The founder of the Church of Scientology was Lafayette Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). During the 1930's he was a well known writer of science fiction. He wrote a novel Excalibur in 1938 which contained some of the concepts that were later developed into Scientology. Hubbard switched to the mental health area in 1950 with the publishing of his best known book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. The book has never been out of print since that date. It has sold over 7 million copies and is still actively publicized on television and other media. Dianetics came under attack by the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association, who described it as a potentially dangerous form of therapy. In 1952, Hubbard created Scientology which blended the therapy of Dianetics with religious concepts such as reincarnation, a religious symbol, etc. The next year, he incorporated the Church of Scientology. The first church was established in 1954 in Los Angeles (some sources say Washington DC).

During the 1960's the Church of Scientology was prosecuted by the US Food and Drug Administration which unsuccessfully tried to ban his E-Meter device. During the 1970s, the Church and many other emerging religions came under increasing attack from the anti-cult movement. Many rumours circulated about illegal and/or unethical methods of controlling the membership. As a result of an FBI raid on church offices, some senior people in the movement (including Hubbard's wife) were convicted of stealing government documents. In 1965, the Australian government banned Scientology. This triggered a legal battle which the Church won in 1983; this contributed greatly to the scope of religious freedom in that country. From 1968 to 1980, the British government restricted people who wished to enter the country to pursue a Scientology course.

L.R. Hubbard died in 1986. Unlike many emerging religions, the movement survived the transition to new leadership. It is now headed by David Miscavige. Scientology continues its rapid growth.

In recent years, the Church of Scientology has evolved into an "applied religious philosophy" whose role is to promote mental health. It is increasingly being referred to simply as Scientology. Their followers and sympathizers number many millions throughout the world. There are about 50,000 active members in the movement.



Scientology Books and Magazines

Attacks on and by Scientology

Many emergent religions suffer repeated attacks by anti-cult groups. Scientology is no exception. Their main opposition seems to have come from FACTnet (Fight Against Coercive Tactics network) and CAN (Cult Awareness Network). The Church has fought back with countless lawsuits aimed at preserving their freedom to practice their religion, and preserving their copyrights and trade secrets.

A war of sorts is raging on the Internet between the church, anti-Scientology individuals and anti-cult groups. One example involves the Fishman Documents which contain secret Church rituals. They have been published on a private home page. Scientology representatives asked the Internet Service Provider to delete the documents from their customer's page; the provider refused. When the smoke cleared, duplicate documents had appeared at 100 other WWW sites.

So much controversy has been generated by pro and anti Scientology individuals and groups that the truth is impossible to separate from the bull sPit. Scientology has been accused of gross ethics violations, initiating nuisance lawsuits, brainwashing techniques, swindling people out of their money, etc. Their opponents have been accused of violating copyright laws, violating the civil rights of Church members by kidnapping, confining and brainwashing them, etc.

Reality is somewhere between the two extremes; we have not the foggiest idea where it lies.

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Interenet Resources

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