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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Photo of Scientology anti-psychiatry demonstration in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Credit: Legolam

Scientology and psychiatry have come into conflict with each other since the foundation of Scientology in 1952. Scientology is publicly, and often vehemently, opposed to both psychiatry and psychology. It offers itself as an alternative to psychiatry, which Scientologists believe to be a barbaric and corrupt profession.

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Katie Holmes
Katherine Noelle "Katie" Holmes (born December 18, 1978) is an American actress who first achieved fame for her role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003. Holmes' part on the show, only her second professional role, made her a star. Her movie roles have ranged from art house films such as The Ice Storm to thrillers such as Abandon to blockbusters such as Batman Begins but she has said many of her films were "bombs." Holmes met actor Chris Klein in 2000, they were engaged in late 2003, and ended their relationship in 2005. In early 2005 Holmes began a highly publicized relationship with actor Tom Cruise, sixteen years her senior. In June, two months after they first met, she became engaged to Cruise. Their relationship made Holmes the subject of international media attention, much of it negative, including speculation the relationship was a publicity stunt to promote the couple's films. Many reports commented negatively about the interest of Holmes, raised Roman Catholic, in Cruise's religion, Scientology. The couple announced Holmes was pregnant in October 2005; on April 18, 2006, she gave birth to Suri Cruise. On November 18, 2006, she and Cruise were married in Italy.

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A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant

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Trey Parker
But we're friends with Penn Jillette, and Showtime wouldn’t let him do an episode of Bullshit! on Scientology..And hearing other people say, "You can’t do that,"—you can only say "You can't do that" so many times to Matt and me before we're gonna do it..So we realized we had to do it, and now that we’ve done it, now it’s like we’ve sort of opened the floodgates. People will be less scared.

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