Scientology: A Brief History

The Church of Scientology was an emerging religion in the twenty first century, an era when a crop of religions, both major and minor, were already fighting for prominence in a fast paced world. Like any other young religions, Scientology has been mired in a string of controversies, perhaps more than any other.

Ron L Hubbard is the founder of Scientology. As a practitioner of ritual magic, the occult and hypnosis, he had an immense thirst for knowledge. He traveled to China, Japan, India and other Asian countries to satisfy this thirst; and in his travels, he came into the conclusion that mankind, amidst the immense wisdom it has gathered throughout the ages, is in a degraded state. He had a firm belief that this deprivation was the result of the incongruence between the mind and the body. He realized that man is a spirit, an entity who can fulfill his true potential through the realization that there are things that are beyond the physical realm.

He continued his study at the Oak Knall Naval Hospital in 1945. Piecing together Freudian concepts, Eastern philosophies and many other schools of thought, Hubbard came up with Dianetics. In 1950, he published a book called Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, which became a worldwide bestseller. Even today, the book is still widely read not just by Scientology members, but also those whose curiosity got piqued by the controversial religion.

The basic application of Dianetics lies in the theory that some memories called "engrams" are stored in our "reactive" mind and needed to be moved to our "analytical" mind. This can be done through a process called "auditing", where a "patient" and an "auditor" undergo two-way interview sessions. Probing questions are then asked by the "auditor" to enable the "patient" to digest his "pre-clear" past memories and come to terms with them, paving the way for the patient to unleash his potential and achieve spiritual enlightenment.

A device called the "e-meter" is also instrumental in these sessions to measure the "toxicity" of the memories.

The Dianetics movement quickly found its momentum and soon had research centers established in many parts of the US. Many people became staunch followers of this movement in an attempt to enrich their lives.

However, Dianetics soon lost its steam due to the building tension within the Foundation. As a result, Ron L Hubbard had lost control of Dianetics in 1952.

Ron L Hubbard furthered his research and soon came up with Scientology. In Scientology, Ron claimed to have come up with methods that can free the soul from its entrapment in the physical or material world, and which can allow man to unleash his full potential as a spirit separate from the body.

Being the central figure of Dianetics, he regained control of the Foundation and established the Church of Scientology at California in 1954. The Church of Scientology of California became the mother church. In 1958, Scientology was officially declared a religion and then granted US federal tax-exempt status.

Despite its many controversies and all out war with the field of psychiatry, the Church of Scientology is still very much in operation and continues to spread its influence worldwide.

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