Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by 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 religion in the United States, Italy, South Africa, Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain; the Church of Scientology emphasizes 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.

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, the Volunteer Ministers, the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, 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. In response, Scientologists have argued that theirs is a genuine religious movement that has been misrepresented, maligned and persecuted. The Church of Scientology has consistently used litigation against its 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, and that some of the related teachings 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.

Read more about Scientology:  Etymology and Earlier Usage, Membership Statistics, Beliefs and Practices, Organization, Controversies, Celebrities

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Scientology In The United Kingdom - Official Inquiry
... An official inquiry into Scientology in the UK was carried out by Sir John G ... It concluded that it would be unfair to ban Scientology outright, but asked for legislation to ensure that psychotherapy in the United Kingdom is delivered in an ethical manner ... He regarded the Scientology version of "ethics" as inappropriate ...
Scientology In Germany - Initiative To Ban Scientology
... that German authorities were increasing their efforts to monitor Scientology in response to the opening of a new Scientology headquarters in Berlin ... federal and state interior ministers expressed the opinion that the Scientology organization was continuing to pursue anti-constitutional goals, restricting "essential basic and human rights ... Sabine Weber, president of the Church of Scientology in Berlin, called the accusations "unrealistic" and "absurd" and said that the German interior ministers' evaluation was based on "a few ...
Scientology In Germany
... The Church of Scientology has been present in Germany since 1970 ... Scientologists in Germany today the Church of Scientology gives a membership figure of around 12,000 ... The Church of Scientology has encountered particular antagonism from the German press and government and occupies a precarious legal, social and cultural position in Germany ...
Scientology In Germany - History - Public Opposition
... In German public discourse, Scientology is not considered a religion, but is generally characterized as a Sekte (cult or sect), or as an exploitative profit-making venture preying on vulnerable minds ... ("Educational Information Campaign"), an organization dedicated to opposing Scientology, was established in the 1970s ... warned people not to get involved with Scientology, filed successful lawsuits against the Church of Scientology over its proselytizing in public places, and published an influential book, The Sect ...
Scientology - Celebrities
... See also Scientology and celebrities and List of Scientologists Hubbard envisaged that celebrities would have a key role to play in the dissemination ... Today, Scientology operates eight churches that are designated Celebrity Centers, the largest of these being the one in Hollywood ... Edgar Winter, Tom Cruise, Chick Corea and Leah Remini have generated considerable publicity for Scientology ...