Portal:Scientology

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The Scientology Portal

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Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by Speculative Fiction author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counselling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Study materials and auditing courses are made available to members in return for specified donations. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt organization in the United States and some other countries, and the Church of Scientology emphasizes this as proof that it is a bona fide religion. In other countries, notably France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Scientology does not have comparable religious status.

A large number of organizations overseeing the application of Scientology have been established, the most notable of these being the Church of Scientology. Scientology sponsors a variety of social service programs. These include the Narconon anti-drug program, the Criminon prison rehabilitation program, the Study Tech education methodology, a volunteer organization, a business management method, and a set of moral guidelines expressed in a booklet called The Way to Happiness.

The Church of Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements to have arisen in the 20th century. It has often been described as a cult that financially defrauds and abuses its members, charging exorbitant fees for its spiritual services. The Church of Scientology has consistently used litigation against such critics, and its aggressiveness in pursuing its foes has been condemned as harassment. Further controversy has focused on Scientology's belief that souls ("thetans") reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth. Former members say that some of Hubbard's writings on this remote extraterrestrial past, included in confidential Upper Levels, are not revealed to practitioners until they have paid thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology. Another controversial belief held by Scientologists is that the practice of psychiatry is destructive and abusive and must be abolished. Notable Scientologists include many well known people such as Tom Cruise, Greta Van Susteren, Chick Corea, John Travolta, Priscilla Presley and Kirstie Alley.

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Anti-mental health flier issued in May 1955 by the Keep America Committee
The Alaska Mental Health Enabling Act of 1956 was an Act of Congress passed to improve mental health care in the United States territory of Alaska. Introduced in the House of Representatives by Alaska Congressional Delegate Bob Bartlett in January 1956, it became the focus of a major political controversy. The legislation was opposed by a variety of far-right, anti-Communist and fringe religious groups, prompting what was said to have been the biggest political controversy seen on Capitol Hill since the early 1940s. Prominent opponents nicknamed it the "Siberia Bill" and asserted that it was part of an international Jewish, Roman Catholic or psychiatric conspiracy intended to establish United Nations-run concentration camps in the United States. Others claimed that it was part of a plan by Russia to reclaim its former Alaskan territories or was a plot by Communist elements in the Eisenhower administration to forcibly hospitalize and brainwash American citizens who were opposed to UNESCO or various state governors. With the sponsorship of the conservative Republican senator Barry Goldwater, a modified version of the Act was approved unanimously by the United States Senate in July 1956 after only ten minutes of debate.

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Grand Jury Charges, Introduction, "United States of America v. Mary Sue Hubbard"
Credit: United States District Court, D.C.

Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology's name for a project 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; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents.

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Isaac Hayes in 1973
Isaac Lee Hayes (born August 20, 1942, in Covington, Tennessee) was an American Grammy Award and Academy Award winning soul and funk singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger, and actor. Hayes was one of the main creative forces behind Southern soul music label Stax Records, for which he served as both an in-house songwriter/producer and later as its premier recording artist. In addition to his work in popular music, Hayes has also written scores for several motion pictures as well. His best known film score, for the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft, earned Hayes an Academy Award for Best Original Song (the first Academy Award received by an African-American in a non-acting category) and two Grammy Awards. Hayes received a third Grammy for his 1971 album Black Moses. In 1992, Hayes was crowned an honorary king of Ghana's Ada district thanks to his humanitarian deeds. From 1997 to 2006, he provided the voice for "Chef", a singing ladies' man and elementary school cook, on the animated sitcom South Park. There are conflicting statements from Hayes' publicists and others as to why he left the show, and this controversy is satirized in the South Park episode, "The Return of Chef".

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Isaac Hayes
I felt great and I got rid of some stuff that I didn't realize that I was dragging around. And I said, "Whoa, I think I've become a Scientologist."

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