar, the attorney representing McPherson's family...

     sponsored the multi-million dollar law suit against Scientology for the death of McPherson. In May 2004, McPherson's estate and the Church of Scientology reached a confidential settlement.)
  • Criminal activities committed on behalf of the Church or directed by Church officials (Operation Snow White
    Operation Snow White
    Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard...

    , Operation Freakout
    Operation Freakout
    Operation Freakout, also known as Operation PC Freakout, was a Church of Scientology covert plan intended to have the US author and journalist Paulette Cooper imprisoned or committed to a mental institution...

    ).
  • Conflicting statements about L. Ron Hubbard's life, in particular accounts of Hubbard discussing his intent to start a religion for profit and of his service in the military.
  • Scientology's harassment and litigious actions against its critics encouraged by its Fair Game
    Fair Game (Scientology)
    The term Fair Game is used to describe policies and practices carried out by the Church of Scientology towards people and groups it perceives as its enemies. Founder L. Ron Hubbard established the policy in the 1960s, in response to criticism both from within and outside his organization...

     policy.
  • Attempts to legally force search engines such as Google and Yahoo! to omit any webpages critical of Scientology from their search engines (and in Google's case, AdSense
    AdSense
    Google AdSense which is a program run by Google Inc. allows publishers in the Google Network of content sites to automatically serve text, image, video, and rich media adverts that are targeted to site content and audience. These adverts are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google, and they...

    ), or at least the first few search pages.
  • Allegations by former high-ranking Scientologists that David Miscavige
    David Miscavige
    David Miscavige is the leader of the Church of Scientology and affiliated organizations. His title is Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center , a corporation that controls the trademarked names and symbols of Dianetics and Scientology. Miscavige was an assistant to Hubbard while a...

     beats and demoralizes staff and that physical violence by superiors towards staff working for them is a common occurrence in the church. Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis
    Thomas W. Davis
    Thomas W. "Tommy" Davis is the head of the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre International in Los Angeles, California.-Celebrity Centre:...

     denied these claims and provided witnesses to rebut them.
  • In October 2009, a French court found the Church of Scientology guilty of organized fraud. Four officers of the organization were fined and given suspended prison sentences of up to 2 years. The Church of Scientology said it would appeal the judgement. Prosecutors had hoped to achieve a ban of Scientology in France, but due to a temporary change in French law, which "made it impossible to dissolve a legal entity on the grounds of fraud", no ban was pronounced.
  • In November 2009, Australian Senator
    Australian Senate
    The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

     Nick Xenophon
    Nick Xenophon
    Nicholas "Nick" Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and politician. He attended Prince Alfred College, and studied law at the University of Adelaide, attaining his Bachelor of Laws in 1981. Xenophon established and became principal of his own law firm, Xenophon & Co....

     used a speech in Federal Parliament to allege that the Church of Scientology is a criminal organization. Based on letters from former followers of the religion, he said that there were "allegations of forced imprisonment, coerced abortions, and embezzlement
    Embezzlement
    Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

     of church funds, of physical violence and intimidation
    Intimidation
    Intimidation is intentional behavior "which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm. It's not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause terror or that the victim was actually frightened.Criminal threatening is the crime of intentionally or...

    , blackmail and the widespread and deliberate abuse of information obtained by the organization ..."


Due to these allegations, a considerable amount of investigation has been aimed at the Church, by groups ranging from the media to governmental agencies.

Scientology social programs such as drug and criminal rehabilitation have likewise drawn both support and criticism.

Professor of sociology Stephen A. Kent
Stephen A. Kent
Stephen A. Kent, is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He researches new and alternative religions, and has published research on several such groups including the Children of God , the Church of Scientology, and newer faiths...

 says "Scientologists see themselves as possessors of doctrines and skills that can save the world, if not the galaxy." As stated in Scientology doctrine: "The whole agonized future of this planet, every man, woman and child on it, and your own destiny for the next endless trillions of years depend on what you do here and now with and in Scientology." Kent has described Scientology's ethics system as "a peculiar brand of morality that uniquely benefited [the Church of Scientology] ... In plain English, the purpose of Scientology ethics is to eliminate opponents, then eliminate people's interests in things other than Scientology." On the other hand, the sociologist David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley
David G. Bromley is a professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA and the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. He has written extensively about "cults", new religious movements, apostasy, and the anti-cult movement.- Education and career :Bromley received his...

 has noted that "a number of religious groups had radical and confrontational styles early in their history" and that "Scientology is now becoming less controversial."

Scientology and the Internet



In the 1990s, Scientology representatives began to take action against increased criticism of Scientology on the Internet. The organization says that the actions taken were to prevent distribution of copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

ed Scientology documents and publications online, fighting what it refers to as "copyright terrorists".

In January 1995, Church lawyer Helena Kobrin attempted to shut down the newsgroup
Newsgroup
A usenet newsgroup is a repository usually within the Usenet system, for messages posted from many users in different locations. The term may be confusing to some, because it is usually a discussion group. Newsgroups are technically distinct from, but functionally similar to, discussion forums on...

 alt.religion.scientology
Alt.religion.scientology
The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology is a Usenet newsgroup started in 1991 to discuss the controversial beliefs of Scientology, as well as the Church of Scientology, which claims exclusive intellectual property rights thereto and is viewed by many as a dangerous cult...

 by sending a control message instructing Usenet
Usenet
Usenet is a worldwide distributed Internet discussion system. It developed from the general purpose UUCP architecture of the same name.Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea in 1979 and it was established in 1980...

 servers to delete the group. In practice, this rmgroup message had little effect, since most Usenet servers are configured to disregard such messages when sent to groups that receive substantial traffic, and newgroup messages were quickly issued to recreate the group on those servers that did not do so. However, the issuance of the message led to a great deal of public criticism by free-speech advocates. Among the criticism raised, one suggestion is that Scientology's true motive is to suppress the free speech of its critics.


The Church also began filing lawsuits against those who posted copyrighted texts on the newsgroup and the World Wide Web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

, and lobbied for tighter restrictions on copyrights in general. The Church supported the controversial Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act as well as the even more controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization . It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to...

. Some of the DMCA's provisions (notably the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act
Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act
The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act is United States federal law that creates a conditional safe harbor for online service providers and other Internet intermediaries by shielding them for their own acts of direct copyright infringement as well as...

) were heavily influenced by Church litigation against US Internet service providers over copyrighted Scientology materials that had been posted or uploaded through their servers.

Beginning in the middle of 1996 and ensuing for several years, the newsgroup was attacked by anonymous parties using a tactic dubbed sporgery
Sporgery
Sporgery is the disruptive act of posting a flood of articles to a Usenet newsgroup, with the article headers falsified so that they appear to have been posted by others. The word is a portmanteau of spam and forgery, coined by German software developer and critic of Scientology Tilman...

by some, in the form of hundreds of thousands of forged spam messages posted on the group. Some investigators said that some spam had been traced to Church members. Former Scientologist Tory Christman
Tory Christman
Tory Christman is a prominent American critic of Scientology and former member of the organization. Originally brought up to believe in Catholicism, Christman turned to Scientology after being introduced to the book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health authored by Scientology founder L...

 later asserted that the Office of Special Affairs
Office of Special Affairs
The Office of Special Affairs or OSA is a department of the Church of Scientology. According to the Church, the OSA is responsible for directing legal affairs, public relations, pursuing investigations, publicizing the Church's "social betterment works," and "oversee[ing its] social reform programs"...

 had undertaken a concerted effort to destroy alt.religion.scientology through these means; the effort failed.

On January 14, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

 was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

.
The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video. Subsequently, the "Anonymous
Anonymous (group)
Anonymous is an international hacking group, spread through the Internet, initiating active civil disobedience, while attempting to maintain anonymity. Originating in 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, the term refers to the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic,...

" group of internet users voiced its criticism of Scientology and began attacking the Church. Calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship
Internet censorship
Internet censorship is the control or suppression of the publishing of, or access to information on the Internet. It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations either at the behest of government or on their own initiative...

, participants of Anonymous coordinated Project Chanology
Project Chanology
Project Chanology is a protest movement against the practices of the Church of Scientology by members of Anonymous, a leaderless Internet-based group that defines itself as ubiquitous...

, which consisted of a series of denial-of-service attack
Denial-of-service attack
A denial-of-service attack or distributed denial-of-service attack is an attempt to make a computer resource unavailable to its intended users...

s against Scientology websites, prank calls, and black fax
Black fax
The term black fax refers to a prank fax transmission, consisting of one or more pages entirely filled with a uniform black tone. The sender's intention is typically to consume as much of the recipient's fax ink, toner or thermal paper or disk space as possible, thus costing the recipient money...

es to Scientology centers. On January 21, 2008, Anonymous announced its intentions via a video posted to YouTube entitled "Message to Scientology", and a press release declaring a "war" against both the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center
Religious Technology Center
The Religious Technology Center is a Californian non-profit corporation. RTC was founded in 1982 by the Church of Scientology in order to control and oversee the use of all of the trademarks, symbols and texts of Scientology and Dianetics, including the copyrighted works of Scientology founder and...

.
In the press release, the group stated that the attacks against the Church of Scientology would continue in order to protect the freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

, and end what they saw as the financial exploitation of church members.

On January 28, 2008, an Anonymous video appeared on YouTube calling for protests outside Church of Scientology centers on February 10, 2008. According to a letter Anonymous e-mailed to the press, about 7,000 people protested in more than 90 cities worldwide. Many protesters wore masks based on the character V from V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta is a ten-issue comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd, set in a dystopian future United Kingdom imagined from the 1980s to about the 1990s. A mysterious masked revolutionary who calls himself "V" works to destroy the totalitarian government,...

(who was influenced by Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes , also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.Fawkes was born and educated in York...

) or otherwise disguised their identities, in part to protect themselves from reprisals from the Church of Scientology.
Many further protests have followed since then in cities around the world.

The Arbitration Committee of the Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

 internet encyclopedia decided in May 2009 to restrict access to its site from Church of Scientology IP addresses, to prevent self-serving edits by Scientologists. A "host of anti-Scientologist editors" were topic-banned as well. The committee concluded that both sides had "gamed policy" and resorted to "battlefield tactics", with articles on living persons being the "worst casualties".

Scientology and hypnosis



Scientology literature states that L. Ron Hubbard demonstrated his professional expertise in hypnosis
Hypnosis
Hypnosis is "a trance state characterized by extreme suggestibility, relaxation and heightened imagination."It is a mental state or imaginative role-enactment . It is usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long series of preliminary...

 by "discovering" the Dianetic engram
Engram (Dianetics)
In Dianetics and Scientology, an engram is defined as "a mental image picture which is a recording of an experience containing pain, unconsciousness and a real or fancied threat to survival. It is a recording in the reactive mind of something which actually happened to an individual in the past and...

. Hubbard was said to be an accomplished hypnotist, and close acquaintances such as Forrest Ackerman (Hubbard's literary agent) and A. E. van Vogt
A. E. van Vogt
Alfred Elton van Vogt was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded by some as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the "Golden Age" of the genre....

 (an early supporter of Dianetics) witnessed repeated demonstrations of his hypnotic skills.

Auditing confidentiality



During the auditing process, the auditor may collect personal information from the person being audited. Auditing records are referred to within Scientology as preclear folders. The Church of Scientology has strict codes designed to protect the confidentiality of the information contained in these folders. However, people leaving Scientology know that the Church is in possession of very personal information about them, and that the Church has a history of attacking and psychologically abusing those who leave it and become critics. On December 16, 1969 a Guardian's Office order (G. O. 121669) by Mary Sue Hubbard authorized the use of auditing records for purposes of "internal security." Some former members have said that while they were still in the Church, they combed through information obtained in auditing sessions to see if it could be used for smear campaigns against critics. The Church of Scientology of California responded by stating that the letter which gave Mary Sue Hubbard authority to cull confessional files was not official policy and had been previously canceled. Charges that private information from auditing files has actually been used against individuals have not been upheld in court.

Celebrities


Hubbard envisaged that celebrities would have a key role to play in the dissemination of Scientology, and in 1955 launched Project Celebrity, creating a list of 63 famous people that he asked his followers to target for conversion to Scientology. Former silent-screen star Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson
Gloria Swanson was an American actress, singer and producer. She was one of the most prominent stars during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon, especially under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille, made dozens of silents and was nominated for the first Academy Award in the...

 and jazz pianist Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
David Warren "Dave" Brubeck is an American jazz pianist. He has written a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranges from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills...

 were among the earliest celebrities attracted to Hubbard's teachings.

Today, Scientology operates eight churches that are designated Celebrity Centers, the largest of these being the one in Hollywood. Celebrity Centers are open to the general public, but are primarily designed to minister to celebrity Scientologists. Entertainers such as John Travolta
John Travolta
John Joseph Travolta is an American actor, dancer and singer. Travolta first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease...

, Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Louise Alley is an American actress known for her role in the TV show Cheers, in which she played Rebecca Howe from 1987–1993, winning an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991...

, Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley is an American singer and songwriter, also known as the "Princess of Rock and Roll". She is the only child of Elvis Presley, and daughter of Priscilla Presley.-Early life:...

, Nancy Cartwright
Nancy Cartwright
Nancy Campbell Cartwright is an American film and television actress, comedian and voice artist. She is best known for her long-running role as Bart Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons...

, Jason Lee
Jason Lee (actor)
Jason Michael Lee is an American actor and skateboarder known for his role as the title character on the NBC television series My Name is Earl, his portrayal of Syndrome in the film The Incredibles, his role as Dave Seville in the Alvin and the Chipmunks films, and his work with director Kevin...

, Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes
Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. was an American songwriter, musician, singer and actor. Hayes was one of the creative influences behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the...

, Edgar Winter
Edgar Winter
Edgar Holland Winter is an American musician. He is famous for being a multi-instrumentalist. He is a highly skilled keyboardist, saxophonist and percussionist. He often plays an instrument while singing. He was most successful in the 1970s with his band, The Edgar Winter Group, notably with their...

, Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV , better known as Tom Cruise, is an American film actor and producer. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards and he has won three Golden Globe Awards....

, Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Armando Anthony "Chick" Corea is an American jazz pianist, keyboardist, and composer.Many of his compositions are considered jazz standards. As a member of Miles Davis' band in the 1960s, he participated in the birth of the electric jazz fusion movement. In the 1970s he formed Return to Forever...

, Leah Remini
Leah Remini
Leah Marie Remini is an American actress and model. She is best known for her role as Carrie Heffernan on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens and as Stacey Carosi on the NBC sitcom Saved by the Bell...

 and Katie Holmes
Katie Holmes
Katherine Noelle "Katie" Holmes is an American actress who first achieved fame for her role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003. Her movie roles have included the blockbuster Batman Begins along with art house films such as The Ice Storm and thrillers...

have generated considerable publicity for Scientology.

External links



Official site
Scholarly web pages on Scientology