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World religions

Menu

About the Church of Scientology®
A religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard

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This section discusses the Church of Scientology.

Ours is not an official Scientology site.

If you want to read material that promotes Scientology,
please go to a Church of Scientology web site.

If you want to read material that attacks that Church
please go to an anti-cult web site.

Otherwise, please return here shortly when when we have updated
our essays on this faith group and have placed them back online.

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Overview:

The Church of Scientology is a relatively new faith, founded by American science fiction/fantasy author Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986). He is most commonly referred to as L. Ron Hubbard.

The word Scientology means the "study of knowledge or truth." The Church attempts to address the rehabilitation and salvation of humanity.

Unlike many new religions, Scientology survived the death of his founder in 1986. It is now led by David Miscavige, a friend of Hubbard. The total number of Scientologists in the world is extremely difficult to estimate, for a variety of reasons. Estimates range from 8 million (as stated by the Church itself) to 100,000 as estimated by skeptics.

The Church of Scientology has been recognized as a religious organization by some countries, and banned in others. It has been criticized by some critics as more of a cult or a corporation than a religion. Currently, it is perhaps the most controversial of the new religious movements (NRMs).

Until 2014-OCT, this menu included links to a number of essays on Scientology. However, after reassessing their quality, we concluded that they do not meet the standards expected of essays on this web site. On 2014-OCT-05, we temporarily removed these essays from the Internet. We are rewriting them.

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Reference used:

  1. "Scientology®: A reference work presented by the Church of Scientology International," at: http://www.bonafidescientology.org/

Two recommended books:

James R. Lewis, "Scientology," Oxford University Press, 2009-MAR, 464 pages. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. List price is $35.00. Amazon.com sells it for $25.20 as of 2009-APR-13..

Product description (shared by Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble):

Scientology is arguably the most persistently controversial of all contemporary New Religious Movements. The Church of Scientology has been involved in battles over tax issues, a ten-year conflict with the Food and Drug Administration, extended turmoil with a number of European governments, and has even been subjected to FBI raids in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
 
Negative publicity, however, has not prevented the Church from experiencing remarkably steady growth. Official national census figures indicate that the number of Scientologists grew significantly in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia throughout the 1990s, and studies show that the Church gained 10,000 members in the United States during that decade. This has led Scientology to begin referring to itself as "The World's Fastest Growing Religion." But despite its highly public profile, recently enhanced by celebrity spokespersons like Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes, little has been published about the Church, its history, theology, and mission.

The present volume brings together an international group of top scholars on New Religious Movements to offer an extensive and even-handed overview and analysis of all of these aspects of Scientology, including the controversies to which it continues to give rise. The book's six parts take a detailed look at the Church through its similarities to and differences from other religions, conflicts with various groups, overseas missions, and its theology, history, and sociology.

James R. Lewis has assembled an unusually comprehensive anthology, incorporating a wide range of different approaches. This volume is a welcome and long-overdue resource for scholars, students, and others interested in this controversial and little-understood religious movement.

book cover image Lawrence Wright, "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," Vintage, 2013-NOV, 560 pages. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Amazon.com sells it for: $19.05 plus shipping in Hardcover, $13.27 plus shipping in Paperback.

This book was honored as a National Book Award Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, A New York Times Notable Book, A Best Book of the Year: The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, New York magazine, SlateChicago Tribune, Huffington Post, NewsdayEntertainment Weekly, People, The WeekPublishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and a GoodReads Reader's Choice!

Amazon.com produce description:

"Scientology presents itself as a scientific approach to spiritual enlightenment, but its practices have long been shrouded in mystery. Now Lawrence Wright -- armed with his investigative talents, years of archival research, and more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists -- uncovers the inner workings of the church. We meet founder L. Ron Hubbard, the highly imaginative but mentally troubled science-fiction writer, and his tough, driven successor, David Miscavige. We go inside their specialized cosmology and language. We learn about the church’s legal attacks on the IRS, its vindictive treatment of critics, and its phenomenal wealth. We see the church court celebrities such as Tom Cruise while consigning its clergy to hard labor under billion-year contracts. Through it all, Wright asks what fundamentally comprises a religion, and if Scientology in fact merits this Constitutionally-protected label. Brilliantly researched, compellingly written, Going Clear pulls back the curtain on one of the most secretive organizations at work today.

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Menu copyrighted © 1997 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-OCT-05
Author: B.A. Robinson

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