The Church of Scientology

( 3 )

Overview

 L. Ron Hubbard—best-selling science fiction writer, former naval officer, and people’s philosopher—did not initially intend to found a new religion. But neither did he object when followers organized a church based on his teachings. The resulting movement has attracted millions of adherents from around the globe.

Much of Scientology applies common sense solutions to life’s perplexities. If a church should be judged according to its good works, then Scientology receives high marks for its addiction ...

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Overview

 L. Ron Hubbard—best-selling science fiction writer, former naval officer, and people’s philosopher—did not initially intend to found a new religion. But neither did he object when followers organized a church based on his teachings. The resulting movement has attracted millions of adherents from around the globe.

Much of Scientology applies common sense solutions to life’s perplexities. If a church should be judged according to its good works, then Scientology receives high marks for its addiction treatment, literacy, and civil rights programs. But there is more, including mysticism, mythology, some secrecy, and a healthy dose of what might be termed eccentricity. Some observers wonder how a church that promotes mental and emotional well being, which it does, can itself at times appear to be paranoid or dysfunctional? Dr. Melton explores these questions and the major aspects of the church’s hierarchical structure and theology, showing, among other things, that the study of religion is seldom dull.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560851394
  • Publisher: Signature Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Series: Studies in Contemporary Religions
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 4.75 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

 J. Gordon Melton is the director in Santa Barbara, California, of the Institute for the Study of American Religion. He is the author of the influential Encyclopedia of American Religions and some twenty other works, co-author of the award-winning Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, and a frequent contributor to scholarly books and journals on the subject of new religions.
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Read an Excerpt

 BIRTH OF A RELIGION

As the twenty-first century opens, the Church of Scientology1 has emerged as one major focus of the ongoing controversy on new religions and their role in the rise of religious pluralism in the west. The teachings of founder L. Ron Hubbard enjoyed some immediate success with the public following their initial appearance in 1950, but one could have hardly predicted Scientology’s meteoric rise or its history of public conflict from its modest beginning. The controversy over Scientology has extended at times to almost every aspect of the church and its founder, and while those issues have been largely resolved in North America, the very status of Scientology as a religion continues to be seriously questioned in some quarters and has been the subject of multiple court cases. True, it has been recognized as a religion in many countries of the world, including the United States; but opposition continues in some quarters. In the modest space allowed, this essay cannot cover every point at issue, but does attempt to provide (1) an overview of the life of L. Ron Hubbard anchored by the generally agreed upon facts; (2) an introduction to the church’s beliefs, practices, and organization; and (3) a summary of the major points of the controversy.

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Table of Contents

1. Birth of a religion 1
The Founder
The Disruption of War
Encountering the Powers That Be
The 1960s and Beyond
The Church of Scientology International
2. What Is Dianetics/Scientology? 25
Dianetics
From Dianetics to Scientology
Ethics and Justice
3. The Organization of Scientology 39
The Structure of the Church
Social Betterment Programs
Association for Better Living and Education
Narconon/Criminon
Applied Scholastics
The Way to Happiness Foundation
Social Reform Programs
Citizens Commission on Human Rights
National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice
World Institute of Scientology Enterprises
4. But Is It a Religion? 53
Critics Abound
The Future
Notes 65
Selected Bibliography 79
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2006

    A simple book that tells the facts

    Although i question the authors sources the book is a simple one that tells basically what Scientology is from a netural non-scientologist's point of view. But in the ultimate, if one wishes to learn about Scientology, one should just pick up L. Ron Hubbards work 'Dianetics, the modern science of menal health', 'Scientology, the fundementals of thought', or just take a tour of your local church of mission. Their website can tell you where they are located.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2005

    Ignores the dark side of scientology.

    One has to wonder if mr. melton is really an independent scholar or a comprimised public relations man. His writing style is excellent, but his refusal to examine what is undeniable public record is puzzling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2005

    An Objective Look at Scientology

    The author of this book is not a Scientologist, but is in fact a Christian religious scholar. This is a look at the Scientology religion, from an objective viewpoint. It's not a large book - I read it in a day at the library. I found it contains accurate information. If you're interested in the Scientology religion, this book will give you some more information about what the religion is.

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