Scientology is a new religion established in the United States by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1954. His 1950 book Dianetics told readers they could rid themselves of negative past experiences, called "engrams", to live happier lives. Later Hubbard added idea involving the human soul, or "thetan" (each person's spiritual self or soul that passes through countless reincarnations across trillions of years), and the origins of life and the universe. The organization has often been the subject of extreme controversy. It has been described by judiciary in various countries as a dangerous and mind controlling cult .
Unlike Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, there is no single definitive text having authority. Instead, there are multiple books, read by adherents to increase their understanding of Scientology principles. Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, his seminal work on the subject, came out in 1950 and became a multi-million bestseller. The Way to Happiness is a 1980 booklet that lists 21 moral precepts.
- "Piece by piece, his teachings are revealed to church members through a progression of sometimes secret courses that take years to complete and cost tens of thousands of dollars." 
The goal of the Scientology religion is to achieve complete certainty of one's spiritual existence, one's relationship to the Supreme Being, and his role in eternity;  but Heaven, Hubbard said, is a "false dream" and a "very painful lie" intended to direct thetans toward a non-existent goal and convince them they have only one life. 
Although Scientology argues its beliefs are not incompatible with Christian faith, this is not so. Scientology is inconsistent with the beliefs of Christian faith; however we may observe that Scientology does entertain a fine goal in attempting to improve the world and man's lot within it, whether materially or spiritually. Many practitioners are dedicated and selfless in seeking such ends. Scientology is also known for its conservative stance on social issues (supporting Proposition 8 in California, for example), which is commendable. Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard also recognized that homosexuality is immoral and a behavioral disorder, rather than a "healthy alternative lifestyle" as liberals shamelessly insist.The official Scientology position on homosexuality is that someone who is a homosexual is "trapped within a past life when they were of the opposite sex."
- Belief in Deity: The nature of the Supreme Being is revealed personally.
- Incarnations: There are no particular human incarnations of God.
- Origin of Universe and Life: All is manifestation of the universal spirit.
- After Death: Rebirths continue forever.
- Why Evil?: Untrue ideas can result in wrongdoing.
- Salvation: Salvation and enlightenment is achieved through the practices and techniques of Scientology.
- Undeserved Suffering: Suffering occurs as part of the spirit's entrapment here in the physical universe.
- Death: It is sometimes a blessing, or irrelevant.
- Contemporary Issues: Scientology favors the use of their methodology for spiritual/mental healing and social betterment.
The Creed of the Church of Scientology was written by L. Ron Hubbard shortly after the Church was formed in Los Angeles on February 18, 1954. 
In the news
October 26, 2009.
Paul Haggis, an Oscar-winning Canadian filmmaker has quit the Church of Scientology after 35 years over the organization's tolerance of "gay-bashing," its lying over the use of "disconnection," and its decision to release the intimate confessions of some of its former members who turned into critics.  (disconnection which means that a recruit is told to cut off from parents.)
Tue Oct 27, 2009.
A Paris court convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud and fined it more than euro 600,000 ($900,000) on Tuesday, but stopped short of banning the group's activities.
The group's French branch said it would appeal the verdict.
The court convicted the Church of Scientology's French office, its library and six of its leaders of organized fraud. Investigators said the group pressured members into paying large sums of money for questionable financial gain and used "commercial harassment" against recruits. 
Controversy and criticism
Both the status of Scientology as a religion and its beliefs as well as its practices and manner of operation have been a subject of condemnation by both religious and secular sources.  Scientology is classified as a cult by the governments of France and Germany.
Christian apologist Craig Branch of Watchman Fellowship begins a documented examination of Scientology by stating,
Controversy continues to rage around Scientology, due mostly to the totalitarian and abusive nature of its practices. The evolution and history of Scientology raises serious and fundamental questions about freedoms and protections of religion and even what or who defines a religion. Scientology is an anomaly on even a diverse religious landscape. It does, in fact, involve religious belief (in what most outsiders would regard as science fiction). But that belief appears to have been built chiefly as a cover for exploitive commercial operations...Scientology's history of terror and abuse appears to be the result of its founder's delusion and paranoia. 
Such charges are due in part to the tendency of Scientology to engage in intimidation and unethical or unlawful practices against those who have criticized or publicly opposed it, from former members, to national publications, to the United States government. This has resulted in Scientology being termed a "religious mafia", and "a commercial enterprise that masquerades as a religion." In response to journalist Paulette Cooper's 1972 book, The Scandal of Scientology, Scientology launched filed 19 lawsuits against her, contrived a false bomb threat made in her name, and planned and implemented various other attempts over the course of almost 15 years. A strategy called Operation Freakout sought "To get P.C incarcerated in a mental institution or jail, or at least to hit her so hard that she drops her attacks."
This plan was prevented from full implementation when a 1977 FBI raid on Scientology headquarters revealed the Scientology plot, among 48,000 documents detailing strategies against critics of the church. Comprehensive evidence revealed the theft of government documents by Scientology, spies planted in the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service, and the planting of listening devices, as part of Operation Snow White.
The original objective of Operation Snow White was to expose and expunge "all false and secret files of the nations of operating areas", and included plans to use blackmail, and to infiltrate and steal potentially damaging classified files on Scientology activities in various countries, from Algeria to the United States. These ranged from Operation Project DIG (AUDITION) in Australia, which called for giving compromising information on Conservative politicians to the Australian Labor Party so that the latter "could give the Federal Labor something to smear Victorian Conservatives with", to Project GRUMPY in Germany, which upheld obtaining files "by any means" from police, Interpol and immigration authorities.In 1991 Time magazine wrote a major exposé of Scientology, describing it as The Cult of Greed, being
a hugely profitable, global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious, and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen.
Scientology unsuccessfully sued Time magazine over the revelatory story.Numerous other authors and publication have been additional targets of Scientology retaliation. In 1995, The American Jurist Magazine published, Dangerous Science: The Church of Scientology's Holy War against Critics, which notes,
It is typical of the Church of Scientology to use lawsuits -- very many of which are dismissed as frivolous -- to intimidate, harass and quell its critics and defectors into silence. This scheme is even written into the church's doctrine.
In 1996, the popular Cult Awareness Network, abbreviated as CAN, a primary Scientology critic, was forced into bankruptcy by Scientology. An undercover Scientologist had infiltrated CAN, then 50 Scientologists filed suit against it, many containing almost identical language, after having sought to join the organization almost simultaneously and being denied. CAN's link to cult deprogramming enabled Scientology to file a lawsuit which resulted in a massive fine which added to CAN's legal debt, forcing bankruptcy. Legal maneuvering resulted in Scientology having control of the name and equipment, etc. and files of the old CAN, through Scientology associates. The files were then turned over to the Foundation for Religious Freedom, one of many which serve as a "front" group for Scientology, or which are inordinately favorable to them.
An addition source of controversy has been the death of 36 year old Lisa McPherson at Scientology's Clearwater headquarters, which she was undergoing "care".
Doctrinally Scientology is non-Christian (Hubbard even denied there was a Christ), and is seen to be manifesting a form of New Age belief. One researcher concludes that it is "an oversimplified form of regular psychotherapy mixed with hypnosis."
It is also pointed out that Satanist Aleister Crowley, was Hubbard's mentor and he lived with Crowley protege John Parsons, engaging in sex magic at their black magic mansion hospice (Los Angeles Times, 24 June 1990, p. A1). 
If attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace." - L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 15 August 1960, Dept. of Govt. Affairs
The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly. - L. Ron Hubbard, A Manual on the dissemination of material.
So we listen. We add up associations of people with people. When a push against Scientology starts somewhere, we go over the people involved and weed them out. Push vanishes." - L. Ron Hubbard, Manual of justice, 1959
A truly Suppressive Person or group has no rights of any kind and actions taken against them are not punishable.- L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 1 March 1965, HCO (Division 1) Ethics, Suppressive Acts, Suppression of Scientology and Scientologists
[The court record is] replete with evidence [that Scientology] is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories… and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect…. The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder, L.Ron Hubbard.” – Judge Breckenridge, Los Angeles Superior Court
Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.” – Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia
Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members." - Cynthia Kisser, the network's Chicago-based executive director, as quoted in Time, 5/6/91
Since the early 1980's there has been a schism within Scientology. Various members have left the church citing oppressive ethics policies, excessive fundraising, widespread altering of the Hubbard scriptures and dissatisfaction with church practices such as Disconnection and Fair Game. Many of these groups call themselves Independent Scientologists and some prefer the name Free Zoners. Because the individual practices of these groups vary, it is difficult to characterise them accurately. Some, such as Clearbird aim to restore the Tech exactly as Hubbard intended , whereas others prefer to use only those parts of the tech they consider valuable and ignore those parts that are harmful or oppressive, such as Ron's Orgs. A prominent former high ranking member of the Church, Marty Rathbun, offers auditing and other spiritual counselling independent of the Church. He appears to embrace a somewhat liberal approach to Hubbard's writings, publicly stating that some of the teachings of Hubbard are not intended to be believed as literally true .The official Church of Scientology has a policy of harassing these independent groups. In one classic case, they sent a film crew out to Marty Rathbun's house and harassed him for 6 months under the guise of filming a documentary  They attempted to have Marty Rathbun arrested for assault after he eventually lashed out against one of the film crew. However the police refused to press charges saying:
no jury, they said, would possibly convict Rathbun after learning of the circumstances he had endured during the previous five months. All charges were dropped. "We took a totality of the circumstances," said a spokesman. "We examined the level of provocation and the extent of the injury, which was literally a scratch .
It should be noted that the Church of Scientology officially denies their involvement in this harassment, however this is not credible and contradicts other official statements from the Church 
- Various Christian doctrinal and historical articles on Scientology
- An exhaustive information source on Scientology
- Scientology as a "Religion"
- Extensive information critical of Scientology from secular source
- Christian apologist Walter Martin on Scientology, audio and text
- Video source, including report by ABC’s Nightline
- Welcome to Scientology.
- Beliefnet: What Scientologists Believe
- Official Church of Scientology
- A REFERENCE WORK PRESENTED BY THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
- From Science Fiction to Space-age Religion.
- Operation Clambake
- Irving Hexham, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Calgary
- Scientology Basics
- See eg. Re: B & G (Minors) (Custody) (High Court of England), which can be found here or Church of Scientology California v Gerry Armstrong, which can be found here
- Dianetics has sold over 21 million copies and is the best selling self-help book of all time. 
- Defining the Theology.
- Defining the Theology.
- From Science Fiction to Space-age Religion.
- see eg. A history of Man, Hubbard. 1952
- The Creed of the Church of Scientology.
- Canadian filmmaker quits Church of Scientology
- Church of Scientology convicted of fraud in France
- cf. Scientology: the Sickness Spreads," Reader's Digest, September, l981, reprint, p.2
- Robert W. Welkos and Joel Sappell, 'Burglaries and Lies Paved a Path to Prison The Los Angeles Times, June 24, 1990
- The Watchman Expositor (Vol. 14, No. 5)
- Time, The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power pp. 32-33
- The American Jurist, November 1995
- [http://www.solitarytrees.net/pickets/sp944.htm Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter - Investigation follows pattern of harassment. The Boston Herald, March 19, 1998
- Russell Miller,Bare Faced Messiah, Chapter 9
- ClearBirds Keeping Tech Working
- Interview with Peter Boyles on KHOW radio in Denver
- Scientology's 'heretic': How Marty Rathbun became the arch-enemy of L Ron Hubbard devotees, The Independent 07 April 2012
- The Independednt, ibid
- Scientology Admits Connection to Slimy Anonymous Attack Websites, Village Voice April 13 2012