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Scientology is a new religion[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

Unlike Christianity 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.[note 1] 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."[4]

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;[5] 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.[4]

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, John Weldon of the Christian Research Instituted explained the religion's potential appeal to casual observers, some of whom may happen to be Christian. "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."[6] It should be noted that while the Church of Scientology does say its beliefs are not incompatible with Christianity, and does allow members to adhere to other religions, the Church website states explicitly that the member is expected to put their loyalty to Scientology above all other religious loyalties.

What Scientologists believe

  • 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: Everything is a manifestation of the universal spirit.
  • After Death: Rebirths continue until the spirit become one with God.
  • Why Evil?: Untrue ideas can result in wrongdoing.
  • The Occult: Black magic is the inner core of Scientology.
  • 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 and due to thetans.
  • 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.[7]

Scientology's founder L. Ron Hubbard in the earlier years maintained a policy that homosexuality is immoral and a behavioral disorder, rather than a "healthy alternative lifestyle" as liberals shamelessly insist. An early 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."[note 2] On the issue of abortion at least, however, the Church of Scientology went on to holding less socially conservative views, with multiple testimonies of past Sea Org members being pressured to have an abortion in the event of a pregnancy.[8]


Scientologist believe, should one go deep enough into it to achieve OT III,[note 3] that 75 million years ago[note 4] a trans-galactic ruler named Xenu threw a coup d'état and instated his own fascist dictatorship. Now, Xenu had a problem: each of the planets in the galaxy were overpopulated, with an average of 178 billion people per planet,[9] so he devised a plan. Xenu called a ton of people in for tax audits,[10] then froze them in a mixture of alcohol and gycol.[11] Then, Xenu stacked the frozen people onto spaceships that looked like DC-8s,[12] but they had rocket engines instead of propellers.[13] He flew them to Teegeeack[14] (later called Earth), and stacked them around volcanoes. He lowered hydrogen bombs into the volcanoes and detonated them, killing everyone who was frozen. Xenu had another problem though: each person had a soul. So he used this special electronic beam that worked like fly paper to catch all the souls, and flew them to a massive, gargantuan cinema.[11] Xenu made the souls (called thetans) watch films for 36 days straight. The films told the thetans that they were God, Jesus, and the Devil all at the same time.[11] This so confused the thetans that they clumped together and stayed on Earth, and all these years later they cling to our bodies and cause us problems.[15]

Controversy and criticism

Both the status of Scientology as a religion[16] and its beliefs as well as its practices and manner of operation have been a subject of condemnation by both religious and secular sources.[17] 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.[18]

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."[19] In response to journalist Paulette Cooper's 1972 book, The Scandal of Scientology,[20] Scientology launched 19 lawsuits against her,[21] 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."[22]

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 raid finally resulted in the conviction of Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of the Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and 10 more Scientologists. All received prison terms, though all are now free.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

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."[26]

Scientology unsuccessfully sued Time magazine over the revelatory story.[27]

Numerous other authors and publications have been additional targets of Scientology retaliation.[28] 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.[29]

Many other authorities have voiced concurring opinions,[30] and/or provided documented examples.[31]

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,[32] one of many which serve as a "front" group for Scientology, or which are inordinately favorable to them.[33]

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".[34]

Doctrinally Scientology is non-Christian (Hubbard even denied there was a Christ[35]), and is seen to be manifesting a form of New Age belief.[36] Famous psychologist Rollo May concluded that it is "an oversimplified form of regular psychotherapy mixed with hypnosis."[37]

It is also pointed out that Satanist Aleister Crowley was Hubbard's mentor, and that Hubbard lived with Crowley protégé John Parsons, reportedly engaging in sex magic at their black magic mansion hospice.[38]

Liberal religious cult apologist[39] J. Gordon Melton dismisses the charge that Scientology is a cult, as he does in regard to certain other dangerous groups.[40]

On October 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.[41]

Negative quotes

Quotes from Scientology and other material[42][43][44] are often published in support of the critical position.

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, "The Scientologist, a manual on the dissemination of material", 1955

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[45]

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

[T]he Church [of Scientology] or its minions is fully capable of intimidation or other physical or psychological abuse if it suits their ends. The record is replete with evidence of such abuse. ¶ In 1970 a police agency of the French government conducted an investigation into Scientology and concluded, “this nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by (use of) pseudo-scientific theories...and [inter alia] to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with this sect." From the evidence presented to this court in 1984, at the very least, similar conclusions can be drawn.... ¶ The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder, L. R[on]. H[ubbard].[46] — Judge Breckenridge, Memorandum of Intended Decision, Scientology v. Armstrong, Los Angeles Superior Court, June 20, 1984

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[47]

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, Cult Awareness Network's Chicago-based executive director, as quoted in Time magazine, May 6, 1991.[26] (The Church of Scientology originated multiple lawsuits against the Cult Awareness Network which bankrupted it; after which, to pay for its debts, the network allowed the Scientologists to seize its assets and the right to its name and to run the network under its own direction)

Independent Scientologists

Since the early 1980s 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[48] aim to restore the Tech exactly as Hubbard intended,[49] 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.[50] 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.[51]

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.[52] They attempted to have Marty Rathbun arrested for assault after he eventually lashed out against one of the film crew. However the local prosecutors soon announced their refusal to press charges:

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.[52]

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.[53]

Further reading

See also

External links


  1. Sales figures vary for Dianetics; a mid-2004 estimate by the St. Petersburg Times gives 17 million copies. Robinson, B. A. (August 29, 2007). "The Church of Scientology® & homosexuality", footnote 8. Religious* website.
  2. see e.g. Hubbard (1952) A History of Man.
  3. It costs an estimated $350,000 to reach OT III, for reference
  4. Note and multiple references:


  1. Hexham, Dr. Irving (1997). The Religious Status of Scientology: Is Scientology a Religion?, 2nd ed. University of Calgary website/Nurelweb website/Papers/Irving Hexham.
  2. Multiple references:
    • "Scientology: Scientology Basics" (bef. October 13, 2008). Beliefnet website/Home/Faiths & Prayer/Scientology. Retrieved from October 13, 2008 archive at Internet Archive.
    • "What Scientologists Believe" (June 2001). Beliefnet website/Home/Faiths & Prayer. Retrieved from October 15, 2008 archive at Internet Archive.
  3. See e.g. Re: B & G (Minors) (Custody) (July 23, 1984). High Court of England/Family Division/London. Republished at Operation Clambake website/Scientology Audited archive before November 3, 1997 or Church of Scientology California v. Gerald Armstrong; Memorandum of Intended Decision (June 20, 1984). Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. Republished at Scientology v. Armstrong website/Archive/Breckenridge Decision: Scientology v. Armstrong before May 12, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sappell, Joel and Welkos, Robert W. (June 24, 1990). "Defining the theology". Los Angeles Times website/Local.
  5. [Official Church of Scientology website] Scientology: Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion (1998; Los Angeles, CA: Bridge Publications), p. i. Republished at Scientology: The Bonafides of the Scientology Religion website.
  6. Weldon, John (Summer 1993). From science fiction to space-age religion, Christian Research Journal, p. 20+. Republished at Internet Christian Library/The CRI Archive#CRI Journal Archives/Journal Articles V#0155.
  7. [Official Church of Scientology website] "The Creed of the Church of Scientology". Scientology: Theology and Practice of a Contemporary Religion (1998; Los Angeles, CA: Bridge Publications), p. ii-iii. Republished at Scientology: The Bonafides of the Scientology Religion website/Creed.
  8. Multiple references:
  9. Multiple references:
    • Atack, Jon (1990). A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics, and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed (New York: Carol Publishing Group). ISBN 0-8184-0499-X. OCLC 20934706.
    • Scott, Michael Dennis (2004). Internet And Technology Law Desk Reference (Aspen Publishers), p. 109. ISBN 0-7355-4743-2.
  10. Partridge, Christopher Hugh (2003). UFO Religions. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26324-7. OCLC 51342721.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Xenu Leaflet,
  12. L. Ron Hubbard "Class VIII Course, Lecture No. 10, Assists" October 3, 1968; taped lecture
  13. ABC News (February 14, 1992). "Interview of David Miscavage by Ted Koppel". Nightline [television broadcast]. ABC (republished as "Scientology leader gave ABC first-ever interview". website, November 18, 2006).
  14. Multiple references:
    • Partridge, Christopher Hugh (2003). UFO Religions. (Routledge). ISBN 0-415-26324-7. OCLC 51342721.
    • Reece, Gregory L. (2007). UFO Religion: Inside Flying Saucer Cults and Culture. (I. B. Tauris) ISBN 1-84511-451-5.
    • Lamont, Stewart (1986). Religion Inc.: The Church of Scientology. (London: Harrap). ISBN 0-245-54334-1. OCLC 23079677.
  15. Multiple references:
  16. "Scientology as a 'religion'" (2009 or bef.), November 1, 2009 edition. website. Retrieved from November 1, 2009 archive at Internet Archive.
  17. Multiple references:
  18. Branch, Craig (1998). "Church of Scientology: A religious mafia?". The Watchman Expositor, vol. 15, no. 1. Republished at Watchman Fellowship website.
  19. Multiple references:
  20. Cooper, Paulette (1972). The Scandal of Scientology (New York, NY: Tower). Republished at Operation Clambake website/Scientology booklist.
  21. Cooper, Paulette (2007). "The scandal behind The Scandal of Scientology", 2013 ed. Paulette Cooper website.
  22. Multiple references:
  23. Multiple references:
  26. 26.0 26.1 Behar, Richard (May 6, 1991). "The thriving cult of greed and power". Time, pp. 32-33. Republished at Carnegie-Mellon University website/School of Computer Science/Dave Touretzky's page/Church of Scientology International v. Fishman and Geertz. Copyrighted material; for fair educational use only.
  27. Branch, Rick (1997). "Scientology: A history of terror and abuse". The Watchman Expositor, vol. 14, no. 5. Republished at Watchman Fellowship website.
  28. Exposing the Con website/The News Archives.
  29. Ascalon, Eric J. (November 1995). "Dangerous science: The Church of Scientology's holy war against critics". The American Jurist, vol. 9, no. 2. Republished at Exposing the Con website/The News Archives.
  31. Multiple references:
  33. Multiple references:
  37. Miller, Russell (1988). Bare-Faced Messiah (New York, NY: Henry Holt), ch. 9.
  38. Multiple references:
  40. Multiple references:
  41. Vaux-Montagny, Nicolas (October 27, 2009)." "Church of Scientology convicted of fraud in France". Associated Press. Republished at Yahoo News website. Retrieved from October 28, 2009 archive at Internet Archive.
  45. Hubbard, L. Ron (1959). [Hubbard Communications Office] Manual of Justice (Copenhagen [Denmark]: Scientology Publications Organization), p. 2.
  46. Church of Scientology California v. Gerald Armstrong; Memorandum of Intended Decision (June 20, 1984), Discussion, p. 8. Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. Republished at Scientology v. Armstrong website/Archive/Breckenridge Decision: Scientology v. Armstrong before May 12, 2009.
  47. Anderson, QC, Sir Kevin Victor, Chairman, Victoria (Australia) [Judiciary] Board of Inquiry into Scientology (1965). Report of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology (Melbourne: Government Printer), series Victoria (Australia) Parliament, Victoria (Australia) Parliamentary Papers (1965), C. no. 1-6502/65; also series Victoria (Australia) Parliament, Legislative Assembly, Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly (1965-66), vol. 2.
  48. Clearbird
  49. ClearBirds Keeping Tech Working
  50. Ron's Orgs
  51. "Marty Rathbun gets toasted on KHOW radio show in Denver - 22 Feb 2012 [Interview with Peter Boyles]" (February 23, 2012). YouTube video, 14:05, posted by TeamXemu.
  52. 52.0 52.1 Adams, Guy (April 6, 2012). "Scientology's 'heretic': How Marty Rathbun became the arch-enemy of L Ron Hubbard devotees". The Independent website.
  53. Ortega, Tony (April 13, 2012). "Scientology admits connection to slimy anonymous attack websites". The Village Voice website/News. See Village Voice.