Its doctrines are outrageous for many. Scientology is in the spotlight again after Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise fearing their daughter Suri would be dragged deep into the church. Here we decode Scientology for you
What is Scientology?
Scientology is a set of beliefs and practices created by L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986) in 1952. This was sort of a sequel to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. Hubbard portrayed Scientology as a religion, and in 1953 established the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey. Scientology claims that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. It used counselling known as auditing for spiritual rehabilitation in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events from their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Auditing courses are available to members in return for specified donations. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States and some other countries, and the Church of Scientology emphasises this as proof that it is a bona fide religion. In other countries, notably Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Scientology does not have comparable religious status.
Hobbard was born in Tilden, Nebraska, as the son of a US Navy officer. Before he came up with Dianetics and Scientology, he wrote pulp fiction.
1) How it all started?
Scientologists believe an alien tyrant named Xenu the dictator of the “Galactic Confederacy” who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs. Scientology scriptures say that the essences of these many people remained, and that they form around people in modern times, causing them spiritual harm.
2. The Church claims to have 15 million adherents, but surveys revealed only 50,000 members:
Other celebrities who are scientologists
Major controversies involving Scientology
Case of the missing missus
This past week what people were talking about was the divorce between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. The latest development in this story is that the person who played matchmaker to the celebrities has been missing since 2007. It is reported that Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, was asked by her husband to help Tom Cruise in finding love after his marriage with Nicole Kidman fell apart. Shelly chose Katie Holmes among the many eligible Hollywood beauties. But since 2007 Shelly, who was a constant presence by her husband’s side, has been missing. Some say she is locked up in the ‘hole’ —a penitentiary for errant scientologists — and others say she died of cancer.
Operation Freakout, also known as Operation PC Freakout, was a Church of Scientology covert plan intended to have the US author and journalist Paulette Cooper imprisoned or committed to a mental institution. The plan, undertaken in 1976 following years of Church-initiated lawsuits and covert harassment, was meant to eliminate the perceived threat that Cooper posed to the Church and obtain revenge for her publication in 1971 of a highly-critical book The Scandal of Scientology. The Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered documentary evidence of the plot and the preceding campaign of harassment during an investigation into the Church of Scientology in 1977, eventually leading to the Church compensating Cooper in an out-of-court settlement.
Operation Snow White
Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology’s name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents. This was also the operation that exposed ‘Operation Freakout’, because this was the case that initiated the US government investigation of the Church.
Cult Awareness Network
The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was driven into bankruptcy in 1996 in part by a number of Scientology-related lawsuits (CAN had also been held liable for over $1 million in damages for the kidnapping and abusive deprogramming of a member of the Life Tabernacle Church, a church unaffiliated with Scientology). As the TV news program 60 Minutes reported in 1997, Scientologists filed over fifty lawsuits against the non-profit organization, which spent over $2 million on its legal defense. After one court handed down a judgment of $1 million against CAN, the organization filed for bankruptcy and auctioned off its assets, which were purchased for $20,000 by a lawyer affiliated with Scientology.
Suit against Time
In May 1991, Time magazine published a cover story on Scientology. The Church responded by suing Time for $400 million; a five-year legal battle ensued in which Time spent approximately $7 million defending itself in court. The case was eventually dismissed in the magazine’s favour.