Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices developed in 1954 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Hubbard initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.
1. The Church of Scientology was established in 1954 and is based on the teachings of American author L. Ron Hubbard.
2. While the Church of Scientology claims it has over 10 million members, its critics argue that it has just about 500,000 members, mostly in the U.S., South Africa, and Australia.
3. Scientology is a successor of founder Hubbard’s earlier self-help system called “Dianetics,” which was first published in 1950. Its publication is considered by Scientologists to be the seminal moment of the 20th century.
4. The precursor of Scientology was called “Dianetics.” It was initially designed as a new psychotherapy and was not expected to lead to a new religion.
5. The basic tenant of Scientology is that man is “basically good and that his spiritual salvation depends upon himself, his fellows, and his attainment of brotherhood with the universe.”
6. The fundamental principles of Scientology are:
- man is an immortal, alien, spiritual being called a thetan,
- his experience extends well beyond a single lifetime,
- his capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized.
7. L. Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer who holds the Guinness World Record for Most Published Works By One Author. The foundational texts of Scientology and the church’s creation story, involve aliens. The church denies that it believes in aliens, however.
8. Hubbard is an extremely controversial figure, particularly for exhibiting paranoid and abusive tendencies, which the church seems to have adopted as well.
9. When his second wife threatened to leave him, he kidnapped their daughter. He then called his wife and claimed he’d butchered the girl, but later called back and admitted she was still alive.
10. The complete structure of the practice of Scientology is called “The Bridge to Total Freedom.” The levels of progression are Pre-clear, Clear, and Operating Thetan. Pre-clear is the initial stage where a member undergoes a therapy session called “auditing.” A member is a “Clear” when, after the auditing sessions, he or she is free of negative emotions. The ultimate level is the Operating Thetan, which is where the participant is in control of life, thought, matter, energy, space, and time.
11. Members are pressured to talk about their sex lives. Scientologists have to go through a process known as auditing, in which the church asks them extremely personal questions about their lives. This seems to be a form of blackmail, as the church keeps detailed records of the proceedings and the questions often pertain to people’s sex lives.
12. If members ever want to leave the church, it can threaten to reveal this information.
13. Hubbard believed that psychiatrists were evil and even characterized them as terrorists. Scientologists do not believe in psychology and are vehemently against using psychiatric medication.
14. The Scientology cross is a major symbol in the religion. It is similar to the Christian cross, but has an additional 4 diagonal rays between the horizontal and vertical arms. The eight points of the cross symbolize the 8 dynamics in Scientology:
- The Self
- Creativity, sex, and procreation (family)
- All life forms
- Physical universe
- God, infinity, or the Supreme Being.
15. Scientologists believe that L. Ron Hubbard discovered their religion through scientific methods, not by revelation.
16. Scientology is a contraction of the Latin scio, “knowing,” and Greek logos, “study of.” In short, Scientology means “knowing how to know.”
17. L. Ron Hubbard wrote the sci-fi novel Battlefield Earth, which fellow Scientologist John Travolta translated into film in 2000. The film was a huge flop.
18. The church spied on Nicole Kidman at Tom Cruise’s request.
19. Nicole Kidman’s father was a psychologist, a profession the church isn’t too fond of, so they reportedly began spying on her. At one point, the church supposedly wire-taped Kidman’s phone.
20. The Church of Scientology believes that thetans (or alien spirits), not the central nervous system, command the body through communication points.
21. But many celebrities are holding strong to their Scientology ties. The most popular Scientologists are Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirsty Allen, Danny Masterson, Juliette Lewis, and the late Peaches Geldof.
22. Xenu was, according to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people to Earth (then known as “Teegeeack”) in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Official Scientology scriptures hold that the thetans (immortal spirits) of these aliens adhere to humans, causing spiritual harm. Their beliefs are based on this story.
23. In Switzerland, the Church of Scientology is defined as a commercial enterprise. In France and Chile, it is considered a cult.
24. Actress Kristie Alley credits Scientology’s “Narconon” program for helping her kick her cocaine habit. Critics and former members view it as one of the church’s “front groups,” or a group that appears moderate in an attempt to mask other extremist views.
25. Members of Scientology move through levels. However, it can cost over $100,000 just to reach a level of OT III (Operating Thetan Level 3).