Scientology, what is it?
Let’s find out about Scientology… the social movement founded in 1952 by the American writer Ron Hubbard.
What is Scientology?
Scientology “offers technology that aims to help humans lead happier lives and achieve greater spirituality.” Starting principle: Man is a spiritual being, immortal, whose faculties are not fully exploited. “He can reach levels of consciousness beyond anything he has ever imagined”, “gain spiritual freedom and cross the boundaries of the physical universe and of suffering.” The means to achieve this being Scientology and its teachings.
How and when did this movement come about?
The movement was founded in 1952 by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. He first developed a theory on the treatment of disorders of the human mind: dianetics. A bestseller – Dianetics: The Power of Thought on the Body was on the New York Times bestseller list for 26 weeks – but dianetics was never accepted by the American scientific and psychiatric community . Hubbard still dispenses his teachings to his first followers.
In 1952, he published a new series of teachings, but in the form of a religious philosophy: Scientology. Two years later, the first Church of Scientology opened in California. The movement then spread across the world. In addition to its “church services,” hearing and training, Scientology also offers social programs, such as the Narconon anti-drug program or the inmate rehabilitation program, Criminon.
On January 24, 1986, L. Ron Hubbard died, and David Miscavige took over. The ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion, he sees to “the exact application of the technologies of Dianetics and Scientology” of its founder and “keeps Scientology working.”
What are Hubbard’s lessons?
Scientology aims to improve the abilities of the follower to achieve his true identity, his “thetan”, an intrinsically good and omniscient spiritual being, with unlimited powers, who will fulfill intergalactic missions and will one day reach “the contact with divinity ”. To do this, the adept must overcome the effects of the negative elements of his mind on his body, which weaken him.
To carry out this “spiritual rehabilitation”, Hubbard developed the system of “hearings”, which should allow, through the use of an electropsychometer, to relive painful or traumatic events of his past and allow to get rid of their negative effects. on the mind. Followers can follow these teachings and hearings in exchange for financial donations.
Is it a religion or a sect?
In the United States, the Church of Scientology has been recognized as a religion since 1993. Other countries, such as Italy, Sweden, Spain or Portugal, have also recognized it as a religion. However, in France, as in Germany, Greece, Belgium or the United Kingdom, it does not have this status. Scientology was even classified as a sect in France in a 1995 parliamentary report.
Why is Scientology controversial?
The movement is the target of multiple criticisms. Critics argue that the Church abuses the generosity and exploits the fragility of its followers for commercial gain, and provides them with spiritual services at exorbitant prices. In a 1991 article, Time judged Scientology to be “a very profitable global racket (fraud), which survives by intimidating, like the Mafia, its followers and all those who criticize it.”
Other reasons for concern include the fact that Scientology urges its members to turn away from people who do not adhere to its teachings. Not to mention the fact that Scientology does not recognize mental illnesses and considers that followers can heal themselves through religious teaching.
Who is part of it?
The movement claims 12 million followers worldwide and 45,000 in France. However, observers estimate that Scientologists number between 100,000 and 200,000 worldwide. According to the Church, all walks of life are represented among Scientologists. Leading figures of the movement, celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley, Isaac Hayes or John Travolta, are particularly well represented within the Church, with Hubbard believing that they can play a major role in the dissemination. of his theories.
Photo explanation: 4833 Fountain Ave. Formerly: Cedars of Lebanon Hospital
Purchase price: $5 million, 1976
The former hospital, designed by noted L.A. architect Claud Beelman, provided care for Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Mae West and Burt Lancaster. The 500,000-square-foot property houses Scientology’s West Coast headquarters and main Los Angeles church. It was renovated and reopened in April 2010; Scientologists refer to the property as the Complex.