, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 503-506
Date: 13 Nov 2012

The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion

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Though in many ways still shrouded in secrecy, Scientology could be said to be one of the most “accessible” religions in the world—that is, in terms of documenting and understanding its origins. Part of this has to do with its young age, having been born in May 1950 with the publication of science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard’s essay “Dianetics, the Evolution of a Science” in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. Insight into the roots of this religion also has to do with the existence of texts and other documents from Hubbard himself, a prolific if not always successful (or scrupulous) writer, as well as the public and legal battles involving Scientology—some as defendant, some as plaintiff—ever since. While many articles, books, exposés, and films focus on the “legitimacy” of Scientology as a religion, scandals and abuses within the church, or (what seems to titillate the mainstream media the most) the “portion of Hubbard’s space narrative [that] is contained in the confidential ...