A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
In Dianetic practice the "patient," working with a partner called an "auditor" recalls past painful experiences in reverse chronological sequence, supposedly erasing their negative effects and attaining a state called "clear," allegedly free from all ills. (3) The auditor carefully records any intimate revelations, including sexual or criminal activities and marital or family troubles; these records are kept on file.
Hubbard represented Dianetics as a mental health therapy. He asserted that it was scientifically based and developed through careful research, and his use of the word "patient" suggests that he anticipated acceptance of Dianetics by the medical profession. But he never produced copies of any research protocol. Dianetics was opposed immediately by the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, the latter recommending that its members limit use of Dianetic techniques to investigation only, until Hubbard’s claimed results could be corroborated. (4)
The public, however, made the book a bestseller, and it seemed that Hubbard’s ship had come in.
He created the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation to promulgate his theories and techniques.
With auditors repeatedly asking patients in trance state to recall "earlier similar incidents," patients began to report past lifetime experiences. Hubbard incorporated belief in past lives into his evolving ideology, discussing the concept in his second Dianetics book, SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL.
The Hubbard Foundation began to collapse as the initial Dianetics
craze wore off, and Hubbard’s new-found emphasis on past lives
exacerbated tensions with the Foundation’s financial partners. By
1952 Hubbard was penniless and had lost control of Dianetics.
Hubbard became interested in a type of lie detector called the "electropsychometer" that he believed would yield better results in auditing. He obtained a franchise for this device, which he renamed the Hubbard Electrometer, or E-meter. He began calling patients "pre-clears" and "within six weeks had created a new subject apparently out of thin air." (5)
Hubbard called his new subject Scientology and in introducing it, he claimed to have discovered the human soul. Whereas Dianetics had addressed the body, Scientology involved freeing souls (which Hubbard called "thetans") from supposed entrapment in the physical or material world and restoring their alleged supernatural powers.
Hubbard established a headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, awarded
himself the degree of D.Scn. (Doctor of Scientology) and in May 1952
incorporated the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International
under the personal control of himself and his third wife, Mary Sue.
The AMA meanwhile continued its opposition to Dianetics and
In 1959 Hubbard moved to England and bought Saint Hill Mansion in
Sussex, from which he would direct international operations and
expansion of the CoS until 1967. The 1960s saw the introduction of
"Ethics" procedures, which include harsh punishments (even for
children) and the "disconnection" policy, which requires
Scientologists to sever ties with family and friends critical of
Hubbard made bungling attempts to take over Morocco and Rhodesia and
was banned from further entry into Britain. He began the Sea
Organization (SO), whose members wear pseudo-naval uniforms, adopt
naval ranks, sign billion year contracts and are pressured to have
abortions when they become pregnant because children are perceived
as interfering with their SO obligations. Hubbard created the
infamously abusive Rehabilitation Project Force as a special
punishment for SO members who fail to follow orders, make mistakes
or fall short of production goals.
A US federal court in 1971 ruled that Hubbard’s medical claims were
bogus and that E-meter auditing could not be called a scientific
treatment. The CoS responded by "going fully religious, seeking
First Amendment protection...counselors started sporting clerical
collars. Chapels were built, franchises became ‘missions,’ fees
became ‘fixed donations,’ and Hubbard’s comic-book cosmology became
‘sacred scriptures.’" (11)
While the Church of Scientology continued to expand, its private
intelligence agency known as the Guardian’s Office (GO) ran
cloak-and-dagger operations against the mayor of Clearwater, various
governmental agencies and anyone else perceived as in their way.
At various times, Hubbard (and/or the church) was investigated by
the US Justice Department, the FBI, FDA, CIA, IRS, NSA, Bureau of
Customs, DEA, DOD, the Secret Service, the US Post Office, INS,
BATF, Department of Labor, police departments of various US cities
as well as Interpol and a host of other governmental agencies
worldwide. Hubbard was convicted in absentia of fraud in France. The
Church of Scientology was convicted of breach of the public trust
and infiltration of government offices in Canada. Scientology was
banned by the state of Victoria, Australia. Hubbard attributed all
these events to widespread plotting by Russian communists,
neofascists, bankers, the media, the IRS, Christian clergy, fiendish
extraterrestrials and the psychiatric profession, which he
considered his arch enemy.
Hubbard went into seclusion following the "Operation Snow White"
debacle and in the early 1980s David Miscavige, a second-generation
Scientologist, took the reins of Scientology at age 21. At that time
"...high-level defectors [were] accusing Hubbard of having stolen as
much as $200 million from the church [and] the IRS was seeking an
indictment of Hubbard for tax fraud. Scientology members ‘worked day
and night’ shredding documents the IRS sought," (13) according to a
defector. Hubbard died in 1986 before the criminal case could be
In 1993 the beleaguered IRS and the Church of Scientology International reached an agreement, the terms of which were kept secret but were leaked to THE WALL STREET JOURNAL four years later. Per the agreement, the church gained tax-exempt status for itself and its subsidiaries and in return agreed to drop the lawsuits and settle its back tax obligations with a payment of $12.5 million -- a fraction of the estimated amount owed. Many questions have been raised about provisions of this agreement, however the IRS and CoS maintain that it is confidential and will not discuss it. (16)
Scientologists have sought to undermine anti-cult groups by
infiltrating them or shutting them down outright. Multiple lawsuits
were filed against the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), which was for
20 years the US’s best known resource for information and advice on
religious cults. CAN’s legal fees forced it into bankruptcy; the
rights to CAN’s name, logo and hotline number were bought by a
Scientologist in bankruptcy court and the new CAN is staffed by
Governments in France, Germany, Australia, Israel, Spain, Canada,
Greece, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, England and
elsewhere have taken actions to protect their citizens from
exploitation by religious cults, with Scientology frequently a focus
1. Eugene M. Methvin, "Scientology: Anatomy of a Frightening Cult," READER’S DIGEST, May 1980. http://tinyurl.com/2dkw2
2. Jon Atack. "The Total Freedom Trap: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard," Chapter 9. Online article: http://tinyurl.com/245dd
3. L. Ron Hubbard. DIANETICS: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH. (Los Angeles, Bridge Publications, original copyright 1950, edition 1992., pp. 13-14).
4. Lucy Freeman. "Psychologists act against Dianetics," THE NEW YORK TIMES, September 9, 1950.
5. Op. cit., Jon Atack, chapter 10. http://tinyurl.com/245dd
6. CHRONOLOGY OF THE SCIENTOLOGY MOVEMENT, compiled by the Free Zone Association, individuals practicing Scientology outside the CoS. http://tinyurl.com/2ws9u
7. Collection of FBI files relating to L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. http://tinyurl.com/28ur2
8. L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 18 October 1967.
"ENEMY SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." [SP = Suppressive Person a.k.a. critic of Scientology]
9. L. Ron Hubbard, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letter, 21 October 1968, "Cancellation of Fair Game"
"The practice of declaring people FAIR GAME will cease. FAIR GAME may not appear on any Ethics Order. It causes bad public relations. This P/L does not cancel any policy on the treatment or handling of an SP."
10. Richard Behar. "Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power," TIME MAGAZINE, May 6, 1991. http://tinyurl.com/28nox
12. Op. cit., Atack, chapter 16.
13. Op. cit., Behar.
14. Chris Owen. "Scientology’s Secret Service: An exposé of the shady activities of Scientology’s intelligence agencies." Online article: http://tinyurl.com/37nw4
15. Jeff Jacobsen. "Scientology’s Tax Exemption Should be Rescinded." July 19, 2001. Online article: http://tinyurl.com/26ow5
17. Chris Owen. "Scientology at Ground Zero." May 2003. Online article: http://tinyurl.com/23kt3
18. Press Release, April 26, 2004, from L. Ron Hubbard Public Relations West U.S., "Collateral Damage in Iraq Includes Military Suicide" http://tinyurl.com/2n8gk
19. Guardian Order, GO 121669 MSH, 16 December 1969, "Programme: Intelligence: Internal Security"
[MSH = L. Ron Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue, head of the Guardian’s Office] http://tinyurl.com/2mkst
20. Sworn affidavit of former CoS executive Jesse Prince. http://tinyurl.com/2uuof
21. The Church of Scientology’s release of liability agreement. http://tinyurl.com/35lws
22. Robert Farley. "Scientologists settle death suit," ST. PETERSBURG (Florida) TIMES, May 29, 2004. http://tinyurl.com/yqxj5
23. L. Ron Hubbard, Ron’s Journal 30, 17 December 1978. Super Power Rundown Series, Confidential, Executive Directive.
Jon Atack. "Possible Origins for Dianetics and Scientology." Online article, extensively referenced.
Stacy Brooks. "My Perspective on Auditing." Online article. http://tinyurl.com/ypzkl
Paulette Cooper. THE SCANDAL OF SCIENTOLOGY. 1970. Web edition November 1997. Cooper’s groundbreaking book on Scientology precipitated a 15-year ordeal of harassment by the Church of Scientology that included nineteen lawsuits, theft, malicious prosection and framing her for bomb threats. http://tinyurl.com/ypk3k
"Cult Awareness Network now in the hands of Scientology." Online notice at the American Family Foundation website: http://tinyurl.com/37kep
"Did the cult Scientology bludgeon the IRS into a billion dollar tax revenue give-away?" Online article at factnet.org. http://tinyurl.com/ywept
Essays on Scientology. An online collection of 37 articles. http://tinyurl.com/2ho4m
Martin Gardner. "Propheteering business," Nature, 14 January 1988, p. 125 http://tinyurl.com/3ehor
L. Ron Hubbard. SCIENCE OF SURVIVAL (Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, original copyright 1951, edition 1989).
"Human rights group in hands of a cult." IOL World online news service, June 16, 2000. French anti-cult official claims that the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights has been infiltrated by the Church of Scientology. http://tinyurl.com/2g595
Jeff Jacobsen. "A Brief History of Scientology." Online article. http://tinyurl.com/2jsyj
Stephen A. Kent, "The Creation of ‘Religious’ Scientology." Paper presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1992. Published in RELIGIOUS STUDIES AND THEOLOGY, Vol. 18, No. 2, December 1999, pp. 97-126. This paper references L. Ron Hubbard’s Professional Auditor’s Bulletin, No. 31, 23 July 1954, "Duplication" which describes Hubbard’s belief that Christian clergy and psychiatrists "implanted" thetans (Scientology’s term for the soul) with false and misleading information in the cosmological past and that both occupations continue to implant people today. http://tinyurl.com/22xt4
Stephen Koff. "Scientology Faces New Charges of Harassment," ST. PETERSBURG [FLORIDA] TIMES, December 22, 1988. http://tinyurl.com/2erl5
John A. Lee. LEE REPORT ON DIANETICS AND SCIENTOLOGY. This is chapter 4 of SECTARIAN HEALERS AND HYPNOTHERAPY, a study for the Committee on the Healing Arts, Canadian government. Ontario, 1970. http://tinyurl.com/3hlyr
LMT Literati Contest: Essays on the nature of Scientology. Winning essays online: http://tinyurl.com/ywrkl
Eugene M. Methvin. "Scientology: The Sickness Spreads," READER’S DIGEST, October 1981. http://tinyurl.com/237px
Russell Miller. BARE-FACED MESSIAH: THE TRUE STORY OF L. RON HUBBARD (London: Michael Joseph Ltd., 1987). http://tinyurl.com/3d2sk
Bette Swenson Orsini and Charles Stafford won a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for their 14-part investigation of the Church of Scientology for the ST. PETERSBURG [FLORIDA] TIMES. http://tinyurl.com/35jbv
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENQUIRY INTO SCIENTOLOGY, by Kevin Victor Anderson, Q.C. Published 1965 by the State of Victoria, Australia. Also known as the "Anderson Report." Exhaustive report on Scientology. http://tinyurl.com/yq6co
Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos, "The Scientology Story," LOS ANGELES TIMES, a six-part series, June 24-29, 1990 http://tinyurl.com/3djd9
Scientology v. the IRS. An online clearinghouse for reports and court records on the Scientology v. IRS controversy. http://tinyurl.com/2t5yw
The official Church of Scientology website:
Websites for the Freezone, practicing Scientology outside the CoS:
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The terms "Scientology" and "Dianetics" are trademarks and service marks owned by Religious Technology Center (RTC), Los Angeles, California, USA. For a detailed explanation of Scientology's copyrights, trademarks, and other legal issues involving the names and symbols used by the organizations collectively known as "Scientology" and "Dianetics," see the Trademark Section of the Official Scientology Web Site.
Last updated June 2004.