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.
The Super Power Building is an edifice in Clearwater, Florida that will be the Church of Scientology's largest property in the city when completed. The huge high-rise complex, which occupies an entire block at 215 S Fort Harrison Ave, will be topped by a 15-story tower surmounted with a bronze Scientology cross that will be visible over a wide area of Clearwater. The building has been under construction since 1998 but has yet to be finished.
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV
(born July 3, 1962), more commonly known as Tom Cruise
, is an American actor
and film producer
. He is tied with Tom Hanks
as the only actors to have seven consecutive US$
100 million plus blockbusters
on his résumé, and Forbes
magazine ranked him as the world's most powerful celebrity in 2006. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards
and won three Golden Globe Awards
. His first leading role was 1983
's Risky Business
. After that, he starred in many top films and became a Hollywood celebrity. Cruise is also known for his criticism of psychiatry
, and for his support of Scientology
, which has attracted controversy
and media interest. On August 22, 2006, Paramount Pictures
announced it was ending its 14-year relationship with Tom Cruise. Sumner Redstone
cited the economic damage to Tom Cruise's value as an actor and producer from his controversial public behavior and views. Cruise and his longtime business associate Paula Wagner
announced on November 2, 2006 that Cruise/Wagner Productions would take control of the studio United Artists
. Cruise produces and stars in films for United Artists, while Wagner serves as UA's chief executive.