ORIGIN OF SCIENTOLOGY
The first official Church of Scientology was founded in 1953 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, in the city of Camden, New Jersey. Hubbard was assisted by his wife and several disciples. The organization promotes a set of beliefs about mind, body, and spirit that are referred to collectively as Scientology. This belief system includes substantial material from the self-help regimen prescribed in Hubbard's commercially successful book Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, published in 1950.
WHO WAS L. RON HUBBARD?
Born in Nebraska, L. Ron Hubbard studied civil engineering at George Washington University for one year before being discharged for poor academic performance. During his service as a naval officer during World War II he was three times removed from leadership positions and was the subject of a disciplinary hearing, but was discharged honorably in 1950.
Until the publication of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, Hubbard was primarily known as a science fiction writer. He spent most of his adult life promoting Dianetics and Scientology. He returned only briefly to writing science fiction during the latter years of his life. L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986.
Scientology is based on a self-help regimen described in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard. Dianetics is known within the scientology organization as "Book 1″; however, all of Hubbard's written and spoken words are considered to be Scientology "scriptures." The organization directs each member to read and listen to these books and lectures at great personal expense.
At the core of this belief system is the doctrine that each individual is a "thetan" or soul. Thetans are said to be essentially immortal, living through past lives and long past the deaths of their current bodies. To unlock one's true power and ability as an immortal thetan, one must engage in very costly "auditing" or spiritual counseling. According to Scientology, auditing removes any and all negative influences and psychic barriers.
Only after extensive auditing are Scientologists presented with an esoteric origin myth involving an alien overlord and intergalactic genocide. The problems of ordinary life, according to this story, are caused by lost souls who inhabit and influence individuals and can be removed only through more highly priced auditing. Thus Scientologists are exhorted to continue up "the bridge to total freedom."
The Church of Scientology claims to be a religion and enjoys a questionable charitable tax exemption in the United States. However, former Scientologists and anti-Scientology activists have exposed many serious misdeeds by this organization and its leadership:
Free speech violations
Human rights violations including suspicious deaths, torture, coerced abortions, the deliberate separation of families, and human trafficking
Illegal actions such as harassment, slander, libel, extortion, and vexatious lawsuits--condoned and encouraged when directed toward those who challenge or defy Scientology practices
Fraudulent activities including questionable tax exemptions and charitable status in various countries including the U.S., unsafe drug rehabilitation practices, irregular business practices, and bogus educational and charitable organizations designed to infiltrate schools and recruit young people